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Baratza Maestro Plus - Peter Hogarth's Review
Posted: April 9, 2006, 8:35pm
review rating: 7.8
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 316,084 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: 6.0
Manufacturer: Baratza Quality: 4
Average Price: $149.00 Usability: 6
Price Paid: $149.00 Cost vs. Value 7
Where Bought: Sweet Marias Aesthetics 8
Owned for: 2 years Overall 5
Writer's Expertise: I love coffee Would Buy Again: No
Similar Items Owned:
Bottom Line: RIP, you were flawed from the start, but you served me well; now I must move on.
Positive Product Points

(1) Nice overall styling and contruction.
(2) Adjustability and consistency of grind were good enough, up till now, for my entry-level needs.
(3) A cost-effective way to get started.

Negative Product Points

Ordered from the least severe to the most severe:
(1) The receiving bin is designed for style, not practicality.  It is awkward to pull out from its slot. The sharp corners inside collect days-old grounds, and are hard to clean.
(2) At the espresso grind setting I always use, the machine clogs at the intake nearly every time.  It has to be jogged, or the beans have to be stirred and poked, to get them going again.  Despite the timer it therefore does not really work unattended:  You will have to attend it more than once to grind one espresso dose, and the timer cannot be used as even an approximate doser.
(3) Over a period of weeks the casing will fill up with tablespoons of debris.  You have to turn the whole machine upside down periodically and shake out a pile of old partially ground beans.
(4) The grind adjustment can be extremely stiff at the fine end of the range.  This may be because the aforementioned debris is jamming the machine - or it may some other design problem.
(5) Worst of all - the grind adjustment is fragile.  Very fragile.  It feels fragile and flimsy, and in fact it is - see below for details.

Detailed Commentary

Today my Maestro Plus died after 2 1/2 years of service.

Two flimsy plastic tabs engage the rotary hopper to the rotary grind adjustment mechanism.  Today, as I turned the adjustment from coarse to fine, it became very stiff, then jammed completely.  Though the machine telegraphs the fragility of its adjustment mechanism at every move, I was momentarily impatient and thoughtless, and  the tabs snapped off.  These tabs in particular are a very poor design. And the problem is design, not cost.  A robust and foolproof design would be very possible at this price point.

The Maestro served me well.  Its performance has been commensurate with my other equipment, but its shortcomings in quality and durability now seem excessive.  I suppose I'll repair it to sell or give away, but definitely I'm moving up to a higher quality, more precise and durable gadget.

Buying Experience

I bought it from Sweet Maria's.  They are great for green coffee and for the small but astutely selected range of gizmos and accessories they carry.  They provide quick personal answers to your questions.  They have some of the best photos of the innards of their grinders and other equipment that I have found on any vendor's site.

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review rating: 7.8
Posted: April 9, 2006, 8:35pm
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