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Baratza Vario Vs. Mazzer Mini For Espresso ONLY
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Discussions > Espresso > Grinders -... > Baratza Vario...  
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bngrdn
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bngrdn
Joined: 13 Dec 2007
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Location: Denver, CO, USA
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Posted Fri Jul 31, 2009, 12:10am
Subject: Baratza Vario Vs. Mazzer Mini For Espresso ONLY
 

Hi,

I just purchased my first espresso machine, Bezzera BZ02, and am in the market for an espresso grinder. I've narrowed down my choices to a Baratza Vario and a used Mazzer Mini, and I would appreciate it if some more educated members would help me decide between the two. I've read most of The Baratza Vario Grinder Owner's Thread and have found, on the whole, that most people are happy with it. I'm only interested in brewing espresso at this time. I, however, like the idea of being able to grind press or drip in the future. Yet what matters most to me is the quality of the grind, particularly, for espresso. The price is generally the same and counter space is not an issue where I live. What I'm most curious about is whether the extra features (e.g. timer settings), ceramic burrs, and reduced waste make the Vario a better choice over the Mini for espresso? FYI: I'm leaning towards the Mini right now because I like it's build, resale value, and great reputation as an espresso grinder.

Thanks!

Ben
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TimEggers
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TimEggers
Joined: 3 Oct 2004
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Location: Tiskilwa, Illinois
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: QM Anita, Cappuccino Amore
Grinder: Baratza Vario, Mazzer SJ
Vac Pot: Antique McKee, Santos
Drip: Pour Over, Bodum Presses
Roaster: RK Drum
Posted Fri Jul 31, 2009, 4:53am
Subject: Re: Baratza Vario Vs. Mazzer Mini For Espresso ONLY
 

I'd select a Vario over a Mini because its said that the Vario matches the Super Jolly in grind quality and its also been noted that the SJ out grinds the Mini.  So basically the Vario is a SJ grind in a smaller package.

Plus the Vario has many other interesting features less waste and the portafilter holder to name a few.  And a timer for dosing is going to be real nice, I can't wait to get my Vario.

The Mini (and even the SJ) are great rock solid grinders, but advancements are being made that are putting these established titans (almost) to shame.

Side note: my SJ sucks at grinding for press or drip, the Vario would excel in this regard (judging by other user accounts).  Mazzers really are espresso only grinders.

 
Tim Eggers
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Joel_B
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Joel_B
Joined: 9 Oct 2007
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Location: Pacific NW
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Espresso: Astra Mega II
Grinder: Mazzer SJ, Virtuoso
Vac Pot: Yama 5 cup
Drip: nope, french press
Roaster: Behmor, WP, BBQ drum
Posted Fri Jul 31, 2009, 6:00am
Subject: Re: Baratza Vario Vs. Mazzer Mini For Espresso ONLY
 

bngrdn Said:

Yet what matters most to me is the quality of the grind, particularly, for espresso.

Posted July 31, 2009 link

From what's been reported, the Vario will give you a better grind.  

That being said, there are some other factors and both grinders have their case.  The Mini is time tested, built well, good resale, and will most likely outlast you.  I think the one major feature the Mini has that may or may not matter to you is the Mini has a doser.  For me personally, if I could only have one grinder for espresso, it would be a doser.  There's no right or wrong on this, just a matter of preference, so what's your preference?  

I've been toying with getting a Vario, but there's two hinderences for me; the programmed times are lost when the grider is unplugged and it's still new so there are some unknowns in reguards to how it's going to hold up over the years.  Barazta's customer service has one of the best reputations out there.  Although I prefer a doser, I have a doserless timed M4 and the timed dosing is pretty cool.  If you do want to grind for press or drip in the future, the Vario will be a better all in one grinder.  A better option though IMO, is to purchase a designated press/drip grinder; espresso is so sensitive, it's no fun switching back and forth.
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sparkey
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Posted Fri Jul 31, 2009, 6:45am
Subject: Re: Baratza Vario Vs. Mazzer Mini For Espresso ONLY
 

How might this comparison shift if the Mazzer in question were the Mini-E?  Larger burrs, dose timer, etc.?  Thoughts?

Sparkey
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JonR10
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Posted Fri Jul 31, 2009, 7:10am
Subject: Re: Baratza Vario Vs. Mazzer Mini For Espresso ONLY
 

sparkey Said:

How might this comparison shift if the Mazzer in question were the Mini-E?

Posted July 31, 2009 link

The Mazzer Mini-E currently sells for almost exactly twice the price of a Baratza Vario.  For that money you get the superior build quality of a true commercial grinder, with a bigger footprint and much larger "presence".  

As I've said before, it depends on what is important to you.  
In the end it becomes a personal decision.

 
Jon Rosenthal
Houston, TX
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TimEggers
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TimEggers
Joined: 3 Oct 2004
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Location: Tiskilwa, Illinois
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: QM Anita, Cappuccino Amore
Grinder: Baratza Vario, Mazzer SJ
Vac Pot: Antique McKee, Santos
Drip: Pour Over, Bodum Presses
Roaster: RK Drum
Posted Fri Jul 31, 2009, 7:39am
Subject: Re: Baratza Vario Vs. Mazzer Mini For Espresso ONLY
 

Joel_B Said:

I've been toying with getting a Vario, but there's two hinderences for me; the programmed times are lost when the grider is unplugged and it's still new so there are some unknowns in reguards to how it's going to hold up over the years.

