Dual grinder combo: Niche Zero (espresso) & Baratza Vario+ Steel Burr (filter) - thoughts? - Page 2

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.
dsc106 (original poster)

#11: Post by dsc106 (original poster) »

So, baratza likely send Rao a particularly well aligned forte - something that could be replicated by doing alignment at home?

How significant is the difference in the cup for FILTER coffee when not running a full hopper?

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#12: Post by baldheadracing »

dsc106 wrote:So, baratza likely send Rao a particularly well aligned forte - something that could be replicated by doing alignment at home?
It is impossible for someone outside of Baratza to know the answer to this question.
dsc106 wrote:How significant is the difference in the cup for FILTER coffee when not running a full hopper?
There is a significant difference - as far as Rao was concerned, and it is conventional wisdom. Whether that difference is significant to you - only you can answer.
-"Good quality brings happiness as you use it" - Nobuho Miya, Kamasada


#13: Post by Jonk »

dsc106 wrote:The Ode with SSP vs the Vario w/Steel has been a back and forth for me.
I have replied to a few of your threads now I think :D and I think it's been kind of a 50/50 recommendation from my part between the two.. but here's another take:

If you solely want to use the second grinder for small pour over brews, I'd pick the Vario for convenience. In my experience there's no need for RDT or bellows and there's literally no retention once you flip the flapper (most of the weight loss is likely trapped gas that gets released while grinding). Having a Forté I'm not at all convinced that a metal chamber is necessary, you can pick up an old used Vario for cheap and align it with great results.

A ghost burr grinder is also a good alternative for the speed if you want to grind bigger batches (but mandatory RDT in my opinion). Pretty awesome workflow but more limited than a Vario when it comes to grind size (and suitable beans as far as I can report, not everyone agree)

But, if you do want to try filter roast espresso, I'd highly recommend the 64mm SSP brew burrs in whatever grinder you fancy. A DF64 is probably cheapest brand new, but perhaps you could find for example a used Mazzer Mini E or Super Jolly for less. I have not been able to get nearly as good results for espresso with either the Vario or Forté - so even though my Mazzer Mini E is the least convenient option I've got it's often the best or only choice. Could be I'm not completely successful with the Vario/Forté alignment, but it's also a point against the Vario that you even need to spend several hours aligning it to have a chance at espresso.

dsc106 (original poster)

#14: Post by dsc106 (original poster) »

That you have! And much appreciated.

Let's see... definitely "lazy" in the long run. I'm currently in the "super interested and too much time on my hands" phase but life is about to resume early next year and I want no fuss. RDT would suck. No thanks. Also, minimal mess with grounds is desirable, it's too easy for that to pile up.

I only drink 20g total per day. Speed of grind is irrelevant to me between 20 seconds or 10 seconds to grind my dose. Whatever. And a 10db noise difference for 10-20 seconds a day is equally irrelevant.

I definitely want more clarity and uniformity in my FILTER brew than what either niche or virtuoso are offering, but I'm not necessarily chasing the bleeding edge of acidity and brightness. Sweet, balanced, well rounded shots that lean brighter to achieve a lot of clarity and experience the "bag notes" - yes. But I enjoy that smooth, rounded taste. In terms of audio, I'd say I'm after a neutral/flat sound - neither too much bass nor too much treble, though I'd rather veer a wee bit towards the highs.

For espresso, I commonly drink it in milk, only going for a straight shot a couple times a month. See, with only a single 20g serving a day, a straight shot just doesn't last long enough for me to savor. Fun from time to time. As I understand, the Niche zero here does better as the body it produces goes great in milk. My go to is a cortado, or a cappuccino. Mostly cortado. Enough time to savor, small enough volume to really taste the espresso. I can easily taste the difference in different beans and capture the bag notes right now.

As I understand, something like the Vario for espresso would work better with higher ratios and create a brighter shot with a thinner body - not bad in milk but perhaps really shines as a straight espresso or a small americano (italiano).

Back to drip. With drip, it's always black. It's like wine, enough time to savor. Usually a 320-340g pour from 20g dose. I don't need to crank the acidic or bright notes to 11 here, a smooth well balanced cup with distinct, juicy and fruit forward flavors - yes please. But not so much that I don't get that mellower sweetness to balance it out.

So with my small 20g daily doses, when it comes to swapping out 64mm burr sets a lot - intriguing, but I am not sure practical. If I do drip 3-4 times a week (and espresso the other 3-4 days), That's about 3.6kg a year through the burrs. It would take me 2 years to season the burrs at that rate, lol. So swapping around a lot may not be ideal anyhow.

So, the ghost burrs are interesting but makes me lean back to a Vario, which needs less fuss, no RDT, and may produce a little more body. But splitting hairs. The Vario uniformity seems smack between stock Ode and SSP Ode. I hear it's splitting hairs between Vario and ode ssp, except the Vario is likely more reliable and a better motor.

Now we've got the DF64, better for flat burr espresso, but I'm primarily interested in flat burr use for drip due to reasons detailed above. Espresso as an occasional secondary exploration. It's an interesting machine, not time tested, from China(?), who knows the long game on it - but I don't feel that drawn to it. Not sure why. Maybe just ignorance, ha!

Maybe I'm just smitten by the rave reviews of baratza service and people being so impressed with the steel sitting burrs in a Vario with forte parts. When lance Hendrick raves about a modded Vario even when single dosing, and Scott rao raves about a forte which is basically same thing (even if baratza sent it hyperaligned), it makes me think that even if the DF64 were a bit better without much work out of the box, it's still splitting hairs. And then, with the Vario it's for a real small footprint, proven record, great service, no RDT needed.

I guess lots of options are a good thing, lol, but it's easy to overthink. Hence why I keep waffling.


#15: Post by Jonk »

Pretty sure people RDT with the Ode.
dsc106 wrote:distinct, juicy and fruit forward flavors - yes please
That is what the 64mm SSP brew burrs deliver for me, with the right beans. More sweetness too, but certainly bright acidity. With some beans it's like the EQ is out of whack and the experience lacking or hollow but it can also be awesome.

In comparison, I almost always got a bit of noise with the Vario (now Forté). Less "bag notes" but instead some body/bitterness or gain/distortion if you will.

I have used them side by side since I added the SSP burrs about 8 months ago. The Baratza grinders save me a minute of faffing about and so have seen a bit more use.

dsc106 (original poster)

#16: Post by dsc106 (original poster) »

Jonk wrote: In comparison, I almost always got a bit of noise with the Vario (now Forté). Less "bag notes" but instead some body/bitterness or gain/distortion if you will.
Did this hold equally true for you in both filter and espresso?


#17: Post by Jonk replying to dsc106 »

Good question. I guess not - but I don't have enough experience pulling espresso with the steel burrs to say really. What I have tried tended to come out pretty clean but with an acidic quality, almost lactic. Turbo shots/allongé only.

dsc106 (original poster)

#18: Post by dsc106 (original poster) »

Here is another wrench in the equation. What about the Eureka Oro Mignon Single Dose Grinder?

https://www.wholelattelove.com/products ... nder-white

They are the standard 64mm size which would be nice. And no one has a review unit to test and actually compare. Sigh. But the Vario+ is delayed until January anyway, so this might be out around the same time. It does cost a bit more...

What is Eureka's reputation in general on this? This could be an interesting alternative option for filter brew vs the Vario, Ode, DF64 that may be equally good at espresso. More reliable and trustworthy than the Ode or the DF64, and more modern than the Vario+ in regards to being built for single dosing. I am sure it would look nice next to a Niche Zero, too.