The Maestro is considered "marginal" at best for espresso duties because of fast burr wear fine grinding and large steps for shot timing adjustment. While I don't have direct experience with the SMP I started with an orginal Maestro when first getting Miss Silvia since already recently purchased it. Six months later upgraded to a Rocky, made a big difference. (Rocky was 5th grinder purchase in 2 year span;-) I hadn't "planned" on getting an espresso machine when I bought the Maestro 6 years ago. Since you already are planning the Journey to the Dark Side I'd suggest for ~$50 more than SMP getting a Cunill Tranquillo at the minimum. Or if you can spring for the additional get a Rocky Doser model (aka grinds dispenser). I disagree with Tom on this one, the doser model is better because the act of dosing breaks up clumping and weird WDT toothpick/knitting needle/chopstick grinds mixing in the PF isn't needed like with the doserless model. The doser isn't used for "dosing" but rather grinds dispensing. Top baristas thwack the hell out of dosers specifically to eliminate clumping. And if you remove the PF fork and dispense into container very ergonomically clean and works great for any grinding duties. It's also easy to brush out the grind channel on the doser model for virtual zero old grinds left but the biggest advantage is in much less clumping, a huge thing in building a PF shot. See sigtag for SS canister that fits Rocky perfectly. Also big difference in sold brass burr carrier stability compared to polyethylene carrier on SMP. Pacific Northwest Gathering Vhttp://home.comcast.net/~mckona/PNWGV.htmKona Konnaisseur miKe mcKoffee URL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer, some recipes etc:http://mdmint.home.comcast.net/coffee/Rosto_mod.htmUltimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must first not know. And in knowing know I know not. Each Personal enlightenment found exploring the many divergent foot steps of Those who have gone before. Sweet Maria's List - Searchable Archiveshttp://themeyers.org/HomeRoast/ <Snip>
I'd have to agree with miKe on this one. I have an SMP and use it for drip brew in my Technivorm Moccamaster CD with a SwissGold filter. I've had the SMP for ~8mos and the grind consistency seems to cover a larger particle size than when the machine was first purchased. I'll be replacing the burr= s within the next few months. Because of this, it is my experience that the SMP is a great grinder for drip brewing but when uniformity and fineness of grind are essential to a brewing method (as they are for espresso), a precision grinder is key. Robert, you stated in you message that the SMP fits your current budget. If great espresso/americanos (or the pursuit thereof) is your passion and you are committed to crossing over to the *darkside* (as opposed to great brewe= d coffee) then I'd recommend holding off and saving for the grinders that miK= e recommends to maximize the results of your espresso machine. If brewed coffee is (pardon the cliché) your 'cup of tea' then the SMP is an excell= ent grinder for the price. Just be aware that the burrs may need to be upgrade= d in ~12 mos. Let your need dictate the solution. -- My home coffee roasting blog:http://homecoffeeroastblog.blogspot.com/Kevin
"miKe mcKoffee" writes: <Snip> I would like to have a Rocky, the price is a bit high, though (at least before amortizing the cost over the years of service I am sure I can expect) and the pickings on ebay seem to be pretty slim. I am sure this speaks to the quality of the grinder, as I can't see anyone upgrading from a Rocky unless going commercial. Speaking of commercial, I did see an MD-50/AT. Actually, I saw a few. They all seem to be missing an insert that goes with the hopper and screws (I believe they are the ones that go with the insert that goes with the hopper). I know this is a _big_ commercial grinder. Not that I have made any sort of decision on this but do you have any caveats? I prefer to buy used. Often, it is not only cheaper but it is more environmentally friendly. Not that I have anything against buying new, it just seems to make more sense to me to get something someone else no longer wants for cheaper than paying full price. <Snip> I did read about this on coffeegeek and wondered how much difference it made as far as grind quality. Is it the case with this grinder that it is an incredible grinder at this price point but it falls short for semi-serious espresso. If the results of the Rocky vs. the Maestro demand the resulting jump in price then so be it. If, however, the results from the Maestro are great and the Rocky is excellent then I can live with great. I really appreciate your time in answering my questions, rdc -- Robert D. Crawford robdcraw Children are like cats, they can tell when you don't like them. That's when they come over and violate your body space.
I'd be a bit cautious on the MD50/AT model (versus ST model). It's designed to "automatically grind" to keep the doser full. Though I'm sure feature could be defeated somehow and normal on/off switch used. Beyond that while not "stepless", it's steps are tighter than Rocky (equals better shot fine tuning capable:-) and it's burrs are larger, same size as Super Jolly. I'd go for it if can get for ~$200 range. Add new burrs ~$50 and good to go for a number of years. <Snip>
If you start with an SMP you may not know what you are missing. If you start with a Mazzer/Rocky you may not appreciate what you have. But if you start with a SMP and upgrade to a Mazzer/Rocky you WILL kick yourself for not having done it sooner. And you will then join the chorus of people here who tell new posters to skip the SMP and go directly to Mazzer/Rocky. On 5/15/07, Robert D. Crawford wrote: <Snip> -- MichaelB
On 5/15/07, Robert D. Crawford wrote: <Snip> Tom has a Rocky * Rancilio Rocky No Doser - Slightly Used $240 *on his sale page: *http://www.sweetmarias.com/prod.sale-items.shtmlNo guarantee that it is still there, but it may be worth a look. Brian *
We see lots of talk about the Solis Maestro Plus but almost no mention of its cousin, the Baratza Virtuoso. Any experience with that one? I see that refurbs of both models are available again. Is the Virtuoso worth the extra $50? My brewing is mostly drip (Presto Scandinavian or pourover), Aeropress, and KMB, with occasional french press and moka pot. Whaddya think? Bill
On Tue, May 15, 2007 at 05:36:59PM -0500, Bill Morgan wrote: <Snip> I haven't tried the SMP, but I just bought a Virtuoso, and it makes a great mate to my Aeropress. I can grind on the finest setting and still press without much pressure, which is a good indication that the grinder isn't producing a lot of fine dust. The reason I chose this grinder over a true espresso grinder is cleanliness -- this thing retains about 0.8g without having to do anything special, and if you shake, tilt, and tap it you can get that down a bit more, and I have recently discovered that I can blow almost all of it out quickly by using a flexible silicon bowl lid over the hopper as a diaphragm to force air through the burrs and out the chute, taking the grounds with it. Static has not been a problem at all.
"Brian Kamnetz" writes: <Snip> Right on, man! I just finished talking to the lady with the purse strings and she agreed that buying a Rocky now was better than buying a Maestro now and a Rocky later. And she doesn't even drink coffee! Gotta love that woman. Thanks for the link. I just sent it to her. Hopefully it is still there when she orders it. rdc -- Robert D. Crawford robdcraw The Second Law of Thermodynamics: If you think things are in a mess now, just wait! -- Jim Warner