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Espresso Quality using Compak K3 vs Baratza Precisio
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Discussions > Espresso > Grinders -... > Espresso Quality...  
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pzull
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Aug 2012
Posts: 4
Location: Vancouver
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Mar 10, 2014, 2:38pm
Subject: Espresso Quality using Compak K3 vs Baratza Precisio
 

Plastic bits on my Baratza broke again. This time its the legs in the adjustment ring. This was the 4th time something broke in just over 2 years of use. It was the last straw so I ordered a Compak K3 just because it is supposed to be more robust. The K3 cost almost twice as much but I don't know how long it will last: I drink 10 shots of espresso on average a day. My espresso machine is a Rocket Cellini (same as Giotto) Evo.

For the comparison the equivalent grind of each grinder was arrived at based on same amount of beans, same volume of espresso for the same amount of pull time (25 secs).

Crema: The Precisio has loads more. The Precisio had more of that dark brown oily stuff in the crema. I know technically I'm not supposed to have that but I found I love the taste of that dark brown oily stuff. The Precisio had that stuff covering about 3/4 the surface of the crema whereas the Compak K3 had a ring of that at the edges and some sprinking of it in the middle.

Mouth Feel: The pull from the Precisio feel thicker and silkier. The K3 is closer to what I get when I go to a good small specialty coffee shop with a proper barista, including the ones in Rome. I don't think I've come across any shops that have espresso with similar feel as the Precisio but I prefer the feel of the Precisio as it is uniquely suited to my tastes.

Taste: The K3 taste very much like good espresso I get at good coffee shops and highend Italian restaurants. A little more traditional, traditional meaning its more like what I get at the places I go to. Compared to the pull from Precisio, the K3 pull was less sweet. More of a roasted taste. More like Coffee/Espresso (ok don't flame me for this). The Precisio pull was sweeter and tasted more like it has some chocholate in it. A lighter taste, less roasted flavours/aromas, more cheerful (cant find a better word). The K3 taste was darker, more serious and moody (again cant find a better word).

I am quite surprised by the above differences which are not subtle. I know flat burr and conical burrs produce different characteristics but didn't realize that it can be soooo different.

I prefer the taste of the Precisio but cannot afford to lose anymore hair from its constant breakdown. I'll keep both for the moment and use them both depending on my mood. I might grow to like the K3 eventually. I want to cos I want to sell the Baratza as I am trying to preserve my current full head of hair.

BTW the guys at Baratza are super friendly and helpful. I've been to their shop after driving hundreds of miles to get my unit fixed (the second breakdown). Its just a pity it is so fragile. I would pay more if they built a more robust one and replace plastic parts with metal, at least for the bits under stress.
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pzull
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Aug 2012
Posts: 4
Location: Vancouver
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Mar 10, 2014, 3:28pm
Subject: Re: Espresso Quality using Compak K3 vs Baratza Precisio
 

Just had another 2 shots to compare the 2. The K3 does have chocolate taste, just that it is more like dark chocolate while the Precisio more like regular chocolate. Got to stop testing for today as I'm ODing on espresso today
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moosepucky
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moosepucky
Joined: 6 Jun 2009
Posts: 153
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 Mon Mar 10, 2014, 9:21pm
Subject: Re: Espresso Quality using Compak K3 vs Baratza Precisio
 

Why not keep a small supply of the parts you break more often on hand so you can repair it when it goes down instead of going through the aggravation of ordering and waiting.

Most parts are not all that expensive.  For under $30 you could have enough spares to run through several breakdowns.
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pzull
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Joined: 1 Aug 2012
Posts: 4
Location: Vancouver
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Mar 10, 2014, 11:52pm
Subject: Re: Espresso Quality using Compak K3 vs Baratza Precisio
 

Yes that occurs to me every time I order the part I require but I keep telling myself that I'm sure I'll have everything sorted once I do this "last" repair. Guess diehard optimists never learn.
But yes I will probably do what you have suggested since the Precisio does really good grinds when it is working and the parts are surprisingly inexpensive.
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moosepucky
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moosepucky
Joined: 6 Jun 2009
Posts: 153
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 Tue Mar 11, 2014, 8:43am
Subject: Re: Espresso Quality using Compak K3 vs Baratza Precisio
 

Preciso is their most "persnickety" model.  It is very susceptible to damage if adjustments are made without the grinder running.

I bought mine on the secondary market (used) and I needed to replace the adjuster mech (got a good price because it was "broken").

I've had it about a year now and no issues what so ever but I am using it as a brew grinder so I do not touch the fine slider lever (I keep it in the center) and only adjust the larger bin twister and then only 2-4 clicks to adjust for my different pour over methods and ONLY when it is running.  Lately I have gone back to using my Chemex crew (have all sizes) so I don't think I have adjusted the setting except when switching beans and then it seems to only need a single click adjustment up or down (if any at all) but again the grinder goes on before my hands grab the bean bin to make the change.

Next time you put in an order with Baratza grab another adjustment mech wheel just in case you need it in the future.

