One of the most pivotal pieces of your coffee kit is a reliable coffee grinder. But like Alice in Wonderland, as soon as you start down the rabbit hole of coffee grinders, you never know where you will end up.
The fact that you are reading this indicates that you have evolved past the blade grinder phase (thank goodness!) and now see the value of a good burr grinder. But unfortunately, as you have likely discovered, the spectrum of burr grinders goes from cheap pieces of junk to commercial-grade machines that literally may cost more than your car.
And that is why we want to introduce you to the Baratza Sette 30 coffee grinder. This is a reliable burr grinder from a trusted company that has been intentionally designed to be affordable for a home setup. It was released after the Baratza Sette 270 as a more affordable slimmed down version.
Specifications of the Baratza Sette 30 AP
Baratza Sette 30 Review
About Baratza Coffee Grinders
Baratza is a very well-known and well-established company in the world of home coffee brewing. They are mainly known by many for the Baratza Encore grinder, which is the staple entry-level grinder for manual brewing. The name Baratza originates from the name for a place where locals gather to drink coffee.
But in every way, Baratza is one of the good brands. One of the brands that you can implicitly trust because of its proven track record. The company was started in 1999 by Kyle Anderson and Kyra Kennedy and produces both home coffee grinders and espresso coffee grinders. They also have a reputation for excellent customer service, which is always a good sign.
Baratza Sette 30 vs 270
The Baratza Sette 30 AP was first released in the 2017 Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) Expo. Initially, it was marketed as a high-quality drip and pour-over grinder. The idea was that it would be a slimmed-down version of the Baratza Sette 270 espresso grinder, with fewer grind settings (30 rather than 270), more plastic in the design, and no fancy portafilter holder.
However, they quickly ran into the issue that the Eztinger burrs used in the Sette range didn’t perform particularly well for the coarser grinds required, for example, for Chemex or Drip machines. While they perform superbly for finer grind settings such as espresso, they tend to produce large amounts of fines (very small coffee particles) in coarser settings which negatively impacts extraction.
So Baratza did a quick turn around and began to remarket the Baratza Sette 30 AP as an entry-level espresso grinder. And it does seem in hindsight that this was the right decision. The Sette 30, like its elder brother, the Sette 270 does excel at fine grinds and so really does perform best for the finer grinds required for espresso, V60, Aeropress, and Moka Pot.
Baratza Sette 30 Key Features
Quick Grind Time
One of the most standout features of the entire Sette range of grinders is their speedy grind time. On average, the Sette range of grinders is around 2-3x faster than a standard domestic burr grinder. This is the result of the powerful DC motor, the direct grind path, and the innovative rotation of the outer burr. So while most grinders have a stationary outer burr on the bottom and a rotating inner burr on the top, the Sette 30 flips this and has a fixed outer burr on top and a rotating inner burr on the bottom. It flips the standard setup 180 degrees. This results in grind times that can be up to 18g in 4s (for comparison, that would take about 12s in our Rocky Rancilio.
Next to Zero Retention
Another superb feature of the Baratza Sette 30 AP by Baratza is that it is a single-dosing grinder with close to zero grind retention. So for most burr grinders, whenever coffee is ground, some grinds will remain either in the grinding chamber or the feeding channel. This negatively impacts the flavor of the next brew (as some of the grinds will be old) and means that whenever you change the grind setting, you need to purge out 10-15g of grinds. This can be a pain, especially in a home setup, resulting in more waste, especially when dialing in for espresso.
Enter the zero retention grinders. The zero retention grinders tend to be single dosing, which means that you don’t usually keep beans in the hopper, and in contrast to other coffee grinders, they retain minimal amounts of grinds after each grind. This type of grinder has been gaining a lot of momentum in the home barista world, especially with the well-known and premium Niche Zero Grinder. So in the Sette 30 AP, there is a direct path through which the beans follow, which means that there is very low retention between grinds, ergo far less wasted beans. This is especially helpful as an entry-level espresso grinder as it makes the dialing-in process far more straightforward and quick.
Another great feature of this espresso coffee grinder is that it allows you to control the dose time. So there is a control panel on the front of the machine, which enables you to determine the grind time in measures of an impressive 1/100th of a second increments for under 10s and then 1/10th of a second for over 10 seconds.
As expected for a Baratza grinder, the overall grind consistency on the Baratza Sette 30 is excellent, especially for fine grind settings. It has the same high-quality burrs as its older brother, the Sette 270, producing excellent fluffy and consistent grinds. As noted above, the grind consistency does fall as the grind size gets coarser. The reason for this is that this grinder uses an AP (All Purpose) or S1 burr set from Etzinger, which is aimed for espresso. So consequently, it is now well documented that this is not particularly good if a coarser grind setting will be your mainstay. However, Baratza has now brought out a new BG or S2 burr set, which can be easily inserted into the Sette range and aimed at the coarser grind settings.
The Baratza Sette 30, as the name suggests, comes with 30 different unique grind settings. So while the Sette 270 came with 30 macro settings and nine micro, the Baratza Sette 30 just comes with the 30 macro. For this reason, it is best classed as an entry-level espresso grinder. On the one hand, this is more than enough to get you started for espresso and other manual brew methods. But for the serious espresso fan, there will be too few grind settings to dial in new beans with precision. It does mean for espresso, you only have 4-5 different grind settings to play with.
Another thing to love about the Baratza Sette 30 AP is how ridiculously easy it is to clean and maintain. Because of their unique burr arrangement, you can literally pull out the inner burr without any additional tools in a matter of seconds. This is a fantastic feature as all grinder owners do (or should!) know that regular cleaning of your grinder can be a right pain. But with the Baratza Sette 30, it really is as simple as it gets.
It is also worth noting that, as Baratza intended, this is a very affordable entry-level espresso grinder. It is not without flaws, but at its core, it has a good motor, an excellent burr set, and an automatic doser for a price that is affordable even for the relatively uninvested coffee lover. Unlike many entry-level grinders, it is actually intended for espresso but doesn’t destroy the budget.
Finally, I would be remiss in failing to mention that the Baratza Sette 30 is just a very beautiful grinder. The name Sette is actually the Italian word for seven because the grinder follows the shape of the number 7. This is a nice-looking grinder that will look good on any benchtop and is compact enough to work in most kitchens. While grind consistency must be the most important consideration, let’s be serious; who wants an ugly coffee grinder!?
Who is the Baratza Sette 30 Grinder for?
Hopefully, by this point, it shouldn’t surprise you that the Baratza Sette 30 AP is best described as an entry-level espresso coffee grinder. As such, the most obvious candidate for whom this grinder was designed is the coffee lover who has just purchased their first or even second espresso machine. If you are just getting into the world of espresso and have figured out that grinding your own beans is non-negotiable, then the Baratza Sette 30 is an excellent option for you.
Similarly, if as well as espresso, you do play with some of the manual brewing methods that require finer grinds (V60, Aeropress, Moka Pot, etc.), then this is a good option. Having near zero retention, it is easy to switch between grind sizes and different beans and does have superb grind consistency for fine grinds.
However, if espresso is your thing, then this grinder is probably not for you. The more experienced espresso brewer will find the 30 grind settings restrictive and frustrating. If you are looking for an espresso grinder with a broader range of grind settings but do find the Sette range appealing, then the Baratza Sette 270 or techy Baratza Sette 270 wi would be a better option for you. Similarly, if you tend to make French Press or other manual brewing methods that require coarser grinds, you would be better off with the classic Baratza Encore or Virtuoso.
We hope you have found this article informative and helpful, and as always, if you have any questions feel free to post them below.