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beer_guzzler
Senior Member


Joined: 5 Apr 2009
Posts: 6
Location: Connecticut
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Oct 1, 2012, 7:10pm
Subject: Need Advice on Grinder Choice
 

I am deciding between upgrading my existing Virtuoso to Preciso burrs ($65) or whether to buy a refurbished Preciso ($230).

I currently own a Baratza Virtuoso and a Gaggia Classic (old version) that I bought three years ago. The Virtuoso has served me well but its time for new burrs. I use it for espresso shots (straight double and triple shots, I make 1-2 such drinks per day, use a food scale to weight out the grams) at home and I also use it to make enough coffee for two runs of my French Press at work (espresso machine would be a tad noisy in there lol).

So in looking at Baratza's website for parts, I discovered they now offer Preciso burrs as part of an upgrade kit. But when I came on here to research, most of this forum seems to think the Virtuoso is unsuitable for espresso due to the lack of adjustment.  I have had a very good experience with my Virtuoso and I make far better coffee than most of my local coffee shops (this isn't saying much though, I have a low opinion of my local coffee shops as well as most of the coffee shops in NYC). That being said, I would love finer tune adjustments as depending on the coffee it doesn't always workout right despite using consistent methods (I even use a pressure tamper so I know!).

Upgrade just the Burrs or get the whole grinder and use my current Virtuoso as my French Press grinder?

I suppose I should probably just upgrade the Burrs and see how I feel about it. Thoughts? Anything I am missing? Save my $$$ for the Preciso and eBay the Virtuoso?
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GVDub
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jan 2008
Posts: 862
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Londinium I, Arrarex...
Grinder: Gaggia MD85, Dienes Mokka,...
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Abid Clever
Roaster: Behmor 1600+
Posted Mon Oct 1, 2012, 7:59pm
Subject: Re: Need Advice on Grinder Choice
 

How often do you switch between espresso and press? For me, if it's frequent, the constant readjusting, even with markings and click stops and other aids, gets frustrating and having separate grinders that are ready to drop beans in and go works better. If it's only occasional, I'd deal with the hassle.
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dyqik
Senior Member


Joined: 7 Oct 2011
Posts: 383
Location: Cambridge, MA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Bezzera BZ07 PM
Grinder: Baratza Virtuoso Preciso...
Vac Pot: Cona D
Drip: Bona-Vita, CCD, Aeropress.
Roaster: Gene Cafe, Modded Poppers
Posted Tue Oct 2, 2012, 8:32am
Subject: Re: Need Advice on Grinder Choice
 

I'm using a Preciso with the Gaggia, and the micro adjustment is very nice to have, although I could also get reasonable shots with my old Solis 166 stepped grinder, after a little modding.  The extra control of the Preciso is very good, but if you are considering having two grinders, then the burr upgrade for the Virtuoso, and a different espresso specific grinder would also be a good option.  A flat burr grinder with continuous adjustment would be a very nice thing to have beside a Virtuoso for all non-espresso use, and you might manage to pick up a second hand one for not much money

(my thoughts are slightly biased by my Preciso stripping it's gearbox this morning...  New upgrade to the new gearbox design on the way, and I can get the Ascaso I-1 out until it arrives).
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beer_guzzler
Senior Member


Joined: 5 Apr 2009
Posts: 6
Location: Connecticut
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Thu Oct 4, 2012, 3:59pm
Subject: Re: Need Advice on Grinder Choice
 

I grind French Press twice a week (I grind enough for 5x 32oz Presses and my Coffee Vaults can keep em fresh for about 3 days) and I grind espresso everyday.

My Virtuoso does a great job for French Press, less so for espresso although when I first got it it did great. The burrs definitely need replacing imo, so that's what lead me to do research.

You think a flat burr grinder dedicated to espresso would make sense? Are there any economical choices in the sub $250 range ? Granted, I could prob just upgrade the burrs and then stalk around until a used Mazer comes up for grabs.
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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,391
Location: Berkeley, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -...
Grinder: Mahlkönig K30 Vario -...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: CCD, Chemex
Roaster: No, no, not another...
Posted Fri Oct 5, 2012, 7:44am
Subject: Re: Need Advice on Grinder Choice
 

beer_guzzler Said:

You think a flat burr grinder dedicated to espresso would make sense? Are there any economical choices in the sub $250 range ? Granted, I could prob just upgrade the burrs and then stalk around until a used Mazer comes up for grabs.

Posted October 4, 2012 link

Generally speaking, a Preciso is the least expensive grinder that I feel comfortable recommending for espresso, but the short answer is YES! -- having a dedicated espresso grinder makes a great deal of sense!  Indeed, having a dedicated espresso grinder (nearly) always results in better espresso.

