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Comparing the Mazzer Mini and Baratza Preciso

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  • Comparing the Mazzer Mini and Baratza Preciso

    here we go.... where do I begin? This has become a thread hijack!

    I love my Mazzer mini. I bought it about a year after I got my sunbeam em6910 and em0480 combo after researching and reading (especially here on CS). I learned that the grinder can be just as, or more, important than the espresso machine. I guess you can't get "good out" if you aren't putting "good in". Especially for espresso.

    The Mazzer was a significant improvement in espresso compared to the sunbeam em0480 (which I still consider an excellent grinder in it's price bracket). How so? build quality, robustness, aesthetics and grind quality (consistency). I can't say the mazzer mini manual is faster at grinding than the sunbeam. I don't remember, I didn't time them.

    On to Mazzer Mini and Baratza Preciso:

    To my untrained eye, the output from the grinders (actual grinds) appears fairly similar. Both are capable of grinding a lovely uniform and consistent grind across most of the range. So what's a good way to compare these two grinders? Clearly by brewing coffee. However, because I haven't had enough time with the Baratza to write about it and compare it to the Mazzer, I'll just note down a few facts, and some pro's and con's (my opinion thus far).

    Mazzer Mini Manual:
    Italian made
    Mostly Alu/steel construction
    58mm steel flat burr's
    Large Hopper (600gm)
    Stepless grind adjustment
    Adjustable Doser
    ON/OFF switch
    $750-850

    Baratza Preciso:
    Designed in USA (Seattle), Made in Taiwan, Burr's from Europe (Liechtenstein)
    part plastic, part alu
    40mm Conical Burr
    Small/Med hopper size (227gm)
    Stepped grind adjustment (macro and micro, 440x possibilities)
    Doserless (grinds container or portafilter bracket/holder)
    60 Sec timer switch with 10sec increments marked (on the side). Press-button on front (hold in to function)
    $300-$330

    Side by side, the mini looks like a beast, and to think it's the smallest Mazzer! The Baratza is deceptive in it's weight/build. You pick it up thinking it will be a plastic toy when in fact it's rather heavy for it's appearance.

    Grinding:
    Mazzer is 25-28sec for an espresso shot (approx 18gm)
    Baratza Preciso approx 10-11sec for the same shot. (approx 1.5gm per second for espresso)

    The Baratza just torches the Mazzer on grinding speed. I won't talk about RPM here. It think the mini is 1400rpm, and the Baratza 500rpm. But gearing is obviously working magic here. I do not know the actual burr RPM.

    Firstly, my grinding workflow is as such:
    I scoop (using a scoop I've measured) two (2) scoops of beans in to the empty mazzer bean hopper and grind it all through. I then sweep out the chute, and 'clack' out the grinds from the doser in to my PF, tamp, and brew. Before brewing the next day I will sweep out the bottom of the doser before I begin again. So in short, I dose the grinder by scoop from the bag of coffee. I never, ever put large quantities of coffee in to the hopper.

    Grinds Rentention:
    I could fill this whole page just on this topic. It's absolutely clear that the Mazzer Mini manual (doser) is designed for commercial use, in a cafe or small lunch bar, or whever. Doser grinders just aren't for home. I don't really care what anyone thinks on this subject, it's my opinion. The Mazzer doser is massive and messy. I don't know how many gm's are left in the doser after grinding (dosing the hopper for a single shot), but it's a lot. I spend time between shots sweeping the chute and the doser floor. Habbit, worth it.

    The Baratza retains almost zero grinds. I measured a 1/2gm loss last week when I had a loan Preciso at a cupping session to play with. (Thanks greenman) There's no sweeping, there's no doser.

    I should note, I knew what I was getting myself into when I bought the mini manual (doser sweeping, etc), knew the mini-e existed, etc. I really wanted the novelty of a doser at home "clack clack clack" hahaha. Oh boy, I regret it.

    Regardless of which Mazzer you buy, you will get a high retention of grinds in the exit chute.

    Grinds quality:
    As mentioned above, It's difficult for me to see big differences, I'm not wearing a lab coat, but rubbing the grinds in my hand, the Baratza appears to have perhaps a little less fines. Brewing is required to really build my opinion

    Noise:
    Both are noisy. The Baratza is quieter when actually grinding, but when the beans are through, it's louder than the mazzer (with no beans inside). The mazzer is a quiet hum, the baratza is an annoying whine.

    Adjustability and brewing methods:
    I just love the stepless ring on the mazzers, so accurate and delicate, the slightest changes for the ultimate brew. I hate having to change the mazzer between espresso and filter brewing. You will never, ever, get it dialed back in for espresso in one change.

    The Baratza Preciso is stepped, but, has a macro and micro ring. The macro ring provides 40-steps, the micro tab gives you 11 steps within (inside) those macro steps. Lets say you brew espresso at 7AM and you have it dialed in on 11-C. Then at 9:30 you want a pour over, so you adjust it to your fave filter grind setting of 18-E. Then your mate Bob rocks over for a visit and he wants espresso! BANG, back to 11-C it goes. It's not hit and miss, it's just all hits. We won't go in to how morning and arvo can impact your dialed in espresso. Humidity, seasons, rain, etc. I do sometimes adjust my espresso shots depending on time of day, weather change, or bean age.

