Manual grinders have always been kind of slow compared to their electrical counterparts.
But that’s not the case with the new Jx series from 1Zpresso. I’m not exaggerating when I say that these grinders are faster than some electrical grinders (cough, cough Baratza Encore and Wilfa Uniform).
With the very attractive price in mind, these grinders should appeal to many price and quality-conscious coffee people.
I have had both the Jx and the Jx Pro for a while now, so I have a pretty clear picture of the pros and cons of each model.
Even though the grinders have the same burrs, there are actually some significant differences that you should be aware of. Read on, if you want to know all the details.
1ZPresso is a relatively new Taiwanese coffee brand that primarily focuses on manual coffee grinders.
I encountered the company for the first time at the Taipei Coffee Expo in 2017 and have since followed their work with curiosity. I have previously tested their travel model ‘Mini Q’ and the allrounder ‘E’, which is suitable for both espresso and pour over.
While both models are excellent grinders they each have their own small shortcomings. They are good but if I had to rely on one of them everyday I’d probably start to miss some of the features of the high-end models.
Both Q and E have relatively small capacity and both have 38mm burrs. In practice it means that the workflow when brewing larger batches is slightly annoying. You’ll have to grind, then refill the hopper, and grind again. Also, the grinding itself takes a bit longer than I’d prefer.
For a while I have been hoping to see a grown-up grinder with 48 mm burrs from 1Zpresso. So when the company reached out to me and asked if I wanted to test the Jx and Jx Pro, I had no hesitation.
Design: Jx and Pro
The products in the Jx-series look great. These grinders are sleek and well-made; yet there’s attention to detail. The big wooden handle knobs are very nice in the hand, and the black color looks sexy on the basic Jx.
The Jx Pro has a grey-silver finish that you see on many of the company’s grinders.
- Size: The basic model and the ‘Pro’ share many features, but right away you’ll notice that the latter is taller and heavier.
- Adjustment: Another main difference between the two grinders is the adjustment. But more about that in the next section.
Both Jx-models have a broad rubber band covering much of the body, which gives an excellent grip. This is important as the diameter of the grinder is rather big.
On the inside there are two bearings ensuring ultra smooth spinning action. As always with grinders from 1Z the bearings are some of the best in the industry.
Overall, however, the build, the tactile sensations, and the ergonomics are amazing. They just feels good in the hand, look sexy, and grind smoothly.
As far as portability is concerned, these grinders are not the travel-sized per se. The basic is weighing in at 650 grams/23 oz. Sizewise it’s comparable to Helor 101 and Comandante C40 so it’s still possible to bring on a trip.
The Pro id about 3.8 oz/110 grams heavier than the already substantial little brother, so it is a big boy, comparable to some of the heavyweights in the manual grinder division.
If you’re looking for a dedicated travel grinder you should probably consider the Mini Q from 1Zpresso instead.
The standard Jx has a very simple system with small clicks for each increment. There are 12 numbers on the dial, but there’s a half extra step, between each, effectively giving you 24 clicks per full rotation.
Overall, the adjusment on the Jx is excellent, and way less headache than for example the Lido 3, or the Helor 101. It’s pretty similar to the well-known Comandante.
On the Jx Pro the adjustment is completely different. The dial is located on top of the grinder right where you pour in the beans.
The adjustment on the Pro is very precise and responsive. Instead of 24 increments per rotation, you have 40.
This means that you have a lot more options when it comes to dialing in an espresso shot.
In practice, you can make decent espresso with the basic Jx, but you won’t have much wiggle room to dial in the shot. On the Jx Pro the range is wider. Not only because of the micro-adjustment; it simply seems like it’s engineered to have more range in the fine spectrum. And that extra focus on espresso and adjustment is really the key difference between the two models.
The two Jx’ers are extremely fast hand grinders, which is something I really appreciate.
- The Jx basic version is faster: It’s almost a true 1 second per gram grinder. It takes me about 25-30 seconds to grind my typical pour over dose of 20 grams of coffee. It’s by far the fastest manual grinder I have tried.
- The Jx Pro is not quite as fast as the cheaper version, which was a big surprise to me.
After consistency, speed is the one thing I care most about when reviewing manual coffee grinders, and the Jx standard is the fastest, I have ever tried.
