Baratza Forte vs Niche Zero: Which Grinder is Right for You?
There are many espresso grinder manufacturers, like Baratza, that have been in the business for years. These companies build up their reputation gradually by providing their customers with consistently high-quality models.
Then there are new manufacturers that burst onto the scene and make a splash. Niche is an example of a manufacturer that has recently emerged with innovations in the field of espresso grinders.
Can they hold up against a classic like Baratza? Keep reading our Baratza Forte vs Niche Zero comparison to find out.
These are the questions we’ll be answering:
- Which features do the Baratza Forte and Niche Zero have in common?
- What makes these grinders different from each other?
- How do you know which one is right for you?
Let’s get started.
Those looking for a reasonably priced espresso grinder that’s still fairly advanced would do well to consider the Baratza Forte. With its powerful motor, precise weight-based system, and macro/micro grind adjustment, you’ll get a lot of flexibility with it. We’d recommend it for small coffee shops or baristas at home.
The Niche Zero is a recent entry in the world of espresso grinders. It combines timelessly elegant looks with a refined operation that eliminates grind retention. Grab this one if you’re a home barista searching for a sleek new grinder that will wow your guests.
Even if you’re not a barista in a busy coffee shop, there are numerous things you could be doing in your home at any given time. One of the last things you probably want to do is sit there and hold a portafilter or bin up beneath your grinder’s dispenser.
You won’t have to with the Baratza or Niche Zero. Either one of these grinders has a holder positioned directly beneath the dispenser. Simply set your receptacle in place and let the grinder hold it for you the entire time.
It’s important to note here that the Niche Zero is seemingly designed only to hold a grind cup. It does not at this point in time appear to have a portafilter fork.
Read Also: Baratza Sette 270Wi vs Breville
When you’re looking to add any new appliance to your kitchen, one of the first things you probably ask yourself is whether it will fit into your space. This is a consideration you need to make with your espresso grinder, as well.
Both the grinders in this comparison are compact. There are some slight differences in exact measurements, but they are more alike than different in size. Either one is easily small enough to squeeze in on just about any countertop.
You’d probably never want to use your espresso grinder if it was really slow. If it takes you a long time to get enough coffee grounds from it, you’ll be restricted to using it when you have enough time to wait.
Luckily, the Baratza Forte and Niche Zero are fast grinders. They can each grind at around 2 grams of coffee per second, which means you’ll have to wait approximately 3.5 seconds for a single seven-gram shot of espresso.
No matter how much of a rush you’re in, you can likely afford a 3.5-second wait.
Related Post: Baratza Forte vs Eureka Atom
Stepless vs Stepped Grind Adjustment
You’ll need to tweak the grind fineness setting of your grinder often. This is something that will happen no matter which grinder you choose to go with, but how you make the adjustments is what could vary.
In this comparison, there’s a huge difference between the grinders. The Baratza Forte has what’s called a stepped grind adjustment system.
You’ll use a dial to tweak the fineness setting. The dial will click into place at specific pre-made settings, which is easy but can also simultaneously be restrictive.
An addition of a second dial opens up the Baratza’s flexibility. You can use the second dial to make further adjustments within a given fineness level.
The Niche Zero has a stepless grind adjustment system. Rather than restrict you to a selection of settings, it has a dial you can rotate to any point in order to change the fineness.
Conical vs Flat Burrs
Flat and conical burrs are the two types found in most high-end espresso grinders today. The shape is immensely important and will make a difference in your use of the grinder.
The Baratza Forte has flat burrs. Thanks to this burr shape, it will generate consistently uniform coffee particles, resulting in a pleasantly sweet flavor.
On the flipside, the Niche Zero uses conical burrs. Conical burrs are best known for the way they produce coffee particles of differing sizes, which creates a lighter taste. They’re also quieter than flat burrs while grinding.
There’s more to discuss about the burrs within the Baratza and Niche grinders. Let’s take a look at what they’re made from and why it’s important.
The Baratza Forte has ceramic burrs. Ceramic is an amazingly long-lasting material that won’t wear down quickly. It also doesn’t transfer heat as well as metal, which means your coffee beans will be kept cooler.
Hardened steel is the material of choice in the Niche Zero. You can anticipate that these burrs will be razor-sharp and incredibly durable.
Further Reading: Baratza 270Wi vs Rocket Faustino
We’re still not quite finished discussing burrs. Since they’re the most vital part of any espresso grinder, every single aspect of their composition is crucial.
The size of your grinder’s burrs is therefore important. That’s because larger burrs lead to faster grinding in general.
In this matchup, the Niche Zero has larger burrs. Its burrs are 63mm, which is almost exactly 10mm larger than the Baratza’s 54mm burrs.
Its larger burr size is one reason why the Niche Zero has no problem keeping up with the Baratza Forte.
Niche Zero Direct Grind Path
One of the key selling points for the Niche Zero is that it eliminates grind retention. Grind retention is when coffee grounds are left inside your grinder after use. The reason you don’t want this to occur is that the old, stale grounds left behind can get mixed in with your fresh grounds every time you grind.
There are a lot of factors that come into play as far as grind retention is concerned, such as burr shape. What the Niche Zero does to resolve this issue is have a direct grinding path.
