The Eureka Mignon Specialita is one of the most successful espresso grinders to emerge in the last couple of years.
The Specialita is a dedicated espresso grinder with 55 mm flat burrs and a time-based dosing function.
This model might not be as well known as the Baratza Sette or even the Niche Zero. But if you talk to hardcore espresso geeks who follow the scene closely, then they will tell you that this is one of the best options when it comes to espresso mills for the home user.
Up until recently, the market for domestic espresso grinders has been a bit disappointing.
You only had some really big and expensive options that would take up a bunch of space in the kitchen and have crazy amounts of retention.
In the lower, cheaper range, you’d have some conical burr models that weren’t really engineered for espresso.
The Specialita is one of those newer kinds on the block that comes in to bridge that gap in the middle.
It’s small enough that you can easily have it on the counter. It has very low retention and is super quiet. And the dosing is straightforward while still being flexible. So it kind of checks a lot of boxes.
Watch the full review here 👇
In my opinion, this is one of the sexiest models out there. It definitely looks like an espresso grinder, but it has something more modern about it, with that square-shaped hopper.
The color of my unit is a beautiful matte black. However, you can get in several different colorways. I was really tempted by the white version as well.
As I mentioned, the size is rather compact. I think Mignon means mini in Italian, and maybe that’s an exaggeration, but it’s definitely small.
It’s not flimsy, though. The weight is pretty substantial, and when you hold it, you get the feeling that it’s quality all the way through.
This grinder really excels when it comes to sound — or should I say lack of sound.
Eureka has done an amazing job here.
I remember back in the days when I found out how much my grinder annoyed my roommate in the morning; it was kind of embarrassing. I think I had some cheap Cuisinart grinder, and it just sounded like a jackhammer.
With this one, here I don’t think you’re going to get any enemies if you use it in the early morning when people are still asleep.
If you don’t count manual grinders, I’m pretty confident in saying that this is one of the quietest grinders you’re going to find. Of course, Eureka also has their slightly smaller model called Silenzio, which is supposed to be even quieter, but that would be the only other option I could think of.
Of course, all people are different when it comes to sound, but I’m the kind of person who can’t stand sudden loud noises, so this is really a plus.
Single dosing with the Eureka Mignon?
One of the hottest topics in espresso recently has been single dosing and “zero” retention grinders.
Historically, almost all of the espresso had huge hoppers. However, this idea of adding a bunch of beans to the hopper is kind of dated here in 2020.
If you have a whole bag of beans stuck in the hopper, they are gonna get exposed to air and light. So they are going to go stale a lot faster.
At home, you’re probably only pulling 1 or 2 shots in the morning, so it’s not really the same thing as in a coffee shop where you go through a lot of coffee in a single day.
Of course, there can be situations where you have some visitors, and you want to be able to pull a lot of shots back to back, but that’s probably not the common scenario for most people.
Single dosing also gives you more flexibility if you like to experiment with many different kinds of beans at the same time.
The full hopper paradigm
So one could say that the idea of a full hopper kinda comes from a different coffee paradigm; a paradigm where you used espresso blends rather than single-origin and freshness was less important.
Most people, who are brewing specialty coffee at home, are already single dosing for pour-over, so I think it’s not peculiar that they also want to do the same when it comes to espresso.
Most traditional espresso grinders got their inspiration from the professional gear, but you can argue that a full hopper is a totally different kind of matter in a coffee shop where you need to be able to work fast and where you go through the coffee fast.
So I would argue that single dosing isn’t just a fad. It does make some sense.
What I really like with the Specialita is that you can both single-dose and use a hopper-based approach to espresso brewing, depending on what you prefer at the moment.
When you fill the hopper and use the time-based dosing, you do get a very precise amount of coffee every time. It’s super convenient and works great in daily life.
However, you can also single dose if you have that’s what you’re in the mood for.
The other thing people discuss in relation to single dosing is grind retention.
