Danes/The Gourmet Coffee Institute, Brookvale, Sydney, AU
I love coffee
Would Buy Again:
Similar Items Owned:
Delonghi KG100/Solis 166
This is a no-worries, no-fuss grinder, that simply does it's job extremely well. And it looks damn fine while doing it too!
Positive Product Points
It's a coffee grinder with no issues, nothing to really worry about in the grind quality department.
It's really attractive!
Three very impotant words: STEPLESS GRIND MECHANISM.
It's quiet (even though it makes my machine buzz from the vibrations on my little coffee bench)...
The manual is informative, easy to read, and straight forward.
The marks on the adjustment disk are really helpful referrence points.
The price! Please note, the above price is aussie dollars... which was the cheapest I could get down here, and included a free 500g of very fresh beans to play with. Thanks Danes.
Negative Product Points
It can get a bit messy ... but then, it is a coffee grinder.
The doser could sweep out grinds more effectively.
The chute between the burrs and the doser can hold a fair chunk of coffee.
The grinder will move around on the bench if you're an aggressive thwacker of the doser lever.
(Minor) Adjusting the grind can be a bit 'jerky'.
NOTE: I rated this grinder '9' under 'cost vs. value', because the Australian distributors keep it nice and expensive here - around the $750 mark. I really wish they would sell it cheaper...
After months of agonising over whether to buy this grinder or the macap m5, I was offered a relatively cheap price from Danes Coffee, in Brookvale, on Sydney's Northern Beaches.
Why did I choose this grinder over the macap? The stepless grind mechanism. It was late at night, I had 'one of those conversations' with my wife, where I was begging to be allowed to spend even more money on a grinder - she said that I should just go with whatever will satisfy me for the longest amount of time (probably to shut me up so she could go to sleep). At that stage, I really felt that a limitless adjustmentability over grind fine-ness would keep me happy, whereas a stepped grind adjustment would frustrate me if I wanted to pull shots longer or shorter by a fraction of a second. I still feel the same.
That, and it was only going to cost me $20 more.
Positive points (following the numbers above):
There's times when I forget that I have a grinder. The Mini is so easy going, that it seriously causes me no concerns or worries. I just measure out the beans, dump them into the hopper and grind away. If the shot was too fast or too slow, it's an easy adjustment without having to compensate for steps by adjusting my dose of beans.
It looks very very sexy. I only wish I could re-design my ktichen so that the mazzer logo on the back of the grinder could be on display to my guests! Along with this is that it's really easy to clean up - a quick once over with the vacuum cleaner and maybe a damp dishcloth, and this grinder looks like I just unpacked it for the first time.
The stepless grind thing - I've already mentioned this, but I want to say it again - it's really good being able to make incredibly slight adjustments to my grind. I used to use a deolnghi kg100 (aka solis 166). If my shots were too fast on the finest setting, it meant updosing big-time. Still too fast? I had to pull the grinder apart and make adjustments to the factory settings. Too bad if it's already adjsuted as far as it will possibly go.
No such hassles with the Mazzer Mini.
Without beans, you need to try to actually hear the motor. It's quiet enough that you could actually tune out and forget that it's running. When it's grinding beans, it's not all that much louder - although this can depend on the bench on which it sits, and the acoustics of the room. On my little coffee cart at home, it's very quiet, though it seems to coax some sort of vibrating sound from my expobar ... maybe the drip tray, or the cup warmer or something... In my kitchen with no sound absorbing stuff (concrete walls, no carpet, no curtains ... lots of reverberation etc) it is obviously a little bit louder.
I learnt heaps by reading the manual! I still can't figure out why I'd want to dispose of this grinder, though it is helpful to know that if I feel the need to throw it away, I should cut the cord off at the point where it exits the body... Seriously, it's a good read.
The marks on the adjustment disk are really good referrence points when you're trying to speed up the shot, or slow it down. It's easy to adjust to half-a-notch, or a whole notch.