Cheap insurance and now that you have a "backup" grinder :) you should NOT be stresses as much when it does fail again (the Preciso almost always seems to fail sooner or later no matter how careful you are with it).
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pzull
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Joined: 1 Aug 2012
Posts: 4
Location: Vancouver
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Mar 11, 2014, 9:00am
Subject: Re: Espresso Quality using Compak K3 vs Baratza Precisio
 

Yes I do have grinder running when I adjust. Once dialed in I dont ever adjust unless I take out the top burr for cleaning.
This morning the K3 produced a rat's tail pull instead of a mouse tail. Coffee tasted under extracted. No change to grind setting from yesterday. Guess it needs some breaking in or bedding in to settle down or is this a quirk of the K3. K3 is 2 days old.
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SpaceTime
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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 Tue Mar 11, 2014, 3:02pm
Subject: Re: Espresso Quality using Compak K3 vs Baratza Precisio
 

The characteristics on your K3 will change / improve as you break in the burrs a little more.  All burrs need a little seasoning to yield maximum results... Hard to believe you get a better grinder and suddenly can't make equal or better quality.

Plus, you are comparing a 58mm burr to a 40 mm burr.  I would expect differences... Work with it.

Plus you are accustomed to the taste / results on your Preciso - that is a factor - that will have an effect on what is "better" vs "new". But it still always comes down to one's own taste buds - but the acquired taste factor comes into play.  Keep an open mind, give it some time.
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BlackTimber
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Joined: 15 Apr 2014
Posts: 1
Location: Lincoln
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Apr 15, 2014, 5:00am
Subject: Re: Espresso Quality using Compak K3 vs Baratza Precisio
 

This is my first post.  I've been hanging around learning a bunch for all that participate here.

I just made the same change for the same reasons.  The Preciso parts are just too wimpy! And changing between drip and espresso always created more of a challenge that I liked.  I always run the Preciso when changing grind levels, but the thing just keeps breaking. I'm keeping my Preciso for Drip and Press.  I found that the quality of the espresso using the K-3 to be much higher right out of the box.(came out of the box yesterday)   Richer, cleaner, sweeter, with a better mouth feel. The only thing that I am struggling with a little is that tiny changes make a big difference and I think that if you make a change with the grinder running and with coffee in the machine you don't always get what you should.  This mornings first shot took ~35 seconds, so I adjusted the setting a little towards the coarser side and the next shot choked. The K-3 has a reverse thread so turning the top assembly clockwise should open up the burr spacing. So far I like it.
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IMAWriter
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IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
Posts: 5,841
Location: Brentwood, TN
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega
Grinder: Forte, OE Pharos,...
Vac Pot: Adcraft SS, Yama 8 cup
Drip: Brazen, Kalita, Chemex,...
Roaster: Behmor 1600, CO/UFO combo
Posted Thu Apr 17, 2014, 4:52pm
Subject: Re: Espresso Quality using Compak K3 vs Baratza Precisio
 

SpaceTime Said:

The characteristics on your K3 will change / improve as you break in the burrs a little more.  All burrs need a little seasoning to yield maximum results... Hard to believe you get a better grinder and suddenly can't make equal or better quality.

Plus, you are comparing a 58mm burr to a 40 mm burr.  I would expect differences... Work with it.

Plus you are accustomed to the taste / results on your Preciso - that is a factor - that will have an effect on what is "better" vs "new". But it still always comes down to one's own taste buds - but the acquired taste factor comes into play.  Keep an open mind, give it some time.

Posted March 11, 2014 link

About as good advice as you'll get.

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
My Music Production web site:
www.robertjason.com
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toyman
Senior Member


Joined: 30 Oct 2012
Posts: 48
Location: PA
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Expobar Office Lever Plus,...
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Drip: Cuisinart
Posted Fri Apr 18, 2014, 6:11am
Subject: Re: Espresso Quality using Compak K3 vs Baratza Precisio
 

I've had my preciso for about 18 months without (knock on wood!) any issues.  I upgraded my espresso machine recently from a Gaggia Classic to an Expobar Office Lever Plus, and have been kicking around upgrading my Preciso as well.   A good bit of what I have found says the Preciso is up there (in the cup) with the other 'pro-sumer?' grinders (vario, K3, Macap, etc).  My two main considerations were the Compak K3 and the Vario as upgrades.  The wife, who doesn't drink coffee, likes the looks of the K3 over the Vario, but I like the low retention and ease of single dose use of the Baratza machines.  Reading the endless info on the Vario, makes it out to be at the top (in the cup) of the pre-titan machines with lots of features at a good price, but without the build quality of the competition.  I actually considered keeping a load of cash in my pocket and dropping <$200 on a Virtuoso refurb with Preciso burrs for drip & press coffee, and dedicating the Preciso for espresso.  Right now I'm just in a holding pattern.  The crazy thing is that I'm very pleased with my new setup and the results. (just opened up a fresh bag of Red Bird, roasted on Monday).  Very interested in what others have to say about this subject.
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