We’ve been at it again – we can’t stop! We love to innovate and give our customers improved products and functionality everywhere we can. Not just innovate for the sake of fun or wow factor. Of course we love those aspects, but we’re truly about giving you an improved coffee grinding experience that will result in a consistent and delicious cup of coffee, and support you in giving your customers a ‘wow’ experience that has them becoming repeat customers.
Last year at the SCAA in Anaheim, we were talking with Jared at Noble Coffee, all about the on-going rise in manual brewing. Jared talked about what a great tool our grinders were for this, but the whole pre-weighing of beans –especially in the busy café, was a pain. What could Baratza do? Well we love a challenge, so we focused this year on how to marry the weighing with the grinding of beans. We developed an accessory, the Esatto, that is designed specifically for use with your Maestro Plus, Virtuoso or Preciso. This innovative addition to your grinder will allow you to grind precise dosages of coffee using real-time weight-based control. With its easy assembly and simple operation, you will be automatically dosing ground coffee to within +/- 0.2 gram repeatedly.
In addition, we have designed a new Vario, the Vario-E, that is a fully integrated weight based grinder. Baratza’s groundbreaking Vario-E uses real time weight-based grinding with a built-in electronic scale. Set the weight you want, the Vario-E does the rest, weighing the ground coffee within a tenth of a gram while grinding, and stopping automatically.
How cool is all this?! We are so excited about it as we feel that it’s going to be a real game changer for so many cafes/coffee shops. Many cafes want to showcase a selection of beans at one time, be they a Single Origin or seasonal blend, offering the customer a choice for the bean and the brew method. Using the Baratza solution you could easily set up two to three dedicated grinders, each set to match the particular weight and grind type best suited the particular bean, and all that for the price of one ‘commercial’ grinder. We’ve even come up with a new hopper extender. With one extension, you can hold about 17.5 ounces (500 grams).
We will have the Esatto and Vario-E ready to ship in June.
Come check us out at the SCAA. We’ll be at booth #1825. This year we’re having our own manual brew bar, manned by some great local baristas. Come see the newest weight based grinding solution – we feel you will be charmed, intrigued and desirous!
Mark Prince’s comprehensive review of Baratza grinders is informative about the capabilities of the specific Baratza Grinders, but also helps all of us understand what we should look for in a coffee grinder. Baratza Grinders SM (3)
Or when given a present, be grateful for your good fortune and don’t look for more by examining it to assess its value. This is good advice, but….
My 17 year old daughter recently returned from a trip to Costa Rica , bummer that I did not get to go along. She brought everyone in the family a specially selected gift that she thought they would love. Well she brought me coffee of course. What else would you buy a coffee lover when visiting a coffee producing nation? She handed me the bags with great excitement explaining that the guy at the store had told her these were the best in Costa Rica. One was whole bean Italian Espresso roast and the other was ground (bummer). She explained that she understood that ground coffee was not a good idea, but she loved the design of the bag.
The next morning she came out to ask how I liked the coffee. I looked at my delicious Ritual Sweet-tooth cappuccino and said that it was up next. As I opened the bag, I dipped my nose in to smell the rich aroma a fresh roasted coffee. Not!! The beans smelled stale and tasted stale.
The coffee from Costa Rica was an incredible and thoughtful gift, because it made me appreciate even more the coffee I drink each day and the people behind the coffee. Just this month I have had the pleasure of drinking Blue Bottle, Barefoot, Ritual, Stumptown, Intelligentsia, Pacific Bay, Four Barrel, Verve, Zoka, Metropolis, Klatch, Cherry Hill and Luna. I wish everyone was lucky enough to experience the great taste of fresh roasted, fresh ground quality coffee from around the world. I am truly bless.
The life expectancy of a burr varies depending on the type of coffee, degree of roast, grind size, and any rocks you may run into. However, as a good rule of thumb you can expect to get about:
I mainly use a Vario to grind espresso. My household makes about 8 double shots a day. Dose for the shots are about 16 grams. The Vario is grinding 128 grams a day or around 46,592 grams a year. There are 453 grams of in a pound. So I am grinding about 102 pounds a year. This number is a little low since once a month I use my grinder to cater a coffee hour at church and serve about 100 drinks. I also grind for cupping, French press, Aeropress, and there is always the wasted coffee dialing in a new coffee. So I estimate that I grind about 150 pounds of coffee a year. My Vario burrs should last about 3 to 7 years.
It is difficult to know when to change the burrs. One clear indication that it is time for new burrs is your grinder is not capable grinding coarse any more.
I must confess that for many years I have depended on a super-automatic Palazzo for my espresso in the morning. When Baratza started business in 1999, we were the importer of Solis super-automatic machines and grinders. After years of going to Starbucks each morning, it was very convenient to make my latte at home. However, in 2004 Baratza sold off the Solis business and started concentrating on designing and building grinders. This would have been a good time to change to an espresso machine and grinder. I mean, come on, I was the owner of a GRINDER oriented company. But no, super automatic was way too easy to give up.
In 2007, Mark Prince (of Coffee Geek fame) spent a day with us testing espresso machines and grinders . We wanted to learn more about our grinders and our competition’s grinders. Mark convinced me to go home with a Silva and Virtuoso and begin practicing. I put it in my outdoor kitchen and started experimenting. It wasn’t like I didn’t know the basics of espresso; I had taken a class form Sheri Johns (the ultimate barista trainer). However, after months of trying, I could not seem to make a decent espresso. In fact, when I made them for my husband he would secretly pour it out and make himself a drink on the Palazzo that was still in our kitchen, so much for my skills as a Barista.
In the summer of 2009, Mark Crawford (Mont Blanc Chocolate) again told me that I needed to move to using Baratza grinders every day. I dug out the Silvia and tried again. The Vario made dialing in the grind much easier, but still my espresso was less than stellar. Sometime in July the boiler quit working and I started thinking that maybe the problem the entire time was the temperature of the water. Maybe it wasn’t me, maybe it was the machine. I hoped it was the machine; it’s always something else’s fault, right?
In November, I bought Mark’s Dalla Corte Mini. Much to my surprise, I started knocking out a pretty good espresso. In fact, after about a week, I no longer wanted to drink espresso from the Palazzo. By December the Palazzo was moved into the garage and the Dalla Corte and Vario were installed in the kitchen (much to the dismay of my daughter who loved the push-a-button-and-you-get-coffee aspect of the Palazzo).However, I am now on the road to becoming a home barista. I have catered a few events where we served 70 to 100 drinks; I have gone to local classes at Barefoot coffee and cupping’s at Pacific Bay. I have started ordering wonderful whole bean coffee from Intelligentcia, Ritual, Barefoot, and Stumptown and am excited to work my way through the roasters on our customer list, gotta love good coffee!
In February, I attended a latte art class at Barefoot. Much to the amusement of my family, I am slowly and awkwardly trying to learn to pour hearts and rosettes. More on that later.