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Thread: Baratza Forte grinder

  1. #1
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    Baratza Forte grinder

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    I am in the market to upgrade my grinder to Baratza Forte. I have been told by coffee italia that the Mahlkonig vario gen 11 is the same as the forte? I understand that Baratza is for the USA market and the Mahlkonig for the Australian market,but the specs or the Gen11 and Forte appear to be different? HAS anyone any info on these two machines? Cheers RAF2.

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    Great choice. Best brew grinder available at the moment imo.
    Looking at the coffee italia site and doing a bit of a search it doesn't look like mahlkonig have yet released the baratza forte in their lineup. The Mahlkonig varion gen 11 is just that, an updated version of the vario.
    It might be worthwhile sending 5 senses a message as they are importing other other baratza models? or contacting baratza directly.

  3. #3
    TOK
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    Or, you could contact the Appliance Maintenance Company (AMC) in Sydney for info. They are the Australian importer of Mahlkonig (and while on a cursory look I cant find them in the list of sponsors below).

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    Quote Originally Posted by RAF2 View Post
    I am in the market to upgrade my grinder to Baratza Forte. I have been told by coffee italia that the Mahlkonig vario gen 11 is the same as the forte? I understand that Baratza is for the USA market and the Mahlkonig for the Australian market,but the specs or the Gen11 and Forte appear to be different? HAS anyone any info on these two machines? Cheers RAF2.
    Hi RAF2

    Firstly, Mahlkonig make both the Baratza & Mahlkonig range. Mahlkonig have been doing brilliant commercial grinders for many years. I believe Kyle @ Baratza designs most of their "new wave" domestic ones. In Oz, only the Mahlkonig is available through official channels (i.e. not what is called "gray imports" with all the potential warranty hassles that implies).

    The Forte is the "beefed up commercial version" of the Vario "gen1.5" (if that makes sense) at about twice the price. From $650 /700 to circa $1300. As usual, there are swings and roundabouts.

    After living with a Vario "gen1" (not the real title) for a few weeks then a gen2, the gen2 is a massive upgrade "under the bonnet". The Vario gen2 retains a lot less grinds than the Forte (important for occasional home users), is smaller, quieter et al. The gen2 is also the only grinder I have ever used that makes zero mess on the bench is you go direct into p/f (after 5 weeks, not a grain of coffee! Nice surprise). The gen1 left just a little mess. The gen2 also has noticeably less fines compared to any other grinder I have ever used except an EK43 predecessor from 20 odd years ago. About half fines of the gen1 I used.

    Why they did not put a p/f "contact switch" on the Vario for grinding direct into a p/f must remain a mystery: probably the Vario's worst fault IMO.

    The Forte is a bigger, noisier beast squarely aimed at coffee shops that do not have the turnover or readies to buy their even bigger EK43 (haven't seen a price here, probably $3000ish) or their bigger toys. It is supposed to generate a similar level of fines to a gen1 Vario. After only one brief play, I could not accurately comment on that, but it seems within range.

    Hope this helps


    TampIt

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    Coffee Newbie okitoki's Avatar
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    dropped an email to baratza a few weeks ago asking about the Forte (just for fun) and they have said they only have the US version right now (110v) and have no immediate plans for the 230v models yet...

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    Quote Originally Posted by okitoki View Post
    dropped an email to baratza a few weeks ago asking about the Forte (just for fun) and they have said they only have the US version right now (110v) and have no immediate plans for the 230v models yet...
    Hi okitoki

    That is because it is a Mahlkonig here (see my prev post, probably done whilst you were writing yours).

    Mahlkönig Dedicated to coffee - Mahlkönig has the whole range of them. I have seen most of them in Oz (in 240V) over the years.

    Cheers


    Tampit

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    Senior Member saroadie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by okitoki View Post
    dropped an email to baratza a few weeks ago asking about the Forte (just for fun) and they have said they only have the US version right now (110v) and have no immediate plans for the 230v models yet...
    Okitoki, that's an interesting response you received from Baratza. I wonder what voltage the Forte grinders are that are available in the UK?

    I only comment from personal curiosity. I am considering a new grinder and the Forte ticks a lot of boxes.

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    Coffee Newbie okitoki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by saroadie View Post
    Okitoki, that's an interesting response you received from Baratza. I wonder what voltage the Forte grinders are that are available in the UK?

