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New Vario owner: question before I push start!
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canuckcoffeeguy
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canuckcoffeeguy
Joined: 22 Aug 2013
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Location: Burlington, Ontario, Canada
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Posted Sat Dec 28, 2013, 3:02pm
Subject: New Vario owner: question before I push start!
 

Hi everyone. Apologies if this has been answered before. And since it's about the ubiquitous Baratza Vario, I'm sure it has at some point.

So I just unboxed my new Vario grinder. I will be using it with my Mypressi Twist v2 until I get my dream home machine.

Until now, I have been using my modded stepless Hario Mini Slim to grind 18g by hand (1.5 minutes of pure maniacal, frenzied muscle twisting!) -- so I'm anxious to see how taste in the cup improves with the Vario, as well as speeding up my prep time without manual grinding.

Anyhow, before I use it for the first time, are there any steps I should take?

Such as:

1) Seasoning the burrs with cheap(but not oily) beans?

2) Cleaning anything inside to rid the internals of any manufacturing residue?

3) Calibrate it with the enclosed allan key?

4)Finally, I know that to avoid problems, it's mandatory to keep the grinder running while adjusting the macro and micro sliders. But does this mean I also need to ensure beans are in the hopper and being run through the grinder while adjusting the macro/micro sliders? Or, is simpy running the motor without any coffee ok. I ask since I will mostly be single dosing, rather than keeping the hopper full of beans. I am the only cofffe drinker in my house, and may not be using it every single day.

5) Is there anything else I should do that I'm not thinking of?

Thanks again for your insight and wisdom!
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moosepucky
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moosepucky
Joined: 6 Jun 2009
Posts: 154
Location: USA
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Espresso: Pasquini Livia 90 auto
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Posted Sat Dec 28, 2013, 6:17pm
Subject: Re: New Vario owner: question before I push start!
 

If you bought the ceramic burr model there should not be any need for anything special to get the burrs broken in.

you can stick a vacuum nozzle in the grinder (after removing the hopper) and seeing what might be left in after the assembly.  I doubt you will find anything but if you are worried a vacuum will pull out anything you don't want in there.

Running the machine is a good idea when changing settings.  Beans in or out does not matter.  spinning the burr is what you want to be doing while adjusting.

I would advise you to steer clear of the allen wrench and changing the burr alignment unless everything else you have tried has failed to get the grind you are after.  I can say that the one and only time I tried to re-set the burr alignment I got it so messed up that I had to send it back to Baratza who credited me the price I paid toward a Forte.  Believe me I will NEVER stick in the burr alignment wrench into the Forte after the nightmare I had with my Vario-W

They work very nicely as a single dose grinder (pre-weighing beans and grinding them all).
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canuckcoffeeguy
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canuckcoffeeguy
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Location: Burlington, Ontario, Canada
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Posted Sat Dec 28, 2013, 8:46pm
Subject: Re: New Vario owner: question before I push start!
 

Thanks Moosepucky. Yes, I bought the ceramic burrs. I should have mentioned that. Will fire up the Vario tomorrow and dial it in.
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boar_d_laze
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Posted Sat Dec 28, 2013, 10:25pm
Subject: Re: New Vario owner: question before I push start!
 

canuckcoffeeguy Said:

1) Seasoning the burrs with cheap(but not oily) beans?

Posted December 28, 2013 link

Yes.  Don't grind so many beans that the burrs overheat.  Grind 25g, let the grinder rest for a minute.  After 100g, let the grinder rest for 10 minutes.  After 300g let the grinder rest for an hour, or overnight.  It's going to take around 5kg to break in the burrs.

2) Cleaning anything inside to rid the internals of any manufacturing residue?

No.

3) Calibrate it with the enclosed allan key?

Probably not.  That is, only if there's a problem.

4)Finally, I know that to avoid problems, it's mandatory to keep the grinder running while adjusting the macro and micro sliders.

Running the grinder ensures that any beans or bean-fragments trapped between the burrs will be ground, rather than pushing the burrs off axis.  It's essential to do when adjusting the grinder finer.  It's completely unnecessary when separating the burrs (adjusting coarser).  

