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Mahlkönig K30 Vario vs. Baratza Forte
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Discussions > Espresso > Grinders -... > Mahlkönig K30...  
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javacrazed
Senior Member
javacrazed
Joined: 10 Apr 2014
Posts: 15
Location: LA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Rocket Cellini...
Grinder: Baratza Forte, Mahlkonig K30...
Roaster: Hottop
Posted Fri Apr 11, 2014, 9:30am
Subject: Mahlkönig K30 Vario vs. Baratza Forte
 

Hello all, question for the members.  I have recently upgraded my grinder from a Compak K3 to the Baratza Forte.  Going from a stepless to a step grinder took a little learning but dialed in fine.  The forte has no clumping and wastes very little grinds in the chute.  

The question I have, do you think there would be that big of a difference is shot quality if I went to a Mahlkonig K30?  

If so, where would you recommend I purchase one from? I see them as low as $1600+ new on some sites but can I get lower?

BTW - I have been trained as a barista and have refined my technique over the last 5 years.  9/10 shots are pretty nice.

Thanks for your time in advance,
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javacrazed
Senior Member
javacrazed
Joined: 10 Apr 2014
Posts: 15
Location: LA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Rocket Cellini...
Grinder: Baratza Forte, Mahlkonig K30...
Roaster: Hottop
Posted Fri Apr 11, 2014, 10:57am
Subject: Re: Mahlkönig K30 Vario vs. Baratza Forte
 

Thanks Sharky, I also emailed Mark about it! He is totally high-jacking other forum topics as well.
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boar_d_laze
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 1,394
Location: Monrovia, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Cimbali M21 DT/1 Junior...
Grinder: Ceado E92; "Bunnzilla"
Vac Pot: Royal Coffee Maker
Drip: Chemex + Kone; Espro Press
Roaster: USRC Sample Roaster
Posted Fri Apr 11, 2014, 2:33pm
Subject: Re: Mahlkönig K30 Vario vs. Baratza Forte
 

Hi Chris,

The question I have, do you think there would be that big of a difference is shot quality if I went to a Mahlkonig K30?

Define "that big of a difference."  A clear-cut, "in the cup" difference?  Yes.  More top end fruit, more bottom chocolate and nuts, more separation, more nuance; basically more of everything -- plus you won't have to adjust for staling quite as often.  

However, the K30 doesn't dose as well, isn't as neat, isn't as easy to use as the Forte. Few, if any grinders are.  "Four or five shots a day" may not seem like a lot, but since you're pulling over 1500 shots a year it's something to think about.

If so, where would you recommend I purchase one from? I see them as low as $1600+ new on some sites but can I get lower?

They're either $1620 or $1625 everywhere.  Given that they're already hugely discounted from MSRP, unless you have some other kind of leverage I don't see you getting much off the internet price.  But you never know until you try.

Other Possibilities:
The K30 is a great grinder which generates a lot of loyalty.  I don't think it's any better than some of the other big flats, like the Anfim Super Caimano,  Ceado E37s (by reputation), Compak K-8, or Mazzer Major.  

And, good as it is, it's very different in the cup than the uber-Titan conicals, particularly the Ceado E92, Compak K-10 Fresh, Macap M7D and Mazzer Robur E.  If you want to see how one of those big boys functions in a high-end home setup, you're welcome to come here and try my Ceado E92.  

You can bring your Forte and do a comparison if you like.   The E92 has a very similar layout to the E37s, so -- in that sense -- you'd be killing two birds with one stone.  I'll send you home with some beans too, and you can use them to compare the memory of the Ceado vs the Forte -- but with your machine.  

If you're interested, contact me at the email address linked on my CG bio, or by PM at H-B, and we can set up a date.  

Looking forward to meeting you,
Rich
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CoffeeRon
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Joined: 26 Apr 2009
Posts: 757
Location: Eatonville, 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 Sat Apr 12, 2014, 12:07pm
Subject: Re: Mahlkönig K30 Vario vs. Baratza Forte
 

Hi Chris,

I have owned a K-30 for almost a month now and can say that it was a big step up from my Vario, which has the same burrs and I can only assume must be about the same in the cup.

That said, I would strongly encourage you to take Rich up on his offer. Words and descriptions can give an idea of what to expect, but tasting for yourself is the only real way to know for yourself.

I believed from what I read that I'd be perfectly happy with a flat burr. I picked up a used Pharos a week ago and now I know the difference. The less than a dozen shots I've pulled from the Pharos have all been- to me- better than any of the 150 or so shots I've pulled from the K-30. One was even the ever so elusive "god shot". I don't believe I could describe the difference any better or different than anyone else has, I just know I like it better!

