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Baratza Forte AP...impressions after 3 weeks of daily use by an HG One owner.
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Discussions > Espresso > Grinders -... > Baratza Forte...  
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boar_d_laze
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Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 1,205
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 Feb 6, 2014, 5:11pm
Subject: Re: Baratza Forte AP...impressions after 3 weeks by an HG One owner.
 

uscfroadie Said:

What specifically do you want to know?  I gave a short answer earlier but will gladly try to clear up any questions you have.

Posted February 6, 2014 link

If he won't bite, I will.  

The bad news is that I've been thinking a lot about how to understand what a grinder can do.  The good news is... well... there is no good news.  

Can you compare and contrast them for the following?

In the cup:
  • High notes (fruits, florals);
  • Low notes (chocolate and nuts);
  • Light roasts;
  • Medium roasts;
  • Dark (ugh!) roasts;
  • SOs;
  • Blends;
  • Grind retention (doesn't really apply to these two, I'm just thinking of the list); and
  • Whatever else you think might be informative.

Use:
  • Ease of dialing-in;
  • Ease of grind adjustment;
  • Ease of dosing by timer and/or weight;
  • Drift, slippage and/or slop;
  • How much re-dialing as coffee ages;
  • Other aspects affecting ease of use;
  • Time (including weighing for single dosing) per shot;
  • How well the machines doses into the basket;
  • How much and what kind of distribution needed after grinds are in the basket;
  • Messiness;
  • Dealer and/or Company Support;
  • Cleaning;
  • Other maintenance needs; and
  • Whatever else you think might be informative.

Okay, okay.  LOL.  Sorry.

The good news is that even I realize that expecting a detailed point by point breakdown without pay is unfair and unrealistic.  Comparing them for the criteria you think are meaningful would be wonderful.  

BDL
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SpaceTime
Senior Member


Joined: 9 Dec 2013
Posts: 271
Location: Virgo Cluster
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: 83 & 89 Cremina, 85 Coffex
Grinder: HG One, Pharos, LIDO
Drip: Freiling 33 & 44oz FP,...
Posted Thu Feb 6, 2014, 5:51pm
Subject: Re: Baratza Forte AP...impressions after 3 weeks by an HG One owner.
 

boar_d_laze Said:

If he won't bite, I will.  

The bad news is that I've been thinking a lot about how to understand what a grinder can do.  The good news is... well... there is no good news.  

Can you compare and contrast them for the following?

In the cup:
High notes (fruits, florals);
Low notes (chocolate and nuts);
Light roasts;
Medium roasts;
Dark (ugh!) roasts;
SOs;
Blends;
Grind retention (doesn't really apply to these two, I'm just thinking of the list); and
Whatever else you think might be informative.

Use:
Ease of dialing-in;
Ease of grind adjustment;
Ease of dosing by timer and/or weight;
Drift, slippage and/or slop;
How much re-dialing as coffee ages;
Other aspects affecting ease of use;
Time (including weighing for single dosing) per shot;
How well the machines doses into the basket;
How much and what kind of distribution needed after grinds are in the basket;
Messiness;
Dealer and/or Company Support;
Cleaning;
Other maintenance needs; and
Whatever else you think might be informative.

Okay, okay.  LOL.  Sorry.

The good news is that even I realize that expecting a detailed point by point breakdown without pay is unfair and unrealistic.  Comparing them for the criteria you think are meaningful would be wonderful.  

BDL

Posted February 6, 2014 link

Boar - sorry, I have read your post three times now and scratching my head just a bit... I am just not following what your post is trying to convey...
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uscfroadie
Senior Member
uscfroadie
Joined: 2 Aug 2008
Posts: 398
Location: San Antonio
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: GS/3 Strada MP, BDB; owned...
Grinder: Forte, Zass and PeDe hand...
Vac Pot: Nope
Drip: Nope
Roaster: owned Behmor
Posted Thu Feb 6, 2014, 8:33pm
Subject: Re: Baratza Forte AP...impressions after 3 weeks by an HG One owner.
 

Rich,
First off, thanks for your excellent replies, both here and on HB.  Very knowledgeable people with the time available to post really thorough responses are hard to come by are often not appreciated enough, so I thank you for your contributions.

Now, to your list.  I’ll do my best to address each one, as applicable. I’ll combine the Vario and Forte together because the only difference is in build quality, not in the cup.

