Posted Sun Apr 1, 2012, 5:12pm Subject: Re: Baratza Vario overkill for Aeropress?
... After doing some research recently, I'm going to give the Aeropress a try, and am looking for a top quality grinder. I've been researching several models, and the Vario seems to come up as one of the best, most versatile home grinders. Currently I prefer Americano style coffee, but like that the Vario does espresso well if I decide to start brewing espresso in the future.
However, after reading some recent posts, am I correct that ceramic burrs are ideal for espresso, but not necessarily ideal for pour over/press type brewing?
I have experience with three Baratza grinders: the Virtuoso, the Vario, and the Preciso.
I originally owned the Virtuoso, but after five years and a few self-repairs (at Baratza's direction), something caused the main drive gear to strip and I gave up on it. I then bought the Vario, but I found that it produces too many fines, no matter what the grind setting. It would make a filter drip very slow and tend to make an astringent cup. The "many fines" feature was corroborated with Mark Prince's review of the Vario, so I gave up on it and bought a Preciso.
I find the Preciso perfect for all these methods of brewing: drip, moka pot, Krups Moka Brew, Aeropress, and french press. It produces a remarkably dust-free grind. I haven't yet tried it with vac pot, and I'm still experimenting with Turkish. I also don't have plans to ever do espresso, although I hear it does quite well as far as grind goes. (It seems to lack in some other espresso-friendly features like dosing, timing, and consistent grind settings.)
I think the Vario is overkill for Aeropress... but if you have plans to expand to espresso, it's a good choice. I don't think it works well for coarser grinds, but just about anything works with Aeropress. Eventually I will sell my Vario though, I just have to figure out how.
A Preciso or a Vario with metal burrs woul be your best option, although the metal burrs on the Vario make it useless or espresso. The Preciso does it all but lacks some of the bells an whistles of the Vario. Its a straight forward grinder in comparison but performs for espresso and is excellent in the drip and coarse grinds.
I've never seen a Preciso at a discounted price before. A grinder is definitely one of the most key parts of a coffee setup, so a quality grinder is worth the money. If money really is tight, a refurb from Baratza would be a great option.
Posted Sun Apr 1, 2012, 8:45pm Subject: Re: Baratza Vario overkill for Aeropress?
Bummer, I ordered the Vario last night before seeing these replies. Kind of a shame that for a $450 machine it wouldn't come with superior burrs, since it's touted as being so versatile, and pretty much their highest end machine (sans the vario-w, but that's merely for the weighted aspect). Hopefully I won't be disappointed...
My experience hasn't exactly supported the above claims. I found the Virtuoso to produce a noticeably less consistent grind than the Vario, and the latter hasn't had a fines problem in my experience. Rather, my Maestro is a fines demon. A point against the Virtuoso too, in that the plastic sweeping vanes appear to be fragile - one snapped off while grinding for drip. Still, I won't say my experience is the gold standard, but rather that there seem to be, and always have been, differing encounters with Baratza grinders. The first handful works like a champ, then one snaps an adjustment collar, or won't retain a grind setting. I'd say the Vario is worth a go, and Baratza is the kind of company to help you find a replacement if you're not satisfied after a few days. Just my two cents.
A Preciso or a Vario with metal burrs woul be your best option, although the metal burrs on the Vario make it useless or espresso.
VKirby Senior Member Joined: 16 Mar 2012 Posts: 71 Location: World Wide Expertise: I like coffee
Posted Sun Apr 1, 2012, 10:15pm Subject: Re: Baratza Vario overkill for Aeropress?
I just went through this decision myself (for drip/vac instead of aeropress) & have an incoming 586, but especially if you are willing to buy the ditting burrs to go along with it i'd say stick with the vario you already have on the way. The vario's advantages as I understand them:
-stronger motor, bigger burrs -aluminum burr carrier, fewer plastic internals -ceramic burrs last 2x as long & are cooler, OR... -ditting burrs for most consistent coarse grinds -quieter than virtuoso/preciso -Less clumping at finer setting -less heat in grinds -more features, the slider settings, the W's integrated scale, lcd display etc. -if you opt for the W, it's actually shorter than the preciso/virtuoso + esatto attachment (&only 1cm taller without).
It was so close for me, had the vario been available with the ditting burrs out of the box, or had those been ceramic as well, that would have been a tipping point. Having no use for espresso grinding, & paying for the stock burrs to sit in a box would have been too much of a waste not to take advantage of ceramic, which really appealed to me.
Now if like some reported I get bitter tastes or plastic parts breaking in my virtuoso, it's gone, & I'll have to splurge on a vario + burrs, or something else entirely (eg for the price of a W + burrs I could also have a Bunn LPG).
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