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My first grinder: Frustrated and Confused with my Baratza
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Markarian
Senior Member
Markarian
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
Posts: 658
Location: Seattle Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: ECM Technika IV Profi WT-WC
Grinder: Baratza Forte AP, HG One
Vac Pot: Bunn Trifecta MB
Drip: Moka, Aeropress, Hario V60
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Tue Aug 7, 2012, 10:14pm
Subject: My first grinder: Frustrated and Confused with my Baratza
 

So after my arm got tired after a few weeks with my Hario Skerton, I picked up a Baratza Virtuoso. Originally, I was going get an Encore, but the person at the store told me their quality hadn't been consistent lately on the Encores and the Virtuoso would be a much better bet for espresso. I use an unpressurized PF with my Saeco RioVapore/Starbucks Barista. When I got it from the factory, it was not calibrated and did not grind nearly fine enough, and all the tamping in the world wouldn't get me a decent shot. I had to take it apart to re-calibrate it and set it on Fine, but now that I have, the hopper won't rotate past 30, as I believe the burrs physically touch at that point. Is that normal? It does grind very fine now, and I can easily choke my machine.

Also, was it a wise choice to go with the Virtuoso over the Encore? It was $100 more and I'm still stinging from that unexpected upgrade, but I really want a decent starter grinder. Thanks for the advice!
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IMAWriter
Senior Member
IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
Posts: 5,959
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 Tue Aug 7, 2012, 10:25pm
Subject: Re: My first grinder: Frustrated and Confused with my Baratza
 

Well, all things being relative, if you're choking your machine, what's the problem?
Back it off a bit, and see what that gets you.
Also, adjusting the dose up or down can compensate for the difference in steps. Say 1 step coarser causes a too fast pour. DON'T change your tamp pressure, always keep that consistent. Instead, add a couple of grams more coffee.
You're aiming for 30-40ml in 25 seconds.

Even if you decide to eventually upgrade your grinder again (as many of have done), the Virtuoso will serve you many years as a drip/press/Aeropress, etc grinder too.

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
My Music Production web site:
www.robertjason.com
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Markarian
Senior Member
Markarian
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
Posts: 658
Location: Seattle Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: ECM Technika IV Profi WT-WC
Grinder: Baratza Forte AP, HG One
Vac Pot: Bunn Trifecta MB
Drip: Moka, Aeropress, Hario V60
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Tue Aug 7, 2012, 11:23pm
Subject: Re: My first grinder: Frustrated and Confused with my Baratza
 

My main concern is that I might have damaged the burrs or that I calibrated it incorrectly, as now the hopper only rotates from 40-25 and will not turn past that. I had hoped I would get a greater range of stops even when setting the screw to the "fine" window.
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NobbyR
Senior Member
NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 2,061
Location: Germany
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Poccino Opus One, Ariete
Grinder: Eureka Mignon Istantaneo
Vac Pot: N/A
Drip: Melitta Linea Unica de Luxe
Roaster: N/A
Posted Tue Aug 7, 2012, 11:52pm
Subject: Re: My first grinder: Frustrated and Confused with my Baratza
 

I'm sorry I have to tell you that the Virtuoso, though being a good grinder for other brewing methods, is by far not the best for espresso, having far too few settings (i.e. 40 supposed to cover all grinds from espresso to French press), resulting in steps that are too wide. Therefore it's sometimes impossible to dial in the grinder correctly, because you are stuck in between two steps for proper extraction. You can only try to compensate by changing your dose accordingly, which can have an effect on taste, of course.

You should have gotten the Preciso!

