tegee Senior Member Joined: 29 Feb 2012 Posts: 47 Location: New England Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Brewtus IV-R Grinder: Baratza Vario
Posted Thu Apr 12, 2012, 7:02pm Subject: Re: The Baratza Vario Grinder Owner's Thread
As stated by IAM, I am generally 1 click down on macro and somewhere in the mid-range on the micro. The exception was when I was futzing with the VST basket. That basket needed a rather fine grind and I had to move the macro all the way to the top.
It is funny that you mentioned the VST basket. I was at 1st Macro and "O-T" on the Micro setting with a stock double basket that came with my Brewtus IV. Now that I have the VST (20g) basket I now have to be "K-M" on the Micro and I am still flowing quickly on a 26 second pull.
So in a nutshell....obviously the basket does make a difference IME.
Tony, that might be the understatement of the century!! ;>D (OT, just for moment..my apologies inn advance) Even on my Cremina lever, there is a fairly substantial difference in pour characteristics between my MCAL double basket and stock Cremina. )taking into account a slightly different capacity.) As regards pump machine baskets, there was a big difference between the OEM QMAnita double basket and Synesso double...tighter pours with the Synesso.
Posted Sat Apr 14, 2012, 12:34am Subject: Re: The Baratza Vario Grinder Owner's Thread
Hi, just got my Vario-W. I am sure this question has been covered in depth somewhere in the 160+ pages and counting in this thread so apologies in advance for the redundancy. I read ImaWriter-sensei's advice to leave your new machine at the factory settings for a while - but I just couldn't do it. Sacrificed half a pound of beans at a medium setting then the urge to take it for a test drive kicked in. Factory settings seemed fine, ie motor started to labor a bit at a 1M setting, but even on 1A (at factory) I couldn't approach an espresso grind (looked like sand, perhaps moka pot, next to the much finer grind from my dialed-in SJ, and confirmed by an inglorious gusher). So I broke out the allen wrench and tightened the burrs in, tested, tightened some more, until it got a bit scary. Finally, after a lot of tightening, I was finally able to get a good espresso grind, with a setting of 1P. Apologies for the long lead in, but here is my question: should the machine sound like it is really struggling at an espresso grind setting? I can't shake the feeling that somehow it is over-taxed, or that I've made some horrible error(s). At espresso, should it make the effortless (and quite beautiful) sound it makes at a medium or coarse grind, or are other Vario owners experiencing the same slightly worrisome, strained sound. Last thing I want to do is fry it on day one! Any advice would be highly appreciated.
GDK Senior Member Joined: 17 Feb 2011 Posts: 92 Location: Ontario, Canada Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: MiniVivaldi II, preinfusion,... Grinder: Baratza Vario W
Posted Sat Apr 14, 2012, 5:01am Subject: Re: The Baratza Vario Grinder Owner's Thread
Where is your zero point now (where motor starts to labour)?
While the SJ is built to powder almost everything, Vario-W works well with very fresh and/or softer beans and struggles with the rest. Do not push it too hard (i.e. go too much finer than the zero point), try to up dose or try with fresher beans. Setting in most cases should be just a few clicks coarser than the zero point with motor running normally, not labouring. Occasionaly one may go at or below the zero point. If you pushed the grinder to the limits and could not get a fine grind, give it some time to cool and run a few cycles with the new beans to get back to normal - this thing has a character. It kind of feels like being in a relationship ;)
I know what you mean. I'm on my third Vario wife and still unhappy. But I must admit, I'm getting a little Pharos on the side, so things have been looking up lately (although I'm not really into all the spanking).
IMAWriter Senior Member Joined: 4 Jul 2002 Posts: 5,464 Location: Brentwood, TN Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: Nothing at the moment Grinder: Vario-W,Preciso-Esatto/KyM... Vac Pot: Adcraft SS, Yama 8 cup Drip: Brazen.Chemex, Hario, Clever... Roaster: Behmor 1600, CO/UFO combo
Posted Sat Apr 14, 2012, 8:47am Subject: Re: The Baratza Vario Grinder Owner's Thread
Aaron, welcome to the CG Forums! Sensei indeed! LOL
I assume you torqued the 2mm screw, and not the one under the grommet?
