Looks nice, well built, but not recommended due to static and grind issues.
Positive Product Points
Well built. Easy to operate. Very high WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor). Infinite grind adjustment.
Negative Product Points
Lots of static - very messy. Grind adjuster moves during grinding. Inconsistent grinds.
Stepping up to the Solis Maestro was a good move compared to the standard fair grinders I used before from the usual suspects: Target, Wal-Mart, etc. Would grind about 1/2 pound at a time and put in air-tight canister for daily usage in my drip machines. Life was good, but always trying to tweak the coffee consumption process to get a little better flavor. So started looking into different grinders. I also wanted to try grinding on a per pot basis as that should ensure maximum freshness from the beans I purchased (haven't gone down the home roasting path yet - but I'm sure it's just a matter of time :-)
This brought me to a search that accomodated my budget of under $200 and would fit on the counter, perhaps enable 1 pot at a time brewing and meet the asthetics criteria set by my coffee-sharing drinking partner/wife. Debated a number of recommended units - of course from this site. Then saw the reviews on the hand grinders, and Zassenhaus comes up highly regarded. Started showing my wife the looks of the wooden hand crank units and she showed high interest. When she saw the wall mount unit - it was a green light - she had the perfect spot on the side of our cabinet to mount.
A call to espresso-zone.com and it's on its way. It arrives - looks better in person than the pictures. Get the drill and wood screws out and she's ready for action. Not much to learn about operating this manual grinder: open cover (has nice air seal on bottom of wooden cover), poor in roasted coffee beans (nice ceramic canister with German "Kaffee" script on it), set adjustment wheel to desired grind, turn hand crank clockwise until you get enough. Hey - the kids even think it's cool and offer to turn the crank for me (though it's too loud for them when they're watching TV in the living room!). After a few trial runs I get the grind about where I want it.
OK, so here are the negative things about this model I have (171LDL): - Terrible static cling. It has a clear plastic hopper under the exit whole that slides into place. There's a small line in the middle to use as a reference for gauging amount of ground coffee you've made. Due to the static charging of the grinds it quickly obscures the line so you have to rattle the hopper. It doesn't all come down as you grind - it will periodically drop a larger bunch as weight builds up. When you remove the plastic hopper/cup, the static causes many of the grinds to "fly" out onto your fingers and the grinder and elsewhere. You must hold something (I use a washcloth) under the cup as you remove it to catch all the grind droppings. Same when reinserting. This static issue is worse during the winter/dry air times and the finer you grind.
- Grind inconsistency. It doesn't produce nicely rounded grinds - more flakish or "slices" of beans. And it produces finer flakes that are smaller than the main setting contributing to the static fly away situation. I was recently reminded of this when a coffee roaster sent me some free samples and one happened to be preground and what a difference - perfectly consistent grinds.
- And a minor irritation is that the adjustment wheel is inline with the grinding handle/crank shaft. It will slowly rotate as you turn the handle making the grind progressively larger. What I did was put a small dab of gold paint on the adj. wheel so I could have a reference mark to know where it was set. I have to put a finger on the wheel while turning with the other (ackward position) to ensure it doesn't move.
All in all a disappointing experience based on my expectations from previous reviews of this manufacturer's product. I am enjoying the freshness of grinding per pot but have to put up with the static issues and grind inconsistencies. Still looks nice though on the cabinet.