In the cup:
• High notes (fruits, florals);
o Vario/Forte – Not really this (or any smaller flat burr) grinder’s specialty, but then again, most people want a straight up chocolate bomb.
o HG One – I’m not a huge fan of very acidic bright coffee, though when pulled right, it can be such a fresh tasting cup.  The HG One made me buy far more daring blends and SOs than I would have if I had just a flat burr grinder.  
• Low notes (chocolate and nuts);
o Vario/Forte – Very good at this for its size, but then again, almost all good grinders are.  
o HG One – Oh Baby, the smoothness and mouth feel that you get from the big conical just can’t be matched.  It does this so well that it could have you changing your favorite bean.  For instance, I was enjoying CCC’s Apollo on my Vario when the HG One arrived.  Once dialed in my morning drinks went from a 5 ounce cappuccino to a cortado to a macchiato, and later in the day it was macchiato to straight espresso.  With the little bit of harshness that made the Apollo hold up a little in milk, I had to cut that down as it just didn’t carry as well.  Because it produces such a smooth cup the flavors outside of the straight chocolate become more noticeable and pronounced.  Straight up chocolate bombs – Black Cat, Toscano, Madcap Third Coast – are so smooth that you might find them a bit boring after a while.
• Light roasts;
o Don’t drink them unless it’s coffee, and for that I use one of my small hand mills
• Medium roasts;
o Kind of goes with what’s already answered above
• Dark (ugh!) roasts;
o Bleh… no such thing as a dark roast worth drinking, but that’s just me.
• SOs;
o Don’t really subscribe to a SO being treated any differently than a blend when it comes to grinders.  Every SO out there is different, so a generic statement about what a grinder does with them is total crap.  Again, just my $.02.
• Blends;
o Same.  Should not be treated any different.  A blend is just two or more SOs mixed together in some ratio.  Their tastes vary widely, so once again a generic statement is useless.
• Grind retention (doesn't really apply to these two, I'm just thinking of the list);
o Somewhat true.  The Vario/Forte has really low retention.  I test retention with Grindz.  I remove the hopper and all beans that I can from the throat.  Throw some Grindz (or rice) in the throat and see how much coffee comes out before you start seeing the white stuff.  That’s what I call retention as it’s from the cutting surface to the exit of the chute.
o If doing RDT (few drops of water), the HG One has near zero.  I’ve gone back and brushed the grinder from the entry to the exit of the funnel and barely got enough to show a reading on my scale.  It’s that low.
o Both are excellent, though some bigger electric grinders can produce similar results if you are willing to bump and brush a few times.

**A lot of people say conicals bring out the fruits/florals/etc., but like I said above, it just makes a smoother cup that enables you to more easily detect other flavors present in a particular bean or blend.  