    I only comment from personal curiosity. I am considering a new grinder and the Forte ticks a lot of boxes.
    I have seen a few eBay sales that advertised as 2 different models at 110v and 230v but the sellers that I messaged all replied as not having the 230v available...
    So I emailed Baratza to ask them if there are any distributors that has the 240v version available, as I am from Oz and I know there are no Baratza distributor here... guess I might have received a generic response from their sales query department though....

  9. #9
    Senior Member saroadie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by okitoki View Post
    I have seen a few eBay sales that advertised as 2 different models at 110v and 230v but the sellers that I messaged all replied as not having the 230v available...
    So I emailed Baratza to ask them if there are any distributors that has the 240v version available, as I am from Oz and I know there are no Baratza distributor here... guess I might have received a generic response from their sales query department though....
    Yes I have seen them on e$ay too. There are some UK shops advertising them as available too. Shame it's not available via an endorsed distributor in OZ. When I weigh it up, the potential warranty issues and the price landed in OZ steer me back to the M4D/Mini-e decision.

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    Quote Originally Posted by saroadie View Post
    Yes I have seen them on e$ay too. There are some UK shops advertising them as available too. Shame it's not available via an endorsed distributor in OZ. When I weigh it up, the potential warranty issues and the price landed in OZ steer me back to the M4D/Mini-e decision.
    Hi saroadie

    Did you contact:

    Mahlkoenig Oceania - Appliance Maintenance Company Pty. Ltd.
    Mr. Greg Clubb
    Unit 19, 65 Marigold Street,
    2212, Revesby. NSW
    Phone: +61 2 9792 4475
    Fax: +61 2 9792 4471


    to get details?

    TampIt
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  11. #11
    Junior Member Kyoto's Avatar
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    FYI the 230v version just landed in Hong Kong. But the local distributor not yet selling them. Can only go thru direct import from cafe/shop. But there is this version in Asia now.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by TampIt View Post
    Hi saroadie

    Did you contact:

    Mahlkoenig Oceania - Appliance Maintenance Company Pty. Ltd.
    Mr. Greg Clubb
    Unit 19, 65 Marigold Street,
    2212, Revesby. NSW
    Phone: +61 2 9792 4475
    Fax: +61 2 9792 4471


    to get details?

    TampIt
    Hi TampIt,

    Thank you for your input. I was unable to reach the number you have provided. Their holiday period shutdown message was still fielding calls. This message had an email address to which I have sent an enquiry and I currently await the response.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TOK View Post
    Or, you could contact the Appliance Maintenance Company (AMC) in Sydney for info. They are the Australian importer of Mahlkonig (and while on a cursory look I cant find them in the list of sponsors below).
    Thanks TOK for your reply. I contacted AMC - spoke to a new employee who didn`t know what I was talking about. I left a contact number for Greg to phone me - still no reply.
    I emailed 5 Senses - received a prompt reply from Ashley - no Mahlkonig Forte in Australia yet.
    Maybe in the new year2014
    Cheers, RAF2

  14. #14
    TOK
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    Sorry to hear that Gregg has not come back to you.

    I'll let him know........

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    Hi Tampit, Thanks for your info. Maybe I was aiming too high looking for a Forte! Your comments about the gen 2 has redirected my thinking. The price for the Forte played a big part and made me ask the question whether I could justify this price tag. I would appreciate more info about the Vario Gen 2 update.
    Can I grind directly into the p/f? What are the improvements in this model from the Vario? What are the massiive upgrades under the bonnet?
    Looking forward to your reply.
    Cheers,
    RAF2

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    Quote Originally Posted by RAF2 View Post
    Hi Tampit, Thanks for your info. Maybe I was aiming too high looking for a Forte! Your comments about the gen 2 has redirected my thinking. The price for the Forte played a big part and made me ask the question whether I could justify this price tag. I would appreciate more info about the Vario Gen 2 update.
    Can I grind directly into the p/f? What are the improvements in this model from the Vario? What are the massiive upgrades under the bonnet?
    Looking forward to your reply.
    Cheers,
    RAF2
    Hi RAF2

    directly into the p/f: Yes, with no mess on the bench! If it couldn't "do direct" I would not have bought it. Complete showstopper for me. BTW, there is a Vario W which doesn't. Good news: goes by weight, not time. Bad news: does not go direct and costs $100 or so extra for the effort.

    improvements Vario to gen2:

    Quieter again - hard to believe, however my first one only did 5 kilos, and it was still SWMBO friendly.

