Mahlkonig vs Baratza: Which Brand Should You Get?
Looking to enjoy coffee that’s as fresh as possible? You’ll need to get a good grinder.
Mahlkonig and Baratza are two manufacturers that make quality grinders. But is there a difference between them, and what are the reasons for choosing one or the other?
We’ll answer that and more in this post. We’ll discuss the history of each company, and what each one is known for.
The company that would become the darling of the grinder industry that we know and love today was formed in 1924. It wasn’t until 1960, however, that Mahlkonig began to shift its focus towards grinders.
One of their goals was to ensure that each cup of coffee was the freshest. This was accomplished through the introduction of on-demand grinding.
Unlike grinders that grind into a container, which is then stored for later use, on-demand grinders grind coffee grounds to order. Because they’re not sitting exposed to the air for a long period of time before use, this means the grounds are even better-tasting.
For those reasons and more, Mahlkonig is a well-known name in the world of coffee. Businesses and homes around the world have used a Mahlkonig grinder to keep up with the demands of even the most discerning consumers.
Unlike Mahlkonig, Baratza was more of a recent development. They were actually founded in 1999.
One of their earliest grinders, the Maestro, was introduced a couple years later in 2001. Since that time, they have regularly introduced new and innovative grinders.
As such new competitors (relatively), what do they bring to the table?
They actually introduced a few unique designs that are incredibly popular.
Hands-free grinding, with a portafilter holder, has been an element used in many of their designs. They also use a unique macro/micro grind adjustment design that lets you make large, quick adjustments and smaller, more precise ones simultaneously.
When one talks about Mahlkonig, it’s hard not to mention how well-known they are. This fame is far from baseless, too.
What will you find in their designs that makes them worthwhile?
First, they really know what they’re doing. Although conical burrs have been increasingly popular, Mahlkonig generally uses flat burrs that promote coffee particle uniformity and sweeter flavor profiles.
These grinders are also champions of freshness. They grind coffee to order – exactly as much as you need, when you need it.
Oxidation occurs when coffee grounds are exposed to air. By grinding each shot to order, you’re limiting this exposure and guaranteeing you or your customers get the most powerful cup possible every time.
In a nutshell, getting a Mahlkonig equals freshness and consistency.
So what about Baratza – what can you expect from them?
One thing you’ll find about a lot of their grinders is that they’re pretty affordable. If your budget is a little restrictive, a Baratza model could be exactly what you’re looking for.
Another thing many of their grinders do is both on-demand and container grinding. This gives you the options to choose if you want to prep some grounds in advance or if you want to make a fresh shot for your customers.
Innovation is something Baratza incorporates in each design, so you can anticipate that each grinder comes with unique features that make it easy to use while ensuring you enjoy consistent quality.
Their grind weight system is just one example of this. This system helps guarantee you get the same amount of grounds each time by accurately weighing them as you use the grinder.
Which one should you get?
To decide which brand you should look to for your future coffee grinder, your starting place should be determining what you’re going to use it for.
For instance, those who need an industrial-level grinder to sell bags of coffee to businesses and customers will probably want to look into Mahlkonig more. They have a few excellent industrial models.
Mahlkonig’s focus tends to be on commercial grinders, as well. That means they’re a wonderful option for coffee shops, restaurants, and other businesses who need to grind a lot of coffee on a daily basis.
Some Baratza models could work for that, too. But their low price point and oftentimes compact sizes makes them especially desirable as home grinders.
So if what you need is a quality and inexpensive grinder to use at home, Baratza is worth looking into.
Many home baristas will also swear by using a Mahlkonig at home. There are quite a few models you could bring to your home counter top, but on average, they tend to cost more than Baratza options.
Top Mahlkonig Grinders
Do even just a little research into grinders, and you’ll see the name Mahlkonig Peak come up pretty quickly. This is a classic and beloved grinder.
There are many reasons for this status. One is its stepless grind adjustment collar, which lets baristas find the perfect setting for each coffee blend.
Another reason is the double ventilation system. Working tirelessly even during heavy use, the ventilation system shields your coffee beans from excess heat so that your drinks never taste burnt.
And yet another thing to love is the hands-free grinding. A portafilter fork will securely hold the portafilter in place, so you don’t have to stand over the grinder holding it.
- Majesty Coffee Price: $2,375
- Burr Type: Flat
- Burr Diameter: 80 mm
- Hopper Capacity: 3 lbs
- Double Ventilation System: You or your customers will never have a burnt-tasting cup of coffee again with this ventilation system that keeps beans nice and cool.
- Hands-Free Grinding: Frees up your hands by holding the portafilter for you, so you can attend to other tasks.
- Stepless Grind Adjustment: Instead of being restricted to a number of pre-set grind options, you can turn the collar for a nearly limitless number of fineness settings.
- Precise Dose Adjustment: You can program the timing for single and double doses down to incredibly accurate 0.01-second increments. This kind of accuracy helps you guarantee you get exactly what you need every time.
- Adjustable Spout Tube: By repositioning the spout, you can grind into the center of any portafilter, which promotes a more balanced extraction.
