I've been a serious espresso coffee drinker for about 4 years, ever since I discovered the alt. coffee and rec.food.drink.coffee newsgroups. After a month of reading I gave away my Krups steam espresso maker and blade grinder and became the proud owner of a Starbucks Vapore and Braun KM30. They served me well for several years as I learned and practiced the essence of a good cup. . Being an engineer and gadget freak, I began longing for the ultimate set-up, a commercial machine and grinder. In January of 99 I purchased a Bezzera BZ40 compact commercial machine. Unfortunately, I was not able to find a compact commercial grinder that would fit under my kitchen cabinets, as most grinders are over 18" tall. My search was cut short when my wife gave me a Krups Il Espresso burr grinder for Valentine's day. The Krups is a nice little unit, but it reinforced over the next year why I wanted a commercial grinder:
1) Better grind consistency - the size of the ground coffee from the Krups and Braun was visibly uneven, and I attributed that to at least some of the problems I was having getting consistent shots from the Bezzera.
2) Ouput - the Krups take over 4 minutes to grinder 4 doubles. I was told that commercial grinders grind 10 times that fast.
3) Doser ajdustability - I wanted some way on controlling the amount of coffee. The Krups was the first unit I had with a doser, and I continously thought "man, there should be some way to ajust the amount of coffee coming out".
Through my Web searches, I came across Cunill, a Spanish company. They have an estensive line of grinders, and the Brazil caught my eye. It was very close to meeting my height requirements, and when I contacted the vendor, they said they had a shorter hopper that would do the trick. I ordered the machine and it arrived a week later. After unpacking, I realized that commercial grinders are not for the faint of heart; even though the Brazil is a compact unit, it would dwarf most home machines. I placed the machine next to my Bezzera (at 16 3/4" inches, it *just* fit). I ran about 1/2 a pound of coffee through it adjusting the grind, which is accomplished by rotating the collar. The collar has a locking pin which is pushed down to unlock, permitting it to be rotated at 50th of a full turn increments. With each test, I noticed just how consistent the coffee particles were. I could not visibly find any large or small chunks. During this time I also played with the adjustble doser. I decided to set it to near the minimum dose, which required 3 doses for a 14 gram double. This helped keep the doser pockets filled when grinding small amounts of coffee. Once nice thing about Cunill grinders is that the doser handle can be set up on either side, allowing the user to optimize the ergonomics. As far as output, I can grind 4 doubles in just over 30 seconds. I've been using the Brazil for over a month now, and it's made a huge difference in the quality and consistency of my espresso. The number of "perfect" shots has gone from 1 in 3 to nearly 100%. I attribute that to the grind and metered doser. Even the pours that I have to empty the doser on are good because the coffee seems to compact more consistently and I have a better feel for the amount. The only negative I have it the housing is ABS plastic. Not significant but a step down from, say, the Mazzer Mini. At over US$100 less ($280), not a bad trade-off, IMO. For a picture of the Brazil, got to Moschetti.com and navigate to their espresso machine section. FYI, my ratings are from a commercial grinder view. The Brazil is the best grinder I have ever used.