Posted by Barrett Ellis on 20th Feb 2021 (*Commissioned Review*)
My first pro home grinder was the Rocket Fausto, made by Eureka. Honestly it turned me into a major fan of Eureka grinders! They are elegant, and pack a punch in a small(er) size. Your pocketbook is still going to hurt a bit regardless, but my guess is you are here because you are ready to upgrade your grinder, or maybe its your first espresso grinder. When I took the plunge there was a few items that drove me crazy about my old grinder.
- The static was terrible, especially in the winter. These mostly plastic grinders just clung to the grounds and any chaff. The counter was usually a mess, there was a bit of waste. A definite annoyance.
- With my mostly plastic grinder it was ok for the courser grinding but when using with my Rocket espresso machine, which requires a fine espresso grind, it put a lot of wear on the grinder. Particularly the adjustment rings and burr holders would crack on a semi regular basis.
- Lastly, these all plastic grinders are LOUD! This was before I had kids, but if my wife wanted to sleep in, this grinder could be used as a wakeup call.
When I was on the hunt for my upgrade from the Baratza, there was not a lot of options. What I did not have at the time was the Eureka Mignon. The Mignon lands somewhere between my Baratza and the Rocket Fausto (which I choose at the time, also the Fausto is similar to the Eureka Atom 65). Only looking from a cost standpoint, the popular Baratza 270 is about $499, and the Rocket Fausto is roughly $1,450. There were a few grinders falling between those two price points, but at the time nothing that really struck my fancy.
Obviously Eureka noticed this and came out with the Mignon. There are many variants, I am looking at the Mignon Specialita in particular. Priced at around mid $700, it is a great price point.
Lets keep in mind, we want a grinder with a more consistent grind which leads to a better shot, but we also want less static, higher build quality and hopefully quieter.
The Eureka Mignon arrived in an ordinary cardboard box (right side) with fancy Eureka tape holding the flaps shut. In large letters “Made in Italy”. I don't know what comes to your mind, but for me Italian cars and Italian coffee are two things I can get excited about.
It is always exhilarating to slice open the tape and hope our expectations are about to be met. Inside the box, Eureka has the grinder and associated parts nestled into fitted pieces of foam. There are not many parts. The grinder, the hopper with lid, and the portafilter fork was detached from the machine.
Assembly takes no tools, but they include a hex key to adjust the portafilter fork if need be. Insert the hopper into the grinder. The portafilter fork itself pops into the front of the grinder and you are ready to go.
I like taking a quick look from top to bottom, so here is my first impressions. The hopper is square which is not the norm. Most are round or roundish. The hopper is kind of cool for a change and the dimensions of the hopper match the dimensions of the machine making it look nice together. The lid is also square and totally clear. It fits on the hopper snugly and in a way gives the grinder a clean look. The adjustment dial is similar to other Eureka grinders. It seems less refined but feels and functions like all the classic Eureka adjustment dials. The dark display with white numbers and icons looks extremely good on this grinder, it really pops and doesn’t have that gross backlit display look. The display viewing angle also seemed ideal to me. Getting down to the bottom of the grinder, the portafilter fork looks like it has a lot to be desired, but more on that later. The very bottom, something is missing that I am kind of accustomed to having with my grinders, a loose grounds tray. I guess Eureka thinks their grinder is clean! Hope they are right.
I don't want to get too excited with any new product, I like to see if it really holds up to what I hope to be true. First impressions overall, it looks great but is shockingly small. I have a few larger grinders that I am used to, but still, it is deceptively compact. Its about the side of most of the Baratza grinders but in a much more elegant package. The overall height is shorter than my espresso machine. This thing isn’t going to take up a lot of room on the countertop, and if clearance under your kitchen cabinets are a concern, I would not have any concerns here.
I am guessing many people are here to read how does it stack up to the Baratza 270, or other similarly sized/priced grinders such as the Smart Grinder Pro, etc. Obviously the Mignon is more expensive but comparable size and seems to be the next logical step if you are in the market for an upgrade. I reviewed the Baratza 270 a while back and was really impressed with the grinder. It was capable of grinding a wide array of grounds including drip, V60, down to espresso. When it comes to espresso I am not a huge fan of the “jack of all trades” all purpose grinder. Espresso grinders require minor adjustments as the beans change, so changing from drip to espresso is going to make you frustrated when you cannot easily switch between the two settings. The ability to grind as fine as Turkish, and as course as French press is no problem with this grinder. If you find your self regularly grinding beans for pour over or drip, make sure to check out the optional coffee ground basket which its onto the front of the grinder. Simple remove the portafilter fork, which does not require any tools to do so, and place the bin in front of the grinder. Overall I much prefer the Mignon over the 270. Below is a pic of my Baratza Preciso next to the Mignon.
A similarly sized grinder, and also another very popular grinder is the Breville Smart Grinder Pro.
