New Baratza Grinder - Forte

Grinders are one of the keys to exceptional espresso. Discuss them here.
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Postby EvanOz85 » Mar 25, 2013, 7:15 pm

Looks like they listened to a lot of the input from Preciso/Vario owners. $950 for ceramic burrs.

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Postby Intrepid510 » Mar 25, 2013, 7:46 pm

Shucks was hoping they were going to target the home user not the commercial one. But for all those people that moan about Baratza reliability appears they listen and you get what you pay for.

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Postby Carneiro » Mar 25, 2013, 7:51 pm

Same burrs used in Vario?

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Postby Anvan » Mar 25, 2013, 8:05 pm

Given Baratza's history, I wouldn't be surprised if it delivers outsized value even at this much higher price. It will have to match some pretty well-established conicals in that range - Baratza's little write up skips that critical burr question and focuses on other items.

I wonder how the belt drive will affect the finished grind compared to big direct-driveshafts. It also would have been nice if they had provided a little more detail about the new removable hopper with respect to retention (leftover beans above the burrs in this case). With a switchable hopper plus dosing by weight or time, I guess it's odd to be thinking about single dosing with this product, though with a small hopper like this, the bean load above the burrs has fairly high relative operating variation between operating full versus empty.

A really good home-usable grinder in this range is certainly a hole in the current market, so this could shorten a lot of "What grinder should I buy..." threads.

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Postby another_jim » Mar 25, 2013, 8:17 pm

Last year, at the SCAA, Baratza made a push to sell the metal burr Vario-W commerically to cafes that do a lot of brew bar sales. They invited local Baristas to run a brew bar at their stand, and this turned out to be one of the highlights of the show -- the coffees were always superb. Much of this was due to very good coffee and Baristas, but some of it was because the Vario-W with the metal burr is a superb brewing grinder.

However, the Vario is a home appliance, and not quite up to commercial specs. Kyle was hoping he could upgrade the Vario to commercial standards without raising prices. Given this announcement, I guess this was not possible, and they are making a new commercially spec'ed grinder with the same functionality as the Vario-W.

Looks like I might have a new cupping grinder; it also looks like this might be the coup de grace for the Pro-M. However, for lighter duty home users, the Vario will remain the better choice. So I think this my be a smart move.

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Postby hamish5178 » Mar 26, 2013, 9:22 am

I've been to a few cafes that used stock Varios (ceramic, timer) for pourover. The W was one improvement, and the metal burrs another on top of that.

My point is is that Baratza is staying on top of, or even at times ahead of consumer demands. Compared to Mazzer which is still selling the same thing they sold 50 years ago.

The forte seems like it may be the home doserless espresso grinder for its price. Maybe in the next year or two they'll cram some 68mm conicals into something like this?

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Postby Carneiro » Mar 26, 2013, 9:29 am

I doubt about the 68mm... But maybe a improved version of the Preciso burrs, it doesn't need to be so bigger.

My question about same burrs is that I like Vario results, very much, but I feel there is a little notch to improve in flavor, considering espresso. I don't know if this would be possible at the same cost and I have no idea how they could improve (flat but bigger, different cut design, conical etc).

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Postby Nate42 » Mar 26, 2013, 12:17 pm

Sounds pretty cool, might be right up my alley. If anyone is going to SCAA boston be sure to check it out and give us a report.

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Postby john_ertw » Mar 26, 2013, 12:24 pm

• Integrated Weight and Time based grinding
• Auto-dosing feature that converts weight to grind time, automatically, to allow precise direct grinding to portafilter.

Need more details on the weight/time based grinding, but if this can dose consistently within a couple tenths of a gram directly into the portafilter, is no taller than a Vario, and has a nice polished stainless finish to match the high end machines a lot of home baristas around here have this might be a big winner for the home (of course this is assuming it performs as well if not better than the Vario where it counts - in the cup). It's just a matter of if home users will spend $950.

For commercial use I would think the grind speed would be a question based on my Vario, but built in weight based grinding would be a huge plus as it can reduce coffee waste. I guess it needs to be seen how responsive cafes would be to Baratza grinders given that they started in the home market.

The hopper reminds me of the Breville smart grinder. Hopefully the hopper is air-tight when the lid is on and the bottom is shut to help preserve beans when not in use (come to think of it a built in vacuum sealer would be great).

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Postby yakster » Mar 26, 2013, 12:47 pm

The Vario seems to be popular at a lot of commercial pop-up events, I would imagine that the Forte would be even better suited for this if it were more rugged and commercial quality with weight and time based dosing.

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