A quality grinder is an essential piece of coffee equipment. The Baratza Sette 270Wi is a popular choice among home baristas, but why? Is it as good as its popularity makes it out to be?
I think the capabilities of the Sette 270Wi rival many commercial coffee grinders, as the grind size is consistent, there’s a good range of settings, and there’s low retention. However, this machine is loud and the grind-by-weight can be fickle.
In this Baratza Sette 270Wi review, I’ll explain why I use this grinder regularly. I’ll also explain what it’s best suited to and how the 270Wi differs from other Sette series grinders, as the Sette 270 may be the better value for most users.
The Baratza Sette 270Wi is a home grinder that will rival many commercial grinders. What sets the Sette apart is the burr set (pun intended). These are high-end conical burrs capable of grinding for espresso, filter, and immersion brew methods. You can go to a fine grind for espresso and notice the precision across micro-adjustments. Meanwhile, you can easily switch to pour-over with the macro adjustments.
Baratza Sette 270Wi highlights:
- Three programmable dose settings
- Macro and micro adjustment rings
- Integrated Acaia scale to dose by weight
- Adjustable arms to hold a portafilter or included container
Baratza designed the Sette for minimal grind retention and high speed. This grinder has a unique burr mechanism that quickly grinds coffee right into your dose cup or portafilter.
Another unique feature of the 270wi model is the grind-by-weight feature. The 270wi is designed with an integrated scale from Acia, a company known for its professional scales. The Sette interface has programmed options for three different weights, and the grinder calibrates based on grind size and historical outputs for extreme precision.
One downside is Sette grinders are LOUD. The design of the burrs and plastic casing (done to keep this model affordable) means you’ll have a jolt every morning and wake up the house. Also, the grind-by-weight can be tricky, which I found happened most often with smaller portafilters.
Overall, the Sette is a great choice if you want to step up to a powerful grinder without going into the four-figure price range.
Wide range of grind settings
Consistent, uniform grounds
Intuitive user interface
Acaia scale can be temperamental
Shim adjustment needed to make good espresso
Finicky portafilter holder
Baratza Sette 270Wi Breakdown
There’s a lot going on under the hood with this excellent grinder, so let’s dive into the specifics.
Design and Build
The Sette 270Wi is designed to be easy to use. The grinder has a nice compact design with an inverted-C shape. It also looks like a seven, and “sette” means seven in Italian. I like the tight width and depth, which fits easily on the counter. However, the height is comparable to most espresso machines and could be an issue.
The outer shell is made of plastic, but it doesn’t feel cheap. It’s still a sturdy coffee grinder that can hold up to a few bumps. I’ve seen these grinders handle years of abuse on a coffee truck. Even after being moved every day and jostling around on a moving truck for years, it still performed well. If it can handle that, then the plastic casing should be fine on your kitchen counter.
There are two rings for adjusting the grind setting. The top ring has 30 macro adjustments, and the bottom ring makes nine micro adjustments (A through I) for a total of 270 settings. This makes it easy to switch between brew method settings without much fuss. You can also fine-tune your setting for more precise measurements if you’re making espresso.
The user interface is intuitive and simple. There are three preset settings for different dose weights (more on that later). The dosing area is directly below the burr with no chute, which makes the grind retention close minimal. You always have the freshest grounds and no waste with the low-retention, which contributes to the Sette’s commercial popularity.
There are adjustable arms that can hold a portafilter or a coffee grounds bin. It’s a simple design that you can start using immediately without having to consult a user’s manual.
The only other negative of the grinder’s design is the portafilter holder. The arms can be finicky to adjust into just the right position. I could never get my portafilter to feel snug in the holder. It would fit, but I often felt like the portafilter was on the verge of slipping out. I chose instead to grind into the included coffee grounds bin. It’s one extra step, but I like the fit of the bin better than my portafilter in the holder.
The burr mechanism has a unique design. The 270Wi is a conical burr grinder. With most conical burr grinders, the inner burr spins, and the outer burr is stationary. The 270Wi flips this setup and rotates the outer burr around the inner burr.