However, because the Jx’s burrs are very aggressive it requires a lot of strength to turn the crank. Personally, I don’t find it difficult at all at a typical setting for pour over but I’m 6.2 and in decent shape.
If you have small hands or little grip strength, you might find it exhausting. Especially, when you get to the finer end of the spectrum.
The Jx Pro is still a very fast grinder, but it’s not as fast its little brother. The reason for this, as far as I can tell, is that the hopper is designed in a different way. It seems as if the beans are fed more directly into the burrs on the standard version.
I measured how fast both models could grind 15 grams on a pour over setting, and the result is 18 sec vs 24 sec.
I realize that this probably doesn’t sound like a lot, when you’re reading a review, but in daily use it means that I’d reach more often for the basic version.
For me, the standard Jx gets a few bonus points for being faster.
Espresso vs pour over
In the official info from 1Z they mention that both Jx-models are designed specifically for espresso while it can also be used for pour over.
You should take that with a grain of salt. In my opinion, the standard Jx is actually more suitable for manual brewing, while the ‘Pro’ is great for both styles of brewing.
This is confirmed by the particle distribution; there are only few fines. That’s usually not the case with espresso grinders.
Since, the basic Jx has incremental steps you will not be able to fine tune your espresso shots with 100% accuracy. I have made shots with it, and they were tasty, however, I think the grinder really shines when it comes to manual brewing.
In my opinion, the standard Jx is actually more suitable for manual brewing, while the ‘Pro’ is great for both styles of brewing.
The Jx Pro is more of a pure espresso grinder because of the improved adjustment.
Grinding 20 grams of medium roast for espresso takes about 45 seconds, which is pretty solid.
The standard Jx shaves about 5 seconds off that time, but you get a more narrow range in return.
If your main use-case is espresso, you should go for the ‘Pro.’
The consistency of both Jx-grinders is simply astounding. I have been experiencing some extremely clean pour overs with both grinders.
They only produce a tiny amount of fines. You’ll see the drawdown time decrease a lot because of the uniform particle size, when coming to this grinder from most entry-level models. One of my readers even messaged me, to tell me that the Jx was a big improvement over the popular Baratza Virtuoso.
In terms of consistency, the Jx-grinders are up there with all the famous models such as Helor 101 and Comandante C40. I haven’t done any particle analysis tests with the software but my tastebuds and drawdown times when doing pour over confirm this.
The flavor separation is clear, the aftertaste is long, and it’s easy to avoid bitterness even when going for high extractions. This is pro-level, no doubt.
In my opinion this grinder is one of the best deals (if not the best) you can make when it comes to specialty coffee at the moment.
The Jx-grinders are faster than most (if not all) of their rivals. The design is not only attractive but also highly functional.
The grounds are very uniform and it can be used for espresso and pour over.
In my opinion the Jx-series set a new standard for manual grinders — especially when it comes to price-to-quality ratio.
There are only a couple of small downsides I can think of:
- It might not be the most suitable option for people with small hands and/or low grip strength
- The standard Jx has the reverse-order adjustment dial at the moment (though it might change with future upgrades).
The standard Jx, however, is 2-3 times cheaper compared to many rivals such as the Comandante and Helor 101, while running circles around them in many areas. At the current price it’s just a no-brainer.
Frankly, I think it’s almost too cheap. Even if they cost the same as 1Zpresso’s flagship model ‘E Pro’ I’d take the Jx due to its bigger burrs.
Jx Pro or standard Jx?
If you have read the review carefully, you’ve probably already realized that I don’t think the standard Jx is that great for espresso. The Pro, however, is excellent for that.
But while my brain says that you should go for the Pro, my heart is still with the standard Jx for the following reasons:
- It’s cheaper
- It’s lighter
- It’s faster
If you’re mainly brewing pour over or Aeropress, you’ll be so happy with this grinder.
However, if you’re specifically looking for an espresso grinder, then there’s no way around the ‘Pro.’ I think it’s as simple as that.
Personally, my preferred setup would probably be an electric espresso grinder, and then the standard Jx for everything else. However, if you’re on a budget and only able to afford one grinder, then the Pro beats the competition in most areas.
I’ll update my current grinder recommendation and tell people who ask me about manual grinders to go for the Jx as long as the market looks like it does today. It’s just that good.
Update: Some happy readers have reported back after purchasing the Jx