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Breville Acquires US Grinder Maker Baratza for $60 Million

Baratza

Daily Coffee News photo/Nick Brown.

Australian multinational small appliance seller Breville Group has acquired United States-born grinder maker Baratza for $60 million USD, including $43 million in cash and $17 million worth of Breville shares.

Baratza Co-Founders Kyra Kennedy and Kyle Anderson, who founded Baratza 21 years ago while splitting the business between the Seattle area and the Bay Area with manufacturing in Taiwan, announced the news through the Baratza website late yesterday.

“In Breville Group, we are confident we have found a partner with shared values for customer care and a passion for product innovation and enhancing the specialty coffee experience,” the duo wrote. “We look forward to combining our strengths in design and customer support, while continuing to maintain our uncompromising focus on quality and customer care, to create a dynamic new vision for our business.”

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Baratza Founders Kyle Anderson and Kyra Kennedy at the company’s office showroom. 2019 courtesy photo.

Baratza has been privately owned since its inception. Founded in Sydney in 1932, Breville has been listed on the Australian stock exchange since 1999, and it launched in the United States in 2002. The company produces a broad range of small kitchen appliance with particular emphasis on the home coffee segment through products such as Nespresso-compatible machines, automatic drip brewers, blade grinders and entry-level espresso machines.

“We are excited by the opportunity to bring Baratza into the Breville family,” Breville Group CEO Jim Clayton said in a public filing made this morning. “Our combined experience will unlock dynamic revenue synergies for both businesses, that share a passion for innovation and an unwavering commitment to enhancing the consumer experience.”

Baratza_sette

Baratza Sette grinders on display at the 2019 SCA Expo in Boston. Daily Coffee News photo/Nick Brown.

Baratza has been a pioneering company in the production of burr grinders for drip coffee and/or espresso that balance elements of commercial-level quality and ingenuity with consumer-level affordability.

The company’s Encore and Virtuoso grinders are considered workhorse options for home brewers, while its Sette, Vario and Forté models delve into more advanced features. In 2011, the company introduced grind-by-weight technology into the marketplace. Most recently, the company launched a new accessory line under the name Baratzagear.

A Baratza spokesperson told DCN that Anderson, Kennedy and the rest of the Baratza staff will remain in their current positions and locations.

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A white Baratza Encore grinder with optional Baratzagear color customizations. Courtesy photo.

“While we are now part of a larger group, we are the same team and brand,” Kennedy and Anderson wrote yesterday evening. “Staying true to who we are, while growing in a global marketplace, will enable us to continue to shape our future and place as one of the most admired and trusted brands in specialty coffee.”

Comment

6 Comments

David Parker

This worries me. Baratza has always shown a commitment to keeping their machines in operation for environmental reasons. Users are able to buy many needed replacement parts and are even given instructions on how to install them.

Breville? Not so much. Their products have to be considered much more disposable. They make decent appliances, but they aren’t exactly built with a lifetime of use in mind. I say this as an owner of products from both companies.

About 10 years ago I had a Breville Ikon espresso machine which I used until it died. I didn’t try to get it fixed because I was pretty sure it wasn’t really capable of producing a really good shot. I currently have one of their Bambino Plus espresso machines and I’m pretty happy with it. Keeping my fingers crossed that it’ll last. I also have one of their coffee machines, and that works ok, but it has a bothersome leak. I’m trying to figure out how to fix it, but I might end up dumping it too.

Meanwhile, I’ve been using my Baratza Vario grinder every day for the past 10 years. It’s been fantastic, but, with this ownership change, I’m thinking that it might be time for me to get the parts I needed to keep it running another 10 years.

Tionico

Having been a reseller for Baratza products for some years now, and having called at their fomer works in Bellevue (afew years back, and they had outgrown it THEN.. this was pre-Sette days_ and seen their operation, and having met a number of staff and some management, I rather expect we’ve naught to fear on that score for some time. I also would expect that, should momentous changes come into view on the horizion, that lot in charge at Baratza will gove plenty of warning for the changes head. We’ve always been kept well informed of things at the horizon.

Rudimental coffee

I, too, fear that breville will eat their own and Baratza should heed the warnings. As an owner of both brands, I tried calling for parts on my breville espresso machine and inquired about further parts….none of which were available. This is troubling. We should be transforming this nation into reuse and recycle instead of mass market and disposable. The customer service comparisons between the two companies are night and day. Sigh. All we can do is hope Baratza stays true to their name and didn’t just “sell out” for money. At what point do you need to combine forces when your brand is killing it already!?!

Rich Westerfield

I had two Encores that crapped out in under 2 years. I have four Breville appliances (including a Barista Pro and Precision Brewer) that work flawlessly. So my experience is different that the other commenters here.

S. Rose

The characterisation of Breville as being a maker of blade grinders is confusing to me, as they make and have long made burr grinders. The current lineup has three different models and no blade grinders. They make five models of espresso machine with integrated grinders – all burr. As for entry-level espresso machines, the least costly is $900 list, which would have a hard time competing with the many $200 machines that are on offer.

Given that they already have a strong presence in the burr grinder market, I’m puzzled by the acquisition.

Tionico

S. Rose

I know probably a couple dozen individuals and at least half a dozen shops that use Baratza grinders, and nobody that has a Breville grinder. My guess in answer to your puzzlement would like in the strength of breville’s design/build for other types of machines (their kettles are amongst the best out there, and are often used by professional cuppers, buying in large volumes), and their espresso machines are preetty well respected.. in fact I know weveral who have them. Perhaps Breville are wanting to add a hihg grade of grinder capabitliy to bring UP in quality their incorpprated grinders by shifting to baratza’s high desigh and build standards. Breville occupy a sort of middle ground between the pro-sumer level in home espresso machines (running from aobuut $2500 to maybe $6K), but its a fair statement that most who would drop mid four figures for a standalone espresso machine will already have baratza grinders to feed them. Perhaps Breville have their sights set upon at least the lwer end of that market, with or without integrated grinders, but in either case wil benefit from the sale of more quality grinders.
So far, none of the active principals of either company have been forthcoming wiht the thinking underlying the move. It is safe to bet, howeve,r that the two who have been Baratza’s force might be wanting to go do something else…. in addition, or instead of, driving one of the most successful and respected brands in the coffee world.

My musings on a quiet rainy Teusday morning………

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