OK, so keep in mind that -- although I do own a Mahlkönig K30 Vario -- I've never owned a Mazzer Major, Mazzer Super Jolly, Compak K10, or that "etc" grinder you mentioned. ;^) Now, obviously I've had shots pulled using Mazzer Majors, SJ's, Roburs, and the like, but I've never done a side-by-side comparison with them and the K30 Vario.
FWIW, my path to the Mahlkönig was as follows:
Primary Grinders: Gaggia MDF ---> Mazzer Mini ---> Cimbali Max Hybrid ---> Mahlkönig K30 Vario.
Each step along that path resulted an increase in quality in the cup -- which is where it counts, after all -- with the largest increase coming when I replaced the Mazzer with the Cimbali. The Mahlkönig K30 Vario is, as others have said, very easy to dial in and doesn't need constant tweaking. It is very quiet, the quietest grinder I've ever owned (heard?); and it's very, very fast. I've owned mine for 2.5 years, and have ZERO desire to upgrade (and certainly no need to!).
David23 Senior Member Joined: 27 Nov 2008 Posts: 61 Location: Arlington, Texas Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Mini Vivaldi II, Pasquini... Grinder: Mahlkoenig K30 Vario,... Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Mon Aug 22, 2011, 7:39pm Subject: Re: mahlkonig k30 vario
I have a K30 Vario, as well as the Baratza. In my opinion the K30 is indeed worth 3 times the cost. Build quality, ease of use, precision and reliability of adjustment, aesthetics, etc. are all vastly superior to the Baratza. I anticipate never replacing the K30, and can hardly wait to get rid of the Baratza.
I owed both Cimbali Max Hybrid and Cimbali Jr. (flat burr) before I acquired K30 a few months ago. I sold Cimbali Jr. within a week after I got K30 on my counter since both of them use flat burrs. Though the plan was to sell both Cimbali's to compensate the expense on K30, I ended up never put the CMH on ebay and actually just moved it back to my main coffee bar area standing beside K30 last week. Usability wise, K30 wins everything (I don't single dose), but the tastes between the two are just different... to be honest, personally I prefer the taste and mouth feel from CHM with my favorite blends - CCC Aficionado and Stumptown Hariblend.
I was (or am still) debating about selling both CHM and K30 to get K10, but it's just so hard to give up the ease of use of K30 as well as its looks. That's how I ended up having two side by side now... still not sure if keeping both would be the final decision...
Posted Wed Nov 2, 2011, 5:06am Subject: Re: mahlkonig k30 vario
I did get a chance to try espresso ground in a Robur which uses a very large conical burr. I like the way it grinds but not enough to call it better than the K30. The differences in taste between large flat and large conical are exaggerated in my opinion.
I chew coffee beans with my teeth while gargling with 195 F water to enjoy coffee. What is this "coffee brewing" device you speak of?
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