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Baratza Vario - Joe Riordan's Review
Posted: December 3, 2011, 9:04am
review rating: 7.0
feedback: (1) comments | read | write
Baratza Vario Grinder
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More About This Product
Arrow The Baratza Vario has 22 Reviews
Arrow The Baratza Vario has been rated 8.38 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since November 23, 2009.
Arrow Baratza Vario reviews have been viewed 133,312 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Peter Russell 9.23
Mark Carter-Piff 8.67
Barry Stolzman 8.60
David Kugler 8.50
Evan Patton 8.40

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 8.2
Manufacturer: Baratza Quality: 8
Average Price: $450.00 Usability: 8
Price Paid: $550.00 Cost vs. Value 8
Where Bought: Chris Coffee Aesthetics 9
Owned for: 2 months Overall 8
Writer's Expertise: I live coffee Would Buy Again: Yes
Similar Items Owned: Mazzer Mini
Bottom Line: For changing between Press and Drip frequently and an occasional espresso, it's a great option.
Positive Product Points

Great to easily switch between grind types (Press, Drip, Espresso).  Excellent grind quality.  Quiet.  Looks good.  Compact.

Negative Product Points

Can't keep hopper filled if changing grind size, because that needs to be done with grinder running.  It's not really anti-static, difficult to get ground coffee out.  No porta-filter holder makes it messy to get coffee into porta-filter.  Weighed output varies by as much as a half a gram from the setting.

Detailed Commentary

This is a review of the new Vario-W.  (Weight based) I requested it be added about a month ago, but it wasn't, so I'll review it here.

This is not my primary espresso grinder.  I have my Mazzer Mini adjusted how I like it for the espresso I buy most frequently (which is Toscano from Counter Culture), and rarely touch the settings.  I wanted a quality grinder with more flexibility for changing between grind settings, and this fits the bill for how I use it.  I may decide to make a pot of drip, a french press, a pour over, or a different espresso that needs a different grind adjustment.  I can quickly and easy return to any setting HOWEVER you need to run the grinder while changing settings, especially when going finer.  Therefore you can't really keep the hopper filled with beans if you plan to do this or your output would be a mix of grind sizes.  In practice, I end up keeping it empty, adjusting it for the grind I want, and weigh my beans before adding them.  Then I can just run it manually and hit stop when it's done.

If you plan to use it mostly for one grind setting, then the scale works by stopping before it reaches the weight setting and estimating how much will still fall in.  Mine varies by as much as half a gram, which is not enough to matter for me for press or drip, but you might want more accuracy for consistent espresso.  It shows it's final weight for just a second, then blinks and displays the number you had it set to.  So you have to watch closely to know how much it actually ground.  

The accuracy of the scale itself is pretty identical to my small jewelry scale that I also use for coffee.  The resolution is to 0.1 grams and I find it to be consistently accurate.  By accurate, I mean that if it shows a ground weight of 15.7 grams, then that is correct.  I may have set it for 16 grams and it only came close to that, but the displayed weight is accurate.

To pour the grounds from the basket into a french press or paper filter is ok, put pouring it into a porta-filter is difficult and I always make a little bit of a mess.  Regardless of them claiming it is anti-static, it holds about a half to a gram stuck to the bottom by static and I have to bang it around to get the grounds out.  So I would not want this as my primary espresso grinder, but it's great for a second all-around grinder.

Buying Experience

Chris' Coffee is just who I buy from, because you always know what's in stock, you can call and get a person to buy it from and just as easily get a person to talk to if you have questions or problems.  I have found they ship same day for me even when I order after lunch.

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review rating: 7.0
Posted: December 3, 2011, 9:04am
feedback: (1) comments | read | write
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