Eureka Mignon Specialita Review: Should You Buy This Grinder?
So you’re ready to take your home espresso to the next level? I know it’s tempting to buy a fancy new espresso machine, but the first step is investing in a premium quality espresso grinder. You could get the cheapest model that will do the bare minimum, but the risk is that you’ll be tempted to upgrade in a year or two. Why not opt for something that can grow with you?
That something is the Eureka Mignon Specialita espresso grinder. Mignon’s price is approachable enough for an espresso novice to take the plunge, but it has the quality and longevity to keep up with your hobby – even when you want to upgrade your espresso machine.
I’ve owned Eureka Mignon Specialita for over a year, so I have some personal thoughts on the grinder to share, along with the all-important specs and details. Keep reading this Eureka Mignon Specialita review before you buy.
Summary: The Eureka Mignon Specialita
- Italian-made espresso-focused grinder with 55 mm flat steel burrs.
- Easy-to-use programmable touch screen for timed dosing and hands-free grinding.
- Beautiful and durable compact design with a unique square bean hopper.
Awesome grinder, very consistent even for very fine espresso. Feels robust and easy to use. And it looks great!– Daniel K., Customer
The Full Eureka Mignon Specialita Review
Eureka is a reputable Italian manufacturer of high-end home and commercial coffee grinders. Each one is made by hand in their factory in Florence, Italy. The Mignon grinders line-up is a popular series of domestic grinders that has grown to include 13 different models, each with its niche. Some are best for filters; some are better for espresso. Some prioritize ease of use, while others aim for a low cost.
Where does the Mignon Specialita fit in this crowd, and who is it for? That’s what we’re going to dig into in this review.
Mignon Specialista is the best espresso grinder for anyone just starting to get serious about the hobby. Suppose you’ve just bought your first prosumer espresso machine, or maybe you’ve just switched to a non-pressurized filter basket for the first time. In that case, the Specialita is the perfect grinder to accompany you on your espresso brewing journey. Read on to find out why.
Design – 4/5
All of the Eureka Mignon grinders, the Specialita included, are immediately distinguishably by their unique square aesthetic, including the iconic square bean hopper. It’s a beautiful look with unmistakable Italian flair, unlike anything else on the market. Aside from the Niche Zero, it’s rare for espresso grinders to look anything other than functional.
The Specialita is available in many colours, far more than any other brand. Basic black, Ferrari red, lime green, pink gold – no matter your kitchen design, there’s a matching grinder. Mine is Tiffany Blue. The touch screen is an attractive white-on-black display, which looks nice and is very easy on the eyes first thing in the morning.
The Specialita has a very compact footprint, measuring 12 cm wide by 18 cm deep by 35 cm tall, including the 300 g bean hopper. It looks right at home, even in a small condo kitchen, and lives comfortably under upper cupboards, although you’ll probably have to slide it out to refill the bean hopper. It weighs 5.6 kilos, so it’s easy to move it around.
It lacks a tray at the base, so be prepared to wipe the occasional stray grounds from your counter or invest in a little mat to sit under it. This is especially true if you’re grinding directly into a portafilter.
Eureka Mignon Specialita espresso grinder is exceptionally quiet thanks to the inclusion of Eureka’s “Silent Technology.”
This is essentially an intelligent design and a sound-insulating case, but it works remarkably well. When I upgraded from a cheaper grinder to the much more powerful Specialita, I assumed increased volume would be a necessary evil, but I was wrong. This is by far the quietest coffee grinder I’ve owned.
Durability – 4/5
All the best Eureka coffee grinder models are renowned for their durability, and this is a result of the brand’s decades of experience making both home and, importantly, commercial grinders. They use exclusively high-quality components – the casing and critical internal parts are entirely metal – and they also have extensive engineering expertise. Even when things go wrong, Eureka grinders are known for being simple to service, thanks to their easy access and thoughtful internal layouts.
The exception, which is disappointingly true of the best prosumer-level coffee grinders, even those far more expensive than the Specialita, is the plastic bean hopper and hopper stopper. The hopper slots into the top of the grinder and attaches via a tiny screw. If this grinder has a point of failure, it will be there. Fortunately, hoppers are sold separately and are inexpensive to replace.
The Eureka Mignon Specialita espresso grinder is commercially certified, though it is designed and marketed as a home grinder. It doesn’t have the speed to keep up in a high-volume setting, but the commercial rating signifies that it has the quality and durability to handle a bigger load than a typical home user. It would be a suitable addition to a small espresso cart or catering business.
For a small coffee shop or mid-sized restaurant, read our full review of the Eureka Atom 75. While a bit more expensive than the Specialita, its larger burr set and faster grind output make it a better choice for a coffee business.
