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KitchenAid Retro Burr - John Smith's Review
Posted: October 29, 2005, 8:48am
review rating: 6.6
feedback: (0) comments | read | write
KitchenAid Retro Burr
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More About This Product
Arrow The KitchenAid Retro Burr has 34 Reviews
Arrow The KitchenAid Retro Burr has been rated 6.12 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since November 8, 2003.
Arrow KitchenAid Retro Burr reviews have been viewed 161,127 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Lance Goffinet 8.07
Eric Nager 7.66
C. A. Brooks 7.60
Jason Ashbaugh 7.40
Marietta VB 7.17

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 5.8
Manufacturer: KitchenAid Quality: 3
Average Price: $130.00 Usability: 9
Price Paid: $90.00 Cost vs. Value 3
Where Bought: Marshall Fields Aesthetics 10
Owned for: 2 months Overall 4
Writer's Expertise: I love coffee Would Buy Again: No
Similar Items Owned:
Bottom Line: Loved it for the six weeks I had with it before it broke. They just can't seem to make this model reliable.
Positive Product Points

• Worked pretty well UNTIL IT BROKE AFTER SIX WEEKS
• Looks cool
• Space efficient
• Built solid
• Fun to use

Negative Product Points

• A bit on the loud side
• Minor clean-up routine
• I guess grinds could be a little more consistent
• Still obviously has design flaws as mine broke after six weeks.

Detailed Commentary

UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE....

Mine just disintegrated on me this morning after only six weeks. When I opened it up to see what was wrong, the screw set assembly that holds in the lower burr just came apart. I believe this is also part of  the updated design, I'm not sure, but it's still not right obviously. The thing is, it would be easy to fix with a better screw nut but the top of the screw assembly is designed so you can't take it off or put a new one on. Oh well, back to the drawing board. I think I'll just return it and trade up to the Pro Line grinder. People seem to have better luck with that one even though it's twice the price.


PREVIOUS COMMENTS BEFORE PRODUCT BROKE ON ME....

I should start by saying that I waited close to a year before purchasing this machine. Why? Because I read in some reviews that Kitchenaid was supposedly addressing some of the design issues. So I waited and waited. And lo and behold, they did modify the design to address several issues. And so I purchased one.

What did they change? They bore out the shoot wider and soldered in a thin cross bar across the front, which I suspect helps eliminate some of the clogging / stray grind / spraying issues. I can't tell if they modified the little lid over the shoot but I have absolutely no problems with stray grinds coming up through the lid top. And all the grinds fall perfectly into the graduated glass they provide. This might also be a little bigger/wider than the old one, I'm not sure. But like I said, all the grinds fall neatly into the glass. Also, it looks like they modified the feed device that leads into the burrs. I don't know what this does but there's now a plastic canopy over the metal burr shaft assembly. I suspect this helps feed beans into the grind assembly, I don't know. Another small change that makes a big difference is the brush tool they now provide. Whereas before it was a wooden tool with soft bristles, it is now a durable plastic tool with stiff, durable bristles on one end and a tapered shoot-cleaning tool on the other end. It takes literally just five seconds to clean out the shoot after each use, which I just add to the grinds I just ground.

I don't know if they changed the specs on the motor or anything since all I have to go by is examining older display models in department stores and never actually having used one before. But I'm generally very happy with the performance. It takes about thirty seconds to grind for seven cups, which is what I make every morning. I figured out that when the coffee creeps up to the 12 cup marker in the graduated glass, that equals about seven cups exactly when the grinds are leveled out in the glass.

I played with Erik Francey's modification a little but I get a pretty good drip grind just keeping it on the finest factory-setting grind so I leave it at that. Who knows, maybe they modified the factory default setting too.

The one thing that's odd is the cleaning instructions tell you to lift the burr-shaft assembly out of the motor housing to clean the lower burr, but as far as I can tell, it's not designed to come out. Maybe I'm dumb or maybe they modified the design and forgot to update that part of the manual, I don't know. So I just turn the whole base upside down to clean the burr mounted on the burr-shaft assembly (the lower burr) with the brush.

Overall, I'm very happy using this grinder. It's the first grinder I've ever owned. (I once bought that $30 Melitta burr grinder but returned it immediately—pure crap.) And just the sheer convenience of not having to time out my trips to the coffee shop to get fresh ground beans is worth the price.  Now I just buy a pound of beans whenever I want and they're there ready for use when I run out. I was way overdue for something like this and the results are pretty darn good for drip, which is all I drink. Plus, I don't get that stale coffee taste towards the end of a store-ground pound of beans.

Most stores seem to carry it for about $100 but I got mine on sale for $90. If you've got a pre-modified A9 grinder, I suggest at the very least you call Kitchenaid and ask for the newer cleaning tool. I promise you it will be easier than using toothpicks or chopsticks to clean the chute.

And by the way, the updated manual says you can indeed buy replacement burrs for this model. But according to my calculations for the number of pounds they say the burrs will need replacing after, it should be about ten years before I need to.

Happy coffee, everyone.

Buying Experience

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review rating: 6.6
Posted: October 29, 2005, 8:48am
feedback: (0) comments | read | write
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