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Thread: How is your Vario?

  1. #1
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    How is your Vario?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    On my way to getting a good setup and now have to choose a grinder.* Been doing some research and a lot of American sites really rate the Mahlkoenig (or Baratza) Vario for grind quality, taste in the cup and price.* So much so that they put it ahead of the compak k3, mazzer mini, macap m4 and up there with the Mazzer Super Jolly?*

    But doing some searches on CSnobs I dont seem to find much opinion.* What do you guys and the sponsors think of this grinder and is it worth my dollars over the others?*

  2. #2
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    Re: How is your Vario?

    Quote Originally Posted by 212A2D2D2A7C7C7C4B0 link=1338305303/0#0 date=1338305303
    What do you guys and the sponsors think of this grinder and is it worth my dollars over the others?
    For mine, I think its overpriced in that $680 is commercial, not domestic money- unless you have no space for a grinder. We dont range it as my opinion is that its lightweight and poor bang for buck. its 50% more than a Compak K3P for example. Beware of reviews from owners of just one grinder as many are tainted by the rose coloured specs....

    Nevertheless, there are CSers who bit the bullet, spent up and like them- so I figure that they work.

    When I see very good new or pre-loved small commercials get sold here for less, I know what Id be doing....

  3. #3
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    Re: How is your Vario?

    Ive owned one about 6 months and love it. In the past Ive owned a mazzer mini, Breville Smart Grinder and BNZ conical, and have also used Mazzer Roburs and Super Jollys commercially.

    Chris is right, bang for buck is not as great as say the Breville, but I dislike the breville. Its noisy, slow, and the timer function is useless as it only allows a very finite time range and I found I couldnt work it in to my routine

    The Vario is small, quiet, fast, has much less waste and mess and the timer function is useful. I like the timing function because I can set the espresso button to grind for say, 9 seconds, collapse, then the filter button to grind for 3 seconds, giving me the total amount I need.

    Thats my second crack

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    Re: How is your Vario?

    Owned the Vario and a Kony, used Mini, K3, havent touched the Smart Grinder.

    I think the Vario is overpriced, but its almost worth it. Good grind adjustment, repeatable, and the taste in the cup was comparable to the mini and K3.

    The big plus, and something I still miss a little, is that the Vario has virtually no grind retention. As a domestic grinder, thats something I feel is very important for the casual 1-2 cup a day drinker, and is usually understated in grinder discussions.

    And thats my second crack. ;)

    ~Joe

  5. #5
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    Re: How is your Vario?

    I recently wanted to upgrade from my Rocky DL. I shopped around and looked at all the candidates, Vario, Macap, Mazzer and Compak. I wanted to like the Vario because it is small and has such rave reviews on coffeegeek and home.barista. But I couldnt. It looked plasticky and just didnt seem a total improvement on my rock solid and reliable Rocky.

    To me, the biggest improvement from the Rocky before entering the "ridiculous for home use class" of grinders is the Mazzer Mini E, particuarly since it received the new digital timer. I bought one and have noticed a substantial increase in grind quality and build quality over the Rocky (which, in my opinion, already grinds well and is built to a very high standard). Indeed, the build quality is such that if I want it to be, this can be my last grinder. There is no way one could say that about the Vario. Also the Mini is designed well, much better than the Rocky, and in my opinion than the Vario as well. There are bits on the Vario designed to a very strict budget, whereas the Mazzers are designed around commercial specs.


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    Re: How is your Vario?

    make sure you check the little baratza one out too - the Preciso; dunno why its not in more widespread use in aus nor raved about on this forum.
    same quality and speed, its 300 bucks new and just loses some unnecessary (to me at least) gimmicks that the vario has. (i think the vario is overpriced)
    commercial grinders for a few cups a day can be messy and cumbersome.

    oh and to clarify the sponsor up there saying commercial or bust and beware one grinder owners ive used most variations of most of the top brands out there on a daily basis in very high volume settings, have built and sold successful cafes and i USED to think that commercial was the only thing to use at home.

    2 very big cents!



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    Re: How is your Vario?

