Thanks for the feedback. My biggest concern now for the Niche is the March (or later) delivery time for the black model. The Wife is not a fan of white appliances.
The E37S is another good alternative, and the refurb cost is exactly the same as the ECM Titan. It's ugly, though. Not quite as ugly as the Niche (IMHO, of course
), but it's not pretty. The E37S won the low-retention award in the October WLL grinder review, with the ECM being one of the runners-up. The technical specs being so close I'd likely give the nod to the ECM model on aesthetics alone.
I have a feeling it's going to be the ECM. I truly don't think I'll get any better a grinding experience or taste out of it compared to the cheaper Niche, but a rounded, curvy, asymmetric white or black appliance sitting next to the gleaming, angular Synchronika will not have a high WAF number compared to the identically styled ECM.
I think part of the fun in the period of 'window shopping' at the beginning, and working out what is important for you and your set up.
I had a lot of fun considering machines last year when I bought the Synchronika, and I've been very, very happy with that machine even though it's overkill for our usage pattern. It confirms for me that buying something you love to live with, work with and look at is just as important at this level as something that will simply get the job done. Coffee is an important part of my morning and a very important part of my weekend... if it was just about the caffiene I'd slam a no-doze and call it good.