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Baratza Vario - lots of chaff going from Coarse to Fine
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manhattan01
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Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 28
Location: Richmond
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Wed Jan 1, 2014, 4:44pm
Subject: Baratza Vario - lots of chaff going from Coarse to Fine
 

I've had my Vario for some time now and have used it (almost exclusively) for my Sylvia.  Recently, my wife started a coffee regimen where she pre-grinds on the coarsest setting for press (likely not coarse enough but she's fine with it).  She does this in the mornings before she goes to work.  My day starts an hour later so I set it back to fine (no beans in the hopper) and grind out my beans.  The problem that now arises is that my grind is full of the chaff from my wife's grind.  My extraction suffers greatly as the chaff is creating massive weak spots in the puck.  I've noticed that if she doesn't grind, say over the weekend, eventually all the chaff is gone and I can pull my shot without any issues but it takes a good, 4-5 espresso grinds to fully rid the vario of the chaff.  I don't have time to disassemble the hopper/burrs to clear it out every morning.  Does anyone have suggestions/thoughts on this?  Is this known?

I came across a thread where it states that frequently going from coarse to fine and vice-versa on the vario messes it's calibration and it's generally not a good idea?  I'm thinking now of just picking up a second (cheaper) grinder for my wife's FP - like a capresso infinity.  Sigh...more counter space lost.

Oh...happy new year all!  :)
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SpaceTime
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Joined: 9 Dec 2013
Posts: 271
Location: Virgo Cluster
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: 83 & 89 Cremina, 85 Coffex
Grinder: HG One, Pharos, LIDO
Drip: Freiling 33 & 44oz FP,...
Posted Wed Jan 1, 2014, 9:25pm
Subject: Re: Baratza Vario - lots of chaff going from Coarse to Fine
 

You are on the right track and answered your own question at the end IMHO.

So here is the scoop.  First, just because the Vario CAN go from coarse to fine, and back - and folks in some places say they DO... does not mean you SHOULD.

In reality, those in the know realize that the grinder you use for FP and the one you use for Espresso should be dedicated and different grinders... I know, you would like to have one.

Plus, even though the sales / marketing on the Vario say just switch between settings, returning the Vario precisely to your desired setting after going to coarse is a hit or miss proposition... it'll get close, but if your grind requirements have a low tolerance for variance, you want to keep it dialed in anyway.

Finally, the Vario already has a reputation for "drift" where even though you get 'er dialed in for espresso, and want to leave it there, it can drift off of that setting.

Vario's are a great grinder for the sub $500 mark - not many espresso grinders in that price range can claim their price to value ratio and quality in the cup for espresso - but it is not perfect as it is made of a lot of plastic, is not engineered with the weight / tolerances / beefiness for day after day, year after year consistency without drift, etc.  In the sub $500 range, the anomaly is the Pharos for $250 - it gives $1500 grind, but it is manual with a little work required to extract your booty when you are done.

There is a reason the best espresso grinders are heavy hunks of metal - grinding coffee beans to a fine dust is a violent process that requires systems / components that are engineered to tight tolerances if they are to maintain consistency.

Anyway, got off on a tangent.  My suggestion - set the Vario for espresso and keep your eye on the potential drift, and buy your wife something like a LIDO, Infinity, Smart Grinder, Virtuoso, Encore, etc, etc....  grinding for press and drift is more forgiving than espresso, and you can get away with cheaper grinders.

I have been making top notch press coffee for years, and I currently use a LIDO and Infinity with great results.  Some will say Infinity is a notch below where you want to be, but for my needs the one I got performs very well (they must have improved it because I have zero mess / static, where the first one I had a while ago did have it).  Either way, the LIDO beats everything for COARSE grind consistency under $300 IMHO - but it is MANUAL and you will have to crank, crank.  I do 62g of beans in my LIDO for my 44oz Freiling FP, and it takes me a couple of minutes to power through.

Cheers.  MHO is get two grinders if you are serious coffee drinkers.  Get your Vario dialed in for espresso and manage it.  Get the wiff a nice coarse grinder.
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wsfarrell
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Joined: 12 Sep 2012
Posts: 35
Location: Sacramento
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Thu Jan 2, 2014, 12:18am
Subject: Re: Baratza Vario - lots of chaff going from Coarse to Fine
 

+1 on the Lido for press. Orphan Espresso has stopped making the Lido 1, and the Lido 2 should be out shortly.

I believe they made 750 of the Lido 1, and it's about the only piece of coffee equipment that I've NEVER seen on the secondary market.
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manhattan01
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Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 28
Location: Richmond
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Thu Jan 2, 2014, 12:58am
Subject: Re: Baratza Vario - lots of chaff going from Coarse to Fine
 

The Lido looks amazing.  Thanks for that bit of info.  But I don't think my wife will be up for it.  I'll likely pick up an encore or capresso infinity likely the former since there are some reviews on the static issues with the infinity.
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moosepucky
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moosepucky
Joined: 6 Jun 2009
Posts: 153
Location: USA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Pasquini Livia 90 auto
Grinder: Super Jolly - Forte BG -...
Vac Pot: Cona - Santos
Drip: Bodum - Chemex - Hario -...
Roaster: Hottop KN-8828-B
Posted Thu Jan 2, 2014, 8:40am
Subject: Re: Baratza Vario - lots of chaff going from Coarse to Fine
 

manhattan01 Said:

I'll likely pick up an encore or capresso infinity likely the former since there are some reviews on the static issues with the infinity.

Posted January 2, 2014 link

If you have the counter room, a dedicated press/pour-over grinder is the way to go since you will not need to run your Vario up and down the full grind spectrum every day.

the Encore is similar to the older Maestro plus and the older one I have is adequate for coarse grinding.  Fines are not too much of an issue but it does throw some (just so that you are aware).   Baratza mentions this in their comparison chart at the bottom when make a note about the M1 and M2 burr set.  I don't know if you can use the M2 burr set in the Encore model or not. This would be something to discuss with Baratza customer support before deciding.

Your Vario will be very happy not to be adjusted max up and down every day.
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manhattan01
Senior Member


Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 28
Location: Richmond
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Thu Jan 2, 2014, 10:13am
Subject: Re: Baratza Vario - lots of chaff going from Coarse to Fine
 

Is there any damage if I continue to go from coarse to fine on my vario until my encore arrives...I would think not but thought I'd ask those who know better.
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moosepucky
Senior Member
moosepucky
Joined: 6 Jun 2009
Posts: 153
Location: USA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Pasquini Livia 90 auto
Grinder: Super Jolly - Forte BG -...
Vac Pot: Cona - Santos
Drip: Bodum - Chemex - Hario -...
Roaster: Hottop KN-8828-B
Posted Thu Jan 2, 2014, 11:14am
Subject: Re: Baratza Vario - lots of chaff going from Coarse to Fine
 

They recommend that you run the grinder while adjusting the grind settings up or down.

Other than that, they are designed to have the settings changed.  In practice they will last longer if you set and forget only making micro adjustments (a-z) for different beans while staying at the same macro setting (1-10)
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