    Thanks for peoples 2cents, I reckon the K3 is probably the go for me then. Just now deciding whether its the push or the touch version. Is the timer important? Will I want it in the future to get my dosing exact?

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    Senior Member David8's Avatar
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    Re: How is your Vario?

    Quote Originally Posted by 0803040403555555620 link=1338305303/6#6 date=1338388319
    Thanks for peoples 2cents, I reckon the K3 is probably the go for me then.* Just now deciding whether its the push or the touch version.* Is the timer important?* Will I want it in the future to get my dosing exact?*
    I wanted the Push. I told my local non-sponsor that I could wait the 2 weeks to get the Push. Then he told me later I could get the Touch the next day for the same price as the Push. So I got the Touch. I dont use the timed feature on the touch, I did for a little bit. But I dont leave beans in the hopper, so in that case, you need to dose the beans straight into the hopper anyway. So there is no need to dose using the timed feature.

    To sum up: I dont think the timed feature is worth the extra price.

    Does this help?

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    Re: How is your Vario?

    I dont think youll find an easier to use and cleaner grinder than the Vario. It makes life very easy for the domestic coffee maker. BUT - something like a Mazzer Mini just looks cooler. And having one in your kitchen will make you feel like a pro.

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    Re: How is your Vario?

    Another very happy Vario owner. Perhaps the specs are a touch rosy but it ticks all the boxes for me short of a big conical which is silly money ... unless Santa is very, very happy with me this year ...

    I have a Breville gathering dust and I did try out a K3 Touch which didnt impress me. The Vario is quick, easy to clean, consistent, very little waste/spill especially if you use the dead easy two step method, no clumping, good distribution and minimal grind retention. Looks great, feels solid (not sure where you get "plasticky" from) and a snap to dial in (or if you need, grind for something other than espresso and jump right back to where you were).

    Overpriced? well they probably all are! - but it does the job. Just dont tell Santa ... ;)

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    Re: How is your Vario?

    ok, now you the last few comments from Yash and Java Junkie have got me rethinking. Also the no grind retention sounds like a massive plus to me.* Ultimately its what in the cup that matters most to me.

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    Re: How is your Vario?

    I was initially looking at a Macap4D but then I fell for the Strega, so the combination would have seriously stretched the budget!

    Like when I was poring over the specs on the Strega (before I had some first hand experience with two sponsors) I was undoubtedly swayed by the HB second look review and thread. Similarly the Vario thread (Baratza not Mahikoenig) is persuasive and includes the findings from some head to head shoot outs with much more expensive grinders. Id post a link but not sure if that is allowed but you should have no problem finding it.

    I truly hate the "in the cup" expression, but I can tell you I am regularly blown away with what my Strega can do ... and it couldnt do that without a grinder that is at least up to the task, and before Id let Santa look at spending another couple of grand I imagine Id insist on some side by side comparisons.

    HTH

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    Re: How is your Vario?

    Hey Java, you just got me reading over the last few hours on the Strega. Youve got me really intrigued, looks like a fascinating machine, and the extractions look amazing. Is it hard to use? Would you say its wife friendly if she wants to make a coffee herself not being very tech minded?

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    Re: How is your Vario?

    Some more notes on the Vario.* The timer function is super easy to use and adjust.* There are three buttons that you can set to different times.* I set one to 8.5 secs and a second to 14 secs. These get me close enough to my desired dosage for the single and double baskets 80% of the time.* The other 20% of the time Ill have to manually top up or remove some grinds to get the right dosage.* In my earlier days I used to weight my grinds now Im pretty confident to just judge it based on the size of the nicely formed mound from the Vario.* I also used a NS Grinta grinder, a Sunbeam 480 and commercial quality Bezzera (cant remember the name - but it was big) and the Vario definitely given me the best and most consistent results.

    That being said, I cant vouch for the robustness of the Vario compared to something like the equally priced Mazzer Mini Doser. Im betting that although the Mazzer would be more of a pain to use and would retain and waste more grinds, it will last longer and look more impressive on your kitchen bench.* Regarding the results in the cup, I honestly think you would be hard-pressed to put one above the other - unless you have a super duper trained palate!

