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Pulling the Mazzer Mini out of the box, I almost wondered if it was cast and machined from a single piece of metal. It has that solid a feel. The picture of the Mazzer Mini at the beginning of this article is my own and it's had its fair share of [ab]use. I've tossed it in a canvas bag without the hopper and hauled it on vacation. Numerous times I've brought it to friends' houses for a quick espresso jam without bothering to box it up.
My treatment of the Mini for these jaunts isn't born entirely of laziness, but a confidence in the solid construction and hard clear-coat silver exterior finish. With the exception of a few scratches on the hopper, you would have to inspect it closely to pick it out of a lineup of models having seen only a day or two of use.
The Mini's body is proportioned nicely to match prosumer espresso equipment. It is fairly tall at 17¾ inches, but a narrow seven inches; ten inches of countertop space is a working minimum and twelve inches allows for elbowroom. If you plan on locating it on your countertop under kitchen cabinets, it will be a manageable but tight fit.
To adjust the coffee grind setting, you rotate the large knurled chrome-plated collar that encircles the throat of the grinder by grasping it in both hands. You can get added leverage by using your thumb to press against the small arm jutting out from the side of the collar (see the collar arm with the black end cap on the left in the photo above). The rotation is reluctant because the upper burr carrier is under the tension of three stiff springs pushing it firmly against the adjustment collar. This may require a little extra effort on your part, but the benefit of the Mazzer's patented "floating collar" design is that the burr carrier remains firmly in place and can't jiggle in its already tight threads. From the towering Major to the Mini, all Mazzers have this same adjustment mechanism. It does require a firm grip and a little strength, but once you've gotten the hang of it, it's not difficult to move even from the espresso setting all the way to the coarser settings required for drip or presspot coffee.
The Minis are the only grinder of the six that has an indication of the recommended starting point for "normal" espresso. In the photo to the right, the current setting is four notches coarser than the factory setting, as indicated by the black wide arrow pointing towards the dial and the heavy notch front and center of the grinder (the FINE and COARSE arrows point in the direction that you should rotate the collar; larger numbers stamped on the collar indicate coarser grind). The sticker's "start here" point is individually calibrated at the factory and is accurate. Many owners report that they rarely need to rotate the collar more than one-half inch away in either direction from the factory recommended setting. As a rough rule of thumb, the setting for decaffeinated coffee will tend to be a few notches below the factory setting and very fresh, high moisture content blends will be a few notches higher.
Note: Don't expect that the large numbers 0–9 will be the same as another owner's settings. That is, a "2" will not necessarily be the same granularity on your Mazzer Mini as it is on someone else's. The placement of the factory sticker compensates for the differences in manufacturing from one unit to the next.