I'll be calling Chris' monday and talking to them about a swap for a M7D, or maybe the K-10 fresh they have listed in buyers remorse. It pains me to do it and I expect it to cost me a bit, but I was looking for the best (for me) and I didn't come this far to "settle". The opportunity to taste for yourself before you make the decision is one I would certainly jump on!

Cheers,
Ron
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javacrazed
Senior Member
javacrazed
Joined: 10 Apr 2014
Posts: 15
Location: LA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Rocket Cellini...
Grinder: Baratza Forte, Mahlkonig K30...
Roaster: Hottop
Posted Sat Apr 12, 2014, 6:09pm
Subject: Re: Mahlkönig K30 Vario vs. Baratza Forte
 

So in your humble opinion if you where going to buy a grinder which would you select? Also will any fit under 18 1/2in height counter like k30 vario?
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CoffeeRon
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Joined: 26 Apr 2009
Posts: 757
Location: Eatonville, 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 Sun Apr 13, 2014, 1:16am
Subject: Re: Mahlkönig K30 Vario vs. Baratza Forte
 

Hi Chris,

To answer your question let me share a bit of my knowledge/experience with you. There are others much more experienced than myself but I have learned a bit over the years, especially in recent months, and this may be helpful to you.

To best attempt to answer your question I'll go over what I feel are the four basic classes of grinders. They are covered pretty well in simply looking at the Mazzer lineup-

Mazzer Mini class- The sub Super Jolly class. I won't get into these as you're already beyond this point.

The Super Jolly class- You hear many grinders compared to the SJ, either as good or not as good, but I don't think I've ever heard "better" without getting into the next class. Features are often compared though and are sometimes better, for example the doser which needs a couple mods to be considered "good". Two I have had in this class are the Compak K-6, and the Baratza Vario. Whether the Vario is as good as a SJ has been debated, and most agree to disagree. Personally I felt my K-6 won by a nose, for taste in the cup. Very close though.

Next is the Mazzer Major class- A class I was somewhat blind to for a long time, thinking the bigger burrs simply ground faster. Seems I was wrong. The taste in the cup is notably better with the bigger burrs. How the Mahlkonig did this with smaller burrs in the K-30 I don't know- but they did. As for the K-30 in general, now that the honeymoon is over I have to say there are little things about it I'm just not thrilled about. There are a lot of people, Pro Baristas included, that love the grinder. I took this as a good recommendation, but if I were to do it over I'd keep looking. Not to say it's not a good grinder, but sometimes it's the little things. Other grinders in this class are pretty well covered above by Rich. If I were to do it again right now I think I'd give the Caedo E37s a try. Although I was recently told by a Pro Barista that the Anfim super Caimano is a very good grinder, but if I understood him correctly part of his love for it included the doser. When I stumble into the kitchen half asleep in the morning I want things to be as easy as possible, so I'm not big on dosers right now.

Another class I should mention are the Hybrid burrs. There are only one (or two?)as far as I know. They seem to fall between the large flat and the conical taste wise. I'll call this class 3 1/2

Finally we get to the large conical grinders. Held by many to be the best of the best. At this point I'm starting to believe they're everything they're cracked up to be. Many say the taste is different. Right now IMHO that difference is just simply better. They are said to be more forgiving. Many very good coffee shops use them. There must be a reason for this I would think. Consider that a good coffee shop would find it VERY important to insure that the drinks they sell are consistently good. They need to keep a full staff of baristi (?) on hand. Not every barista is going to be a world class WBC champion. That would make it important for them to do what they can to ensure an average good barista can pull good espresso on the equipment they have. It would make sense then to have more forgiving grinders. I would like to pull consistently very good espresso, even when I stumble into the kitchen in the morning half asleep, so if a large conical helps me do that, and I feel the taste is better all around, well that's where I'm going.

I just noticed you edited your last post so I cut the answer to the Pharos question.

Sorry if it seems I've written a novel. Asking which grinder to buy is like asking which espresso machine to buy. There's no right answer. The best we can do is give you what information we can to help you make an informed decision.

I would again encourage you to take Rich up on his offer. He is a very regular poster around here and always comes across (to me anyway) as very friendly and helpful. I would be surprised if you didn't learn a thing or two from him regardless of your skill level and I would personally love to try some of his home roast. And you could find out for yourself just what a large conical can do with coffee.

You brought up the counter height issue- The Caedo E37s is listed at 21.2". It seems the Mazzer mini short hopper fits it and makes it counter friendly. Again the K-30 is a good grinder, don't get me wrong, every grinder has it's goods and not so goods. If I'm seeing things right the short hopper on the Macap M7D may bring it down under 18", something I'm going to check on. I'm going to make a home for a large conical one way or the other though.