This design increases grinding speed and efficiency. The 270Wi grinds 50g in 15 seconds, which is very fast compared to a lot of grinders at grams per second. There is low grind retention too.
This design has a big tradeoff: the Sette is a VERY loud grinder (I’ll explain the noise issue more below).
Grind Quality and Consistency
The conical burrs on the Baratza Sette 270Wi create consistent, uniform grind size distribution across all of its grind settings. The Sette’s 40mm conical burrs are designed by Etzinger, who specializes in high-performance conical burrs. Etzinger brought their game with the Sette burrs, as the grinder produces very consistent grind sizes.
The burrs also have a spiral shape, which sucks the grinds down from the outer burr through the inner burr. This design increases the grind speed and reduces retention on the Sette.
I prefer to use this grinder as a dedicated espresso grinder. There are plenty of finer grind settings to let you precisely dial in your espresso. It even rivals the precision of commercial espresso grinders (I’ve seen the 270Wi used in a low-volume coffee shop). You might get some clumping on the finest settings, but even that is minor.
The Sette is versatile enough to use for pour-over and drip coffee, too. Constant adjustments between espresso and more coarse settings will cause inconsistency, especially in espresso. You can overcome this by purging the grinder between adjustments.
The 270 settings aren’t a “stepless” coffee grinder like the Eureka line. However, the micro adjustment of the 270wi is comparable in its level of detail. The click adjustments also make it easy to switch between exact settings. Grinding for a morning pour-over and an afternoon espresso is as simple as remembering the number of each setting. That is something a stepless grinder can’t do
The integrated Acaia scale sets the 270wi apart from similar grinders in its class. The scale measures the weight of coffee as its ground, allowing for weight-based dosing instead of time-based dosing.
The scale automatically sets itself to zero before it starts grinding. This accounts for the weight of your portafilter or grounds bin. If you’re using a programmable setting, the 270wi will stop grinding coffee just before the scale reaches the desired weight. This allows time for the coffee to fall from the conical burrs into the portafilter.
So, for example, let’s say you have the grind setting programmed to 18g. The grinder will start, and once the scale reads 17.8g, the burrs will stop grinding. The ground coffee that’s still in the burrs will fall from the grinder into the grounds bin, bringing the total amount of ground coffee up to 18g.
This feature of the 270Wi is very precise. The programmed dose settings will almost always grind to within 0.1g of the desired weight.
Note: Baratza says there is a “longer Sette hook” that works better with 54mm or 51mm portafilters, and they will send one if requested at [email protected]
The only downside to the grind-by-weight feature is that the scale can sometimes be tricky to use. Acaia scales are very precise and can work against the 270Wi. The slightest bump or movement can cause the grinder to stop and try to recalibrate the scale mid-grind. It will eventually freeze completely and cancel the dose if it doesn’t find equilibrium after a few seconds.
In fact, the day I was photographing my Sette, the screen was freezing out and saying it had 45g right at the start…
I try not to do any work or prep on the same counter as 270Wi while it’s grinding to avoid jostling it. It also helps to ensure your portafilter or grounds bin is firmly secure before grinding. The vibration of the machine can cause the portafilter or container to slip and force the scale to recalibrate.
Those extra precautions will help the scale run accurately and allow you to get the most out of the grind-by-weight function.
Note: an older Sette 270w model has a legacy software measurement for weight-based dosing. The difference between the Sette 270w and Sette 270wi is a better sensing technology for weights. If you have the older model, contact Baratza for a new Wi interface which is $30 and easy to install.
The Baratza Sette 270Wi is one of the loudest grinders I’ve worked with. It won’t burst your eardrums, but you can’t converse while grinding. There have been several occasions where I’ve been talking with someone while preparing coffee using the 270Wi. I had to pause our conversation while I used the coffee grinder. We couldn’t hear each other over the noise of the grinder.
The noise only lasts a few seconds, but it is difficult to make a morning coffee without waking the rest of the house. Even Baratza acknowledges they could’ve dampened the noise with a better casing, but “it is where it is” to meet the price point.
