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Vario Won't Grind Coarse
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Discussions > Espresso > Grinders -... > Vario Won't...  
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Endo
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Endo
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Posted Sun Feb 5, 2012, 9:15am
Subject: Re: Vario Won't Grind Coarse
 

Time for another update:

First of all I must say Baratza Support has been great (as always).

I now have the newest Vario (with the higher upper burr carrier), S/N #11000 or so. It's worked pretty well for the brief time I've had it. (I've run about 4 lbs through it).

After a month of using it in the espresso setting, I decided to "exercise" it in the coarse range (since this was one of the possible explanation given to me for why my last Vario became stuck in espresso).

With a batch of stale Starbucks beans I had kicking around (which I've started keeping for this purpose), I started the grinder in manual and moved the macro lever all the way to the bottom. No change ...again %#$@&*%$!!

I did the same old trick and removed the hopper and pressed the lower burr down manually. It went down with a click (as with my last Vario), and the grind was now at about "drip" size. (Note: I did notice the french press range is no longer as coarse on this newer model). I always assumed the lower burr should simply move all the way down simply from the downward grinding force (and I shouldn't need to force it down manually with my thumb), but this is my second grinder now with the exact same issue.

Now that I was in the coarse setting, I ran the grinder again and moved it back to espresso. This worked well and I was back to where I started. I then removed all beans and tried to detect the zero. It was roughly at the same place as when I started. I also noticed it would go both more fine and coarse around this zero point (I can only assume there is more downward force to move down the lower carrier when the burrs are actually touching).

Can someone explain? Is this just normal for the Vario? I assume someone must use this Vario successfully for espresso AND french press on a daily basis? I'd love to hear from them.
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ryguy
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Joined: 2 Aug 2009
Posts: 288
Location: Indiana
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Bezzera BZ02S
Grinder: Pharos, B. Vario
Posted Mon Feb 6, 2012, 8:13pm
Subject: Re: Vario Won't Grind Coarse
 

Endo Said:

Well, I finally got the grind size down to an acceptable level for espresso (25 sec shot). To do this I had to go 3 notches tighter than my zero!

I don't hear a noticable load change on the motor (though it's hard to tell when beans are being ground). So I must assume the "no bean" zero is different than the loaded "with bean" zero. Maybe some play in the mechanism?

Posted June 27, 2011 link

I had some concerns about this as well - I would have to go finer than the zero point to get anything that wouldn't gush. I wouldn't go more than 4 notches past for fear of damaging the burrs and was still getting faster extractions than I wanted. I wrote to Baratza about it and Kyle replied:

...it is VERY common that Vario users grind at (or even finer than) the "zero point". The zero point is where the burrs begin to touch with NO LOAD on them (or between them). With the load of the beans, there is considerable force against the burrs, and this varies a lot depending on your bean type and degree of roast.

That was relieving to hear - now I'm 7 notches past the zero point and getting much better pulls! He also said that the cutting surfaces don't touch when you hear the burrs chirping or the motor laboring, so there's no need to worry about that either.

 
Ryan D
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Endo
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Endo
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Posted Mon Feb 6, 2012, 8:59pm
Subject: Re: Vario Won't Grind Coarse
 

I kinda figured there was a considerable downward force when grinding. I assumed that force would also help press down the lower burr when changing to a coarser grind.....but it sure doesn't seem to work very well.
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origmarm
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Joined: 5 Jan 2012
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Location: London
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Espresso: Gaggia Classic
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Posted Wed Feb 15, 2012, 3:16am
Subject: Re: Vario Won't Grind Coarse
 

-- Removed question as had missed the post with a new link to the documents
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mr_pedro
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Joined: 13 Feb 2012
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Location: Baltimore
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Posted Thu Mar 15, 2012, 5:20am
Subject: Re: Vario Won't Grind Coarse
 

I have a refurbished Vario for a couple of weeks. Recently the motor failed and Baratza is sending a new one. In the mean time I went ahead and took the old motor out and removed the bottom burr as well for a good cleaning. Here are some things I discovered that others might be able to use.

The bottom burr goes through a toothed wheel, you need to make sure that it is pushed all the way through. In my case it does not go smooth all the way to the end, so some force needs to be used to get the last 0.8 mm in. If the bottom burr is not pushed all the way through it is possible that the bottom burr can not get low enough for a coarse grind as the wheel will be touching the case of the machine.

It was mentioned before, coffee can build up underneeth the bottom burr holder, this could also not let the bottom burr go low enough for a coarse grind.

I also didn't like how the bottom burr ( the ceramic part) as some play in the holder. It is difficult to get it all perfectly centered. So I found an easy way to center the bottom burr. You do need to remove the bottom burr holder completely. What I do is put on the three screws loosely and hold the burr+holder in one hand with my fingers around the holder and also touching the burr, applying pressure to the burr from all sides, while with the other hand I tighten the screws. This way it is very easy to judge when it is centered.

An alternative way to calibrate is the following. This will also work without removing the motor, but if you performed the previous step to allign the bottom burr, go ahead and put the top burr in the machine without engaging it to the motor, then place the top burr in. You should now very easily be able to move the bottom burr by sticking your finger throught the hole in the top burr. You can now do your zero point calibration and very acurately hear when the burrs are touching.
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Endo
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Endo
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Posted Wed Mar 28, 2012, 3:40pm
Subject: Re: Vario Won't Grind Coarse
 

I'm on Vario #3.

