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Help my Vario please!
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Discussions > Espresso > Grinders -... > Help my Vario...  
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Gig103
Senior Member


Joined: 12 Feb 2012
Posts: 237
Location: Arizona
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Drip: French press!
Posted Sat Aug 31, 2013, 10:19am
Subject: Help my Vario please!
 

Hi all,
It's been a while since I've been on here because my setup has been in stasis. I've actually been drinking Aeropress at work lately, and so my grinder has been on about 3K for weeks. In anticipation for the Labor Day weekend, I ordered some Redbird coffees including my trusty RB Espresso.

Anyway, to the point - my Vario is not grinding fine enough! I cleaned it out (brush, compressed air, shook it, and checked the calibration point and it is still at 1 macro, and midway up the micro scale.

But look at the inconsistent grind that is resulting in 8 second gushers! I've hosted them on my site so you can see the full size image by clicking (warning they are pretty big). These images are taken of grinds at the calibration point (1K on my Vario)

Image 1
Image 2

I can clean it again, but any suggestions?
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MJJ
Senior Member


Joined: 2 Jan 2013
Posts: 37
Location: Montreal
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia PID
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Drip: Hario V60
Posted Sat Aug 31, 2013, 1:30pm
Subject: Re: Help my Vario please!
 

Wow, that looks terrible. Or I should say that is nowhere near an espresso grind, more like coarse filter grind.Something has gone wrong with your calibration, first I would check if your top burr is seated correctly, maybe take it out and re-insert it properly. After that I would check the calibration screws, maybe something has come loose. If you use the Allen key tool they provide (or an Allen key that fits the screw for making the calibration finer or coarser) and follow their calibration instructions (on their website and instruction book) you might get it back on track. If that doesn't work then maybe it's the macro-calibration screw that has come loose or something. In which case there are instructions floating around on this site explaining how to calibrate that.
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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 Sat Aug 31, 2013, 1:32pm
Subject: Re: Help my Vario please!
 

I have a Vario for about a year now.  For my espresso grind I have it at 2 on the Macro.  Macro 3 for espresso might be why you are seeing such coarse grinds.  Macro 3 for espresso is too coarse.  I would definitely raise the Macro to 2 (for espresso grind).  Lately I've been have bad gushers on all blends of espresso from various roasters.  I thought it was a blend problem--but it has happened on two reputable roasters' blends.   Normally it is consistent at between Q-S on the Micro & always 2 on the Macro.   Had gushers today on Q on Day 3 Post Roast--so NOT old or stale beans.  If anything, on new beans, I should easily be able to have the Micro on Q-S or even T.  Normally, as the days go by, and the beans get older; I should only have to move it to O at the highest(finest) on the Vario.  I know people say the humidity in the home wreaks havoc on beans & can cause the gushers where you have to really make it fine to get a normal result.  I have recalibrated it twice & cleaned the burrs.   I hope someone else chimes in cuz I'm at my wit's end.
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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 Sat Aug 31, 2013, 2:42pm
Subject: Re: Help my Vario please!
 

Seriously before you do anything with the calibration--MACRO 3  doesn't seem right at all for espresso.  I was told it should be on 2!  Try that first, really.
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MJJ
Senior Member


Joined: 2 Jan 2013
Posts: 37
Location: Montreal
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia PID
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Drip: Hario V60
Posted Sat Aug 31, 2013, 5:03pm
Subject: Re: Help my Vario please!
 

His picture, as I understand, is already at 1k...if that's the case then he has a problem (which could be just calibration).
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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 Sat Aug 31, 2013, 5:56pm
Subject: Re: Help my Vario please!
 

Me bad.  I should read a little slower.
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IMAWriter
Senior Member
IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
Posts: 5,917
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 Sat Aug 31, 2013, 8:03pm
Subject: Re: Help my Vario please!
 

Chanty Said:

Me bad.  I should read a little slower.

Posted August 31, 2013 link

Yes. ;>D
It's the coffee.
To the OP...
There are a few things that can cause this, including reasons mentioned above. Sometimes, if the grinder is adjusted finer with beans in the hopper WHEN IT'S NOT RUNNING, beans get trapped between burrs. You said you"brushed it out.
The vario needs a thorough cleaning every month, and every 3rd cleaning, some folks remove the lower burrs 3 screws, clean any goop under there.
Once that is done, I like to run the levers gently up and down several times. If you feel no resistance either way, you're OK. if you should feel some resistance towards the top raising the Macro, you need to spray some compressed air in the groove as you raise and lower the lever. Once the up/down is smooth, reassemble the grinder.
This is where I would perform the calibration procedure with the 2mm calibration tool




Edit..oh yeah, DON'T shake your Vario.

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
My Music Production web site:
www.robertjason.com
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Gig103
Senior Member


Joined: 12 Feb 2012
Posts: 237
Location: Arizona
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Drip: French press!
Posted Sat Aug 31, 2013, 8:59pm
Subject: Re: Help my Vario please!
 

Thanks for the replies,  I'm just getting back to the computer now.

IMAWriter Said:

Edit..oh yeah, DON'T shake your Vario.

Posted August 31, 2013 link

Rob, what might have gone wrong? I had it upside down a few months ago when I put my replacement faceplate on (per Baratza's instructions, my settings weren't being retained after unplug). And then again to try and make sure there was nothing in it today when cleaning it.

After the cleaning, I ran the grinder empty to move the burrs up to 1W which was going to be my starting point for epsresso, and I went as fine as my calibration "touch point" of 1K for the photo.

Does the grind make a difference with a full hopper versus a handful at a time? I know that the weight of beans can affect going coarser, but what about its ability to grind fine?
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