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Cunill Grinders - All - William Baguhn's Review
Posted: June 9, 2010, 11:34pm
review rating: 8.0
feedback: (0) comments | read | write
Cunill Grinders - All
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Arrow The Cunill Grinders - All has 26 Reviews
Arrow The Cunill Grinders - All has been rated 7.65 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since November 30, 2001.
Arrow Cunill Grinders - All reviews have been viewed 162,910 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Daniel Hanna 8.88
Aurelio Stella 8.25
William Baguhn 8.00
W. Warner 7.91
Duncan McKillop 7.85

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 7.6
Product Reviewed: Tranquilo
Manufacturer: Cunill Quality: 6
Average Price: Varies Usability: 8
Price Paid: $260.00 Cost vs. Value 9
Where Bought: Sovrana Aesthetics 7
Owned for: 6 months Overall 8
Writer's Expertise: I like coffee Would Buy Again: Yes
Similar Items Owned:
Bottom Line: Very good grinder, priced to compete with entry level home grinders
Positive Product Points

Solid where it counts
Easily and quickly adjustable, because it's a stepped grinder

Negative Product Points

Needs one or two tweaks
Funnel dispenser tends to retain grounds unless thumped

Detailed Commentary

I have the pre-2008 doserless model - metal body, stepped adjustment.

If you are expecting a home class grinder, this is not it.  This is a commercial grade grinder, designed to chew through a few pounds of beans a day.  It is big, by household kitchen appliance standards.  Some would call it ugly.  It's really not unattractive - it's a commercial espresso grinder, and it looks like one.  If that aesthetic does not appeal, or it's a deal-breaker that it won't quite fit under your cabinets, that's certainly your prerogative to keep shopping.  If you want a real espresso grinder that would not be out of place in a cafe for about the same price as an entry-level home espresso grinder, this is it.

As soon as I depressurized the portafilter on the pumptoy espresso machine, I knew I needed something that could grind properly.  The Tranquilo is it.  I have used the Tranquilo with both an entry level espresso machine and my current Ponte Vecchio Lusso and gotten good results with each.

When I first got the grinder, the funnel chute fell off.  It looked like a glue joint had failed.  I did not complain to the vendor, as I felt that this was actually beneficial for my purposes.  I have since glued the funnel in.  This is one point off the quality scale.

The grinder feet are slightly too short - the body sits on the power cord, but I feel it is not likely to damage anything.  Combined with the power cord length (I feel it's 2 feet (60cm) too short), this is another point off the quality scale.

I made one permanent modification so far - drilling a vent hole through one of the upper plates.  I expected to do this.  The modification seems to make the ground coffee come out more consistently.  The grinder is completely usable without this modification - it does not affect the grind quality, just how readily the grinds blow out of the burr chamber.

I experimented with an anti-static modification - lining the inside of the funnel with aluminum and making sure it was grounded to the body.  I used the grinder like this for approximately three months, and did not feel it was worth keeping this mod.  I removed the aluminum lining.

Running the grinder:
From an empty hopper, I make sure the burrs aren't touching, turn on, and push the red button to start the motor.  I tighten the burrs until they start to sing, then back off 5 notches - a point I've experimentally determined to be about right for most of the blends I use - and wait for the motor to stop.  I dump in fresh beans at this point - typically a third of a pound.
At this point, pushing the red button will start the motor.  I do have to thump the top of the funnel as it grinds to knock loose anything that wants to stick to the walls.

That's it for daily use.  Daily maintenance for me is less than a minute with a brush to sweep out the exit port and funnel.  Vacuuming the countertop from time to time gets the rest.

For my light home usage, I typically reload the hopper every three or four days (a pint mason jar's worth of coffee, about 150g).  At this time, I also open the grinder up to brush the burrs clean and chase out any stuck beans.  I sweep out the exit port and funnel daily as I finish up, and do a short sacrificial grind (2 seconds or so) before I begin, to get rid of stray grounds left overnight.

If the grind gets adjusted significantly coarser or finer, it is beneficial to adjust the timer.  This is done with a small screwdriver (not included, if I recall correctly), insert carefully through a hole on the left side of the case (near the red button), and turn a little.  I expect that the screwdriver needed would be a small purchase at any reasonably good hardware store.

Other reviewers have complained about the issues.  I found that the inconsistent dose delivery cleared up immediately when I drilled the vent hole in the upper casting.  I have not had any issues with the burrs or any other drivetrain part coming loose.

The portafilter fork works OK for 58mm, and lousy for everything else.  On mine, at least, I have to hold my 45mm handle freehand in about the right place.  This design choice makes sense, given that most of these grinders will be sitting next to 58mm machines.  The handle of the portafilter was never supported, so completely hands-free was not possible without another gadget to hold the portafilter.  The funnel is small enough to nicely deliver the grounds into my 45mm Ponte Vecchio portafilters.  Someone who is handy with tools could probably build an adapter or holder for other size portafilters.

The translation of the instructions to english is amusing, similar to those accompanying many other imported specialty items.  Fortunately, there isn't a lot of nuance to the controls - on/off, grind size finer/coarser, run timer longer/shorter, start.  Initial assembly was pretty easy, requiring only a phillips screwdriver to attach the hopper holder to the upper burr carrier.

Buying Experience

Online, painless.  Enter credit card number and address, stuff shows up a few days later.  Price listed above is what I paid including shipping.

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review rating: 8.0
Posted: June 9, 2010, 11:34pm
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