Coffee grinder maintenance is essential. Period. End of story. Reasons for doing so include better tasting coffee and increased equipment longevity, but we generally prefer to lean on good ol’ peer pressure: Do you really want your friends and family to see you using a grinder encrusted with months of coffee residue? Really? We didn’t think so.
For the Baratza owners in the house, Gail has kindly walked us through the finer points of their care and feeding, including how to take them apart, tips on cleaning and then — most importantly! — how to get them back together again. Watch her walk us through the fundamentals.
Introducing Baratza’s newest entry-level grinder, the Encore! Featuring their Gear Box 2.0 upgrade — which will provide for greater strength and durability throughout the grinder’s life — it otherwise looks almost identical to their former entry-level Maestro series. But looks can be deceiving! While its predecessors worked only for espresso machines that featured pressurized baskets or portafilters, the Encore tested well even with one of the hardest to please ladies on the block: The Rancilio Silvia.
Watch as Gail takes us through features and functionality, shows off grind consistency and demonstrates extraction on the Silvia. This is a heckuva lot of grinder for a really great price!
In yet another grudge match (!!), Gail dialed in the new Baratza Virtuoso and the new Breville Smart Grinder for use with the Rocket Giotto, pulled several shots and then we did a side by side taste comparison.
Does either of them have the edge, taste-wise? Watch to find out.
For entry level espresso-grade grinders, the Baratza Virtuoso and the Breville Smart Grinder have a lot of features one might want to cuddle and caress (with the finger guards in place, of course!). At similar price points, how do their features and grind performance compare?
We asked Gail to take these out for a stroll and show them off for you. Watch her go through their features and functionality, then grind at three different settings (finest, medium, coarsest) to compare how the burrs practically perform.
Since our last look at Baratza’s offerings, they’ve added some new options and changed their line-up, so we asked Gail to provide us with an update.
Watch as she talks us through the different features of the Maestro Plus, Virtuoso, Preciso, Vario, Vario-W and the Esatto retrofit accessory. Then we demonstrate grind differences between the Maestro burrs, the Preciso burrs (used in the Virtuoso and the Preciso) and the Vario burrs (used in the Vario and Vario-W) to see how they compare at their finest and their coarsest.
Leave it to Baratza to take a good thing and make it better, right? Their well-loved Virtuoso has just been souped up with burrs that previously were included with the Preciso model. Why did they do this? Because they love you — of course! And also because it improves the overall consistency in the grind.
Watch Gail compare the older 585 model with the new 586.
Baratza’s second weight-based grinder, the Vario-W, takes the original Vario’s flat ceramic burrs and macro/micro grind adjustment functionality and pairs it with weight-based calibration. Designed specifically with pour over bars in mind, this grinder can be used for any coffee prep as long as you’re cool with transferring the coffee from the weighing container to your brew apparatus. Yeah, we said it.
Watch Gail take us through how to remove and replace the burrs for cleaning, explain its programming and demonstrate the grind consistency of this cool new option.
Designed for precision devotees, the Esatto is a retrofit for the Maestro Plus, Virtuoso and Preciso grinders that will grind a specific amount based on weight. Gail shows us how to install this on a Virtuoso and demonstrates how it functions.
Whilst down at the Specialty Coffee Association of America event in Texas, we were able to catch up with Baratza’s Kyle Anderson and asked him to walk us through two new products they will be releasing this June: The Esatto, which can be retrofit on older Maestro, Maestro Plus, Virtuoso and Preciso models, and the Vario-E grinder. Both feature the unique functionality of offering weight-based grinding.
These were developed with pour over preps in mind, so one drawback is you won’t be able to grind into your portafilter directly — you’ll need to grind into the container and then transfer. Kyle explains why they designed it like this.