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Baratza innovates yet again - the Forté

by Wes Farnell
© 2013 Eight Ounce Coffee
Posted: 03/22/13

As you may know, here at Eight Ounce Coffee, we love Baratza. They make high quality, made-to-last, amazing value grinders that are perfect for home use, and more than capable in light commercial applications. All of the grinders are dual purpose (except the Vario-W) and are designed to handle espresso to French press and everything in between. And on top of that, their service is second to none.

You would think that with an amazing product line and equally amazing reputation they might be tempted to sit back, relax, and watch the grinders fly out of the door. But you’d be wrong. They apparently get restless pretty easily, and I for one am thankful, as it gives birth to grinders like the Forté. I love both the Vario and the Vario-W: the Vario for its espresso skills and the Vario-W for its weight based wondrousness - but I wanted more. I wanted someone to lock these two in a room with a bottle of Premier Cru WD40 and some 80’s electronica setting the mood, and see what came out the other side. And this is the fruits of their forbidden love:

Baratza Forte

So what was the outcome of this mechanical trist?

  • A new DC motor with 70% more power than the current Vario and with twice the duty cycle (>50% run time)
  • All metal enclosure
  • All metal grinding chamber
  • New graphic touch-screen user interface
  • Integrated Weight and Time based grinding
  • Auto-dosing feature that converts weight to grind time, automatically, to allow precise direct grinding to portafilter
  • New belt drive system (to handle the additional power)
  • Metal detents for positive feel and setting of grind
  • New bean hopper with 20% greater capacity and bean shutoff feature

Whilst I haven’t tested this grinder yet (due July 2013) I can’t help but be exceptionally excited as it looks amazing, has both weight based and volumetric grinding, is good for espresso and brewed coffee and has a sexy new user interface. And one other small detail that addressed one of my only issues with the previous grinders: a bean shut off feature on the hopper.

I’ll be attending the SCAA show in Boston next month and am hoping to get some time playing with the Forté, so will be giving my initial impressions, along with some photos, then.

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