atytse Senior Member Joined: 9 Oct 2013 Posts: 26 Location: Beijing Expertise: Just starting
Posted Thu Nov 7, 2013, 8:44am Subject: Vario vs. Anfim Best vs. SJ mini?
Hi Folks, wanted to pick your brain on a potential upgrade down the line.
I own a Virtuoso right now but it doesn't cut it for espresso but I do like its versatility and compact size. Don't have a large kitchen so ideally I can find something similar size and equally versatile (obviously upgrade with the espresso grind).
moosepucky Senior Member Joined: 6 Jun 2009 Posts: 155 Location: USA Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: Pasquini Livia 90 auto Grinder: Super Jolly - Forte BG -... Vac Pot: Cona - Santos Drip: Bodum - Chemex - Hario -... Roaster: Hottop KN-8828-B
Posted Thu Nov 7, 2013, 2:04pm Subject: Re: Vario vs. Anfim Best vs. SJ mini?
If you are considering a Mazzer Mini you are talking about a grinder that is substantially larger than your Virtuoso.
If you want an acceptable espresso grinder that won't break the bank and is in the same size scale as your Virtuoso then stick in the Baratza line and get a Vario.
If you can afford a Mini (both in size and cost) then go with the Mini or a Super Jolly. The Mazzer grinders get a LOT larger once you pass the Super Jolly model.
I have a Vario-W, Preciso, and Super Jolly. Here is a pic to give you an idea of size. Your Virtuoso is identical in size to my Preciso so this pic should give you an idea of the difference in size between a Mazzer and Baratza and between Vario and Virtuoso. The Baratza grinders are sitting on a shelf and the Super Jolly has the short mini hopper which makes sit as small is it can get (unless you remove the hopper entirely). A Mini with the standard hopper should be about as tall as my SJ with the short hopper on it.
Perhaps the conicals do but the Major is only slightly larger than the SJ and from across the room, it is only the ventalation slots in the side of the grinder that lets you know if it is a SJ or a Major. Speaking from having both, the Major is a LOT nicer in the grind and the SJ is no pretender either!.
Compared to the Vario though, yes they are quite a bit bigger, well taller for sure, side to side and front to back, yes they are bigger but IMHO, not so much bigger that you would not be able to find room on a crowded counter for them.
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!
CMIN Senior Member Joined: 14 Jun 2012 Posts: 1,550 Location: South FL Expertise: I like coffee
Espresso: Crossland CC1 Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Thu Nov 7, 2013, 7:23pm Subject: Re: Vario vs. Anfim Best vs. SJ mini?
I think your confusing the two, SJ and Mini are two different grinders. Even if the Mini was cheaper I still wouldn't take it over the Vario, not with the Mini clumpy grind quality and retention and the Vario beats it for taste in cup imo and pry anyone elses lol. Since your in China, you have Hey Cafe , people have had good things to say about them and I think the HC600 is compared to the SJ (or SJ knockoff lol)
In that Mazzer family photo, what is the difference between the two Super Jollys in the center?
I have wondered before what the difference is between the longer base in the SJ and the stubbed base. I use to think it was that the longer base was an older model, but now I see them side by side in this photo...(?)
Posted Sun Nov 30, 2014, 10:49am Subject: Re: Vario vs. Anfim Best vs. SJ mini?
So it sounds like the race is between Vario and SJ Mini. How much bigger is SJ mini compared to Vario? In terms of price, I'm living in China and the quotes I get is SJ mini will cost about 500 usd and Vario will cost about 600 usd (both imported).
In your general price range, Mazzer (aka Luigi aka Luigi Mazzer aka Mazzer Luigi, depending on where you're located) offers the Mini, the Mini E (as A or B types), the Super Jolly and the Super Jolly E. The "E" stands for "Electronic," and means on-demand dosing convenience, without a mechanical doser. The Mini E uses larger burrs than the ordinary Mini (which has a mechanical doser). The Mini E's stock burrs can be replaced with the Super Jolly burrset. The Mini E is better in the cup than the Mini. While the Mini E with SJ burrs is better in the cup than the stock Mini E; equivalent to the SJ in that respect. The SJ and SJ E use the same burrset and are identical in the cup.
The Vario is very low retention, and works well for single dose and hopper feed. The user interface is easy to master, and its adjustment scheme makes "dialing in" as simple as possible. Vario grind consistency tends to be fluffy and is relatively low static. The Vario's performance in the cup is "Good/VeryGood" and represents a revolution for its price range.
The Mini is not as good in the cup as the Baratza Vario (aka Mahlkonig Vario in some parts of the world), nor is it nearly as user friendly in most respects -- especially grind size adjustment. On the other hand, the Mini is more solidly built than the Vario. But unless your very concerned about build quality, there's not much rationale for the Mini anymore. The Vario is that much better.
The Vario is not only a better espresso grinder than the Mini, but it is a much better brew grinder as well. However, the lack of rigidity in the Vario's burr holders make frequent switching back and forth between espresso and brew impractical.
A couple of other things:
First, there's nothing in your price range which makes for a good dual purpose grinder. You have to spend up to the Baratza Forte to get that;
Second, if you decide on a Vario for espresso use, I suggest you (a) forego the "W" option, and (b) get the Forte espresso forks at the same time you purchase the grinder; and
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