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The Z1 Launch Edition drivetrain

The Z1 features a set speed. Since conception, we wanted the Z1 to be a powerful, yet small coffee grinder. This was one of the key design drivers behind the shape of the device. We tested multiple motor types, suppliers, drive methods in various configurations to arrive to a single solution that delivers plenty of power and torque to grind some of the more challenging roasts a home barista may want to experiment with.

The initial designs of the Z1 boasted a variety of variable speed direct drive brushless motors. Starting at 48V all the way up to 310V. While brushless motors are great, they add complexity. Brushless motors need firmware to run properly and deliver good low end torque. All of this can make such a solution a bit temperamental, and lead to the grinder stalling among other issues.

This is why later designs of the Z1, including the Z1 Launch Edition, run a large brushed DC motor, delivering plenty of power. This reduces a lot of the engineering complexity and creates a more stable platform. All in all, it results in a better user experience. We are using a long lasting, all metal gearbox to reduce the speed of the brushed DC motor to 600RPM. We are working with local baristas and roasters to determine the final speed of the Z1 Launch Edition, somewhere in the 600-800RPM range.


The Z1 runs on grid power. The Z1 Launch Edition runs on 110V and it features a US Type B Plug. In the future, the Z1 will include international versions.

Does it need a power brick?

The Z1 Launch Edition does not need a power brick to operate. The coffee grinder plugs directly in a wall outlet.

What are the magnetically aligned burrs?

One of the design goals for the Z1 is that there are no springs or threads in the path of the coffee. They can be difficult to clean up and lead to an overall poor user experience. Early on we solved this problem by using magnets instead of springs. Magnets are easy to clean and do not gunk up with coffee grounds like springs do. We even had the burrs themselves magnetically attached to the burr carriers. As the design evolved we found other innovative ways to move the internal springs and other mechanisms away from the coffee path. We worked with a local spring manufacturer to help us build the exact one we needed.

Auger driven design

The Z1 Launch Edition uses an auger/prebreaker to crack the beans before they enter the burrs. This system ensures the beans enter the burrs at a constant rate. The prebreaker also helps the Z1 grind at a lower speed.

Our Auger design works hand in hand with the uniquely shaped grind chamber of the Z1, ensuring the beans are cracked and also helping to reduce retention.

Are the burrs user replaceable?

The Z1 is designed to be customizable, the burrs are no exception. The burrs are meant to be easily replaced by an end user. So far we have tested the Z1 with Mazzer 33M, SSP MP, and SSP HU

How are the burrs aligned?

One reason, is we simply follow tight engineering tolerances in the Z1, this guarantees that all parts involved in the grind are well aligned. Furthermore, the precision main shaft of the Z1 is supported by a dual ball bearing system directly mounted on the grinder housing. This helps align all parts precisely.

Burr options

The Z1 Launch Edition features 2 burr sets – Mazzer 33M and SSP Multipurpose (MP) burr sets.


The Z1 is designed to be a low retention single dosing coffee grinder. This was a key driver behind many design choices and solutions that it employs. That said, every coffee grinder has some retention and the Z1 Launch Edition is no exception. Here are the amounts of retention we have measured.

Exchange – 0.1g. This is the amount of coffee in the grind chamber that gets exchanged on each grind

Retention – 0.5-2g. This is the amount of coffee that gets retained in the coffee grinder over many shots

The Chute

The chute is magnetically attached to the main body of the Z1. This feature is meant to allow the user to easily take it out to clean it, or even customize it. The magnetically attached chute also serves a dual purpose as a knocker.

The chute is in a convenient location with clear visibility, designed to allow the user to see exactly what they are doing.

Where is Zerno manufactured?

Zerno is a member of the mHub hardtech innovation center in Chicago. We are thankful for their manufacturing expertise and guidance. The Zerno Z1 Launch Edition units will be proudly assembled in the US at the mHub facilities.

Shipping options

The Z1 Launch Edition is offered with shipping in the US only. This way we can provide more effective, personal product support.

If you need to make special shipping arrangements get in touch with us at [email protected]

International version

An international version is planned for the Zerno Z1 coffee grinder full launch.

If you have any additional questions, you can reach us at [email protected]