July 29, 2013

Solofill SoloGrind 2-in-1 Coffee Grinder Review

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If you’re like us, you don’t always like the idea of having to pay a premium for licensed K-Cups and with the explosion of knock-off K-Cups being manufactured by 3rd-party companies over the past few years, you’re either left with inferior quality products or outstanding products which can be almost as costly as the licensed versions.

The solution? Solofill’s re-usable filters for Keurig K-Cup & Vue brewers which allow you to use whatever brand of ground coffee you like. The only problem we kept running into was that we’d always end up grinding way more coffee than we intended to use and had to either brew several cups at once or use up the ground coffee ASAP the next day to prevent it from going stale. It wasn’t the best solution for those of us who just wanted to use 1 Solofill serving at a time, so the folks at Solofill decided to work on a solution.

While it’s been mentioned in our forums that this is nothing more than a re-badged & re-branded Mr. Coffee BMX3 grinder, we’ll admit that the appearances do in fact seem pretty similar. We know Solofill manufacture their own K-Cup & Vue Pack filters as well as K-Cup storage systems, but we didn’t picture them as a company that would design a coffee grinder from the ground up (pun intended). We also didn’t deem it necessary trying to confirm if this was indeed a re-branded BMX3 and to be honest, we couldn’t care less... as long as it gets the job done as advertised, that’s all that matters to us. Considering the fact that you get a Solofill-compatible filter holder and a $15 Solofill K3 Chrome filter at no extra cost seems like a pretty decent bargain considering the (on average) $60 price tag. We’ve seen far inferior and less versatile grinders being sold for that price range in-store and online, so we’re happy with our purchase.

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The Solofill SoloGrind 2-in-1 Coffee Grinder is a standard low RPM burr grinder which can brew directly into the included K3 Chrome filter or can brew up to 10-cups worth of ground coffee in the included storage container for use with your other brew methods. You start off by dumping your coffee beans in the hopper, adjusting the grind coarseness wheel on the back of the grinder (we found the grind level just before B-level gave the best results), then adjust the time dial for how long you want the grinder to run (time levels 3 and 4 seemed to work best for us) and finally insert your Solofill filter into the holder then press the start button.

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The Solofill SoloGrind 2-in-1 Coffee Grinder will grind the beans at the selected coarseness for the selected amount of time, then turn itself off. It took a bit of experimenting (and much mess clean-up) until we found the settings that worked best for us, so don’t give up if you overfill the filter or get the grind level wrong during the first several tries. Since grind coarseness affects the overall taste of a coffee, you may have to keep tweaking the grind settings until you find the one which gives you your desired results. We had some of this year’s Starbucks Tribute Blend hanging around in whole bean format, so we decided to give that a try and compare the results to the retail K-Cup version. Once all was said & done, the retail K-Cup obviously won out on taste & intensity, but the SoloGrind still produced a very close runner-up.

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As with just about every plastic-based grinder container we’ve used in the past, the one included here is NOT anti-static, so expect the grounds and dust to remain statically stuck just about everywhere. It’s a bit of a pain to clean after you’re done grinding a batch of beans, but the included brush helps you get the coffee dust (mmm… coffee dust) out of the smallest corners and if all else fails, just use a can of compressed air to get the stubborn bits cleaned-out.You can even take apart the top half of the grinding burr chamber to clean-out any jams or build-up should such occur.

