Baratza Preciso Conical Burr Coffee Grinder
If I’ve learned anything about making good coffee is that technique and ingredients are paramount. For example, if you buy your coffee pre-ground and in bulk your morning cup will most likely be mediocre. Moreover, if you utilize a traditional drip machine or Keurig style brewer you’re making coffee with the incorrect water temperature and not allowing bean and water to sit together for the optimal time period in order to create superb flavor.
With the above said, I recently had the opportunity to upgrade our Hario Slim Mill burr grinder (a manual unit which required serious arm strength) to a Baratza Preciso conical burr grinder. The benefits of a burr grinder include a more consistent and precise grind given that blade-type grinders produces grinds inconsistent in shape and size. Further, blade-type grinders produce and place more heat onto the grinds versus a burr grinder (altering the chemistry of your coffee yielding a “burnt” tasting cup). As a result, the water you use to brew your coffee can evenly and equally extract the flavor out of the grind. Coffee grinds which are inconsistent in size and shape will be extracted inconsistently (producing a cup flavored with bitterness and weak flavor).
The Baratza Preciso burr grinder we tested (used 2x per day for 1.5 months) sells for $299 on Amazon and is positioned as a slight upgrade to an entry level burr grinder (burr grinders are not cheap given the need for a powerful motor). The Preciso takes up minimal counter space, feels well constructed and heavy (an important attribute for a coffee grinder), is easy to use, and produced fine results for espresso, French Press, Aeropress, and Clever Dripper style coffees. Two power controls make up the Preciso, including a side timer dial and a front “pulse” or on demand soft-touch button. We had some issues with finding consistency in how long the side timer dial stayed on or off, but the pulse button worked well. There are two different mechanisms to adjust grind; viz., micro (tab that uses alphabet letters going from A to K <11 steps>) and macro (positioned in the collar of the unit and goes from 0 to 40). And as the folks over at CoffeeGeek state, “The range of these steps falls within one “click” on the larger collar, turning the grinder from one with theoretically (more on that later) 40 stepped grind settings to one with (theoretically) 440 steps. That’s pretty huge.”
Needless to say, you have tremendous control over grind type and quality; in fact we believe the conical burr powered Preciso produces results that are on par with machines costing 3-5x as much. Customer service is generally very good at Baratza so if the unit has issues (there’s some chatter on the web about reliability) the company will usually send out replacement parts free of charge.
Overall, we believe the Baratza Preciso is one of the best values on the burr coffee grinder market today, especially if you move between brewing different types of coffee at home (as we do, for example). The Preciso grinds consistently and quickly, can move between varying grind sizes effortlessly, and looks and feel like a stellar bean grinding machine!
Baratza makes an excellent grinder. I have had 2 of them. The first one I unfortunately broke (not the grinder’s fault, but one of the small screws from my home-made coffee bean roaster fell into the beans and damaged the burrs). The Encore model is probably a better value. It looks and functions almost exactly like the Preciso except without the micro adjustment wheel (with the macro wheel that both units share having 40 grind settings, I don’t know that I am capable of distinguishing finer grind adjustments beyond those increments). But at 129.99 is less than half the price and does an excellent job across a variety of grind settings. I don’t brew Espresso at home so I can’t speak to it’s Espresso grind, but otherwise for 129.99 you will have an excellent conical burr grinder.
Thank you, Dr. K. Agreed with your observation about the Encore.