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Is this a reasonable upgrade?
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OliveOil
Senior Member
OliveOil
Joined: 20 Jan 2008
Posts: 65
Location: WI
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: NS Oscar
Grinder: Vario-W
Drip: Breville YouBrew
Posted Tue Apr 1, 2014, 12:48pm
Subject: Is this a reasonable upgrade?
 

Would moving from a Breville Smart Grinder to a Le'Lit PL53 be an upgrade for espresso grinding, or should I just wait it out until I can find a Vario W in my price range?

The Breville is a newer model, but I think it still could use the shims.
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,781
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Tue Apr 1, 2014, 12:55pm
Subject: Re: Is this a reasonable upgrade?
 

Buy the BEST grinder you can eeek out the budget for. It REALLY does make a difference.

I have advised the PL53 as a basic starter grinder for espresso, I consider it a positive step up from the smart. Really though, this is the bottom rung of grinders. Sure if that is the best you can afford, then it is better than nothing and we all start someplace but espresso is a speeeeeennnnnnndddddddy hobby to get into, little things matter a LOT.

Do consider a used grinder, this will allow you to get more for the money, keep an eye on the BST forum, while CG can not stand behind any purchase between two private parties, the overall rep of the sellers is very good and problems are pretty low.

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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jonr
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jun 2013
Posts: 298
Location: Americas
Expertise: I like coffee
Posted Tue Apr 1, 2014, 1:00pm
Subject: Re: Is this a reasonable upgrade?
 

Personally, I wouldn't get a new grinder unless you can try the new one and the current one side-by-side and actually find the new one tastes better and by enough to justify it.  Grinders can make a difference, but by how much and in which direction depends greatly on your specifics.  There is no generic "best" grinder, even at a fixed price point.
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CMIN
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Jun 2012
Posts: 1,380
Location: South FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Tue Apr 1, 2014, 1:01pm
Subject: Re: Is this a reasonable upgrade?
 

Don't even consider it, if your thinking of saving for a Vario just do that, flat out better in everyway for espresso. The Preciso and PL53 are the two bottom rung espresso capable grinders that are electric, I would of gotten a Vario if I hadn't snagged a killer deal on my Preciso and didn't realize the the difference, until I used a Vario and saw how much better in the cup it is.
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bossman
Senior Member


Joined: 10 Dec 2013
Posts: 100
Location: Iowa
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Mini Vivladi II
Grinder: Baratza Vario-W
Drip: Cuisinart
Roaster: Soon I hope
Posted Wed Apr 2, 2014, 8:35am
Subject: Re: Is this a reasonable upgrade?
 

You can get a refurb Vario direct from Baratza for $360 and they put them up frequently.  Recently they have started putting them up on other days than Thursday though so check daily.
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OliveOil
Senior Member
OliveOil
Joined: 20 Jan 2008
Posts: 65
Location: WI
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: NS Oscar
Grinder: Vario-W
Drip: Breville YouBrew
Posted Wed Apr 2, 2014, 8:46am
Subject: Re: Is this a reasonable upgrade?
 

Thanks all for your help.  The Smart Grinder just isn't working for my espresso, so I may just have to pull the trigger on the regular Vario instead of waiting for a refurb Vario W.  An obvious great move up in grinders, but still not quite what I wanted.
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Frost
Senior Member
Frost
Joined: 26 Jul 2007
Posts: 2,095
Location: Sierra
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Isomac Venus
Grinder: Lelit PL53
Roaster: Poppery I w/variac, MET, BT
Posted Wed Apr 2, 2014, 9:39am
Subject: Re: Is this a reasonable upgrade?
 

One notable difference between a Smart Grinder and PL53; one is an espresso grinder and the other isn't.
As always, you will get plenty of advice here from those who own neither.
I like jonr's idea to put them both on the counter to compare. Unfortunately you will rarely if ever get this kind of comparison especially in this class of grinders.    

No doubt you will have better luck grinding for espresso with a Vario.
What else is it you are looking for in your next grinder?
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CMIN
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Jun 2012
Posts: 1,380
Location: South FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Wed Apr 2, 2014, 9:42am
Subject: Re: Is this a reasonable upgrade?
 

OliveOil Said:

Thanks all for your help.  As of yesterday the Smart Grinder has died, so I may just have to pull the trigger on the regular Vario instead of waiting for a refurb Vario W.  An obvious great move up in grinders, but still not quite what I wanted.

Posted April 2, 2014 link

Get a digital scale that weighs to .1 grams and you can tare out the bin and weigh it with grounds, or if you single dose (which both the Preciso and Vario do well) you can just weigh your beans first then grind. You should easily see a big difference over the Smart Grinder for espresso as the SG is basically useless as it had such a small window for espresso dialing, and small burrs and a kinda weak motor. I had a Vario and SJ side by side and people say it all the time, but it's true, taste in the cup is the same. So imagine going from a SG to something like whats in the Super Jolley class, not build quality wise but taste in cup wise.
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mschol17
Senior Member


Joined: 26 May 2009
Posts: 39
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Andreja Premium, Elektra T1
Grinder: Compak K6
Vac Pot: hmmm
Drip: French Press?
Roaster: no
Posted Thu Apr 3, 2014, 5:56pm
Subject: Re: Is this a reasonable upgrade?
 

Get the Wega (compak k6) in the classifieds.  Great deal.
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CoffeeRon
Senior Member
CoffeeRon
Joined: 26 Apr 2009
Posts: 749
Location: Tacoma Wa.
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Wega Lyra, Europiccola(still...
Grinder: Macap M7D, Pharos, Vario W,...
Vac Pot: Sunbeam CoffeeMaster
Drip: Melita BCM-4
Roaster: FR SR500,B-1600, SC/TO
Posted Fri Apr 4, 2014, 12:58am
Subject: Re: Is this a reasonable upgrade?
 

The Wega is super if you want the extra build quality and don't mind a little extra fussing around.

If you go with the regular Vario instead of the W I don't think you'd be missing much. Just use a scale to dial in the time. People are saying the Forte portaholder in the Vario works out really nice- something you can't use with the W. If you asked them to swap it in when you ordered you'd probably get a break over ordering later.
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