2 years ago
JonPatrickHyde
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Coffee Tech Review - Cuisinart Burr Coffee Grinder
This highly adjustable and easy to use conical burr bean grinder is available at Williams-Sonoma for $99.99 US. OVERVIEW
If you want a simple to use machine that is durable and pretty much idiot-proof - there are some very strong arguments for why this is a machine you should consider. It has a simple numerical - turn to dial in the right amount of grinding for the type of coffee you are making (Espresso, Automatic Drip, French Press), and the LED display is very helpful in helping you set exactly the right amount of cups you intend on making. It does have some negatives - and I never include "noise" as a negative for a grinder of any type - all grinders are noisy so if that's an issue buy pre-ground coffee and be done with it. No I'm talking about mess and the total "duh" moment by the geniuses who designed this thing when deciding to forego adding a simple "on-off" switch to it. Yep. That's right. It's ALWAYS ON - unless you do what I do which is plug it in to use it and unplug it when I'm done less than a minute later; which is a problem for me for two reasons: 1) It's an extra couple of totally necessary steps that in the wee hours of the morning are annoying to have to undertake... if you are one of those people who needs coffee before they can function on any level; you're going to hate having to plug this machine in to use it.
2) I'm the son of an engineer and I actually think about things like wear and tear. Electrical outlet plugs are some of the most misused and abused parts of any device. People get in a hurry and pull them out by the cord - adding enormous strain to the cord/plug connection - people pull them out at an angle - bending the plug inserts - people jam them into the plug - wearing the inserts down. Any device that has to be plugging in and unplugged to use is going to have significant plug wear after a few hundred daily uses.
But let's talk about what I love about this machine first -
WHAT I LOVE -
1) It's got a small footprint and is heavy - it's made well. Not cheap or flimsy - this is a nicely designed and built piece of equipment for your kitchen.
2) The LED display is bright and simple to read as the button around it are simple to use. Choose the number of cups by pressing the "# of Cups" button. Then press "Start/Stop". It's that easy. If you are someone who wants to grind based solely on eyeballing how much coffee you want - there's a "Manual" button that you can push and hold until you have the right amount of coffee in the hopper. 3) The amount of grinding - from course to ultra-fine - is also so simple that you could probably train your pet(s) to do it for you. BELOW - simply turn/twist the entire loading hopper left or right until the arrow is on the number that corresponds with your desired amount of grinding. It may take a couple of experiments to "dial in" on the exact number/grind amount that you prefer - but the good news is that you've got plenty of room to experiment with.
WHAT I DON'T LOVE ABOUT THIS MACHINE -
The list of things I don't like are relatively picky and perhaps won't really bother you as they bother me. But I feel in all fairness that I can't give this machine a complete 5-Star rating because the issues with it are annoying enough that I am irritated when using this machine pretty much every day when I grind my beans and make my coffee.
THE MOST IMPORTANT IRRITATION FOR ME IS -
This is a well-made and built piece of equipment. It's not cheap or flimsy by any stretch of the imagination. It's stylish to an extent (coffee equipment isn't know for being the sexiest in kitchenware but this does a lot to elevate the genre). FOR THE LOVE OF GOD WHY ISN'T THERE AN OFF/ON SWITCH?!?!?!?!?!?!
At first you think - "Because it retails for nearly $200 and I felt lucky to get it on sale for $100 - it must be intelligent and go to sleep after a while." WRONG. It's dumb as a brick. It's a grinder. Now I know there are $500 grinders you can set timers on and the like. But make no mistake - this is not in the same ball-park. This means that EVERY TIME YOU WANT TO USE IT - you have to plug it in and then unplug it. SERIOUSLY!!!!! How much does a simple ON/OFF switch add to the manufacturing cost? This is truly the biggest issue I have with it. I actually might give this machine a 5-star rating if it had come with a self-off timer or off/on switch. It didn't and therefore it's a little bit of a pain in the rear to use every morning.
The grind hopper is easy to use but it is messy. And not just a little messy - it's PigPen from Charlie Brown/Peanuts messy. Fine coffee grinds stick to it from what I can guess is some cursed static state of physics/matter that really is unavoidable. The grinder spits a small amount of the grinds behind the hopper - in other words it's not a sealed tight connection between the grinder exhaust opening and the top of the hopper. Good news is that the hopper is the perfect size to dump the contents into a #4 cone filter (BELOW)
What isn't so good is that the whole static energy/coffee dark matter physics thing means you're going to need to tap the hopper against the filter holder of your coffee maker to get all the coffee out. Which just adds to the amount of fine coffee grind particles that escape onto your counter top. If you decide that you'd rather inhale, snort, vape, or smoke your coffee - this offers a pretty good solution for you - because you WILL breathe in some fine coffee grinds through this process.
In all - it's a pretty good grinder - consistent and powerful - well made and good looking - easy to use and easy to master.
Bad news is that it's plug-n-play or on all the time - unnecessarily messy - and it's a little bit of a pain to clean - when you take the top bean hopper off and remove the grinder bit - you'll also see that there's a fair amount of wasted grinds - which is also a source of grinds behind the exhaust hopper (when you remove it to put the grinds in your coffee maker - grinds stuck in the grinder itself will fall down into the empty space where the hopper should be - they get pressed behind the hopper when you put it back into place). I GIVE THIS ITEM 3.5 STARS -
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