Possible upgrade to Baratza Vario W

Recommendations for espresso equipment buyers and upgraders.
FrankZ

Postby FrankZ » May 15, 2019, 7:49 pm

Been happy with the grind on my Vario W, but have been thinking about upgrading to a machine where I can dose right into the portafilter.

My machine is a Rocket Cellini, which I really like with the exception of the loud vibratory pump, so I think the grinder is the weaker point in the chain. I only pull straight shots, no milk drinks and its typically just for me, so no concern about multiple drinks.

Sooo many options, so I'm not sure if upgrading the grinder will make a noticeable change, but I'm willing to go up to ~$1500 or so for one if it is warranted.

taelvin

Postby taelvin » May 18, 2019, 2:28 am

Based on your usage you want a single dose grinder to try and minimize waste between uses. Does your Vario W have the metal flat burrs in it? The next step up in my mind within that price range for espresso use would be the Niche Zero (a conical burr) or the Baratza Forte AP (A ceramic flat burr, which some might argue this is just a build quality upgrade as the flat burrs used in it can be put in the Vario). Have you read the review hosted here on it? Niche Zero Grinder Review In the review they compare it against a few grinders you might consider in your workflow.

tracer bullet

Postby tracer bullet » May 18, 2019, 10:04 am

With static issues I'm not sure I'm yet sold on dosing into the portafilter. I went from a Vario W to a Niche myself and still have a similar workflow.

I tried the Vario many times as a single doser, weighing beans out and letting them all run through, skipping the whole point of the -W as a weighing device. But depending on the coffee, I'd sometimes get terrible static and watch the grind hurl itself across the workspace. So I resigned to usign the -W function with the catcher in place, and learned to not care too much. It added a step but stopped the static issues. I would let it grind in there, then dump it into the portafilter over the sink just in case a little spills out.

Enter the Niche. Still weighing the beans before grinding, and using a catcher (their stainless 58mm cup this time). Tried going straight to the portafilter directly but again, coffee dependent, could get a lot of static. Even with a couple (up to 3) mists of water for the "RDT" technique, I would still have static. So now I have resigned to using their catcher and again dump into the portafilter over the sink.

You may have better luck, many people do. I'd consider just using the Vario as intended and get a ring to go around the portafilter to make it easier to get everything in it. Or if you get a Niche or something else be ready that you might still need to do that, and you may have obtained an upgrade in grinding but not necessarily have changed or sped up your workflow.

As for Niche vs. Vario, I like the change, but I can't honestly say it has made a difference in my cup. But I'm not nearly as astute as some folks. I won't undo my upgrade but I'm not sure I'd do it again.

FrankZ

Postby FrankZ » Yesterday, 11:18 am

Yes, mine has the flat metal burrs.

Thanks for the feedback folks. I was just curious how much, if any difference a better grinder would provide.

The NZ looks interesting. The Ceado E37S looks pretty good as well. Before I drop that kind of cash, I want to make sure its worth it.