Container on top, grinder underneath -- there isn’t usually much room to play with (technically or visually) in any commercially available electric coffee grinder. Then along comes the Baratza Sette 270Wi and proves me wrong.
Container on top, grinder underneath — there isn’t usually much room to play with (technically or visually) in any commercially available electric coffee grinder. Then along comes the Baratza Sette 270Wi and proves me wrong.
Not only is this grinder’s eye-catching look really fun, but you’re also sure to be as thrilled with the grinding results and handling as I am. You can purchase the Baratza Sette 270Wi on Amazon for $599.95, although I bought one from my colleagues at the Berlin-based coffee roaster Coffee Circle.
Now my other grinders — for espresso — have to sit on the bench because the 270Wi is the new shining star.
best espresso grinder
Baratza Sette 270Wi: Specifications
|Baratza Sette 270Wi Grinder
|Electric coffee grinder
|Stainless steel conical burrs
|3.5 – 5.5 grams / second
|Dimensions (length x width x height)
|9.44 x 5 x 15.75 in / 24 x 13 x 40 cm
|Voltage / frequency
|220/240v ~ 50/60 Hz
|Espresso, French press, pour-over, Chemex, AeroPress, cold brew
Baratza Sette 270Wi: First Impressions
First things first: let’s briefly clarify the differences between the Baratza Sette 270 (which costs $399.95 on Amazon) and the 270Wi. Though the price difference between the two is quite significant, for some of you, an extra couple of hundred bucks in this category probably won’t seem like too much.
Of course, there’s also the option of going with the Baratza Sette 30. This is the base model in the Sette series, and costs $299.95 on Amazon. The Baratza Sette 30 shares many of the 270’s features, but doesn’t have user presets or step-less micro adjust. Still, the Sette 30 is a fantastic entry level grinder.
Baratza Sette 270 vs Baratza Sette 270Wi
Now, we start to dig a little deeper with the components and the look — reminiscent of a number seven (hence the name) — which are the same on both machines. The real difference, though, is in the way they dose coffee:
Baratza Sette 270Wi — The Baratza Sette 270Wi has an active (!) weighing unit that constantly checks the dose during grinding. In fact, it was the first espresso grinder to offer this feature and caused quite a stir when it first came out.
Baratza Sette 270W — Coffee from the Baratza Sette 270 is dosed according to time, but as with the 270Wi, the grinding speed is incredibly high. Both models achieve speeds of 3.5 – 5.5 grams per second. For once, the espresso really becomes an espresso!
Just for comparison: the Baratza Encore, which I also rated as very good in the review, only manages 0.8 – 1.1 grams per second. Any questions?
Baratza Sette: Unique Features
The sleek — and unusual — look of both Sette versions isn’t some flighty concoction from an industrial designer. They actually serve a special and equally unique purpose.
Every other commercially available (electric) coffee grinder is vertically oriented. So, the motor that drives the grinder is located directly underneath the grinder assembly. In the Baratza Sette 270Wi, the drive motor is located behind the grinder assembly, which has a lot of advantages:
The heat-producing motor is further away from the sensitive coffee beans, so there’s less risk of damage to their complex aroma.
The ground coffee falls directly from the burrs into the well-designed grounds bin, meaning less coffee residue gets trapped in the machine. The dead space, which otherwise makes perfect dosing (and cleaning) difficult, is then reduced here. Super smart, right?
One drawback, though, is that many of you will probably have to rethink how you organize your coffee corner somewhat since the machine’s seven-shaped butt is quite a bit wider and deeper than most other home barista machines.
I have to admit that the quality of the Baratza Sette 270Wi made quite an impression on me in every way — it convinced the Specialty Coffee Association of America, too, which is why it named the magnificent seven the “Best New Product” in 2016.
Here’s a few more details that many of you might also find interesting:
The stand is bombproof — end of story.
The bean hopper has a 10-ounce capacity — more than enough for a decent portion of filter coffee.
The portafilter holder is also a clamp for the drip tray — so you can quickly change between the two.
