Mazzer Mini Review: All The Details On This Famous Coffee Grinder
The Mazzer Mini was originally released as a compact commercial coffee grinder for small businesses and espresso carts. Still, the rise of prosumer espresso machines gave it a second life as a high-end home grinder, and Home Grounds determined how well it straddles those two worlds.
Read on to learn about the Mazzer Mini, starting with the fact that it comes in three different versions. By the end, we promise you’ll know if it’s the right choice for your home or business.
Summary: The Mazzer Mini
- Scaled-down commercial espresso grinders are also suitable for the home barista.
- The doser and doserless version of the Mazzer Mini has stainless steel flat burrs.
- Excellent build quality and durability from a respected Italian company.
I’ve used it daily and have never had to do a single thing to this beautiful machine. The burrs grind as well as the day it was new.– Customer review
How to Buy the Mazzer Mini
To avoid confusion, let’s start by discussing the various models of the Mazzer Mini espresso grinder and their names. Unfortunately, different distributors use slightly different naming systems, which can be difficult for consumers to navigate.
There are three main versions of the Mazzer Mini:
- The original Mazzer Mini espresso grinder is also known as the Mazzer Mini Timer or Mazzer Mini Doser. These are all the same thing. The Mazzer Mini has both a timer and a doser. You may also find reference to the Mazzer Mini P. In this case, P simply stands for “Polished.” It’s the same grinder but has a shiny metal finish designed to pair with a prosumer espresso machine.
- The Mazzer Mini A Electronic is the most expensive and advanced version of the espresso grinder. It replaces the doser and timer with a fully automatic programmable dosing system, and it has an upgraded burr set relative to the original.
- The Mazzer Mini B Electronic is very similar to the A version. It has the same burr set and automatic dosing, but the programming is slightly less intuitive. In some cases, both (or either of) the Mazzer Mini A and B are referred to as Mazzer Mini E Type, in which E stands for “Electronic.”
A Full Mazzer Mini Review
With that terminology out of the way, let’s get started on the review. We’ll cover what you can expect from all three models in more detail, including their significant differences and similarities.
Design – 3/5
Aesthetics are always in the eye of the beholder, but the Mazzer Mini has never been renowned for its beauty. This espresso grinder has chosen form over function, though there are signs that things are changing. The newer electronic versions of the Mazzer Mini have a sleeker look and are available in fun colours like red and yellow, and I suspect this evolution will continue.
In recent years, prosumer-level coffee grinders have shifted from looking like small versions of commercial espresso grinders into more friendly home appliances. When the Mazzer Mini was first released, it was designed and marketed as a compact commercial coffee grinder – perfect for small cafes or other low-volume coffee businesses. Then came the prosumer espresso machine market, home espresso enthusiasts who wanted commercial quality supplies in a compact footprint (1). Suddenly, the Mazzer Mini had a whole new target audience.
Click here to learn more about our favourite prosumer coffee grinders: https://www.homegrounds.co/best-prosumer-coffee-grinder/
Eventually, more brands realized the potential of this segment, and we began seeing more attractive prosumer coffee grinders designed to match home kitchens while still offering high performance. For example, look at the Niche Zero, Fiorenzato AllGround, or Eureka Mignon. It seems inevitable that future iterations of the Mazzer Mini will follow a similar trajectory in aesthetics if they want to compete for home users.
The Mazzer Mini is reasonably compact compared to the average commercial-grade grinder. But it will still look imposing in the average home kitchen. The original doser version measures 33.5 cm deep by 41.9 cm tall by 17.8 cm wide, while the electronic models are identical in width and height but only 27.9 cm deep because they lack a doser. All three come standard with a large bean hopper that holds 600 g; you can replace this with a 320 g short hopper if you want a shorter grinder to fit under upper cupboards.
Durability – 5/5
Mazzer is an Italian company manufacturing top commercial coffee grinders since the 1940s (2). Mazzer grinders are known for their build quality, and their longstanding partnership with La Marzocco espresso machines indicates the esteem they hold among professional baristas (3).
That is to say that the Mazzer Mini is built to last. It’s a commercially rated espresso grinder, which means that it’s designed to withstand heavy use every day for decades.
Even a serious home barista is unlikely to push the Mini to its limit because few homes operate at the capacity of a coffee shop.
