It’s been I don’t know how many years since we first discovered the Baratza Encore entry level coffee grinder here at T&T, and to this day we still love it for our pour-over, AeroPress, and general press coffee needs. However, there’s one area where it simply doesn’t excel, and that’s grinding for espresso.
The harsh reality of making espresso is that, by its very nature, it’s an expensive hobby to get into — that is, if you’re trying to replicate or even exceed the level of espresso you get at a fancy-pants coffee shop. You have to shift your idea of what “budget” or “entry level” means in this context. The table stakes are simply higher. Otherwise, there’s not much point even trying to get into espresso; you’d be better off sticking with an AeroPress or even a $20-something moka pot and using a Porlex hand grinder.
If you’re going to do this espresso thing right, you must have a quality grinder that allows for ultra-fine adjustments, and the Baratza Sette 270 is consistently among the most recommended “entry level” grinders for this purpose.
Now, the Sette 270 is not entirely stepless, as would be most ideal for dialing in the exact grind you want every single time. However, the “270” in its name refers to the fact that, between its 30 macro adjustments and the secondary micro adjustment system for working between those steps (with 9 markings for easy reference), you get 270 grind settings to work with, and that’s almost as good.
Since this is a grinder designed for working with espresso (though it serves admirably for other brewing types as well), it has a built-in convertible portafilter holder that works with PF sizes between 49mm and the commercial-standard 58mm.
On the front of the Sette 270 is an LED-backlit display panel where you can program those buttons on the left side, which let you save up to three grind time/dosing settings within 0.01 seconds. Once set, you just hit one of those buttons and the Sette automatically delivers precise dosing. It’s pretty slick.
And of course, like all Baratza grinders, if something does fail somewhere down the line — not that it’s likely to anytime soon, this is a fairly robust machine — the company makes it easy to find replacement parts.
You can get the Sette 270 new for $399 on Amazon. If you don’t mind getting something that’s already been used, returned, and fixed up by the company itself, you can also buy it refurbished for $299, provided Baratza has any in stock.