Why didn't I buy this grinder before all other cheaper ones! not cheap, but saves money in the long run!
Positive Product Points
Heavy, tight adjustment of grind, adjustment doesn't slip or change due to high tensile springs, consistent grind, real materials such as steel and rubber, not much plastic. Very easy to clean.
Negative Product Points
Coffee retention= without simple modifications the grinder doesn't spit out all grinds and they may sit and become stale before next shot is pulled. Some simple mods can take care of this problem mostly. Two times the grinder just tumbled the beans and didn't grind them. It was easy to fix by cleaning the burrs. The problem came from beans that clogged up the teeth in the burrs.
I have had some less than perfect experiences with espresso grinders in the past so we finally said "that's it!" and got one of the best home grinders that exists. The grinder is very solid (23 lb). I can't fit the grinder with hopper under the cabinets in my old kitchen (It is 19" tall, 7" wide, and 11" deep). That is not a problem since I am just filling the collar with the amount of coffee beans for one shot at the time (I don't use the hopper)
This grinder comes with a plastic hopper, a mechanism to lift the hopper off without having to remove the beans first, the very solid grinder house with a timer on the side that works really well. The grinder has a doser that needs some minor modifications to improve the issue with grind retention. The grinder has a small stainless steel tray collecting the stray grinds from the doser. It comes with a fork where you can rest the porta-filter when dosing into it, and some weird tamper arm which I don't know who may be using. The grinder has four rubber feet to keep it steady on the counter. It moves very slightly when whacking the doser arm, but nothing that drives one crazy. The noice is acceptable and the time it takes to grind 15 g is about 15-20 seconds. The grinder comes with one year warranty.
The modifications I made shortly after I received the grinder was: Remove the tamper-arm that don't have any real purpose IMHE, remove the hopper, remove the fork to rest the pf on, remove the finger guard, put a little piece of clear packing tape on the chute exit to avoid the grinds from showering the whole hopper, then I took out the star in the doser and put electric tape on the bottom of the doser star and removed the spring so the star is resting on the doser-floor by its own weight, I finally put an empty plastic mustard jar over the star so no coffee is collected on the star.
Those modifications mostly took care of the grind retention problem, and I doubt very much that they would void the warranty since it is easily reversible mods. I left the screws in place where I removed the tamper arm, and I needed to have one screw mostly out so grinds wont collect on the screw on the inside of the doser. The reason I took out the tamper arm was that I use a little yoghurt funnel in my PF when I dose coffee into it. I noticed that this technique makes it less messy. The funnel didn't fit with the tamper thingy.
This is how I make a shot: I have measured out about 15 g of beans that I put in the collar. I put a little coaster on the coffee-collar where the hopper should normally sit. The coaster prevents the beans from hopping out when they are ground. I start the grinder and when it goes quiet, I use a brush to clean of the small shelves that consists of the three screws holding the upper burr inside of the collar. Then I grind up whatever is left over after brushing the inside of the collar, after that I rake out grinds from the chute and start the grinder for a second to expel some more grounds into the chute. Finally I quickly brush down the chute and then put the yoghurt funnel inside the PF and whack that doser arm several times. Hardly any grinds are left in the hopper. I hold down the funnel with one finger while quickly stirring the grounds in the PF to break up clumps, whack the PF on a hockey puck and level a little before tamping. I try to tamp with the same pressure every time and adjust the grind for a 20-28 second shot depending on the beans I use. Yes sometimes I get channeling, but most times I get very nice 25 second shots.
The little brush I use for the grinder has a little steel wire on the backside with a small hook to use when digging out the grinds from the chute and to stir the grounds in the PF. The whole process sounds very time consuming, but can be done in less than 15 seconds from finished grind to tamping and locking in the PF in the espresso machine. I guess a little longer than most baristi use for over-dosing and scraping off excess coffee in the knock-box and tamping, but I don't waste much coffee.
I have taken out the burrs for cleaning twice and it was very easy. I very much like the adjustment collar which Mazzer calls micrometer adjustment. The adjustment is tight and the little lever is really needed to adjust grind. Once adjusted it won't surprise you by changing in the middle of every thing!
I guess I would have preferred a doser-less Mini, but after using the doser with the mods, I am very happy.
Had I bought this grinder years ago, I would have saved a lot of money!
Nothing to complain about. I buy my green beans from Sweet Maria's website, and have never had any issues.
Three Month Followup
My wife is very happy because I have not once complained about the grinder since I got it. Morning espresso without any fuss or cursing. I have nothing to complain about! This is a seriously good grinder, I just wish I had bought it first and saved the money I spent for the other grinders. The process is now refined so I can have the coffee ground and tamped in about 25 seconds from starting the grinder. Very consistent grind!