Baratza has always been one of the big pioneers in espresso grinders, throwing out innovation after innovation and making our coffee a little bit better every time. We really appreciate that. Since their inception in 1999, they've come up with a lot of hits, like the Encore or Virtuoso. In 2016, we saw the start of the Sette Series, with the Sette 270W taking the award for Best New Product for Consumer Coffee or Tea Preparation and Serving Equipment (Electrical) from SCAA. If you've been looking for a new grinder to upgrade your burgeoning coffee bar, you may have seen one of Bartaza's Sette grinders. Today, we'll take an in-depth look at the Sette 30 AP, Sette 270, and the new Sette 270Wi. We'll parse what makes them great, what sets them apart, and how they compare.
Let's start off with the Sette 30 AP, with the lightest price tag of the bunch at $249. This grinder is actually kind of a steal, really. For one, you get a grinder from Baratza, a respectable brand in its own right. As well, you get a powerful entry level espresso grinder. Let's unpack what this means.
We'll begin with what it's made of. The Sette 30 AP owes its name to two key elements: the number of grind settings and the burr set. There are 30 grind settings to choose from, with a range 230 to 950 microns, a range that all grinders in the Sette line share. This is a pretty generous range to consider, nearly pushing the Sette line into the All-Purpose Grinder category. You'll find that you can get decent results for drip and pour over, but the Settes won't grind quite coarse enough for French press.
The Sette 30 AP, like the rest, leans more heavily toward espresso. This is especially the case with its 40 mm steel AP burrs which Baratza designed specifically for fine, fluffy, consistent grinds. In addition, the Sette 30 AP can chew through 18 grams of coffee in about 5 seconds, a wicked speed achieved by Baratza's revolutionary straight-thru design. Compare this to an E37S at $1400, which would grind in 3.6 seconds. Not a single gram is wasted with the Sette line's zero retention grinding, and efficiency is doubled with a fixed inner burr.
For a full video review on the Sette 30 AP, click here.
So what makes this a steal? Well, consider that good espresso grinders don't come cheap. Next, consider that the Sette 30 AP shares many features with its high priced companions, the Sette 270, and the Sette 270Wi. You'll enjoy a great deal of the performance afforded by that shared technology.
Where the Sette 30 AP differs can be found in functionality and, to a small extent, the internals. All the grinders in the Sette line employ 30 grind settings, but the Sette 30 AP does not include the micro adjustments capable of the Sette 270 and Sette 270Wi. For programmability, the Sette 30 AP offers a single grind time setting, adjustable within 0.01 seconds up to 10 seconds. After you hit 10 seconds, you can adjust by one second increments. The burr carrier is plastic, and so is the hopper stopper key and the portafilter holding forks, which also need to be removed and reinserted to adjust. It's an easy enough task, but you may want the rotating metal forks the other Settes employ.
The 270th Step Up
Certainly, the Sette 30 AP is a fantastic grinder especially at its price-point, but if you want to take your espresso even further you'll want to take a look at the Sette 270, priced at $349. All of the features that make the Sette 30 AP a solid buy are also present in the Sette 270, and the extra $130 will net you some marked benefits. First, the burr carrier and portafilter hooks are metal. The hooks can rotate and you won't need to remove them to make any adjustments. By rotating the hooks, you'll have room to place the included ground coffee bin, as well as Pour Over brewers like the Hario V60.
More practically, however, are the nine micro adjustments available to the Sette 270, which is also how the grinder got its name. With the 30 macro settings combined with these micro adjustments, you'll leap from 30 settings to essentially 270. I say "essentially" because these micro adjustments are actually stepless, which provides a huge amount of room for preference. You can really find the sweet spot, now. All you need to tinker with after that is grind time, and the Sette 270 can save up to three different grind times you can freely switch between using dedicated buttons on the grinder's face. The Sette 270 is even more of an espresso specialist than the Sette 30 AP, and by a wide margin. This may even be enough for you, but if you're nuts about coffee like us, keep reading.
For a full video review on the Sette 270, click here.
Your New Mainstay
This is where things get spicy. The Sette 270Wi. Priced at $549, you might be wondering why the Sette 270Wi is the most expensive of the bunch. Well money talks, and for $549 you won't just be saying you're done with the cafe, you'll be saying, "I am the cafe!" So what's new here? To put it simply, it takes everything good from the Sette 270 and adds a whole lot of nuance. Baratza says the "i" stands for intelligence and, considering the features we'll dive into, "intelligent" is an apt descriptor.
The cornerstone of the Sette 270Wi can be found in its Acaia weight-based dosing technology. Where the previous models would measure a dose with grind time in seconds, the Sette 270Wi actively weighs your dose while grinding. Acaia's tech affords a level of precision and stability that actually accounts for vibrations in the room around you to better ensure an accurate dose.
Another big shift in functionality is the automatically programmed offset, which tracks and learns from your grind setting, beans, and dose weight. With previous models, you would need to adjust the offset whenever you changed grind setting, beans, or dose to ensure accurate results.The Sette 270Wi does all of that thinking for you. This machine learning is especially interesting when you take into account the three programmable settings you can save. The Sette 270Wi will learn and perform accordingly, depending on which of the three programs you've selected.
All of this amounts to one of the most accurate grinders we've had the pleasure of testing. The Sette 270Wi's response time of 20ms and accuracy to within a tenth of a gram are truly impressive feats.
Perhaps you're thinking that's not enough. You might be thinking that you also want a neat Quick Burst feature, which allows for minute doses to top off your portafilter without committing to an entire grind cycle, and a Bluetooth connection for software updates from your Apple phone or tablet. Well, the Sette 270Wi has all that too.
It's our professional opinion that Baratza may as well throw an n on the end to make it the Sette 270Win.
For a full video review on the new Sette 270Wi, click here.
To sum up, the Sette 30 AP will be the first stop for anyone just getting into espresso who wants a capable grinder without shelling out the big bucks. Upgrade to the Sette 270 for a more rebust grinder that lets you take your espresso a good deal further. Finally, if you're a fan of Baratza and you want their best grinding tech on your counter and the best espresso in your cup, look no further than the Sette 270Wi. If you have any questions about Baratza or their Sette Series, leave a comment below and we'll get you the info you need to know. For now, keep a look out for our next post!