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Baratza Vario - Jack Black's Review
Posted: October 27, 2013, 9:31am
review rating: 7.7
feedback: (0) comments | read | write
Baratza Vario Grinder
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More About This Product
Arrow The Baratza Vario has 24 Reviews
Arrow The Baratza Vario has been rated 8.38 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since November 23, 2009.
Arrow Baratza Vario reviews have been viewed 153,469 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Peter Russell 9.23
Mark Carter-Piff 8.67
Barry Stolzman 8.60
David Kugler 8.50
Evan Patton 8.40

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 3.6
Manufacturer: Baratza Quality: 5
Average Price: $450.00 Usability: 2
Price Paid: $425.00 Cost vs. Value 3
Where Bought: Clive Aesthetics 4
Owned for: 2 years Overall 4
Writer's Expertise: I love coffee Would Buy Again: No
Similar Items Owned: Rocky
Bottom Line: Once calibrated, does a nice job as long as it lasts, which isn't very long
Positive Product Points

Does a nice, consistent, and very tailorable grind.  

Doesn't leave much coffee in the machine, so you don't need to clean it practically every day of stale grounds, like other grinders.

Negative Product Points

Calibration is a disaster.  

Calibration levers can slip even after you install a shim that is meant to stop the slippage.

Machine completely failed inside two years.  

Quality is not dramatically better than Rocky, though I paid quite a bit more.

Detailed Commentary

Takes a while to calibrate this thing because you can't (or shouldn't) adjust the levers while it's off or you will screw it all up completely.

Then you find the gears can slip spontaneously and unpredictably during use.

Then you get, and install, the little plastic shims that are supposed to keep the slippage from happening, but they fail sometimes as well and slippage can still occur.

Ultimately, you wind up never varying the grind coarseness, because it's such a pain to keep it calibrated properly.  This defeats the premise of a machine called the "Vario."

Then, at least in my case, the machine fails utterly in less than two years -- making a horrible noise halfway into a grind and emitting smoke from the calibration levers.  The primary (right) lever also slips visibly two notches, a kind of raised middle finger to complete your experience.

And, of course, the machine turns out to have only a one-year warranty.

So you go back to your Rocky, bought in 2006, which still works perfectly after seven years and never gave you any calibration hassles whatever... and which cost you much less to boot.

Bottom line: The Vario is just not a reliable grinder, due to calibration problems, lever slippage, and machine failure shortly outside the warranty.  It also has a plastic exterior, compared to the Rocky's stainless steel exterior.  

I can't recommend the Vario to anyone over the nearly-as-good and less expensive Rocky.

Buying Experience

Clive sent this unit on time and without trouble.

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review rating: 7.7
Posted: October 27, 2013, 9:31am
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