Zerno Z1 Spotlight

Written by
Chris Caruso
(we're on a mission)
Winner 2024
SCA Best New Product

April 16, 2024

Quick Glance
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You should buy if: you want a premium single dose grinder with custom configurations, and are okay to wait for the next production run.

Zerno Z1 Review Spotlight (2024)


The Zerno Z1 is the new kid on the block when it comes to high-end, single-dose, flat burr grinders. Sporting a space-age design, premium build, and a ton of customizability, the Z1 looks to set the bar for a modern 64mm flat burr grinder.

In this grinder spotlight, we will take a look at the Zerno Z1, touch on its standout features and shortcomings, and compare the Z1 to the similarly priced Option-O Lagom P64.

Let's get grinding!

Table of Contents

Zerno Z1 Overview

Zerno Z1 Review Features (2024)

Single Dose

The Zerno Z1 continues upon the recent trend away from hopper-style grinders to more home-oriented single-dosers. With a small footprint and a single-dose hopper, the Z1 has a limited 50-gram whole bean hopper capacity.

The workflow of the Z1 follows similar single-dose grinders and benefits the type of home barista who likes to weigh out their dose before grinding, to ensure the exact dose makes it into the portafilter. If you are currently using a single-dose workflow, or looking to switch to this more methodical approach, the Z1 fits the bill.

64mm Flat Burrs

Underneath the 50-gram hopper sits the grind chamber. The heart of the Zerno Z1 is a pair of 64mm vertically mounted flat burrs. While the majority of 64mm flat burr grinders (of which there are many!) use horizontally mounted flat burrs, only a select few are using vertically mounted burrsets.

The biggest benefit of vertically mounted flat burrs is overall lower retention; that is, the amount of ground coffee retained in the grind chamber that fails to make it into the dosing cup.

The Z1 is known to have practically zero retention and with the right seasoning, the Z1 can produce outputs within a tenth of a gram of the dosed amount.

Full Grind Range

The Zerno Z1 is built for all coffee enthusiasts and is designed to grind for a full range of brew methods, from pour-over to espresso.

The Z1 can grind from 0-1400μm (microns) and uses a stepless adjustment mechanism to move through the grind range. The Z1 is also one of the only grinders on the market to mark their grind settings in absolute microns from zero, making the dialing-in process much easier to visualize.

What makes the Z1 Special?

Zerno Z1 Review Special Features (2024)

Premium Build & Design

Although the Z1 does not bring anything new to the market in terms of features, it does beautifully blend quality, design, and functionality.

The Z1 is a premium product, and the overall design, build, and presentation support its case. Built of precision machined aluminum and stainless steel, the Z1 comes with a collection of delightful accents such as a front face wood accent, and even a hard travel case upgrade upon request.

The Zerno Z1 sits as a compact grinder (especially when it comes to 64mm burrs) measuring only 5.1" x 11.2" x 10.6" (WDH) and a portable ~14 lbs.

Swappable Burrs

While many premium flat burr grinders lock users into one burrset and one flavor profile, the Zerno Z1 steps in the other direction, with a collection of burrset options.

When configuring the Z1, you can select between five burrset options including 3 SSP burrsets, a Mazzer option, and even Zerno's custom blind burrs.

Custom Pre-Breaker

The newest version of the Z1 expands upon this customizability by allowing you to select a new prebreaker.

What's a prebreaker? As the name suggests, it is an integrated device that cracks whole coffee beans before entering the grind chamber. Prebreakers literally break the coffee before grind, allowing for a more uniform grind and increased flavor extraction.

The Z1 now offers four different prebreaker designs to fine-tune the overall feed rate and prebreaking functionality. Combining a preferred prebreaker with a specified burrset gives you ultimate control over the flavor profile of your coffee, and allows you to experiment as you see fit.

High Alignment Burrset

One of the most impressive outcomes of the vertically mounted flat burrs and attention to detail is the near-perfect alignment of the Z1's burrset.

When it comes to flat-burr coffee grinders, alignment refers to how each of the two burrs are mounted. Perfect alignment means that the burrs are perfectly parallel to each other.

Oftentimes, lower quality grinders have burrs that are not perfectly parallel, meaning one part of the burrset will be closer together than another.

The Zerno Z1 is already known for world-class alignment out of the box, eliminating one headache-causing step of burr alignment from the overall user experience.

Downsides of the Zerno Z1

Zerno Z1 Review Downsides Features (2024)


Perhaps the biggest (current) downside of the Zerno Z1 is the extremely limited availability. As of Spring 2024, the Z1 is only available for pre-order by joining the Zerno waitlist.

The current production run (run 4) is set to take place in the Summer of 2024, but there is no date on when the Z1 will be widely available.

Note: While the limited availability can be frustrating, ESB conversations with Zerno have proven their commitment to quality and sustainability above all else, and we at ESB believe that this endeavor is well worth the wait.

Comparison Zerno Z1 vs Option-O Lagon P64

If the Zerno Z1 is looking to be the new kid on the block, then the Option-O Lagom P64 stands as the old champion in the market. With a similarly modern design, premium build, and single-dosing workflow, what separates these two high-end options?

Zerno Z1 vs Option-O Lagom P64 (2024)

Dosing Style

Both the Zerno Z1 and Option O Lagom P64 are single dosers meant to be used in high-precision, low-volume environments. The Z1 has a slightly larger hopper capacity at 50-grams compared to the 40-gram capacity on the P64, but the impact on workflow is negligible.

Burr Type

These grinders also look similar on paper when it comes to burrsets. Both grinders use 64mm flat burrs and come with a variety of options including SSP burrs, Mazzer burrs, and in-house designs.

The Z1 takes a step forward with their in-house blind burrs; that is burrsets with hidden mounting screws. This blind burr design increases the overall grind surface by almost 10% and is one of the quality-focused innovations the Z1 has brought to the space.

Prebreaker & Variable RPM

The next area where the Z1 steps ahead of the P64 is with the inclusion of the customizable pre-breaking auger. This design helps further increase grind quality and consistency from shot to shot. While a prebreaker is not a prerequisite to high-quality grind, the Z1's inclusion is a testament to the goal of achieving the highest quality grind, every time.

The P64 does strike back in grind-customization with its variable RPM. Allowing customized grind speed from 300 - 1400 RPM, the P64 allows users to fine-tune grinding on the fly, and prioritize grind speed to increase or decrease fines which complements lighter and darker roasts in different ways.

What Separates These Two

While both grinders are similar in design and build, the Zerno Z1 separates itself with a collection of touches, features, and design choices that optimize every part of the grinding experience. While the P64 may offer variable RPM, the Z1 aims to remove complexity, and index on quality and user experience.

In addition, the P64 currently runs $300-400 more expensive than the Zerno Z1. Priced at $1,200, the Z1 provides all you could want from the $1,585 MSRP Lagom P64.

Where To Buy

The Z1 is available directly through the Zerno website and retails at approximately $1,200. However, as of Spring 2024, there is a waitlist for the next production run, which is expected in mid-summer of 2024. Look here to get on the waitlist with a simple $10 deposit.

The Final Sip

The Zerno Z1 is the materialization of passion for coffee and mastery of engineering precision. With its premium build, modern design, and host of customizable options, the Zerno Z1 looks to become the new king of top-end single-dosers.

If you are looking for a grinder that gives you exactly what you want out of your shot of espresso and is built with a quality second to none, look to the Zero Z1.

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