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Odd Problem with New Vario
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Discussions > Espresso > Grinders -... > Odd Problem with...  
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MachiatoMan
Senior Member


Joined: 4 Oct 2012
Posts: 10
Location: NY Metro Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Rocket Cellini Premium Plus
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Drip: Hario V60
Roaster: Bodum French Press
Posted Tue Mar 12, 2013, 8:14pm
Subject: Odd Problem with New Vario
 

Hi Everyone,

So I upgraded to a Vario 2 weeks ago and have been generally very pleased with it (see my other post on comparisons to Rocky). However, I have encountered an unusual problem, which I don't believe has been covered here yet. For espresso, I initially had it dialed in at macro setting of 1 and a fine setting of M thru P (18 g dose, 25-27 sec extraction, 1.75 oz). Beans (Toby's Estate Columbia La Piramide) were roasted 3 days before use and consumed within 1 week. I tried some V60 with the macro setting at 3 (didn't touch the micro setting) and that worked well too.

Then I ground a pound of beans at the coarsest macro setting for a friend of mine to use in his french press. He likes a dark roast so the beans were quite oily.

When I went back to my espresso setting (and my medium roast beans), I ran 10 grams of to clear the grinder. Then I pulled a shot and it choked my machine. I pulled a bunch of other shots and ultimately, I had to go down to a macro setting of 3 and micro setting of C to get the same shot I was getting before. It seemed like the Vario was suddenly grinding much finer. I took the burrs out and cleaned the machine, but to no avail. Also, I noticed the puck was falling apart when I knock it out (always got an intact puck before). Same dose, same tamp (I use an espro tamper).

I called Baratza and they said they have never seen this before. They walked me through the calibration process and that came out normal. Their suggestion was to continue to use the grinder and see if it reverts to it's previous state. If it does then there's something wrong and they would want to look at the grinder. According to Baratza, the Vario is known to consistently hold it's settings. They said it's fine if it stays as is.  Although that does raise the question of why the big shift in the first place.

I've pulled a few more shots. While they taste great, I'm still at this strange macro 3, micro C setting. Any thoughts?

Thanks
MachiatoMan
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IMAWriter
Senior Member
IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
Posts: 5,864
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 Mar 12, 2013, 8:31pm
Subject: Re: Odd Problem with New Vario
 

A few thoughts.
You are breaking in your burrs, so grinding at coarse will not do much to break them in.
BTW, I hope you didn't do a continuous grind of that pound of coffee. The Vario is not rated for that long a grind session. if you did, you could have damaged the motor.
It staters this in the manual.
Assuming you ground the pound allowing many breaks of maybe 30 seconds, lets consider the next option.
I would do a thorough cleaning as described in the manual, tithe the additional step of removing the lower burr to check for residue underneath. THAT would be a major reason for your grind changing, as the burrs would meet in a tighter configuration.
Clean the inside of the Vario thoroughly, use a little compressed air to blow while raising the lowering both Macro and Micro levers. There should be NO resistance on the way up.
Reassemble the Vario, and again perform the calibration with the 2mm tool as described in the manual. Listen carefully for the first sign of motor pitch change..Stop there.
Form grins, return to your original setting. Truly, many find 1 notch down on the Macro and maybe 1/3 to 1/2 way up on the Micro gets them close.
Lets us know if this helps.

In recommend that ALL new Vario users perform this thorough 1st cleaning after 3-4 lbs have gone through then grinder. After that, the normal prescribed cleaning should be enough.

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
My Music Production web site:
www.robertjason.com
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MachiatoMan
Senior Member


Joined: 4 Oct 2012
Posts: 10
Location: NY Metro Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Rocket Cellini Premium Plus
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Drip: Hario V60
Roaster: Bodum French Press
Posted Tue Mar 12, 2013, 9:10pm
Subject: Re: Odd Problem with New Vario
 

Thanks for the advice. I had only taken out the top burr and blew some compressed air in there to clear the grounds. Didnt think to remove the bottom burr, so will definitely give that a try.

When I ground the lb of pounds for french press, i broke it up into 45 sec sessions with breaks in between to check out the grinds, empty them into a bag, and refill the hopper. The machine is limited to 90 sec grind sessions, but i was uncomfortable grinding for even that long.
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brianl
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Dec 2012
Posts: 449
Location: Chicago IL
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic (w/PID)
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Drip: chemex
Posted Thu Mar 14, 2013, 10:01am
Subject: Re: Odd Problem with New Vario
 

Did you by chance change the grind setting without the motor running? That will definitely mess up your repeatability.
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MachiatoMan
Senior Member


Joined: 4 Oct 2012
Posts: 10
Location: NY Metro Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Rocket Cellini Premium Plus
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Drip: Hario V60
Roaster: Bodum French Press
Posted Sat Mar 16, 2013, 8:13am
Subject: Re: Odd Problem with New Vario
 

Thanks for the advice. Yes, i always run the motor when changing the grind and i always run a few grams thru afterwards. I tried cleaning out the burrs and blowing out any grinds in the machine with compressed air. Didn't make a difference. At least I'm consistently getting a good shot at a setting of 3-C. So for now, I'm not going to worry about it unless things change again. Overall, I'm pretty happy with the grinder with the exception of this issue.
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