Baratza Vario Grinder - First Look - Page 8

Grinders are one of the keys to exceptional espresso. Discuss them here.
spro745
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#71: Post by spro745 »

another_jim wrote:Am I the only one thinking this? The burrs look surprisingly low grade. If it produces a high quality grind, the conventional wisdom on burr design, that is, a long grinding path is better than a short one, needs to be rethought.

I agree..... they do look a bit low tech for such an expensive grinder. And people talk crap about the KA Pro Line burrs not having super sharp edges, even though they have a slightly similar design to the ones in the Vario. I personally think what the Vario really has to offer is adjustability. Other than that, nothing that I'd care for. There are better grinders for the $$$ IMO. Later!

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sweaner
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#72: Post by sweaner »

spro745 wrote:There are better grinders for the $$$ IMO. Later!
How do you know this? For more info about the burr set, listen to Mark Prince's podcast. It is interesting, and a lot went into designing the burrs.
Scott
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spro745
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#73: Post by spro745 »

I'll put it like this then...... I simply don't think the Vario has the build quality from pics I've seen to justify the cost. The adjustability would be nice, but is it necessary? I'd rather add a little more to it and get a Mini or something similar with a great track record. I just don't like anything Baratza and that's all there is to it.

Well, Mark has done alot for the coffee world, but his opinion is just one man's opinion. And he touted the Pro Line when it first came out and was quickly shot down by others for his comments on it. Later!

hperry
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#74: Post by hperry »

spro745 wrote:I'll put it like this then...... I simply don't think the Vario has the build quality from pics I've seen to justify the cost.
I think it might be hard to judge from the pictures. The prototype that I saw and handled at Coffeefest in Seattle seemed pretty solid. I don't know whether you've had a chance to listen to Mark's interview with the designer, but it sure seems that they have made a significant effort to provide a forward thinking product at an acceptable price.

Maybe we should wait to judge until a few people have production models in hand before writing it off.
Hal Perry

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ddr
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#75: Post by ddr »

hperry wrote:Maybe we should wait to judge until a few people have production models in hand before writing it off.
I should be receiving a production Vario from the good folks at PT's Coffee at the end of February. As soon as possible after that (depends on my work travel schedule) I will invite the local Seattle HB folks over and we can compare it to a Super Jolly and whatever other grinders anyone wants to bring over.

Sorry, this group requires a caveat: Whatever other grinders, which can be plugged into a standard 110V 15 Amp circuit, anyone wants to bring over.
Dan
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hperry
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#76: Post by hperry »

Thanks for the offer Dan. Look forward to it. I'll plan to bring the Versalab as well.
Hal Perry

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shadowfax (original poster)
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#77: Post by shadowfax (original poster) »

hperry wrote:I think it might be hard to judge from the pictures. The prototype that I saw and handled at Coffeefest in Seattle seemed pretty solid. I don't know whether you've had a chance to listen to Mark's interview with the designer, but it sure seems that they have made a significant effort to provide a forward thinking product at an acceptable price.

Maybe we should wait to judge until a few people have production models in hand before writing it off.
My point exactly. I've had a Mini, and I have a Robur and Super Jolly; in terms of build quality, there is no doubt that this grinder is not in the same league as a Mazzer. You simply can't top full-body cast aluminum with plastic. On the other hand, as Hal says, this grinder does not feel cheap overall. It does lose to the Mazzer and Macaps on this front, but it's not unacceptable or even unimpressive. Put simply, unless you are a gorilla, Mazzers and Macaps are over-engineered. Their build quality only really comes in particularly handy in the early part of their life: when they are handled by actual gorillas (shipping company "box throwers," etc.).

I am curious about the internal quality of the grind adjustment on the Vario, but leery of taking it apart--so I can't speak to that. But overall, this is a very well built consumer grinder that feels like it will last as long as you could possibly want to use it.

Finally, I don't think I would describe this grinder's advantage as adjustability. Its competitors, the Mini and M4, are both infinitely adjustable vs. the Vario's ~230 settings for grind. The advantage of this grinder as I see it is pretty much 100% in [advertised] repeatability (across large changes in grind/dose), ease of use, and minimized waste.

To shift the subject a little bit, I suppose it's a fine time to post some further impressions from comparing the Robur and the Vario on the Elektra with PT's Bella Vita Espresso. Counter to my expectation, the Robur edged out the Vario with this one. It consistently rendered the higher fruit notes of the coffee better (to me) on my setup. The Robur shots were more interesting, easier to pick out flavors on. The Vario shots at similar doses consistently rendered the high flavors duller, favoring generally pleasant roast notes. That's not to say it made a worse shot, honestly--With some coffees (or tastes), I can imagine that this might be an advantage. So far, my impressions are certainly matching the typical buzz about conical vs. flat burr flavor profile. Of course, this may change as I compare more coffees and finally get off my rear and move the Robur off my bench and return the Super Jolly. Motivation to do that is difficult to come by when your grinder is 60 lbs. :roll: I've also just received a PV Lusso. It will be taking the long way home from Greg's place back to 1st-line, making a stop with me for a month or two, or however long I can keep it before Jim starts bugging me to get it back... :D It'll be great to have yet another machine to compare my findings on.

Sorry for the lack of exhaustive notes; I still feel like I am getting to know this grinder. I'm glad to hear you're going to have a "Vario" party, Dan. I look forward to comparing notes with you guys and the rest of the early adopters later in the month/next month as the final version of the Vario ships out and you all have a chance to get to know it as well.
Nicholas Lundgaard

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sweaner
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#78: Post by sweaner »

hperry wrote:Thanks for the offer Dan. Look forward to it. I'll plan to bring the Versalab as well.
Vario vs. Versalab....now there is a real David vs Goliath matchup!
Scott
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ccfore
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#79: Post by ccfore replying to sweaner »


Remember the ending? Are you making a prediction? :D
Todd / LMWDP #109

hperry
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#80: Post by hperry »

sweaner wrote:Vario vs. Versalab....now there is a real David vs Goliath matchup!
I'm not looking for a "smackdown." I'm doubting that things will be dialed in enough to be conclusive. But they both are designed to address similar problems (clumping, waste grinds, minute adjustment, reduced static) and I thought it might be worth having both to explore.
Hal Perry