08 Mar Review of the Baratza Sette 270: an espresso grinder with an innovative design
Launched in 2016, the Sette series of grinders from Baratza disrupted the industry of the residential espresso grinder. Offering a grind quality equivalent to grinders costing twice the price, a grind speed similar to commercial grinders, and a completely different design than anything else on the market, we understand the huge hit those espresso grinders made at their launch. Below, we explain why the Baratza coffee grinders from the Sette series are the best you can buy in this price range.
Sette 30 vs Sette 270 vs Sette 270W vs Sette 270Wi: what are all those letters and numbers?
All grinders from the Baratza Sette series are made with the same burrs, the same chassis and the same design. The grind quality from these 4 grinders will be identical. The differences come from the functionalities.
The Sette 30 is the entry level grinder of the series, with a possibility of 30 adjustments, and memory for a single timed dose. Very acceptable if you’re on a budget, but if your perfect grind size is in between two steps, you will never achieve it!
The Sette 270 adds infinite micro-adjustments between each macro-adjustment steps, so that you can always dial in the perfect grind size, and 3 memory buttons for timed doses, which can be useful if you often switch from single to double doses.
The Sette 270W add the possibility to dose the coffee by weight, which is quite revolutionary. A scale is integrated to the portafilter holder, and stops the grind precisely at the right moment according to the required dose weight. This model is discontinued, and has been replaced by the 270Wi. Note that it’s possible to upgrade the control panel of the 270W to a 270Wi control panel to gain some additional features and performance.
Finally, the Sette 270Wi is the improved version of the 270W. More than 40 improvements have been made to the design to improve the accuracy of the weight dosing mechanism. For example, the detection and exclusion of anomalies caused by vibrations improves the precision of dosage if someone walks heavily near the grinder while it grinds.
In the end, we chose to keep the Sette 270 in stock because, in our opinion, it offers the best ratio between quality, features and price. Even though it’s really interesting to be able to dose by weight on the Sette 270Wi, we find that a timed dose is precise enough for the needs of most people, with the additional advantage of simplifying the operation of the grinder. The dosage by weight complexifies the operation of the grinder because you have to take the scale to the portafilter each time you use it. Note that it’s not possible to dose by time on the Sette 270W and 270Wi. Hence, the following text is on the Sette 270, but most conclusions will be applicable to the other models in the series.
Quality of the grind
We were very impressed with the grind produced by the Baratza Sette 270 and its Etzinger AP 40mm steel conical burrs. Despite a little clumping typical of conical burrs, the quality of the grinds was equivalent to a high-end residential grinder like a Rocket Fausto or a commercial grinder like a Fiorenzato F64e. After some adjustments, we made a double espresso with a 2:1 ratio (18g of coffee for 36g of espresso) with our most popular espresso blend, the Cremone, on our Rocket RE-A espresso machine. We tasted what we expected to taste from our flagship blend: an extremely balanced espresso, with notes of dark chocolate and a flowery finale, lots of body and dense crema. We couldn’t pick this espresso apart from one produced by much more expensive grinders!
Speed of grinding
Even though grinding speed is not necessarily the most important feature in a home espresso grinder, the Baratza Sette 270 has very impressive speed. Thanks to an innovative design where the outer burr rotates around the fixed center burr at high speeds, it can grind an 18g double dose of espresso in 6 seconds. This is roughly equivalent to the Fiorenzato F64e commercial grinder!
Ease of use
The Baratza Sette 270 has tons of functionalities, but still manages to be very user friendly. The grind size macro-adjustment can be changed using a lever pointing to grind size numbers, and the grind size micro-adjustment can be changed by rotating the base of the coffee chute, with levels indicated by a letter. This way makes it easy to remember previous grind settings and understand the selected grind size (for example, 7b is finer than 7f which is finer than 8a).
The timed doser is also very simple to use. Simply choose the time required with the up and down arrows, and keep one of the three memory buttons pressed for a few seconds. The display will flash, indicating the time has been stored.
Another appreciated detail is the possibility to close the bottom of the hopper thanks to the shut0off key on the side of the hopper. This lets you change the type of coffee or clean the burrs more easily without having to put the grinder upside down.
Lastly, the supporting arms are easily adjustable to go between portafilter width and coffee bin width. The 3rd arm that supports the top of the portafilter also allows hands free grinding, which might not be necessary considering the grind speed, but still a nice detail.
Quality of construction and design
The Baratza Sette 270 is housed in a very well assembled plastic casing, with some tactile elements like the grind adjustment ring and the hopper shutoff key made of metal, which gives a premium feel to the product despite the extensive use of plastic. But you don’t buy the Sette for the materials: you buy it for the features and innovative mechanical design.
The straight through design of the coffee chute is quite revolutionary. Actually, there really isn’t a coffee chute: the whole beans are sitting right on top of the burrs, and the ground coffee falls straight down from the burrs without contacting any other surface. This design has two main advantages: the first is that coffee retention is virtually non-existent. There’s between 0.2g and 0.5g of coffee left inside the mechanism between doses. The second one is in the ease of cleaning of the burrs: you can remove it in less than 5 seconds without any tools!
We must note the phenomenal repairability of the Sette 270, just like all other Baratza grinders. It’s easily repairable thanks to the use of screws instead of clips or adhesives, and spare parts are quickly purchased directly from Baratza.
How to maintain the Baratza Sette 270
We noted earlier how easy it is to clean the Baratza Sette 270 grinder. There only regular maintenance you have to make is cleaning the burrs, approximately once per month. Even though some people prefer to use cleaning tablets such as Grindz, we think these are superfluous for the Sette 270 considering how fast it is to clean.
To clean the grinder, start by unplugging the unit. Then, close the coffee hopper by rotating the coffee shutoff key on the right side of the hopper. Then, turn the adjustment ring counter clockwise (towards a coarser grind) until it stops. The center conical burr and adjustment mechanism will drop straight down. Be careful not to drop it!
Now clean the center burr with a stiff brush, and the adjustment mechanism with a soft brush or compressed air. Do the same thing with the outer burr, still inside the grinder. Then, reinstall the center burr and adjustment mechanism inside the grinder by aligning the blue tab on the burr assembly to the blue mark on the grinder, then turn clockwise (towards a finer grind) until you are at the 30 mark. Reopen the coffee hopper by rotating back the coffee shutoff key, then grind coffee while you adjust the grind back to what it was before cleaning. Voila! You now have clean burrs.
If your budget for a coffee grinder below 1 000 $, the Sette 270 is by far the best home espresso grinder you can buy. You only need to decide whether timed dosage is enough for your needs, or if you want to splurge for the super precise weighted dosage of the 270Wi. We prefer the timed dose Sette 270 for its ease of use and unbeatable price.
Latest and greatest from Baratza, the Sette 720 offers a grind of exceptional quality and consistency for espresso. Offering superior control over the grind size with 30 levels of macro-adjustment and an infinite amount of micro-adjustments, coupled with a timer precise to the hundredth of a second, you’ll be able to adjust your grind and your dose perfectly as to attain espresso extraction nirvana every morning.