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Made a big mistake the first time, want to avoid it this time..
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bossman
Senior Member


Joined: 10 Dec 2013
Posts: 90
Location: Iowa
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Mini Vivladi II
Grinder: Baratza Vario-W
Drip: Cuisinart
Roaster: Soon I hope
Posted Fri Feb 14, 2014, 6:44pm
Subject: Made a big mistake the first time, want to avoid it this time..
 

Ok so I finally sold my horrible super automatic and got more then I was expecting for it.  Now I have a budget of $800, $700 is better, $900 if the perfect combo needs it.  I was VERY close to buying the Breville Smart grinder and Breville The infuser Espresso machine in cranberry red this morning, such a SEXY combo for my kitchen!  I stopped myself remembering the awful swill that came out of the superautomatic even with quality fresh beans.  I think I will go with the Baratza Vario, is the -W version worth the extra $110?  So that leaves me with 2-400 depending on -W or not.  I have no experience with real espresso.  Since I am getting a decent grinder should I go with one of the $100-$200 with a pressurized pf to start with and upgrade down the road?  For now if I could get something that beats the local chain for a latte I would be happy.  Suggestions?
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boar_d_laze
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 747
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 Sat Feb 15, 2014, 8:56am
Subject: Re: Made a big mistake the first time, want to avoid it this time..
 

Baratza Vario:
In terms of what it delivers "in the cup," the Baratza Vario is an entry-level "good" (as opposed to "adequate," or "very good," for instance) grinder.  It's build quality is just adequate.  Otherwise, across all the other axes such as ergonomics, neatness, ease of dosing, etc., it's excellent.  

At its "quality in the cup" level, the competition is considerably more expensive, but also much better built.  In my opinion, the Vario grinds at around the same level as the Compak K3, Macap M4, and Mazzer Mini.  Some people say the Vario competes with grinders in the Mazzer Super Jolly class, but I don't think so.

Breaking down "quality in the cup" for you from better to worser, the Vario does very good "low notes" (like chocolate and nuts;" good mouth feel, adequate nuance, adequate separation; barely adequate "high notes" (fruits and florals), without much "sparkle."

The "W" part of the Vario-W applies to the grind cup only.  The scale will not engage with the espresso fork insert in the machine.  So, if you're going to dose your basket via the grind cup, it's useful.  If not, not.  

I can't tell you which way you'd prefer.  Given your current level of experience, you probably can't either.  

Overall, the Vario is a good grinder and an excellent value.  If you're serious about your budget it's the best -- by far -- you can afford.

The Perfect Combo:
There is no "perfect combo."  There is however a "best deal," and that's the CC1 + Vario (regular, no W) for $1000.  

The package deal is advertised at Seattle Coffee Gear, a premiere online retailer.  But espresso equipment is a very competitive and many other dealers will undoubtedly meet SCG's price.  So if you have a preferred dealer, at least call and ask.  

Anything, currently on the market which costs less will perform at a MUCH LOWER LEVEL with MUCH LESS CONVENIENCE and MUCH WORSE STEAMING.  Don't even think about the Gaggia Classic or Rancilio Silvia.  

Anything which performs better will cost MUCH MORE.  Double, pretty much.  

Good luck,
BDL


Rich
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bossman
Senior Member


Joined: 10 Dec 2013
Posts: 90
Location: Iowa
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Mini Vivladi II
Grinder: Baratza Vario-W
Drip: Cuisinart
Roaster: Soon I hope
Posted Sat Feb 15, 2014, 10:20am
Subject: Re: Made a big mistake the first time, want to avoid it this time..
 

Thanks.  I bit the bullet and went with the CC1, and the Vario-W refurb.  I wanted the -W for drip as I drink that a lot but always have trouble with consistency so I thought the weight feature just for that would be nice.  Can't wait for them to arrive hopefully late next week!

Edit: SCG had a 10% off coupon for the CC1, so about $630. :)
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