Seeking Advice: Espresso Gear Upgrade

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.
ddavaddavin
Posts: 4
Joined: 7 months ago

#1: Post by ddavaddavin »

Background

Hello! I am a long time lurker. I primarily brew espresso and make americanos and I'm interested in upgrading my current equipment.

Desires

- Improve shot quality and consistency
- Durable machine that's repairable
- Learn more along the way and enjoy tinkering
- Handle lighter roasts

Current Setup (for last ~7 years)

- Baratza Vario (with upgraded motor)
- Breville Infuser (recently has failed)

I'm curious about the current status of the Vario. It was highly recommended here years ago. Is it still a good choice, or is there a better option in the 500-700 budget range? One thing I love about this grinder is the support and availability of parts. Baratza seems to have a PDF or video for every repair for this grinder. I love that.

Regarding the machine, I'm interested in adjustable pre-infusion and flow control. Programmable pre-infusion like the Bianca has caught my eye. I also like the idea of the quieter rotary pump and the ability to plumb in someday if desired.

On the other hand, since I don't make milk drinks, is a dual boiler unnecessary? Are single boiler options with a flow control kit, such as the Puristika or Classika PID, viable choices?

Would love opinions on this! My budget is flexible, but I'd like to avoid going too extravagant for diminishing returns.

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Jeff
Team HB
Posts: 6881
Joined: 19 years ago

#2: Post by Jeff »

Welcome to H-B!

I'd start with the recent thread on a very similar topic Espresso machines that can handle light roasts well?

The ceramic burrs in the Vario do a reasonable job with traditional espresso. The steel burrs, especially with the upgraded grind chamber, are said to be a good option for both brew and espresso. I would explore those options first over spending on a new grinder.

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baldheadracing
Team HB
Posts: 6258
Joined: 9 years ago

#3: Post by baldheadracing »

My guess would be that a seven-year-old Vario would need the metal grind chamber/upper burr carrier upgrade to grind for espresso with the Ditting steel burrset. My Vario did. I did the hyper-alignment at the same time so that is probably desirable as well.
-"Good quality brings happiness as you use it" - Nobuho Miya, Kamasada