1Zpresso Zp6 and JS Unboxing, First Impressions, and Review

Grinders are one of the keys to exceptional espresso. Discuss them here.
marcoffee

#1: Post by marcoffee »

Hello everyone! I'm pretty new to the specialty coffee world but I am no stranger to obsessive sensory hobbies. I wanted to make my first post on this forum something worthwhile. Thus I bring you:

1Zpresso Zp6 and 1Zpresso JS Unboxing and First Impressions

These two hand-grinders are sort of a Chinese and Taiwanese secret and that is saying a lot having 1Zpresso only gaining more traction recently. While the JS is shown in their English site 1zpresso.coffee (previously 1zpresso.co), it is perpetually unavailable. The Zp6 only surfaces on Chinese forums and their Chinese webpage 1zpresso.com.

These two are what the brand claims to be their filter coffee focused grinders creating minimal fines allowing you to extract further before bitterness and astringency and also allowing a cleaner profile in the cup. Interestingly enough, what 1Zpresso claims to be their 'best' or specialised filter coffee grinders aren't available anywhere outside of Taiwan though there are sales to mainland China. The JS was initially available via e-mail order but that is no longer being accepted currently. Having messaged them on Facebook, they were thankfully quite responsive. They mentioned that the two are Taiwan platform exclusives in the meantime and that the JX or the JX-Pro is more than enough and is also what they also enjoy for filter coffee. With 1Zpresso not being the most accessible in my country, it made no sense to me to ship in a grinder that isn't even their best for the particular style of coffee.

For reference, many say that the JX and the Comandante create very similar cup profiles. In one sieve test done on a Chinese forum, the JS at around $110 creates around 2.5% less fines than both those grinders. 1Zpresso in one situation claimed that the Zp6 with an identical burr set but with further optimised alignment and burr cage design allows for around 2% less than the JS. 4.5% less fines below 400 micron is quite a difference with filter coffee should the actual use back this up.

Finally,




1Zpresso JS

The JS comes in a black box with a cute diagram/depiction of the grinder from the top view.



Upon opening, you're immediately greeted by the the user manual and grind setting guide in both English and Chinese. The description and guides in the user manual, I think, are fine enough but they also offer QR codes leading you to their Youtube page with a video guide.



The accessories for the JS are relatively sparse only offering a dual-sided brush along the main body and hand crank. The grinder isn't wrapped protectively but the dense foam in the box seemed adequate for international shipping. It is quite a beautiful hand grinder made with nicely polished aluminium and an anti-slip rubber with both larger and mini striations for better grip.



They chose the grounds bin to hold the silica gel I believe to minimise moisture that might accumulate inside the unit during shipping. I'm not sure how safe that is so I did give it a good wipe before use.




The JS is overall a very smooth product but not without its manufacturing flaws. There is a noticeable scratch in the grounds bin. 2 of this size and 2 thinner but longer scratches. I'm not really sure if they are scratches or break in the aluminium but they are noticeable. Thankfully during use, I find myself forgetting that there are any issues. The rest of the body so far has no similar scratches but I've yet to fully disassemble the grinder so I'll be updating this.




The grinder has a metal stepped adjustment with a numbered guide per revolution. 10 numbers on the dial with a total of 3 clicks per number so a total of 30 clicks per revolution. The English side of the manual claims a 75 micron pitch per number (and the Chinese side adds more detail offering 25 micron adjustments per click. Maybe they do believe the rest of the world can do some math).




The lid on the crank handle is a clear plastic allowing you a view to the beans inside. This is something I didn't realize I would appreciate coming from the metal lid of the Helor 101. The connection between the lid and the arm of the handle has even smoother soldering or attachment than the Helor which is no slouch. The body is slightly thicker than the Helor but not noticeably so. It's still quite slimmer than the Comandante C40 which I actually do find to be a bit too wide around. The JS is a pleasure to hold and to grind with having very smooth bearings. It is quite heavy though coming it at 710.5g (Helor 101 at 583.5g). Anyone who's used another grinder from the J series, the JX, or the JE, would find that the JS is identical in almost every way except the burr set.

I tried grinding at a setting just past burr rub and I do get grounds that look fine enough for espresso. I don't have access to a machine currently so I'll be commenting on that in my final review but it does look impressively uniform. I'm unsure whether 25 micron adjustments are good enough for espresso though. The Kinu M47 by comparison, if I recall correctly, offers 10 micron markings and is a stepless adjustment.




1Zpresso Zp6

The Zp6, I believed named as an abbreviation of "Z-Pro 6", the Z-Pro being their oriignal grinder to offer a similar axle, adjustment, and cage design/set-up. The 6 is indicative of the number of faces/edges on the inner burr. Its box is similar to that of the JS but longer, taller, but narrower.



This grinder, supposedly a flagship for filter coffee, comes only with a general manual for two separate grinder units, the Z-Pro series and the E series and not even a dedicated Zp6 manual. On one side of the manual are guides to both grinder designs in Chinese. On the other side is the same guide but also in Chinese... just in the traditional Chinese script.

