If you enjoy making espresso at home, there’s one thing you’ll be acutely aware of – a decent coffee grinder is one of the most important pieces of equipment you can invest in for a consistent and beautiful beverage.
Many companies make good domestic espresso grinders, but Baratza is one of the standouts. One reason is that the company, based in the USA, specializes in manufacturing coffee grinders. The results are products lauded for their reliability and quality. The company’s customer support is another thing coffee experts love about Baratza, meaning if you do encounter any issues, you can get the assistance you need to rectify them.
This guide will detail the pros and cons of the Baratza Sette 270, a hugely popular entry-level espresso grinder. It will also touch on the company’s Sette 270wi (a model for using weighted dosing rather than timed dosing) and the more budget-friendly Sette 30. Hopefully, you’ll have a clearer idea as to which one is best for your requirements by the end. Let’s begin.
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Baratza Sette 270 Conical Burr Grinder Review
Baratza Sette 270 Conical Burr Coffee Grinder
- Intuitive controls and aesthetically pleasing design
- Extremely low grind retention, perfect for single dosing
- Incredibly rapid coffee grinding
- Straightforward process with a stepless grind adjustment mechanism for fine-tuning
- A good price considering the grind quality
- It is quite loud
- Lots of plastic parts
- It is intended for espresso, so it isn’t as adept at coarser grinds
Build Quality And Design
The Sette has been available for several years. However, despite this, its appearance not only looks contemporary but still seems more modern than some newer models. It will look great with any high-end espresso machine. The design incorporates a functional and elegant “7” shape when observed from the side. This shape explains the name “Sette,” which is Italian for “Seven.”
On the side of most coffee grinders is a chute. However, the Sette’s “7” shape means that the grounds can fall straight from the burrs to the portafilter or grounds bin, preventing retention.
A 10 oz hopper sits on top of the Sette 270. Meanwhile, on the front is a panel for using the grinder and timer settings. The display is backlit, and although it’s not as visually appealing as those on more modern coffee grinders, it is easy to use and practical. The time is adjustable to one-tenth of a second, which represents impressive precision. Meanwhile, the buttons resemble those you’d find on a fairly old DVD player – so, there is “Play,” “Pause,” and “Stop,” which offers welcome simplicity.
The device is predominantly plastic, so if you’re in the market for a grinder that uses more high-end materials, the Sette 270 won’t be for you. However, if you can look beyond that, it’s worth keeping in mind that Baratza has excellent customer service, while the quality of the build will ensure the device works for several years.
Burr And Motor Quality
The Sette 270 and Sette 270wi are equipped with 40mm conical burrs courtesy of Switzerland-based burr manufacturer Etzinger.
The conical burr design is intriguing and game-changing. In a standard grinder, the outer burr stays still while the inner burr turns. However, the opposite is true of the Baratza Sette. The outer burr has a far larger surface area, and it is that burr doing the spins which lead to such rapid results. But how quick is it at grinding? The Sette grinds at between 3.5g and 5.5g per second, which is faster than many commercial grinders. As a result, it grinds 15 to 18 grams of coffee beans in only 4-6 seconds for a double espresso shot when set for espresso.
The device also uses a DC motor with high torque that has an automatic thermal cut-off switch.
Grind Settings And Quality
The Sette 270 appears almost identical to the Sette 30. However, there is a big difference. The Sette 30 has 30 macro grind settings. However, the Sette 270, while also having 30-click grind settings at the top, has a stepless micro-adjustment ring underneath that offers nine micro settings (for a total of 270, hence the name). That’s a bit misleading since the lower ring is stepless, so you have far more than 270 options. Such a wide grind range has you covered for most brew methods.
The most important thing to be aware of is that this offers far more control, meaning the grind size can be tweaked much more for a perfect espresso. For example, if you wanted to increase the shot time by half a second or a second, you can twist the lower ring to fine-tune. This makes dialing in far easier.
When you alter the macro setting between 25 and 30, the Sette can produce coarser grinds for French press or drip coffee. However, the calibration of the S1 burr (which the Sette 270 has) ensures a fine grind, so it isn’t great at the coarser grinds. However, Baratza also has an S2 brew grind burr as an accessory, which produces fewer fines and isn’t as sharp on edge. Still, if you need to get a uniform grind for other coffee brewing methods, we recommend either the Baratza Virtuoso+ or Baratza Encore.
When you’re using the Sette 270 for fine grinds, the ground coffee will fall straight from the burrs to the portafilter, as there isn’t a chute. This design leads to an excellent, fluffy grind that you can easily move and tamp in a portafilter for greater consistency.
Grind Settings For Various Brewing Methods
- Espresso: 3-9
- AeroPress: 10-15
- Pour Over: 13-20
- Drip Coffee: 15-25
- French Press: 30 and over
It’s just the setting for the macro adjustment, you can also adjust the lower ring to fine-tune your coffee grounds for a specific brew method.
Ease Of Use
It’s easy to use the Sette 270. The device has a control panel with clear buttons, and its three preset menus are helpful and let you set a dosing time for each method. First, choose a preset button and press the up or down arrow to change seconds. Then, push and hold down the preset button for three seconds to save the setting.