FWIW -- and I am not suggesting you follow my example -- I have a Mahlkönig K30 Vario as my dedicated (main) espresso grinder, and a Baratza VARIO Home* as my second grinder, which I use primarily for SO espresso, but also for the rare times when I make other coffee preparations (drip, press, siphon).  

Cheers,
Jason

* Of course the confusing thing is that, outside North America, the Baratza VARIO Home is known as the Mahlkönig VARIO Home . . .

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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cas99
Senior Member
cas99
Joined: 8 Aug 2009
Posts: 69
Location: Illinois and Asturias, Spain
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Factory; Europiccola...
Grinder: LeLit, Porkert Manual-ME150,...
Drip: Melitta; French press
Roaster: Behmor 1600; Salton air...
Posted Fri Oct 5, 2012, 9:03am
Subject: Inexpensive (relatively) Grinder Choices
 

I have stopped using Baratza grinders after having two which lasted but 15 months apiece: I don't like the method for cleaning and the plastic parts.

I currently have two burr grinders (one at home; one in retirement house). They are:

ASCASO Mini-1 aluminum.  The plastic model (no longer easy to find, thank goodness!) is poorly made; the aluminum model is tough.

edit: I see the plastic ASCASO is still available. Pay the extra $10-20 for the aluminum.  I originally bought the plastic model: I received 3 plastic machines from ASCASO - all broken in transit.  ASCASO then sent me the aluminum model as an apology. OK, the shipping box wasn't especially well-packed.
Never-the-less, it was the same bits broken on all 3 machines, which suggests that there is a serious engineering flaw either in design or manufacture of these parts on the plastic machine.


Once I got the aluminum model, I have had no problems at all, and really like it.

Le'Lit PL53.

These are available for between $250 - $290.

Both machines have performed flawlessly in the 4 years I have had them.  Virtually maintenance free except to wipe it off, take the hopper off, and put the vacuum cleaner hose in to clean out debris.

The Le'Lit is louder than the ASCASO, also a less elegant design. But I like the industrial look of the Le'Lit as well as the no-nonsense build quality.

I have an old cheap, plastic La Pavoni burr grinder for French press or filter.

 
http://www.theciderpress.org
http://www.ecotecho.com
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,774
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Fri Oct 5, 2012, 11:31am
Subject: Re: Need Advice on Grinder Choice
 

JasonBrandtLewis Said:

Generally speaking, a Preciso is the least expensive grinder that I feel comfortable recommending for espresso, but the short answer is YES! -- having a dedicated espresso grinder makes a great deal of sense!  Indeed, having a dedicated espresso grinder (nearly) always results in better espresso.

FWIW -- and I am not suggesting you follow my example -- I have a Mahlkönig K30 Vario as my dedicated (main) espresso grinder, and a Baratza VARIO Home* as my second grinder, which I use primarily for SO espresso, but also for the rare times when I make other coffee preparations (drip, press, siphon).  

Cheers,
Jason

* Of course the confusing thing is that, outside North America, the Baratza VARIO Home is known as the Mahlkönig VARIO Home . . .

Posted October 5, 2012 link

Yep, what he said. If possible, two grinders is the best answer if the bank account will allow it.
A lot of use here have several grinders and they tend to not be inexpensive ones either so perhaps it is easier for us to advise multiple grindrs.

Used equipment comes up all the time if you are value orientated.  If you have the room, I advise going used commercial but they tend to be on the larger size. You will never wear one out at home though!

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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beer_guzzler
Senior Member


Joined: 5 Apr 2009
Posts: 6
Location: Connecticut
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sat Oct 20, 2012, 10:12am
Subject: Re: Need Advice on Grinder Choice
 

Thanks for all the suggestions guys!

I am fairly sold on the idea of multiple grinders, now I just need to figure out which one. Deal dependent too, so I will lurk about for a solid deal.
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tglodjo
Senior Member
tglodjo
Joined: 16 Oct 2012
Posts: 209
Location: Jackson, TN
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Spaziale Mini Vivaldi II
Grinder: Baratza Vario, Virtuoso
Drip: Wave, V60, Chemex, Clever
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Sat Oct 20, 2012, 7:11pm
Subject: Re: Need Advice on Grinder Choice
 

Not sure if this helps or not, but I recently got my Baratza Vario new on eBay. It was a buy it now with the option to make an offer. I got it for $350, which IMHO is a great price for a brand new Vario.
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dorkroast
Senior Member
dorkroast
Joined: 3 Oct 2012
Posts: 88
Location: CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic
Grinder: Mazzer Mini
Drip: Cheapo Melitta pourover
Roaster: Behmor, Popcorn Pumper
Posted Mon Oct 22, 2012, 10:16pm
Subject: Re: Need Advice on Grinder Choice
 

That is a good price for a vario....but I can't see spending the money for a vario when a Mazzer isn't much more money and will last you a lifetime.

I see the Vario as a workable compromise....while a Mazzer (and others) will be your last grinder and won't cost a lot more.
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