cs137 Senior Member Joined: 27 May 2006 Posts: 52 Location: AK Expertise: Just starting
Posted Tue Jul 9, 2013, 12:30pm Subject: durable alternatives to Preciso/Vario for first espresso grinder?
I have spent hours reading threads here. For my first grinder (for a new Gaggia Classic) most people recommend either the Preciso or Vario. I'm considering both of these machines, but I have a few questions/concerns.
I've read that there is not much difference between the Preciso and Vario grind quality? Some people recommend the Vario for espresso, but the difference does not seem worth $150. At the same time, I've read that the Vario is nearly as good as the Super Jolly. Does this mean the Preciso is also as good as the Super Jolly?
I am quite concerned with build quality, design, and ease of use. The Preciso and Vario are both quite ugly, but I can live with it. I am more concerned with build quality, as I've read that the Preciso is not very sturdy. Is the Vario much more durable than the Preciso? If so, I may consider paying the extra $120, even though the grind quality is about the same. For ease of use, I am looking for a machine that does not make a mess and is easy to get the grinds out of. I'm not sure how these stack up against the competition.
Are there other machines with better build quality that I should look at? I am willing to pay a bit of a premium - maybe $300-400 total for a grinder. For comparison, the refurbished Preciso is $239 and the refurbished Vario is $360.
I know there are a lot of threads about these grinders, but I've had a lot of trouble finding answers to these specific questions. Any advice is appreciated! Thanks!
okitoki Senior Member Joined: 23 Jun 2013 Posts: 11 Location: Perth, AUstralia Expertise: Just starting
Posted Tue Jul 9, 2013, 9:48pm Subject: Re: durable alternatives to Preciso/Vario for first espresso grinder?
I have tried a Preciso for my Silvia, and it was producing grinds that were good enough for it... can't comment on how durable it is since I only used it for a week because I was trialling it from a friend...
have you looked at a Compak K3? or get your hands on some used Mazzers or Macap? I've picked up a used MACAP MXA and a Mazzer SJ pretty cheap for where I am... and these guys are supposed to be rated to last for generations :D but if you are looking for small size grinders, maybe a Eureka Mignon can also be considered as it looks pretty sweet...
Posted Wed Jul 10, 2013, 6:57am Subject: Re: durable alternatives to Preciso/Vario for first espresso grinder?
My Preciso produces grinds that are much more than adequate for my old Classic, and now for my Bezzera BZ07, so I don't really know what is meant by "not good enough" for a Silvia. I've had a major issue with my Mk I Preciso - stripped gearbox that also ruined the motor, but the parts were replaced, outside the warranty period, by Baratza, and I'm happy to fix things myself. Since the upgrade to the Mk II parts, it's been 100% reliable with multiple daily use, provided I clean it regularly (I get occasional stalls if I don't clean it, which is hardly surprising). The Vario is reportedly much more robust than the Mk I Preciso.
I don't think there's anything comparable for grind quality for espresso below about $500. The Ascaso I-1 I have is not as good, and much messier to use.
takeshi Senior Member Joined: 12 Oct 2002 Posts: 1,006 Location: Houston Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: Alex Duetto 3.0 Grinder: Super Jolly Roaster: Amaya Roasting
Posted Wed Jul 10, 2013, 7:24pm Subject: Re: durable alternatives to Preciso/Vario for first espresso grinder?
If durability is a major concern, Mazzers are hard to beat. Consider a used Super Jolly. Looking at current ebay listings it may be a stretch for your budget. It won't meet your low mess and low retention requirements but you need to decide where you're willing to compromise as I doubt you'll find everything you're looking for in a grinder at that price point.
Haven't used the Preciso or the Vario so I can't really comment on them.
JPF Senior Member Joined: 3 Jun 2010 Posts: 223 Location: NJ Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Mini Vivaldi, Pre-millenium... Grinder: Dosered SJ, Resurrected... Vac Pot: Yama Siphon Drip: Technivorm Roaster: Behmor, Poppery I
Posted Thu Jul 11, 2013, 5:43pm Subject: Re: durable alternatives to Preciso/Vario for first espresso grinder?
I happily used my Vario for 3 years but then it broke. I was without it for a month and cost about $130 with shipping to fix. I bought a super jolly during that time and I haven't looked back. Baratza put updated components in it but I just don't feel like it does a good job anymaore. intended to use it as a dedicated drip Grindr but I can't seem to get a great pot drip coffee with it now
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