The unit thankfully comes with a bit more accessories: a cloth carry pouch, a silicon grip for better grip, a mini rocket blower, the double-sided brush, and a retighten-able, plastic covering for the main unit.




It's quite an okay kit and while I'm not a fan of the giant numberings on the external adjustment dial. It still is quite a sleek looking grinder.



No more getting grounds on your hands while adjusting the grind setting!



Sadly, the finishing on this flagship unit is actually worse than the JS with similar markings on the grounds bin.



The locking/adjustment cap on the axle was also quite scratched. Maybe it's something that happens over time as the bottom of the crank handle lid is also metal but I would expect a mark-free one on a new unit.



My biggest gripe, however, was that unlike every grinder I've used so far, the Zp6's crank handle was a strain to lock into the axle. Either the axle was too wide or the hole on the crank handle was too narrow. In the beginning, I was able to lift the whole grinder up just by holding the wooden ball. Where I would be sliding off the lid on another grinder, I'd have to pry it off on the Zp6. I forcefully put it on and removed it repeatedly until it wore down a bit to a point that is fine with me. It left quite a few bits of metal shavings on the locking cap proving that it was a sizing issue. The axle on my unit was also worn down relative to the smoother finish on the JS.



I am not trying to defend the company by saying I think despite a theoretically excellent grind performance, the flagship unit just isn't ready for international release. I think there's not enough of a demand or hype around it that they're able to churn out newer parts for assembly. The JS shares many parts with the more available models and would make sense that it is a more consistent and polished product.

Another note is that the Zp6 is a SLIM grinder. While with a wide head for an external adjustment, my fingers are able to meet while holding the Zp6 whereas it would be a few centimetres apart on the JS and Helor. Loading beans on the JS directly from the bag and even from reversing the grounds bin was easier on the JS having larger openings and a 2-spoke design instead of the 3-spoke on the Zp6.



A word on the Zp6 adjustment: it's capped. The bottom adjustment on the JS, Helor, Comandante, etc. allow you a full range of grind sizes from fully closed to before the adjustment knob pops off. That's coarse enough to double grind if you want which I have done on my Helor to amazing results. The Zp6 does not allow that having an adjustment lock on both ends of the grind spectrum. I think the coarsest would be on the finer end of a cold brew; coarse enough for cold brew but I guess not enough if you like REALLY coarse cold brew and longer steep times. From fully locked, it has a total 60 clicks per full revolution and 72 clicks before it reaches the lock on coarsest. They recommend a "3.5 to 4.5" setting for filter coffee so that translates to 35 to 45 clicks and was quite a spread from medium fine to medium coarse so definitely decent enough for filter coffee. Burr rub disappears at around 10-11 clicks so you have maybe 26 clicks from "espresso" to v60 which honestly does not seem like a lot.

Maybe the Zp6 and JS CAN grind fine enough for espresso but does it create enough fines for a proper flow and does it have enough range for adjusting shots? According to Chinese forums, no. But maybe yes with fancier pressure profiling machines.

I'll be seasoning both grinders with a 1kg of light roast each at an espresso setting before making any final claims on grind quality. My initial notes are that it does produce noticeably less fines than the Helor 101 visually.

ARehmat

#2: Post by ARehmat »

Nice writeup. One thing that I would suggest you do it to remove the wooden handle and grease the joint to make it smoother and prevent it squeaking. I think that they have a new english site located at 1zpresso.coffee. Also interestingly the JX and JX-Pro are not sold on the Taiwan site.
LMWDP 676 | Upgraditis: Currently in remission...

marcoffee

#3: Post by marcoffee » replying to ARehmat »

Just updated with the details on the Zp6! Yeah they just moved domains today or within the last few days. It seems that mainlanders are able to source JX and JX Pro units but you are correct in that they aren't available in their Taiwan store nor site. Maybe because the JX is supposed to be do-it-all unit like a Comandante but they offer the JE and the JS for more specialisation locally? Who knows, really.

marcoffee

#4: Post by marcoffee »

[Reserved for Final Review]

GregoryJ
Supporter ♡

#5: Post by GregoryJ »

Great first post! I really like the slimmer design and external adjustment of the K-pro, which seems to have the same form factor as the z-pro. I've been using the K-pro for moka pot, pour over and French press. It can grind for espresso in a pinch, but grinding espresso with an electric grinder is just much more convenient.

tigonridge

#6: Post by tigonridge »

Wow! I can't believe someone finally did an English review on the ZP6, which is nearly impossible to obtain. I'm sad that you can no longer order one through email. Please do update your review.

The cosmetic blemishes are definitely worrisome, but perhaps their internationally shipped items receive higher quality care, because I can't remember a single complaint about scratches on their JE/E-Pro/K-Pro/JX/JX-Pro models.