Put simply, it’s a straight shot from the burrs to your grinding cup. Because there aren’t really any twisting turns or corners for grounds to get caught in, there’s virtually no retention.
Baratza Forte Touchscreen Operation
A touchscreen is unmistakably user-friendly. Everything you need is in one convenient location, so you don’t have to look all over the appliance for hidden buttons or switches.
This is a benefit that’s brought to you by the Baratza Forte. The majority of its settings are contained in its touchscreen, making it a dream to use.
Niche Zero Real Wooden Accents
The stylish design of the Niche Zero is undeniable. It combines classic appliance features and a traditional switch with elements such as polished chrome for a touch of modern.
A quality that really sets it apart visually, though, is the wooden accents on the grinding cup shelf and legs. These accents are made from real wood, giving the Niche Zero a hint of visual warmth that many other grinders can’t hope to imitate.
Read Also: Best Espresso Grinders Under $1,000
Baratza Forte Portafilter Holder
We said in the beginning of this comparison that both grinders are hands-free grinders, meaning they will hold your grinding vessel for you. The difference is exactly what either one is equipped to hold.
Of these two grinders, the Baratza Forte is the only one with a portafilter fork. The fork allows you to grind directly into the center of a portafilter basket for a shot of espresso.
That’s not to say you couldn’t do the same with the Niche Zero, but it doesn’t have a portafilter holder. If you were to dispense into a portafilter, you would need to hold it beneath the spout yourself.
Niche Zero Switch Controls
Many advanced grinders have tons of settings that are confusing if you’re a beginner. It can leave you feeling overwhelmed and reluctant to use your grinder at all.
With the Niche Zero, all functions are beautifully pared down. All you need is the on/off switch and grind adjustment dial. Espresso grinders couldn’t get any less intimidating.
Baratza Forte Weight-Based Grinding
Most grinders have you measuring out doses either by timing them or by weighing them as they’re dispensed. Of those two methods, weighing is considered the more accurate, since it guarantees you’re getting the same dose every time.
That’s what makes the Baratza Forte so accurate. It weighs out your coffee grounds for you, so you can be certain that each dose is precisely as much as you need.
Baratza Forte Programmable Buttons
If you’re planning on grinding coffee for a variety of beverage sizes and brew types, you’ll have to work to remember the proper weights for each amount. This can be frustratingly difficult.
In the event you don’t feel like spending time learning the exact amount of coffee grounds for various brewing methods and committing it to memory, you’ll love the Baratza Forte. It has three programmable buttons that you can input specific weights into.
With the buttons programmed, you can get the exact amount you need at the push of a button in the future. No need to constantly monitor the weight or memorize amounts.
Baratza Forte Bean Hopper
Most espresso grinders have bean hoppers attached to the top. Hoppers store coffee beans until they’re fed into the grinder, where they’re crushed and dispensed into your portafilter.
This means that the larger your hopper is, the more coffee beans your grinder can hold and the longer your grinder can go for before it needs to be refilled. Interestingly, the Baratza Forte is the only grinder in this comparison that even has a hopper.
The Niche Zero is designed without a bean hopper. Instead, you weigh out as many coffee beans as you need in advance, and the Niche Zero will grind that for you after you pour them in.
If you were grinding multiple drinks in a row, the Baratza Forte would therefore be preferable. However, if you’re not going to grind coffee beans as often or only need drinks for yourself, you may not need a hopper at all.
The Majesty Coffee store is full of some of the best coffee and espresso equipment for the best prices. You’re probably wondering about the cost of these grinders, so let’s take a closer look.
We offer the Baratza Forte in our store for $899. As for the Niche Zero, we do not currently have this grinder in our store. You will need to check online elsewhere if you wish to order one.
Which Grinder is Right for You?
Now for the important question:
Which grinder is right for you?
Let’s be clear about one thing: the Baratza Forte and Niche Zero are both quality grinders for home baristas. You could prepare delicious, freshly ground coffee at home on either one.
There are, however, differences that make them excel in different situations.
For starters, consider how much you’re going to grind. If you’re going to grind espresso or coffee often for multiple people, the Baratza Forte is the better pick simply because of its hopper. It can grind for longer periods of time.
The Niche Zero, on the other hand, does not have a hopper. You will need to measure out however much coffee you need in advance every time you use it. This setup is better for those who will not grind as often or as much.
Style is also worth thinking about. If you’re looking for a grinder that looks undeniably unique, the Niche Zero’s handsome wood accents make it a perfect choice for you.
What about user-friendliness? The Niche Zero’s pared-down functions make it simple, but the Baratza Forte’s touchscreen gives it a familiar feel that smartphone users will appreciate.
Additionally, the Baratza Forte’s programmable buttons are great for beginners. You can program the correct doses into them so that grinding fresh coffee comes down to simply choosing the right button each time.
This is our advice:
Get the Niche Zero if you’re in search of a completely unique-looking grinder or one that will help you reduce your waste. It has gorgeous real wood accents, and its lack of a hopper and zero grind retention mean your amount of wasted coffee grounds will be drastically reduced.
On the other hand, the Baratza Forte is the better pick for home baristas that want a user-friendly grinder with more flexibility. You can learn more about it by clicking the link below: