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Baratza Forte vs Mazzer Mini Grinders Comparison Review 2018

Baratza Forte vs Mazzer Mini Comparison Table


Which Is Better?

Baratza Forte vs Mazzer Mini Grinders

Last update: June 22, 2018 8:24 am
Last update: June 22, 2018 8:24 am

Overall Rating

Capacity

Grind Settings

Ease of Use

Extras & Options

Summary

A beautiful blend of form and function, featuring well-implemented technology.

An excellent, low-tech machine that’s easy to use, but a little harder to master.

Recommended For

Anyone, but it’s especially kind to novice baristas, and has enough capacity to handle most small business needs.

More experienced baristas.  Users who care more about grind quality than quantity.  People on a budget.

Do you live in a household filled with rabid coffee drinkers?  Does coffee play a prominent role in your business or busy office?

If you answered yes to either of those questions, and if you want to maximize the flavor of the drinks you produce, then you need a high quality, commercial grade grinder, and if that’s true, then you’re going to love this piece!

In the sections that follow, we’ll compare the Baratza Forte vs Mazzer mini. Two astonishingly good grinders with the capacity and capability to handle just about anything you can throw at it.

We’ll go through both of these machines feature by feature, comparing and contrasting in order to give you a good feel for which of these might be the better fit for your home or business.  Ready to get started?  Let’s get right to it!

A Comparison of the Mazzer Mini vs Baratza Forte

Form Factor, Footprint & Aesthetic

Both models sport a similar look and overall design, dressed in handsome silver with a large, clear hopper mounted at the top and a control panel on their front faces, but of the two, the Forte is significantly smaller, with dimensions of just 5.5” x 5” x 14,” and weighing 13 pounds. 

Contrast this to the Mazzer Mini, which measures 15” x 10” x20” and weighs a hefty 35 pounds.

If space is at a premium, then the Forte is the natural choice.  Even if the Mazzer Mini is more to your liking, it’s not so large that finding a permanent home for it will be especially challenging, nor is it so heavy that if you find yourself having to move it from time to time, you’ll struggle to do so.

Hopper Capacity

On paper, the Mazzer Mini seems to win this category, hands down.  It’s a larger machine and boasts a 20.8-ounce bean hopper at the top, compared with the Forte’s 10-ounce stock hopper.

However, it’s not quite that simple.  With the Forte, you can buy an optional extension for the hopper, which increases its capacity to 1.2 pounds, which is impressive, given the small footprint of the unit.

Yes, that increases the price modestly, and the Forte already costs a third more than the Mazzer Mini, but if capacity matters, then that’s the way to go.  If 20.8 ounces is enough for your purposes, then the Mazzer is the logical (and more cost-effective) option.

An image  Mazzer Mini's 20.8-ounce bean hopper
An image Mazzer Mini's stainless steel grinder

Burr Configuration and Materials

Here’s where things get interesting.  Coffee aficionados tend to have strong opinions about what kind of grinding burrs are better, and these two models give you a clear choice.

The Forte comes equipped with ceramic burrs in a flat array.  The Mazzer Mini utilizes stainless-steel burrs in a flat array.  Which one’s better depends on who you ask, but in general, here are the key points to keep in mind:

Stainless-steel grinders tend to produce a more consistent grind.  The difference is slight, but it’s present, and if quality is your utmost concern, that’s probably the way you want to go.

On the other hand, stainless-steel, being metal, tends to heat up with use, so if you’re grinding in volume, then you run the risk of burning some of your fresh grounds, which will render them useable and increase your costs.

Ultimately, it comes down to how you plan on using the machine.

Grind Settings

This is another interesting point of departure between the two designs.  

An image Baratza Forte espresso grinder

The Forte uses predefined grind settings, which makes it easy for novice baristas to use.  It’s just a matter of dialing in your desired grind by number and hitting the button.

While some people don’t like predefined grind settings, mostly that comes down to the fact that most grinders don’t offer very many settings to choose from, which limits your options.  The Forte handily gets around this options by offering ten different “macro” settings, and another 26 “micro” grind settings, which allows for an incredible amount of fine-tuning.

The Mazzer Mini, on the other hand, is a stepless grinder, which gives you unlimited freedom to dial in exactly the grind you want.  There’s no need to worry if or whether the manufacturer’s predefined settings align with your preferences or desires because there aren’t any.

Having said that though, a stepless grinder comes with a learning curve, which makes it a challenge for novice baristas to use effectively, so here, what matters most is understanding your skill level and buying the machine that best compliments you, or the primary users of the machine.

High Tech vs Low Tech

This is yet another intriguing difference between the two models.  The Mazzer Mini is an analog machine.  No fancy electronics present.  Everything is dial and knob-controlled.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing.  No advanced electronics means that there’s less stuff to break, which makes the Mini an incredibly robust and long-lasting machine.

Using the simple controls on the Mazzer Mini, you can adjust the dose to ground between 5.5g and 8g.

Contrast that with the Baratza Forte, which has a delightful array of bells and whistles and is fully programmable.  You can grind any amount of beans you like.  Just set the amount, select your grind setting, and go.

Use and Cleaning

An image Baratza Forte, an espresso grinder which is dial and knob-controlled

Both machines are simple to operate and clean, although there are a few (slight) differences.

On the whole, the Mazzer Mini, being analog, is easier to use and master.  There’s really no learning curve because the controls are simple and intuitive.

The Forte, being more high tech, does have a bit of a learning curve, but it is slight, and the machine won’t take you very long to master.  A quick read through the user manual should be about all it takes to get the hang of using it.

While both machines are easy to clean, the Forte has a slight edge, in that it comes with an automatic cleaning cycle.  Just pick up a supply of inexpensive cleansing tabs, pop one in when you need to clean the machine, press the button and let it do its thing. 

The tablet will dislodge any grounds that get stuck in the teeth of the burrs, and once it’s finished, the user manual recommends grinding 30g of coffee to remove any residual cleansing tab particles so the flavor of your next batch of grounds is not affected.

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Pros & Cons of the Mazzer Mini vs Baratza Forte  

These are two very different grinders, designed with two very different segments of the market.

The Forte is your grinder of choice if you:

  • coffee
    Are a novice barista (predefined grind settings)
  • coffee
    Plan to use the machine to grind bulk quantities of coffee
  • coffee
    Are looking for a machine with a relatively high hopper capacity
  • coffee
    Have limited countertop space (small footprint)

On the other hand, the Mazzer Mini is the best fit if you:

  • coffee
    Want maximum grind control (stepless, and stainless-steel burrs)
  • coffee
    Are a more experienced barista (again, stepless being somewhat harder to use for beginners)
  • coffee
    Are on a budget (the Mini is significantly cheaper)

Baratza Forte vs Mazzer Mini Review Conclusion

And that concludes our side by side comparison of the Baratza Forte vs Mazzer mini commercial grinders.  As we said at the start, both of these are great machines, but given our personal preferences, we’d have to give a slight nod to the Baratza Forte and declare it as the overall winner

We understand, however, that every user is different, and in the final analysis, the Mazzer Mini might be a better overall fit for you, given your skill level and how you plan on using the machine.  If your choice comes down to one of these two though, you won’t be disappointed with either.  They both come highly recommended.

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Sources & Resources

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Looking for a great grinder for your home or small business?  Check out our Baratza Forte vs Mazzer mini review.  Both are great choices! @Baratza
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