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Baratza Maestro Plus - David Nobel's Review
Posted: September 17, 2004, 9:20am
review rating: 7.2
feedback: (0) comments | read | write
Baratza Maestro Plus
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More About This Product
Arrow The Baratza Maestro Plus has 55 Reviews
Arrow The Baratza Maestro Plus has been rated 7.12 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since November 5, 2003.
Arrow Baratza Maestro Plus reviews have been viewed 316,087 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Don Cummings 8.66
Tim Eggers 8.27
Gary Miller 8.25
Stephen Leslie 8.16
Peter Hogarth 7.75

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 8.8
Manufacturer: Baratza Quality: 8
Average Price: $149.00 Usability: 8
Price Paid: $105.00 Cost vs. Value 10
Where Bought: Aabree Coffee Aesthetics 9
Owned for: 1 month Overall 9
Writer's Expertise: I love coffee Would Buy Again: Yes
Similar Items Owned: Braun KMM 20 burr mill
Bottom Line: This is a solid, well-designed unit offering excellent performance at its price point.
Positive Product Points

Solid and heavy construction
Remarkably even grind w/ wide, finely-gradated range spectrum
Dual power controls: timer and spring-loaded front button
Virtually mess-free, static-free grinding with light and medium roasts
Easy disassembly and clean-up
Relatively quiet operation
Slow, controlled grinding speed
Ergonomic design w/ nice aesthetics

Negative Product Points

Skimpy manual does not adequately describe & illustrate disassembly & cleaning
Plastic parts in burr assembly potential weak spots
Some static with darker, oilier beans at drip and finer settings

Detailed Commentary

My initial Maestro Plus experience is based entirely on brewing with the Capresso CoffeeTEC auto-drip and a French press.

As someone still in the process of a major upgrade of coffee-making standards and equipment, I must say that my purchase of the Solis Maestro Plus has provided me with my first true "light-bulb" moment. Of all the many refinements I have been making to my brewing process, no single factor made as dramatic an improvement to the final brew quality as stepping up to this machine. After the first few sips from the first cup made from beans ground in the Maestro Plus, you could have knocked me over with a feather: Wow!

In reading the various posts and reviews on this and other coffee-maven sites, I had tended to view the degree of emphasis on grind quality with a fair bit of skepticism. Having long ago moved up from a blade grinder to a little Braun burr machine, I assumed the biggest improvement was behind me, that spending significant dollars on grinding hardware would amount to nothing but guilding the lily. More so for someone like me who is not yet even brewing real espresso. This obsession with grind had to be the fixation of fanatics looking for excuses to collect more expensive coffee toys.

But when the burrs on the old Braun began to wear out past the point where I could continue to ignore it, I decided to spring for one of the next-level machines, a gear-reduction design, based on the reported lower noise levels alone. After much research, I narrowed my choices down to the Capresso Infinity and the Maestro Plus; I settled on the Maestro Plus primarily because it purportedly produced a superior French press grind and had an overall wider range of settings.

The Maestro Plus is my first experience with a grinder at this quality level; compared to the two Braun mills I have used over the years—and particularly considering what I paid for it—this is one impressive machine. Quiet: no more dentist-drill-cum-autobody-grinder whine. Even, consistent grinds at all tested settings: On the coarser, French press setting, I get a powderless grind that produces a cup I can finish down to the last drop. Slower, cooler grinding produces dramatically superior coffee. Virtually no static and an incredibly clean grind path that requires minimal maintenance. Easy to disassemble and reassemble. Solid feel, excellent fit and finish, with sufficient weight to allow easy one-handed operation. The dual power-on options (side-mounted timer knob or front-mounted, hold-in button) accommodate different measuring strategies and are a real plus, although I have as yet only used the button. Looks great on the counter, which can be an important consideration for something this large.

Overall, I am completely satisfied with the Maestro Plus for my present requirements. I anticipate that it will meet my needs for some time to come, if not indefinitely. In reading some of the complaints in the other reviews, I suspect that the worst problems are a result of defective units, and others, as noted elsewhere, the result of not carefully following the directions for making the grind finer. (Specifically, you can adjust to a coarser grind at any time with the machine off; however, to make any significant adjustment to a finer grind, you must either have the machine running or must first empty the hopper and clear the burrs of all beans and bean parts: Ignoring this can result in damage to the grind settings requiring factory service.)

Buying Experience

The deeply discounted price of this rebuilt model included shipping. Aabree sales and customer service was friendly and efficient. My unit was shipped correctly and on time. Based on this experience (my first order), I recommend them.

Three Month Followup

When I first reviewed this machine, I had trouble understanding the complaints I had seen regarding static. After experimenting with various types of roasts, I now see that the darker, oilier beans at finer grind settings produce some static, and this could get annoying; I have added this observation to the "negatives." Since I tend to use lighter, medium roasts at drip grind setting and coarser, I normally experience no problems. Weekly cleaning is specified in the manual and is fairly easy; with the beans I use, there is little to clean. Other than that, the machine continues to perform excellently.

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review rating: 7.2
Posted: September 17, 2004, 9:20am
feedback: (0) comments | read | write
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