The K30 actually comes in a couple configurations, but the Twin is the one we’re going to focus on for the time being.
At a glance, you can see that it has two hoppers instead of one. You’re also getting two grinders here.
Some coffee shops will use separate grinders for different blends, such as having a coffee and espresso grinder separately. One reason for this is that you don’t have to change settings often if you’re only using the grinder for one purpose.
Newest Mahlkonig Grinder: Mahlkonig X54
With the K30 Twin, you can have grinders dedicated to specific blends without buying an entirely separate grinder.
- Majesty Coffee Price: $3,250
- Burr Type: Flat
- Burr Diameter: 65 mm
- Hopper Capacity: 65 lbs in each hopper
- Two Hoppers and Grinders in One: This grinder takes all your options and multiplies them by two. You can use it to grind even more of a popular blend at once, or have each grinder dedicated for specific blends, like drip coffee and espresso.
- Illuminated Display: Clearly lit, the display is easy-to-read and operate.
- 5 Language Menu: The system can be adjusted to reflect five different languages, making it more accessible for a variety of people.
- PIN-Protected Software: Got your settings just the way you like them? You can protect them with a PIN, so new employees don’t accidentally change them.
The Mahlkonig EK43 is another legendary grinder. You might be wondering what contributed to its sterling reputation.
There are a number of factors at play here. To begin with, let’s look at its huge 98mm flat burrs.
Because the burrs are so large, they don’t need to turn as often to grind a larger amount of coffee. Not only does this make it a fast grinder, but it lowers the amount of friction generated by frequent rotations, shielding your beans from burns.
Then it has a bag clamp. If you’re a coffee shop or store that sells bags for customers to brew at home, this clamp is a real gift, because it will hold the bag in place for you, allowing you to work on something else while it grinds.
- Majesty Coffee Price: $2,700
- Burr Type: Flat
- Burr Diameter: 98 mm
- Hopper Capacity: 2 lbs
- Bag Clamp: Keeps you from having to hold a bag in place when you need to grind a large amount to sell or store.
- Knock-Off Device: Reduces waste or stale grounds getting mixed in with new ones by making it easy for you to clean the chute out.
- Lockable Hopper: If you need to switch to a different blend, the locking mechanism on the hopper makes it a breeze. Just slide it in place, and you can remove the hopper without any beans falling out.
Top Baratza Grinders
For high-end grinders, the Baratza Vario is one of the most inexpensive options out there. And it certainly doesn’t disappoint.
For starters, it has long-lasting ceramic burrs. In addition to lasting you for awhile, though, these burrs also have a tendency to keep cool even during frequent grinding.
As far as grind adjustment goes, the Vario uses the unique Baratza macro/micro grind adjustment system. There is a coarseness and fineness adjustment scale on either side of the grinder.
Once you choose the coarseness, you’ll be able to slide the fineness scale up or down to further tweak the grind settings. Although it’s technically a stepped adjustment system, it has 230 different settings to choose from, so it’s almost as versatile as a stepless one.
- Majesty Coffee Price: $479
- Burr Type: Flat
- Burr Diameter: 54mm
- Hopper Capacity: 8 oz
- Portafilter or Container Grinding: Grind into portafilters of any size using the adjustable bracket, or grind directly into the container. The choice is entirely yours.
- Ceramic Burrs: These ceramic burrs will last you a long time and will keep cooler during grinding, so your beans aren’t scorched.
- Programmable Dosing Buttons: Easily program up to three different doses for espresso, drip coffee, or French press coffee. Then you’ll save time down the road, because all you’ll need to do is push the button and wait.
- Easily Replaceable Panel: No need to worry about difficult repairs with the Baratza. Since all its electronic components are in the front panel, you can easily remove it yourself in mere minutes to replace with a new panel in the event a repair is necessary.
- Quiet Operation: This grinder isn’t as loud as many of its counterparts, so it won’t disturb the peaceful atmosphere of a home or business.
Don’t have much room for a grinder? The Baratza Sette 270Wi could be the compact grinder of your dreams.
It’s an incredibly speedy grinder. It can grind up to 4 grams per second, which is perfect for making a few orders or drinks at home.
Measuring at only 15 inches high, 5 inches wide, and 9.5 inches deep, it’s small. You won’t need to completely redo your kitchen or workspace to find room for this model.
- Majesty Coffee Price: $549
- Burr Type: Conical
- Burr Diameter: 40 mm
- Hopper Capacity: 10 oz
- Compact Size: With its modest size, the Sette is perfect for cramped counter tops.
- Swing-Out Holder: The portafilter holder has clamps that are swung out to the sides with an easy push or pull. This allows you to grind into portafilters of all shapes and sizes comfortably.
- Shut-Off Bean Hopper: No more making a mess when you want to change out the beans in the hopper. The key on the back turns to lock it shut, which lets you remove it and empty it effortlessly.
- Coffee Container Grinding: If you’re more into brewing drip or chemex-style coffee, you can use grind a larger batch into the included bin. It’s just another option for you to use.