Varia VS3 Espressomühle im Test

Varia VS3 espresso grinder in the test

The Varia VS3 does a very good job in almost all test areas. This makes it the top recommendation in the Espresso grinders entry area. We tested the Varia VS3 over many months at the coffee school and at home. Both versions VS2 and VS3 were examined.

Our goal as a coffee grinder tester and roaster is to find the best equipment for you at home so that you can prepare our coffees in the best possible way. With the Varia VS3 we are on a very exciting track.

Small price, small size – good performance?

With a width of only 9 cm, a height of 31 cm and a depth of 14.8 cm (with plug 16.3 cm), the Varia VS3 is one of the narrowest mills on the market. The black or white painted stainless steel body is elegant and looks particularly classy next to black and white machines. The mill stands solidly on the table despite its low weight of only 3.7 kg.

This aspect of the grinder is a positive surprise overall: the external quality exceeds expectations, given the low price of €370 for an espresso grinder. At the time of testing, we saw the mill for a low 270 CHF in Switzerland, which seems to be a special offer.

The mill is equipped with a 48mm conical grinder, the core of which has an inner diameter of 38mm. This grinder is made of high nitrogen 420 stainless steel. Varia states that the grinder has a shelf life of 150 kg of coffee. This is significantly less than what other manufacturers are aiming for. If we assume 80 espressos per kilogram, we get 12,000 espresso extractions. The grinder can then be easily changed, especially since Varia offers other cones with different performance. We are currently testing these and will add the results later.

But what does the small grinder do and how does the espresso taste? Find out in our test video and in this article when it's finished.

Espresso quality

The Varia VS3 with the standard grinding cone delivers solid espresso. The espresso tastes full-bodied and balanced. Nuances of more complex coffees are less pronounced than the round and overall delicious body. The espressos we purchased are round and were sweet and delicious.

We wouldn't call the Varia VS3 the best choice for more complex coffees. The Varia VS3 seems to us to be a very good mill for medium roasts. Despite the slow speed, you can reach results more quickly. At the same time, it is well suited to tapping into the flavor potential inherent in the coffee beans.

The particle distribution we measured is good. The main peak is in the middle range with a width of 259 microns, as is the fine content at 24.6 percent.

Particle distribution curve of the Varia VS3

Accessories and scope of delivery

The included dosing cup does not fit well in the portafilter because it is too small. A cup can now be ordered that also fits a 58 portafilter. Unfortunately, this involves extra costs and the one supplied doesn't do a good job.

The diameter wouldn't have to be a negative point if the cup was like ours KM mug could be placed on the portafilter. However, the small wings on the side are missing.

A small spray bottle is also included with which water can be sprayed onto the beans before grinding. One recently published study shows that this has a positive influence on the extraction of the coffee. The glass bottle supplied initially sprayed well for us, but then recorded the time during the video recording. That's how it is sometimes.

What is noticeable negatively: the mill may be compact, but it cannot function without its enormous block power supply. It's as big as many laptops. If you can't store it under the work surface in your kitchen, you'll quickly get annoyed. Someone from our community found a solution for themselves and got one 3D backpack printed for the mill.

New model of the Varia VS3

We tested versions two and three of the Varia VS3. The latest model, which we also discuss in the video, has a slightly more powerful engine and is no longer coated in the import area of ​​the mills. Some users had the problem with the Varia VS3 version two that the motor was not powerful enough for lighter beans. This will no longer be the case with the new model.

The coating in the import shaft was elegant, but created large static charges. Remains of coffee beans were always stuck to the side. While this has improved, it is still the case.

Static is a problem with the Varia VS3, which is why working with water spray bottles is definitely recommended.

Speed ​​or slowness and volume

The Varia VS3 is the slowest espresso grinder we have measured to date. It grinds just 6.7 grams of coffee in 10 seconds. Half of the espresso machine can be cleaned in this time. The slow speed takes some getting used to and changes your working rhythm, especially if you have already worked with other mills. If you are not used to faster mills, the slow meal is probably not a problem.

In addition, the mill makes a penetrating and rather unpleasant humming sound when grinding. At 73 decibels, this is on the quiet side compared to other mills, but it appears unrounded, squirming and penetrating. It is not an elegant tone of a powerful mill, but sounds like a mill on the last track. This reduces the feeling that you are traveling with a high-quality and elegant mill.

The other operation of the mill is greatly reduced. A single button starts and stops the grinding process.

Single dosing performance

The Varia VS3 is built as a single dosing mill. To qualify as a good single dosing mill, the mill should meet two conditions:

  1. Little dead space remaining in the grinding chamber after grinding.
  2. Easy adjustability between one recipe and the next. It should also be possible to easily return to the original recipe.

The temporary dead space the grinder is 1.1 grams of coffee. That's a good value, but on Single dosing We have higher demands on mills. In order to fulfill this requirement, single-dosing mills that do not grind empty themselves often have a bellows to empty the chamber with bellows blows during grinding. If we use this, we get a single dosing dead space of 0.05 grams. That's exemplary.

The bellows can also be removed and the magnetic lid can then be placed directly on the mill. However, it is then so tight that it is difficult to remove. Tip: Turn instead of pull, then it will come off more easily. However, using the bellows makes sense, which is why the lid scenario without bellows is rarely used.

For the second criterion, the Grinding degree replicability , the Varia VS3 is not convincing, at least in the particle analysis. We took these measurements on ZHAW Coffee Excellence Center in Wädenswil made. In Test 4, we precisely adjusted the espresso grind using a standard recipe. The mill was then set to Ristretto and Lungo and one drink of this type was obtained from each. For test 7, we then return to the previously set recipe and only use the visual markings as a guide.

The resulting particle distribution curve in our measurement shows a very large deviation from the comparison measurement. In particular, the fine content in the repeated measurement was significantly higher at 31.93% than in the initial measurement (24.58%).

While the measurement data suggests that it is less easy to adjust between recipes, in practice we have not experienced this large deviation between the references. We interpret that in particular the strong adjustment from espresso to ristretto (very fine) then to lungo (coarser) and then back again is not easy for the grinder. This is a shortcoming that appears more often with cheaper mills.

If only small adjustments are made in everyday life and similar coffees or roasts are used, this was evident Grinding degree replicability is less problematic in practice .

Conclusion and result Varia VS3

Despite all the justified criticism of the Varia VS3, we should not ignore the fact that the mill is hard to beat in terms of price-performance. Good espresso quality, little dead space, good consistency and pragmatic usability in a really elegant body with high-quality workmanship - that's what the grinder delivers for 360 euros!

This makes it easy to cope with the slow meal and the difficulty in changing the grinding degree. Our testers were positively surprised by the Varia VS3.

The Varia VS3 is the cheaper one Sage Smart Grinder Pro clearly superior, keeps up well DF64 with and also has to be in front of a small one Eureka Magnifico not hide. All in all a good and interesting mill!