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Acaia Orbit Review




The Acaia Orbit is a grinder that promises a lot and I wanted this to be the be-all end-all home grinder. And it’s close, really, really close, but it’s not quite there just yet. This is my full review of the Acaia Orbit.


So this is the Acaia Orbit. I personally paid the full price of $1,350 for this grinder and I’ve had it for nearly 3 months now.


This was a fairly highly anticipated grinder. It was designed in collaboration with Weber Workshops, hence the microscope-like similarities to the EG1 in design, but Acaia is clear to state that they are solely responsible for developing the grinder technology, manufacturing, selling, and managing after-sales product support.


I’ve used it intermittently with other grinders in this time to get a sense of how it compares. I will also note that I’ve only been using stock burrs throughout my time with the grinder, although Acaia mentions you can use SSP ones as well.


This grinder also features unique integrations with the Lunar smart scale like grind by weight tech, which you may be wondering why it has it as a single dose grinder but that’s because Acaia plans to release a hopper in the future.


So with all that being said, let’s first talk about the features and build quality.


 

FEATURES & BUILD


It’s a fairly hefty feeling grinder in a relatively nice and compact size. This grinder measures about 27cm wide, 11cm deep, and about 40cm tall and weighs in around 5.6kg.


It has a 200W brushless DC motor powering a Mazzer 33M 64mm flat steel burr set with an adjustable 600-1500 RPM and stepless grind adjustment.


The grinder has a removable power cable out the back, a little button on the front with an LED indicator, and a knocker behind the grind chute.


And for this premium price point, we also get a premium build quality. This grinder has a space gray color and feels very well built and put together. The anodization is smooth with no blemishes or streaks anywhere.


One thing I have noticed over time are these little scratches at the base from sliding the dosing cup in and out but it seems to be able to rub off easily enough. The dosing cup included is a standard 58mm one with a magnetic stick on pad underneath so it aligns under the grind chute.


The dial ring mechanism feels very very smooth, like a high quality camera lens. But I’m not a huge fan of the use of stickers here on the adjustment ring, though they are useful to have as an indicator.


Another thing I don’t like is that there is a little bit of play between the grinder and the base. And when you look at it head on, there’s a noticeable off-centered shift that's possible. Now this may be intentional and my theory is that it could be to prevent shifting around when running the grinder.


Two other details I’m not a huge fan of are the spout extender and the anti-popcorning cover. Both are thin cheap feeling pieces of plastic.


I wish the spout extender here were metal and used magnets to snap on instead, that would’ve been nice. And I also wish the anti popcorning cover was metal, again potentially with magnets which would’ve been quite nice.


There are other elements that I wish were carried over from Weber’s design on the EG-1, particularly the use of magnets and less need for screws. But presumably that would add to the cost of an already premium grinder, so I’m not going to dock them for that.


Now this grinder also has some smart features. It has grind by weight technology and in testing it was fairly accurate, and as intended, gets more accurate the more it is used.


Again, this will be more relevant once a hopper is released but at least the tech is there and it works.


BUT, and this is a big but, you do need a 2021 Acaia Lunar for it to work. Meaning, this $1350 will effectively become $1600 with a Lunar and presumably even more for an additional hopper that needs to be purchased. That’s a lot of money.


The scale uses these magnetic feet that are adhered onto it that are included with the grinder. This is what allows the lunar to stick to the base of the grinder.


The Lunar pairs fairly seamlessly and both the grinder and Lunar can be controlled with the app. Which is again yet ANOTHER app in Acaia’s ecosystem of software that honestly seems to be a bit of a disjointed mess at this point.


But the app works well, and it's pretty cool to see RPM curves and profiles available to use.


 

RPM


So now let’s talk about that variable RPM. This one is tough because I don’t necessarily have any tools to measure extraction yield or anything like that - so I’m going based off of my subjective taste as well as what my girlfriend noticed in the differences as well.


So in doing some comparative A/B blind taste testing, there were 2 main noticeable differences in a brew set to the lowest RPM and a brew set to the highest RPM. And these differences also became more prevalent as the cups cooled down.


In the cup with the lower RPM grind, it had a much lighter bodied feel to it but with less noticeable sweetness.


The cup brewed on the higher RPM felt heavier but also noticeably sweeter, especially as it cooled down.