The brewing device can be directly attached — like most of the popular brewing devices, including the Hario V60 dripper, because Baratza recognizes trends. Nice! That said, we’ll add a little “yes, but…” to that later.
One interesting sidebar is the machine’s Bluetooth capability. According to the manufacturer, you can pair your Sette 270Wi with Acaia’s Sette Updater app on iOS for timely updates when there’s a change to the software.
All this innovation might not be a good enough reason for some of you to invest over $500 in an espresso grinder, though. After all, single dose grinders like the Eureka Mignon Zero are also excellent and don’t cost as much.
For me, the Baratza Sette — especially the 270Wi model — solves so many well-known home barista grinder problems that I just had to shell out for one. The further I got into the Baratza Sette 270 review, I was more and more convinced that I had made the right decision.
Baratza Sette 270Wi Grinder and Settings
On its own, a 40-millimeter conical burr grinder made of hardened stainless steel would probably get friendly shrugs from many reviewers. Though, what the Baratza Sette does with it is nothing short of mind-blowing.
Fact: the Baratza Sette knows that 3.5 – 5.5 grams per second of grinding power is the stuff that really gets the coffee party started — and brings in the profits, too. Not only that, we’re talking about a continuously variable grinder that leaves little to be desired when it comes to readjustment and precision at all grind settings.
If the grind setting is too fine, you can expect a little clogging at first. It just goes to show you that when the Sette 270Wi says “fine,” it means “fine.”
Otherwise, setting the grinder — or the dose — is very easy, especially since the scale clearly communicates its results via the front-mounted display.
You’ll also find three buttons for your individual programs, as well as intuitive buttons for starting, stopping and adjusting the dose.
Sure, I consider the previously mentioned Eureka Mignon to be more of a true espresso grinder, but the Baratza grinder doesn’t really have any limitations in my eyes, either.
Since all the grind settings are on point and are also weighed (I really can’t stress that enough!), there’s no reason not to dive headfirst into all the preparation methods!
Still, at this point, I have to consider those of you who prefer the “classic” method of the Baratza Sette 270. Many of you find the 270Wi’s weighing feature to be somewhat error-prone and notice that you achieve more accurate grind results with the time version.
Yes, this may be true in many ways, but if you like to try different brewing methods of varying density, an active (!) weighing method is perfect.
Trust is good, but control is better! I’ve tested the accuracy of the Baratza Sette 270Wi’s weight-based dosing, and not with just any coffee scale, but with my freshly calibrated Acaia Lunar. With the grinder set at 9 grams, the result was accurate at 9.0 grams. When I set it to 35 grams, it clocked in at 34.9 grams. What a great result!
Baratza Sette 270Wi in Use
As I mentioned earlier, setting up the Baratza Sette 270Wi was a piece of cake. I was even able to try out a much wider variety of settings than I was able to in other coffee grinder reviews.
It was just too much fun, and I wasn’t even bothered by an overly noisy machine. There is a teeny-weeny catch to weighing. The weighing module from Acaia will probably force some of you to rethink things a bit.
A small aside to all newcomers: Acaia only manufactures coffee and barista scales, as well as matching accessories. So, this niche company knows exactly what it’s doing.
To make sure that the measurements are completely accurate, you have to be very careful in preventing the container, portafilter or filter from touching your work surface. Whatever you’re using, it should be suspended in the device holder, and you shouldn’t exert any pressure. It’s certainly a good test of your fine motor skills.
Otherwise, I can’t think of anything to complain about:
The coffee grounds are extremely uniform and attractive — professional quality for the home.
The small dead space is definitely noticeable during and after grinding — I looked closely and found practically no residue.
The ground coffee ends up in the filter or container and not on the table — thanks to a vertical ejection chute with optimal height.
Even the age-old problem of not being able to switch between grind settings quickly isn’t an issue here, thanks to an extremely well-labeled grinder scale.
Cleaning the Baratza Sette 270Wi
On and on, I go with the praise. I just can’t see what could stand in your way when it comes to cleaning because when the motor isn’t in the way, it makes it easier to get to all the places that matter for good grinder hygiene.
