You won’t find two espresso grinders more different from each other than the Baratza Forte and the Mahlkonig EK43. It’s evident that they were clearly intended for use in specific situations.
But exactly how different from each other are they? Do they have anything in common, and which one is better for your circumstances?
To answer those questions, we’ve created this in-depth Baratza Forte vs EK43 examination. These are the things we’ll be looking at:
- Features that both the Forte and EK43 have.
- The things that are unique to the Forte or EK43.
- Information regarding the prices of the grinders.
- Our advice on the situations in which either grinder would be best.
Let’s dive right into the comparison.
Even outside this comparison, the Baratza Forte is considered one of the greatest budget-friendly espresso grinder options out there. But don’t let its low price fool you – it’s full of great features like a precise adjustment system and programmable buttons. Get this grinder if you’re a small coffee shop or prosumer that needs an inexpensive espresso grinder.
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The Mahlkonig EK43 is designed with grinding speed in mind. It has extra-large 98mm grinding burrs and a large capacity hopper that are perfect for continuous grinding. You’ll want to grab this grinder if you’re a medium to high volume business that sells coffee by the bag to customers.
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There are far more differences than there are similarities with these grinders, but one thing they do have in common is the shape of their burrs. The Forte and EK43 both have flat grinding burrs.
That means they are essentially two bladed discs that sit on top of each other. This design makes it possible for them to grind coffee beans with an amazing degree of uniformity.
As a result, drinks produced by either grinder will have a characteristic sweet flavor.
Hopper Shut-Off Mechanism
The second similarity we were able to find is the grinders’ hopper shut-off mechanisms. Hoppers hold your coffee beans in the grinder, and you may be fine leaving them there until you use them all in the course of grinding.
You may, however, want to switch blends before you grind all the beans in the hopper. That means you’ll need to empty the hopper first so the blends don’t get mixed together.
The Forte and EK43 make this easy. Both grinders have a lock in the bottom of the hopper that seals it off. Once sealed, you can lift the hoppers off the grinders and empty them out securely somewhere else before adding your other beans.
Read Also: Mahlkonig vs Baratza
Another quality shared by these grinders is their hands-free grinding design. What the grinders will be holding for you specifically varies, but it is still true that they will hold the vessel you’re grinding into for you, freeing up your hands for other tasks.
The EK43 has a bag clamp that will hold a bag in place for you. On the other hand, the Forte has a fork that will hold a portafilter up underneath the dispenser.
There’s a night and day difference between these grinders, so they have numerous qualities that are specific to either one. The first example of such a quality is the size of their burrs.
In the Baratza Forte, there are 54mm burrs. On the flipside, the Mahlkonig EK43 has significantly larger 98mm burrs.
That’s almost twice as big as the burrs in the Forte. When you consider the commercial settings the EK43 was intended for, this size increase makes a lot of sense, as it allows the Mahlkonig to grind faster.
When you factor in its larger burrs and vigorous motor, it probably won’t surprise you to learn that the EK43 can grind faster than the Forte. How much faster, exactly?
Let’s get out the numbers. The Baratza Forte can grind your average seven-gram shot of espresso in two seconds. That’s a drop in the bucket for the EK43, which can grind up to 3.4 pounds per minute.
Again, this is because of the settings the EK43 was intended for. It was clearly created to keep up with the large demand of a retail environment or high-volume coffee shop in which customers often buy bags of pre-ground coffee.
Further Reading: Mahlkonig EK43 vs Peak
Hopper size is another difference between the Forte and EK43. As a grinder suitable for homes and small coffee shops, the Baratza Forte’s hopper holds around half a pound of coffee beans.
In comparison, the Mahlkonig EK43 has a hopper that can contain 2.2 pounds of coffee beans in the standard version. You can get short or mini hoppers with a reduced capacity if you’re more concerned about fitting this towering grinder beneath cabinets.
At any rate, the Mahlkonig’s increased hopper size is perfect for situations where you’ll be grinding nonstop. It means you will not need to refill it with the same frequency as you would need to refill the Baratza.
Stepless vs Stepped Grind Adjustment
The ability to adjust the fineness of your grind is absolutely essential to any grinder. Various types of coffee and brewing methods do need their own specific textures. Even the way the Baratza and EK43 allow you to make adjustments is different from each other.
The Baratza is a stepped adjustment system, which means that you can rotate a dial into a small selection of preset options for texture. It also has a micro adjustment dial that lets you further customize your grind within a given setting.
You’ll get the ultimate degree of flexibility when you’re using the Mahlkonig EK43. Instead of having to use preset fineness options, you can rotate its adjustment dial to any point on the spectrum. This allows you to grind to any texture, from Turkish fine to French press coarse.
Mahlkonig EK43 Hopper Magnet
Although they’re inside the espresso grinder, burrs are still potentially vulnerable to damage. If something much harder than a coffee bean accidentally drops into your grinder, the burrs can crack or chip as they attempt to crush it.
To protect you from that danger, the Mahlkonig is equipped with a hopper magnet. Should any metallic object fall into the grinder, the magnets will catch it before it can wreak havoc on your burrs.
Read Also: Mahlkonig E80 Supreme vs EK43
Baratza Forte LCD Touchscreen
The Mahlkonig EK43 has very traditional controls, like switches, dials, and levers. They’re perfectly serviceable but may look slightly dated in comparison with other appliances.
You’ll get something that looks a bit more modern with the Baratza Forte. It gets rid of buttons entirely with its LCD touchscreen display.
Aside from looking chic, the touchscreen controls feel effortless to use. Those who are familiar with using a smartphone will be able to easily adjust to using the Forte.
Mahlkonig EK43 Color Options
If you’re looking for an espresso grinder for your business, the aesthetic of the grinder could be important to you. Your business likely has a specific design that it’s following, so it’s not unreasonable to expect your equipment to match.
This is easier to accomplish with the EK43, since it is available in three different colors: white, black, and copper. It’s much more visually versatile than the Baratza Forte, which is only available in one color.
Baratza Forte Portafilter or Grounds Bin Compatibility
Depending on your brewing method, you’ll need different amounts of coffee grounds. You can’t grind into a small portafilter if you’re going to be brewing drip coffee, for instance.
The Baratza Forte gives you flexibility when it comes to the amounts of coffee you grind. It allows you to grind into a portafilter by setting your basket in its portafilter holder or to grind into an eight-ounce grounds bin by setting the bin beneath the dispenser.
Mahlkonig EK43 Knock-Off Device
Quite often, coffee grounds get left inside the grinder once you’re finished using it. This is called retention and can cause a decrease in quality as the old, stale grounds left behind mix with fresh ones the next time you grind. At the end of the day, it can even lead to small amounts of waste that build up with time.
The Mahlkonig EK43 is equipped to deal with retention handily. It has a knock-off device built onto the outside that the barista uses to tap the grinder’s chute. This clears out leftover coffee grounds, ensuring each batch you grind is as fresh as possible and that your waste is cut down.
The Majesty Coffee store is filled with the best espresso and coffee equipment for some of the lowest prices you’ll find online. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the cost of the Baratza Forte and Malkonig EK43.
We have the Baratza Forte in our store for $899. On the other hand, we have the Mahlkonig EK43 in our store for $2,850.
Which Grinder is Best for You?
Still confused about which grinder is best for you when it comes to the Baratza Forte and Mahlkonig EK43? The good news is that making your final decision will be fairly easy – it’s clear that these grinders were created to thrive in different settings.
Consider grinding speed, for starters. The Mahlkonig EK43 easily outpaces the Baratza Forte when it comes to how fast it can grind, and that’s because it was made for commercial settings. It’s designed to grind entire bags of coffee quickly for retail establishments that sell them.
On the flipside, the much smaller price tag attached to the Baratza Forte makes it an attractive option for prosumers and small coffee shops with strict budgets. It’s much more economical in comparison to the EK43.
What about color? If yours is a business with a careful color scheme inside it, you probably want decorations, furniture, and appliances that match. In that case, you’d have better luck with the EK43, given that it’s available in three different colors.
Here is the bottom line:
The Mahlkonig EK43 is simply the better choice here for medium to large businesses that sell bags of coffee. It’s speedy grinding capability and large burrs give it the power it needs to go all day.
Alternatively, the Baratza Forte is the reasonable pick for at-home baristas or small coffee shops. It’s more affordable and its touchscreen is beginner-friendly.
Majesty Coffee Technical Sales Expert - Meet the Team
Tony Barlow, with over a decade of experience in the coffee industry, is the go-to technical sales expert at Majesty Coffee. He's passionate about helping businesses find the right espresso equipment for their needs.