Most old school espresso grinders retain quite a bit of coffee every time you grind. To mitigate that issue, it’s common to purge a few grams every time you touch the settings or some time has passed.
The Specialita has very low retention, so you don’t have to purge. In my test, retention has been under 1 gram, and it’s relatively easy to get down to virtually zero retention.
The main reason you experience retention with the Specialita is actually because of “popcorning” particles that don’t get ground.
It’s actually pretty easy to get around this problem if you use the hopper stopper to guide the beans. When the beans are on their way out, you just move in the hopper stopper and catch the dose underneath, and then it will act as a lid. If you use this little hack, I think you will average 0.2-0.3 grams, which is around the same as the Niche Zero.
In the online coffee communities, there have also been a bunch of interesting small single doser mods around the Mignon.
Some people have made a single dosing funnel by cutting a bit of plastic pipe, and someone even made a design for 3D printing.
I got curious and printed the design, and I have to say it works quite well.
You can find the files here and try for yourself.
One little thing you can do if you want absolutely zero retention is to use the mod in conjunction with a dust blower for camera lenses and such- the spout will actually fit inside the tamper, so that will let you get the last tiny bits out.
Last but not least, we also have to talk about grind quality.
The grounds are very nice and fluffy. Clumping is pretty much minimal.
Since this is a flat burr grinder, you do get some additional clarity in the cup. Compared to conical grinders like the Jx Pro, I definitely feel like there are some additional nuances in the cup.
It’s like there’s a wider spectrum of flavors compared to the conical burrs, especially when it comes to aftertaste and the more fruity notes.
I have seen people who pair the Specialita with really high-end machines like La Marzoccos, so there’s no doubt that it can punch above its weight.
I think when it comes to top-notch domestic espresso grinders (that are still affordable), at the moment, it’s mainly a discussion between the Sette, the Niche Zero, and the Specialita.
The Niche Zero can also be used for filter coffee with decent results, but I don’t really recommend the Specialita for that.
First of all, it has this step-less adjustment, so it’s just a bit more difficult to find back to your old grind settings – even though it is doable – however, the grind quality just isn’t that outstanding.
I brewed a few V60’s with it and quickly decided that I was only going to use it for espresso.
In my opinion, the ideal coffee setup at home is a hand grinder for brewed coffee and an electric grinder for espresso. That way, you don’t have to fiddle around with adjustments all the time, and you get the best from both worlds.
I don’t think it’s a lot of work to manually grind for pour-over, but for espresso, it’s a lot more work because it’s harder to turn the crank at these super fine settings.
So if you grind for 1 minute and then have to discard your shot because you changed beans or dose, then that’s something I personally get tired of pretty quickly.
So what are some things I wish were better?
Well, there are a few things that are not perfect. The adjustment wheel here is pretty handy, but sometimes I wish that it was bigger and had some more numbers to make it easier to remember different settings for different beans and espresso machines.
Also, sometimes I feel like I’m a little bit too close to the zero point where the burrs are touching. It mostly happens when I’m grinding Scandinavian espresso beans for the Robot – this requires an ultra-fine grind – then I’m pretty close to burr rub.
In the 5 months I have had the grinder, it hasn’t been a problem, but it’s just something I have had in the back of my mind.
In general, I like the look of the hopper, but it would be nice if it was less conducive to popcorning when single dosing. Then you wouldn’t have to do this little hack with the hopper stopper.
CONCLUSION: Eureka Mignon Specialita Review
I think that the Eureka Mignon Specialita is probably the ideal espresso grinder for most people.
I’m saying most people because there will be some who want a dedicated single dose grinder, and for those people, it probably doesn’t make sense to pay extra for the weight-based timing function.
But for people who are not firmly in one camp or the other, this one just ticks all the boxes.
The Specialita was released in 2018, and so far, I haven’t heard anybody complain about long term issues.
It’s worth pointing out that Eureka is a really old company — this year marks their 100 years anniversary, and that’s also reassuring. A company doesn’t get that old if it doesn’t make good products.