For me, the noise isn’t a dealbreaker. But, it is for some people, including others on the team at Craft Coffee Spot. The noise level often comes up in other reviews as a non-starter for people who liked the grinder otherwise.
Maintenance and Alignment
The 270Wi is easy to take apart for cleaning and maintenance. The hopper comes off with a simple twist. You can access the burrs by unscrewing the adjustment rings. You don’t need any specialized tools to get into the grinder’s mechanisms, which makes it quite easy by burr grinder standards.
There is a special adjustment needed to keep a consistent grind at the finest settings. What happens is the grind will become more coarse as you season the burrs. After grinding 8-10 pounds of coffee, the rough edges of the burr get worn down, which reduces the initial extreme sharpness. Therefore, you need to bring the burrs closer together to maintain fine espresso settings.
Fortunately, Baratza makes the adjustment easy. Two metal shims come with the grinder that will have to be installed in the burr assembly to make extra fine grinding possible. This is an essential adjustment if you plan to use the Sette 270Wi for espresso.
Thankfully, the installation only takes a few minutes, and all the tools you need are included with the grinder. This demonstration shows how easy the shims are to install. This adjustment is the most complicated that maintenance on the 270Wi gets, and it’s a very easy grinder to maintain
The cost of the 270Wi is a middle ground between home and commercial grinders. It’s as expensive as the best home grinders but cheaper than nearly all commercial machines. The quality burr grinder and grind-by-weight feature make the 270wi a great value for the price.
Programmable dosing isn’t a universal feature in home grinders (even a few more expensive home grinders don’t have programmable doses). The grind-by-weight function is mostly only available on grinders costing upwards of $1,000, yet the 270Wi is comfortably less.
Comparing Sette Grinders: 30 vs 270 vs 270wi
There are three Sette models: the 30, 270, and 270wi, which improve on one another. They all feature the same burr and design, but the difference is the grind settings and dosing. Here’s a quick breakdown of each Sette grinder.
Sette 30 highlights:
- No programmable doses
- No micro adjustments ring
- Same quality and consistency of grinding
- Functional, but basic
This is the most basic of the three Sette models. There is no programmable dosing and only one macro adjustment ring. The construction of the burrs and mechanics are the same as the other two models.
This means the Sette 30 has the same quality and consistency of grind as the other Sette grinders. What it lacks are its precision and versatility. It’s a great grinder for most brew methods, but I’d recommend against using it for espresso. The Sette 30 will fit your setup if you only brew pour-over or French press.
Sette 270 highlights:
- Same precision and versatility as the 270Wi
- Programmable doses
- Doesn’t have an integrated scale
- Doses by time, not weight
The Sette 270 adds the micro-adjustment ring compared to the 30. The biggest difference between the Sette 270 vs 270wi is that the 270 doesn’t have an integrated scale. It doses by time, not weight. It still has both the macro and micro adjustment rings and can program doses.
The Sette 270 is a more affordable alternative to the 270Wi. You can save yourself a few hundred if you don’t mind spending a little extra time dialing in the dose amount using a timer instead of a scale. I’ve used the Sette 270 as a dedicated espresso grinder and have been just as happy with the results as I have been with the 270Wi.
Baratza Sette 270Wi highlights:
- Weight based grinding
- Integrated Acaia scale
The Acaia scale is what separates the Baratza Sette 270Wi from the other Sette models. It’s the only weight-based grinder of the three. Weight-based dosing adds a level of speed and convenience to coffee prep that other grinders can’t match. Pair the 270Wi with a quality espresso machine you’ll be able to prepare a cappuccino as quickly as in any specialty coffee shop.
Which Sette Model Should I Get?
Which grinder is best depends on what you plan to use it for. If you don’t plan to make espresso, the Sette 30 is a great option. It’s reasonably priced and has the same grind quality as the other Sette models. The only thing it can’t consistently do well is grind precisely enough for well-dialed-in espresso.
Both the Sette 270 and 270Wi are great for espresso and other brew methods. The extra level of precision from the micro adjustment ring makes both grinders versatile. The programmable doses make it easy to quickly grind different amounts for your different coffee needs.