Ease of Use – 4/5
The Eureka Mignon Specialita is very straightforward to use. The touch screen is one of the premium features that distinguishes it from the cheaper Eureka Mignon models, and it is no question simplifying the morning workflow.
You can preset two timed doses, typically a single shot and a double shot, or you can choose to grind manually by holding down a button.
Once the timed dose is set, grinding is as simple as slotting a portafilter into the portafilter holder so that it pushes the button at the back. The rest is hands-off. In my experience, it takes between 10 and 12 seconds to grind a double shot, depending on the beans.
The portafilter cradle is adjustable and designed to work with all sizes of the portafilter, but I haven’t found that to be entirely accurate. While it can be adjusted to hold smaller portafilters, it doesn’t grind into them exceptionally well. For example, I have a 54 mm Breville portafilter, and I found too many coffee grounds that missed the mark and ended up on the counter when grinding hands-free. If you don’t have a standard 58 mm portafilter, I’d suggest doing as I do and grinding into a dosing cup.
While I already complained about the hopper stopper being plastic, I appreciate that it’s there. This allows you to block the coffee beans, remove the hopper, and access the burrs without first emptying the hopper. Even more convenient, when you put everything back together, there is no need to dial in the grind size all over again. Eureka’s “high-speed maintenance” technology ensures that your settings are preserved, even if you take off the top burr for cleaning.
Grinding Capability – 4/5
The Eureka Mignon Specialita espresso grinder boasts an impressive set of 55 mm flat steel burrs, the largest of any in the Mignon series. The main advantage of larger burrs is that they grind faster (1). This doesn’t mean you’ll get the caffeine from your specialty coffee beans to your bloodstream much quicker – though that is a nice perk. Faster grinding also means less time to generate heat, so you’ll get better flavour from your ground coffee.
Speaking of flavour, flat burrs are known for excellent consistency and grind quality, which translates to greater clarity in the cup. Clarity is tricky to define, but roughly speaking, you’ll be able to taste more different flavours than you would if using a conical burr grinder – all other things being equal. Some espresso experts prefer conical burr grinders because they produce more fines, which translates to a fuller-bodied espresso (2).
It comes down to personal taste, says Baratza Marketing Projects Lead Xavi Guerrero (3). But you’ll find more ultra-high-end coffee grinders with flat burrs.
There’s a lot of research for how burrs affect taste. The bottom line is the taste difference between flat and conical burr sets is so small it’s hard to notice without taking into consideration all other factors.
The burr set matters more than anything else in the grinder itself. But your choice of coffee also matters, as does your espresso machine, your puck prep, and myriad other factors. Research has even shown the shape and colour of your coffee mug affect perceived flavours (4)!
The Specialita uses a patented Stepless Micrometric Adjustment System that allows you to dial in the grind size perfectly. The system works very well, especially for making fine adjustments that take your espresso from 95% perfect to perfect. However, the adjustment wheel leaves a little to be desired. It’s pretty small, which can be awkward for large hands. And the labelling makes it tricky to find your way back to previous settings or even to know which way to turn it to go coarser or finer. I’d love to see it replaced with the larger knob found on the Eureka Atom espresso grinders.
The Specialita has a 310 Watt motor that spins the burrs at 1350 RPM. This is a reasonably powerful motor for a grinder of this size and an affordable price point. For comparison, the flat burr DF64 has a 250 Watt motor, and you’ll see in our Mahlkonig X54 review that the motor is only 120 Watts. The resulting finely ground coffee has excellent grind quality – fluffy grounds with consistent grind size and minimal clumping.
The Eureka Mignon Specialita is an espresso-focused grinder, though it is pretty capable of grinding for drip coffee. They developed the burr set for both fine and coarse grinding. Eureka even sells a grounds catch bin to fit the Specialita, which you can swap for the portafilter fork. That said, shifting back and forth between the grind settings isn’t overly convenient with the stepless adjustment, so I’d recommend it as a dedicated espresso grinder.
A Note on Single Dosing
In the past few years, single dosing has been growing in popularity with home espresso lovers. It allows you to store your beans properly in a cool, dark, airtight container rather than a bean hopper. And it makes it easy to switch between different coffees daily.
The Specialita is not designed to be a single-dose grinder, and I won’t claim that it is one, but it is better than most, thanks to its low grind retention. This combines the patented Eureka ACE system, which reduces static, and the newly redesigned larger exit chute. Grind retention, in my experience, is no more than 0.3 g per double shot dose.