    I've previously not liked stepped grinders. I found I needed a setting in between those steps to get the ideal espresso extraction. The Preciso just nails this.

    My conclusions (so far without any real brewing smackdown):

    Mazzer mini great for multiple espresso shot brewing per session. Grinds retention and doser cleaning not a big deal in this scenario.
    Mazzer mini not great for an espresso, then a filter, then whatever, or ideal for single shot-a-day type scenario. Constantly trying to dial in the stepless ring and constant chute/doser cleaning will do your head in.
    Mazzer mini looks more impressive on the bench than the Baratza which looks a bit like a toy
    Baratza Preciso, finally a stepped grinder with micro adjustments, low grind retention and amazing grind consistency/quality. Very fast too. Certainly not as impressive looking as the Mazzer in the kitchen.

    If the Preciso was available back when I bought the mazzer, I probably would have bought it instead. Having said that, I only ever brewed espresso back then and had no interest in filter coffee.

    The fact that I'm writing and comparing an $800 grinder to a $300 grinder has got to mean something. We're getting grinders that are well suited to home use that can compare to grinders 2x or 3x the price.

    Professionals and enthusiasts around the world are carrying out far more extensive analysis and reviews on the Baratza's than I am.

    I'm not even going to start on conical vs flat burr. The flagship Baratza Vario is a ceramic flat-burr grinder with it's burrs made by Mahlkonig/Ditting. They also have an optional steel burr set which renders the grinder almost useless for espresso brewing in a bid to improve the consistency of grinds even MORE for filter brewing. We're talking a quality of grinds comparable to what may be considered the "best" coffee grinders in the world.

    There is more to a grinder than just grinding. Eg, support from the manufacturer. Another topic...

    I think there is a lot more to grinding coffee than just 'mazzer'.

    Looking forward to playing even more!

  • #2
    a few snippits taken from a web site that starts with "coffee" and ends with "geek".

    "For me, this is the real meat of the testing. A fast grinder is nice. A grinder with a wide range of settings is nice. But none of this matters if the grinder can't do a reasonably uniform grind."

    "Reality? The Preciso produces less fines than the Vario at a press pot setting. I've been able to confirm this with macroscopic photography and also with particle distribution graph tests done by Mahlkonig. In fact, here is Mahlkonig's results for the Preciso, across its grinding range. (PDF file link). If you'd like to compare it to the Vario grinder, here are the Baratza Vario results."

    "I think what surprised me most was in comparing particle sizes of the Anfim "Best" home grinder versus the Preciso, via macroscopic photography . The Anfim, along with the Vario, are currently CoffeeGeek's top picks for home espresso grinders. The evenness of the particle sizes are just a tiny bit more with the Preciso, but it blew away the Anfim on fines produced - the Preciso produced visibly less fines. In espresso. For espresso, you do want a range of particle sizes (like 200 microns to 350 microns, a fairly wide range), but you don't want an excessive amount of fines. The Preciso is well suited for espresso grinding."

    "In truth, the Preciso offers the same kind of fines control that $1500, $2000 high end commercial grinders provide, and then some."

    "Best grinder under $1000USD"

    "93/100"

    Comment


    • #3
      baratza burrs

      there is talk that the cheaper grinder in the Baratza lineup the Virtuoso now has the same burrs as the Preciso now so there could be another option out therefor people to try. It would be good for a sponsor to try the preciso and give some feedback.
      Originally posted by JamesM View Post
      a few snippits taken from a web site that starts with "coffee" and ends with "geek".

      "For me, this is the real meat of the testing. A fast grinder is nice. A grinder with a wide range of settings is nice. But none of this matters if the grinder can't do a reasonably uniform grind."

      "Reality? The Preciso produces less fines than the Vario at a press pot setting. I've been able to confirm this with macroscopic photography and also with particle distribution graph tests done by Mahlkonig. In fact, here is Mahlkonig's results for the Preciso, across its grinding range. (PDF file link). If you'd like to compare it to the Vario grinder, here are the Baratza Vario results."

      "I think what surprised me most was in comparing particle sizes of the Anfim "Best" home grinder versus the Preciso, via macroscopic photography . The Anfim, along with the Vario, are currently CoffeeGeek's top picks for home espresso grinders. The evenness of the particle sizes are just a tiny bit more with the Preciso, but it blew away the Anfim on fines produced - the Preciso produced visibly less fines. In espresso. For espresso, you do want a range of particle sizes (like 200 microns to 350 microns, a fairly wide range), but you don't want an excessive amount of fines. The Preciso is well suited for espresso grinding."

      "In truth, the Preciso offers the same kind of fines control that $1500, $2000 high end commercial grinders provide, and then some."

