Coffee Gear: Vario-W from Baratza

Updated January 13, 2018

We got a new grinder a few weeks ago.  I'd been jonesin' for a Baratza Vario for a while and was putting off the expense but that changed after I wanted to serve a bunch of coffee at a party.  I have the Hario mini mill that I love, but it would take a lot of work and time for me to grind coffee for several people using the manual mini mill.

baratza vario-w

Enter the Baratza Vario-W; the "W" stands for weight.  It has a built-in scale that weighs within a tenth of a gram the ground coffee.  You can have three preset weights and with the push of a button, get the target weight in ground coffee.

I should also mention that I had to test Baratza's support service immediately, as the grinder came with the wrong grounds bin.  After a very short call with their support line, they had another bin in the mail and an email confirmation to me with a tracking number.  In a couple of days I had the new bin and was off to the races.

The other thing I really like about this grinder is the ease of transitioning between grind profiles.  The slider on the right is for macro changes that will go from an espresso fineness to a sea salt coarseness and the slider on the left is to fine tune that level even more.  It also comes with a heavy-duty metal wrench that allows you to further tune the grind so that you get just the right grind for whatever you're brewing.

I still use the mini mill and still enjoy it — I feel more connected with the coffee when I use it because it allows me to feel how tough the beans are to grind, which is one indication of the roast level; darker roasts further break down the cell structure, making the coffee much easier to grind.  But for volume and ease, I now go straight for the Vario.

Updated January 13, 2018: Updated link to product page at baratza.com


Michael C. Wright

Michael is an American expat living in Singapore where he writes about many things coffee-related. A roaster by trade, Michael is also a licensed Q Grader and an Authorized SCA Trainer (AST).

Updated