The time setting is precise. While the Sette 270 doesn’t offer the weight accuracy of the 270wi, the consistency offered with dosings by time is so good for espresso that it’s unlikely you’ll notice any difference in taste.
Grind adjustment is also easy. There are clear marks on the macro and micro dials. So, you can easily replicate and swap from a fine espresso setting to a coarse one without detecting a difference in extraction. It’s simple and intuitive.
The portafilter holder’s design is also versatile. You can move the arms by pressing them in and twisting them outwards and inwards. This flexibility ensures it fits any grounds bin, portafilter, or pour-over dripper.
As we covered earlier, the grinds fall straight from the burrs to the basket, leaving fluffy grinds. This design also accounts for the device’s low retention – one of the lowest around. Having virtually zero retention is great for domestic espresso. It minimizes stale grounds from previous use. Also, it helps prevent waste because you don’t need to purge old coffee grounds whenever you alter the grind setting.
Cleaning And Maintenance
Cleaning the burrs couldn’t be much simpler. You can take off the hopper from the top of the device and take out the burr set. To do this, twist it all the way coarse and a little further, then the burrs will fall into your hands. A brush will suffice for removing build-ups of oil or dust.
Aligning the burrs is vital, but it’s also very straightforward. First, align the blue knots on the burr set with the blue mark located on the right of the grinder. Next, push it up, then twist it counterclockwise. The device will grab, at which point you need to tighten it.
Value For Money
The Sette 270 is mid-priced for consumer grinders. It is more expensive than certain popular conical burr grinders, including the Breville Smart Grinder Pro. However, it is cheaper than espresso grinders that have larger flat burrs – for example, grinders in the Eureka Mignon series.
The Sette 30 is cheaper but doesn’t allow for as much tweaking of grind sizes. Meanwhile, the Sette 270wi is a great option for dosing according to weight, but it costs more. Therefore, we consider the Sette 270 the best home burr grinder for espresso, considering the price.
The Sette 270 may be quick, but that leads to the grinder being noisy, so using it at the beginning of the day or late at night might wake other people up.
Another issue that might put off some home baristas is the lack of premium materials in the build, with much of the device made of plastic.
Because the device has been on the market for so long, another small issue is the panel, which, as we have already noted, is not quite as slick or contemporary as many other kitchen appliances.
Finally, the Sette 270 is built with espresso grinding in mind, so while it can produce coarse grinds for the likes of drip coffee and French press, it won’t do these as well.
Baratza Sette 270 vs Baratza Sette 270wi vs Sette 30
The Baratza Sette series has three models. Each has the “7” design, but they have very different prices. So, let’s examine all three to find out which is best for you.
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Sette 30 vs 270 And 270wi
All three devices have 40mm conical steel burrs built for espresso grinding. The Sette 30 is the cheapest of the three models, with 30 grind settings (as the name suggests). However, as we mentioned earlier, what sets the Sette 270 and 270wi apart is that in addition to the 30 settings, there is a stepless fine-tuning grind adjustment option, bringing the number of grind settings to 270.
The Sette 270 and Sette 270wi have a portafilter holder that is adjustable for a dripper, grounds bin, or portafilter. However, the Sette 30’s portafilter holder can’t be adjusted, which creates hassle when changing from one grounds container to another. Another drawback of the Sette 30 over the Sette 270 models is it only has one preset menu rather than three. However, where it comes to the grind speed, capacity, and dimensions, each model is the same.
Sette 270 vs Sette 270wi
The most significant difference between two devices is that the Sette 270 doses by time, while the Sette 270wi does so by weight. There are, however, a few other small differences. For example, the RPM of the Sette 270wi’s motor is a little slower. While this might seem to be a disadvantage, it does mean that it is quieter than the Sette 270. Meanwhile, the Sette 270wi is more pricey. However, for the extra cost, you get more precise dosing.
Which Is The Best Model For You?
If you require a grinder for espresso or brew coffee and are not too bothered about using a pressurized portafilter or tweaking the grind size, the Sette 30 will offer all you need. However, if you intend to dial in and need a grinder with plenty of scope for adjusting grind size, the Sette 270 will suffice as long as you don’t mind being restricted to timed grinding. Finally, if you want excellent grinding results and you’ve been weighing espresso doses using a separate scale, the 270wi will remove much of the hassle and serve you well.
Regardless of which Baratza Sette model you choose, you can be confident that it is an excellent espresso grinder for any beginner to making espresso at home. It pairs well with any espresso machines.
The Sette 270 is a reliable and high-quality espresso grinder that benefits from a fairly attractive price, low retention, rapid grinding speed, and fine-tune adjustment mechanism. Better still, the grind quality is excellent.
Don’t discount the importance of great customer service either, or the fact that Baratza is an established company dedicated to making grinders. The fact that the Sette 270 has been on the market for a few years and remains popular also speaks to its quality and reliability,
There are drawbacks – namely, the noise level, amount of plastic used in the build, inconsistencies with coarser grinds, and a slightly dated control panel. However, if none of these issues is a big deal for you, the grinder will serve you well for years and do a great job at grinding consistently and efficiently.