      "Best grinder under $1000USD"

      "93/100"

      Comment


      • #4
        indeed, same burr, just, without the micro adjustment. great value, probably not quite as good for espresso without that fine tuning. I think the Virtuoso will be discontinued however..

        Comment


        • #5
          baratza preciso

          Originally posted by JamesM View Post
          indeed, same burr, just, without the micro adjustment. great value, probably not quite as good for espresso without that fine tuning. I think the Virtuoso will be discontinued however..
          Another plus for the smaller grinder James is the better halves who don t like the bigger grinders on the kitchen bench along side all the other gear.

          Comment


          • #6
            It's a tough one... My wife is fairly understanding but also observant with regards to coffee equipment growing on the bench top. I try to keep the 'easy to move' stuff in cupboards/drawers, pretty lucky to have what I have!

            This thread has been seriously hijacked, so sorry water_dragon!

            Comment


            • #7
              James, thank you for taking the time to write your review. I know from personal experience just how much time and effort is required to write stuff like that, from the goodness of your heart.

              What I am really waiting for however, is a practical comparison of the brew quality from your two grinders without which, any talk of "grind quality or grind consistency" in my opinion, means not much except on spec sheets.

              Keen to hear......

              A.

              Comment


              • #8
                Absolutely. I'll try to take some notes and do some side-by-side brewing. Both, in my opinion, are great grinders and have a home on my bench. Both have pro's and con's. I think it's nice to see some well-performing grinders (and other products) coming to the home for a reasonable price. For me, while ease of use and cleanliness is important, the result in the cup is the most important!

                Comment


                • #9
                  I think these post's need to be moved to the Baratza preciso thread started by fine grind

                  I am by no means an expert but I have ran shots between my Mazzer mini and preciso on the same day using the same beans,dose, basket and machine and there was a noticeable difference in the colour of the pour,the way it poured off the group handle and in the flavour,the preciso's pours were more nicely evenly brown oozed off the spout more consistantly with an even flow rate took longer to thin and blonde and tasted better from what I could get out of the mazzer ,BUT this is only for espresso and only from my limited experience,

                  I now use a Pharos as my main grinder and I always switch back and fourth between what ever grinders I have at the time and play with diff beans, roast profiles,doses and read alot of tips from CS members always trying diff angles on my brew techniques

                  I would put the preciso ahead of the mini and K3 but still behind my pharos for taste when I brew espresso and I have pulled alot of shots off these three grinders.

                  Cheers
                  Cadan

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I will second the great review!! Cheers James

                    I am seriously looking into getting a electric grinder in the new year and the Preciso is ticking many boxes for me.

                    Great size, great performance, sounds like its made quite well and the price point is huge value.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Cadan, yeah, we should move these posts. Pharos grinder... pretty slick, I'm hearing great things from fellow snobs. I heard about a modded pharos outperforming Robur's.

                      Steve, for the cost / budget, I'm not sure you can find a better grinder. Honestly.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Fresh_Coffee View Post
                        James, thank you for taking the time to write your review. I know from personal experience just how much time and effort is required to write stuff like that, from the goodness of your heart.

                        What I am really waiting for however, is a practical comparison of the brew quality from your two grinders without which, any talk of "grind quality or grind consistency" in my opinion, means not much except on spec sheets.

                        Keen to hear......

                        A.
                        I agree Attilio...It's in the cup and the only way to come to a valid conclusion would need to include scientific precision and blind tasting so as to avoid the all too common placebo effect.

                        Must say I always find threads like this one somewhat perplexing. As an example a discussion on one of the forums where some "expert" compared a Mazzer mini-e to a Macap M4D. The Mazzer "won" due to less clumping. When you look at the photos, the Mazzer is running waaaaay coarser than the Macap- so the outcome and conclusions are of zero value.

                        So now we get another comparison, on another forum between a Mazzer and something 1/2 the price and probably 1/5th of the mass. I am yet to see a line of precisios being used in a cafe for origins, decaf et al and I suspect it's unlikely I ever will.

                        The Precisio may well be good. I don't know as I have never used one. When I last picked up it's brother the Vario, what I felt was lightweight, plastic and overpriced. At least the Precisio sells at a more realistic price.

                        What does need to be considered is build quality, finish and performance. Mazzers are pretty much indestructible and that's why they are so commonly used in commercial environments. They are priced accordingly.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          We are talking about grinders for home domestic use , some people only make 1-2 coffee's a day,not commercial use.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Ergo apples with apples. Best compare it to Breville/Sunbeam

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              JamesM, as FC says above, well done on starting your review, I too, look forward, as TC mentions, to the nitty gritty part when you can relate objective taste comparisons.
                              To me this would involve both espresso tasting, of espresso roasts and proper cupping of atypical cupping roasts, in a controlled testing environment.

                              I imagine you have read the 'Titan Grinder' thread on HB, my idea would be to not use this as a guide, that review, in its totality, is nonsense.
                              Good luck with the second half!!

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