The Mignon utilizes a stepless grind setting which I think is a big deal! It is extremely similar to other grinders in the Eureka Lineup. No clicking the settings, you just turn the dial searching for the perfect setting! Personally I don't recommend the Mignon as a multi purpose grinder. I consider the Mignon a nice little dedicated espresso grinder.
Sometimes I like to use a funnel if I am going to WDT my grinds. If the term is new, google WDT espresso. The funnel I use is not terribly tall. For the Mignon, don’t plan on putting a funnel on your grinder prior to grinding. Plan on grinding into the portafilter, and if you want to whisk the grounds, put the funnel on afterwards. For me the funnel did not fit under the chute, but even if it did, I don't think it would trigger the dose button. Those of you with a Breville or a Baratza grinder might have become really accustomed to using a funnel because they can be a messy grinder. The Mignon is surprisingly clean. I might get a few grounds fall out on the counter, but its not that classic “spray” where the grinds are everywhere and stick to all the plastic. If you know, you know….
Now is as good of a time as any to talk about static. My personal experience was a static laden Baratza Preciso (discontinued). I was so tired of the static mess. Half the time it was just a messy grinder in general, the other half of the time it was static causing additional mess. One thing that is amazing about grinders with metal cases and metal burr chambers is that they seem to produce far less static. The static might not be zero, but it is drastically reduced. For me, the Mignon was comparable in mess to most of the newer grinders I have used. One of my criteria was met, at least much better than the Preciso. A trick I use for a clean counter is a very cheap 2 inch paint brush that I keep in my drawer to sweep up any mess at the end of the day.
All the anticipation has built up to this point, its time to start pulling shots but first to dial it in. Using the grinder is simple. It utilizes electronic dosing for the timing. The grind adjustment you can make courser or finer with the adjustment knob. Getting a grinder set up can be a daunting task, especially if it is your first time. I usually say to focus on the grind setting first, and weigh out an 18 gram dose. That way you are not trying to adjust the grind and the time duration at the same time which usually leads to a ton of frustration.
I ground into a cup, honestly very fluffy ground. The clump buster does a great job of breaking up the large clumps. The grind quality seems very good and will only get better as the burrs break in!
Once you get your grind dialed in fairly close, there are + and - buttons on the display to change the shot grinding time. Again I recommend using a scale to get as close to your desired shot weight as possible.
Speaking of the display, some grinders use a button on the screen or elsewhere to trigger the dose. The Mignon uses a small button directly above the portafilter cradle to trigger the dose. Slam your portafilter into place hitting the button and it will begin to grind. If you need to pause the grinder, you can tap the button again. If you choose to continue to grind tap a third time and it will pick up where it left off. If for whatever reason you started grinding, canceled the dose and wish to reset the timer, click and hold the double or single shot button until the timer resets. I have used grinders which have the dose button on the display and while not a big deal I really like the portafilter button as it is a feature found on many high end grinders and I feel has a better workflow.
The fork which guides your portafilter is definitely more of a guide than a holder in my opinion. While you can prop your portafilter in the machine hands free, it seemed very lacking to me. It wouldn't take much to make this design a lot better. When I pulled the grinder out the box and saw the fork, I thought this thing looks pretty flimsy. It is stamped sheet metal which is bent to form the piece. It pops into a slot in the front of the grinder without tools. After using amazing machined portafilter holders like on the Compak F8 or Mahlkoning I kind of like a nicer cradle. Let me take a step back though. The Compak and Mahlkonig are designed for a cafe. Someone throwing one filter into a grinder while they are throwing the second into an espresso machine, having a portafilter holder which can hold it hands free really helps them out. So while it is functional especially for a home setting, the form I think looks rough. When I used for the first time, I was surprised at how well they worked and how much I forgot about something that unimpressed me initially.
For me, I was pleasantly surprised with the Mignon, I enjoyed this grinder a lot! I was able to grind espresso quality grounds out of a smaller grinder, which takes up very little real-estate on the counter. Eureka grinders are so quiet! Some of these grinders are so loud that the bone rattling noise not only wakes you up prior to your first shot, but also your entire family! Pair that with a nice user interface, and a fluffy cloud of espresso grounds and you have a very nice value packed grinder!
I was curious about retention and possible ground transfer. To measure this, I run the grinder completely out of beans and pop the top and sweep all the grounds into a cup to weigh. I measured exactly 1 gram of grounds, but I feel like it could be slightly more than that. I did not remove the bottom burr although I did sweep the entire chamber out completely as well as push all the grinds out of the clump buster neck. My guess is that the Mignon retains between 1 and 1.2 grams which is honestly not very much.
If you are considering upgrading from some of the higher end beginner grinders, this is a nice fit if it fits your budget. I would definitely put this next to my espresso machine without hesitation. It has a high end look as well as being able to produce quality espresso grounds. Every cup was very good!
- Height = 350 mm
- Width = 120 mm
- Depth = 180 mm
- Hopper Capacity = 300 grams
- Motor: 1350 RPM, 310W motor, 120V
- Color options: State side the common colors are black, white and chrome, but direct from Eureka they offer 29 different color and finish variants!
