Worth replacing La San Marco SM-90 with a Baratza Vario?

Postby JeffPersson on Thu Dec 30, 2010 2:54 am

After putting it off for as long as I could, I am finally expanding into the realm of espresso. I resisted the temptation (and expense) while I was back to being a student again (after a 20 yr break) but now that I'm back to having funds and free time I've decided to take the plunge. For the moment I'm still researching what machine to get (and saving for it) but figured I could address my grinder situation now if I need a change.

I currently drink mostly drip, pour over and cafecito coffee now, and have added a myPressi TWIST V2 (Christmas gift) for use at home and work. I'll be carting it back and forth until I get the home machine. I'm picking up a Kyocera CM-45 for the office and currently have a La San Marco SM-90 doser model at home. I know the SM-90 will grind fine for espresso, but I'm wondering how much I might benefit from the reproducibility of different grind settings on the Vario and the absence of a doser. Does anyone have any experience using something like the SM-90 to manage multiple grind types, and able to describe if it's a pain or not to do on a regular basis?

I'm trying to decide if I would be better off getting a refurb Vario or sticking with the SM-90 and putting the $400 into the espresso machine fund?
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Postby cafeIKE on Thu Dec 30, 2010 2:05 pm

Assuming the SM-90 is in good nick and you're not bothered by its size, keep it.
It should last a lifetime.
Burrs are under $50.
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Postby JeffPersson on Thu Dec 30, 2010 3:27 pm

I put a fresh set of burrs in it after I picked it up, so it runs like a champ.
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Postby HB on Thu Dec 30, 2010 3:55 pm

JeffPersson wrote:...I'm wondering how much I might benefit from the reproducibility of different grind settings on the Vario and the absence of a doser.

You already own a 64mm burr grinder, so there's little motivation to switch performance-wise. I prefer a dedicated espresso grinder instead of switching back and forth between drip/espresso grind settings, even if it's one with little ground retention like the Vario.

JeffPersson wrote:I'm trying to decide if I would be better off getting a refurb Vario or sticking with the SM-90 and putting the $400 into the espresso machine fund?

I would save the cash for later.
Dan Kehn
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