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Hands-on Gear Review

Epica Electric Spice and Coffee Grinder Review

Best Buy Award
Price:   $50 List
Pros:  Compact, mess-free, long cord, easy to wash
Cons:  Makes an okay cup
Bottom line:  Affordable, compact, really easy to use and keep clean. A great blade style option. However, the resulting cup is... meh
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   Epica

Our Verdict

The Epica Electric makes the benefits of a blade grinder seem more appealing than their limitations. The more we used it the more we appreciated its long cord, cord storage, and removable hand-washable grinding compartment. It only makes an "okay" cup, it's noisy, and it can't perform some of the tasks that burr grinders can. But it's a great blade grinder—stashable, travel friendly, and it grinds coffee for a fraction of the price that a burr grinder would require. Another grinder we tested, the Capresso Infinity, earned a Best Buy Award because it offered a high quality burr grinder at a great price, listing for $100. However the Epica also nabbed a Best Buy Award because it offered a unique set of benefits and is listed at $22, offering a great solution for fresh ground coffee on a tight budget.

Epica vs Mira
The Epica brand and the Mira brand seem to be identical grinders. We bought and used both through our testing and saw no difference. The Mira, however, does not seem to be widely available at this time so we chose to use Epica for the review.


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Score Product Price Our Take
90
$200
Editors' Choice Award
The OXO made the best coffee we tasted, literally with the push of a button. We recommend this item hands down, unless your situation calls for a quieter machine
86
$149
Top Pick Award
Oh so quiet and super easy to use. A close second to the Editor's Choice Award winer, the OXO On Barista Brain
76
$249
A simple and attractive design. Provides great taste but lacks ease of use features and creates consistent small messes
76
$100
Best Buy Award
An all around satisfactory grinder with a great price
75
$230
Fancy! And has a price tag to match. Super quiet and produces a great cup with hefty taste. However, the precision control features are overkill and make simple operation elusive
68
$145
A simple and attractive design. Provides good taste but lacks ease of use features and creates consistent small messes
68
$100
An affordable grinder that definitely gets the job done. Comparable to the Capresso Infinity—makes a better french press, but the controls are less smooth and it's a little louder
56
$50
Best Buy Award
Affordable, compact, really easy to use and keep clean. A great blade style option. However, the resulting cup is... meh
46
$20
Most affordable grinder that we tested. Compact but produces a low quality cup. We recommend the Epica instead because this grinder is quite difficult to use efficiently or keep clean
34
$50
Creates deal-breaking static mess. A bargain price for a burr grinder, but delivers a quality of grind inferior to a blade grinder that's much cheaper and easier to use
29
$300
A beautiful machine that is engineered poorly for grinding coffee in every regard

Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Jared Marquez

Last Updated:
Tuesday
October 25, 2016

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The Epica Electric does a great job showing off benefits that a blade grinder can offer—compact, travel friendly, simple to use. It has a long cord with convenient cord storage and a removable grinding compartment (pictured above). Being a blade grinder, it has some limitations in the quality of taste that it can offer, but we really enjoyed using it. It's noisy, scores an unimpressive 5 for quality of taste, and lacks features that burr grinders have, but at such a low price it shows off a rather functional design and can provide ground coffee on a tight budget. If you would rather fork out a little more dough for the next level of quality (which is a significant step up), consider the burr grinder that took the other Best Buy Award, the Capresso Infinity, listing at $100.

Performance Comparison



Taste


The Epica Electric, when wielded correctly, can make a decent cup. We rated it as a 5 for quality of taste. After several attempts we were able to make a coffee without bitter taste, although it was overall not very flavorful. To avoid getting a cup that gives you dragon breath the coffee maker has to err on the side of grinding more coarsely. You avoid over-extracting the coffee but you get less flavor altogether. For a great read on flavor extraction and getting the perfect grind, check out our Buying Advice article. If we owned this grinder we might experiment with using a larger coffee to water ratio for better results. The Krups Fast Touch tied with the Epica, making a more flavorful drip coffee but scoring quite poorly when we made a French press with it. If evaluated strictly for making drip coffee, we think the Krups does a better job at giving the user good flavor.

