A quick look at the Baratza Preciso.
I recently got the chance to take a Baratza Preciso for a spin. This grinder falls in price between the Vario and the Maestro in the Baratza line up, but truth be told the price is slightly closer to the Vario than the Maestro.
You can find all three grinders at Roaste.com. Here is the Preciso ($299)
here is the Vario ($449)
and the Maestro plus.
I have the Vario and the Maestro (not the plus) and so I was curious if this grinder would be more like one than the other. The Maestro is a fine grinder and one I like very much for drip, and there is no question that in its price range it is a good choice, but on the other hand, it does not produce amazing espresso the way a Vario can or a Super Jolly can. Then again you would not expect it to at one third the price of the Vario and 1/5 or so the price of a new Super Jolly.
On the other hand you can pick up a used Super Jolly for around $300 so it is not so crazy to compare one to the Preciso.
I confess I went in expecting it not to measure up because I have never tried a grinder cheaper than the Vario that I really liked once I had used the higher end grinders.
We pulled shots on my Elektra first dialing them in on the Super Jolly and then on the Preciso. Looking at the shots with a bottomless portafilter was the first clue that this would be interesting. Shots form a Super Jolly or Vario are beautiful, but the Maestro shots are best pulled without a bottomless because channeling, spritzes, etc are all too obvious. The Preciso had very nice looking shots. There was no spurting, no channeling, etc. The flaws were missing! What a pleasant discovery. There was also tiger striping, a good sign, but not as pronounces as in the shots from the other machines.
For those unfamiliar with tiger striping, it is the colored lines running down a beautiful shot of espresso as seen in this picture found on Coffee Geek here
/files/u2065/tiger_striping.jpg" height="500" width="439" />
Turning to taste, the shot was quite pleasant. It missed the chocolate notes that were prevalent in the Super Jolly shots, but the bright notes were at least as pronounced. In the end I felt like it was a good shot with a little less nuance and a little less balance than the shot from the Super Jolly.
In other words, it was not the equal of the huge grinder, but it made a very respectable showing. I have plenty of friends who would not want to surf the web waiting for a used Super Jolly and who would not want to have such a large grinder in their homes. Also plenty of people do not want to spend north of $300 on a grinder. I would have no problem suggesting that they take a good look at this grinder.
Some say it even outshines the Vario for brewed coffee, so it also would be a great fit for those looking for a grinder mainly for brew, but occasional espresso (whereas the Super Jolly is clearly an espresso grinder).
In summary, although I only used it for a morning and thus do not know it inside and out the way I do my other grinders, I was very pleased with this grinder and think at its price point it is well worthy of consideration.