Beautiful form, beautiful grind, beautiful shots. My $450 Silvia purchase is finally translating into great espresso.
Positive Product Points
Quality grind, metal case with nice color, quiet, easy to clean-doser top lifts off, hopper has little thing to hold beans in when you remove it, 20 seconds to 17 grams.. everything works well! I love it!
Negative Product Points
I haven't yet gotten used to the doser, I just empty it into a container and use a quarter cup measure to fill a ridgeless la marzocco style double basket. The doserless version has been getting complaints about clogging, so I stuck with this one. I removed the PF holder right away to be able to dose into a container. The little dial adjuster will go around multiple times, so you can't just set a '1' or whatever, you have to dial it in (with more test shots than a Rocky with its single cycle of settings - '1' means 1, not 1 on 1st lap, 1 on second, third, etc.) and keep it there - use a whirley for your drip coffee. Fine for me. Manual is not useful, I had to ask Chris' about care, etc.
I offed a tweaked $25 delonghi in 3 mo, then returned a maestro+ because its grind had more powder in it (makes coffee bitter) than the delonghi. I would have gotten a gaggia mdf, which is the cheapest grinder that will produce a good espresso (per alt.coffee ~consensus), but I started really liking the looks of this thing. I didn't want to return another grinder, and so I went for this over the big footed rocky doserless, or the (apparently) clog prone NS MCI, the same thing but doserless. It is the real deal - my shots are thick, beautiful to watch them settle. In my own home I can make the best espresso I have ever tasted. My $450 invested in a Silvia is finally paying off (I might have gone with the cheaper gaggia baby to save money if I had listened to warnings to get a good grinder).
Chris Coffee doesn't give you a lot of info at the site, and I could have called to ask about every little thing but after all the time I spent researching grinders, then having to return one, I asked a lot of questions at CG and alt.coffee. The NS grinders aren't available all over like some other grinders, so there are less sites to read consumer reviews & sales pitches. Even alt.coffee couldn't give me a lot of feedback because less people have them-but they should! Have been able to call and ask questions about use.
Three Month Followup
My hastily written original review can sit unedited. I've had the MCF now for 11 months or thereabouts, and am still well satisfied. I wouldn't mind improvement along the lines of grind quality (MCF is similar to rocky and other good 50mm burr grinders, but mazzer is better regarded) and grind speed (would like mazzer's ~10 second double instead of 18-25 depending on fineness). I also only dump enough beans for each shot in the hopper, and each time need to tease loose the beans that hang up at the corners of the hopper (the fix of removing the cover to the burr area has beans jumping up and out of the hopper when the lid is off). I would definitely like to bypass the lever for the doser, so it just dumps the whole contents of the doser at once. I'm sure I could do that somehow, but I'd end up twirling the vanes in the doser with my finger, not an elegant solution. I imagine pulling a string, spinning the doser, dumping the grind and then the string retracts like a child's doll or something :), but that is beyond me, so for now it's grind a little, 10 flips to remove stale grind, then 10 more to fill the PF. A few seconds. I'm not demanding :). I've never done doserless but it'd be better for me if grind time was quick enough. If the case behind the doser wasn't asymmetrical with a cyclindrical indent running up the right front, I might've converted to doserless by now. My gripes are not big ones though, I only make a few shots a day, not 100, and have the time to help beans out of the hopper and flip that lever. Overall the unit is small, quiet, metal, enameled red, and I adore it, probably will last another decade. And, but, well, with Mazzer mini at $350 and MCF at $330 as of 9/04, the nod would have to go to mini if I was buying today; we'll see what the market is like in 2014:).