- Timer switch grinds a minimum of 2 double shots - Portafilter holder is too low - Doser collects old grinds
First impressions - this machine is heavy - solidly constructed, and not bad looking either. Assembly was easy - the hopper fits snuggly into the grinder body and it has a nifty detachable tray underneath the doser outlet making it easy to clean up any stray grinds - unfortunately there are a lot of these since the portafilter holder is too low. The machine comes with a tamper attachment which you push the portafilter up against - not only does this spoil the classic styling of the machine, but doesn't do a very good job, so off it came again.
Coming from the Rocky the first thing you notice when you grind your first cup is it is quiet. The second thing you notice is in the 20 odd seconds that the Rocky takes to grind a double shot you've ground about twice as much as you need. The Mazzer takes around 12s to grind a double shot. This is really good at dinner parties.
Out of the box, with no adjustment, this machine managed to give a pretty good espresso straight off. About 6 cups later I had as good an espresso as any I've made. A small lever arm can be screwed into the adjusting ring in one of several positions (I guess this suits left handers as well) to allow small adjustments to the grind. The adjustment ring moves smoothly and slowly making grind adjustments easy. This micro-metric grind adjustment is probably the best feature of the Mazzer - this was the main reason for 'upgrading' from the Rancilio Rocky... and yes, it was worth it.
The machine I got was the timer version and I think this and the doser indicate the intended market for this machine was not really the home espresso enthusiast. The minimum grind that the timer will produce is about 2 double shots. The manual doesn't actually indicate that you can move the timer back to the off position when enough is ground so I was a bit non-plussed about this until I read some feedback on coffeegeek indicating that you can just use the switch like an on/off switch. Problem solved.
Dosing the shot. The Mazzer doser can be adjusted by means of a screw in the centre of the doser vanes. This appears to work well provided you have sufficient grounds in the doser - so this only really gets used on the occasions I'm making 6 or more coffees. Generally I'm only grinding for a couple of shots at a time and the doser doesn't work for this. The doser also doesn't sweep the chamber out very effectively. I had the same problem on the Rocky, but attached some soft plastic to two of the vanes - with the adjustable doser on the Mazzer this is not possible.
My last little annoyance with the Mazzer Mini is the placement of the portafilter holder. I knew this was an issue from other's reviews - and it would be such an easy thing for the manufacturer to correct. Instead, coffee gets flung over the left hand side of the portafilter - fortunately landing on the detachable tray.
In summary, I am very happy with the machine, despite its little foibles.
Prima Tazza are the NZ agents for Mazzer (they also sell Illy coffee, but I'll forgive them for this). Service was excellent and goods arrived same day.
Three Month Followup
3 months and several kgs of coffee later I'm almost as happy as the day I bought it. Still a great machine producing a consistent, fast and quiet grind - well, quiet relative to the Rocky at any rate - conversations still become shouted over the purr (ok, was going to say "noise" but its a little more musical than that!) of the grinder. The clip on the plastic tray under the doser has broken off - this doesn't really affect functionality, but slightly disappointing that on such an otherwise solidly built machine that this was so flimsy.