The only difference between the two is the time vs. weight dose method. The scale makes dosing quick and easy, but the timer can be just as accurate with a little more time spent dialing it in. Which grinder is best for you depends on how hands-on you want to be. The 270Wi requires almost no effort in dosing out the right amount of coffee. The 270 needs a little more TLC to find the right dose setting since it isn’t a weight-based grinder. Once it’s dialed in, it’s comparable in performance to the 270Wi.
The last consideration for all these grinders is price. The price doubles from 30 to 270wi, which is a big jump. All three are excellent grinders, but personally, I would go with the Baratza 270 because the timed basing dosing is perfectly fine and not necessary if you’re using a consistent grind size.
Alternatives to the Sette
There are other options besides a Sette model worth considering. Different coffee or espresso grinders may be appropriate for your needs and budget. Below are a few other Baratza grinders and one non-Baratza option.
Baratza Virtuoso highlights:
- 40mm conical burr
- 40 steps of grind adjustment
The Baratza Virtuoso is the more basic model compared to the Sette. It uses a 40mm conical burr. The grind consistency is good with the Virtuoso, but it’s clearly a home model, not a commercial grade. It won’t grind fine enough for espresso in most cases. It is a very consistent grinder with 40 different settings that can handle pour-over through a French press. There are no programmable settings, and grind adjustments are made by rotating the hopper. There’s no LED screen or digital interface.
Baratza Vario highlights:
- Digital Control Panel
- Macro micro adjustment
- 54mm ceramic flat burrs
The Vario is another step up from the Sette line. The Vario has 300 settings, with 10 macro and 20 micro setting adjustments, along with 3 presets dosed by time. There is a nice portafilter holder, so you can grind espresso with it like the Sette line. However, it doses by time, not by weight, so there’s more calibration required when changing grind sizes.
Another big step up with the Vario is it uses 54mm ceramic flat burrs. This will produce a more consistent grind size when paired with the high-torque motor. That said, the motor runs more slowly than the Sette, which takes longer but is also quieter.
If you’re considering the Sette 30, consider checking out the Virtuoso as well. If one of the 270 models is more appealing, then the Vario is also worth looking into.
Breville Smart Grinder Pro
Breville Smart Grinder Pro highlights:
- 60 Grind Settings
- LCD Display
- Doses from fine for espresso to coarse for cold brew
The Breville Smart Grinder Pro is another great coffee grinder outside of the Baratza brand (although Breville acquired Baratza in 2020). It has enough precision on finer settings to make it a decent espresso grinder for an aspiring home barista. It’s also versatile enough for coarse-ground brew methods like the French press. However, the Breville grinder has more clumps at espresso settings, and isn’t as the grind sizes aren’t as consistent as the Sette.
The Sette coffee grinders are some of my favorite machines, but the Smart Grinder Pro is a close second.
Should You Get the Sette 270Wi?
The Sette 270Wi is one of the best options for brewing espresso at home. It grinds fine enough and consistent enough to dial in sweet, full-bodied shots. The grind-by-weight function makes dosing simple, even if the scale can sometimes be temperamental.
The 270Wi also has enough versatility to grind for other brew methods, like pour-over. It’s an all-in-one option that can be either a dedicated espresso grinder or a multi-purpose grinder.
One reason I wouldn’t recommend the 270Wi is if you don’t plan to make espresso. The 270Wi has some unnecessary features you won’t use if you only make a pour-over or French press every day. In that case, there are more affordable options, like the Sette 30 or Baratza Virtuoso.
The other downside is the noise level, which is a tradeoff for the value. Noise doesn’t affect your coffee’s taste, but it might not be worth it for some.
I don’t think you can go wrong with the Baratza Sette 270Wi. I’ve used it for years, and it’s always delivered excellent grind consistency for both espresso and filter coffee. There are more budget-friendly alternatives, but the Sette 270Wi is a powerful tool in the hands of a home barista. To make the most of it, read our guide on dialing in espresso.