But does this mean I also need to ensure beans are in the hopper and being run through the grinder while adjusting the macro/micro sliders?

No.

... Is simpy running the motor without any coffee ok.

It's ok to run the grinder empty, briefly, as when adjusting the grinder finer, making sure that it's cleared out after changing beans, after running a cleaner like Grindz or instant rice, etc.  But it's not a good idea to run it empty for any longer than necessary.  

5) Is there anything else I should do that I'm not thinking of?

Relax.  Breathe. Don't obsess.

BDL
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canuckcoffeeguy
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canuckcoffeeguy
Joined: 22 Aug 2013
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Location: Burlington, Ontario, Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Magica, Mypressi...
Grinder: K10PB, Vario, Hario Slim
Vac Pot: I have a Dyson vacuum, but,...
Drip: Bialetti Brikka, Bodum...
Posted Sun Dec 29, 2013, 1:58pm
Subject: Re: New Vario owner: question before I push start!
 

Thanks BDL. Yes, trying not to obsess. Although, isn't that what makes us Cofeegeeks -- our obsession!

Anyways, my early impression of the Vario is very positive. Even though it's not fully seasoned yet, I pulled some double shots today with some Intelligentsia Black Cat Classic blend beans(about 7 days from roast).

Already, I can see a noticeable difference as compared to shots ground by hand with my Hario Slim. Improved flavour separation, the flavours are more distinct, crema more abundant, and overall a smoother experience. Also, the grinds are very fluffy and it has greatly improved distribution in the Mypressi basket. No clumping at all.

And, of course, it now takes me 11 seconds to grind 18g...not the nearly 2 minutes it took on my Hario.

Next step, down the road a bit, will be a proper machine. Tasted a test shot on the CC1 at the shop where I bought the Vario and I was impressed. Although, the Bezzeras, Quickmills, and Rockets look tempting. I don't drink milk drinks, so I'm mostly concerned about straight shot performance.

Thanks again!
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calblacksmith
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calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
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Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
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Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
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Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Mon Dec 30, 2013, 7:08am
Subject: Re: New Vario owner: question before I push start!
 

Grinders do make a difference!

When choosing a machine, consider ALL your circumstances. Do you have people over and serve coffee? Most people do like milk drinks and if there are several people over, it is a bummer to spend all your time making coffee VS spending time with your guests.

As an aside, there is nothing wrong with milk drinks either, while I do enjoy straight shots, it is quite nice to sit down and relax with a nice Latte or Cap and enjoy it longer than a few seconds while standing at the machine. YMMV!

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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canuckcoffeeguy
Senior Member
canuckcoffeeguy
Joined: 22 Aug 2013
Posts: 205
Location: Burlington, Ontario, Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Magica, Mypressi...
Grinder: K10PB, Vario, Hario Slim
Vac Pot: I have a Dyson vacuum, but,...
Drip: Bialetti Brikka, Bodum...
Posted Mon Dec 30, 2013, 1:51pm
Subject: Re: New Vario owner: question before I push start!
 

Thanks Cal! Actually I should have specified, one reason I don't need to steam is my two kids have a very serious milk allergy. Life threatening, in fact. So we don't have any dairy products in the house. However, I could look at steaming barista grade soy milk, which I have seen in the supermarket. But I once tried a Latte with barista soy milk at an excellent Toronto cafe, and while it looked nice, I felt it drowned out the quality espresso underneath.

If and when I get my machine, I will give steaming another try -- but it will have to be with soy milk. This will give me another option for when I have guests over, but they'll have to deal with a non-dairy cappa or latte. Otherwise, it will just be straight shots, americanos, or moka/presspot brews on the menu at my place.
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boar_d_laze
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Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 1,257
Location: Monrovia, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Cimbali M21 DT/1 Junior...
Grinder: Ceado E92; "Bunnzilla"
Vac Pot: Royal Coffee Maker
Drip: Chemex + Kone; Espro Press
Roaster: USRC Sample Roaster
Posted Mon Dec 30, 2013, 3:10pm
Subject: Re: New Vario owner: question before I push start!
 

Almond milk is the trend for steaming for those with lactose intolerance or other milk allergies.  Works and tastes better than soy.  You might have to make your own, though.  

BDL
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