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HELP! Gaggia Classic / Mahlkonig (Baratza) Vario issues!
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AntWilliams90
Senior Member
AntWilliams90
Joined: 4 Feb 2013
Posts: 61
Location: Warwickshire, UK
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic
Grinder: Mahlkonig Vario Home
Roaster: Dieckmann Rostmeister
Posted Sat Feb 16, 2013, 6:53am
Subject: HELP! Gaggia Classic / Mahlkonig (Baratza) Vario issues!
 

Hi guys!

I make 2 - 5 cups of coffee a day, using my Gaggia Classic (now just over 1 year old) and just before Christmas upgraded my Grinder to a Mahlkonig Vario.

A few details -
I regularly backflush. I descale monthly/every 6 weeks.
My Grinder is set to 2-D (for anyone who knows enough about the Varios settings) and I often have to go up or down 2 or 3 depending on how the first cup pours.
Generally speaking I manage a good 2oz. pour in 26 seconds - am happy that I can normally achieve a good 'wait' between hitting the pump on switch and actually seeing the espresso form (I use a bottomless portafilter) (normally 4 or 5 second wait)
I manage to get the 'hanging drops' that over time come together to form one cone coming out of the basket.

Essentially, I've got to the point where I can get it to look like all the videos/pictures I've seen - and I've been ridiculously happy with my setup.

Today (first warm day in a few months) I have had serious issues with pouring, and I can't work out where the problem lies. Have ended up pulling and discarding 12 doubles - in the best of those, I achieved a 1 - 2 second pause, a quick sprinkle of espresso which quickly turned into a cone with the occasional sideways spray...in the worst of those I got spray, dribble, and then about 10 seconds of cloudy looking water?!

Originally, grind looked a little coarse - and what with the weather change I wasn't totally surprised that I would need to change the grinder settings - but going finer didn't help much, and going coarser certainly didn't!
Have tried a few ranges on the grinder between 2-P and 1-E
Have also backflushed twice and removed and scrubbed the shower screen!

Help, please - I need coffee! :(

Many thanks!!

 
As soon as you sit down to a cup of hot coffee, your boss will ask you to do something which will last until the coffee is cold.
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,014
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Sat Feb 16, 2013, 9:51am
Subject: Re: HELP! Gaggia Classic / Mahlkonig (Baratza) Vario issues!
 

A few stupid questions,

Did you have the grinder running when you changed the setting?
Is the humidity now different due to weather than it was?
Do you only grind espresso?
Did you change beans? If so are they darker than what you had?


I have my grinder set to espresso only so I am at 2 almost all the time.  I range from "m" on the first day and "c" or so on the last day of each batch of beans.  I get 5 lbs and freeze them in 2-3 days bags.  So, they all grind the same and then get finer as they age then I run out beans and start over.  I have only changed numbers once on really dark beans.  I drink Redbird that is dark but not as dark as many other coffees.  I think really dark beans shatter differently and need a finer grind because of it.
It is wet here 9 months of the year and drought for 3 months.  The coffee ages differently in the summer and the winter.  Also, if I keep it in the bag away from the espresso machine it ages slower than in my hopper.  I am hoping that will change soon when I get my machine on a timer. (less heating time)

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

My coffee treasure map...
Click Here (maps.google.com)

Oscar trick out: http://s156.photobucket.com/user/GandBteam/story/14231
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AntWilliams90
Senior Member
AntWilliams90
Joined: 4 Feb 2013
Posts: 61
Location: Warwickshire, UK
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic
Grinder: Mahlkonig Vario Home
Roaster: Dieckmann Rostmeister
Posted Sat Feb 16, 2013, 11:20am
Subject: Re: HELP! Gaggia Classic / Mahlkonig (Baratza) Vario issues!
 

Not stupid questions - perhaps some info. that I should have included!

When setting grinder coarser I never worry too much, but if moving finer I ALWAYS have the grinder running!
I imagine the humidity is different, and temperature in the house is very different - so I wasn't too surprised that some adjustment was needed...
Ever since getting the Vario, I have only once ever used it to grind for cafetiere (to do a bag to take into work!) and since then espresso only (that was about a month ago!)
I change beans twice a week, as I buy two bags every friday from a local roaster. I have a brilliant relationship with my local roaster, and they know the kind of beans I like - these beans were nothing out of the ordinary. Just to clarify, two days ago, these same beans were grinding and pouring beautifully. As of today (16/02/13) they are 9 days since roast...

Like you, I tend to stick to 2, I feel 1 is just going a tad far atm, but may come in useful later in the grinders life...
I tend to manage to only move around between 2-G and 2-A and tend to dial in the machine for new beans from 2-D

I just store my beans double-bagged in a cupboard, since they're never in the house longer than 10 days...

I have now thrown away what was left in the hopper, and put in some new beans, of the same age however...will report on my success/failure with these this evening! *crosses fingers*

 
As soon as you sit down to a cup of hot coffee, your boss will ask you to do something which will last until the coffee is cold.
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,014
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Sat Feb 16, 2013, 12:03pm
Subject: Re: HELP! Gaggia Classic / Mahlkonig (Baratza) Vario issues!
 

You do know you can adjust the grinder with that Allen wrench they send you (or at least I got one) There are videos to help you adjust it.

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

My coffee treasure map...
Click Here (maps.google.com)

Oscar trick out: http://s156.photobucket.com/user/GandBteam/story/14231
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AntWilliams90
Senior Member
AntWilliams90
Joined: 4 Feb 2013
Posts: 61
Location: Warwickshire, UK
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic
Grinder: Mahlkonig Vario Home
Roaster: Dieckmann Rostmeister
Posted Sat Feb 16, 2013, 1:56pm
Subject: Re: HELP! Gaggia Classic / Mahlkonig (Baratza) Vario issues!
 

I had heard of this, may have to give it a go!
I don't recall receiving that with it, but I still have the box etc. so will look, and if not I'm sure I have a suitable one round here somewhere!
Strange that this literally happened overnight though...I shall blame the weather I think!

I have just made this evening's 3 coffees, with the new beans. First one poured *okay*, second one was a downright mess and got binned...

Out of frustration/desperation I set the Vario to 1-E and got the 2nd and 3rd coffees pretty damn good!

Thank you for the help! :)

 
As soon as you sit down to a cup of hot coffee, your boss will ask you to do something which will last until the coffee is cold.
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