Thought I would follow up with my Ascaso/Innova i-1 Coffee Grinder that I ordered. Mine was shipped from the US distributor from Medford, Oregon. It arrived double-boxed, (maybe Glen's article had something to do with that!).
They could really use some Styrofoam packing in that box due to the weight of the grinder. I can see where it is very prone to damage, with just that one piece of cardboard securing the whole top of the grinder. My unit is a brushed silver model with a black doser. I popped the top and checked out the worm gear and the burrs and the burr threading. My unit arrived undamaged, and the tolerances seem very tight.
There is no "play" in my unit as you described in your article, and it seems to make a
infinitesimally adjustable fine grind. The grind is VERY consistent and I can minutely fine-tune it. My unit does not have the plastic chute, like the non-doser model....so I don't think I will run into any cracking problems here.
All the mountiung screws were tight and the unit was centered. Also..the motor is turning at only 700 RPM's...so I don't get the feel that my hopper is going to crack any time soon. My only complaint is that so much coffee ends up sitting in the chute area..seems like that could easily be solved by manufacturing the chute at a steeper angle.
Gravity would take over...as the 700 RPM motor isn't making the coffee fly. I do not
have any coffee leakage where the grinder meets the doser...everything is really tight.
(No...I don't work for the company...I guess I got LUCKY).
This is NOT a Mazzer...(cost as almost as much as one), but I opted out for this unit because I have a small kitchen...and the Mazzer looked like I had a science project going on in there. It was just too huge and funky looking, or my kitchen and my taste.
The brushed-aluminum model i-1 is really cool looking and fits in a little better from a footprint and a pleasing-to-eye standpoint. More 2006 looking. Obviously it is not built as sturdily as the Mazzer.
All of the plastic parts came in perfect order with no warping or problems. They are all a nice tight fit. The doser works really well (all plastic though), and is very easily accessible to get in there and help those grinds that are stuck in the chute area into my portafilter. A little brush, like Mazzer provides, would be a useful item in this box as well for that purpose.
I did notice in the Coffee Geek's write-up that he bought his unit from EspressoParts.com. I checked in with them to order a part for may Ascaso Arc (and that is an interesting note if you would like to hear about it), and noticed that they no longer carry the Innova grinders on their website...but do sell parts for them....hmmmmmmm....now there is a big statement.
No doubt Ascaso has been shipping out less-than-useable product. I have only had the grinder for about 5-days....and it has been working great after the "dial-in" process. If I run into any problems down the road
...I will let you know.
Thanks again for letting the public know your findings!!!!!
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23 Ocean Avenue #5
Ocean Grove, NJ 07756