Sleek design Simple controls Heavy base with rubber feet
Negative Product Points
A little messy Grind adjustment method is a bit flimsy Box that captures grinds fits tightly
This was my first burr grinder purchase. I had a Krups blade grinder for the previous 12 years but its motor was starting to sound funny. I had just replaced my drip coffeemaker and was in the buying mood so after doing research on CG and other sites I decided that the Solis Plus was the right one for me - based on features and price.
The $150 price tag was a little higher than I originally wanted to spend - but this model had everything I wanted. It was compact and sleek and had many improvements over the first model. The main feature that got me (and that I really like) is the pulse on/off button on the front. Since I normally don't grind a lot at once (just enough for 1 pot) using the button is great instead of dealing with the timing function. Another great feature is that you have enough room to grind directly into a filter (paper at least) and a metal basket (like on my Moka Pot). I think most espresso filter baskets would fit also. The machine is also heavy and with the rubber feet doesn't slide or move at all even when you are removing the catch basket (more on that later). There is also room to hide the cord in the bottom of the unit which makes it look nice and neat on the counter. Taking it apart is easy and cleaning it is not bad either. Adjusting the grind is straightforward if you read the instructions (or a lot of other reviews like I did). You have to be grinding while you rotate the bean hopper (which adjusts the grind) - otherwise you will break it. I just turn 3-4 clicks them pulse and repeat until I get to the desired setting as this wastes less beans. You get a feel for it the more you do it.
On the negative slide it is a bit messy. If you move the machine grinds are always falling out of the shoot and the area where they fall (where the basket fits into) has some tight square corners that can be hard to get to. The catch basket fits very tightly into the body of the machine and this is good if you use it as it reduces dust, etc. I don't use it too often though as I grind directly into a filter. Removing the basket isn't hard you just have to get a good grip on it - the weight of the machine helps too - it is was a light machine this would have to be a 2 hand operation. All of the grinds that don't make it to your coffee machine end up working their way either on your counter or into the base of the machine, which has a compartment to store the excess power cord. You have to kind of shake the machine around to work the grinds out of the base. I clean the whole unit after every 1-2 lbs that I run through it.
The bean hopper feels a little flimsy when adjusting the grind (again you have to be running or pulsing it or you will break it). Taking the hopper off isn't hard but it has to be empty (or you will make a mess - trust me). Taking the top burr out is easy too and cleaning is not hard just just a small brush/pipe cleaner/etc. Not much build up after 1-2 lbs of grinding - so I might be overcleaning (if there is such a thing) but I usually take good care of my coffee equipment (as I am sure everyone on CG does :-).
The grind itself has been great. I'm not an expert with grinding (see 12 years with a blade grinder above) but I have been impressed with what I have tried so far. I have tried several drip settings (there are 47 settings I think in all) which are in the middle. I have used several espresso settings as I dialed in my Moka Pot and I even ground some turkish style to use in a cake (both are on the fine grind end). I have yet to try a course grind for my press pot yet (the course end of the grind settings) but I am sure it will be better than my blade grinder could ever do for my press pot.
I have ground mostly dark roast beans - french and italian roasts and similar- I haven't tried super dark/oily beans yet. I did see a comment out there that someone had trouble with this (they were roasting at home as well). I did notice that the grinder did pull down a little when I put in a fresh batch of french roast the other day (mainly because I was used to the motor sound with the previous type of coffe which was a bit lighter). No issues though, just the sound of the motor working a little more. In general it is not louder than my blade grinder - it is just a different grinding noise.
By reading the instructions and keeping it clean I have a feeling this grinder is going to last as long as my 12 year blade one...
Whole Latte Love was great - free shipping, no complaints.