In this article, I’ll have results of side-by-side testing of the grinders for parameters like grind retention, grinding speed, dosing accuracy and noise levels. I’ll have all the info on specs like motor power, burrs and size, plus what’s it’s like to use each grinder in the real world including close evaluation of grind quality and distribution, build quality, and ease of maintenance.
A lot to cover here and we’ll get to those test results in a minute, but first the basics. These are prosumer level, commercial capable 64mm flat burr grinders. All feature stepless - infinite grind size adjustment. Built to last a lifetime with no plastic in the housings or internal components, they have presets for timed grinding or can grind manually on-demand. The most obvious basic difference? The Mazzer uses a dosing funnel for directing coffee to a portafilter while the Ceado delivers via a chute.
Looking at other specs again, 64mm flat stainless burrs, the Mazzer’s use a 250 watt motor while the Ceado has more power with a 300 watt motor. Those motors spin the burrs at 1600 RPM in the Mazzers and 1380 in the Ceado. So a little more torque for Ceado with the more powerful motor and lower RPMs. Hopper capacity for each is about 21 ounces and height is similar at about 17 inches. Another notable difference are warranty periods; it’s two years on the Mazzers and three years for the Ceado.
So on paper these grinders are relatively similar. However, look a little closer and there are some distinct and important differences you should be aware of before making a purchase decision. for me, one of the most important differences is in the mechanics of the top burr and grinding chamber. So let's take a look at those grinding chambers. On the Mazzer it’s a traditional setup. Loosen a stop screw and turn out the adjustment collar. On the Ceado remove three screws and the entire top plate, adjustment mechanism and top burr come out as a single unit. Now there’s a couple significant benefits to that design which is unique to some Ceado grinders - more on that in a sec.
Back over on the Mazzer, the threaded adjustment collar comes out on its’ own. Below that the burr is mounted to a carrier which rides on 3 springs. So a couple of very different setups. When you open up the Mazzer, you always lose the grind setting. That means recalibrating and dialing in your grind size again. Also, you have to be careful you don’t cross-thread the adjustment collar when you put it back on. That’s typical for grinders setup this way. But for me, the bigger issue is how the grinding chamber is open to those springs and the threads of the adjustment collar. Coffee dust and oils will gum things up, when the fine threads get gunked up it’s only a matter of time before grind size adjustment becomes difficult.
On the Ceado, it’s a totally different story. You don’t lose calibration when you take things apart. You don’t even lose your grind setting! And with the adjustment threads sealed off from the grinding chamber they don’t get clogged with coffee dust and oils so grind size adjustment is always smooth and not jumpy. The Ceado setup is in my opinion one of the most significant recent innovations in grinder design. It makes use and maintenance a heck of a lot easier.
A couple other things to take a look at here. First are the nuts at the top of the motor shafts. On the Mazzer its a six point nut. On the Ceado the cap nut is smooth.
Second, the top burr on the Ceado is rock solid. With the way it’s mounted it cannot move around. On the Mazzer, a very different story. With the burr carrier resting on those springs there’s potential for variations in the vertical space between the burrs changing ever so slightly when grinding. And, there’s also potential for horizontal movement of the top burr as you can see with the play here. Is that a big deal? Again, hard to measure the effect but in my mind I’m way more comfortable with the locked in design of the Ceado.
The Mazzer Minis and Ceado E37J are timed grinders and can do manual on demand as well. On the Mazzer Mini Electronic A, it’s all controlled from a touchpad on top of the dosing funnel. You program single and double dosing times in five hundredths of a second intervals. To start a dose push the single or double button or you can dose manually by pressing the button with the finger on it. On the Electronic B model you use a screwdriver to set grind time. A bit of guesswork with that as there’s no indication as to what the actual time is. A portafilter activated switch starts the dose. Press once for a single and twice to get a double. To get a manual dose you push and hold that switch in.
