Kyle, the owner of Baratza, dropped by with an early version of their new Forte grinder. Based on our initial experience with it, we think this will be a great option for those considering “small commercial espresso & brew grinders.”
A quick summary:
- Beautiful glass touch screen. We found it to be intuitive and very easy to use. You can grind by weight, then toggle over with one click to see the precise time it took to grind that weight of coffee. It’s lightning fast and the colors and layout are very pleasing. It felt expensive.
- Substantial solid zinc housing. This grinder is heavy, and the quality of the all metal housing gives it remarkable heft.
- Nice new hopper design. The rotating chute “stopper hopper” is strong enough to slice through any coffee beans that get in the way. It also scoops very closely to the actual burrs, leaving very few coffee beans left in the grinder.
- Improved portafilter holder. The new solid zinc portafilter holder is a major upgrade from the current models.
The price will be $899, and is expected to ship in August. We will post more pictures and details once we’ve received a test model from Baratza.
Read the full description from Baratza:
The Forté-BG is a small commercial burr grinder, dedicated to grinding for brewing using a medium to coarse grind. Café, Roaster and home customers have been using the Vario-W, our weight-based grinder, since 2011 and appreciate the way it has improved their workflow and efficiency. It has proven itself to be an incredible workhorse in the brew bar setting, with accurate, durable, and consistent grinding, producing coffees with great flavor.
In response to this success, and growing demand for this approach to grinding in the commercial setting, we have developed a solid, innovative and multi-functioning grinder. This Forté-BG grinder comes with steel burrs that produce an accurate and precise grind in the medium and coarse range of grind. The steel burrs were specifically designed to reduce the fines, enhancing the flavor in the cup. The Forté-BG incorporates many features that fit well into commercial operations, including small footprint, front facing, intuitive operations display and solid macro/micro adjustment.
This commercial-grade grinder fits anywhere, from a restaurant, to an office, and especially to the café. The Forté-BG is designed solely for use in a manual brew setting, eliminating the need to manually pre-weigh coffee beans. The built-in precision load cell provides accurate weighing, while grinding, to within 0.1 grams. The new graphic, touch-screen user interface allows for repeatable, one- touch grinding. To enhance the strength of the grinder, it has an all metal grinding chamber and all metal enclosure.
The design is beautiful, as well as functional. The intuitive macro/micro adjustments offer 230 distinct and repeatable settings, with metal detents for stable/firm/secure/positive grind setting. The Forté-BG’s unique 54mm steel flat burrs provide accurate, fast-grinding performance. The high-torque DC motor and belt drive transmission mean your beans are in for a smooth, cool ride.
As always, it’s not just what’s inside that matters; the Forté-BG’s smooth operation carries over from internal to external, with front-mounted, easy-access control units, and a 5 oz. grounds coffee collection bin.
The Forté-BG’s 54mm steel flat burrs produce accurate grinding, and high throughput (for a grinder this size). The Forté-BG grinds at an average of 2.1g/sec. (800 microns) The broad range of grind (500 microns to 1150 microns) and the narrow particle distribution (lack of fines) are the hallmarks of the superiority of the Forté-BG burrs.
Digital Control Panel:
The front-mounted control panel with backlit LCD touch screen is easy, intuitive and very versatile to use. The Forté-BG allows the user to dose by real-time weight or by time. Additionally, there is a Manual button to allow for weight or time based grinding in manual operation. Three programmable buttons allow the user to program in the desired weight (+/- 0.1gr) as well as desired time (+/- 0.1 sec). Simply press the START button and the Vario-W automatically delivers precise dosing.
The Forté-BG offers macro and micro adjust for fine-tuning with ease. The macro adjust moves from fine to coarse grinding in 10 distinct and repeatable settings. A secondary micro adjust arm further divides each of the 10 macro steps into 26 distinct settings. These steps, plus the new metal detents, enable dialing in the exact grind for the preferred brew method being used. Grinds Left in Grinder: To maximize freshness, the Forté-BG minimizes the ground coffee left in the grinder.
The Forté-BG is exceptional for all manual brewing methods.
A new powerful, high torque DC motor with 70% more power than the current Vario and with twice the duty cycle (>50% run time) effortlessly drives the burrs. This motor turns slowly resulting in cool, quiet operation and permits long grinding duty-cycles. The circuitry is equipped with an automatically resetting, thermal cutoff switch. In addition, we’ve added a new drive ratio, pulley and belt drive system, to handle the additional power and anticipated duty cycle.
The Forté-BG comes with Baratza’s new polished ‘Stopper Hopper’, a bean hopper with 20% greater capacity than all other Baratza grinders and an innovative bean shutoff feature. It has a 300g capacity. Bean “waste” (below the stopper) averages a surprisingly low 10g, once the hopper has been shut off.
The Forté-BG is calibrated at the factory to ensure an accurate range of grind. If necessary, the Forté-BG burrs can be easily re-calibrated using the special calibration tool that comes with the grinder.
Burrs are easily removable with the included cast zinc tool making cleaning very easy.
Accessories (which may be purchased separately):
An extension that can add 9 oz. of capacity to the existing 10 oz. bean hopper. Several extenders can be added to get to the capacity you need.