The ongoing saga of my new but defective grinder continues to drag on for months now and is still not resolved.
Do you think things could not possibly get worse? Yes they can. Please read on.
It is only with the influential help of Colin Newell and his website - coffeecrew.com that I have managed to escalate my grinder issue. Otherwise, I'd still be stuck with a grinder that doesn't grind and destroys plastic spouts every two to three weeks.
So let's continue where I left off in Chapter Two.
I was going nowhere with the Canadian distributor of my grinder, Morala Trading, so in desperation I contacted the European manufacturer - Innova Spain.
My initial inquiry to Innova was responded to but something happened and they forgot about me. A reminder email with a cc: to the manufacturer - Ascaso, got immediate action and got things rolling once again after a few weeks delay.
It is said that to know joy, one must know despair.
There was despair aplenty. More than enough to go around. Courier damage, loose, floppy burr sets, disintegrating plastic spouts and ineffective repair attempts by Morala Trading meant despair and I were becoming close friends.
Abandoned by Morala and watching my grinder slowly self-destruct is not an easy thing to do. Worse, I re-read Mark Prince's glowing review of this grinder and can only wonder if he reviewed the same machine as I did.
Mark did mention that his test unit had a split knob. He didn't expand on it, however, this has happened to me twice now and it has become abundantly clear to me that the unprotected ( for shipping) adjustment gear assembly is susceptible to impact damage. It might not happen each time, but this potential vulnerability just might mean that you may be the next unlucky person to receive a severely damaged grinder thanks to rough handling by a courier company. Mark was lucky. He only had a split knob. I have had two broken top panels, two split knobs and two damaged gear assemblies in three out of four courier trips. One gear was so severely damaged that one of the brass vanes was bent right over, seizing the adjustment mechanism completely.The fourth trip? Well, I double boxed that one and it arrived unscathed. Double boxing does work.
There is some positive news to report. The cracking spout is lasting longer than I thought it would. Multiple applications of superglue has slowed, but not stopped the mysterious spontaneous cracking in the plastic spout. The first spout disintegrated and crumbled away extremely rapidly. Cause unknown. This second spout, patched together with glue, should last a bit longer. The teflon tape on the burr threads has helped grind quality a lot and made a big difference in reducing the amount of vibration. Removing and re-installing the gear assembly several times and adjusting the "angle of attack" has largely solved the binding issue although the gear, from time to time, becomes quite hard to turn.
However, the burr "free play" issue is the most troublesome. This is where the rubber meets the road. If the burrs are not parallel in any grinder, you can not get good grind consistency or quality. Period.
Any fantasies of receiving a brand-new, engineer certified unit airlifted ( from Spain ) to me direct in 24 hours was dashed when I received an email - not from Spain - but from their Canadian distributor, Morala Trading of Ottawa.
By all outward appearances, it looks like the manufacturer and/or international distribution office had strongly suggested to Morala Trading that they give me a replacement grinder immediately. I now receive this tersely worded offer:
"It has been decided to give you a replacement grinder however, please arrange to have it picked up and please send us the old one back"
In other words, "Pay for the courier both ways!"
Now I already have spent $83 dollars in courier costs for previous repair trips and now I have to spend an additional $75 dollars( or more) on top of that? In total, that's almost half the cost of the grinder!
I protest to Innova Spain once again and they say, maybe I should offer to pay half....
I am a reasonable guy so I email Morala and offer to pay half of the shipping.
Astoundingly, they say no! If you want a replacement grinder you are going to have to come and get it. They will not ship it.
Help! My grinder has been kidnapped and is being held for ransom!
Ah yes, despair and I have become fast friends indeed... Read a bit more in chapter 4