The Baratza Sette 270 and 270W are extremely price-competitive espresso grinders with features like almost zero grounds retention and grind by weight with your portafilter. Many people want to know how this compact conical grinder series compares with the more expensive and prestigious flat burr competition (as well as how they compare to each other). We'll dive into that and will describe strengths of both burr styles.
The compact commercial flat burr grinder category has gotten much more exciting thanks to models like the Eureka Atom, Compak E5 and Profitec T64, just to name a few. Because these grinders produce a similar flavor profile, this post will use an established commercial performer as the reference point to compare to the Sette. The Baratza Forte AP and it’s consumer grade Vario brother have been subjected to a huge number of blind taste testings over the years, which puts their cup quality on par with the established range of 64mm flat burr grinders. Another reason I chose the Forte for this comparison was that it pulls consistent shots with single dosing (which allowed me to make rapid adjustments).
The Grinding Process
The Clive team likes the idea of the Sette 270W’s grind by weight function and we love its stepless adjustment is infinite and instantaneous. When my first shot took 34 seconds, moving the micro adjust from C to F (some will find this reference point easier than numbers) brought the next shot time down to my desired 30 seconds.
Fans of single dosing will love the standard 270 model, and the timed grind allows solid repeatability, especially when grinding for drip. But the improved portafilter holder and weighing function are the first design where I can actually let go of the portafilter and trust the dose to be completely accurate and dispensed right into the center of the basket (even with a less common 53mm portafilter size). As a long time fan of single dosing, I found the 270W remarkably intuitive and a breeze to crank out shots for the Clive team. Unfortunately, we found the 270W’s doses to be quite inconsistent. It would frequently stop a dose, saying it had reached the proper weight. But upon inspection, it would actually have come up a few grams short.
With the standard 270, I would achieve roughly 20 grams by setting the grind time to 5 seconds. In addition to the improved portafilter holder, the production 270 model dispenses coffee into the basket much more cleanly, and I’ve found espresso shots to be more uniform and even in the bottomless portafilter. Almost no prep of the coffee bed is needed. Simply tapping the portafilter on a tamping mat and giving a level tamp results in great shots. The only downside to this tremendous grind speed is the sound. Households with light sleepers may find the Sette too loud, in which case we have other options like the nearly silent Eureka Atom.
The Sette 270W is a great idea on paper. We spend a lot of time emphasizing the importance of weight-based dosing with espresso grinders, so a grinder that does it for you sounds like a dream. Since this functionality didn’t perform quite as planned, we recommend the standard Sette 270 to our customers.