    I think it is slightly heavier* and smaller*, and some parts are noticeably more robust. The lack of p/f "insert p/f to turn on" switch is still current (boo hiss).

    The p/f holder has changed, a very small improvement (up to just usable) in the gen2 if you happen to use a naked (both of them are really designed around spouts). Not a strong point!

    The mechanism sounds quite different and the burrs actually look slightly different by eye*. They still do not look like they should work at all, so Ditting must have discovered something interesting. Not really like any other flat burr I have seen, and given their increased angle, probably not really a "traditional flat burr" anyway: makes sense I guess, they do not work like a flat burr (or a conical for that matter: no twin distribution humps to speak of) in terms of spread either.

    Better fine grind particle spread and no static, clumping, spraying or anything else untoward. The original was already good in those areas, just a bit of minor clumping.

    At "finer than espresso range by 20%" (i.e. VST territory) the gen2 is better than any grinder I can recall by a huge margin: one big old Mahlkonig possibly excepted, but I would have to do a direct comparison, ditto their new EM43 / Forte / 30 etc.

    For coarser grinds, the original Vario was quite a lot better, however the Preciso would probably demolish it for coarser grinds anyway, as would any number of other even cheaper grinders. Mahlkonig actually offer an optional set of steel burrs to do coarser grinds (shaking head asking why?). AFAIAC, the Vario gen2 is a Turkish to espresso "top performer" with the rest of the range as a mere curiosity. My SB EM480's and my RR45 are also better by the time you are into "drip or plunger coffee" range, and not by a small margin.

    The gen2 takes even less time to adjust within the fine to espresso range than the original. It also takes a lot longer to settle in if you go from fine to coarse and back (only did it once by accident, so it may be better after fully bedding in).

    *mind you, memory is a strange thing, I did not know about gen2 until after my orig Vario was on a plane to the NW. The sound, more robust parts and the particle spread: definitely different. The burrs, weight & size: I think so. Best happy accident I have had for a while: no gen2 downsides for my use.

    The only thing I can add now I have lived with it for a little longer: I am considering keeping one 480 for plunger and offloading the other 480 & the RR45. I did 40+ coffees in under two hours at a Xmas party with the gen2, expecting it to run hot / show some sign of distress / get warmer grounds out of it or at the very least show some kind of reaction. It didn't. Makes holding onto my RR45 "big beast conical" a little hard to justify, especially when SWMBO has already banned it from the house at all "non major party" times and has repeatedly stated that it should be banished altogether on the basis of size & noise. Sounds like a 747 just took off from the kitchen.

    Hope this helps

    TampIt

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    Thanks Tampit, again, a good reply. One more question - How can I recognise a Gen 2 model from the earlier Vario. Are there identifying marks?
    Cheers,
    Rex.

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    Mahlkonig Gen2

    Quote Originally Posted by RAF2 View Post
    Thanks Tampit, again, a good reply. One more question - How can I recognise a Gen 2 model from the earlier Vario. Are there identifying marks?
    Cheers,
    Rex.
    Hi Rex

    identifying marks: I doubt it. The first one I saw possibly / probably had steel burrs. It had nothing like the finer grind performance of the one I bought. Both the second one I saw and the first "gen1" I bought had ceramic burrs. They are brownish, looking nothing like a metal. I photo'd the serial number the other day (some CSr's flamed me for saying it was made in Switzerland: it turns out it is), I have attached it here. I suspect somewhere in there is a gen1/gen2 difference, so feel free to compare it to your potential one.
    IMG_1738.jpg

    FWIW, it is still too early to see any signs of wear on mine yet. The "gen1" did around 5 kilos, this one has done closer to 10Kg by now. I suspect domestically (like most decent grinders) burr wear will be a non issue.

    Enjoy your cuppa


    TampIt

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    I believe that one easy mark to identify is that the buttons on the front of the Gen 1 are marked "espresso", "filter" and something else whereas the Gen 2 has "1", "2" and "3". Might be wrong but fairly sure this is correct.

