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Compak K3 Elite versus Baratza Vario for home use
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Discussions > Espresso > Grinders -... > Compak K3 Elite...  
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seasterl
Senior Member


Joined: 5 Nov 2010
Posts: 110
Location: Central Florida
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: IZZO Duetto II
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Posted Fri Nov 5, 2010, 6:26pm
Subject: Compak K3 Elite versus Baratza Vario for home use
 

I'm in the market for my first quality grinder for espresso only.  So far, I have selected the K3 because it has a couple of features that are appealing to me for home use.  For example, the K3 can empty directly into the PF and has the handy tamper conveniently located on the unit.  The 10-ounce bean hopper is also the right size for my wife and I.  It also looks better, IMO, but that's subjective.  However, a lot of folks report much satisfaction with the Vario.  I will be using the QM Silvano.  So between the K3 and the Vario, which would yield the best taste in my cup?  Which unit seems to be built the best with the most quality parts and might give the longest service without the need to replace parts?  I realize the K3 is taller, but this will not be a problem.  I know there are likely much better grinders on the market, but I do need to start somewhere, and I'm not exactly going into this expecting to "upgrade" so quickly.  I want a great grinder for espresso only that will put a lot of magic in my cup with years of uninterrupted service and easy maintenance.  Thanks in advance for your comments.
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TheMadTamper
Senior Member


Joined: 2 Nov 2010
Posts: 1,246
Location: US
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Salvatore SES; Izzo Duetto...
Grinder: Compak K10 WBC, K8 Fresh,...
Drip: /Pod: Bunn MCP
Roaster: /Other: Blender - BlendTec...
Posted Sat Nov 6, 2010, 6:42am
Subject: Re: Compak K3 Elite versus Baratza Vario for home use
 

I'm also doing grinder upgrades and am in the same set if grinders for comparison. I my case I needed two new grinders.....one main line, one decaf/special batch.  I just got the k3 touch this week.  So far I love it, as I get it dialed in.  One unspoken nice feature for home use is that the hopper does not need to be attached (a lock screw is provided, but not needed). This means with the hopper closing lever you can just pop the hopper off to get it out to refill, or dump and change beans on the fly (minus those in the throat). Only the dosered "elite" has the built in tamper, not the touch (doserless) though I have no desire for built in tampers, some who grind fine swear by them.   The grinds on my k3 are extremely fluffy and airy.  Zero clumps on Bristot decaf or Machristay Black Pearl.  It's certainly a heavy build, it won't be going anywhere for a while.  It's bigger than it looks.  Beautiful in the polished aluminum as well.  In the cup it's FAR better than my rocky.

However....it's recently been suggested that in the cup the vario beats it (see my Cimbali Hybrid thread). For grinder 2 I'm debating between Vario, Super Jolly, slightly considering Mazzer Major, or tempted to wait and see what Mahlkonig Pro M will sell for and when it comes out....a good grinder lurking in the distance, but I've no idea when it'll finally be released, what price it'll run (we o ly know "less than $2500" since that's what the bigger k30 runs.

In truth I'll likely go with a vario in the next week or two.  Unless someone talks me into a jolly or major.  So check back in a week or two and I'll update this thread with my results.
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jammin
Senior Member
jammin
Joined: 25 Nov 2009
Posts: 666
Location: Boise
Expertise: I love coffee

Grinder: Vario-W
Vac Pot: Hario
Drip: manual
Roaster: quest m3
Posted Sat Nov 6, 2010, 6:57am
Subject: Re: Compak K3 Elite versus Baratza Vario for home use
 

One thing I REALLY like about the Vario is how well it adapts to single dosing.  You can weigh out exactly 1 shot's worth of beans and grind it through without hardly any coffee left behind in the grinder.  This helps in two ways, 1. Your shot consistency should be very stable and 2. You can switch beans whenever you feel like.

#2 is my favorite b/c naturally some beans work better for drip and some are better for espresso.  Since the Vario is so good at switching between grind settings and is truly dual use, it naturally follows that single dosing makes the grinder act like TWO SEPERATE grinders.

