Posted Tue Jun 18, 2013, 7:24am Subject: Refurb Baratza Vario or Used Mazzer Mini?
I'm using the grinder for my morning espresso habit. I have a not-so-great older burr if I should want to make the rare drip pot so coarser grinds aren't much of a concern. I have the option to get a used Mazzer Mini or a refurb Baratza Vario. The cost difference between the grinders is only $50. The Mazzer is used but in great condition, I'm not sure what the condition of the burrs are so I'll make the assumption that I'll need to replace them in a year or so. Baratza refurb machines are basically new (if not better), and of course comes with the awesome customer service of Baratza. I've dont lots of reading on the high grind qualities, I'm familiar with the differences between the steel burs and the ceramic. It seems that for espresso use only, the Baratza might actually be a better choice. The Mazzer is clearly a tank, but is used and does not have the tremendous customer support for problems that come along. I don't really plan on upgrading grinders after this for a long long time, so re-sale isn't a huge concern of mine, although it appears that both hold their value decently well (the mazzer coming out on top there). I'm also concerned about the size of the titan grinder....its big. Between a relatively compact home espresso machine (Gaggia GC), grinder, kockbox, tampers, and all the other stuff we accumulate...I'm running out of room for my toaster!
I'm leaning towards the refurb Baratza if you could't tell, but I really want to hear the opinions of you all before I do it. If you all say I'm crazy and that I need to go with the Mazzer, I'll take the advice. Thanks a lot!
It really doesn't need it. They're durable and when problems do arise they're simple machines, parts are readily available and there are plenty of people that are very familiar with them.
Pros and cons on each side. Do you value better grind quality over tank like like build quality or vice versa? Normally I'd prefer the Mazzer build quality but the Vario does have the edge on performance.
I'm also concerned about the size of the titan grinder....its big.
FWIW, not on grind quality (IMO - but this is subjective). Speed and features yes. Buying the Mazzer used has some disadvantages. One is that (at least where I am) many of the Mazzer minis for sale are ex cafes where they are used for decaf or second/third grinders. You should probably factor in the price of a set of burrs (which should last 5 years in domestic use). Cosmetic condition is often poor - despite being near indestructible, they do get banged around a fair bit. The other is that when new, the factory calibration is very handy for a newbie, so long as you're using fresh beans, then you can almost guarantee that you'll pull an acceptable shot first-off with it set right on the calibration sticker arrow.
Posted Wed Jun 19, 2013, 1:59pm Subject: Re: Refurb Baratza Vario or Used Mazzer Mini?
Having just had a session with both grinders (note I owned 2 SJ's and now own a Vario-W) I'd vote for the Vario. However, when the mini is dialed in, other than the clumping I found the TASTE of the shots, while slightly different, of equal quality. The Vario, overall is more home user friendly, wastes practically nothing, is quiet, and has excellent CS.
CMIN Senior Member Joined: 14 Jun 2012 Posts: 1,550 Location: South FL Expertise: I like coffee
Espresso: Crossland CC1 Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Wed Jun 19, 2013, 2:25pm Subject: Re: Refurb Baratza Vario or Used Mazzer Mini?
Vario, better grind quality and Baratza grinders have very little retention, and usually a quick tap or purge get's the half gram or so out, that's how it is on my Preciso and the Vario is similar. It's just going to be more friendly for the home user, Mazzer is chunky but it's not a Titan.
Posted Wed Jun 19, 2013, 6:48pm Subject: Re: Refurb Baratza Vario or Used Mazzer Mini?
Thanks for the great advice everyone, much appreciated. Sorry about the "titan" misnomer, won't happen again! I think I'm going to end up going for the Vario, I think the Mazzer is just too big for me right now, even in its "mini" form. I also like the smaller amount of retained ginds .
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