…So I wanted to see what the hype revolving around Mazzer grinders. People talked about how they were such excellent grinders – a must for any home espresso enthusiast. They spoke of Mazzer’s as if they were built like tanks and were work horses. I wanted to see it and try it – to put it to the test. Against what? My Baratza Vario. Over the course of the next few weeks, I will test out the Vario and the Mazzer Mini to see who goes and who stays. This is a life-death review between the two grinders.
After reading and watching several reviews on Coffee Geek, curiosity got the best of me. I lacked willpower and caved in. I had to get myself either the Anfim Best or the Mazzer Mini. The Anfim Best was priced at around $400 but to my surprise, they are no longer available. The Mazzer was at least $749 plus HST, making it $ 839 – way too far out of my budget. But luck was by my side. A retired gentleman by the name of Larry had a Mazzer Mini for sale – in pristine condition! His original asking price was $475. He then lowered it to $425. I did some research and hesitated for a few days and finally threw him an offer of $400 – shipped to Blaine, WA. He bit my offer and the deal was sealed. I Paypal’d him the $400 and the Mazzer was shipped the next day. The transaction was completed mid-week so unfortunately, my package did not arrive until early this Monday.
Alphamale was doing a run down to Blaine to pick up some tires. He was kind to offer help in picking up the Mazzer for me. After going through CBSA, it came to $50 in taxes – no duties! According to the books, I still think I got a pretty good deal especially since they can be easily sold back to eager home baristas (like myself.) After an evening shift to complete a project for marketing, I stopped by Alphamale’s place to pick up this monster. It was heavy – 25lbs. I didn’t think much of it and to be quite honest – I was anticipating a lot of plastic pieces. When I got home, boy, I was wrong. Terribly wrong.
Original Mazzer Box – From Italy!
Lots of stainless steel parts
Solid steel all around equating to 25lbs.
The construction and overall workmanship of this Mazzer Mini is as good as they say it is. One will instantly notice how carefully crafted this piece of machinery is, notating each and every bit of fine detail. The parts used weren’t junk – no way. Far from it. This machine was pure quality. Quality worth paying for. This machine seriously contains a lot of heavy duty commercial pieces. You could kill somebody with this thing. Needless to say – I am so far impressed except for the fact that Larry gave me the full-sized hopper. Due to the size of this hopper, unfortunately it won’t clear under the cupboards unlike the Vario. Part of this reason why I got the full-sized hopper is because Larry used to own a coffee shop – Rocket Coffee, based out of Phoenix, Arizona. He used this briefly as a commercial machine for a month and realized it wasn’t able to meet the demands of his business hence why he packed it away and upgraded to the Mazzer Super Jolly (WTF kind of name is that for a premium product?!?!) Anyway, the hopper isn’t important since I don’t even use the one on the Vario. I’ll use the yogurt cup as a lid when I throw my beans into the grinder. I haven’t used it just yet but I definitely can’t wait to. It sure looks great on the counter, doesn’t it? :)
I had a gripe with the stock double portafilter basket. It has an annoying ridge which does not let you put your tamper in far enough to tamp your coffee grinds. This seriously pissed me off. It turns out that La Marzocco made a batch of double portafilters but unfortunately forgot the ridge, making it a ridgeless basket. It was sold on the market as a mistake but the benefits were so amazing for a lot of enthusiasts, it became a sought-after product! I wanted to get myself one of these and through hell I did. I found one at Espresso Parts for $8.95 but it gets better – damn shipping to Blaine cost $7.95. They had me by the chains and so I gave them my money. :(
Despite the fact that I was raped for shipping, I know for a fact that this ridgeless will make a difference in terms of my dosing, distribution, and tamping. Take a look!
Stock vs. Ridgeless
Stock – Notice how far the up the tamper protrudes?
Stumptown’s Holler Mountain Blend
I was running out of the Espresso Gran Bar and it was too late to get more from the source. Instead, I had a change of heart. I went over to Mr. Lee’s General Store & Haberdashery to pick up some of Stumptown’s Holler Mountain Blend. Now, I know that I said I didn’t particularly like their Hair Bender blend but figured I’d try their Holler Mountain blend as they claimed it was darker, moreso to my preference. Well, I bought a fresh bag and got to it right away when I got home. Two sink shots and thus I achieved the Godly Shot. Beautiful tiger striping with lots and lots of crema. Straight up as a shot of espresso – this is a very good blend although I have to say, different temperatures I played around with seem to affect the overall taste. I managed to pull the shot at 102 degrees which yield more of the darker acidic notes whereas with a lower temperature it was sweet but still dark with lots of body. Occasionally, I would intentionally over-extract the shot and it was still a very forgivable blend of beans.
Conclusion – cool beans. I’d give this a bcrdukes B+ rating but leaning towards a well-deserved A-.
By the way – this shit ain’t cheap. :(
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