I'll preface this by saying I'm by no means a big coffee snob. My reasons for purchasing this product had more to do with buying quality, versatile equipment that will last a long time and keep cheap plastic crap out of landfills rather than the pursuit of a perfect cup of coffee. With that in mind, this review aims to provide some basic observations about the product, and I'll let those who have obtained a higher level of coffee snobbery draw their own conclusions.
- The unit feels pretty solid and well constructed. I haven't dismantled it yet to look at the internals, but on the surface it seems like it will last a long while.
- The listed 20 g capacity seems fairly accurate.
- The various internet sources I found listing a ~30 s grind time on average seem to be fairly accurate.
The couple quibbles I do have with the product relate to the grind size adjustment. There is a detent mechanism to help you adjust grind size, however the mechanism is a little bit notchy (in excess of the manner in which a detent mechanism is supposed to be notchy). The detent mechanism should provide 12 distinct positions per rotation, but the unexplained notchiness means that keeping track of the clicks is best done by looking at the bottom and watching/counting as you turn. Without the visual feedback, the notchiness of the mechanism has you questioning whether each click you feel/hear was a detent, or just some of that notchiness. You can work with it no problem, but it would be nice if the detent mechanism was a little more refined.
The second quibble I have with the grind size adjustment is that the product allows you to put yourself in a position where you are damaging the burrs if you're not careful. In order to set the grind size, you screw the adjustment knob all the way in at the bottom. This moves the conical burr up closer to the external ring which puts you at the finest grind setting. Then, to set your grind size, you back the conical burr out by unscrewing the adjustment knob and counting the clicks. This works, except at zero clicks, the burrs on the rotating central piece and the outer ring actually interfere with each other when rotated. If you read the directions, they say not to use the grinder on an adjustment less than 6, as you'll cause damage to the burrs. For an espresso grind, the directions suggest starting at a grind setting of 8. With the unit I have, a grind setting of 8 still has interference between the burrs. When turn the shaft at a grind setting of 8, you can hear clicking inside the unit as the burrs on the central conical piece contact the burrs on the outer ring. Because of this, I grind espresso on a setting 9 or 10. The grind is still fairly fine (I can't quantify how fine) but I've definitely purchased ground espresso which has been finer. So if you're looking to get a really fine grind, you're not necessarily going to be able to achieve it without risking having the burrs contact one another and potentially damage themselves. Note that depending on the manufacturing tolerances, this could easily vary unit to unit, as achieving no interference with such fine grinding is inherently going to require really tight tolerances.
The issues with the grind setting adjustment seem like oversights in the mechanical design of the unit. Why would you give the user the opportunity to potentially damage the product if you could remove that possibility with a simple mechanical stop which limits their ability to adjust the burrs to a position where they interfere? What is the purpose of having 6 unusable grind settings on the finest end of the adjustment range? It's just 6 clicks you have to cycle through backward and forward every time you want to grind coffee and can't remember what grind setting you left it at.
These issues should be easy enough for Timemore to fix in the next iteration of the product, but I don't understand why they weren't addressed right off the bat.