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Here is a review, and my experiences, with the Solis Maestro Plus Coffee Grinder. I purchased it from Amazon for $149.00. 

The Maestro Plus is a conical burr grinder, the best kind to get. Reviews said that the “Plus” was a great machine and in general I agree. In specific, well, I have some issues.

First thing out of the box is an orange piece of paper with warnings in bold letters. “Important Warning” is how it starts. It goes onto say the grinder must be cleaned weekly. Then part of the instructions say “Take a paper clip and unbend it until the wire is straight. Feed your paper clip into this shoot ...” First, “weekly?” What if I only use it once a week? What if not at all? I guess they mean every pound of coffee beans or so. It just makes no sense to base this on time. Hmmm ... must be marketing. Second, a “paper clip!” I just spent $149 on this machine and I need to clean it with a paper clip? Why don't they include a pack of pipe cleaners? Why don't they include a pre-bent paper clip? Must be a marketing person ... Just as an aside, the “Important Warning” has several typographical errors. You would think such an important document would be proof read. Maybe the author needs to clean his/her word processor with a paper clip ...

The first few days the grinder works great, both for Turkish and French grinds. I am happy. Then, it stops working correctly. I am getting a coarse uneven grind at all settings. I try to clean the grinder, per instructions (using a piece of wire since I don't have paper clips), to no avail.

So, I call customer service. I explain that I am getting a large inconsistent grind on all settings. The rep tells me I need to remove the top burr and clean the machine. OK. I remove the burr and ask what the best way to clean is. He tells me that the best is with an air compressor! And, he is serious. 

Being dedicated to coffee, I went to Home Depot and bought an air compressor. Really. This was $99 and looked like it could do the job.

I then go to an office supply place, because honestly, I don't have any paper clips at home. So, I buy a box and start bending!

I clean the heck out of the machine. I do the “paper clip” thing as directed. I set the compressor on 75 psi and I blow the daylights out of it (luckily, I did this outdoors, there was coffee dust all over!). I reassemble everything and re-grind my coffee. No change.

I call Josh at customer service. He suggests that the plastic tabs on the removable burr are broken. After trying to convince him they were fine, I emailed a photo. He agreed. 

After much discussion, I decided to try replacing the top burr differently than the instructions state. As opposed to just “seat the tabs down into their corresponding grooves,” I placed the burr in the grooves, pushed down and turned the burr slightly counterclockwise. This was the unwritten trick. If I did not do the push and turn, the burr rides up. I tried several experiments and this is the only way it works. And, over the past 5 days, the burr once again failed and I needed to reseat it.

So, my opinion? First, the instruction manual and brightly colored “Important Warning” are both proof of poor marketing, sales, and “out of box experience.” Second, the lack of paper clip and air compressor is a bummer. Third, when it works, the grinder is great. I get consistent grinds that are wonderful. Fourth, customer service is available (but not during their lunch hour according to the voice mail) and helpful. Fifth, is it worth $149.00? I don't know, it cost me $248.49.

Afterword

The company has responded to this review to assure me that they are working on a combination brush/wire tool for cleaning the grinder and new documentation.

Oh, and in case you don’t believe me...
Craig A. Haller 2006 | All Rights Reserved