[Homeroast] irritation when measuring beans for espresso

Michael Dhabolt michael.dhabolt at gmail.com
Fri Feb 5 15:30:37 CST 2010

miKe mcKoffee wrote:
> What Mike (just plain) didn't mention was (I'm 99.99% sure) he's using the
> Vario instead of his Mazzer Mini, not exactly a low end home grinder itself.

miKe is correct. I do maintenance and ground up restorations on
commercial equipment as well as some custom built add on pieces and
home machines.  I need to be able to recommend grinders that don't end
up being a problem and thereby giving me less than a sterling
reputation. My home grinder is a Mazzer Mini and this has been my
recommendation to customers for home use.  The last several years have
seen substantial price increases for the Mini and the Baratza Vario
looked like something I could develop enough confidence in to
recommend.  It certainly isn't at a 'cheap' price point ($400 to $430)
but compared to the current prices for a Mini ($200 to $300 more) it
is more in line with what a serious spro enthusiast can talk
themselves into.  BTW Sweet Maria has as good a price for the Mini as
you will find from a vendor that you can have some confidence in.

The Vario sets on my counter alongside the Mini.  When I shifted over
to the Vario I decided to not use the Mini at all until I had used the
Vario enough to be able to confidently attest to it's long term
viability.  I'm rapidly coming up on a year with the Vario.  It's been
trouble free and a recent inspection of the burr set shows no
discernible wear.  There will always be disagreements about the
minuscule differences in grind quality amongst the top end grinders,
the Vario is definitely in that top end group as far as grind quality
is concerned (presenting preferences always invites controversy which
I'm not interested in).

The Vario is NOT built like a Mazzer.  Any Mazzer will outlive you,
even when subjected to less than loving care.  The Mazzer grinders are
designed to 'just keep truckin' in severe environments and do a good
job of accomplishing it. My experience with the Vario can in no way
develop a comparison with a Mazzer, I don't have enough years left on
Terra firma to accomplish that kind of comparison.  I can say that it
is small and stylish enough to be considerably more kitchen decor
friendly without requiring vast quantities of real estate on your
counter.  It has some nifty features that lend itself to environments
that require radical changes in grind (spro to drip) easily, quickly
and with consistency as well as a useful auto timing function.

I will soon sell the Vario and move back to my trusty Mini.  For me,
the decision between the two would be easy (Mini), but I'm the kind of
guy who finds beauty in lathes and machine tools of various kinds.  I
have customers who I am sure would make the same decision in favor of
the Vario.

All in all, a pretty darned good little machine.

Mike (just plain)

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