Baratza Sette 270 Burr Grinder Review
If it wasn’t for a problematic history, it would be a no-brainer to recommend the Sette 270 to everyone who is looking for an affordable, high-performing single dose grinder.
However, this model has had its share of issues in the past. This is something you should keep in mind, if you’re not located in North America, where you can rely on Baratza’s warranty.
Baratza is one of the biggest players in the grinding industry. In fact, this company only produces grinders.
That should tell you something about their level of dedication.
While the rest of the coffee world has evolved a lot the last 25 years, espresso grinders, have more or less stayed the same.
Sure, new brands have entered the market and small new ‘features‘ have been added, but the underlying technology has pretty much remained the same for ages.
The Baratza Sette is so significant because it attempts to change some of the fundamentals of grinding. It attempts to turn grinding upside-down (literally) and in doing so it’s already ahead of most other grinders out there.
Difference between standard & Wi?
The original Sette 270 is pretty much the same grinder as the more expensive big brother; the Sette 270Wi.
- If you like single dosing (aka not having a full hopper of beans), then the Sette 270 is for you. You will have to measure the beans BEFORE grinding. Of course, you can also fill the hopper and use the time-based dosing system.
- If you prefer dosing via weight, then the 270Wi is ideal, since it does this for you automatically. And it’s extremely precise.
The Wi is intelligent (hence the ‘i’) It will gradually get more precise every time you run a particular bean through it. The first time the scale might be 0,3 grams off, but second or third time, there’s a good chance that you’ll have the perfect dose in your portafilter.
Other than that the two grinders are almost identical aside from a few visual things.
- The RPM on the motor of the Wi is a bit lower. This makes it a little bit less noisy, and it should also help the lifespan of the grinder.
Baratza has paid a lot of attention to how this thing was designed.
Sette means ‘seven’ in Italian, and that’s how this grinder is shaped when you look at it from the side.
Compared to a normal grinder, the two burrs are swapped around, meaning that the upper burr is motorized, while the lower one is static. This has never been done before on a home burr grinder and is quite revolutionary.
It also means three things:
- Speed: The Sette is faster than most grinders out there.
- Fluffy grinds: There is no chute – the grinds fall directly from the burrs and into your bin or portafilter. This gives you a beautiful, fluffy grind that is easier to distribute and tamp in the portafilter.
- Zero retention: You don’t get any stale grounds from previous cycles like you do with most other grinders. you don’t have to waste coffee by purging old grounds.
The Sette has been on the market for a few years now. While it did have quite a few problems in the beginning, it seems that Baratza has managed most of them by now.
The Sette design was revolutionary when it came out. For that reason, it’s not that shocking that there were some initial problems.
Today the Sette is as reliable as most other entry-level espresso grinders, but not quite in the same league as the midrange models, which it should be given its price.
It’s worth pointing out that the construction is mostly made of plastic and not a more premium material. That also goes for the gear-box. If you want a grinder that can last you a lifetime, you should probably consider one of the more expensive Italian brands instead.
The good thing about Baratza is that they are known for offering stellar support, should you face any problems. They will help you via phone, send replacement parts, or even send a new device, if necessary.
If you’re located in the US, that’s reassuring. But if you’re in other parts of the world, where shipping fees and import regulations make things more complicated, it might make more sense to look for a grinder with a better history when it comes to durability. You don’t want to be dealing with sending the grinder halfway across the world every time you face a problem.
a few things we like:
GRIND CONSISTENCY & Retention
The Sette 270 and 270 Wi have 40 mm conical burrs made by the Swiss burr manufacturer Etzinger.
When making espresso, it’s essential not to have clumps in your grinds, and the Sette models are often praised for their incredibly fluffy grinds.
All models in the Sette-line are calibrated to grind rather fine, and as such don’t do well when it comes to something like French press or pour over. Even the Sette 30, which has been marketed as a ‘jack of all trades’ grinder, doesn’t perform well at the more coarse spectrum of things. (If you’re looking for a grinder that is better suited for coarse pour over 0r French press, then check out the Baratza Encore or Virtuoso instead.)
Compared to other grinders, the Sette-models are also unique in how the grounds fall down vertically from the burrs instead of being shot out at an angle from a chute. This makes the distribution in the portafilter more consistent and easy. It’s also the reason that the Sette is one of the grinders with the lowest amount of retention out there. Having as close to zero retention as possible is ideal when it comes to home espresso. This means that you don’t waste any grounds purging through old coffee, every time you change grind setting.
The Baratza 270 can grind coffee at an impressive 3.5g to 5.5g/sec, which makes it a speed beast.
It’s faster than even the best espresso grinders out there.
Please note, that this crazy speed also makes it a very loud grinder. It will definitely wake up any light sleepers in your home.
The Sette is very loud. If you’re sensitive to noise or you share home with somebody who is, don’t get this grinder.
The weight mechanism was a common problem among those who used the previous 270W, but this is fixed witht the Wi-update.
Besides, that the adjustment setting can slip over time, but this is not a major problem.
Are there any alternatives?
Baratza Sette 30
This new model in the Sette-line up is actually a bargain at only half the price of the original.
Most of the design is identical to the original. With this model, however, you don’t get a built-in weight, and you have fewer options when it comes to dialing in – hence the ’30’ name; you only have that many settings.
It aims to be a no-frills espresso and pour over-grinder, but at best it’s mediocre at both disciplines.
Skip this one, and go for the grown-up version if you can afford it.
Eureka Mignon Specialita
Even though it’s an espresso grinder like the Sette, it’s different in so many ways. Unlike its the Sette, it has flat burrs, and is extremely quiet.
The Eureka Mignon Specialita is also famous for its quality construction and sturdy yet sophisticated design.
In many ways, it’s a logical step-up from Baratza’s Sette-line. However, it is a bit slower and some people will prefer the flavors produced by conical burrs, rather than the flat ones inside this particular model. But overall, it’s worth considering if you have some extra room in your budget.
The final verdict
The Baratza Sette is one of the few big innovations on the grinder market for years. After a rough start, it appears as if the company has dealt with many issues in regards to both weight-based dosing and durability.
The Sette 270 models have so many benefits over the more traditional grinders out there; lightning-quick grinding speed, great fluffy grinds, zero retention, and a compact and attractive design. And that’s why it’s so popular!
On the other hand, this grinder can run into gearbox/motor problems with heavy use. You probably should consider twice before buying it, if you’re outside the US, where Baratza’s esteemed customer service can help you in a hurry.