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The Baratza Vario Grinder Owner's Thread
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MDiddy
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Joined: 3 Oct 2012
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Location: PA
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Espresso: ECM Technika IV Profi
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Posted Sat Jan 19, 2013, 11:21am
Subject: Re: The Baratza Vario Grinder Owner's Thread
 

Hey guys, new Vario owner here.  I've recently upgraded from a Breville 840/Smart Grinder combo to a La Nuova Era Cuadra ii/Vario setup.  An odd thing I noticed...

From pretty much all the reading I've done and video's I've watched, most people have the grinder set with the macro all the way to the top and use the micro switch for adjusting the grind.  There are a few that keep the macro maybe one notch down, but for the most part, it's almost always near the top.

I've found with my machine, I need to keep the grind set at about 4-k in order to not choke out the machine.  Not tamping very hard, maybe 15-20 pounds, and I can get a good 2oz, 27 second shot.  Any lower, on the grinder and the coffee is just dripping out, or not coming out at all.  Does this sound normal to you?  Or do you think my Vario is set too fine?

I've also noticed, when doing the calibration (starting with both levers at the bottom) that I hear a change in motor speed simply moving the macro lever to the top.  It's not drastic, but there is definitely a change in sound.  Should it be doing that?

Thanks for any help!
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IMAWriter
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IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
Posts: 5,874
Location: Brentwood, TN
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega
Grinder: Forte, OE Pharos,...
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Roaster: Behmor 1600, CO/UFO combo
Posted Sat Jan 19, 2013, 11:53am
Subject: Re: The Baratza Vario Grinder Owner's Thread
 

MDiddy Said:

Hey guys, new Vario owner here.  I've recently upgraded from a Breville 840/Smart Grinder combo to a La Nuova Era Cuadra ii/Vario setup.  An odd thing I noticed...

From pretty much all the reading I've done and video's I've watched, most people have the grinder set with the macro all the way to the top and use the micro switch for adjusting the grind.  There are a few that keep the macro maybe one notch down, but for the most part, it's almost always near the top.

Posted January 19, 2013 link

No, that's not a fact. Actually, I'd say most are set one notch down, and a few 2 notches down.

I've found with my machine, I need to keep the grind set at about 4-k in order to not choke out the machine.  Not tamping very hard, maybe 15-20 pounds, and I can get a good 2oz, 27 second shot.  Any lower, on the grinder and the coffee is just dripping out, or not coming out at all.  Does this sound normal to you?  Or do you think my Vario is set too fine?

Yes, too fine. Clean your grinder, and perform the calibration again, making sure both levers are all the way down before commencing.

I've also noticed, when doing the calibration (starting with both levers at the bottom) that I hear a change in motor speed simply moving the macro lever to the top.  It's not drastic, but there is definitely a change in sound.  Should it be doing that?

Yes, normally, I suggest going one notch down, THEN raising the Micro lever up till you hear a change. If no change, then use the tool to go finer.

Thanks for any help!

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
My Music Production web site:
www.robertjason.com
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MDiddy
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Joined: 3 Oct 2012
Posts: 118
Location: PA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Technika IV Profi
Grinder: Baratza Forte AP
Drip: Cuisinart DCC-1200
Posted Sat Jan 19, 2013, 12:53pm
Subject: Re: The Baratza Vario Grinder Owner's Thread
 

Something may be amiss with my Vario.  Looking at this video, you can see when the macro side is moved all the way to the top, there's no change in sound.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WkBrDpbCAEs

On my grinder, I loosened the adjustment screw pretty much as far as it could go (actually took it the whole way out and had to screw it back in) and mine is still changing motor sounds when I move the macro all the way to the top:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCCB2P0-T0I

Since I've loosened the screw as far as it will go, I'm thinking there's an issue with my Vario and I may need to contact Baratza.
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greekespresso
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greekespresso
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Espresso: Rancilio Silvia V3, Gaggia...
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Posted Sat Jan 19, 2013, 1:37pm
Subject: Re: The Baratza Vario Grinder Owner's Thread
 

Hi Matt, someone had the same issue (not problem) like yours a few post before.
"Re: The Baratza Vario Grinder Owner's Thread"
Unfortunately, I cannot find the Craigs' detailed instructions so until he comes for a help you might find the following reading about PRIMARY CALIBRATION helpful.
Click Here (www.baratza.com)

PS If you do not use the grinder for french press, I assume you have to do nothing.

 
www.greekespresso.gr
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MDiddy
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Joined: 3 Oct 2012
Posts: 118
Location: PA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Technika IV Profi
Grinder: Baratza Forte AP
Drip: Cuisinart DCC-1200
Posted Sat Jan 19, 2013, 1:45pm
Subject: Re: The Baratza Vario Grinder Owner's Thread
 

greekespresso Said:

Hi Matt, someone had the same issue (not problem) like yours a few post before.
"Re: The Baratza Vario Grinder Owner's Thread"
Unfortunately, I cannot find the Craigs' detailed instructions so until he comes for a help you might find the following reading about PRIMARY CALIBRATION helpful.
Click Here (www.baratza.com)

PS If you do not use the grinder for french press, I assume you have to do nothing.

Posted January 19, 2013 link

Was just coming on to update.

I found the instructions on Baratza's site to calibrate for a more coarse grind.  Removed the upper burr, cleaned both, loosened the front screw down to one turn, and then removed the rubber seal to uncover the other screw.  Found it was set more towards the middle-back, so I loosened it up a bit, moved it towards the front a bit, and then tightened back up.  

