Baratza 885 Vario versus Vario-W

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.
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#1: Post by SoriaC »

I was getting ready to purchase the Baratza 885 Vario when I came across the Vario-W. From what I have been able to find out the difference is that 885 Vario has a timer where the Vario-W actually weighs the amount it grinds so that one does not have to calculate the time for a particular dose.
It sounds pretty good. (I'm not sure if it is worth the extra $100 U.S.)
I haven't seen any comments on this grinder. Does anyone have experience with it?


#2: Post by adan0327 »

Technically weight based grinding is superior because if you are changing different beans you will always get "X" amount. Grind timing varies between different beans. So if your grinding 2 different beans with the same time you will get more yield in 1 bean over the other.

The extra $100 is more like a convenience factor if you're really lazy.

Other factors that affect timing: humidity, when the bean was roasted, what kind of roast, what kind of bean, size of bean.

Weight based is superior though. Personally I don't mind a timer though. Its fine as long as you don't try a different coffee every week :).

Bottom line: if your sticking with 1 bean get timer; if your planning to experiment get the weight based version.

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#3: Post by Nik »

In my opinion the "W" model allows the user to consistently grind the same amount of coffee regardless of the size of the beans. 15 grams of grinds is 15 grams regardless of the size or condition of the beans. Time is the only variant and even this is extremely small. Also, if it works properly it reduces waste. I weigh what comes out of the my grinder essentially the way the "W" does but not nearly as efficiently. I am not a Baratza lover but the "W" has had me looking and reviewing it several times. Chris Coffee has an excellent video on the "W."

This feature, if the scale can be made extremely durable and accurate, may be a vision into the future for heavier duty machines. Waste in a commercial setting could be dramatically reduced using a scale system coordinated with their grinders. Let's hope so.


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#4: Post by another_jim »

The timer on the Vario is pretty accurate; not for absolute weight, but for repeatability. So once a coffee is dialed in, the same timing and grind setting will mostly keep it dialed in.

On the other hand, it is easiest to precisely manage the shot taste any making fine adjustments to dose and grind settings simultaneously. That is, once the grind and dose are dialed in correctly, you can add pop to the taste by adding some weight and grinding a bit coarser; or you can add sweet and mellow by grinding finer and dosing less. But how much of a dose adjustment per tick of grind adjustment? If you get into this sort of thing, you'll have to weigh shots.

Since I do this, I can tell you for certain that if my grinder had a contraption that would do the weighing for me, and that only costs $100, I'd get it in a heart beat.
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#5: Post by Jedi012 »

I have the time based Vario and love it. The one advantage I would see to having the time based over the weight based is not having to change your technique when switching to a different grinder that doesn't grind by weight.

As least, that's what I'm telling myself since I pulled the trigger on the time based one. :)

Anyway, for weight accuracy, I use this scale. It's big enough to hold the basket + portafilter, but doesn't take up too much room on the counter. And has 0.1g accuracy: ... 410&sr=8-6

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#6: Post by SoriaC (original poster) »

Once again I'm grateful and impressed by the responses I've received. I think I going to go ahead and pop for the extra money on the W. The consistency that weighing a doze ads seems to be worth the extra money.
Thanks again.


#7: Post by pcrussell50 »

Halt! Don't pull the trigger on the -W just yet...

If you are going to get into the weighing game, (and you should), you should consider going all-in, and weighing your extraction, too. So even if you weigh your dose with the -W, you will still need another scale to put your demitasse on and weigh the extraction. Now you are exposing yourself to potential tolerance stackup if one scale reports a little light and the other reports a little heavy. This is unimportant if you use the same scale for dosing as you do for extraction, but with the -W, you will need to use two scales, if you plan to weigh your extraction. Food for thought.

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#8: Post by samuellaw178 » replying to pcrussell50 »

Getting a scale is a good idea. But I don't think it's necessary and don't really affect the decision on -W. Not everyone weighing their beans are also weighing their shots. For me, I only weigh my beans and not the shots because the beans weight is important for giving consistent intershot flow. I don't think it's that important for the shot. I always stop my extraction by color(and volume) and many times I checked, that almost always (90%) gives the same brew ratio(50%). It's also cumbersome to measure the weight every shot. If you only want to measure how much the shot weighs, the scale on -W is still valid.

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#9: Post by nixter »

Picking up a W this weekend. Rather excited to simplify my routine and waste less!