1ZPpresso is a newer brand of the coffee industry in the past few years and has quickly become a dominant competitor in the industry of hand grinders.
They were creating some of the best hand grinders on the market, and right when you thought they couldn’t do anymore, they released a brand new grinder.
And this one is in their J-Series, which is easily their most popular line of manual grinders right now. In fact, this is the flagship to their J-Series, the 1ZPpresso J-Max. Now I’m a huge fan of the J-Series grinders from 1ZPpresso, and in a past comparison article, I dubbed it the best value home grinder for espresso available.
So this both excites me and concerns me as this may leave some room for disappointment.
So does the J-Max live up to its name? Does it deserve the title of Max? Or does it promise something more than it can handle?
So let’s talk about the J-Max. For some disclosure, this grinder was sent to me for some early testing, but no money exchange, and they don’t get to see this before you do.
They also ask that I would share honest thoughts, so I’ll do that. Today we won’t be comparing this to other grinders or sharing sift test analytics as these will both be done in a longer article I’m currently working on. Instead, I will be comparing, in my opinion, the best hand grinders in the world.
The 1ZPpresso has been creating some fantastic grinders from Taiwan. They rival many of the best grinders in the market and for a fraction of the price.
It’s wonderful to see, and I believe innovation like this can truly push an industry forward. Manufacturers are pushed out of their comfort zones to continue innovating and moving forward.
Grinders like the JX and K-Plus have been turning heads and winning reviews since their launch. 1ZPpresso recently decided to update the JX and added a pro model for more adjustment options.
It’s only seen the popularity of this grinder grow, and home espresso enthusiasts have loved it. Both of these grinders were fantastic for filter coffee with pretty okay espresso capability too, and this is where the J-Max fits in.
It not only promises the ability to make filter coffee, but it also makes wonderful espresso. This is where the grinder truly shines, espresso.
You see, the J-Max shares the adjustment system of the bigger brother K-Series with the outward adjustment dial with its satisfying clicks and ease of use without having to remove the dose cup.
The J-Max uses ten clicks per number with a total of 90 clicks per rotation; that’s insane. And to make things more specific and nerdy, each click is 8.8 microns of adjustment. This gives the J-Max one of the greatest flexibility adjustments for a hand grinder.
For espresso, this is a dream getting as close to being stepless as possible in a stepped grinder. Now, does this sound expensive?
The J-Max comes in at $199, but the build quality is up to par with anything else from 1ZPpresso and beats other hand grinders much more expensive, swinging much higher than its price bracket.
They’ve also added the K magnetic dose cup, which clicks on and off without having to screw on the grinding chamber. This is really great for quick workflow, though if you’re not careful, you can create a terrible, dreadful mess.
The J-Max also uses a similar texture material to the K-Series faux wood veneer on the center handle. Now it’s not the same as the K-Series, but instead uses a rubbery texture, and I quite like it.
It is much more than the traditional j series material with their rugged-looking branding options on the plain black rubber, they didn’t look bad, but in my opinion, they weren’t photogenic either.
Speaking of design. They added a Chinese zodiac symbol for the year of the Oxe instead of the traditional 1ZPpresso logo.
The body is a darker space gray color over the typical aluminum silver on the J-Series, and I’m also digging that. But, overall, a step up from the J-Series.
But what you truly want to know is how does this thing grind coffee? So let’s talk about the burr set and workflow. Let’s start with the burrs.
The Max has a 48-millimeter conical burr set that is redesigned from the JX models.
Not only is it coated in titanium to provide extra durability against extensive espresso grinding, but it also has a slightly updated geometry that focuses more on espresso than its filter coffee capabilities.
The result is a grind that produces slightly more fines than its older brothers with more complex flavor profiles and slightly less clarity, which the JX is excelled at.
Now, like I said today, we’re not going to sift the J-Max because I want to involve this grinder in a comparison against others in the market to see how it compares in its consistency.
But 1ZPpresso has confirmed that this burr will create more fines than the other J-Series grinders, and in testing, this seems to be true, but barely true comparing taste.
The J-Series can be almost indistinguishable from their other J-Series grinders. Still, there is a slightly noticeable difference in the sweetness it produces but at the sacrifice of some clarity in the cup.
1ZPpresso grinders often aim to create a sweet and complex profile, especially conical burr espresso grinders. And the J-Max is doing just that. The results are great espresso with good clarity and wonderful sweetness.
To be honest, it is very hard for me to pick it apart from the JX for espresso. They’re both great, especially for their price, but the JX and JX-Pro don’t have the adjustability that the J-Max has.
That being said, they’re my preferred grinder for filter coffee for a few reasons. So let’s talk about that. If you’re buying the J-Max, it’s not going to be for filter coffee; it’s going to be for espresso.
Now, that doesn’t mean it can’t substitute the need for filter or grind for filter coffee when there’s a need to do so. But, it can do it, and it can be a hybrid grinder, like the JX-Pro.
But the JX-Pro doesn’t offer the small adjustments that the J-Max does, and sometimes I was finding myself wanting a grind setting in between two settings to tune in a shot to the next level.
The J-Max is easy for an espresso grinder, but it becomes slightly harder to decide on filter coffee. While I love the adjustability of the Max, sometimes too much of a good thing can be a bad thing, and I believe too many clicks for filtered coffee can be so frustrating.
The adjustments between 8.8 microns on filtered coffee are near impossible to distinguish. If you think you can, you must be Lance Hedrick because I can’t.
More than just an unnecessary amount of clicks for filter coffee, unlike the k-series, the full range isn’t simply on one rotation, but multiple. So to get to espresso, you got to go through one and a half to two full rotations before you have a usable grind.
And for filter coffee, you’re talking about three to five full rotations, and that becomes confusing with no real way to mark which rotation you’re on or know if you’re in espresso or filter range. So it truly is too much of a good thing.
I’ve heard people complain about Comandante’s lack of numbers and the inability to know which click you’re at, often having to reset back to zero to recount the clicks. However, I think the J-Max has taken it to another level.
With the Comandante, you’ve got to reset normally 20 to 35 clicks max, but the J-Max is more like 270 clicks. But maybe this is a necessary evil with espresso, and the J-Max is an espresso first grinder.
It doesn’t claim to be a jack-of-all-trades, but rather a master of one, and I applaud 1ZPpressofor not marketing as such. They market this as an espresso first grinder, so should you get the JX or JX-P pro grinders from 1ZPpresso, the tried and true?
Should you get the newest J-Max grinder from 1ZPpresso and spend a little more to get the latest and greatest.
Well, I think this depends on your situation. If you need espresso grinds more than filter coffee and want the ultimate adjustability, the J-Max is an easy buy.
But if you find yourself using hand grinders for filter coffee more often than espresso, the JX would be my recommendation or the JX-Pro.
So what do you think of the J-Max? Do you like the adjustment system and fine-tuning capabilities?
Or would you rather focus on filter coffee? Do you like the updated styling of the J-Max? Or do you hope to see this in future models from 1ZPpresso?