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The Baratza Vario Grinder Owner's Thread
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IMAWriter
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Posted Thu Jan 7, 2010, 11:35pm
Subject: Re: The Baratza Vario Grinder Owner's Thread
 

click here

Orphan link to 53mm funnel

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
My Music Production web site:
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Whale
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Posted Fri Jan 8, 2010, 4:29am
Subject: Re: The Baratza Vario Grinder Owner's Thread
 

Either you do magic, my eyes are playing trick on me or something changed at the OE web site yesterday but I sware that I looked there!!!!????

But I found it and that what is important.

Thank you Robert!
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Dave_I
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Espresso: Brewtus II
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Posted Fri Jan 8, 2010, 7:05am
Subject: Re: The Baratza Vario Grinder Owner's Thread
 

Two quickies:

First, I can't be bothered to read this thread, so um, are these grinders like any good or can I just use a blender?

Sorry, lame attempt at humor.

Actually, two three real questions:

1) What have you ladies & gents found is the coarsest you generally have to go to get espresso to pour the usual shot within the ~30 second range?  I'm still fine tuning, because I'm slow, and I know it varies, but I'm going a bit coarser than I expected (I believe the Macro switch is on the second or third notch from the top, see below) when it gets close to the approximate ideal time range.  I'm wondering if mine's set-up a bit tighter than some of yours (for those of you who have to adjust it finer, I seem to have the opposite "problem" as it chokes my Brewtus II pretty easily well short of the finest).  Not that I'm complaining, just making sure I'm not missing something or doing something obviously wrong.

2) Macro slippage.  I know this was a problem in the past, but I got mine over X-mas so it should be a newer version and the Macro slips when the grinder is grinding coffee.  Hence I think I'm down to the third notch of the right-side macro that is getting me close (I had it in place, thought I remembered where it went, but it slipped on my last shot of the night).  Anyway, I contacted the vendor, they said Baratza handles warranty info, which is fine, just waiting for Baratza to get back to me, which is again just fine.  I am wondering though, how was this resolved for those who had this problem in the past (i.e. is there a quick & easy fix, or do they end up having to replace it, or does something else happen).  Any ideas for intermediate fixes between now and when I get this resolved would be swell.

Other than that, it seems to be a great grinder, and a relatively minor (if annoying) issue.  Of course, this is my first grinder so I haven't had an inferior grinder to compare it to, but it seems to be as good as everybody says it is.


3) Just thought of this one.  I haven't tried it yet, but how close do you have to dial it in when doing French Press or Drip?  Are they significantly more forgiving than Espresso?

-Cheers
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boyscout
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Joined: 29 Dec 2009
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Location: Toronto
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Sat Jan 9, 2010, 4:48pm
Subject: Re: The Baratza Vario Grinder Owner's Thread
 

espressoaddict Said:

Note: For the newer batch post Nov of 09, there is a non-published way to adjust the zero point to get finer or coarser and is completely different from what is documented currently, but will become available as already noted in this thread.  Since Kyle has noted this will be officially published sometime this year, just wait for the official release.  For now, I haven't had a need to make this adjustment even though I have the steps.

Posted January 2, 2010 link

Is there a way to get this "non-published" information?  I've just plugged in a new Vario and after several experiments I now have both Macro and Micro sliders ALL the way up to the top and the grind isn't NEARLY fine enough.  With very firm tamping my Rocket Giotto pumps a 2.5 oz shot glass full in about 13 seconds!

From all the glowing reports here, I'm guessing mine is misadjusted.  Can I tweak it myself, and if so how?  My dealer rec'd it two days ago so it's likely the "post November 2009" product.  Model 885, serial number low end of 1000.

Sorry to be the (apparently) first owner in this thread not gushing about the Vario, but in addition to this misadjustment issue I already have three other complaints.

  1.  My portafilter is for the Rocket Giotto - not exactly a rare one - but the fork can't be properly adjusted to fit it.  I moved the fork to the topmost hole, but found that (a) the hole was oversized and the screw won't bite there, and (b) it still wasn't quite high enough, the portafilter slanted down.  So I've moved the screw ABOVE the holes, so it just rests on the plastic column there.  Pretty shaky to say the least, but now at the right height.

  2.  A fair bit of electrostatically-charged coffee splatters around outside the machine on each grind.  I've just read here about needing to electrically ground the fork... maybe if I find a way to do that while keeping it high enough this problem will go away.

