Eureka Specialita vs Baratza 270wi (workflow and cup)

Recommendations for espresso equipment buyers and upgraders.
HardWater526

Postby HardWater526 » Jul 11, 2019, 10:21 am

After reading lots of threads that go back and forth between the Specialita and 270wi, I am still at an impasse. Right now I have a Gaggia classic w/ dual PID and a Baratza Preciso, and am looking to upgrade to a grinder with less clumps, better consistency and a much improved workflow. The Preciso will be relegated to everything other than espresso, so I don't need to worry about repeatability going back and forth in grind size. I can tolerate the noise of the Preciso now, so I can't imagine the 270wi is any louder, but quieter would be nice. I only really do espresso on the weekends, as with my current setup, the amount of work needed to get a good shot takes up too much time. I'm really looking for opinions on which of the two grinders will simplify my workflow best to let me pull good shots without much fiddling quickly, and what the differences in the cup are between the two. It would be nice to single dose (what I have to do now) on the weekends for more control, but if one of these gets me close without having to repeatedly weigh things out, that'd be great. I appreciate any thoughts or opinions anyone has on this.

Nunas

Postby Nunas » Jul 11, 2019, 1:39 pm

I have a 7-270Wi. I had a Preciso/Esatto. So I've come from where you're at. The Sette is nosier than the Preciso. On the other hand, the noise is of very short duration, as it's so fast. The Specialita, at least the one I saw in the store, is quieter than your Preciso. The Sette is very low retention (but not zero retention...I doubt any grinder truly is). I'm totally addicted to weight-based grinding; this for me put the 7-270Wi on the top of the list. The Specialita is a timer-based grinder. A truer comparison, then, would be the 7-270 (non-Wi). In this regard, given the price, the Sette punches way above its weight. The 7-270W was not reliable and I had three of them. Moving to the ~Wi fixed that. Even the ~Wi has had its issues, but Baratza has continuously been updating the design. If you get a new one it'll probably be rock solid, yet backed by Baratza's legendary service (they looked after me with free parts well past the warranty). The Specialita has a reputation for grinds that are fluffy, as does the Sette. I've not tried a Specialita at home, so can't comment 'in-the-cup', but the Sette is better than the Preciso, which was actually quite good...loved that grinder once I put it atop the Esatto.

caffeineme

Postby caffeineme » Jul 12, 2019, 12:17 am

This worked for me with a Specialita.... though not truly weigh-based on/off, the Specialita is fairly accurate to +/- .2g when setup properly and similar amount in hopper. Enjoyed the workflow with this setup. Rather fast and efficient.

Hario Scale
Decent Portafilter Stand (tall one)
Decent Funnel
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HardWater526

Postby HardWater526 » Jul 12, 2019, 9:26 am

Thanks for all the info so far! This is why I'm so torn. I actually clicked buy on the specialita a couple days ago, and the order page froze. Then I started questioning my decision.

Do either of you have to do any WDT or stirring with your setups or is it straight into the PF and go? With the scale setup for the Specialita above, the two would come out to about the same price, and be weight based. Still not sure which wins in grind quality and taste.

@Nunas, is there futzing with the weighing on the 270 or if you have 18.5g on a familiar bean and grind, you press a button and then just tamp and go?

Nunas

Postby Nunas » Jul 12, 2019, 10:20 am

I stopped doing WTD when I got the 270Wi, as the grinds are so soft and fluffy that a few taps distributes them nicely. I almost never get channeling anymore. It's pretty much just grind into the PF, tamp and go.

Here's how I use mine. First you set the desired weight of grinds (there are three pre-sets). After that, the 270 is self calibrating. Lets say you have it set for 18 grams and it puts out 17 on the first grind (not a good example, as it has never made such a gross error). When it's done, it displays the actual output. It internally compares that weight to the amount you set and makes a little adjustment in its computer for next time. The next time, it'll be closer, the third time closer still and so on. Once it figures out what to do, which on mine takes only a few grinds, it's dead nuts on or within a tenth of a gram or so. If you change beans to something significantly harder or softer, it might be a bit off the first time, but it figures out what to do and self adjusts. The only exception is, if the hopper runs to nearly empty it'll sometimes come up a bit short. But, when this happens, you just short-press the grind button; it spits out about a tenth of a gram or so per push. Changing the grind for dialing in a new bean can throw it off a bit, but it quickly self-adjusts. I love weight-based grinding right into the PF.

caffeineme

Postby caffeineme » Jul 12, 2019, 7:35 pm

I have to WDT with the Specialita.

Grinds come out like a waterfall... very fluffy. No idea how it will compare with a 270Wi on taste though.

MoreJoePlz

Postby MoreJoePlz » Jul 14, 2019, 9:24 am

Nunas wrote:I stopped doing WTD when I got the 270Wi, as the grinds are so soft and fluffy that a few taps distributes them nicely. I almost never get channeling anymore. It's pretty much just grind into the PF, tamp and go.