    So in my opinion its convenience (Vario) vs good looks and robustness (Mazzer Mini Doser).

    Although I love the Vario, if I had my time again Id probably go for a Mazzer (but I suffer from the grass is always greener on the other side syndrome).* Between a Vario and the K3, Id take the Vario any day.

    My 2.5 cents :P

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    Re: How is your Vario?

    Quote Originally Posted by 353E39393E6868685F0 link=1338305303/12#12 date=1338477178
    Hey Java, you just got me reading over the last few hours on the Strega.* Youve got me really intrigued, looks like a fascinating machine, and the extractions look amazing.* Is it hard to use?* Would you say its wife friendly if she wants to make a coffee herself not being very tech minded?*
    Id say it is easier than say a comparable conventional machine like a Giotto (maintenance certainly is), but it does take some adjustment (of the operator not the machine).

    If you are looking at a new machine you and your wife should visit a sponsor in any event, and some hands on experience will have you both joining the Strega club shortly! ;)

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    Re: How is your Vario?

    Yash, I recommend the same 2 step process mentioned by ACog above. I dont do singles but with 3 buttons you can still have 2 for the preliminary fill (single or double) before tap down and the third for the top up prior to tamp. Very easy and you will find you spill/waste hardly any of the precious brown marching powder! :D

    Once set up, and of course after the normal dialling in of dose/grind for a new bean, I dont need any manual eyeballing at all.

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    Re: How is your Vario?

    Quote Originally Posted by 4F4151404E574751220 link=1338305303/15#15 date=1338511221
    Yash, I recommend the same 2 step process mentioned by ACog above. I dont do singles but with 3 buttons you can still have 2 for the preliminary fill (single or double) before tap down and the third for the top up prior to tamp. Very easy and you will find you spill/waste hardly any of the precious brown marching powder!
    I actually just pop a sleeve onto my basket and then dose the full amount in one shot.* This way I get zero waste and spill.*
    The sleeve is basically a clear disposable cup with the bottom cut off.* Works like a charm.

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    Re: How is your Vario?

    Ah, yeah I have tied that, but really cant be bothered with any extra steps, but each to their own.

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    Re: How is your Vario?

    I have the Vario. If space is an issue its definitely worth it. Such a compact grinder!

  20. #20
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    In my case, I went for the Vario with the intention of using it only for non-espresso. Compact & zero-grind retention were a major plus, and seeing all the positive feedback in the US also gave me hope that it was better at coarser grind levels.

    It did the job well for what I needed, and for the first 12 months of use was fine. But I won't say the in-cup experience lived up to what I had hoped. Occasionally I'd get better results on the Porlex or Hario hand grinder.

    With the new Ditting burr set, however, it's now really starting to deliver as I'd hoped. Funnily it now retains more grinds than it used to, as I find I now get a lot caught up between the top burr and the plate it is screwed onto, but it's now doing a consistently great job for filter / aeropress / whatever. And the team at Baratza HQ have always been really great to deal with for any questions.

  21. #21
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    Just bought a second hand Vario grinder and love it. Thanks for the nifty 2 step hint. Can't wait to try it.

  22. #22
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    Thinking about ditching my messy Mazzer Mini Doser and replacing it with a Vario. The notion of being able to dial in a specific dose without wasting 4 grams or so each time I make a coffee and not spraying grounds from a-hole to breakfast time is really appealling. I'm completely over my Mini. As a grinder, sure it's fine, but ergonomically it's a disaster.

    Am I crazy?

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    Yep
    Got a mm doser and use the el cheapo OE funnel thingy, added tape to vains , pretty well no mess and nothing left in doser.

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    I have the OE funnel, a schectermatic thingy, and use a small paintbrush to sweep the outlet. I've removed the tines, and the extraneous gubbins inside the doser. I still spend more time managing its shortcomings than enjoying its advantages.

    Everthing about the doser works against you. It's an extraordinarily crap design.

    The best tweak would be to rip it off and mod it down the toilet. If you could only remove the POS.

  25. #25
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    hopper broke while trying to detach it for a clean...damn thing is flimsy as hell for $650, apart from build, im happy with the grinds it produces.



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