Once upon a time, when our ancestors wanted to reduce relatively large objects (eg coffee beans) to a large number of small objects (eg coffee grounds), they would find a flat rock, put the relatively large objects on top of it, and whack them with another rock. The Cuisinart DBM-8 is a step up from this, although the base tends to crack after hitting the flat rock just a few times.
Even used as Cuisinart apparently intended, it performance is lacking. In a thread back in 7/04 I had noted “recently bought the Cuisinart DBM-8 for drip use. It's reasonably nice looking, very convenient, and produces a nice range of ground sizes.
Unfortunately, it produces them all at once.”
This still sums it up pretty well. I dragged out my old blade grinder and compared coffee ground in it with coffee ground in the Cuisinart. There was little apparent difference in the heterogeneity of ground size produced by the two grinders. The Cuisinart is a bit more convenient than the blade grinder, and that’s about the nicest thing one can say about it. You can make pretty good tasting drip and French press, but especially with the French press you are going to get a lot of sediment. The little brochure that came with it implies that you can use it for espresso, but that is laughable. It was not able to grind finely enough for my old Capresso, which had a pressurized filter basket, and it would be totally incapable of producing grounds suitable for a machine that had a traditional unpressurized portafilter & basket.
How bad is this grinder? Its best feature would be considered a vice in any other grinder. A common problem with many grinders is that they generate static electricity, which scatters grounds around and causes a mess. In this case, the considerable static electricity generated is a good thing, as it tends to separate out some of the fine coffee dust the machine creates, and leaves it caked in one corner of the grounds container.
It is hard even to justify the Cuisinart on the basis of economy. If you look at the amount of dust this grinder makes, you will see how much coffee you are wasting. You might just as well view this as a surcharge on the coffee. Based on this it would not take too long for the extra money spent on a better grinder (eg Capresso Infinity or Solis Maestro or Maestro Plus to name three) to pay for itself.
Like the author of one of the other reviews, I chose this machine in part on the basis of the Cuisinart name. Based on my experience with the DBM-8, Cuisinart doesn’t care very much about its reputation, and neither should you.
There is only one circumstance in which I think that this grinder would be a good purchase. If you are passive-aggressive, and you are looking for the perfect present for a coffee-loving ex, this is it!