Here's how I use mine. First you set the desired weight of grinds (there are three pre-sets). After that, the 270 is self calibrating. Lets say you have it set for 18 grams and it puts out 17 on the first grind (not a good example, as it has never made such a gross error). When it's done, it displays the actual output. It internally compares that weight to the amount you set and makes a little adjustment in its computer for next time. The next time, it'll be closer, the third time closer still and so on. Once it figures out what to do, which on mine takes only a few grinds, it's dead nuts on or within a tenth of a gram or so. If you change beans to something significantly harder or softer, it might be a bit off the first time, but it figures out what to do and self adjusts. The only exception is, if the hopper runs to nearly empty it'll sometimes come up a bit short. But, when this happens, you just short-press the grind button; it spits out about a tenth of a gram or so per push. Changing the grind for dialing in a new bean can throw it off a bit, but it quickly self-adjusts. I love weight-based grinding right into the PF.


Thanks for the detailed write up of your workflow. I'm pondering a similar grinder upgrade. Do you single dose or leave beans in the hopper? I'm trying to figure out the workflow around beans being in the hopper. Seems like peeps here either leave a small amount (1-3 days worth) in the hopper or single dose.

If single dosing, is there any advantage to getting the 270wi vs the 270?

Nunas

Postby Nunas » Jul 14, 2019, 3:06 pm

Thanks for the detailed write up of your workflow. I'm pondering a similar grinder upgrade. Do you single dose or leave beans in the hopper? I'm trying to figure out the workflow around beans being in the hopper. Seems like peeps here either leave a small amount (1-3 days worth) in the hopper or single dose. If single dosing, is there any advantage to getting the 270wi vs the 270?

No, I don't single dose; I keep the hopper about half full. If I were single-dosing, I think I'd have bought the 7-270 rather than the 7-270Wi. It's the same grinder without the inbuilt scale for less $$$. As I mentioned in my first response to your thread, the Sette series isn't 'no retention'; it's certainly very low retention. There's a plastic wheel inside with slots in it, which sweeps the grinds to the discharge. It retains some grinds, probably less than a gram, although I suppose if one was into really dark, oily roasts it might retain a bit more. A quick shot before starting out clears this, resulting in identical shots thereafter. However, I no longer do this unless I'm drinking straight shots. Usually, we make cappuccinos and I can't taste the difference between the first and second shot, even though the first shot tends to go through the espresso machine a bit more quickly than subsequent shots.

Edit: I forgot to say that if you're into weight-based production, which I am, then the Wi is the way to go. It weighs the beans very accurately and I weigh the shot coming out of the machine to achieve the desired brew ratio (usually a bit less than 1:2 for our milk-based drinks).

MoreJoePlz

Postby MoreJoePlz » Jul 14, 2019, 4:12 pm

No, I don't single dose; I keep the hopper about half full. If I were single-dosing, I think I'd have bought the 7-270 rather than the 7-270Wi. It's the same grinder without the inbuilt scale for less $$$. As I mentioned in my first response to your thread, the Sette series isn't 'no retention'; it's certainly very low retention. There's a plastic wheel inside with slots in it, which sweeps the grinds to the discharge. It retains some grinds, probably less than a gram, although I suppose if one was into really dark, oily roasts it might retain a bit more. A quick shot before starting out clears this, resulting in identical shots thereafter. However, I no longer do this unless I'm drinking straight shots. Usually, we make cappuccinos and I can't taste the difference between the first and second shot, even though the first shot tends to go through the espresso machine a bit more quickly than subsequent shots.

Edit: I forgot to say that if you're into weight-based production, which I am, then the Wi is the way to go. It weighs the beans very accurately and I weigh the shot coming out of the machine to achieve the desired brew ratio (usually a bit less than 1:2 for our milk-based drinks).


Thanks. One of the hardest things to figure out in the espresso game is when you will hit the point of diminishing returns.

I love the idea of a weight-based workflow where I don't have to measure the weight of the coffee beans before dumping them into the grinder. The tradeoff is beans that are oxidizing in the hopper as they wait their turn through the mystic portal. Can you taste the difference as the beans age, or do you have to adjust the grind over time to account for their drying out & oxidizing in the hopper rather than in a sealed container?

It's quite possible my palate can't tell the difference, though I know lots of people here on HB whose palates are well refined enough!

Nunas

Postby Nunas » Jul 14, 2019, 5:23 pm

Can you taste the difference as the beans age, or do you have to adjust the grind over time to account for their drying out & oxidizing in the hopper rather than in a sealed container?

I roast all my own beans, usually every 7 to 10 days, and only as much as we consume in less than two weeks. So, my results may not be typical. In any case, the answer to your first question is "yes", we do indeed taste the difference as the beans age. We usually roast to FC+ and let the beans age for a couple of days before using them. Each day they taste a little bit different, peaking at about 1-week. There's three or four days of really good, followed by three or four days of fantastic, then back to really good. We don't have any beans in use for more than a couple of weeks, so can't really say what would happen if we did. In all probability, our shots would still be at least as good as those from our local cafes. As to the second question, also "yes", we do adjust the grinder as the beans age. Usually, once dialed in, we're good for two or three days, then we adjust after a couple of days, then nearly daily. However, the adjustments are tiny, and I'm probably gilding the lily here. Most of our drinks are milk based and I'm not really adjusting on account of taste; I'm adjusting on account of the change in time to pull a shot (the shots get a tiny bit longer each day as the beans age). So, it's mostly about consistency of the pull. We were recently on a very high end European cruise, during which we had espresso based drinks (mostly latte and capps) daily. We couldn't wait to get home an have some to our own coffee :D.