- Built like a tank - Looks gorgeous - Wide spectrum of quality grind settings - Quiet - Grind quality
Negative Product Points
- Doserless settings just not practical - Price - Large - Grind adjustment is incredibly stiff
I had been drooling over this grinder, literally, for several years. Just not in the kind of financial position to be making a purchase like this lightly. Finally got it, and the initial impression lived up to my dreams. Taking it out of the box, this thing is a tank. You can tell there aren't any cheap parts in it, very solidly built and heavy. Tossed in a bag of old beans to see what it could do...and whoa. Kept dialing it down to the point of an absolute powder coming out. I'd never thought about making Turkish coffee, but this baby can do it without breaking a sweat. From large to small grind, she never sounded like she was straining at all, and that was just more proof of how heavy every piece of this thing is. All the sound was absorbed right into it - with my old, cheap burr grinder the thing would stop conversations in the room it was so loud, but I was standing right next to it and didn't have to adjust my talking volume whatsoever. Had some problems with the dosing settings (had to send it back, the potentiometer had become disengaged so the single would only grind for a second), but after I got a replacement it worked fine. That being said, the dose settings seem next to worthless for me. Without a full hopper, and the beans being pressed down into it, even the longest setting it allows doesn't give close to a double. I tend to switch beans a lot (I'm a small-batch roaster) so I rarely have more than about 1/3 lb in the hopper at any given time, so I find myself almost exclusively just using the manual setting, which is a bummer. I still prefer it over a doser, because there's much less for grounds to collect on between the grinder and the portafilter, but I wish the timed doser was more practically usable...but I'm just finding it's not. Even if I kept a full hopper, I can tell that different beans (and the accompanying grind settings) will make for such broadly different timings that, unless someone exclusively uses the same bean, at the same grind, I just don't see how it could be practical.
All that being said, I'm picking nits. I think this grinder is gorgeous, built to last the rest of my lifetime, and does a fantastic job grinding coffee. I would buy the same one again if I had to do it all over, without the slightest bit of a second thought.
Not so great. Bought online from WLL. Like mentioned above, there was a problem with the doser timer innards with the first one I received. First call to WLL support, the girl said she didn't know anything about the mini, and she'd have the advanced tech email me. Got no email. Called again a week later, asked me a few questions, and recognized it needed to come back - but said I had to give the serial number for an RMA to be emailed to me. I was at work, so I had to call back again a couple days later with the info. Brought the grinder with me to work, they literally had me take it into the breakroom and troubleshoot it over the phone (at work) for 20 min before agreeing to an RMA. Then it took 2 more days for them to email a shipping label, a few days to ship it to them, then a few more days for me to get the replacement. All told, it took nearly a month to have a working grinder (when my initial call to them was 5 days after the purchase, 2 days after receipt).
Ultimately, they made it right, but that's not the kind of service I'd expect for someone that just spent $800 on a coffee grinder. Will most likely shop elsewhere when it comes time to be united with Miss Silvia.
Three Month Followup
3 months later, the grinder hasn't missed a beat, and I've gotten more comfortable with using it. I have the 2 shot timer set so it tends to give somewhere in the neighborhood of 6-7 grams, so I run it twice for a double, then top it off manually with a little more. Not too inconvenient, but I still wish the double shot timer could be set to close to a double (but it just doesn't get close for me)
I've found that what appear to be small clumps do come from the grinder - I can't go straight from the grinder into the portafilter and then tamp, I HAVE to give it a sort of smoothing swipe with the meat of my thumb to even out the little clumps that go in there. After that, a good tamp and I'm getting beautiful shots out of it.
The grinder itself hasn't missed a beat. Solid as I could have hoped for. It's taken some time for me to get to know it (as I'm coming from the land of sub-$50 grinders) and really get the most out of a beauty like this. I still wouldn't hesitate to buy this again.
One Year Followup
Still rock solid after a year. No bumps, hiccups, or any problems at all. This is an espresso grinder, and while it works for a bigger grind I've realized it's just not worth the hassle of re-dialing in for a larger (drip/french) grind and have bought a cheap grinder for that purpose. Not the fault of the mini at all, but something to keep in mind if you're thinking that since this thing is so awesome it's the only one you'll need, because...it's not. But it is awesome. The only (very) minor gripe I have is the minor clumping I get with it. I don't have any other grinders to reference, so the tiny clumps it does produce may be negligible, but I've noticed if I'm not very particular with the way I smooth out and tamp when grinding straight into the portafilter I run into channeling pretty frequently. But that is the whole necessary "mano" part of pulling a shot, right?