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brianl
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Dec 2012
Posts: 444
Location: Chicago IL
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic (w/PID)
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Drip: chemex
Posted Mon Jun 24, 2013, 9:25am
Subject: Re: Baratza Vario in the Summer/Humidity
 

That does sound promisingly. I've since got the blackcat to work fairly well. I just stopped opening the windows when it's hot (AC on more too) and it seems to be better.

I do think that the Vario has nothing to do with it (just that it's a popular grinder so it comes up more often).

I came accross this topic and it doesn't sound like it's a health risk if this guy is straight up drinking it, ha. http://coffeegeek.com/forums/coffee/general/40048. It also looks like it's used as a health supplement. probably safe there.

However, Buckley, is it Calcium chloride or calcium carbonate? You mention both.
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Chanty
Senior Member


Joined: 26 May 2005
Posts: 227
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic
Grinder: Vario, had an MDF
Vac Pot: none
Drip: none
Roaster: I buy beans from many...
Posted Mon Jun 24, 2013, 9:39am
Subject: Re: Baratza Vario in the Summer/Humidity
 

I'm just so perplexed about the humidity thing.  I don't want to blame the grinder either 100% because I know weather has a big play in it.  Yet, I don't always remember this kind of issue happening as severely as it has been lately.  Sure, I had humidity issues like we've discussed, but not constantly.   So far, I've cleaned the burrs, recalibrated--so will see if any of that helped.  My thoughts are humidity is evident if you are moving your micro from say--Q to say L.  In other words, humidity along with age of the beans is going to cause you to go somewhat finer.  Yet when you have fresh beans & no matter where you put the grind---whether it is Q, L or all the way up to C & it still gushes--something else must be going on.    It also doesn't work so well if you go through a "cheap" bag of beans to find the sweet spot on your grinder (during humidity times) because just because you found "B" works well on the cheapo bag in high humidity doesn't mean you won't have to go through an entire bag of expensive beans to find out nothing works or "A" works.  You know what I mean?  
We have an old house with radiant heat & one small a/c unit, so no central air to suck the humidity out.  Will have to see if all my work on this machine yesterday helped at all.  If not, hopefully Baratza will help me or I'll have to limit my home cappuccinos.  :(
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Buckley
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jan 2011
Posts: 423
Location: Internet
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Jun 24, 2013, 9:49am
Subject: Re: Baratza Vario in the Summer/Humidity
 

Chanty Said:

This calcium carbonate sounds promising, but my questions would be twofold.  One is, would this product rob the beans of too much moisture where they have another problem because they dry out too much?   Also, could this calcium carbonate somehow "leach" into the beans & be a health hazard?

Posted June 24, 2013 link

Dear Chanty,
Good questions.
Second one first: no, calcium chloride is a salt with very strong bonds between the calcium ion and the carbonate ions.  It will not 'evaporate' either one of those substances into the environment of the canister.  It is as stable as table salt in this regard.  Its characteristic is to strongly hold onto water at its surface, creating a higher concentration that the water concentration in the ambient air, effectively lowering the water concentration of the air.  As the moisture begins to dissolve the CaCl2, more surface is exposed to the air, attracting more moisture.  It is very effective, which brings us to your first question.
I have tried this method in the near-tropics and I have never noticed any change in the character of the beans but, at the time, I was not using top quality, fresh beans and not infusing espresso, so I cannot answer the question directly.  I expect any 'crunch' sounds of the beans being ground might become higher pitched, like a 'crinch' if the beans become more brittle.  The oil within the beans will not evaporate from the beans and be adsorbed by the CaCl2, so the beans should not completely change to a 'dried-up' appearance.
Anecdote: a large goat-skin and wooden damaru (Tibetan drum) was difficult to tune and hold its tune while I was living in Louisiana, so I placed it in a 5 gallon bucket with a Damp-Rid container and sealed it with a lid.  I opened it one week later only to find that the wood had dried out and split, ruining the drum.  The wood had no oils in it and was pretty fragile.
I do not expect beans to splinter and split from this treatment and, if I were going to do it again, I would continue with the salt shaker half full of CaCl2.  Overnight should do it.  If you think that the beans are too dry for whatever reason (I can't think of how this would manifest as a problem except to alter the grind setting result slightly), you could always try a scant amount (1/2 tsp.) of CaCl2 in the bottom of the shaker.
P.S. It is necessary to isolate the CaCl2 from the beans; the holes at the top of the shaker are smaller than the CaCl2 granules but will let the moisture drift in.  A tea-infuser would not work, since the CaCl2 becomes wet as it is doing its job and the solution would leak out, ruining the beans.

Buckley
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Buckley
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jan 2011
Posts: 423
Location: Internet
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Jun 24, 2013, 9:53am
Subject: Re: Baratza Vario in the Summer/Humidity
 

brianl Said:

However, Buckley, is it Calcium chloride or calcium carbonate? You mention both.