On the E37J You can program single and double shot doses by time in tenth of a second intervals or dose manually so grinding starts when the portafilter activated switch is pushed in and stops when released. You can change the start mode to pulse off, pulse on, or dose with start. With pulse off, the portafilter activated switch must be held in for the entire dose. If you let go you can push again to continue the dose. With pulse on, a single push and release of the switch delivers the entire dose selected on the control panel. When set to dose with start, a single push with a portafilter delivers a single dose and a quick double push delivers a double dose. Also on the control panel you can access dose counters for single, double and total doses, worn burr alerts, and change the language.
Overall, the Ceado has more options for setting up the grinder to work in the way you want. I also like how the Ceado’s display shows the grind time prior to starting and counts down the seconds in the display while in progress. You don’t get that information on the Mazzers.
On to test results. For the tests I dialed in each grinder to a grind size that produced a standard two ounce double espresso in twenty-five seconds from first drip using a 17 gram coffee dose. Now something I noticed when dialing in the grinders, the mazzer produced a larger change in grind size for equivalent distance moves of the adjustment as compared to the Ceado. With finer adjustment control on the Ceado, it was easier to dial in. On the Mazzer Mini it took 14.7 seconds to grind the 17 grams. on the Ceado it took 9.3 seconds. Doing the math, the Mazzer ground 1.2 grams per second and the Ceado was 50% faster grinding one point eight grams per second.
To test timed dosing accuracy I ground for a double five times on each grinder and weighed the result to determine the maximum dose to dose variation. It came in at .45 grams on the Mazzer and .39 grams on the Ceado. Both grinders are extremely consistent. For reference a half gram variation in a 17 gram dose is a variation of less than 3%.
Next I tested for grind retention. How much ground coffee remains in the grinder. For this I closed the hopper and ground until no whole beans remained and no more ground coffee exited the grinders. I then carefully took the grinders apart, cleaned out any remaining ground coffee and weighed the result. The Mazzer retained 3.6 grams and the Ceado came in at 5.2 grams. So if it’s been awhile since the last grind cycle and you want a fresh dose you’ll will need to run these grinders for about three seconds to expel any retained grinds.
Taking a look at sound levels, the Ceado is significantly quieter running a good five to ten decibels below the Mazzer on average. Now these are not lab quality measurements, but I’ll say the Ceado has a much smoother and lower note than the Mazzer.
Last thing to check out is grounds quality and distribution into a portafilter. Both grinders can accommodate single, double and bottomless portafilters. on the mazzer, they rest on a long support arm. On the Ceado, portafilters are held in place by an adjustable hook. Both do a good job with grinds falling into the center of a portafilter. On the Mazzer you can slide it back and forth a bit to hit center. Quality of grinds is excellent, relatively fluffy and clump free for the most part. With the coffee I was using the Ceado seemed to produce slightly less clumping but that’s a somewhat subjective judgement.
So I’ll leave you with my final opinions on these grinders. The Mazzer minis have been around for awhile, They are a respected name and do a fine job. But at the same price, well it’s hard to not prefer the Ceado. The controls are easier to use and give more information. The screwdriver adjustment of timing on the Mini B model would honestly drive me kinda nuts. Then there’s the fact that the Ceado is faster and quieter. But the stuff I love most: more precise adjustment when dialing in grind size, and how easy it is to get into the grinding chamber of the Ceado. Three screws and you’re in with no need to recalibrate and no loss of grind setting. And then there’s the solid mounting of that top burr. No horizontal or vertical movement like you find on the Mazzer setup. And the Ceado grind adjustment is sealed off from the grinding chamber. That’s not the case on the Mazzer. Overtime the adjustment threads get gummed up with coffee oils and dust making grind adjustment more difficult. and cleaning things up in there, yeah it’s a chore.
Now don’t get me wrong. The Mazzer is a fine grinder. It’s accurate, built solidly, and has a lot of love in the espresso community. In the end however Ceado has innovated while the Mazzer is the same as it ever was. These innovations make the Ceado easier to use and maintain and in my opinion a better grinder for the same money.