Aside from the plastic hopper, the important parts of the Mazzer Mini are all metal. Internal components are steel, the burr set is stainless steel, and the frame and casing are die-cast aluminium. Every Mazzer coffee grinder comes with a 1-year warranty.
Ease of Use – 4/5
The two versions of the Mazzer Mini – the new Electronic Doserless and the original Timer Doser – are somewhat different to use. So take the 4/5 score with a grain of salt, and we’ll go through the user experience for each model in more detail. Whether you prefer the workflow with or without a doser should dictate which version of the Mazzer Mini you buy.
Doser vs. Doserless Coffee Grinders
There aren’t a lot of domestic grinders with doses. The Mazzer Mini and the Rancilio Rocky are the only two that jump to mind, which is not surprising, given that Mazzer and Rancilio are both old-school Italian brands. However, because users are uncommon, they aren’t helpful. It just depends on your coffee-making priorities.
A doser is a chamber on the front of the grinder that collects ground coffee in pre-established doses, which usually correspond to a standard single shot of espresso. With the Mazzer Mini, you can set the dose between 5.5 g and 9 g. To release a dose into the portafilter, pull a lever. Dosers mean less waste, less mess, improved efficiency, and better consistency. Astute readers will note that all these things are precious in busy commercial settings.
The main downside of a coffee grinder with a doser is that pre-ground coffee sitting in the dosing chamber can go stale if you’re not brewing regularly. Along with that, a doser is inconvenient if you’re regularly changing your grind size or type of coffee beans because there is a risk that the different coffee grounds can mix.
Dosing by Time
All three versions of the Mazzer Mini espresso grinder dose by time, but each does it slightly differently.
The original doser model uses a simple timer, which is a big part of its affordability. You turn a knob on the side of the grinder, and it continues grinding until the knob is back to zero, like you’d find on simple toaster ovens or cheaper burr grinders. The grinding time can be between 0 and 60 seconds. This is not an accurate way to dose coffee, but it doesn’t matter in this case because the mechanism in the doser itself does the dosing.
The electronic versions rely on programmable timed grinding for improved accuracy, but setting the timer is more complicated in the Type B model.
- In Type A, a control panel atop the funnel makes programming simple. There are separate buttons for a single shot and a double shot; you can set each to the dose you prefer. There is also a button for continuous grinding.
- In Type B, there is no control panel. You need to set the timing of a single shot dose using a screwdriver. However, once you set it, dosing is as simple as pushing a button (once for a single shot, double-click for a double dose, and hold down for manual). While the screwdriver step sounds like a hassle, this grinder has a lovely workflow if you don’t plan to change the dose regularly.
Grinding Capability – 4/5
There is a difference between the models in terms of grinding capability. All three versions share the same powerful 250 Watt motor, stepless grind adjustment, and excellent grind quality. While you can grind for any brew method, from French press to drip coffee to Turkish coffee, these grinders are designed for espresso. A stepless grinder makes it possible to dial in the perfect espresso grind with great precision thanks to near infinite grind settings but makes it difficult to switch back and forth between coarse and fine grinds.
Where the three grinders differ is in their burr sets. The original Mazzer Mini has 58 mm flat steel burrs, while the electronic versions have 64 mm flat steel burrs. All other things are equal. Larger burrs are better because they allow faster grinding. There are a few advantages to grinding faster. It’s more efficient in a busy setting and limits heat generation, which means better flavour from the coffee beans. And larger burrs last longer explains Chase Lemos of Nuova Recambi, an espresso machine parts supplier (4).
The size of the burr will influence the amount of work a set of burrs are able to do. The larger the burr, the more spread out the job of breaking down the bean will be, and the longer the burr will last.
Whether you prefer flat or conical burrs is a matter of personal preferences, but flat burrs are more common in high-end grinders because they offer improved grind consistency. Better grind consistency means a more even extraction and a cleaner cup with greater clarity of flavour. Conical burrs produce more fines, producing espresso with a heavier body, more texture, and muddier flavours.
A common criticism of flat burr grinders is that they have higher grind retention (5). Some modern grinders have added tricks to alleviate this – small bellows and knockers – but the Mazzer Mini has no such devices. This is a direct result of its commercial grinder roots, as retention is less of an issue in a coffee shop setting. There are some tricks and modifications you can find online to improve grind retention in the Mini, but generally, this is not the right grinder if you don’t plan to use it frequently. And it is undoubtedly not a grinder to use for single dosing.
