A little bit of the ol’ science behind the magic! Dialing in a grinder is one of the most fearsome tasks for new home espresso enthusiasts, and we’re often asked for advice on how to get the hang of it.
While we produced a video a couple of years ago that covers this topic, we have had many folks ask more questions that weren’t covered in the original version and we’ve learned a few new tips and tricks along the way. Watch Gail dial in the Nuova Simonelli Grinta for the Nuova Simonelli Oscar, providing recommendations that can be applied to any home espresso setup.
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.
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.
After we tested the original Smart Grinder last year and found that it just didn’t grind fine enough for espresso, we talked with Breville and learned they had 2 solutions in the works: First, they offered a shim kit upgrade that could be added after the fact, allowing the customer to modify the grinder’s functionality in order to work well with espresso. Second, they were in the process of manufacturing new burrs with improved tolerances, with the ultimate goal of producing burrs that would grind at an espresso level of fineness without modification.
Now that we have a demo model with the upgraded burrs, we decided it was time for an update to our review of the Smart Grinder. Watch Gail take us through features and specs, then demonstrate different grind levels and see how it performs when paired with the La Spaziale Mini Vivaldi.
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.
If you’re grinding coffee for a few hundred shots a day, you mean business. And if you mean business, you mean Robur E! During our field trip to La Marzocco, Gail gave us the what for on this high powered, commercial-grade grinder designed for high capacity commercial environments or very, very committed home enthusiasts.
If you’re going to do it, just do it, okay? No half steps! No ginger movements! No quasi-commitments! If you’re serious about making great coffee at your home or business, you seriously have to consider Mahlkonig’s K30 Vario. What? You don’t have an extra $1800 to drop on your grinder alone? That’s no excuse! Okay, maybe it is.
Nevertheless, even if you’re not willing to pick up one of these exceptional grinders because of mortgage payments or your child’s college fund, you can still enjoy watching the lovely conversion of form and function as Gail walks us through features and functionality, then demonstrates how well this baby grinds. Enjoy!