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If you are in the espresso or specialty coffee world you’ve probably heard about the Sette 270 grinder from Baratza.
Today an in-depth look at these unique new grinders. So I first showed you the Sette last April after they were introduced at the specialty coffee expo. They became available in limited numbers last fall and now production is in full swing. So availability it's much better.
The Sette comes in 2 variations the 270 which does highly accurate timed grinding and the 270W which grinds by weight and was awarded Best New Consumer Electrical Product by the SCAA.
As I quickly unpack both grinders what I’ll cover in this video is: Who these grinders are for, the unique way they operate, you’ll get a close-up looks at parts, grind quality, specifications, included accessories and of course you’ll see them in action including programming.
The Sette’s are focused at the fine to medium end of grinding. They are espresso specialists up to a medium grind for drip and pour over. Here’s a look at that grind range. On the left grinds from the finest setting. On the right, grinds from its coarsest setting. Looking at the finest grind, it’s powdery enough to choke a machine. At it’s coarsest you are in range for drip and pour over but not coarse enough for most press brewing.
Grind size is adjusted using 2 rings. The top is for macro adjustments and has 30 numbered settings. Below that is a micro adjustment ring with letters for reference. And in a first for Baratza, that micro adjustment is steeples - continuously variable for the precise grind control that’s so important when making espresso.
Now what really sets the the Sette apart from just about every other coffee grinder is the straight through design. That very unique design has some major benefits and a couple of minor drawbacks which I’ll get to in a minute.
The Sette’s use 40 millimeter conical steel burrs. The real trick is spinning the outer burr and that allows for the straight through design. It also does a better job of grabbing the beans and getting them into the burrs, this and high RPMs means very fast grinding rated at 3.5 to 5.5 grams per second depending on grind size and our tests back up that rating.
Another benefit of the straight thru design is extremely fluffy, virtually clump free grinds. In most other grinders, ground coffee is pushed out which leads to clumping. In the Sette, ground coffee just falls out nice and evenly. When grinding into a portafilter this makes for uniform distribution, a grind in your portafilter that’s naturally even in density. And that should help eliminate channeling when brewing espresso.
So a lot of benefits to the straight thru design but there are couple of things to be aware of. First is noise. With the burrs more open to the outside world the Sette is a little louder. Second thing to be aware of; If you tend to do larger doses the Sette produces a grind that’s so fluffy that it’s difficult to do say 18 grams in a double shot basket without some spill.
And one last thing. Due to its design the burrs in the Sette are not user replaceable. The upper spinning burr is manufactured into a single assembly which contains the gearbox and motor as well.
So let’s take a tour of the grinder. I’ll start at the top and work down. The bean hopper has a capacity of about 10 ounces or 275 grams. A key on the hopper turn to shut-off bean flow which makes for easy mess free switching of beans.
The control panels of the 270 and 270W look the same with 3 presets for time on the 270 and 3 weight presets on the 270W. Time or weight is programmed using up and down buttons. On the 270, grind time can be set in increments of 100th of a second below 10 seconds and a tenth of a second when above 10 seconds. Just set the time you want and press and hold a preset until the display flashes and that amount is stored. Programming weight on the 270W works the same and is adjustable to a tenth of a gram.
Both panels have a stop button which stops grinding. Next to that a play/pause button which pauses and resumes grinding. If you press and hold that button the grinder enters manual mode.
The inner non-rotating burr is easily accessed by turning grind size adjustment until the blue notch aligns with the blue arrow on the case. Pull down and the burr comes out as a unit with the grind size adjustment assembly.
The Settes accommodate portafilters or the included grounds bin on a unique set of arms. Push in and turn the right arm to adjust between the two positions. For portafilters a swing out arm holds the top lip in place. The arm height is adjustable using an included allen wrench to match up with different portafilter sizes. The support arms of both models have wide rubber guides to support all common portafilter sizes. In wide configuration those arms hold other popular brewers like Hario drippers.
The only real difference between the 270 and 270W is the Acaia Scale built into the device holder of the 270W. When you place a portafilter, the included grounds bin or other device on the arms the scale automatically tares prior to grinding. And weight based grinding is remarkably accurate with a 20 milliseconds response time when weight is reached. I did find in my testing that it often overshot by a few tenths of a gram. But keep in mind that for say a 15 gram double that tenth of a gram represents one one-hundred fiftieth of the total dose so it’s rather insignificant. And honestly for as fast as the 270 grinds that accuracy is pretty darn incredible.
To compare the accuracy of the 270’s timed grinding to grinding by weight on the 270W I ground 5 times for 5 seconds at the finest setting and weighed the results. The maximum variation was 4 tenths of a gram. Not quite as accurate as the 270W, but again fairly impressive and in my experience similar in accuracy to timed grinders selling for 3 times as much.
At the bottom of the 270’s there’s a rubberized removable grounds tray. The exterior housing is all plastic. Included with both models are Allen wrenches for adjusting the portafilter arm and to remove the inner cone burr. Also included are 2 shims which can be used if needed to recalibrate the grind finer if needed after break-in with the first few pounds of coffee.
I love the speed and accuracy of both timed and weight based grinding of the Sette 270 and 270W. Also love the near zero grind retention. These grinders produce incredibly fluffy clump free grinds. They are a bit louder than most grinders and the exterior is completely plastic. But, that’s typical in this price range. Now the Settes are mainly intended as a home use grinder. But some may try to use it in a commercial setting. If that’s you, Baratza says they are designed to grind a maximum of 2 pounds of coffee per day with an espresso duty cycle of 10% meaning the grinder should rest for 60 seconds after 6 seconds of grinding for espresso. At coarser settings they say to grind a maximum of 150 grams at a time with a minute rest before grinding again.
Now stay tuned in the near future we’ll do some taste tests putting the Sette up against some of our favorite prosumer and commercial level grinders. That’s the Sette 270 and 270W from Baratza. They’re available now at Whole Latte Love.
Thanks for reading, and I hope you’ll come back soon for more of the good stuff on everything coffee brought to you by Whole Latte Love.