Grinder's talk: Baratza Forte BG
This is a new series of blog post, not introduction or purchasing suggestion, just want to share some of my using experiences and make some comments on what I think it is worth to talk about.
In the first post of this series of course I will talk about Baratza Forte BG. I have this grinder since early 2019, and it first launched to market on 2013, still popular around enthusiasts and café owners. So it is well tested by time and market.
It has two types of bean hopper. The one that comes with the grinder is designed for bean storage, not single dose. I like the looking for this hopper, however, when you do single dosing, few beans will always stuck in the gaps with the “middle umbrella”, makes you can’t grind all the bean in one time, annoying. The company launched a new single dose hopper in 2020, not a fan of the looking, have not used it.
It has 10 macro adjustments and 26 micro adjustments so theoretically you have 260 setting. I think this is more for its brother Forte AP (for espresso, just different in burr) since espresso need precise adjustments to reach a certain fine amount. But I am still happy that it provides this feature to coarser brew. And at the default setting, 2Q is the burr contacting point so technically you can’t use the setting that finer that 2Q. However, they provide a calibration mechanism that you can set the burr contacting point above 2Q then you can use more setting.
Unlike many grinders that have a long powder outlet, the powder outlet of Forte BG is included in the grinding chamber. When grinding light roast bean, large amount of chaff will stick around the powder outlet due to static and it is hard to clean.
Motor and transmission
Here comes my most criticize part for this grinder. First I want to explain how motor deliver power to the burr in this grinder: The top of the motor is connected to a drive pulley, and the driver pulley also connected to the burr carrier by a leather belt, once power on and motor start to spin, the drive pulley will pull the bell and get burr carrier spin together. I think they use this type of transmission due to the inner structure, but it is not a very strong holding connection, three connecting points (motor and pulley, two sides of the belt), one fail, all failed. The one in the picture was mine, the pulley got loose from the motor. I tried to fix it but it doesn’t work, so I have to contact Baratza team. But good thing is, Baratza team is very helpful, they asked me to send back the broken one and sent me a new one instead.
For this, I want to give my recognition to Baratza and Ditting team, the steel burr on BG is a very nice flat burr. It is a 54mm burr, a relatively small size while everyone is talking about 64mm and above. The size only makes it a little less efficient, but it does not affect its performance on flavour. It gives you nice aroma expression, nice clarity but with certain level of complexity so you won’t feel the flavour is too simple and boring. More importantly, as far as I know, they haven’t changed the burr design since the grinder first launched. No V1, V2, XX edition. A mature and successful design should not be “updated” frequently, I really admire that.
Even though I have some other grinders sitting on my desk, I still use my Forte BG at least three times a week. For people who interested it in nowadays, I will say if you don’t care about the features like metal body, big screen and faster motor, Vario W+ is a more budget friendly choice since after upgraded to “+”, Vario has steel burr carrier compares to plastic in old time, and the steel burr is the same. But if Forte BG is within your budget, then get the top one, you get what you paid for.