If you want to get more serious about single dosing, plenty of aftermarket mods are available for the Specialita, most of which are inexpensive 3D-printed jobs. These allow you to replace the square hopper with a smaller hopper and bellows that will reduce grind retention almost to zero. Eureka has recently released the single-dose Mignon Zero and Mignon Oro to capitalize on modern home espresso trends. So, if you only want to single-dose, consider one of those over the Specialita (5).
Value for Money – 4.5/5
The Eureka Mignon Specialita gets my vote as one of the best value espresso grinders. Its specs – the 55 mm flat steel burr set, stepless grind adjustment, and 350 Watt motor – are as good as any, and its engineering and build quality are better than most.
Let’s look at some comparable options.
- The Mahlkonig X54 has a similar 54 mm flat burr set and stepless grind adjustment, but is priced slightly higher. You are likely paying a premium for the Mahlkonig brand name and reputation.
- The Turn DF64 is a single-dosing grinder with an impressive 64 mm flat burr set, but its build quality doesn’t approach that of the Eureka grinders.
- The Baratza Vario is a similar price and has a 54 mm flat burr set. However, with a largely plastic construction and ceramic burrs, it is unlikely to last as long as the Specialita. And it lacks the commercial rating.
Eureka Mignon Perfetto vs Specialita
Perhaps Specialita’s closest competition is its sister product, the Perfetto. The Perfetto is virtually identical to the Specialita, except for the burr set. The Perfetto has 50 mm flat steel burrs rather than 55 mm, so it outputs about 1.0 – 1.6 g of coffee per second compared to the Specialita’s 1.2 – 1.8 g. It has the same design, touch screen, patented technologies, and stepless grind adjustment.
The Perfetto is priced about $20 less, so it’s up to you to value 0.2 seconds per gram versus $20. However, I will say that the Specialita is available from a greater number of distributors and might be easier to find on sale.
Don’t Buy the Eureka Mignon Specialita If…
- You don’t make espresso: The Specialita is undoubtedly capable of grinding for filter coffee, but if you never make espresso, you can achieve equal results with one of the less expensive Mignon coffee grinders. Consider the Eureka Mignon Crono or Mignon Brew Pro – or the new Mignon Zero Brew for a single-dosing option.
- You want something portable: The Specialita is an impressive compact, but I wouldn’t go so far as to call it portable. If you want a grinder that can travel with you but don’t relish the idea of constantly grinding manually at home, one option is to buy a second manual grinder. But a new-and-improved option is the Goat Story Arco, a unique 2-in-1 grinder that can be operated either manually or electronically (6).
- You prefer conical burrs: If you enjoy the heavier texture of espresso prepared using a conical burr grinder, you’ll love the Niche Zero. This trendy grinder helped usher in the era of single dosing for a good reason. It’s priced similarly to the Specialita but has a larger burr set and is a bit more versatile when preparing both filter and espresso grounds.
Another great pick is the entry-level Baratza Sette 270, an excellent espresso grinder with a 40 mm conical burr set. It’s affordable and works very well for espresso, though it notoriously underperforms for filter coffee.
This review started by asking: should you buy this coffee grinder? Of course, the answer would never be a clear-cut yes or no, and it comes down to your needs.
This is a wonderful coffee grinder for anyone starting to get more serious about espresso because it can grow with you. It’s a clear step up from an entry-level grinder, but it still has an approachable price tag. Its quality burr set and impressive durability will continue to serve you well even if you decide to upgrade espresso machines a few years later.
- Mott, J. (2021, June 28). Coffee grinder burrs: What should home consumers look for? Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2021/06/coffee-grinder-burrs-what-should-home-consumers-look-for/
- Schomer, D. (2019, August 30). A Call to Action on Espresso Grinders, by David Schomer. Retrieved from https://dailycoffeenews.com/2019/08/30/a-call-to-action-on-espresso-grinders-by-david-schomer/
- Guerrero, X. (2021, January 21). Flat Burrs vs Conical Burrs. That is the question. Retrieved from https://baratza.com/flat-burrs-vs-conical-burrs/
- Birch, J. (2014, December 3). Science Says the Color of Your Mug Affects the Taste of Your Coffee. Retrieved from https://www.self.com/story/science-says-color-mug-affects-taste-coffee
- Bryman, H. (2021, September 2). Eureka Leans Into Single Dose Grinding With Newest Oro Machine. Retrieved from https://dailycoffeenews.com/2021/09/02/eureka-leans-into-single-dose-grinding-with-newest-oro-machine/
- Cadwalader, Z. (2020, December 8). Is It A Hand Grinder or Electric? Yes! Says The Goat Story ARCO. Retrieved from https://sprudge.com/is-it-a-hand-grinder-or-electric-yes-says-the-goat-story-arco-172572.html