Most reliable, user friendly grinder for espresso use

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.
chanty 77

#1: Post by chanty 77 »

Had my Baratza Vario for 9 years, issues with the 2nd double shot being too slow, too fast no matter what I do, etc. Just starting to want to try another grinder that would be solely used for espresso, single dosing, easy to dial in, price range up to $1,000. Thanks.
Anyone? Thanks.


#2: Post by knumph »

Anfim Cody II


#3: Post by Jeff »

There are lots of good choices under $1000 for a new grinder, depending mainly on price and if you want a hopper or not. For me, I found that my beans aged too fast in a hopper (over a week or so), so I use a single-dose approach.

In that price range, the Niche Zero is a great grinder if you want to grind a dose at a time. It's also small and relatively quiet, if those are concerns.

The Anfim has specs that look reasonable and many here seem to like the Eureka Atom series as well, if you're looking for a hopper. I don't know how well they work for single-dose use. Perhaps others can chime in.

That said, the Vario is a solid little grinder. It may be worth cleaning it out (something may be sticking) and inspecting for worn parts. Baratza has great instructions on their website for self service, backed up with exceptionally good help through email. Their parts are very reasonably priced, should you need to replace any. At ten years, if you were using 3# a month, that would be around 360# of coffee. Baratza suggests that the ceramic burrs are good for 750#, so it's probably not the burrs being too worn. If cleaning didn't resolve the issues, an email or two with them didn't either, and you're not into disassembling it, they have a reasonable refurbishment program.

If you're able to get your Vario back into shape, then you'd have $500-1000 for coffee, or to upgrade your machine.

One of their many videos

chanty 77

#4: Post by chanty 77 »

Thanks. Baratza did send me a year old refurbished Vario. They recalibrated it to make it ultra fine, so now I have blown through so many beans in the last week I have been trying this. Here's how fine they made it. Today, I finally got a halfway decent double shot on my Gran Miscelo Carmo (Caffe Lusso) at 4H, 6 seconds to first drip, 16g of beans--this is more of a medium dark blend, a local roaster, Hawthorne's espresso is probably more like a normal medium blend--that ended up being 3H, 5 seconds to first drip, 18g of beans.
We will see how this works tomorrow. If I can get this to work on at least 2 blends of beans I like--I will keep the refurbished Vario. I tend to have issues normally (which is why they sent me a refurbished, and they didn't have to....kudos to them) with the second double shot. Second double can run fast or slow (no grind retention by the way). No rhyme to the reason. Example with the GMC, the second double ran 20 seconds to the first drop, 16g again, no grind retention. With the Hawthorne's, second double was 4 seconds first drip, 17.8g. Wasn't happy--gave that one to my husband. Third double ran 6 seconds at first drip with 18g. So it is a constant battle with the 2nd double. Sigh. If I can dial the 2 blends in at least for the first doubles, I will be somewhat happy.

Supporter ♡

#5: Post by false1001 »

If you are working with a full hopper do you purge the stale grinds every morning?

chanty 77

#6: Post by chanty 77 » replying to false1001 »

I only single dose as I only use two double shots per day. Thank you.


#7: Post by Jeff »

One thing to check, which might help to confirm that it's the grinder would be to grind two baskets' of coffee, mix them very. very thoroughly, then pull two shots from the mix, ideally with the same rhythm as you do when you take the time in between to grind. I know you said that you said that this started in the past couple years, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's the grinder.

Edit: My apologies in asking you to try this again!

chanty 77

#8: Post by chanty 77 »

I think I did that already Jeff, but I am going to re-try it tomorrow to see if it makes any difference. I don't believe it did the last time. Thanks.


#9: Post by Oskuk »

Jeff wrote:
That said, the Vario is a solid little grinder.
I'd say just the opposite; flimsy overpriced plastic!
There is no bigger regret on any coffee purchase than Vario.
Ooh I was so happy when I got the real grinder on my desk.


#10: Post by JamieS »

I've had years of reliable, solid use from my Vario. So I'd say it was an excellent value for me, and their customer service is top notch in case there are any problems.