Value for Money – 3/5
I’ve found that the price of the Mazzer Mini models varies significantly between dealers, so it is worth shopping around. Typically, the original model with the doser runs between half and two-thirds the cost of the electronic models. There can also be pretty wide price swings (upwards of $100) between different finishes and colours of the Mini, so be sure to account for your aesthetic needs in your budget.
The Mazzer Mini was made for small coffee shops, restaurants, or espresso carts, and in those contexts, it offers excellent value.
It is an equally great pick as a secondary grinder in a larger business. For most home users, however, it is difficult to say the Mazzer Mini is worth the price. It depends on how much coffee you make. This is a workhorse espresso grinder with impressive build quality and durability, and that’s what you’re paying for. Suppose you’re a coffee lover who only makes a few espresso shots a day. In that case, you don’t need that kind of durability, and you might be better off putting your budget towards other grinders with bigger burrs, more programmability, or cooler style.
For example, the Fiorenzato F4 coffee grinder has the same price and burr set as the original Mazzer Mini but is equipped with programmable controls and a friendly user interface. Likewise, you’ll see in our review of the Mahlkonig X54 that it has a slightly smaller burr set but more intuitive controls. Or the Fiorenzato AllGround has a 64 mm flat burr set, a programmable touchscreen, and gorgeous style – for less than the cost of the Mazzer Mini B Type.
Don’t Buy the Mazzer Mini Espresso Grinder If…
You want something for a medium or large coffee shop: While the Mazzer Mini is commercially rated, as its name suggests, it’s not designed for high-volume settings like busy cafes. In this case, you should opt for one of Mazzer’s less mini models like the famous Mazzer Super Jolly. The Super Jolly has 64 mm burrs, a 2.7-pound bean hopper, and the durability to withstand heavy use. You can read more about it in our Mazzer Super Jolly grinder review.
You prefer conical burrs: If you prefer the flavour profile of an espresso prepared with a conical burr grinder, there are a few options on the market – though fewer than you’ll find for flat burrs (6). The obvious choice is the Niche Zero, which is around the same price as the Mini and even uses a set of Mazzer burrs.
If you’re willing to drop a bit more cash, there is a gorgeous Kafatek grinder with conical burrs, though like the Niche, it is single-dosing. If you want a premium electric conical burr coffee grinder with a hopper, the next step up is the Mazzer Kony, but it’s nearly twice the price of the Mazzer Mini and is substantially larger.
You don’t make espresso: Can the Mazzer Mini grind for drip coffee? Yes. Should you spend this kind of money on an espresso grinder that won’t be used for espresso? Probably not. Instead, I’d suggest one of the Eureka Mignon grinders, like the Filtro, or perhaps the stylish and compact Fellow Ode. Both have larger flat burrs than the Mazzer Mini and are less expensive.
The Mazzer Mini has been popular for a long time, and for a good reason. It is a coffee grinder that works well and will continue to work for as long as you need it, even under heavy workloads. This makes it an excellent choice for light-duty commercial work or for households that make a lot of espressos. But not everyone will get their money’s worth from the Mazzer Mini grinder. If you only make a few shots a day, you can find a less expensive grinder with similar specs that is more suited for domestic use.
- Stanley, Z. (2022, April 14). How is the home espresso machine market evolving? Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2022/04/home-espresso-machine-evolution/
- Berson, A. (2013, October 1). Let’s Visit a Coffee Factory: Mazzer Grinders of Gardigiano, Italy. Retrieved from https://sprudge.com/mazzer-factory-tour-44860.html
- Barista Magazine. (2014, December 30). La Marzocco Home Grinder: Collaboration with Mazzer. Retrieved from https://www.baristamagazine.com/la-marzocco-home-grinder-collaboration-mazzer/
- Lemos, C. (2018, July 17). Espresso Grinder Burrs: What’s the Difference? Retrieved from https://coffeetechniciansguild.org/blog/2018/7/17/espresso-grinder-burrs-whats-the-difference
- Petrich, I.L. (2020, May 12). Coffee grinders: What’s the difference between conical & flat burr grinders? Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2020/05/conical-vs-flat-burr-coffee-grinders-difference
- 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/