So, here’s a quick run-through of our likes & dislikes of the new SoloGrind coffee grinder:

  • INCLUDES a Solofill K3 Chrome filter & filter holder at no extra cost!
  • Includes a cleaning brush & a 10-cup container for those who want to use other brew methods. It's also compatible with almost every Solofill filter on the market, even the V1 for Vue machines.
  • Reasonably priced considering what you’re getting (we were expecting pricing to be in the $99 range)
  • Not as overbearingly loud as some other burr grinders we’ve tried before.
  • Low RPM prevents burning the coffee grounds during grinding process.
  • Produces consistent results once you get the settings dialed-in to your liking.
  • Slim design fits well between or near your Keurig machines on a counter top.
  • Allows you to grind fresh coffee whenever you like and in either single or multiple serving sizes. An extra bonus is you can choose whatever brand you want vs. being limited to what's available in K-Cup format.
  • Can be quite messy at first during the learning process.
  • Suggested settings noted in the instruction booklet produced far too much coffee and resulted in wasted coffee grinds and an overfilled filter.
  • Plastic container/materials not anti-static, results in coffee dust sticking to everything during clean up (although to be fair, ALL plastic-based grinder containers are like this).
  • For the price, a K3 Gold filter would have been appreciated instead of a K3 Chrome filter (but that’s a minor gripe).

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Overall, for the price and for what’s included, we were really satisfied with the SoloGrind and thought the average $60 price tag was a reasonable amount to pay. What shocked us even more is that the pricing remained the same in both American AND Canadian Bed, Bath & Beyond retail stores (something we RARELY see these days), so Canadians aren’t stuck paying more for this item. We don’t foresee having any problems with the grinder if we take good care of it and we LOVE being able to brew fresh ground coffee just 1 Solofill serving at a time vs. having to store extra ground coffee afterwards because we accidentally used too many coffee beans or let the grinder run too long.

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We also give massive Kudos to Solofill for actually INCLUDING a new Solofill K3 Chrome filter with every SoloGrind grinder! We were NOT expecting that back when this grinder was first announced and we seriously doubt a regular coffee grinder company would bother including any extras with their units. It would have been nice to have the K3 Gold filter included here instead of the K3 Chrome model, but hey… we’re just glad Solofill opted to include any filter at all. We also like the inclusion of the cleaning brush and the 10-cup container for those who’d rather use other brewing methods. Overall, this is a solid product which makes for a good beginner grinder for those who are just starting to grind their own coffee beans or an excellent gift for any Keurig owner in your life if their favorite brand of coffee isn’t available in K-Cup format yet. Well worth a buy if you’re interested.

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We should also state the obvious at this point (the coffee beans pictured are NOT included when you purchase the grinder) and yes, we were so excited to try this thing out that we made the photographer’s faux-pas of using the product BEFORE photographing it (hence the finger smudges & coffee dust over everything, so don’t worry, we didn’t accidentally buy a used machine by mistake).

The Solofill SoloGrind 2-in-1 Coffee Grinder will work with most Solofill re-usable filters and is available for $59.99 USD & CAD (universal pricing) at Bed, Bath & Beyond retail stores across USA & Canada. The SoloGrind grinder is also available for $59.95 USD direct from Solofill.com in USA.

A special thanks to SH for providing this Single Serve Coffee staff review. We would also like to note that we purchased this SoloGrind2-in-1 Coffee Grinder on our own for the purpose of this review.

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Posted by Jay Brewer at July 29, 2013 7:55 AM

Recent Comments

When you look at the burrs, are they discs or cones? I'm guessing by the position of the shoot on the canister it uses discs. I have a Cuisinart burr grinder that uses discs. Even though I picked it up on sale for $40 I'm not a fan. No matter what grind setting I choose it still creates a fine powder (along with the Grinds)that sticks all over the container and inside the grinder. With how difficult it is to clean it doesn't take long for that powder to go rancid which then effects any coffee you grind after that. Not to mention that an inconsistent grind will also effect the flavor of the brewed coffee.

Ideally I would like an electric conical burr grinder but I'm not ready to spend the money just yet. In the mean time I'm just using a Hario hand grinder with a ceramic conical burr. It is the perfect size for a single cup of coffee and costs a fraction of the price of any electric burr grinder. Plus, I don't store beans in the hopper of any grinder since light and air will quickly turn the beans rancid. So this little hand grinder is a great alternative.


Posted by: AO at July 31, 2013 8:26 AM
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