Hope that perspective helps,
J

 
roast your own
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seasterl
Senior Member


Joined: 5 Nov 2010
Posts: 110
Location: Central Florida
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: IZZO Duetto II
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Posted Sun Nov 7, 2010, 7:09am
Subject: Re: Compak K3 Elite versus Baratza Vario for home use
 

Thanks for the tips, guys.  After reading your posts (as well as a few video reviews and other comments), I feel pretty good about getting the Vario.  So I'll order it tomorrow.  The only down side is that it's not exactly eye candy compared to the espresso machine, but at least it's expected to do a good job and meet the demand.  When enjoying the first cup from this grinder, perhaps the concern lack of good aesthetics will disappear.
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TheMadTamper
Senior Member


Joined: 2 Nov 2010
Posts: 1,246
Location: US
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Salvatore SES; Izzo Duetto...
Grinder: Compak K10 WBC, K8 Fresh,...
Drip: /Pod: Bunn MCP
Roaster: /Other: Blender - BlendTec...
Posted Mon Nov 8, 2010, 12:06pm
Subject: Re: Compak K3 Elite versus Baratza Vario for home use
 

seasterl Said:

Thanks for the tips, guys.  After reading your posts (as well as a few video reviews and other comments), I feel pretty good about getting the Vario.  So I'll order it tomorrow.  The only down side is that it's not exactly eye candy compared to the espresso machine, but at least it's expected to do a good job and meet the demand.  When enjoying the first cup from this grinder, perhaps the concern lack of good aesthetics will disappear.

Posted November 7, 2010 link


From most reports, you'll love it, enjoy! As for aesthetics....that's why I got the K3 as well as the probable Vario purchase :) I get the fun of a nice heavy, shiny grinder to play with that grinds much nicer than Rocky... ;) Truthfully, a few years back the Rocky was all the rage for home, Mazzer Mini was the envy of all, and a SJ was a commercial monster.  Flash forward to present and Rocky is all but forgotten, Mini is considered barely acceptable, and SJ is the baseline for home use quality with rediculous "titan" conical grinders serving as the "dream."  My how things have changed.   Both the K3 and the Vario would have been jaw-dropping astounding to most here if we go back enough years :)  

Honestly, consistency is more important than grind quality, IMO.  I've pulled some astounding shots from my K3 + Silvia.  And some sink shots in the past week.   Using the same bean in the same grinder, set at the same setting, dosed the same-ish (via dose timer) (no, I'm not pulling out the jeweler's scale on every shot so there's some variance I'm sure), tamped to a solid 30# (verified with Espro click tamper), I've been getting about 60% wonderful shots, 20% tolerable, and 10% sink.  I blame the problem on Silvia's moody temp/pressure.  The first shot of the session is a sink shot 100% of the time.  After that, the shots are fantastic!

If the Vario can improve upon that as many reports seem to claim, you're definitely going to enjoy it!

(I don't regret having the K3 around too though.  It's like a cheap Mini-E....it's nice having one unstoppable tank of a grinder around, just in case! )
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CoffeDelMar
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Aug 2013
Posts: 1
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sun Aug 25, 2013, 7:44am
Subject: Re: Compak K3 Elite versus Baratza Vario for home use
 

up up up...
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OlyRick
Senior Member


Joined: 9 Dec 2011
Posts: 13
Location: Olympia, WA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Elektra Super CAL, Olympia...
Grinder: LaCimbali Junior hybrid,...
Vac Pot: nope
Drip: Keurig
Posted Sat Sep 7, 2013, 9:57pm
Subject: Re: Compak K3 Elite versus Baratza Vario for home use
 

I have been using a K3 touch for 2 years with no problems at all.  If i grind too fine, then it clumps a little - WDT takes care of that.  Otherwise no problem.

And, I do weigh out the beans for each shot and then grind and then weight again in the portafilter basket.  I have to say, the K3 loses very little coffee.

I have a Preciso coming for the office.  I used a Virtuoso for a year or so until it broke.  I would send it in to be fixed but the adjustment wasn't good enough for espresso anyway.

The only negative about the K3 is that I sometimes think the adjustment wanders a bit.  I recently lined up some tape at my "normal" setting point so I can tell if it moves.

I hope you're happy with whichever grinder you chose.
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CMIN
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Jun 2012
Posts: 1,507
Location: South FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Sun Sep 8, 2013, 5:45am
Subject: Re: Compak K3 Elite versus Baratza Vario for home use
 

Taste in the cup the Vario competes with and is more along the lines of a K6 or Super Jolley etc, easily take it over a K3...that's not to put down the K3 though.
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