For the love of espresso, part 2...

For the love of espresso, part 2
It took longer than I wanted, but I'm finally fully equipped to make killer espresso.
A few weeks ago, I posted about my love/obsession with espresso and my new fantabulous espresso machine. Immediately I tasted the difference. The only problem? My current grinder couldn't grind fine enough to pull a decent shot. I was now in the market for a new coffee grinder.

I read and researched (fortunately some research was already done because I had had the suspicion my little Cuisinart grinder wouldn't be up to the task of a new machine) and just a few days after buying my Breville Dual Boiler, I ordered a Baratza Vario Ceramic Burr Grinder. I waited impatiently, and finally, it arrived. I had a brand new bag of my favorite beans and I was ready to get grinding. I added beans to the hopper, ran a 10 second grind time, and had the most gorgeous smelling, perfectly even fine grind. Then, disaster. I tried grinding again and it wouldn't grind, it would hum, but that's all. I went from over the moon ecstatic to downright depressed and frustrated in 2 seconds flat.

I called Baratza, fortunately the customer service for the company is lovely, and told them my problem. I even held the phone to the grinder so they could hear the hum. No problem, they said. They would send me a replacement grinder. All I'd have to do is pop my current one in the box they sent my replacement in and affix the pre-printed label they promised to include. Seemed easy enough, and I was very psyched that they were happy to send my replacement first (some companies will only send you a replacement after you've sent them the defective machine) although the idea of waiting a whole week before I could use fresh ground coffee was still enough to bring a tear to my eye.

Well, the week passed. I made decent espresso using pre-ground coffee (the horror!) until my replacement Baratza arrived via UPS (I had been pacing my house all afternoon the day it arrived) and I pulled it out of the box, uber excited, yet terrified that there would be more problems.

Thing of beauty!
What a relief, it worked like a charm! It honestly is magical, if I say so myself. There are 10 grind settings on the right from fine to coarse, and each setting is divided into 23 mini settings so you can dial in your grind exactly to the accuracy you want. I'm gonna sound like a geek here, but that means I can change the grind during the life of the bean! For example, with brand new roasted beans, the setting of 1K was way too fine to pull a shot, I had to grind at 1R. But day 2, I could make the beans just a hair finer so that as the beans age, they still give me the very best possible shot. Turns out, after a week open, that same 1K that didn't work day 1 works perfectly. Crazy, right? The dosing is by grind time and is fully programmable, and I have to say, I'm in love.

I also have to commend Baratza, while the waiting sucked, everything went exactly as promised, returning my defective grinder was easy as peeling a label, so right now, I am in highly caffeinated heaven.


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