Danes/The Gourmet Coffee Insitute install this in all their cafe's as the default decaff grinder ... and after chatting to one of the staff there, they offered it to me a lot cheaper than what I had been able to find. Thanks Tim Kenneth at Danes! And thank you also to the Barista who was working on the morning I picked it up, for giving me the beans for free! It only took me a few shots to dial in the grind, but once I got it, the beans you gave me produced liquid velvet! The first shot that I enjoyed with this grinder is a shot that I strive to repeat - very smooth, unoffensive and velvety. Yum!
Now for the negatives ... or how this grinder could be better...
For the first 2-3 months, I was thwacking the doser lever as it was grinding, with my portafilter on the rest thingy , trying to catch all the grinds ... and grinds were going everywhere. After 5-6 double shots, I'd need to whip out the vacuum cleaner and suck up all the stray grinds. I've since 'discovered' (thanks to someone on home-barista.com ... can't remember who) that if I grind while I'm flushing brew water through the portafilter, and drying said portafilter out, and THEN dosing when the grinding is done (working quickly of course), there's a heck of a lot less mess. I've been doing this for about two weeks, and there's still less stray coffee on the stray-grind-catcher than after one espresso-session previously!
I gave the doser vanes about a day to prove themselves to me ... and bought electrical tape later that night to improve the efficacy of the doser vanes. There is only a slight amount of grinds left over at the base of the doser, but it was enough to frustrate me. Check out this coffeegeek thread to see how it's done. Thanks Dan Kehn and everyone else who showed me the way. NOTE: I just added tape to the bottom of the doser vanes ... I didn't do the whole 'plastic cup' thing.
Oh yeah, forgot to mention the finger guard ... I didn't even give this a chance (or the lame excuse for a tamper). Removing it clears the way to have access to the chute between the burrs and the doser ... it holds a lot of coffee! I should note here that if you remove the figer guard, DON'T STICK YOUR FINGERS UP THE CHUTE! You do acutally risk chopping the end of your fingers off, and getting blood all over those precious burrs. Buy a brush, and wait till the burrs have stopped turning to sweep out all the excess coffee.
Maybe it's the surface of my bench, but if you get heavy-handed with the dosing lever, the grinder will move around on the bench. Easily fixed, just calm down a little! If you thwack the doser handle slower, you'll also eliminate the whole 'doser-throwing-grinds-to-the- left-when-you-thwack-too-hard' syndrome. Grind, then dose ... just work quickly! Be calm, and 99.9999% of the grinds will end up in your basket.
Maybe it's the tension springs that the burrs screw down onto, but sometimes when you want to adjust 1/4 of a millimeter, it can get a bit jerky, and it will move 1/2 a millimeter. As if that's much of a problem though!
To sum up - I love this grinder, and I really feel that using anything else in this price range (brand new) would be compensating in some way or another, whether it's losing the stepless grind ajustments, the looks, the quiet-ness ... whatever. This is a no-hassle grinder.
see the 7th point of the positive list above ... Danes were really friendly, and helpful to deal with! Tim even ordered one in advance, so that when I was ready to buy, I wouldn't have to wait till one arrived in the store. That, AND they threw in 500g of their house blend for me to experiment with.
The quality of this grinder means that I haven't had to contact them since buying, except to say 'thank you!' They did, however, assure me that if anything did go wrong, to call them straight away, and they'd arrange a replacement. Thanks Danes!
Three Month Followup
My mazzer mini is still going strong, still making my smile.
If I could change three things on it though, it would be: 1. It would have larger burrs, to grind quicker. Compared to a Mazzer Super Jolly, or a Major, the mini is pretty slow... 2. The shute between the burrs and the doser wouldn't hold coffee: it's a bit annoying to have to brush out the grinds that build up. 3. The tray under the portafilter holder would be wider, to catch any grinds that get thrown out of the doser when I thwack too enthusiastically.