Posted June 24, 2013 link

Sorry.  Brain reboot.  It is calcium chloride.  It is not calcium carbonate.  I will edit the previous posts.  Thank you.
B
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Chanty
Senior Member


Joined: 26 May 2005
Posts: 227
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic
Grinder: Vario, had an MDF
Vac Pot: none
Drip: none
Roaster: I buy beans from many...
Posted Mon Jun 24, 2013, 10:04am
Subject: Re: Baratza Vario in the Summer/Humidity
 

Thanks Buckley, very thorough, thought provoking info.  I may try that.  Makes a lot of sense especially since it should just take the moisture out & not the oils.  I wonder how much moisture normal roasted beans have in them in dry/low humidity weather? Hmmmm
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D4F
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 1,997
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Baratza Forte-AP
Posted Mon Jun 24, 2013, 10:40am
Subject: Re: Baratza Vario in the Summer/Humidity
 

Earlier in the thread I mentioned problems with the Preciso probably due to humidity.  While the title includes Vario, it seems more about humidity now.  What about other brand grinders?  If it is humidity should there not be similar from other brand espresso grinders.  Again, they may not be inclined to post in a Vario thread, but it would be interesting to know now that it is more about humidity.  Also a bit more reassuring that it is humidity and not the grinder.

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


Joined: 26 May 2005
Posts: 227
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic
Grinder: Vario, had an MDF
Vac Pot: none
Drip: none
Roaster: I buy beans from many...
Posted Mon Jun 24, 2013, 10:45am
Subject: Re: Baratza Vario in the Summer/Humidity
 

d4F,
I agree.  Again, I'm not convinced it is ALL about the humidity as I never remember the severity of the issues I'm having now.  YES, I notice different things when the humidity is higher in our house--heck--even the milk doesn't want to froth properly with changes in humidity in the house.   I understand and don't mind some changes of the grinds with weather.  What I am talking about is massive changes in the grind to NO AVAIL.  This, IMHO, is not normal.
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Chanty
Senior Member


Joined: 26 May 2005
Posts: 227
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic
Grinder: Vario, had an MDF
Vac Pot: none
Drip: none
Roaster: I buy beans from many...
Posted Mon Jun 24, 2013, 12:06pm
Subject: Re: Baratza Vario in the Summer/Humidity
 

Okay update since yesterday's re-calibration & cleaning the burrs (9 month old reconditioned machine)  Reconditioned, but newer reconditioned.
Always fresh beans...
Micro= D,  Macro=2,    20-23 sec. shot, started blonding at 20sec.  ME NO LIKE...
Micro= B, Macro= 2     30-35 sec. shot before started blonding, better but B?  Really?  Is humidity affecting from a normal Q to B?

One thing I noticed was that a few times the micro slipped about 1-2 notches as it was grinding.  I put them back where I wanted & it seems to be holding now.  Don't know if they slipped because of futzing around with it yesterday between the calibration& trying to get the upper burrs out.  My husband had a hard time getting the upper burrs out.  How would I do it???????????????????????
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Chanty
Senior Member


Joined: 26 May 2005
Posts: 227
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic
Grinder: Vario, had an MDF
Vac Pot: none
Drip: none
Roaster: I buy beans from many...
Posted Mon Jun 24, 2013, 12:18pm
Subject: Re: Baratza Vario in the Summer/Humidity
 

Oh, and another thing.  Today might be "B" on the micro, but tomorrow may be.....what comes before A; oh yeah that's right--nothing.   Here's the thing.  I've gone through about 1 1/2 lbs. of beans in the last 3 days.   How do ya'll have the money to keep buying beans at $12-17 a pound (not including shipping) if you are fortunate to find a local roaster that is good.  
How does one really know if it is a problem with the grinder not doing its job OR humidity wreaking havoc.  I don't think anyone has addressed that question.  When do you say humidity wouldn't be causing such extreme problems and maybe it's a machine problem?   For example, my flow could start coming out slow and within seconds start blonding and fast flow.   NO, don't say it is my espresso machine.
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brianl
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Dec 2012
Posts: 444
Location: Chicago IL
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic (w/PID)
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Drip: chemex
Posted Mon Jun 24, 2013, 12:50pm
Subject: Re: Baratza Vario in the Summer/Humidity
 

Like I said, calibrating fixed my problem (so far, knock on wood).

How do you get Q to B? Didn't you recalibrate? Therefore, Q is a moot point. If you don't want to hang around 2B, calibrate finer. I was getting about 2B and wanted more room so I calibrated it finer and now its at 2I.

So based on your results, you went from D to B and it got quicker?

And about the micro slider, they do slip in the A-D range and Baratza will send you shims to fix it, or you can just hold it or calibrate lower as those lower ones don't slip.

The world of espresso is wonderful, isn't it?

BTW D4F, I have another humidity topic in the questions and answers forum that has other input beyond the Vario.
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