Posted July 31, 2009 link

Kyle Anderson has commented that the Vario is in an evolving process and that new features could be added at anytime.  I think the lack of memory is a valid concern and I hope Mr. Anderson has some remedy for this and more so if they do its implemented soon.  Time will tell.


Joel_B Said:

Barazta's customer service has one of the best reputations out there.

Posted July 31, 2009 link

Sort of negates your second point doesn't it? ;-)

 
Tim Eggers
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Joel_B
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Joel_B
Joined: 9 Oct 2007
Posts: 1,823
Location: Pacific NW
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Astra Mega II
Grinder: Mazzer SJ, Virtuoso
Vac Pot: Yama 5 cup
Drip: nope, french press
Roaster: Behmor, WP, BBQ drum
Posted Fri Jul 31, 2009, 8:38am
Subject: Re: Baratza Vario Vs. Mazzer Mini For Espresso ONLY
 

TimEggers Said:

Sort of negates your second point doesn't it? ;-)

Posted July 31, 2009 link

Nope.  When my wife and I bought our first brand new car, we went with a premier brand and premier dealership.  Great customer service; can't say enough about their customer service.  Believe me I should know after the number of times we needed it :-) Point is, it's nice to know the service is there if needed and that is a factor, but wouldn't it better to not need it in the 1st place?

5yrs down the road is Baratza going to "make it right" if something goes awry?  Probably not, nor should they be expected to.  On the other hand, with a Mazzer, I won't need any customer service 5, 10, 15 + yrs down the road.
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TimEggers
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TimEggers
Joined: 3 Oct 2004
Posts: 2,946
Location: Tiskilwa, Illinois
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: QM Anita, Cappuccino Amore
Grinder: Baratza Vario, Mazzer SJ
Vac Pot: Antique McKee, Santos
Drip: Pour Over, Bodum Presses
Roaster: RK Drum
Posted Fri Jul 31, 2009, 9:32am
Subject: Re: Baratza Vario Vs. Mazzer Mini For Espresso ONLY
 

Going by your car analogy every maker will spit out a clunker once in a while.

My only point is that Baratza has been around a while and their products are quite nice.  I think its a little unfair compairing a full on commercial grinder like a Mazzer to a home grinder (Vario).

Of coarse Mazzers are more robust, but then again they have to be.  That is not a slide against Baratza.

 
Tim Eggers
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Joel_B
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Joel_B
Joined: 9 Oct 2007
Posts: 1,823
Location: Pacific NW
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Astra Mega II
Grinder: Mazzer SJ, Virtuoso
Vac Pot: Yama 5 cup
Drip: nope, french press
Roaster: Behmor, WP, BBQ drum
Posted Fri Jul 31, 2009, 10:07am
Subject: Re: Baratza Vario Vs. Mazzer Mini For Espresso ONLY
 

TimEggers Said:

Going by your car analogy every maker will spit out a clunker once in a while.

Posted July 31, 2009 link

Yup. No arguement there.

TimEggers Said:

I think its a little unfair compairing a full on commercial grinder like a Mazzer to a home grinder (Vario).

Posted July 31, 2009 link

Heh???  The title of this thread is:  "Re: Baratza Vario Vs. Mazzer Mini For Espresso ONLY"  To me what you just said gives one point for the Mazzer.  The longevity and reliability is only part of the equation, but a very important one to me.  And as I previously said, the "unkown" was one of my reasons for not running out and buying one. I wouldn't expect it to hold up as well as a Mazzer nor would that alone deter me from buying one; what I don't know is if the longevity or reliability of the Vario will meet my satisfaction.

Tim, to be honest, I'm not really sure where you're trying to go with this.  Your question to me (as I read it, in a nutshell) was does great customer service cancel out the unknown longevity of a product?  Did I understand you correctly that is what you were asking?  My answer to your question was "no" with reasoning why from past life experience.  Great customer service is a good thing to have, but it weighs less to me than longevity or reliability.
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JasonBrandtLewis
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JasonBrandtLewis
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Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -...
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Posted Fri Jul 31, 2009, 10:21am
Subject: Re: Baratza Vario Vs. Mazzer Mini For Espresso ONLY
 

Ben, you will not go wrong with either one.  That said, take the following with a grain or two of salt, as I used to own a Mazzer Mini, and have not owned a Baratza Vario . . .

I've said this before:  the biggest single improvement, in terms of equipment, to the quality of my espresso in the cup was upgrading from a Mazzer Mini to a Cimbali Max Hybrid.

It's also been said before (by many people besides Tim that

TimEggers Said:

I'd select a Vario over a Mini because its said that the Vario matches the Super Jolly in grind quality and its also been noted that the SJ out grinds the Mini.  So basically the Vario is a SJ grind in a smaller package.  Plus the Vario has many other interesting features less waste and the portafilter holder to name a few.  And a timer for dosing is going to be real nice, I can't wait to get my Vario.

Posted July 31, 2009 link

AND, that

The Mini (and even the SJ) are great rock solid grinders, but advancements are being made that are putting these established titans (almost) to shame.

TimEggers Said:

Mazzers really are espresso only grinders.

Posted July 31, 2009 link

So let's recap:  
  • the Baratza Vario has been reported by many to be the equal to the Mazzer Super Jolly, which everyone acknowledges is better than the Mazzer Mini;
  • the Baratza Vario is equally adept, or so it seems, at grinding for espresso AND for drip/press, and while you are "only interested in brewing espresso at this time," you say that you "like the idea of being able to grind press or drip in the future" -- something the Mazzer Mini is poor at doing;

I, too, would grab the Vario . . .

Cheers,
Jason

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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