Baratza Vario Grinder - First Look - Page 22

Grinders are one of the keys to exceptional espresso. Discuss them here.
IMAWriter
Supporter

#211: Post by IMAWriter »

cai42 wrote:Greetings,

Mazzer's hefty metal parts will out live Vario's printed circuit boards and chips.

Cliff Isackson
That might be true. However, I don't believe the Vario was meant to compete with the Mini. This is an entirely different animal. However, if it's grind is superior to a stock Mazzer Mini, plus having the timer and much greater grind flexibility, if it lasts say, 5 years, I'd probably rather have those 5 years of better espresso, convenience, etc.
This is, of course completely dependent on the Vario performing as advertised.
Rob
LMWDP #187
www.robertjason.com

User avatar
TUS172

#212: Post by TUS172 »

IMAWriter wrote:That might be true. However, I don't believe the Vario was meant to compete with the Mini.
Hmm... $429.00 versus $569.00 for a Mazzer Mini. I would save for a couple of months and invest in a proven grinder...
This is a high end price. High end expectations are in accord. JMHO

The La Cimbali Junior...(My 1st real high end grinder. Has far exceeded my expectations)... The quality of build and grind are outstanding...
Bob C.
(No longer a lever purist!)
LMWDP #012

hperry

#213: Post by hperry »

My own inclination is to play with the Vario a considerable time longer before judging. It's not my Versalab. But, it seems to me to be quite an achievement. It "dials in" differently than I'm used to. The spot that is "just right" seems to be a pretty tight band for each coffee that I've used. The coffee volume is less than the Versalab for the same weight of beans. Yet I've been pretty impressed with a few of the shots I have ground. For me at least, there's considerable distance to go to judge whether the things I don't like are caused by me or the machine.
Hal Perry

IMAWriter
Supporter

#214: Post by IMAWriter » replying to hperry »

Ah, a reasonable human being! :lol:
Rob
LMWDP #187
www.robertjason.com

PictureThyme

#215: Post by PictureThyme »

Wasn't looking to revive this thread but I think after a few years of positive experience under its belt, the Baratza Vario is a serious contender for a grinder that performs well. And if the grinder or it's performance are not as expected, you will find that Baratza's customer service exceeds most expectations.

I got some beans that were purchased from a coffee shop in Brazil for me that had included an unnoticed rock the size of a bean. The rock put a dent in my morning but the burrs are fine. The belt, as I believe it's designed to do, gave way before the burrs could be damaged.

I called Baratza Customer Service this morning and explained my situation. A minute after I hung up, I received a confirmation email with repair instruction links and replacement parts on their way. Their customer service is a huge selling point for Baratza grinders--on top of the quality of the grind.

IMAWriter
Supporter

#216: Post by IMAWriter »

"Picture'...I think you are so correct regarding Baratza service.
Rob
LMWDP #187
www.robertjason.com

User avatar
Martin

#217: Post by Martin »

TUS172 wrote:Hmm... $429.00 versus $569.00 for a Mazzer Mini. I would save for a couple of months and invest in a proven grinder...
This is a high end price. High end expectations are in accord. JMHO

The La Cimbali Junior...(My 1st real high end grinder. Has far exceeded my expectations)... The quality of build and grind are outstanding...
I've owned a Mini for close to 9 years----and a Vario for a bit over one year.

Early last week, the Vario whirred, whined, and spun. Maybe a stone? Called Baratza, got a telephone diagnosis. By Thursday I received parts (little plastic gear and a new belt.) Followed the pdf instructions and repair accomplished. No apparent damage to the burrs, but those ceramics are hard to judge if the only technique you have is running your thumb over them. It's worth noting that when it comes to skills suited to machine servicing, I'm not the sharpest sandwich at the picnic.

I use both machines as single-dose grinders. I've replaced the Mini's doser with an OEM stainless funnel from a timer model, and I use a shaped yogurt cup that "locks" around the funnel and nicely directs all the flying grounds into the 54mm basket. The Vario requires no such fiddling and wins on user-friendly.

I've never set out to do a cup-to-cup comparison of the grinders. The cup they produce is noticeably different, and the nature of the difference changes with different coffees, degrees of roast, and length of rest. Sometimes I'd give the edge to the Mini, sometimes to the Vario. In sum, I'd rate them as equals.

Although my Mini is about as basic a grinder as possible, it's still a brute of a precision machine. The Vario seems to be a delicate little thing--quieter with many more buttons and blinking LEDs. However, the Mini is relegated to decaf use when I'm pulling multiple shots for guests, and the Vario is my daily grinder. The biggest difference for me is the ease with which I can anticipate a grind setting. Where a single adjustment on the Vario gets me to the sweet spot, the Mazzer might take some triangulating with 2 or more adjustments.

So, as long as there's a human who picks up the phone at Baratza Central, I'm a fan. I think that it does compete with the Mini (sort of.) I'd recommend the Vario over the Mini, and if one wants a more robust grinder, to skip the Mini and go for one of the big guys.