Vario-W

September 3, 2011


Really looking forward to messing around with this guy. Weight based grinding seems like such a simple idea, but Baratza seems to have executed it perfectly, moving around many of the issues possible.
More thoughts will be coming soon as the week progresses.

Mypressi Review

March 28, 2011

As mentioned previously, recently I was generously sent a Mypressi Twist on loan for a couple weeks so that I could test out the ability of my new Baratza Virtuoso Preciso to work as a home espresso grinder. The test was certainly a challenge as I was often limited on extended time to try and dial in the shots properly due to Work, Class and other commitments. However, I got a few good sessions of testing in, enough to form an opinion about the set up and how it could be made more ideal.

I’ll start out with the great things about the Preciso and Mypressi. I love the Preciso’s micro-adjustments, at every test the ability to make small adjustments was what made its use as a home espresso grinder plausible. The porta-holder insert that comes with the Preciso worked surprisingly well to keep the counter clear from excess grounds in dosing as well as allowing for easy clean up whenever I was done making coffee.

A really simple, but great addition from the last Mypressi is the shot counter on the lid of the water reservoir. One of my complaints on the last version was that it was difficult to keep track of how many shots you had pulled, but this simple no nonsense upgrade allows the user to track how many shots have been pulled on the cartridge.

As much as I’m skeptical of home espresso, I will not hesitate to recommend this pairing to customers interested in purchasing a setup. Fantastic products and a relatively small investment will always be my main priority in researching products for customers, and both of these pass these requirements with room to spare.

Some brief recommendations and fussy things I had issues with. First the lack of a metal tamper included (available for purchase from the Mypressi store) had an impact on consistency shot to shot. The plastic tamper included is useful to make due, but I would recommend anyone looking into this setup to go ahead and upgrade to the metal base tamper. As well, as with any home setup, there is issue in general with consistency shot to shot. It is difficult to hit the same water temperature, dosage, yield of espresso and shot time one after another. Scales, thermometers and more scales are my recommendations for the home user so that there is a higher chance of consistency.

As I am used to brewing filter coffee with super easy cleanup (pop the filter in the trash, rinse out brewing device), it was a bit of a hassle to cleanup and get everything back to par. Partially this was because I was mostly cleaning up the grinder and Mypressi to store for a couple days, as there were very few times I had the time or ability to use it 2 or 3 mornings in a row. Home users should know that cleanup and pulling espresso well is time consuming and potentially frustrating to dial in the coffee well. Some people will love this hobby aspect, others just looking for a quick cup might want to rethink the espresso route.

Unfortunately, near the end of my testing time the grind settings on my Preciso slipped a number of settings, making it difficult to reach a true espresso grind. True to Baratza’s consistently amazing customer service they agreed to exchange grinders with me so that they could check on the problem. This is just one of many examples of what a stand out company Baratza is in handling customers and truly offering both superior products and service than any other consumer grinder company I’ve personally experienced.

All in all, based on my brief usage. I think the setup is both a great bargain and the best sub $500 home setups available. Right now Mypressi is actually running a Preciso + Mypressi bundle for $400 flat, saving you around $115, so jump on it if you have been looking or waiting for the right time!

As a dedicated barista that spends a large amount of time working on technique and keeping tabs on what’s happening in the industry at the moment, the concept of home espresso brewing has always seemed ridiculous. Sure, my friend who is a moderator on Home Barista has a GS3 and a Compak K10 in his house, but he’s as much of a geek as I am, a barista with a day job. Home Espresso for the normal consumer is what I’m concerned with; when the regular that comes into the shop a couple times a day for a cappuccino asks me what machine and grinder to buy so that he can save money on coffee trips, what do I recommend him? Usually I recommend a V60 or similar device and a basic burr grinder like the Capresso Infinity or Baratza Maestro, about a $125 investment that can get people into coffee at home at an infinite better start out point that the Mr Coffee Maker and a blade grinder.

Unfortunately, many people still like the idea of that “perfect” cappuccino or espresso at home that they get when they go out for coffee. In these cases I tend to gently discourage the idea, as there is quite a bit of time, money and experience required to make anything acceptable at home. Generally I’ll recommend a set up like the Rancilio Silvia paired with a Baratza Virtuoso ($200) or a Rancilio Rocky ($350). which adds up to about a $850-1000 startup investment, not to mention the cost of coffee wasted dialing in espresso every morning and waste in grinder burrs, whereas home drip has much less waste and learning curve.

Opposed to all these hangups I have is the new Mypressi TWIST that is far more accessible from a cost perspective than other home setups ($150 + Grinder Price), as well as being portable enough to store in a cabinet when not in use, whereas home espresso machines will normally take up a large amount of counter space. I had the chance to test one out last summer, but only used it with professional grade grinders that are used at the shop, which is not a realistic situation for the general consumer. I attempted using it with the Hario Skerton hand mill, but after trying 3 different grinds and it gushing, being clogged, then gushing again I gave up because of my weak biceps.

Also for the sake of these same weak biceps, I recently purchased a Virtuoso Preciso primarily for brewed coffee, but I have been curious of it’s performance as a home espresso grinder as well. It’s 40 macro settings plus 11 micro settings give a whopping 440 distinct settings all the way from ‘Too fine to be useful for anything’ to ‘Chunks that aren’t very useful either’.

I recently was able to borrow one of the new Mypressi TWIST, and will be pairing the two over the next few weeks, so watch here for a big post detailing my experiences.