Ease of Use



Unlike the Krups  the Epica has a removable grinding compartment that empties easily with very little coffee residue remaining.
Unlike the Krups, the Epica has a removable grinding compartment that empties easily with very little coffee residue remaining.

Being a blade grinder, the Epica Electric already takes a hit on its ease of use score because it lacks the ability to dose out your coffee for you. But we still gave the Epica a 6 for ease of use because even though it requires a few more steps from the user, it is still very simple and intuitive to use. Insert coffee beans, grind to desired consistency, then remove the grinding compartment and empty the grounds into your brewer. The removable grinding compartment allows the user to empty the grinder without having to turn the whole unit upside down and can be quickly hand washed. The Krups Fast Touch doesn't have this feature and has to be turned upside down and cleaned with a brush and/or sponge. The Krups scores a 5 for ease of use because of these additional inconveniences, not to mention the coffee grounds seemed less cooperative in being shaken out of the unit. And the Epica thought of one other thing that the Krups didn't: a longer cord. The Epica's cord gives you enough length to plug in and still have decent options of where you can set it down, whereas the Krups has a short cord that might force you to grind in some awkward corner of the kitchen.

Only a few inches of cord can make the difference between barely reaching the outlet and being able to comfortably operate the unit. After using the Krups &#40;right&#41; we were thankful for the extra cord length on the Epica &#40;left&#41;.
Only a few inches of cord can make the difference between barely reaching the outlet and being able to comfortably operate the unit. After using the Krups (right) we were thankful for the extra cord length on the Epica (left).

The Epica is easy to use. It also has cord storage that makes it easy to pack.
The Epica is easy to use. It also has cord storage that makes it easy to pack.

Quietness


Blade grinders are not quiet. You hear the motor whirring, beans breaking, and the additional rattling of coffee particles in the grinding compartment. The Epica and Krups tie with a ranking of 4 for quietness. It's noisy, but still not as bad as the Cuisinart Supreme or the KitchenAid Burr, which are obvious noise pollution machines and score a 2.

Mess-Free Operation


Just when you think that a burr grinder is better than a blade at everything, you have the Epica Electric, which is just one point behind the top score in the mess-free category. Coffee grinding is messy, but the Epica keeps that mess contained and allows you to transfer it straight to the brewer by removing the grinding compartment. The grounds slide right out without requiring a brush and afterward the grinding compartment can be rubbed clean under running water and left out to dry. The Epica scored an 8 for being very easy to clean and seldom requiring it.

 

Best Applications


This offers the benefits of a blade grinder to the user who only has part time counter space for another kitchen appliance or wants something to take travelling. Let's face it though—it doesn't make good coffee. With some adaptation and honed skill you can produce a cup without defects, but it won't be impressive. But the unit is fun to use and provides the means to grind coffee for a very low price. The Epica could really work for someone who isn't too picky and needs something compact and convenient.

Despite stereotypes  the Epica Electric blade grinder proved to be a higher quality grinder than the Cuisinart Supreme burr grinder; cheaper  cleaner  easier to use  and makes better tasting coffee.
Despite stereotypes, the Epica Electric blade grinder proved to be a higher quality grinder than the Cuisinart Supreme burr grinder; cheaper, cleaner, easier to use, and makes better tasting coffee.

Value


We think the Epica is a killer deal at $22. You could expect a minimalist blade grinder to run about $20 (like the Krups) but the Epica gives you all that and then some for the same price. A blade grinder may only make a mediocre cup of coffee, but this one does that with a lot less headache than the Krups Fast Touch. The Epica gives you a longer cord than the Krups, cord storage, removable and hand-washable grinding compartment—and for only $2 more.

Conclusion


If you don't have full time counter space for a coffee grinder or need something you can travel with, you need a blade grinder. It's not going to make the best coffee, but it's better than nothing. And it makes grinding coffee quick and simple, leaving the user without a mess or an unnecessary headache.
Jared Marquez

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