Use:
• Ease of dialing-in;
o Vario/Forte – Not particularly easy or hard.  You just need to know where zero is and back away from there a little to see what that does for flow.  I’m a big proponent of single dosing when dialing in as it makes it much easier to dial in any grinder as you don’t have remnants of a previous grind setting tainting your new setting/grinds.  And yes, use a scale to keep the dose consistent.
o HG One - In three shots I can have it awfully close to perfect.  Very easy to dial in!
• Ease of grind adjustment;
o Vario/Forte – Levers work great.  Takes far more effort on the Forte than the Vario, and that’s on purpose.  Once close, you simply make small movements on the micro adjustment as the beans age.
o HG One – If sticking with the same bean, pretty much not needed.  The locking knob works great, and you will only not tighten it enough once.  If not tight enough, the adjustment collar will spin until the burrs reach zero, and then they’ll stop.  If this happens, it’s totally obvious it’s happening as the grinding gets progressively harder real quick to alert you.  Simply unscrew it to where it was, lock it down, dump what you’ve ground so far and start over.
• Ease of dosing by timer and/or weight;
o Vario/Forte – By weight you need the Vario-W or Forte and cannot use the portafilter holder.  By time…enter the desired time, store it, press start.
o HG One – Weight only…get a scale.
• Drift, slippage and/or slop;
o Vario/Forte – Older Varios had this problem, though I never did.  Forte’s levers are much harder to slide, so the chance of them walking is slim to none.  Haven’t heard of any slippage.
o HG One – The thing is a tank…if you turn the locking knob enough it’ll never slip.
• How much re-dialing as coffee ages;
o Vario/Forte – Depends on how many days go by.  I store my beans in canning jars and pull them out as needed.  Each jar will last for 3-4 days.  I’ll slide the micro lever maybe once during that time.
o HG One – Same age as above requires no adjustment.  It’s just so forgiving.
• Other aspects affecting ease of use;
o Vario/Forte – Once dialed in and using the same bean, it doesn’t get any easier than this.  Insert the portafilter into the holder, press the button…voila!  If pulling on a naked portafilter, I’ll WDT.
o HG One – Single dose only.  I use the blind tumbler most of the time, and it fits 49 and 58 mm baskets perfectly.  If pulling on a naked portafilter I’ll WDT.
• Time (including weighing for single dosing) per shot;
o Vario/Forte – will grind 18 grams in just under 10 seconds
o HG One (71mm) – will grind 18 grams in about 26 revolutions.  Speed depends on how fast you turn.  For me, about 15 – 17 seconds.
• How well the machines dose into the basket;
o Vario/Forte – Very good at this.  Simply stunning compared to a Mazzer’s doser, even with a Schnozola/Schectermatic installed.  A neat freak’s dream.
o HG One – I don’t have the portafilter holder, so I use the blind tumbler.  95% as clean as the Vario/Forte…maybe even 99%.  On occasion a few bits will pop out the top, contributing to the difference in score.
• How much and what kind of distribution needed after grinds are in the basket;
o If pulling naked I WDT on every grinder I’ve owned.  If I’m not, I usually don’t bother.  I never have much in the way of spritzers without WDT, so taste-wise you’ll need a highly developed palate to ever notice a difference.  WDT for a naked ensures I won’t need to wipe any part of the machine down after the shot.
• Messiness;
o All are very clean.  Again, these are not Mazzer dosered grinders.  There’s a reason Mazzers come with that big grind drip tray.
• Dealer and/or Company Support;
o Vario/Forte – Baratza sets the bar for all others, except for maybe Breville, to follow
o HG One – Never needed any support, though they were excellent with emails and notifications on my grinder’s status and followed up with emails checking in a few weeks after delivery to ensure I was totally digging it.  And I was…
• Cleaning;
o Vario/Forte – Very easy as they never get messy
o HG One – the removable lower funnel is ingenious!  Aside from a little brushing every now and then to knock a few cliffhangers of the ledge of the outer burr, no cleaning needed.
• Other maintenance needs;
o Vario/Forte – Aside from the norm…none needed.
o HG One – Aside from the minor cleaning, none needed.  You can remove the access panel on the gearbox to grease the gears, but when I did, it certainly didn’t need it.  I’d imagine that even with heavy use you might need to do this once every 5 or so years. ;-)
• Whatever else you think might be informative.

Both are great, with each having their advantage over the other.  The Vario/Forte will be the better choice for most people as it’s cheaper and smaller and still produces a great result in the cup.  It’s a piece that easily fits into any home, regardless of space constraints.

The HG One kind of has to be seen and (preferably) used in order to really grasp how awesome it is.  Build quality is second to none, hand or electric.  I only wished it was a little shorter.  At just over 17 inches tall, it doesn’t fit under my cupboards. It’s expensive, for a hand grinder, but quality cost money…always has, always will.

Again, just my $.02
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SpaceTime
Senior Member


Joined: 9 Dec 2013
Posts: 271
Location: Virgo Cluster
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: 83 & 89 Cremina, 85 Coffex
Grinder: HG One, Pharos, LIDO
Drip: Freiling 33 & 44oz FP,...
Posted Fri Feb 7, 2014, 7:13am
Subject: Re: Baratza Forte AP...impressions after 3 weeks by an HG One owner.
 

Nice comparison Merle... I personally thank you for taking the time to do that... I am one step closer myself to getting an HG One.  

Rich - apologies to my reply above, I completely missed you were asking Merle to do the comparison... and I agree with everything Merle stated about contributions...

As a person who prefers a hand grinder, loves quality engineering, the fact I still DON'T own the HG One is a hole in my coffee rig.

Now it would be nice to hear from the OP... :-) who has an HG One with 83mm burrs! Lol

Oh wait <looking at the post title> maybe you tell how it stacks up against the Forte!!  I am curious as an HG One owner, why you saw the need to buy a Forte... you did state:

Recently my needs have changed recently and I realized I could not get away with the HG One as my only grinder.

Was the Forte addition for convenience?  Space?  Time?   (hey Space Time - Lol)  Or just because you like to try new gadgets?  (which I would completely understand).

Tim
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gophishin
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Joined: 1 Mar 2013
Posts: 61
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: ecm technika iv profi
Grinder: baratza vario
Posted Fri Feb 7, 2014, 7:25am
Subject: Re: Baratza Forte AP...impressions after 3 weeks by an HG One owner.
 

thanks for the very comprehensive and easy to read comparison!  I ask partly out of general curiosity; I like to know what all the various options are about, and also because I currently single dose my vario, so the HG-one peaks my interests a touch.  I think my machine will be next upgrade, and although I have used some nice HX machines, I've never had the chance to play around with a titan conical, so I'm always intrigued by what could potentially be gained in the cup by upgrading my grinder down the road.  I mean, I'm sure a grinder upgrade will happen eventually, so it's just nice to read about the different options, especially as they compare to my current.  I have always leaned towards electric grinders just to fit my preferences, but the more and more I hear about the HG-one the more interested I get.  

