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Vario Preciso/Vapore combo
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volfro
Senior Member


Joined: 19 Sep 2008
Posts: 14
Location: Marietta, GA
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Wed Oct 3, 2012, 12:28am
Subject: Vario Preciso/Vapore combo
 

Hiya,

So I finally upgraded my grinder, after several years of thin shots from a cheap Capresso grinder and the Saeco Vapore (Starbucks Barista): I bought a refurbished Vario Preciso directly from Baratza.

When I first received it, the grinder choked my machine on any setting below 9 or 10, but after a few weeks, the grind seemed to be getting coarser and coarser.

I got in touch with Baratza's support, and they sent me the docs on troubleshooting the grinder. I took it apart, cleaned it, made sure the calibration was on the finest setting, and all that. Also did other troubleshooting: bought a properly-sized tamper, descaled and cleaned my espresso machine.

After all that, I can get decent espresso, but it's completely inconsistent. Also, I generally have to adjust the grinder down to 5a (or lower) to get any pull to last longer than 20 seconds, especially when the coffee is more than a week or so old. (I buy my coffee from a local roaster; they roast every Monday, and the SO currently in the hopper is only a week old.)

This is disappointing in light of the fact that the grind seemed to be much finer when I first received the grinder, as well as the fact that I'm reading posts on here from people whose Precisos grind fine enough for espresso at settings between 10 and 15.

Does this seem normal to you all? It could just be user error, but considering the fact that when I received the grinder I was using my old (too-small) tamper but still able to pull consistent shots at a setting of 10 or so, I can't shake the feeling that something's wrong with the grinder. Also, it IS a refurb, and when I took it apart, I noticed the previous owner had drilled a hole in the calibration ring to make the grinder go even finer than the finest setting; maybe they were having trouble, too.

If it's normal to have to set it that low for the Vapore (or similar machine), do you guys have any tips for dialing in the grind and tamp? Since this is my first experience with a proper grinder, I'm probably doing stuff wrong.
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D4F
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 2,021
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Baratza Forte-AP
Posted Wed Oct 3, 2012, 9:45am
Subject: Re: Vario Preciso/Vapore combo
 

How long have you had the refurb?

Does it take longer to grind?  Normal double shot grind time is about 11 - 12 seconds.  Has that time started getting longer?

Is the grind less consistent, or more problem with fines?

My first refurb was working at about 10.  The replacement refurb is calibrated to the 3rd window, tightest, and 10 chokes my Gaggia where it was perfect before.  Baratza told me when they sent the second that it would be from about 14 - 10 for espresso and below 10 would be too fine.

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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volfro
Senior Member


Joined: 19 Sep 2008
Posts: 14
Location: Marietta, GA
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Thu Oct 4, 2012, 2:54pm
Subject: Re: Vario Preciso/Vapore combo
 

It's only been a couple of months. I bought it in July.

No, it seems to take a normal amount of time--about 10 seconds is enough to pack my PF.

As far as fines go, I'm not totally sure. I've compared the grounds a few times at different settings, and I've never noticed an excess of fines or anything like that. But the grind is down to 4a, and I just pulled a 17 second shot. The particles seem to be a consistent size, it just seems like I have to dial it way down, compared to when I first received it.

And the hole drilled in the calibration ring makes me suspicious...maybe this one's a lemon?

How long have you had your refurb? Why did you have to return the first one?

Thanks for the info!
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D4F
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 2,021
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Baratza Forte-AP
Posted Thu Oct 4, 2012, 3:27pm
Subject: Re: Vario Preciso/Vapore combo
 

A  picture of the calibration ring and extra hole would be interesting.  You could also contact Baratza and email them the photo.  The refurbs are supposedly completely updated to the newest upgrades, but that does not necessarily include all new parts.  It could already had a new type calibration ring.

If not something easily fixed, they will likely replace it.

I had the first about 5 months and now the second about 1 month.  The first started slowing down and took longer to grind, and I had to tighten grinder number to keep the grind the same.  I started getting more fines.  Probably a bad motor bearing was their phone diagnosis after a few contacts.  A very unusual problem for them, so it was not clear from the beginning.  The changes on mine got worse slowly over 1 - 2 months and does not sound anything like yours.  As usual for Baratza, they stand behind their product.  If they cannot talk you through an easy fix, they willl probably replace it.  Keep in contact with them, and they will make it right.

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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CraigA
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CraigA
Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 11,255
Location: Rexdale, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: PID/PressureMod 2001...
Grinder: BUNN FPG-2 DBC, Baratza...
Vac Pot: Bodum Santos manual, Yama 5...
Drip: Behmor BraZen, BUNN VPR-APS,...
Roaster: Refurb Behmor 1600, BBQ...
Posted Thu Oct 4, 2012, 3:50pm
Subject: Re: Vario Preciso/Vapore combo
 

D4F Said:

A  picture of the calibration ring and extra hole would be interesting.  You could also contact Baratza and email them the photo.  The refurbs are supposedly completely updated to the newest upgrades, but that does not necessarily include all new parts.  It could already had a new type calibration ring.

Posted October 4, 2012 link

Yes, a pic would be nice as I can't see one of the Baratza refurb techs letting that grinder go out with a user modified ring.
Not only that, but going past the furthermost right hand side of the 3rd slot & the left hand calibration ring anchor hole (which shifts the calibration to its most possible finest setting).
If you take out the anchor screw & twist the calibration ring assembly just a tad past this combo (like if there was just one more tighter fineness hole/wider 3rd slot), the two pieces will disengage & pop apart.

 
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volfro
Senior Member


Joined: 19 Sep 2008
Posts: 14
Location: Marietta, GA
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Thu Oct 4, 2012, 5:39pm
Subject: Re: Vario Preciso/Vapore combo
 

I'll post a pic as soon as I have a sec to take it apart again. Was planning on going through their troubleshooting PDF one more time just to make sure it's put together properly.

Their customer service is legendary, and the guy I e-mailed with a couple weeks ago was really nice and informative, but I had other troubleshooting to take care of before I made 'em replace a whole grinder. (Namely, the tamp, cleaning the espresso machine, etc.) And I understand that there are a lot of variables when it comes to dialing in a shot, but from what I've read, I should be able to choke my machine at anything below 10 or so. Having to drop it all the way down to 4 or 5 to pull a 25 second shot with fresh beans seems excessive.

I'll post a pic tonight or tomorrow...
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volfro
Senior Member


Joined: 19 Sep 2008
Posts: 14
Location: Marietta, GA
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Thu Oct 4, 2012, 5:41pm
Subject: Re: Vario Preciso/Vapore combo
 

CraigA Said:

Yes, a pic would be nice as I can't see one of the Baratza refurb techs letting that grinder go out with a user modified ring.
Not only that, but going past the furthermost right hand side of the 3rd slot & the left hand calibration ring anchor hole (which shifts the calibration to its most possible finest setting).
If you take out the anchor screw & twist the calibration ring assembly just a tad past this combo (like if there was just one more tighter fineness hole/wider 3rd slot), the two pieces will disengage & pop apart.

Posted October 4, 2012 link

You're right--however, the additional hole is just slightly further out from the normal hole. It's basically an extension of the existing calibration slot, but it seems to me that it's not meant to be there. I'll post a pic ASAP so you can see what I'm talking about.

Thanks for the input either way!
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