mhoy Senior Member Joined: 4 Feb 2008 Posts: 183 Location: Sunnyvale, CA Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Elektra T1 Grinder: Baratza Vario Roaster: HotTop KN-8828D
Posted Thu Mar 12, 2009, 7:38pm Subject: Re: The Baratza Vario Grinder Owner's Thread
Well, I've only gotten about a one pound of coffee through it so far. The BareFoot coffee Element Espresso was first and I ran out after about 1/2 lb of use. I then switched to Black Cat Espresso. Easily adjusted between the two with a click or two difference. I have not taken it apart to see how much grind retention is occurring and will trust the other reviews in this.
I still need to break out a scale to measure the actual doses, but the grind is 'fluffier' as it compresses more when dosed to the same height at I did with my KA Proline, (which isn't as bad as some seem to make it out to be).
I'm likely to have different needs in what I expect out of my espresso machine and grinder than others. I don't think I have as refined a pallet for the tastes that many seem to notice. In any case, I like my espresso shots and latte's just fine.
The Vario is doing great in all the points I need it to succeed in.
Vario is a better espresso grinder than my KitchenAid Proline
counter space taken up is small and it fits under my cabinets (way better than my unused Cimbali Cadet)
easily adjustable in time and in grind size
quiet, more of a lower rumbling grind than the KA
As the basket fills, a bit falls out onto the counter, about the same mess as using my KA straight into the portafilter.
The PF holder is a bit off level, however, my tamper fits perfectly under the front of the PF handle, so this is moot.
I haven't had time yet to do any home roasted coffee and I dread the day I send a rock through it.
MarkPrince Moderator Joined: 19 Dec 2001 Posts: 5,462 Location: Vancouver, BC Expertise: Professional
Espresso: KvdW Speedster Grinder: Compak K10 WBC Vac Pot: A bit too many Drip: Clive Coffee Drip Stand Roaster: Hario Glass Retro Roaster
Posted Fri Mar 13, 2009, 12:14am Subject: Re: The Baratza Vario Grinder Owner's Thread
Here's the picture in question, ground with the Vario at coarsest macro setting, about 3 clicks up from finest (ie, still room to go more coarse) on the micro side.
The coffee's also been sifted to remove any residual dust, which is inevitable no matter the grinder you use, due to friction contact and chaff. Sifted with a cone-shaped strainer that I normally use for cocktails (!).
This is what I believe to be ideal coarse-side press pot grinds: 0.5mm to 2mm, long side. I'd actually go finer and be good with it - perhaps down to 0.25-1mm particle sizes.
Mark PS. I'll do a combo picture showing the Vario's three extremes - ristretto espresso grind, drip grind, and coarse press pot grind and post soon.
DaveZ Senior Member Joined: 5 Jan 2009 Posts: 12 Location: Phoenix AZ Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Trying to decide Grinder: Baratza Vario Vac Pot: Yama Drip: Bunn, Keurig Roaster: popcorn popper
Posted Fri Mar 13, 2009, 5:11pm Subject: Re: The Baratza Vario Grinder Owner's Thread
If Marks example is the perfect example of what would normally be used in a press pot or drip, mine is a bit on the fine side.
Marks looks to be on average maybe not quite twice the size but it is larger and he still has room to go coarser. I think my grind averages .5mm to 1mm with very few reaching 2mm and I am at the absolute coarsest.
Maybe after grinding a few pounds, it will loosen up a bit.
Great! I hope it serves you well. I like mine. But I'm one of those people that likes the things they buy. I won't say that it's definitely better than something someone else has and loves, but.. it's mine, it grinds so much better than what I had before, I'm happy, it's great.
I'll still try to be objective for those on-the-fence folks ;)
Here are the things that I don't like, for those kinds of people that look to the bad reviews first (I do that sometimes, to avoid the happy and content reviewers like myself):
1- I wish it's memory lasted through an unplugging so I could just power down my whole coffee area with a single switch. 2- I wish it had a guillotine to shut off bean flow so I could remove the hopper and dump the beans out instead of turning the machine over (I talked to Kyle about this and he said that in his opinion there would still be too many beans below a guillotine if the hopper had one, but I would happily sacrifice those beans into dust to clean them out if it meant I could easily dump beans from the hopper.) 3- I wish I could find a way to make the lights go off without powering down. 4- I wish the the portafilter fork was able to be adjusted higher (I bent mine to work better, but why not just have it more adjustable from the get-go?)
Is that it? It might be.
In a way I almost feel cheated that it is not a huge, stainless steel behemoth on my counter. I don't have room for a huge stainless steel behemoth, but hugeness just seems appropriate for something that sounds so powerful and strong.
Saturday Mornings are for press pots. I will let the world know what I come up with if I have time before my obligations.
Write an email to Baratza about this particular issue. They felt that not enough owners would want (or miss) this feature, when they decided on the control board to use. If they hear from enough owners, they may modify future versions.
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