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KitchenAid Retro Burr - Kirstin V's Review
Posted: November 17, 2004, 2:01am
review rating: 6.6
feedback: (1) comments | read | write
KitchenAid Retro Burr
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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 161,109 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: 7.6
Manufacturer: KitchenAid Quality: 8
Average Price: $130.00 Usability: 6
Price Paid: $99.99 Cost vs. Value 7
Where Bought: Marshall Field's Aesthetics 10
Owned for: 2 months Overall 7
Writer's Expertise: I love coffee Would Buy Again: No
Similar Items Owned: Cusinart Burr, Krups blade
Bottom Line: Looks really cool on the counter & built like a tank but grinds rather unevenly...  good for drip but not so hot for French Press...
Positive Product Points

Great looks, small footprint on counter, built like a tank and available in a rainbow of colors to match your kitchen decor, grinds REALLY FAST, comes with cute little glass in which to collect the ground coffee, bean reservoir is large and easy to fill, made in the USA.

Negative Product Points

Grinds the beans VERY INCONSISTENTLY, messy, grinds collect in chute (it should come with a box of toothpicks!) and then spill out the spout if you bump the thing, the ground coffee lands in the glass in a little pile that makes it difficult to see how many cups have been ground (I had the black version which made the contrast of black lines and red numbers on glass, dark coffee and black enamel difficult) in the short time the user has to get the right amount ground - this machine is FAST!

Detailed Commentary

I really wanted to make this grinder be THE one.  Kitchen Aid says that it grinds the whole spectrum from espresso to French Press which is exactly what I needed, a rather tall order to fill.  I've had good experience with the Kitchen Aid brand before and was willing to make a bigger investment than I had in the past in a good grinder.  Typical online price for this was around $130 and when I saw this on sale at Field's for $99.99 I couldn't pass it up.  I'd read in online reviews that it could be messy, to hold the little flapper door down when first turning it on or the coffee could shoot across the counter, to put a paper towel under the machine to make it easier to clean up.  I knew the toothpick trick for digging out the grounds, that the brush was pretty useless, that the machine can be loud, etc, so I was prepared for that stuff.  Occasionally I would neglect to clean out the chute and would find that if I moved or bumped the grinder I'd end up with coffee on the counter.  Hey, no machine is perfect!  If it had been just this stuff I'd have probably been fine with the thing...

The killer for me was the inconsistent grinding!  I love the occasional pot of French Press coffee and had been grinding my beans at the grocery store or the coffee shop ( in small batches) and was looking forward to being able to grind the beans at home just before using them - even grinding was important to me!  Sadly, even on the coarsest setting I had way too much dust with the Kitchen Aid which makes for a very sludgy cuppa joe in a French press, I really didn't want to chew my coffee that much!

I assumed that the problem was just the particular unit that I had, that it was defective and that a different unit would grind better.  I exchanged it for a different one (white this time!) and figured that would solve the problem...  Nope!  Same problem with the dust.  The white machine took care of the contast problem (black lines on the receptacle against the white enamel, much easier visual) but I was still left with dusty grounds.  The funny thing is that the manual for this grinder makes a point to drive home the importance of a consistent grind, too fine and you'll have a bitter cup of coffee!  That's why I was sure it was that the first unit was defective - the manual implies that this thing grinds very evenly.

I mostly make regular drip coffee so on a day-to-day basis the grinder was fine but after a few more really sludgy pots of French press I'd had enough and returned it.  My original intention was to get a machine that could handle a French press and an espresso grind equally well, a tall order!  Since the list price on this baby is around $170 I naively assumed that it would be a pretty decent machine without having to jump off the "Rocky" cliff.  

In the mean time I've acquired a Nespresso so my espresso needs are being met there (just LOVE those little capsules, too bad they're 49 cents apiece!) and I have a Maestro Plus on the way.  For my day-to-day drip coffee I'm now using an idiot-proof Cusinart Supreme Grind (DBM8) automatic burr grinder which grinds as well as the Kitchen Aid at half the price and I don't have to stand there and babysit it while it grinds.  (It has a little bar that you slide to the 4-6-8...18 cup in 2 cup increments, hit start and it stops on its own when it's done, the Kitchen Aid has a little flip switch that must be turned off and must be watched like a hawk when it's grinding)  Doesn't look anywhere near as cool sitting on the counter but I decided that I'd rather invest my money in the Maestro Plus for my French press and just use the Cusinart for the regular stuff.

Buying Experience

I purchased at a really good price of $99.99 at Marshall Field's (the former Dayton's) during one of the big sales and made sure that if I had a problem with the machine I could return or exchange it within 90 days.  This baby is HEAVY so I used the free package pickup service and had it delivered to my car in the drive through area, a nice touch.  My first machine was cheerfully exchanged for the second with no problem at all.  The second return I also had no problem with and I was told that if I had a problem with the Cusinart I picked up (on sale for $49.99) in exchange they'd also stand behind that.  Wish Field's had more upper end grinders, I had to get my Maestro Plus online, although they have a good enough selection of espresso machines.

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review rating: 6.6
Posted: November 17, 2004, 2:01am
feedback: (1) comments | read | write
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