  3.  When started for the first time, lights and everything worked, but no motor.  Had to go online to find the advice that the hopper must be be very firmly twisted into place to engage a safety switch... that information should be in the manual.

I had a Compak K3 Touch for a little more than a week.  I LOVED the grind it had - exceptionally smooth, fluffy, clump-free.  But I came to really dislike adjusting it, which I had to do a lot as I experimented with various coffees.  Like many of us, I guess, I don't get a whole lot of extra counter space for coffee production, so the grinder was in between the microwave and the Giotto.  Adjusting the grind meant awkwardly reaching in behind at the top to twist there.  If dispensing time was not long enough or too long, I had to reach down to the bottom back on the opposite side for a control switch there.  And then re-adjusting the dispensing time to correct that problem involved pulling the machine out and tipping it up to adjust a small rotating switch underneath the machine.

The feeling that it was all too clumsy and awkward was getting worse instead of better, so I took it back and got the Vario today.  The machine is pleasantly smaller, control setup is spectacular, but I really need to get back to the grind I was getting from the Compak.  Help!!

Thanks in advance for any advice.
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germantownrob
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germantownrob
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Posted Sat Jan 9, 2010, 5:40pm
Subject: Re: The Baratza Vario Grinder Owner's Thread
 

Mark, do a search for Vario adjustments in the grinder forum, it is all in this thread many times. I had the same problem as you with not grinding fine enough and so have many, after some fine tuning you will find the joy of this grinder. The static and flying grinds has also been an issue for many and in the last few pages of this thread it has been discussed. A funnel from OE did the trick for me to keep my PF locked in tight and no more grinds flying and no more WDT, grind and tamp. No grinder is perfect and each seem to have their issues, well there may be something in the way high price range, but once you solve the minor issues of the Vario it is great.

Edit I tried some searches and it didn't pop up yet to find the spot with adjustment direction, it is here I swear.
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espressoaddict
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Espresso: Rancilio Silvia V3 (Primary)...
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Posted Sat Jan 9, 2010, 6:35pm
Subject: Re: The Baratza Vario Grinder Owner's Thread
 

Keep in mind, this adjustment may reduce the coarseness of your current max particle size for press.  If that is not a concern, then disregard.

You need a 2 mm allen wrench or 2 mm bit.  That may be a challenge for some tools.  Luckily, I used an instrument tool set with flexible attachment works best for my application.  I've provided a photo below to use as reference.

Important: Prior to making this adjustment, exercise caution when adjusting the 2 mm screw to prevent any wear on the burr set.  Next, empty any beans that are present in the bean hopper.

The detailed steps below will provide the exact steps on first validating the zero position of your grinder.  After validating the position of the grinder will determine if necessary adjustments are needed.  If the adjustment is needed follow the remaining steps.

Tool Required: 2 mm allen wrench or bit.

Steps:
  1. Press the MANUAL button.
  2. Press the START button.
  3. Position both the Micro and Macro levers all the way down.
  4. While the grinder is running, slide the Macro lever all the way up to the highest Esp setting.
  5. Slowly slide the Micro slider in the up direction, one click at a time.  Closely observe the current sound of the motor.  If the pitch of the motor does not change, at this point, keep moving the slider slowly up, not past mid-point.  If you hear the pitch of motor change, then you don't need to proceed.  However, if you don't hear the change in pitch proceed to the next step.
  6. Position the 2 mm tool into the adjustment socket.  Refer to the photo below for reference.
  7. With the grinder running and the Micro slider left in the mid-point position, begin to slowly turn the screw clock-wise (when facing up under the grinder) until you begin to hear the burrs labor.   The sound in pitch should get higher.  Once you hear the pitch change, turn off the grinder to prevent unneeded wear on the burrs.

That's it!

Additional note:
After making this adjustment, the grinder will be able to grind finer than before.  Knowing the burrs are now so close together it is VERY important to always have beans in the hopper if you should ever test grinding finer than what is instructed above.  Setting the Micro slide from zero point to finer without beans in the grinder may damage the burrs.  Having beans present should prevent the burrs from ever touching.

The other sign you will know the grinder is grinding very fine is when you hear the motor labor. This is very much expected.

