After about a year of frustration with a $30. Melitta Burr Grinder, I bit the bullet and purchased The Solis Maestro Plus.
The Melitta looked like a nice machine, the price was right, was pretty solid as far as build goes, but boy was it flawed. The machine was absolutely incapable of grinding coffee fine enough for an automatic drip machine, so forget about espresso. The machine walked off the counter, and was loud enough to wake the dead. The only great thing about the Melitta was that it was easy to clean.
Before I purchased the Solis, I did some homework on coffeegeek.com. I realized I was going to need to spend more than $30. in order to get a respectable grinder. It ultimately came down to two models, the Solis Maestro Plus or the Capresso Infinity. The two models seemed pretty damn close in quality, but there was a pretty big difference in price. The Solis was $150., the Capresso was $90., so you would assume the decision would be cut & dry, buy the Capresso, right? Well I didnít, although the Capresso clearly was the better value.
Two factors played into my decision, as silly as they may seem.
- The Solis was made in the USA.
- It came in red.
The Solis is great machine in almost every way. The grinds are nice & consistent, even if they have a tendency the to be a bit on the fine side. The machine is HEAVY & will not take a walk on you, and it's pretty quite. A little too much staic cling though.
My only issues with the machine are its extensive use of plastic. The hopper, the case, and a particularly fragile ring that makes up part of the grinder assembly (which I broke twice already!) are all made of plastic. I wish Solis had used a glass hopper & metal case & ring.
When I went to disassemble the grinder for cleaning, I removed a plastic ring that attaches the hopper to the burr assembly. More easily said than done. Every thing came apart easily enough, but when it came to re-assembly, that was another story. I could not get the parts to realign properly, and after a good long while of tinkering & sweating, I broke a very flimsy little tab off of the plastic ring. I called Baratza/Solis, and spoke with some very nice people who were very eager to help me. They shipped me out another plastic ring ASAP. When I received the part, I was eager to reinstall it, but soon found out I had a problem. I still could not get the part to reassemble properly, now maybe I'm too heavy-handed (but I wasn't), or maybe I'm just stupid, but I broke the part again.
When I called Baratza/Solis back this time, they weren't so eager to here from me, nor were they too eager to send me out another part (a threaded circle of plastic that must cost them 3-cents to manufacture). They said I should send the unit back to them for repair. I agreed since I was having NO luck putting this thing back together myself. It cost me $17. to ship it back to them, they repaired the unit & got it back to me pretty fast. They also followed up with a phone call & a email, very nice. However, I am afraid to touch this thing, lest I break it again. When I have to disassemble this thing again, I will proceed the process with call to customer service to have them talk me through it, but I'm still anxious.