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    Quote Originally Posted by marcism View Post
    I believe that one easy mark to identify is that the buttons on the front of the Gen 1 are marked "espresso", "filter" and something else whereas the Gen 2 has "1", "2" and "3". Might be wrong but fairly sure this is correct.
    Hi marcism

    You are absolutely correct: I had forgotten that. As stated: new one is numbers, old one was useless (at least for me) descriptors (3rd one was [French]press???).

    TampIt

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    Hi Marcism / Tampit, thanks for your reply - I will update with the Gen 2 - sorry the Forte is not available - it would have been too much machine/dollars for my domestic use anyway - I believe I`ve made the right decision going with the Gen 2.
    Cheers,
    Rex.

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    Sounds awesome. I just spotted one sitting unused on a bench at my new workplace and might try make a bid for it! Sounds like a great grinder.

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    Hi Marcism,
    Are you going for the Gen 2 or the Forte?
    Cheers,
    Rex.

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    Looked to be a gen 2 but i think its been sitting ther awhile. I'd love a Forte but here in NZ when they are released they will be mighty expensive.

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    Baratza Forte grinder

    Hi there, I have have just seen the Forte on five senses website here in Australia for $990

    commercial link removed per site posting policy

    Cheers

    Mark
    Last edited by Javaphile; 1st April 2014 at 07:46 AM. Reason: Commercial link(s) removed

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    Oops sorry, I did try to edit it but was too late

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    Senior Member saroadie's Avatar
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    Too late for me. I'm the proud owner of a shiny new M4D thanks to Chris at Talk Coffee.
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    Just be care full on the Baratza Forte. I've purchased 2 of these and both of these units have failed within 2 years, the 2nd one 14 days out of warranty. For a $1000 grinder to break down just after 12mths and only doing about 30 grinds a day is very disappointing to say the least. I've asked to supplier to see if they could come to the party and do a deal on the repair but NO will not have anything to do with it. All they have said is return it and well repair it as a full charge.

    I will never buy one of these units again.
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  29. #29
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    Investigate the applicable consumer law. A $1k grinder should reasonably last longer than 1 year. Doesn't matter that it is out of warranty, they should rectify the situation for you.

    You will probably need to be persistent to get the result you want as most retailers fob you off and are very misleading.

    Cheers
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    I know Artman i'm trying, I've sent emails with no response. It was placed in a school Canteen, so it's only worked 40 weeks in that period and 7 days back at school the motor has given up on it. I'm not bloody happy about it i can tell you. These guys are in Vic and WA and I'm in QLD so it's going to be a battle over emails and phones to get this sorted out. I don know about the ACL 2001 laws stating that warranty dates sort of do not apply, it's a matter of what the product is, how it was advertised, and this grinder was advertised as a commercial grinder. I'm just getting the information together and doing a email to the business in both states. If i don't here back from them i'll step it up a notch.

  31. #31
    TC
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    Hi Craig,

    My thoughts are bad choice there....This is a domestic grinder and it has been used in a commercial situation- so the importer and sales outlet could have a case to refuse warranty. I'd guess it probably does most of the work in a couple of short bursts as well?

    I really don't know how you'll go but if it does get repaired or replaced, ditch it. You should then source a small commercial grinder to suit the duty cycle. 2 lots of 15 back to backs in 5 min is very different to 30 shots across an entire day.

    With the number of clients I get who are replacing Baratza stuff, I have come to the opinion that they are probably best sitting on a kitchen bench doing a few shots a day and that's about it....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    Hi Craig,

    My thoughts are bad choice there....This is a domestic grinder and it has been used in a commercial situation- so the importer and sales outlet could have a case to refuse warranty. I'd guess it probably does most of the work in a couple of short bursts as well?

    I really don't know how you'll go but if it does get repaired or replaced, ditch it. You should then source a small commercial grinder to suit the duty cycle. 2 lots of 15 back to backs in 5 min is very different to 30 shots across an entire day.

    With the number of clients I get who are replacing Baratza stuff, I have come to the opinion that they are probably best sitting on a kitchen bench doing a few shots a day and that's about it....

    I would agree with you on that but when the Website advertises a grinder as such, then one would think it would live up to what they say.