 
***
"This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee, when he was urged to ban the beverage)
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hankua
Senior Member
hankua
Joined: 29 Aug 2009
Posts: 294
Location: Jacksonville, Florida
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Salvatore One Black
Grinder: Major, Rossi, Tanzenia,...
Drip: Behmor Brazen, CCD
Roaster: Feima 800n, Huky, Sirocco
Posted Wed Aug 8, 2012, 5:30am
Subject: Re: My first grinder: Frustrated and Confused with my Baratza
 

I would try to the return the grinder for the reasons you stated "will not grind for espresso"'. You could do an exchange, get the Encore, and use the extra money to snag a beat-up espresso shop grinder. Looks like several different options to explore.
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,296
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4, Pharos,...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Wed Aug 8, 2012, 6:52am
Subject: Re: My first grinder: Frustrated and Confused with my Baratza
 

NobbyR Said:

I'm sorry I have to tell you that the Virtuoso, though being a good grinder for other brewing methods, is by far not the best for espresso, having far too few settings (i.e. 40 supposed to cover all grinds from espresso to French press), resulting in steps that are too wide. Therefore it's sometimes impossible to dial in the grinder correctly, because you are stuck in between two steps for proper extraction. You can only try to compensate by changing your dose accordingly, which can have an effect on taste, of course.

You should have gotten the Preciso!

Posted August 7, 2012 link

Yeah, what Nobby said!

I think the sales person was right about telling you to get a better grinder in the line than the Encore, but you should have been told that for espresso you should get a Preciso or Vario (if you're getting a Baratza grinder).

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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Markarian
Senior Member
Markarian
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
Posts: 658
Location: Seattle Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: ECM Technika IV Profi WT-WC
Grinder: Baratza Forte AP, HG One
Vac Pot: Bunn Trifecta MB
Drip: Moka, Aeropress, Hario V60
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Wed Aug 8, 2012, 10:30am
Subject: Re: My first grinder: Frustrated and Confused with my Baratza
 

So what exactly is the difference between the Encore and the Virtuoso in the first place? And can any of you tell me if I've even done the calibration properly or if I've messed up the grinder? Right now, spending more money is not an option. I budgeted for the Encore, was upsold to the Virtuoso and am stinging from it a little. If it's just because the ticks are too far apart, one can easily remove the little ratchet to make it stepless, for what that's worth.
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Markarian
Senior Member
Markarian
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
Posts: 658
Location: Seattle Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: ECM Technika IV Profi WT-WC
Grinder: Baratza Forte AP, HG One
Vac Pot: Bunn Trifecta MB
Drip: Moka, Aeropress, Hario V60
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Wed Aug 8, 2012, 10:53am
Subject: Re: My first grinder: Frustrated and Confused with my Baratza
 

Well, score 1 for Baratza customer service. I was told to bring my grinder to their HQ today and they would be happy to look at it to make sure it's perfect. While I'm not in the market for a more expensive grinder yet, Baratza is still looking really good as far as building brand loyalty.
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FrankyD
Senior Member


Joined: 27 Jul 2012
Posts: 58
Location: Davis, CA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Starbucks Barista
Grinder: Baratza Preciso/Kyocera...
Drip: Bodum French Press
Roaster: WB Poppery I
Posted Wed Aug 8, 2012, 3:56pm
Subject: Re: My first grinder: Frustrated and Confused with my Baratza
 

Holy cow, they actually asked you to bring it over? Now that is something I don't see everybody.
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Markarian
Senior Member
Markarian
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
Posts: 658
Location: Seattle Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: ECM Technika IV Profi WT-WC
Grinder: Baratza Forte AP, HG One
Vac Pot: Bunn Trifecta MB
Drip: Moka, Aeropress, Hario V60
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Wed Aug 8, 2012, 6:40pm
Subject: Re: My first grinder: Frustrated and Confused with my Baratza
 

So I got back from Baratza a few hours ago. I am impressed beyond all words with their level of friendliness and customer service. It turns out my grinder was indeed reassembled by yours truly incorrectly and wasn't properly set up to grind espresso. Within a matter of seconds, both technicians had it down to its bolts and worked with me to calibrate and shim it to exactly what I wanted (Turkish and Espresso). The owner even offered to pull shots with it on his La Marzocco. My visit to Baratza was a terrific experience and now the grinder is working great and grinds from talcum dust to a passable French press.
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