Gaggia MDF8002 Coffee Grinder Review

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gaggia-mdf-coffee-grinder

Introduction

While Gaggia MDF Coffee Grinder is still an entry-level burr grinder, it’s definitely a step up from the real budget-friendly models such as Baratza Encore or Bodum Bistro. With a 50mm burr size and commercial grade burrs, it produces consistent grinds for many brewing methods from French Press (most coarse) to espresso (finer). Like many products of this kind, the Gaggia MDF has its own pros and cons in terms of functionality and userbility.

Table of Contents
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1. Introduction
2. Grinding
3. Hopper Size & Material
4. Controls
5. Dispensing
6. Housing Material
7. Additional Features
8. Clean & Maintenance
9. Included Accessories
10. Dimensions & Weight
11. Warranty
12. Pros & Cons
13. Consumer Reviews
14. Price
15. Summary

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Grinding

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As mentioned in the Introduction, the diameter of the burrs is 50 mm which provides a larger surface for grinding. The flat burrs made of stainless steel are durable and resistant to acidity and corrosion.

There are three-part to the inner of the grinder: a motor of 120 watts, a gear reduction component and the upper and lower burrs. Although the motor generates 1200 revolutions per minute (RPMs), the gear reduction system is designed to reduce the revolution at 11 to 1 ratio. So the 1200 RPMs are reduced to 109 RPMs at the burr level. The benefits of the decreased RPMs are several-folds:

  • It generates minimal amount of heat so the coffee stays cool to prevent oxidization for maximum retention of aroma.
  • Very little static is created for easier dosing.
  • Noise level is controlled so you won’t wake up the whole house early in the morning.

Hopper Size & Material

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The hopper sits on top of the grinder and has a capacity for 10-ounce coffee beans. It’s made of thermo-plastic and can be removed for emptying beans when switching from one kind to another and for easy access to the burrs when cleaning.

Controls

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It has 34 grind settings from fine to coarse (low to high). Many customers have said using it for espresso, the dial should be between #5 to 7. Granted each batch of beans and roasting will dictate the minor grind adjustment. The grind size will also affect the tamping pressure and extraction time. It’s up to you to test these variables until a perfect espresso shot is pulled.

It’s always recommended to adjust the grind setting while it’s on and the hopper is loaded with beans. Otherwise you may risk damaging the motor.

Dispensing

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The Gaggia MDF is equipped with a doser. What it means is that the coffee beans are ground and flown through a chute into a dosing mechanism consisting of 6 compartments with a total capacity of 8 ounces. By pulling the lever forward once, it’s supposed to dose about 7 grams of ground coffee for one shot and twice for a double shot to a portafilter basket.

There is nothing wrong with the design but in reality, it has several flaws. First, there is always some residue ground coffee stuck in the chute. To get it out, you’ll have to use a gadget to push it out; Second, the dosing amount is not always precise. You might have to dose an additional amount to fill the basket and the chance of overdosing or making a mess on the counter is great. Third, the ground coffee container is slightly tinted so it’s hard to see what’s left.

The remedy is to dose the ground coffee into another container and then scoop the ground into the filter basket. For those folks who like to have  the exact amount, you can weigh the grounds before loading them up into the basket. I know it’s an extra step than dosing directly, but you’ll save some aggravation from cleaning the loose grounds.

Housing Material

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The housing is made of ABS plastic in black and containers slightly tinted to reduce UVA rays to preserve the freshness of coffee.

Additional Features

Only one rocket switch on the lower right side for On/Off without a timer. It’s not the fastest grinder for sure and one customer said it took about 30 seconds to grind a double shot worth. I am sure you’ll gather your insight from doing it a few times as  different grind settings will determine the speed. The good news is that you may not have to grind a few pounds at a time for home use so the speed shouldn’t be a major heartache.

One of the complaints is that the MDF doesn’t have rubber feet to prevent from sliding. In fact, the unit is sturdy enough and it doesn’t slide when grinding. But as an insurance, you might add a few furniture felts under the feet very inexpensively.

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How to Clean

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It takes a bit effort to clean the unit by removing the bean hopper, ground coffee container and top burrs. Then use either a brush to thorough clean out the coffee residue, better yet a hand vacuum to get the coffee from the nook and cranny of the grinding chamber, the chute and dispenser.

After cleaning, reassemble each part back into the grinder. You might need to calibrate it to make sure it’s set in an absolute zero where the top and bottom burrs are in contact when spinning.

Gaggia provides detailed instructions on how to disassemble, cleaning and reassemble the parts.

Included Accessories

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Other than the User Manual in multiple languages, including English, I couldn’t find any information on whether or not other accessories will be included in the purchase.

Power & Cord

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  • Motor Power (W): 120
  • Voltage/Frequency (V-Hz): 110/50/60

Dimensions & Weight

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  • Dimensions (W x D x H inches): 4.5 x 8.5 x 11.5
  • Weight (lbs): 10

Warranty

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1 year limited warranty

Pros & Cons

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Pros

  • Great value for the money
  • Consistent grinds with a wide range (34) of setting options for different brewing methods
  • Well-built with some commercial-grade parts such as the burrs to last for a long time
  • Easy to dial in the setting and fool-proof to operate with only one switch

Cons

  • The doser has the right design feature but cumbersome to dose the right amount into a filter basket without making a mess.
  • It’s slower in grinding comparing to other models in the market.
  • The User Manual is very sketchy and hard to follow with multiple language versions for each section.

Consumer Reviews

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4.0 out of 5.0

79% of the reviewers have rated the Gaggia MDF as 4-5 stars because it produces consistent grind for various brewing methods, especially for espresso. The use-friendliness for adjusting grind setting and operation is also an appreciated factor. The most cited reason is that it offers the best value for the price range.

Across the board, the biggest gripe is about the doser that it’s messy and hard to dose the exact amount.

Price

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As you might know the price for any given product on Amazon fluctuates from day to day. At this review, it was under $250. I did a quick search in Google and the price ranged from $240 to $299. It pays to shop around and keep an eye for promotion by certain retailers either in the store or online.

Summary of Gaggia MDF Coffee Grinder

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Other than a few annoying issues such as the imprecise dosing amount and the flimsy lever, it’s a great burr grinder for the money. It’s very easy to dial in a grind setting for making espresso, drip coffee and anything in between. Although the unit is made largely in thermo-plastic, it’s well-constructed and sturdy on the counter while not taking massive space. If you’ve set your budget for under $300, this is a serious contender. It pairs so well with the Gaggia Classic or Rancilio Silver V3 Espresso Machine.

 

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