Once I had that done, the grinder was no longer changing sound when I moved the macro lever to the top.  I then followed the basic calibration to tighten up the front screw until the motor slowed at bit when the micro level was in the middle and I think I'm now good to go.  

I haven't pulled a shot yet, but I tested some grinds, and it looks now that on 3-E, I'm getting close to the same consistancy I was getting on the 4-K grind previously.  I'm going to attempt pulling some shots later on today and see what I can get.

Thanks for the help!  :)
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Tert
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Joined: 30 Dec 2012
Posts: 2
Location: Norway
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sat Jan 19, 2013, 2:11pm
Subject: Re: The Baratza Vario Grinder Owner's Thread
 

As I wrote three weeks ago, I received the Vario-W with steel burrs and was unable to make expresso fine grounds. Now I have installed ceramic burrs ordered from Baratza in the US, and to my big satisfaction the grinder works so well that I donīt even need to calibrate the machine. The warranty seal covering the calibrating hole is unbroken -- still a virgine Vario -- and she gives me excellent coffee one notch down on the macro side and half way for the micro.
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greekespresso
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greekespresso
Joined: 27 Jul 2011
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Location: Ptolemaida, Greece
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Espresso: Rancilio Silvia V3, Gaggia...
Grinder: Mahlkönig Vario Home, Anfim...
Posted Sat Jan 19, 2013, 2:29pm
Subject: Re: The Baratza Vario Grinder Owner's Thread
 

MDiddy Said:

...
Thanks for the help!  :)

Posted January 19, 2013 link

My pleasure

 
www.greekespresso.gr
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bglenden
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Joined: 31 Mar 2012
Posts: 12
Location: Socorro NM
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sat Jan 19, 2013, 3:18pm
Subject: Re: The Baratza Vario Grinder Owner's Thread
 

Following up. I was the person who couldn't grind coarse. Following the advice here and from Baratza I reported:

"I ordered a burr remover and it arrived today, so I did a thorough cleaning (upper and lower burrs, took both out). I noticed that when I put my finger on the lower platform that I can feel it change "thunking" and changing position from about 1 through 5, but as far as it feels to my fingers its stationary for 5+ (and no longer "thunks"). Is this consistent with the adjustment plate being out of position? How can it be put back in position?

I did a calibration, and it was out by about a third of the fine scale (on the coarse side)."

Baratza (Pierce) suspects a problem with gearbox alignment, and at their initiative are sending me a replacement (machine is about 6 months old).

Cheers,
Brian
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IMAWriter
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IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
Posts: 5,874
Location: Brentwood, TN
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega
Grinder: Forte, OE Pharos,...
Vac Pot: Adcraft SS, Yama 8 cup
Drip: Brazen, Kalita, Chemex,...
Roaster: Behmor 1600, CO/UFO combo
Posted Sat Jan 19, 2013, 3:37pm
Subject: Re: The Baratza Vario Grinder Owner's Thread
 

Tert Said:

As I wrote three weeks ago, I received the Vario-W with steel burrs and was unable to make expresso fine grounds. Now I have installed ceramic burrs ordered from Baratza in the US, and to my big satisfaction the grinder works so well that I donīt even need to calibrate the machine. The warranty seal covering the calibrating hole is unbroken -- still a virgine Vario -- and she gives me excellent coffee one notch down on the macro side and half way for the micro.

Posted January 19, 2013 link

That is about where they should be to give you a good range for espresso, yet allow for a nice french Press.
Not referring to you, I'm seeing a bit too much 'fiddling" without READING.
Folks, PLEASE read the entire manual, and listen NOT for motor strain, but just a change of pitch when performing the calibration procedure.
Remember, these are NEWW burrs, and may grind a wee bit differently than they will after 5 #'s.
In my case, the grind actually got a bit finer after a few weeks. Instead of recalibrating, I just changed my settings a bit.
Once calibrated, there should be no need to perfrom that again, except if something drastically changes.

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
My Music Production web site:
www.robertjason.com
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ethom
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Espresso: NS Oscar, Silvia broken :o(
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Posted Sun Jan 20, 2013, 9:47am
Subject: Re: The Baratza Vario Grinder Owner's Thread
 

MDiddy Said:

Something may be amiss with my Vario.  

On my grinder, I loosened the adjustment screw pretty much as far as it could go (actually took it the whole way out and had to screw it back in) and mine is still changing motor sounds when I move the macro all the way to the top:

Posted January 19, 2013 link

I have a similar condition, and an additional concern, with a brand new Vario.  With the macro at the top and micro at lowest setting, I can hear a slight sound change. With any micro above the lowest setting, the burrs audibly make contact with a snicking sound as if some ceramic is being shaved off.  I too loosened the calibration screw until it felt very loose, though it didn't quite fall out, but I still couldn't rid the burr contact sound. I don't  hear the motor laboring or tone change, maybe because I'm so focused on the burr contact noise.

I calied Baratza where Colin said hearing the burrs making contact was perfectly normal and the sounds I was hearing were fine.  Removing the upper burr, I could see that the outermost edges were newly worn down a bit, more on one side of the burr ring than the other.

Now I'm at an impass. In other situations with coffee equipment, if it sounded bad or somehow felt wrong, there usually was a problem that resulted in some type of failure.  However, the manufacturer is saying all is fine with the Vario.

What do you all think?  Should you be able to hear the burrs hitting each other with an almost-but-not-quite-metallic shaving sound and then see ceramic dust from the burrs inside?

Thanks,
Tom...
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