You're looking at the world's first commercially successful consumer/prosumer dosing-by-weight grinder. There's been others before, but they were big and bulky and designed for high volume, ultra high commercial use, or based on digital timing instead of actually measuring weight. The Baratza Vario-W was the first grinder to hit the market to accurately grind by weight.
By accurate, we mean within .5g of your desired, programmed weight. That is an achievement. The Vario-W does this by having a scale built directly into the grinder, and the grinder hopper sitting on top of that scale. And it works quite well.
The Vario-W is build on the original Baratza Vario grinder - a grinder that lets you set macro and micro adjustments for how fine or coarse you want your grind to be. Where the Vario ground based on digital timing, the -W variant does it based entirely on weight amounts (there's no timer in the -W version).
This grinder is absolutely ideal for small cafe use with it's accurate weight grinding. In the home, it is great for set and walk away grinding too, and you can set up to 3 preset grind amounts for your different brewing methods. We don't recommend it as an espresso grinder however, since you cannot grind directly into a portafilter with it.
The Vario-W ships with ceramic burrs, though you can also order metal burrs for sharper cutting of the grinds (trading off the longevity of the ceramic burrs).
Column Description Whether it's up to the minute, happening this day, this week, or in the recent past, this column's goal is to present coffee and attempts to make the experience truly culinary. You'll find short reviews about past events, interesting coffees coming on the market, new and different ways to enjoy espresso and other brewing methods, and give an insight into efforts around the globe to make coffee a truly culinary thing. Column written by Mark Prince.