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*Which* Baratza grinder for drip/press? - Page 2

Postby GC7 on Thu Feb 18, 2010 12:27 pm

Gary- I have done an informal comparison of the Baratza Virtuoso vs the Capresso Infinity using a dissecting microscope. It's not even a contest. The Virtuoso grind is significantly more consistent in size over a range of settings from drip to french press. In the cup it's no contest as well. While I have no experience with the other Baratza grinders, the Virtuoso is superb for its intended use. Baratza service is also superb.
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Postby portamento on Thu Feb 18, 2010 1:05 pm

earlgrey_44 wrote:That's interesting. A particle size distribution graph for the Vario was posted on the Marco Uber Project website. Does Baratza have any particle size distribution graphs for the less expensive grinders?


I would also be interested in seeing something like this. It would be extremely helpful for enthusiasts on the fence about a purchase.
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Postby earlgrey_44 on Thu Feb 18, 2010 2:05 pm

portamento wrote:I would also be interested in seeing something like this.


Yes, indeed.

The particle size/count graphs are the most definitive data for the concept that Kira calls "accuracy" above, though I certainly respect and am intrigued by Geoffrey's experience with the microscope.

GC7 wrote:It's not even a contest. The Virtuoso grind is significantly more consistent in size over a range of settings from drip to french press. In the cup it's no contest as well.


Geoffrey, your experience with the cup impact of what is apparently a more "unimodal" grinder or at least one with a taller, narrower, distribution of particle sizes compared to one with a presumed flatter, wider, curve mirrors the claim made on the Marco Uber Project site. There, they say they conducted a taste test of some kind with the high-end Tanzania grinder, finding it produced a better cup (for brewed coffee) than grinders that did not have such an outstandingly narrow curve as it has, which presumably would include bi-modal espresso grinders, including the Vario.

On the subject of Baratza grinders, the Vario has a bimodal particle curve that looks much like that of an SJ for example. That makes it an espresso grinder. I sometimes think people conflate its adjustability features with its grind quality. It has outstandingly easy and precise ability to select different grind points, and sometimes I get the impression people think that means its grind quality is somehow "optimized" for both espresso and brewing. I'm not sure there is such an animal.

So, is there a $100 grinder that mimics the Tanzania profile enough that you could beat the brewed coffee cup quality yielded by a high end espresso grinder? Would the Virtuoso do that?

Be nice to know....
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Postby portamento on Thu Feb 18, 2010 8:10 pm

earlgrey_44 wrote:On the subject of Baratza grinders, the Vario has a bimodal particle curve that looks much like that of an SJ for example. That makes it an espresso grinder.

Actually, the claim from Mahlkoenig / Baratza is that the particle size distribution curve is unimodal at coarser settings and bimodal at finer settings. It is designed to be an all-purpose grinder.

earlgrey_44 wrote:So, is there a $100 grinder that mimics the Tanzania profile enough that you could beat the brewed coffee cup quality yielded by a high end espresso grinder? Would the Virtuoso do that?

I bought two Baratza grinders trying to answer that question. First, a Virtuoso. Then, a Vario. I find the particle size distribution to be fairly wide on both grinders.
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Postby earlgrey_44 on Fri Feb 19, 2010 10:03 am

portamento wrote:Actually, the claim from Mahlkoenig / Baratza is that the particle size distribution curve is unimodal at coarser settings and bimodal at finer settings.


I didn't know they actually said that, though I am aware they market it as an all purpose grinder. I'm under the impression that all grinders do that to varying extents, in other words, the finer you grind, the larger the proportion of fines, so I guess I'd want to know why the Vario distinguishes itself in that way.

What I did notice is the following:
Image

This shows the laser particle counter profile for three grinders all dialed in to produce a median particle count in the "drip" range. The Vario has proportionally more area under the curve in the fines range. Thus, I wouldn't expect the Vario to necessarily taste any different in the cup for drip than my own espresso grinder would. If I popped for a couple of grand to put a Tanzania in my kitchen, it looks like I may well notice the difference.

All this is speculation from just a little data so I wouldn't hang my hat too heavily on it.

portamento wrote:I bought two Baratza grinders trying to answer that question. First, a Virtuoso. Then, a Vario. I find the particle size distribution to be fairly wide on both grinders.


So, Ryan, is this to say you didn't find much or any advantage for drip over your Mazzer?
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Postby kyle anderson on Fri Feb 19, 2010 1:38 pm

I'd like to weigh in on the particle distribution discussion WRT the Virtuoso and laser analysis. I have a printout of a laser analysis done on a stock Virtuoso at three different settings: 1 (very fine), 20 (mid scale), and 39 (coarse). I would be happy to share this with all of you if someone could help me post it. While I know a little bit about grinders, I am only 2 clicks away from "idiot" when it comes to technology and posting practices. Unfortunately, we have not done a laser analysis on the Maestro burr set (yet), but I think I will ask our friends at Ditting to do one for us so we can offer this up as well. I would be happy to email the .bmp of the printout to anyone who is interested, or better yet, who can post it for me here. My email is kyle@baratza.com
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Postby earlgrey_44 on Fri Feb 19, 2010 2:45 pm

kyle anderson wrote: I would be happy to email the .bmp of the printout to anyone who is interested, or better yet, who can post it for me here.


Here we go:

Image

Quite fascinating IMHO :o
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Postby yakster on Fri Feb 19, 2010 3:14 pm

This is very interesting information and reaffirms my decision to forgo press pot until I upgrade my drip grinder... I'm giving the announced Virtuoso Preciso serious consideration for this purpose and to hopefully retire my ceramic hand grinder to travel only duties rather then a day-to-day espresso grinder.
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Postby kyle anderson on Fri Feb 19, 2010 3:22 pm

Thanks Gary!!!
I appreciate you posting this for me. As can be seen here, the "fine" setting is bi-modal. Please note the purpose of this analysis was to get a feel for the quality and range of grind. This "fine" test is probably way too fine for espresso, but shows ability of these burrs to produce a very fine grind. As the coarseness is increased, the bi-modal characteristics diminish. At a more "normal" espresso grind of say 250 microns, the left "hump" is lower than the right one.
I hope this data helps to answer some of the questions floating around about the Virtuoso's grind performance, though I fear it may create more than it answers. I will do my best to answer any questions you have (to the limit of my ability (which is quite low at times)).
Thanks again to Gary for posting this data!
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Postby earlgrey_44 on Fri Feb 19, 2010 3:29 pm

Kyle

You're most welcome.

Certainly interesting to note that the profile for drip here is essentially the same as the profile for the Guatemala, which costs about 10x as much.
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