If you’re ready to level up your espresso experience, you’ll need a grinder that is up to the task.
The Niche Zero and Baratza Sette series are popular, highly-rated espresso grinders that promise to deliver fine, fluffy grounds with minimal retention. But which of these grinders is deserving of your hard-earned cash and coveted counter space?
Check out the table below for a bite-sized comparison of these two grinders, then read on for a detailed breakdown of their pros and cons!
|Stepped (Sette 30)
Stepless (Sette 270 and Sette 270wi)
|1-2 grams/ second
|3.5- 5.5 grams/ second
|Single Dose/ Hopper
|55 g Single Dose
|10 oz Hopper
|Aluminum and Wood
History of the Niche Zero
James and Martin Nicholson, the UK-based brothers behind the Niche Zero, hoped to sell just 300 units of their newly-designed coffee grinder annually when they launched their product. Actual sales blew that dream out of the water, and this sought-after grinder is often out of stock and hard to get your hands on.
While Niche Zero is their first home coffee product, Martin Nicholson has had a long career working for well-known appliance brands.
They were inspired to improve upon certain elements of grinders they had used before, such as the retention, noise level, and quality of the build. It took over 3 years of development and many prototypes, but their final result was a roaring success.
Niche Zero: What’s It All About?
The Niche Zero is a single-dose, conical burr grinder that can be used for various brew methods, from true espresso to drip coffee. It has a stepless grinder adjustment wheel for dialing in your perfect grind size settings.
While some users are quick to applaud the versatility of this grinder, some espresso fanatics disagree. Since the grinder is stepless, you can tweak and dial in your grind setting just the way you like it. Great, right? And it is!
Until you twist the wheel to prepare your favorite filter blend and later find yourself having to make those minute adjustments all over again for your next espresso shot.
The Niche Zero has the versatility to grind for different preparation methods, but die-hard espresso fans might find bouncing back and forth too inconvenient.
The 63 mm flat burrs on this machine are made from hardened stainless steel and are manufactured by Mazzer Kony. These are incredibly high-quality burrs that make this grinder a stand-out: grinders with burrs at this level typically set you back quite a bit more money.
The Niche Zero operates at a relatively low speed, which reduces popcorning and therefore produces more evenly ground coffee.
This coffee grinder is made from black or white aluminum with wooden accents and has a rounded, cylindrical appearance that makes it stand out among the sea of squared-off grinders.
The “zero” in the Niche Zero’s name refers to retention. Thanks to a direct path from the burrs to the container and a special, patented material designed to allow the grounds to slip right through the chute, the Niche Zero achieves pretty darn close to zero retention of grounds.
In other words, what goes in comes back out. No old, stale coffee lurking within the grinder, and no wasted beans!
What We Like:
- Incredibly high-quality burrs
- Zero retention
- Low speed leads to a more even grind
What We Don’t:
- Can be inconvenient to switch between grind settings
Who Is Suited to the Niche Zero?
The Niche Zero is best suited for anyone knowledgeable about and dedicated to brewing high-quality espresso.
It’s designed for single-dosing, so it’s ideal for those who want to grind just the coffee they need fresh each time they want to pull a shot.
It has incredibly high-quality, professional-level burrs, making it a great choice for espresso lovers who rely on an excellent grind quality to bring out every tasting note in the coffee.
The stepless grind adjustment system makes this grinder even better suited to dedicated espresso makers, as it allows for minute tweaks to the grind.
Who Shouldn’t Consider the Niche Zero?
The Niche Zero is a great grinder for just about anyone, but it’s probably too much if you’re new to espresso or mostly use other preparation methods.
This grinder also wouldn’t suit anyone who frequently grinds for a whole pot of coffee or other large preparations, because as a single-dose grinder, it has no bean hopper.
History of the Baratza Sette
Founded by Kyle Anderson and Kyra Kennedy, the Baratza company has been producing coffee grinders since 1999.
