2021 saw popular Taiwanese manufacturer 1Zpresso release what was hailed as the hottest hand grinder for espresso, J-Max. 2023 saw two refreshes to the J-Max, the first was the J-Max-S which included a new lid (frosted acrylic), a new foldable crank handle and the catch cup updated with a rubberised bottom. Presently, the current iteration - the J-Ultra - takes the form of a facelifted, more rounded, J-Max-S with a squeeze down from 8.8 micron steps to 8.0 micron steps.

Marketed at the espresso-loving community, J-Ultra gives near stepless adjustment at an insane 8.0 micron step affording fine-tuned shots at a reasonable cost.

Packaged within is a 48mm titanium coated burr set, leveraging high torque and cutting power which slices through beans with relative ease to its competitors.

Where does J-Ultra 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 slot.

Build quality

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.

Burr set

J-Ultra 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 (higher torque) 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-Ultra burr geometry and coating is also optimised for finer grinding with a view to producing a controlled number of fines for a heavier bodied espresso.


8.0 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.

1zpresso j-max adjustment ring sigma coffee uk

Espresso-focussed, does that mean I can't use the J-Ultra for anything else? 

Below shows a progression of 90 clicks (one rotation) in grind size from top right moving anti-clockwise.

1zpresso j-max grind comparison sigma coffee uk

The J-Ultra is designed and optimised for espresso. Now what does that mean? While designed for X doesn't necessarily follow that Y is not possible, there are better suited grinders that offer a more tuned grind distribution for the grind range associated with those brew methods. In the case of the J-Ultra, the burr set and setup is designed to produce a controlled number of fines so as to produce a high body, high sweetness, medium clarity espresso.

But as demonstrated above, you can see the consistency is surprisingly good in the coarser range for an espresso grinder. Though something like the X-Ultra or J would produce a more consistent grind in those coarser regions, with less fines. The J-Ultra would produce the best espresso grinds and a surprisingly good medium-fine.

Now then, what about the drawbacks?

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.

Some people would class the new foldable crank as a drawback, however, I think this is unfair. The design is pretty robust, rigid and quite unique amongst the foldable crank designs. 

In conclusion

J-Ultra is incredibly fairly priced at £175, 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.

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)
Weight  780g
Capacity 35-40g of roasted beans
Grind range Pour-over to Espresso, but designed to be focussed around espresso 450 settings at 8.0 microns per adjustment