Should I replace my Baratza Vario-W with a used Forte?

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.
User avatar
Peppersass
Supporter ❤

#1: Post by Peppersass »

I've had a Baratza Vario-W for quite a few years now. Offhand I don't recall how many years, but I got it shortly after the -W model was introduced. I actually traded in an even older Vario for it. The Vario-W works fine, though it's noisy. Every now and then I have to go in and tighten the set screw that holds the motor shaft in place. Not a big deal. The grinder has the metal burrs and is used exclusively for my wife's drip coffee (I use my Monolith Flat for an occasional pourover or vac pot.) I've not done anything to check or improve the alignment.

Baratza Forte grinders come up for sale here fairly regularly, and the prices are getting attractive enough to consider replacing the Vario-W with one. But would it be worth $400-$600 to do that? What improvements would a Forte offer over the Vario-W for my application? There's more metal in the build, but how important is that? Is it any quieter? I see that some people do the "Alicorn" alignment on Fortes. Does that make a detectable difference in the cup?

Is there another grinder in the $500 price range that would be a better choice for my wife's drip coffee?

OldmatefromOZ

#2: Post by OldmatefromOZ »

I wouldn't bother, I am in similar position except mine does my dads daily 1 or 2 Clever dripper and it still makes great coffee. Mine is around 2014 build and I have had and sold regular vario and forte with steel burrs in that time.

User avatar
yakster
Supporter ♡

#3: Post by yakster »

I've been considering putting the metal burrs in my original Vario 885 from 2010 and asked Baratza if I should sent it in for this. Here's their reply, I'm tempted. They may be able to offer you the same service for your Vario-W.
For a flat rate, you can send your grinder in and we'll diagnose any problem you might have, repair all broken parts, update all parts, give your grinder a good cleaning and calibration, and ship it back to you! A new set of burrs would be the only additional cost. With our current repair standards, our techs would install the new metal grind chamber that comes standard in the new Vario+ as well as a new d-shaft motor and pulley, a design change we made back in 2020!
-Chris

LMWDP # 272

User avatar
yakster
Supporter ♡

#4: Post by yakster »

yakster wrote:I've been considering putting the metal burrs in my original Vario 885 from 2010 and asked Baratza if I should sent it in for this. Here's their reply, I'm tempted. They may be able to offer you the same service for your Vario-W.
I did send my Vario in and it came back looking like a new grinder (minus the hopper and grinds bin which they don't have you send in) in eight days. Did a test grind and I'm looking forward to using this tomorrow morning to make a pot of coffee in my BraZen. The grinder even has the markings on the front plate for the grind settings and the levers are much stiffer even though the settings didn't drift before after I had shimmed it.
-Chris

LMWDP # 272
★ Helpful

SutterMill

#5: Post by SutterMill »

That IMO is excellent customer service. Look forward to seeing if theres any difference in the cup

pwest

#6: Post by pwest »

+1 on the Baratza refurb/repair program. I sent my tired old Vario in to Baratza and it came back like a $500 Vario+

-Phil

User avatar
yakster
Supporter ♡

#7: Post by yakster »

I've been very happy with my refurbished Vario(+) and the switch from ceramic to steel burrs, the grinds consistency visually is impressive and the coffee has been great. I'm thinking I will need to re-calibrate the zero point because the coarsest grind setting right now just works for a 900 ml pot in my BraZen but I think it's going to be a problem tonight when I try a 1.2 liter pot tonight for a family gathering.
-Chris

LMWDP # 272