They have introduced several innovations to the field, including the grind-by-weight feature, a macro/micro adjust system for quick and easy grind settings adjustment, and a hands-free portafilter holder.
The Sette series was introduced by Baratza in 2016 and offered a new straight-through grind path, low grinds retention, and high speeds.
Baratza grinders are designed to be repaired, not thrown out when they break down. These grinders feature releasable snaps and screws and affordable replacement parts, making them easy to clean, maintain, and repair.
Baratza Sette: What’s It All About?
The Baratza Sette series includes three models: the Sette 30, the Sette 270, and the Sette 270wi. All three are conical burr grinders, sporting 40 mm burrs made of stainless steel.
The Sette 30 is a stepped grinder with 30 grind settings. While the settings range from fine to coarse, dedicated espresso aficionados will probably find that these 30 settings aren’t sufficient to really dial in an espresso grind.
The Sette 270 and 270wi, on the other hand, are stepless grinders. They feature nine micro settings in between each of the 30 grind size settings, allowing for much more fine-tuning.
Thanks to the many markings, it’s pretty easy to adjust for Sette 270 for use with different preparation methods.
When it comes to different preparation methods, the Sette shines as a larger-dose grinder thanks to its 10 oz bean hopper.
All three Sette grinders have a distinct “seven” shape that not only looks unique but benefits the grind, too.
The shape allows the grinder motor to be located behind the grinder assembly, rather than beneath it. This keeps the heat of the motor away from your beans and allows your grounds to fall directly from the burrs into the container, reducing retention.
The Sette grinders have a mostly plastic construction that, while durable, can look cheap or less aesthetically pleasing than other grinders on the market.
There’s no getting around it: Sette grinders are loud. At 90 dB, this grinder is as loud as the average leafblower. However, it’s also extremely fast, yielding 3.5-5.5 grams per second, so the noise will be over quickly.
The Sette grinders boast very low grind retention, so you don’t have to worry about old, stale grounds cluttering up your next cup of coffee.
What We Like:
- Low to zero retention
- Accurate timed dosing, and weight dosing on the Sette 270wi
- Extremely fast
What We Don’t:
- Very loud
- Mostly plastic construction
Who Is the Baratza Sette Best For?
The three models in the Baratza Sette series are ideal for different types of coffee consumers.
The Baratza Sette 30 is ideal for espresso newbies in search of an entry-level dedicated espresso grinder. It’s by far the most economical of the grinders we’ve discussed here.
While it doesn’t leave a lot of room for fine-tuning, it will produce fluffy, even grounds with little to no retention.
If you’re ready to spend a little more and really dial in your grind, opt for the Baratza 270. Those who often change their grind settings or brew a large amount of coffee may find that they prefer this grinder to the Niche Zero.
The Sette 270 is also more economically priced than the Niche Zero and makes a solid option if your budget is tight.
The Sette 270wi is the highest-priced option. If you have some cash to throw around and are intrigued by its built-in scale for automatic dosing by weight, give this high-tech option a spin!
Who Shouldn’t Consider a Baratza Sette?
While versatile, a Baratza Sette is still mostly an espresso grinder. If you find yourself most frequently reaching for other preparation methods, don’t bother forking over the cash for a grinder like this, and consider one of these options instead.
Some espresso lovers prefer flat burr grinders for espresso due to their more consistent grind without the presence of “fines” and “boulders.” If that’s you, you won’t enjoy the Baratza Sette, which has conical burrs.
Finally, if you have a roommate, thin apartment walls, or anyone still sleeping when you grind your beans in the morning, consider skipping this super-loud grinder.
Niche Zero vs Sette: Who Comes Out On Top?
If you’re in the market for a mid-grade to prosumer espresso grinder, the Niche Zero comes out on top thanks to its professional-grade burrs, superior build quality, and slow grind speed that provide a consistent grind.
However, the Baratza Sette 270 will perform admirably if the budget doesn’t allow for the Niche Zero, and the Baratza Sette 30 is a solid entry-level option.