As always, if you disassemble the machine more than the manual says, you could void your warranty or worse, crush your hands — but I don’t think the grinder will blow up in your face in the near or distant future, so don’t worry too much about that.
Now, let’s discuss whether less dead space also means less need for cleaning the Baratza grinder.
Since all the usual places, such as the burrs and the transitions between the individual components, remain susceptible to deposits of rancid coffee oil, you should take care of them sooner rather than later. The 270Wi is simply too expensive and elegant to neglect.
Tip: grinder cleaning granules, brushes and the like are naturally more efficient for cleaning the Baratza Sette 270Wi than other machines with more bells and whistles.
The Pros and Cons of the Baratza Sette 270Wi Coffee Grinder
On the Baratza Sette series FAQ page, it says something that I find particularly interesting: “If you make 10 double espressos per day, the grinder will last 24 years.”
I don’t know about you, but I can imagine that enthusiastic users of the Baratza Sette 270Wi would like to use their machine for 100 years — not just 24. Then again, with that much caffeine every day, their hearts might not be able to take it.
My point is that this Baratza grinder is a real trailblazer in a sensible and innovative package. For the first time, the Sette 270Wi manages to bring home from the coffee shop all the necessary gadgetry for perfect coffee enjoyment.
Still, not even the Sette can change my opinion that there should be more than one coffee grinder in your kitchen. That’s why I use the 270Wi exclusively as an espresso grinder.
If you don’t want to embrace this (sensible) madness, though, the Baratza Sette is a perfect and very high-level all-rounder. I feel like I should emphasize its unique features more:
The grinding speed is enormous and is otherwise only found in the professional product range, where you can expect to see more zeros on the price tag.
Now, you could argue that a few extra seconds at home doesn’t really matter, and you’d be right — a few seconds of your time don’t matter that much. What does matter is the time a bean spends in the grinder. The less time, the more flavor.
An active weighing unit replaces a mandatory intermediate step for perfect coffee preparation.
A fellow coffee enthusiast asked: “Hey Arne, I already have a scale like that — even one from Acaia! So, why the hassle?” It’s simple. With an external scale, you often have to reckon with losses during decanting or weighing — lest we forget, every bit of dust matters.
The motor is behind the grinder, not under it.
I’ve already gone on and on about that, but the fact remains that I have yet to see a better idea to reduce dead space and minimize a potentially damaging heat source. Plus, it makes cleaning much easier.
Ultimately, the Baratza Sette 270Wi has only one drawback — its price. Then again, this actually isn’t a drawback at all if you consider all the advantages:
Unique design with “brains”
Stepless grinder adjustment with many setting options
Very easy operation
No dead space
Minimal static charge
Very homogeneous results at all settings
Very gentle grinding
Pleasant noise level
Easy to clean
Innovative device holder for portafilter, grounds bin and more
Easy to switch between different grind settings
Professional quality for home use
Conclusion: Is the Baratza Sette 270Wi the Right Coffee Grinder for You?
The coffee world is home to a loopy bunch of bean counters who would probably make their coffee with a microscope if they thought it would do any good. It’s exactly this group of people that will be quite happy with this Baratza coffee grinder.
best espresso grinder
That’s why it’s really no coincidence that our friends at Coffee Circle are barely keeping up with deliveries, elevating the Baratza Sette 270Wi (just like I’ve done) to the 2021 review winner among coffee grinders. After all, what else could possibly top it in the home barista sector?
It shows just what’s possible, and the price is really ridiculously low for such high performance if you think about it. If you disagree, you’re certainly better off with cheaper alternatives like the Eureka Mignon.
Still, with the $599.95 Baratza Sette 270Wi, I can promise you that you will not find all the disadvantages that usually come with coffee grinders under $1,000. I can’t say that about any other machine so far. In fact, rarely have I been so happy to give a new release full marks, and even more rarely do I put away machines I’ve grown to love to make room for a new star.
What about you? Are you also consumed by magnificent seven mania? Do you have any questions? Then feel free to leave me a comment! Thanks for reading!