If you made it through this I do hope it helps, enjoy the journey,

Ron
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boar_d_laze
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 1,394
Location: Monrovia, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Cimbali M21 DT/1 Junior...
Grinder: Ceado E92; "Bunnzilla"
Vac Pot: Royal Coffee Maker
Drip: Chemex + Kone; Espro Press
Roaster: USRC Sample Roaster
Posted Sun Apr 13, 2014, 6:37am
Subject: Re: Mahlkönig K30 Vario vs. Baratza Forte
 

The Anfim is a great grinder, but NOISY.  Also something of a pain if you switch beans or clean frequently. It's stepped, and even though it has a lot of steps (not to mention a lot more than it used to have), the steps are far enough apart that the difference in grind size between adjacent positions means a pull time difference of several seconds.  Great timer-doser though.  

I'm pretty sure the Compak K-8s and K-10s, whether PB (mechanical dosered) and Fresh (on demand), with mini hoppers would fit under an 18-1/2" overhead cabinet.  Also think the Ceado E37s might just make it, call WLL and ask.  The Ceado E92 won't fit no way no how.  Don't know about the Macap M7D, call Chris.  Not sure about the Mazzer Major.  The Mazzer Robur is even bigger than the E92, so... nope.  

If height means a lot, you're open to a grinder with a mechanical doser, and are open to purchasing used grinder, I'll sell you my 3-1/2 year old, La Cimbali Junior Max Hybrid along with a Gralab timer. It's an excellent grinder, with in the cup performance that "Beat the Robur" in Jim Schulman's multi-grinder comparison on H-B.  While I think he overstated the case, it is at the same level as the K30; very different in use though. The Mahlkonig would be easier to live with.    

For someone who's already made the decision to spend a considerable amount of money upgrading grinders uber-Titan conicals, such as the Ceado E92, Compak K-10 Fresh, and Macap M7D (by reputation), are worth it (even compared to a perfectly functioning Junior Max ;b).  As for the Mazzers, I'm not sure about the Kony, and the price premium for the Robur is simply too much considering that it's (a) no better in the cup than the E92 or K-10, and (b) a considerably greater PITA in home use.  

Rich
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javacrazed
Senior Member
javacrazed
Joined: 10 Apr 2014
Posts: 15
Location: LA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Rocket Cellini...
Grinder: Baratza Forte, Mahlkonig K30...
Roaster: Hottop
Posted Sun Apr 13, 2014, 8:28am
Subject: Re: Mahlkönig K30 Vario vs. Baratza Forte
 

Rich/Ron - thank you so much for taking the time to describe in such detail the differences, wow I am always amazed at how much there is to still learn and I love the journey. Rich I appreciate the demo offer I will be in touch.  I want to buy new but thanks for the junior offer.  Just thinking of the height issues and mod hoppers and mismatch short hoppers to get it under 18 1/2in the k30 might be the one, and if what you state holds true would step me up another level from my Forte. Lots to consider....
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IMAWriter
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IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
Posts: 5,927
Location: Brentwood, TN
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega
Grinder: Forte, OE Pharos,...
Vac Pot: Adcraft SS, Yama 8 cup
Drip: Brazen, Kalita, Chemex,...
Roaster: Behmor 1600+, CO/UFO combo
Posted Thu Apr 17, 2014, 4:07pm
Subject: Re: Mahlkönig K30 Vario vs. Baratza Forte
 

javacrazed Said:

Rich/Ron - thank you so much for taking the time to describe in such detail the differences, wow I am always amazed at how much there is to still learn and I love the journey. Rich I appreciate the demo offer I will be in touch.  I want to buy new but thanks for the junior offer.  Just thinking of the height issues and mod hoppers and mismatch short hoppers to get it under 18 1/2in the k30 might be the one, and if what you state holds true would step me up another level from my Forte. Lots to consider....

Posted April 13, 2014 link

Very nice posts from Rich and Ron, one of the reasons I became a CG member so many years ago, when there were but 1k members.

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
My Music Production web site:
www.robertjason.com
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amhas
Junior Member
amhas
Joined: 23 Oct 2014
Posts: 28
Location: Northern CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Vivaldi II
Grinder: Barazta Forte
Roaster: Behmor 1600 Plus
Posted Mon Oct 27, 2014, 11:19am
Subject: Re: Mahlkönig K30 Vario vs. Baratza Forte
 

Now I feel like my Baratza Forte is sub par and I need to upgrade.  Is it really worth it?
I did watch the video on the Caedo E37s and it appeared to had some clumping and I don't see that on my Forte.
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