Now my theory here is that the faster grind will have more fines leading to it being easier to extract which is also where you would get the richer heavier body and added sweetness at the risk of more bitterness.


I can’t make any decisive statements with one being better than the other because at the end of the day, its all subjective. Now personally, I enjoyed the higher RPM brew while my girlfriend preferred the lower RPM brew.


So - is one better than the other? No. But - being able to compare and have this ability to use variable RPM is really interesting. You can even go as far as to create RPM profiles through the app to control when the RPM changes, but that’s a whole new level of nerd that I’m personally not ready for.


With regards to espresso, I noticed similar results and also enjoyed a higher RPM shot, though the difference was less noticeable to me. The higher RPM shots felt heavier bodied and sweeter while the lower RPM shots felt lighter and had more acidity.


 

PERFORMANCE


Now back to the Orbit. Now the best grinder to compare this one to would be the Lagom P64, in terms of price and featureset, which unfortunately I don’t have nor have I ever used.


So in terms of comparison, I’m comparing to the Fellow Ode Gen 2, DF83, and Mahlkonig X54. Not exactly an apples to apples test, but hopefully helpful nonetheless.


Compared to the Fellow Ode, I personally enjoyed using the Orbit for filter brews on brewers like the Orea and a V60 more, except when it came to the automatic Moccamaster.


For some reason, the brews I was getting on the Moccamaster with the Ode just felt a little cleaner and well balanced.


And I think a large part of why the Orbit wins on manual brews is also due to that variable RPM that can be tweaked to preference.


Now when it comes to espresso, I’ve generally still preferred a more traditional shot profile that I feel like I can achieve more easily on something like the DF83.


That being said, it’s still pretty great for espresso, especially for more developed roasts. The shots come out rich and full bodied and while its not super high clarity, its definitely not on the muddier side as well - if that makes sense.


The performance here is excellent and compared to some other 64mm burr grinders I’ve tried for espresso, like the DF64 and 64P, the Orbit has a smoother workflow and a tastier result with less fuss.


I’d say the Orbits shots were higher bodied and produced greater clarity to the DF64, but again, subjective thoughts speaking.


 

WORKFLOW


So now to quickly go over some thoughts about workflow.


It’s nice. It’s easy to use and fairly clean. But for some odd reason, even for a grinder of this tier, its hard to truly beat the simple and clean workflow of the Niche Zero.


This grinder NEEDS RDT. Without it, chaffing gets very messy, very quickly. I’ve noticed slight improvement using the spout extender which only works without the Acaia Lunar.


With the Lunar in place, the dosing cup is too large to work with the spout extender.


With RDT, the grinder’s retention is very little if any at all.


But without RDT, not only will you need to use the included knocker a few times, but if you tap on your table you can actually see even more grounds fall out from the chute.


I don't know why this is, but I will say RDT is a must with this one.


Apart from that, workflow is smooth, the RPM changing is nice and it can also be done with the button on the front, and the grinder itself just looks awesome. Like some kind of microscope.


 

CONCLUSION


This is a cool grinder. It has a lot of features that I’m sure can be more beneficial with the release of the hopper, and follows a minimal and modern design aesthetic.


However at its price of $1350 plus a $250 scale and presumably another pricey hopper to get the most out of this grinder - it’s hard to justify.


Up til now, my favorite grinder is STILL going to be the DF83. And that’s not to say this grinder is bad, my subjective preferences still favor the larger flat burrs.


It’s a fun grinder that I think offers more capability than something like the P64 with the RPM profiling availability. Though I can’t say for certain given that I've never used a P64.


All that being said - it’s fun, it’s cool to nerd out with, and has a great aesthetic. It’s by far my favorite looking grinder for sure.


So who’s it for? I think this grinder is for a niche audience, with its high price point, but also for the desire to nerd out with the profiling features. It’s for someone ready to spend more money than something like a Niche but not quite an EG1.


It’s certainly a do it all grinder for both filter and espresso with no issues.


But, this grinder isn’t for me. It’s fun, performs well, but personally, I can’t justify the high price point given my lack of interest in testing out the RPM profiling capabilities. And so for that reason, I’m out. So, those are my thoughts on the Acaia Orbit.



 

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