One question for you HG-one owners, do you (or how do you) find it effects your workflow or speed if you have company over or you're making a few drinks at a time?  I'm typically only making drinks for myself and maybe my fiance, but on the occasions when we have company over, it is nice to be able to crank out multiple shots and not have to keep weighing each and every dose.
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uscfroadie
Senior Member
uscfroadie
Joined: 2 Aug 2008
Posts: 398
Location: San Antonio
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: GS/3 Strada MP, BDB; owned...
Grinder: Forte, Zass and PeDe hand...
Vac Pot: Nope
Drip: Nope
Roaster: owned Behmor
Posted Fri Feb 7, 2014, 8:05am
Subject: Re: Baratza Forte AP...impressions after 3 weeks by an HG One owner.
 

SpaceTime Said:

Now it would be nice to hear from the OP... :-) who has an HG One with 83mm burrs! Lol  Tim

Posted February 7, 2014 link

Tim,

This has been discussed repeatedly over on HB.  From folks who have at least two of the following: Pharos, HG One 71mm, HG One 82mm, K10 (Fresh or PB), Robur - the general consensus is the difference is in ergonomics and speed, not taste.  Looks like 69mm conical on up is the point of diminishing returns for taste in the cup.


gophishin Said:

One question for you HG-one owners, do you (or how do you) find it effects your workflow or speed if you have company over or you're making a few drinks at a time?  I'm typically only making drinks for myself and maybe my fiance, but on the occasions when we have company over, it is nice to be able to crank out multiple shots and not have to keep weighing each and every dose.

Posted February 7, 2014 link

Depends on the company coming over.  If normal company and I need to make them quick, I'd opt for the Forte.  If it's fellow geeks who know great espresso, I'm opting for the HG One.  It'll take a little longer, but they wouldn't mind the wait.
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boar_d_laze
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 1,205
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 Fri Feb 7, 2014, 9:25am
Subject: Re: Baratza Forte AP...impressions after 3 weeks by an HG One owner.
 

Merle,

Thanks for the wonderful and comprehensive analysis.  With no time on a Forte or HG one, and not a lot on Varios, your post went some way to filling in the abysm of my ignorance.

Thanks also for the kind things you said about me.  Back atcha!

The SO vs Blend thing:  
The thought came from Mark Jackson at WLL, who said he was passing it on from "professionals."  My take on it is the same as yours; but thought I'd float it without handicapping it as horse$#%t to find out what other people think.

BDL
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emradguy
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emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,047
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4 x2, VDD...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Fri Feb 7, 2014, 9:43am
Subject: Re: Baratza Forte AP...impressions after 3 weeks by an HG One owner.
 

boar_d_laze Said:

Merle,

Thanks for the wonderful and comprehensive analysis.  With no time on a Forte or HG one...your post went some way to filling in the abysm of my ignorance....

The SO vs Blend thing:  
My take on it is the same as yours

Posted February 7, 2014 link

+1000!  I think that was one of the best comparisons I've ever read!  It makes me wonder if an HG one is again back on my wisth list...though I'm still glad I bought the Major.  Maybe after my piggy bank recuperates from being completely emptied, I'll find myself buying a conical...and maybe that'll be a HG one after all?  Well, if things comntinue as they were in the past, I've got a bit over a year to decide.

And thanks Rich for setting him up to do it! I kinda wish I had created a similar list for my recent commerical grinder research.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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boar_d_laze
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 1,205
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 Fri Feb 7, 2014, 10:11am
Subject: Re: Baratza Forte AP...impressions after 3 weeks by an HG One owner.
 

emradguy Said:

I kinda wish I had created a similar list for my recent commerical grinder research.

Posted February 7, 2014 link

Ecstatic as I am with the purchase, wish I'd done the same for my search as well.  

BDL
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,047
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4 x2, VDD...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Fri Feb 7, 2014, 10:27am
Subject: Re: Baratza Forte AP...impressions after 3 weeks by an HG One owner.
 

I just updated my comparison chart (though I didn't add on the E92 yet) and in the same file I saved both your initial list and Merle's reply. It'll be a great reference to have for future purchases and might be helpful to distribute to others, if they are interested, when they inquire.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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