The Esatto: first impressions and thoughts on single-dosing
I’ve had an Esatto now for about a month. While it works well paired with my Preciso, I’m in a bit of a love-hate relationship with this grinding combo. at the moment. Here I’ll briefly explain why and make a few observations concerning how to single-dose using the Esatto.
Great functionality: The Esatto is easy to install and in my experience has performed admirably. For the first few weeks I was double-checking the weight of the grounds it delivered each time using another scale with 0.1-g. sensitivity, and the Esatto hit its target +/- 0.2 grams most of the time—never exceeding 0.4 grams and often simply nailing the target weight, especially with finer grinds (including espresso). I’m confident enough in its accuracy now to resist the urge to double-check going forward. Also, I never had to recalibrate the way Baratza's outlined on CoffeeGeek and elsewhere.
Debatable ergonomics: As you can see above, the Esatto adds a negligible inch or so to the height of the Preciso and, more noticeably, a few inches on either side to the depth. It’s like a cyber-sleigh for your grinder (ho ho ho!). As a result, the Preciso + Esatto combo. barely fits on a 12-in. counter that previously provided more than enough space—something to consider for those with small kitchens. It sticks out well past the Gaggia Classic seated next to it, which wasn't true before the Esatto arrived. In this respect, the Vario-W strikes me as a more elegant (i.e. less klugey) weight-based grinding solution.
Single-dosing: The Esatto pushes you in the direction of using the hopper, of course; lately I’ve been pushing back though and single-dosing pretty often. My Aeropress scoop holds a handy 15 g. of beans, so if I want to grind 30 g. in the Preciso + Esatto for the Eva Solo, I simply add 2 scoops + a little extra to the hopper, select the preset button for 30 g., and go to town. All I need to do later on is purge the rest. I don’t mind the waste when it's just a few grams here and there. It's rare for me to finish even a 12-oz. bag of beans before they start to stale anyway, you know? However, even without the Esatto I could eyeball my dose *fairly* accurately in this way, adjusting the amount of water up or down on the fly. After all, I still weigh my water. In a nutshell, if you single-dose, I don’t think the Esatto is worth the price.
Bonus details on single-dosing: Feeling especially geeky? You might have wondered how one purges using the Esatto. I’ve read about hopper-friendly people who save one of the presets for this purpose, choosing 3 g. or so. Seems about right for espresso. For my purposes, that’s not always long enough. I like to fully purge, brush a little to get all of the bean bits that remain to fall down in between the burrs, and then run the grinder again. Since the Preciso’s pulse button no longer works with the Esatto attached (moment of silence), I just choose whichever preset is handy, usually 15 g., hitting the start/stop button once to start and then again whenever I’m done to stop. Baratza President Kyle Anderson says the Esatto (and the Vario-W, too, if I’m not mistaken) is set to grind for up to 3 minutes if it runs out of beans before the set weight is reached, which gives me plenty of time.
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