(Quick Recap for those following the ongoing saga).

#1 - New - Died after stripping the belt gear
#2 - Refurbed - Got stuck in espresso setting
#3 - New - My current grinder since Christmas... and still working

My 3rd Vario is a recent s/n 111000 model. (Do the 1st two digits now mean manufacture year like the Mazzers?)

Vario #3 seems to not have the same range as my other 2 earlier models. I assume this is due to the change they made recently to raise the lower burr and cover the manufacturing tolerance band, so that all new grinders are capable of espresso fineness. I wonder if by doing this, they removed the French Press range? (Full down macro only gives me about medium drip size now). At least, this is what seems to have happened on my grinder.

Does anyone else with a new Vario have a similar experience?

The lower burr resistance to move down is still there somewhat. I need to grind about 50g before it seems to max out the grind size, going from espresso only to drip. (But at least I don't have to remove the hopper and press down the lower burr like on Vario #2). Still, I wish I didn't need to waste so much coffee when changing settings!

Anybody have a solution here?
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tegee
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Posted Thu Mar 29, 2012, 6:01am
Subject: Re: Vario Won't Grind Coarse
 

Endo Said:

I'm on Vario #3.

(Quick Recap for those following the ongoing saga).

#1 - New - Died after stripping the belt gear
#2 - Refurbed - Got stuck in espresso setting
#3 - New - My current grinder since Christmas... and still working

My 3rd Vario is a recent s/n 111000 model. (Do the 1st two digits now mean manufacture year like the Mazzers?)

Vario #3 seems to not have the same range as my other 2 earlier models. I assume this is due to the change they made recently to raise the lower burr and cover the manufacturing tolerance band, so that all new grinders are capable of espresso fineness. I wonder if by doing this, they removed the French Press range? (Full down macro only gives me about medium drip size now). At least, this is what seems to have happened on my grinder.

Does anyone else with a new Vario have a similar experience?

The lower burr resistance to move down is still there somewhat. I need to grind about 50g before it seems to max out the grind size, going from espresso only to drip. (But at least I don't have to remove the hopper and press down the lower burr like on Vario #2). Still, I wish I didn't need to waste so much coffee when changing settings!

Anybody have a solution here?

Posted March 28, 2012 link


Tagging along since I just got my Vario after previously owning a Virtuoso with Precisio burrs.  Almost wish I went with a Precisio now???
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Endo
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Endo
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Posted Tue Apr 3, 2012, 4:48pm
Subject: Re: Vario Won't Grind Coarse
 

When I returned to the espresso range from coarse, my espresso setting had changed again. I needed to rezero with no beans and then adjust several times while grinding before the new espresso setting finally stabilized.

Another $5 of coffee wasted. Rrrrrrrrr.
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Obrother
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Location: Toronto, Ontario Canada
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Espresso: Isomac Italia pid'd,...
Grinder: vario, macap mc4 stepless,...
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Posted Thu Aug 2, 2012, 5:15pm
Subject: Re: Vario Won't Grind Coarse
 

A friend a I both bought Varios at the same time from different suppliers. We both are having problems getting our grinders to adjust properly for espressos. I couldn't figure out why, when I make an adjustment there is no change in the grind. Yes I was doing adjustments with beans in and motor turning. I finally figured out that I have to empty the grinder every time I want to make an adjustment or the burrs don't move. The procedure I use is the same as when doing a calibration minus the parts where you adjust the screw. I set both macro and micro to the bottom setting. Then move macro up to espresso setting... and the move micro up to setting I want. It is a this point I make my adjustment with the motor running and and no beans/grinds. I called Baratza and they are telling me this is NORMAL!!! I think not. There are saying that some people are finding that its better to pre-measure the beans for each shot and not to fill the hopper... and to make adjustment in between grinds with the motor running and no beans. This is not what I bought a vario for. Anyone have a good picture or diagram of how the varios adjustment mechanism works? I would like to see the part that slides the burr up and down. It seems like that's the part that is binding. Its the slides or whatever they are called.
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nhokt
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Joined: 16 Sep 2009
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Location: MA USA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: QM67
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Posted Thu Aug 9, 2012, 10:43am
Subject: Re: Vario Won't Grind Coarse
 

This seems like a good place to put my recent Vario learnings.

I have been using a Vario for about 2.5 years with great success. Recently, I did had some time to do a full cleaning and decided I would check the calibration. With a totally clean grinder, the calibration seemed very tight so I backed it off. Next day my espresso was crap, total gusher shots making a mess with my bottomless PF. I tinkered with it a bit but no luck. I emailed Baratza with a polite rant about my grinder loosing calibration and their amazing customer service took over. They made it immediately obvious that we were going to fix the issue one way or the other and we began troubleshooting.

Long story short... my "recalibration" was the culprit. With an empty grinder, I had adjusted the zero point (macro top, micro middle) to be where I heard the burrs start to touch, which was too loose. I went back in and adjusted the zero to when I heard the motor actually strain, not the burrs touching, not a slight change in motor tone but a small but marked strain. I imagine this is not something that you want to play with for too long as it likely generates significant heat, especially with no beans.

This worked for me, after doing this my next shot I choked my machine, from here it was a matter of baking off until I found the right setting.

Hope this helps.

TK
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