Occasionally the ruff calibration slider under the rubber grommet might be loosened during transit, or perhaps not tightened down. You have my permission, young novice/padewan...to remove the rubber grommet, exposing the slider and it's 2.5mm allen screw. If memory serves (often it doesn't) The slider should appear to be mostly hidden, perhaps just a wee bit towards the front.
At any rate, if you can move the slider with finger pressure, that's not proper, and it needs to be tightened down in a position that allows espresso at 1MACRO click down from the top, and the Micro in the middle. I'm guessing all is good under the hood, and this is not your issue.
I'd also ask you to withhold judgement till your Alexia arrives, as it may afford you a totally different experience as far as grind fineness needs. However, if at a "recognized" espresso setting, say as the one I described above yields grind significantly coarser than one from the SJ at 9-10 marks up from your SJ's 0-burr rub, then we need to try something else.
For grins, remove the hopper, upper burr, and lower burr. Thoroughly clean the grinder and burrs, and run the levers up and down several times, just to make sure they're clear of grind, and working smoothly. Then replace all, and rep-calibrate the 2mm allen screw.
Posted Sat Apr 14, 2012, 2:45pm Subject: Re: The Baratza Vario Grinder Owner's Thread
Thanks so much for the speedy replies and the warm welcome! Like most noobs, I've been lurking around the forums (to be more accurate, obsessively reading to the wee hours) for a while. Takes a while to get the nerve up to post here, you folks all have so much experience, knowledge and smarts!
IMAWriter-sensei, being less judgmental is a personal growth goal for me! So no worries there. My current set-up may lend itself to over-grinding as you imply. I started out roasting and focusing on brewed coffee (love my Yama pour-over sock pot) and only recently got into espresso. I bought a used Ascaso Dream on the local Craigslist cleaned it up and upgraded the brew head and screen a la Seattle Coffee Gear. I've gotten to the point where I can pull a decent ristretto at 15.5g with the SJ, but without much experience and any basis for comparison (and not knowing pressure at the brew head), I'm flying blind and could be dosing with much finer than usual grinds.
Yes, I adjusted the 2mm screw with the exposed hole with the nifty wrench that Baratza included with the grinder. Many thanks for the info on appropriate beans/roasts for this grinder. I was using older (4 week post-roast) beans - my bad, a I shouldn't have been stingy with the testing beans. Nonetheless, even without the beans in the hopper, I still hear the labored sounds at my "espresso" setting.
My zero point (to confirm, the way we are using it here is the notch at which the pitch of the unloaded grinder first changes as we adjust from coarser to finer grinds - not the setting at which the burrs touch, nor the point the Seattle Coffee Gear folks adjust to in their video which seems well past the first pitch change) here is 2M....from GDK's post it seems I am waaaaay off and doing horrible things to my machine. I'll clean the Vario-W out as per IMA's suggestion, recalibrate the burrs wider, start with a cool grinder and see if I can't approach the more normal parameters. Will definitely use fresh beans and updose too. I really appreciate all of the help with this although I'll probably need some more advice on this in the near future!
Symbols: = New Posts since your last visit = No New Posts since last visit = Newest post
Forum Rules: No profanity, illegal acts or personal attacks will be tolerated in these discussion boards. No commercial posting of any nature will be tolerated; only private sales by private individuals, in the "Buy and Sell" forum. No cross posting allowed - do not post your topic to more than one forum, nor repost a topic to the same forum. Who Can Read The Forum? Anyone can read posts in these discussion boards. Who Can Post New Topics? Any registered CoffeeGeek member can post new topics. Who Can Post Replies? Any registered CoffeeGeek member can post replies. Can Photos be posted? Anyone can post photos in their new topics or replies. Who can change or delete posts? Any CoffeeGeek member can edit their own posts. Only moderators can delete posts. Probationary Period: If you are a new signup for CoffeeGeek, you cannot promote, endorse, criticise or otherwise post an unsolicited endorsement for any company, product or service in your first five postings.