1Zpresso J-Max 2021 - A Review
2021 sees popular Taiwanese manufacturer 1Zpresso release their latest hot hand grinder, J-Max. Marketed at the espresso-loving community, J-Max gives near stepless adjustment at an insane 8.8 micron step meaning your extreme-fine-tuned shots are now within grasp at a reasonable cost.
Where does J-Max sit in the 1Zpresso Range?
1Zpresso's product line up can sometimes confuse the average person, we have curated a guide here to help you navigate around the brand. In essence, it sits in the espresso-focused range which included the JE, JE-Plus and JX-Pro.
1Zpresso are renowned for their outstanding build quality; a dual bearing central axis enables a smooth crank operation, the solid wood handle is a joy to hold and gives fantastic leverage. The body, fashioned from an aluminium alloy, is stylish, modern and is a cute revival of the 'space-grey' trend. The colour suits, is very good at disguising grinds which makes the grinder look clean all the time and blends in to most modern kitchens.
J-Max houses a 48mm Titanium-Coated, Stanless Steel burr set, but what does this exactly mean for me? Larger burrs give a larger surface area for grinding, meaning less effort to grind and a faster grind throughput. A Titanium Coating enhances toughness and increases longevity of the burr set, reducing degradation which is important for those who often grind finer. Finer grinds require more work which is more taxing on the burr serrations, a Titanium coating reduces burr degradation. The J-Max burr geometry is also optimised for finer grinding.
8.8 microns, 90 clicks per rotation with 5 full rotations gives 450 clicks - impressive, right?
An external adjustment ring just makes things easier, clear and legible digits on the outer ring allows for easy tracking of the current setting. Curiously, the grind indicator arrow is also designed to track which rotation (1-5) you are passing through. The adjustment ring is threaded and therefore moves vertically to allow for the adjustment of the burr gap. Somebody smart at 1Zpresso used this to design in the arrow indicator to be partially covered by the ring itself. As you can see in the photograph, the indicator arrow has five blocks at the base decreasing to one block at the tip and each full rotation of the adjustment ring exactly covers one more row of this arrow allowing you to track exactly which setting you are in.
Espresso-focussed, does that mean I can't use the J-Max for anything else?
Below shows a progression of 90 clicks (one rotation) in grind size from top right moving anti-clockwise.
The J-Max is designed and optimised for espresso, but this is not in opposition to being designed for any other brew method. Designed for X doesn't necessarily follow that Y is out of the picture. But there are better grinders in the range that offer a more acceptable baseline for consistency across the entire grind range. As you can see the consistency is surprisingly good in the coarser range for an espresso grinder, but something like the JE-Plus or JX-Pro would produce a more consistent grind in those coarser regions. The J-Max would produce the best espresso grinds and a surprisingly good medium-fine.
Now then, what about the drawbacks?
No product is perfect. I particularly don't enjoy the acrylic lid used across the 1Zpresso range for the crank handle. I don't understand the need to see inside the chamber when the crank is on, I'd prefer this to be body-coloured, but hey.
Disassembly is more complex than a regular adjustment grinder, the grind ring introduces a couple more steps and requires careful calibration when re-assembling the unit. Potentially this could mean your cleaning routine is lengthened by a few minutes, at least prefaced by a visit to the 1Zpresso blog to find instructions on how to calibrate.
J-Max is incredibly fairly priced at £169, it offers everything you need in an espresso grinder. You have the, practically stepless, adjustment. You have the titanium coated burrs, you have a carry case, you have really good leverage with the crank and body grip design. And, crucially to a surprising majority, the design language fits with a great deal of colours.
Do I use the J-Max? I do, it's my go-to at the moment for espresso and for aeropress recipes that call for a finer grind.
Grab yours now, Sigma Coffee UK is an official UK retailer and distributor for 1Zpresso, we offer post-sales guidance and support as well as the original 1 year manufacturer warranty, dealt through by us here in the UK.
|Size||Body: 180 x 56 mm / Handle length 140mm|
|Material||Body: Aluminium alloy with polycarbonate accent, burrs: Coated Stainless steel (304)|
|Capacity||35-40g of roasted beans|
|Grind range||Pour-over to Espresso, but designed to be focussed around espresso 450 settings at 8.8 microns per adjustment|