Good luck and be sure to let us know if this helped you!

espressoaddict: Vario_Adjustment.jpg
(Click for larger image)
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Grenfell
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Joined: 3 Aug 2006
Posts: 74
Location: Ontario, Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia V3
Grinder: Baratza Vario
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Posted Sat Jan 9, 2010, 6:52pm
Subject: Re: The Baratza Vario Grinder Owner's Thread
 

boyscout Said:

My portafilter is for the Rocket Giotto - not exactly a rare one - but the fork can't be properly adjusted to fit it.  I moved the fork to the topmost hole, but found that (a) the hole was oversized and the screw won't bite there, and (b) it still wasn't quite high enough, the portafilter slanted down.  So I've moved the screw ABOVE the holes, so it just rests on the plastic column there.  Pretty shaky to say the least, but now at the right height.
The feeling that it was all too clumsy and awkward was getting worse instead of better, so I took it back and got the Vario today.  The machine is pleasantly smaller, control setup is spectacular, but I really need to get back to the grind I was getting from the Compak.  Help!!

Thanks in advance for any advice.

Posted January 9, 2010 link

That's funny...I have the exact same problem with my Vario and the PF holder.  The top screw hole is too big.  I though mine was a returned/refab unit and the PO had stripped the hole!  I guess it is simply the way it's designed?  If you look at it, the lower three holes are all fine and the screw fits in perfectly and tightens.  The top screw hole doesn't.  Weird.  My Silvia PF is apparently much thinner than what they designed for...must be some very tall PF's out there!

As far as the grinding, that's already been covered so I won't repeat.  You should definitely be able to set it finer.  My Macro setting is one notch down and the Micro is mid-way.  With the Macro at the top, it completely choked my machine (Silvia).  Not a drop came out.  As per above post, I can hear the grinder motor labor when I set it at the finest settings.
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boyscout
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Joined: 29 Dec 2009
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Location: Toronto
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Sat Jan 9, 2010, 8:17pm
Subject: Re: The Baratza Vario Grinder Owner's Thread
 

Thanks folks, especially espressoaddict for posting the essential details of making the grind adjustment.  They do need to be repeated here to make them easier to find... I had looked before I asked for help.  Maybe Baratza could post them on its web site FAQs... what a concept!

We're back to good coffee.  The Vario's grind is plenty fine enough now; in fact I'm one below the top on Macro and near the bottom on Micro.  I drilled and fiddled a bit with the portafilter holder and have it working better, and the machine is not spraying nearly as much coffee around.  Looks like I'm going to become one of the Vario's boosters; it's VERY smartly designed and nice to use.

I must say, though, that the grind of the Compak was better, at least with the one coffee I've tried in both machines (Black Cat Espresso from Intelligentsia Coffee Roasters.)  The Compak produced a more even grind with a kind of dry fluffiness to it, whereas the Vario grind appears to be more damp (I know it's not), more dense, and a bit clumpy.  Works just fine when well tamped, though, and it sure is going to be easier to switch to coarse grind for my wife's Bodum and back to espresso for me!

Thanks again for the assistance... hope I can pay back after a few weeks living with this machine.
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IMAWriter
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IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
Posts: 5,683
Location: Brentwood, TN
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega
Grinder: Forte, Preciso/Esatto, KyM...
Vac Pot: Adcraft SS, Yama 8 cup
Drip: Brazen, Kalita, Chemex,...
Roaster: Behmor 1600, CO/UFO combo
Posted Sat Jan 9, 2010, 9:15pm
Subject: Re: The Baratza Vario Grinder Owner's Thread
 

boyscout Said:

I must say, though, that the grind of the Compak was better, at least with the one coffee I've tried in both machines (Black Cat Espresso from Intelligentsia Coffee Roasters.)

Posted January 9, 2010 link

The Vario Burrs (like any set of new burrs) need about 5-7 lbs of beans run through them before they're broken in  properly.
By the 4th lb you will see an exceedingly fluffy grind.

Let us know if that becomes fact for you.

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
My Music Production web site:
www.robertjason.com
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germantownrob
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germantownrob
Joined: 2 Dec 2007
Posts: 2,128
Location: Philadelphia
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Duetto 3, A Dead Oscar
Grinder: Vario-W, Preciso w/Esatto,...
Drip: Brazen
Roaster: Diedrich IR-1, HT B
Posted Sun Jan 10, 2010, 4:38am
Subject: Re: The Baratza Vario Grinder Owner's Thread
 

Has anyone else had to re-calibrate more then once? This is the second time I had to back off the 2mm screw to get back to the motor loading up on macro in top position while sliding the micro up to correct the motor going under load on macro position 2.

BTW this is a 6 month old grinder that is more then broken in and is the opposite problem of burrs breaking in.
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