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Espresso: Grinders - Espresso
Grinder choice
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Discussions > Espresso > Grinders -... > Grinder choice  
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Burner0000
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Jul 2011
Posts: 1,051
Location: Cambridge, Ontario Canada
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia, VFA Expres...
Grinder: Macap MX/VFA N1464/Kyocera...
Drip: Manual Drip, French Press
Roaster: Behmor 1600 / Sonofresco
Posted Mon Nov 18, 2013, 12:18pm
Subject: Re: Grinder choice
 

emradguy Said:

I thought you have an MX...did you get an M4 too? I ask because I wonder if the mechanisms are exactly the same. I've taken the collar off my M4s without removing the worm drive...someone posted it on H-B a few years ago. Just takes a little tilt and slide, and then you can get to the throat and burrs no problem. I did it that way because I found it difficult to get a good angle on the worm drive screws and they weren't budging.
I meant to do a pictorial essay on the burr change/cleaning, but haven't gotten around to it.

Posted November 18, 2013 link

Yes I do own a Macap MX  but the worm drive is the same regardless of machine.  The only difference is the size of the collar.  MX collar is slightly bigger.  Regardless of stepless model once the 2 horizontal screws are removed the worm drive should flip back allowing the user to spin of the entire collar.
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MikeReilly
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Oct 2007
Posts: 304
Location: Vancouver Island
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Cimbali Junior Gaggia...
Grinder: Pharos CC45 Mazzer Mini
Drip: Cuisinart
Roaster: Behmor, I-Roast 2, Popper
Posted Tue Nov 26, 2013, 10:58am
Subject: Re: Grinder choice
 

Nowhere along the line did you mention that you cared about motorization, so I'd chip in my 2 cents and suggest that you consider the Pharos or HG1.  Either one is brilliant at espresso.  The Pharos at least is small, and imho they both look cool.  As far as mess goes, it's more a matter of how you do things with the Pharos.  Check the HG1 thread for more details on it as I don't have personal experience with it.
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boar_d_laze
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 1,094
Location: Monrovia, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Cimbali M21 DT/1 Junior...
Grinder: Ceado E92; "Bunnzilla"
Vac Pot: Royal Coffee Maker
Drip: Chemex + Kone; Espro Press
Roaster: USRC Sample Roaster
Posted Thu Nov 28, 2013, 9:23am
Subject: Re: Grinder choice
 

If you plan on frequently switching back and forth between espresso and coarser grinds, specifically including FP, vac and pour over, you should be aware that the Vario adjustment mechanism has a lot of slip and will not return to the espresso setting with consistent accuracy.  That means, "dialing in" every time you return to espresso after doing a coarser grind.  

I understand the Forte is significantly better in that respect.  Ultimately, the Forte AP might be a better choice for you.  

Also worth noting that grinding for non-espresso, especially grinding for press and cupping, is its own world with different rules. especially about grind size distribution.  If you want the best of the best for espresso and the best of the best for FP, you're probably not going to get it from the same set of burrs unless they're VERY large.

With grinders which can go back and forth pretty well, like the Forte AP and ProM All Around, and if you're not super-critical about brew, you might want to give a one-grinder solution a try.  While it wouldn't work for me, you're not me.

Some people will still tell you that the Vario out performs grinders three times its price.  It does coffee's bottom notes pretty well, the grind is fluffy and consistent, it's made from really good plastic, and Baratza is a great company to deal with. The Vario is an excellent grinder for the price, and very difficult to beat for value.  

For a while it was The Grinder That's Going To Save The World, but... alas... sic transit gloria mundi the consensus matured.  

The truth is that the Vario is well made, but not so well made that Baratza couldn't find room for the Forte; which is pretty much the same thing only much better executed.  And when it comes to quality in the cup, the Vario is only a 54cm flat burr (so is the Forte), and -- everything else being equal -- bigger burrs grind better; and conical burrs reveal more "life" and "nuance" than flats.  There are plenty of (more expensive) grinders which grind significantly better.  

You should start thinking about how much quality in the cup you're willing to trade for the right presence on your counter (it counts a lot), how much electronics you want, and how much money you're willing to spend to unite all of the aspects.  

BDL
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compaddict
Senior Member


Joined: 30 Dec 2011
Posts: 67
Location: Auburn, CA USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: BDB
Grinder: Proline W/Mazzer burrs
Drip: Capresso MT600
Roaster: Behmor
Posted Thu Nov 28, 2013, 1:46pm
Subject: Re: Grinder choice
 

The Vario is very frustrating. I would not buy any grinder that takes consistency out of the picture. I lost a month on one once.
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dana_leighton
Moderator
dana_leighton
Joined: 11 Jan 2002
Posts: 1,937
Location: Little Rock, AR
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Isomac Relax; Caferina...
Grinder: Macap MXK; Baratza Vario-W;...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: Technivorm; CCD; Melitta
Roaster: Poppery I w/PID controller
Posted Thu Nov 28, 2013, 3:29pm
Subject: Re: Grinder choice
 

boar_d_laze Said:

You should start thinking about how much quality in the cup you're willing to trade for the right presence on your counter (it counts a lot), how much electronics you want, and how much money you're willing to spend to unite all of the aspects.

Posted November 28, 2013 link

That was one of the best, most balanced overviews I have read of the position the Vario occupies in the world of espresso grinders.

As with everything else, you need to realize that there are trade-offs that need to be made. The Vario was a trade-off of bringing a high quality espresso grinder to market in a price point that none had done. Bringing that and being able to return exactly to the dialed-in espresso grind was too much. Nonetheless, I still recommend it to people who can't abide a commercial-sized  grinder on their counter and/or want to save a couple hundred dollars.

 
Dana Leighton - Espresso hack and CoffeeGeek moderator
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