Who is this Grinder for:
- A person that has been using a widely available consumer model that is wanting to upgrade to an introductory prosumer level grinder. I mentioned above grinders such as the Baratza or Breville. This is a fantastic upgrade.
- If this is your first prosumer level espresso grinder, and you choose to skip the consumer level grinders all together, this is a fantastic grinder to choose as it offers many professional features in a small package.
- Someone that wants style, form, function and an all purpose grinder.
- The grinder is very quiet. Comparing to a Baratza 270, its a loud whisper.
- Its very small, takes up little room on your counter.
- Stepless grind adjustment
- The Mignon is stylish. The model I reviewed had a polished case and modern design. It also comes in a variety of colors.
- Fluffy clump free grounds thanks to Eurekas ACE System (Anti Clumps & Electrostaticity). Very little grounds are retained within the chute or cling to the body of the grinder.
- The user interface is very easy to use. Eureka electronics are so intuitive.
- Portafilter dose trigger
- Relatively mess free. Some loose grounds might fall out, but is far less messy than many. For me, I had no static issues.
- Build quality seems high, especially when comparing against plastic grinders
- All purpose grinder with the ability to grind as fine as Turkish, and as course as French press.
- Optional grounds basket. Remove the portafilter fork (tool free) and place a grounds bin in its place for your pour over and drip needs.
- Eurekas "High Speed Maintenance" system allows you to easily open the top of your grinder within minutes with very few tools for a deeper grinder cleaning.
- While the 55mm burrs seem to suffice, larger would definitely be nicer! Some variants use 50mm burrs which are even smaller
- The portafilter cradle from an ascetic standpoint… well it looks cheap. Don't feel bad, they use almost the exact same cradle on their highest end grinder. Does it work? It does! Does it work well? I had no complaints in the end.
- Slower grind time with the smaller burrs. 8-10 seconds for a double shot isn’t that long, but it does take longer than some of Eurekas other grinders. The Fausto/Atom65 will do the same in 6-7 seconds, the Atom 75 will do the same within 3-4 seconds. A few seconds might not seem like a big deal, but is something to note.
- The hopper cut off flap was kind of annoying and in the way. Not a very good design, yet it does work if you wish to remove a full hopper from the grinder.
- If you are used to a Baratza, Smart Grinder Pro, etc. you might use your grinder for more than just espresso. While this can do more than just espresso, it is designed to be a dedicated espresso grinder. I find this as a pro! but some might not.
- Ground retention is a big deal now days. People want very little retention. The clump buster is going to retain some grounds. I recommend bumping the grinder on for a half second and discarding the grounds if that worries you.
Mignon Video from Barrett on Vimeo.
My classic under the hood shots, what's inside the grinder. Many people will probably never open their grinders although you should open for a good cleaning ever so often. Make sure to follow the manufacturers guidelines for maintenance.
A lot of photos , but I always enjoy photos. To take the Mignon apart, there is a Phillips head screw behind the badge. Be careful when removing it. I used a very tiny screw driver to pop the badge free. See below.
The top lifts off as shown, be careful as there are tabs on the front of this cover that might be damaged or break off. Just be mindful and you will be okay.
To remove the top burr from the grind chamber, unscrew these three Philips head screws. Before you remove, use a sharpie to mark the orientation of of the burr holder. This is important as you do not want your grinder to become out of alignment. It might not be perfectly aligned but I always mark mine as shown. When you tighten the screws again for reassembly be careful as the top plate and the grind chamber is aluminum. You do not want to bend the burr holder or strip a screw.
With the top burr holder removed you can clean both burrs as well as inspect them for any major damage or for dullness.
You should not need to disassemble your grinder any further, but possibly your chute gets very gummed up over time. It shouldn't be very bad, but if so, there is another Philips head screw right above the button you use to trigger the dose. At the top above the display there are (2) 3mm hex screws that will need to be removed as well.
Similar to removing the top, be careful of the two tabs at the bottom, you do not want to break these off on accident. The wiring also can be delicate.
The previous photo was taken with the chute cover already removed, but normally it will look like the photo below with the black rubber cover. It pops off quite easily and you can clean the chute.
You will notice this zigzag piece of metal at the top. This is your clump buster. Some people think this makes the grinder retain too many previous grounds. They might be right, but these clump busters do a great job with breaking clumps and removing some of the static from the beans. If you are worried about some of yesterdays ground being stuck here, I recommend bumping the grinder on for a half second just to purge the old grounds. This metal is very delicate, don't bend or mess with it or you might damage them.
A comparison picture of other Eureka grinders. Below from Left to right, the Rocket Fausto (65mm burr), Atom 75 (75mm burr), and the Mignon Specialita (55mm burr)
Another comparison picture with the top covers removed. From left to right, Mignon Specialita (55mm burr), Rocket Fausto made by Eureka (65mm burr), and Atom 75 (75mm burr)
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