Over this past week I gave my grinder a makeover. I took off its dusty grind-retaining doser and gave it a shiny new funnel. She, my Mazzer Major, has never looked better. Of course, I can't attest to the veracity of this statement because I'm probably the 28th proud and loving owner of this machine. I should note that I got it for free, and yet it is more beloved than all of my other coffee contraptions that cost hundreds of dollars (or more).
The difference between these contraptions and the Mazzer is sweat equity. When the Mazzer came into my possession, it was not functional. Its previous owner felt it was dead, but could be salvaged for parts. I had a tough time believing this. Mazzers, especially Majors, are tanks capable of sustaining a nuclear holocaust. Moreover, when I had initially taken the machine apart, I didn't notice the scent of electrical burn... A sure fire (sorry) sign that the electronics were no longer functional. With the knowledge that this machine could be saved, I set aside several hours for diagnosing and treating the machine.
As it turned out, the collar would not turn so as to allow me to adjust the grind. Clearly, this grinder had seen better days- those days when its owner would not stand for its collar to be glued shut by rancid coffee oils. Using a blowdryer that could likely singe a hole through the sun, I was able to get the collar moving bit by bit until it was completely removed. As for the Major's electronics, it turned out that someone had removed the doser once before. Ordinarily, this would not be an issue. In this case, however, it meant that a circuit was left incomplete with gray and green wires hanging all over the place. Within a Major, there are wires hanging from the top of the doser and from the bottom, and when the loop is completed, the grinder is functional. This loop is disrupted when the doser is overfilled with grinds, thereby shutting off the grinder. I just went ahead and completed the loop.
I have enjoyed some damn fine espresso ever since.