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KitchenAid Retro Burr - R Long's Review
Posted: November 24, 2003, 2:39pm
review rating: 5.5
feedback: (1) comments | read | write
KitchenAid Retro Burr
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More About This Product
Arrow The KitchenAid Retro Burr has 35 Reviews
Arrow The KitchenAid Retro Burr has been rated 6.21 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 163,612 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: 9.0
Manufacturer: KitchenAid Quality: 9
Average Price: $130.00 Usability: 9
Price Paid: $130.00 Cost vs. Value 9
Where Bought: Williams Sonoma Aesthetics 9
Owned for: 1 week Overall 9
Writer's Expertise: I love coffee Would Buy Again: Yes
Similar Items Owned: Blade Grinder
Bottom Line: Grinder is easy to use.  I don't mind the excess ground coffee on the counter given that the coffee taste is wonderful.  What does rpm really have to do with it if there is no static and the taste is great?
Positive Product Points

Grinder is quieter than the KitchenAid ProLine that I compared at the store.  The retro  looks terrific.  The grinds seem uniform. There is no static (which I thought meant low rpm motor).  Coffee taste is fantastic.  My affirmative "buy again" qualifier is dependent on the response that I get from the manufacturer vis a vis the relatively high rpm.

Negative Product Points

All the ground coffee does not flow easily into the cup....some leaks.  Manufacturer advises that they have developed a fix and are sending me a new machine in 5-7 working days at no cost to me.  I was surprised, however, to hear that retro machines develops 18,000 rpm  (from an AC motor?)--- I think that 18,000 rpm is far too high for a machine in this category but would like to hear the reactions of other readers.  I am told that the ProLine model produces 450 rpm from a DC motor due to gear reduction (no one at Williams Sonoma knew this).  I also understand that both this machine and the ProLine have flat vs. conical burrs.  I don't yet know the reason why the engineers chose flat burrs.

Detailed Commentary

Buying a coffee grinder is a big headache.  There are, of course, numerous online sellers with reviews a plenty.  If I read the reviews correctly and understand the "talking heads" on the net, I gather that what I should have bought is a burr grinder w/ low rpm and conical burrs.  Getting those qualities in a single machine with a "trusted" return policy that costs less than $200.00  is the challenge.  Surprisingly, several  retailers do not know what they are selling (several mentioned that they did not know what kind of burrs they had; others thought conical burrs tended to produce uniform grinds; others thought that low rpm is not good - but too high rpm is bad due to burnt beans and high static discharge; no one was able to quantify this "middle rpm").  On the other hand, all the retailers that I spoke to are willing to recommend their best seller with a year warranty (good luck!).

From a pragmatic view, I thought it might be good to look at reviews.  However,  it seems that even among the most expensive grinders, "problems" of one sort or another appear.  So, I determined that I should purchase my grinder from a local seller who had a "no questions" return warranty.  Williams Sonoma, though not entirely knowledgeable about grinders, fit the bill.  So, out I went to the store w/ the intent to buy the ProLine version.

I bought the retro at $70.00 less because upon listening to both motors and being advised that the guts were similar, I didn't think that the price difference was worth it...incidentally, the retro model that I tested did not spew ground beans out of the cup (the one I bought spills a few grounds).  If, in fact, this model's rpm is 18,000, I guess that I will "bite the bullet" and buy the more expensive model despite the great coffee taste that I get from my retro.

I guess I should have taken the manufacturer's web site info seriously, the retro is really a retro --- it's a 1930s design.

The manufacturer's response was terrific.

Buying Experience

Williams Sonoma people are fine.  Apparently, the manufacturer does not provide sufficient marketing materials to answer questions.   Seller had literally no info on the retro machine.

Three Month Followup

I gave the grinder back to Williams Sonoma after I decided not to fool with the grinds spewing all over the place.  I traded it in for the Pro Line Model and we'll see how that goes.....

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review rating: 5.5
Posted: November 24, 2003, 2:39pm
feedback: (1) comments | read | write
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