    The Forté AP is a compact, commercial grade grinder, dedicated to grinding for ALL brew methods. The Forté AP incorporates many features that fit well into commercial operations, including: all metal construction; small footprint; intuitive control panel; and solid macro/micro adjustment. The Forté AP offers the ability to grind by time, for espresso dosing, or by weight. Coffee professionals find the Forté AP to be a versatile grinder for many situations – as a small restaurant and office espresso/brew grinder, as a Roaster demo grinder for wholesale tasting, or being a dedicated grinder for decaf or single origin in a café.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Craigs90 View Post
    I would agree with you on that but when the Website advertises a grinder as such, then one would think it would live up to what they say.

    The Forté AP is a compact, commercial grade grinder, dedicated to grinding for ALL brew methods. The Forté AP incorporates many features that fit well into commercial operations, including: all metal construction; small footprint; intuitive control panel; and solid macro/micro adjustment. The Forté AP offers the ability to grind by time, for espresso dosing, or by weight. Coffee professionals find the Forté AP to be a versatile grinder for many situations – as a small restaurant and office espresso/brew grinder, as a Roaster demo grinder for wholesale tasting, or being a dedicated grinder for decaf or single origin in a café.
    In my opinion, they are then royally stuffed. Aussie consumer law will have them replace/repair it...

    Suggest you sell the replacement and then purchase something which can handle the workload....
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    Hi there, I've found a second hand Baratza Forte on sale for $375. I'm only going to be using at home, where it will need to grind enough coffee for 3 shots daily.
    What does everyone think? I am a newbie and have just been reading up on grinders... Any input appreciated. (I know from reading on here that people like the Rancilio grinders, Mazza Mini or K3 etc.) Is the weight thing very handy to have?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elle View Post
    Hi there, I've found a second hand Baratza Forte on sale for $375. I'm only going to be using at home, where it will need to grind enough coffee for 3 shots daily.
    What does everyone think? I am a newbie and have just been reading up on grinders... Any input appreciated. (I know from reading on here that people like the Rancilio grinders, Mazza Mini or K3 etc.) Is the weight thing very handy to have?

    You could get that, like I've said they are a fantastic grinder but the longevity will come under question.
    You could go the Breville BCG800 brand new which does the exact same thing for $300 with a 2 year warranty. I have used one of these at home for 6 years does 3 double shots a day and is going strong.

    I'm sure the Batatza would be good, but why are they selling it? The motor in mine burnt out twice in 1 year but I was doing 30 coffees a day.

  36. #36
    Senior Member magnafunk's Avatar
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    The breville is actually available for $179 from Myer at the moment. We had a forte at one of my workplaces, doing around 600g/day for filter and it was fine, the steel burrs weren't great for espresso, not sure how the ceramics would go.

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    Thanks very much Magnafunk and Craigs90. I have just ordered the Breville for $179! It is probably better for me as a beginner and like you said it is a bit of worry buying the Forte second-hand. (The seller didn't list a reason for selling...said it was working and in good condition.) Thanks again I appreciate it.
    P.S. Magnafunk where do you buy your beans? Any good WA suggestions?

  38. #38
    Senior Member magnafunk's Avatar
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    I home roast with nothing but the best from beanbay
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  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elle View Post
    I have just ordered the Breville for $179!
    Wise choice Elle.
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    Gosh, OK. Thanks Magnafunk, not sure I'm up for home roasting just yet. Had an interesting read about breadmakers on here but may be a step too far

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    I have (had) a Forte which has been solely for home use doing two 21g shots a day. I say 'had' because it's just started tripping the RCD. The fault finding process is difficult - either the motor or power pc board. The distributor don't have a motor in stock and won't have one for at least 4 week. And getting to order parts proved to be a very very disappointing process in terms of customer responsiveness. And Baratza in US were also unable to supply a 230v and their promise of 'will call back' didn't happen either.

    So, my Forte is dead after 3 years. All the parts were to cost me $175 (which includes upgrading the hopper as the earlier one used to vibrate out of 'lock' and the safety switch cut off). Given it's only worth $375 second hand this doesn't make sense to me. So, I'm in the market for a new grinder.

    While I enjoyed the grinder while it lasted this experience has left me cold. I'd tend to suggest choosing a different brand and a product with more than one official distributor / service provider. But hey, that's just my view.



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