A simple, well-designed, highly capable grinder for home espresso
Positive Product Points
short path from ginding burrs to hopper
timer control with override
very easy to clean
good espresso grinding capability
Negative Product Points
all plastic exterior
grinds too fine for french press
I purchased the Solis Model 166 (not the Starbucks Barista version) for $125 by mail order. I use it exclusively with my Rancilio Silvia. I currently have the grinder set at 4 clicks from the finest setting, I tamp with 30-40 pounds of force, and my double shot extraction times are in the range from 20-30 seconds for two ounces. If I adjust to a finer grinder setting, I can easily "choke" my Silvia. This is contrary to the capability of the Starbucks Barista version, which has a more "multipurpose" grinding range. I cannot grind coarse enough to use with my french press. The Model 166 version of this grinder is specifically adjusted for espresso grinding.
The grinder is VERY easy to clean. The chute from the burrs to the hopper is short, so very little is left behind when the hopper is removed. A small brush is effective in removing any grinds left behind in the chute. The bean hopper is removable without tools, directly revealing the conical burrs, which can also be cleaned easily with a brush.
The grinder is operated with a mechanical timer. I find this useful for grinding consistently small amounts for a double espresso shot at a time. It can grind enough for about 5 or so double shots if the timer is set to maximum. The timer can be interrupted by moving the dial forward by hand without damage (it's designed for this).
Contrary to other reports, I have not had any static problems. And this is while using it indoors during January and February in Minnesota (extremely low humidity, static-inducing environment).
I would like to get a grinder with a doser one day. I considered the Rancilio Rocky, but the doser seems to get mixed reviews for various reasons. And it's much more expensive, harder to clean, leaves behind more coffee, etc.
I really like this grinder a lot, and I have not found a home or so-called "semi-commercial" model (including Rocky, Gaggia MDF, Pavoni, others) that I would rather have for espresso.