I wouldn't argue with that train of thought, but I do feel that the Forte is appealing to a different buyer. If durability was their sole reasoning behind the Forte I would think they would adjust the Vario's less durable parts without needing to double the price. I love toys, and the Forte has some cool ones. Regarding durability of the Vario, I really hope that treating the machine properly (meticulous cleaning/maintenance and aforementioned grind adjustment procedure) will prolong the life.
At the end of the day my advice to someone thinking about the Vario is to proceed only if you can do the maintenance due-diligence. Take good care of it and it will be good to you in return.
That's why I limited my comment to "construction." The Forte and Vario have other differences as well.
By way of contrast, take a look at the Super Jolly. It grinds espresso at least as well as the Vario and Forte, is pretty much indestructible, and streets for around $700 -- half way between the Vario and Forte. Of course, it is more inconvenient to dial-in, doesn't dose nearly as well, is not nearly as versatile, nor is it as user-friendly as either Baratza. But there you go. Life is all about choices.
Regarding durability of the Vario, I really hope that treating the machine properly (meticulous cleaning/maintenance and aforementioned grind adjustment procedure) will prolong the life.
It's not going to hurt, that's for sure.
... my advice is to proceed only if you can do the maintenance... Take good care of it and it will be good to you in return.
Not adjusting the burrs tighter without running the motor is an important part of not screwing up any grinder.
That aside, taking care of a Vario seems to be more a matter of staying within its limitations than maintenance. It's asking a lot from a grinder made so lightly to go back and forth from brew to espresso and expect it to return to espresso settings so exactly that there's no slip at all and no new "dial in" is necessary.
I know using it as an all purpose grinder works for some people, many of whom ascribe their success to their wholesome regimens; but -- in accordance with the conventional wisdom that "one size fits none" -- best practice seems to be to choose the use it either as "espresso" or "brew only" with the appropriate burr set.
To be clear, nothing against the Vario or the Preciso. They're each exceptional performers for their prices.
canuckcoffeeguy Senior Member Joined: 22 Aug 2013 Posts: 230 Location: Burlington, Ontario, Canada Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Bezzera Magica, Mypressi... Grinder: K10PB, Vario, Hario Slim Vac Pot: I have a Dyson vacuum, but,... Drip: Aeropress, Bialetti Brikka,...
Posted Tue Jan 21, 2014, 3:20pm Subject: Re: Help me choose a baratza
I've been using my Vario for espresso only. I've taken everyone's advice here and dedicated it for that purpose. I never touch the macro setting #2, and only adjust the micro slider while the grinder is running. I'm hoping this keeps me out of trouble --and so far, so good.
If I need to grind for presspot, moka pot etc., I use my Hario Slim. If I ever feel the need for speed, I'll get a dedicated electric grinder for my coarser needs.
I also single dose, since I don't make multiple drinks and not everyday. I sometimes get popcorning with the last bean or two, but it doesn't appear to adversely affect my shots.
Overall, I'm very happy with the Vario for its price. Although I wouldn't classify it as a tank, per se. But it's a sub $500 grinder that punches above its weight class. CCG
MikePriz Senior Member Joined: 6 Nov 2006 Posts: 13 Location: San Francisco Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Tue Jan 21, 2014, 11:09pm Subject: Re: Help me choose a baratza
Just got my vario today. First impressions are very positive. But it probably wouldn't take much to impress me after coming from a hario, as this is my first electric grinder.
I can see myself going through tons of coffee to dial this in. So far I can pull a 2oz shot in about 28 seconds with it set to 3 on macro and about halfway on micro, but the shot's creama and taste are a bit subpar. I'm tamping quite hard - definitely over 30 lbs. when I set it to 2 macro and also about halfway on the micro it chokes my gaggia. Will I get better results with a finer grind and minimal tamp?
Mad4Coffee Senior Member Joined: 14 Jan 2014 Posts: 1 Location: Minneapolis Expertise: I live coffee
Posted Wed Jan 22, 2014, 7:40pm Subject: Re: Help me choose a baratza
I recently bought a Baratza Encore for use with my Solis SL-70; upgraded from a worn out maestro. The Encore is more consistent, and I can grind my favorite Paradise Classic beans as well as oily Starbucks Espresso beans. Setting for these 2 different beans is one tick different. Setting I use is near 10, leaving more room for nicer machines, yet is perfect for my machine.
I wanted the Mazzer Mini, but for $300 more (used), I'm saving the cash for my next espresso machine.
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