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Vario-W mod to catch grinds from chute straight into portafilter basket ???
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Joined: 13 Feb 2012
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Location: Saint Paul
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Feb 28, 2014, 3:27pm
Subject: Vario-W mod to catch grinds from chute straight into portafilter basket ???
 

I'm about to pull the trigger on a new grinder. My Rocky has been bullet proof but I've got the itch. I like the Vario-W specifically for the weighing function, I tend to try a new coffee every week and I would like to skip the step of weighing after grinding and just have it built in.

I'm not trying to deliberate the best grinder, it's been discussed many times. I am trying to determine if I can skip the step of grinding into the Vario-W's container and then pouring that into my portafilter basket, and instead just grind directly into the basket. (Only the basket, not a whole portafilter setup).

  • It would seem that placing the basket directly on the Vario W's built-in scale would place it too far from the chute to catch the grinds.
  • I could see a funnel of sorts placed in the basket (used to see pictures of small yogurt containers (Yoplait style, not the newer Chobani style) helping contain the grinds as they shoot out, and it is a possibility.
  • I am envisioning some method of raising the basket directly under the chute, for example with some sort of lightweight hollow tube, my preference if it would work.

Hopefully what I want to do makes sense - to somehow raise a basket up to the chute, and still use the weighing function while doing so. Has anyone tried this? If there are any success stories out there then I know my next grinder choice! Thank you.
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TheRealScubaSteve
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TheRealScubaSteve
Joined: 22 Feb 2014
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Location: Massachusetts
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Delonghi EC155
Grinder: Baratza Encore
Posted Fri Feb 28, 2014, 11:09pm
Subject: Re: Vario-W mod to catch grinds from chute straight into portafilter basket ???
 

I was unable to find scale specs on Baratza's site other than its accuracy, but according to CoffeeGeek, the maximum weight capacity is 300g. Even a plastic home-use PF would most likely be approaching the limits of this.

Assuming this is the case (perhaps someone that owns a Vario-W can test the weight), a good alternative would be to dose directly into the basket only. It might be annoying, particularly with a friction-fit basket, but I imagine it would be fairly easy to set something like this up. It could be as simple as resting the basket on top of a SOLO cup or other light cup/object.

I don't own one but just some food for thought.

Steve

 
"But it is not a perfect world and none of us are god-shots.  As for me, I am a little over extracted and therefore slightly bitter and my crema is thin..." -Buckley
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Location: Saint Paul
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Feb 28, 2014, 11:40pm
Subject: Re: Vario-W mod to catch grinds from chute straight into portafilter basket ???
 

I may not have explained well. I am looking to grind straight into a PF basket only, not a whole PF setup (handle, etc.). First post edited to be more clear.

Putting said basket on the scale directly is too far away from the chute. A cone placed in the basket is an extra step I'd like to avoid. Something like a toilet paper tube sitting on the scale and then the basket on the tube might be a way of describing what I'm looking at.

Just hoping someone's done it. Maybe everyone just pours the container into their baskets? It's doable but I find it reminiscent of the Capresso grinders and that step annoys me. Moving from a Rocky where I can grind right into a basket back to this kind of method feels like a step backwards.
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TheRealScubaSteve
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TheRealScubaSteve
Joined: 22 Feb 2014
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Location: Massachusetts
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Delonghi EC155
Grinder: Baratza Encore
Posted Sat Mar 1, 2014, 7:04am
Subject: Re: Vario-W mod to catch grinds from chute straight into portafilter basket ???
 

tracerbullet Said:

I am looking to grind straight into a PF basket only.

Posted February 28, 2014 link

I guess I missed that part.

If you don't want a pedestal or stand to avoid an extra step, a funnel might be a good alternative. It wouldn't cause any issues with adding weight to the scale, either. You should be able to find an appropriate size funnel (wide enough to allow grinds to freely fall) and could cut it to size so that it works with the basket.

Since I don't own a grinder, it is a bit difficult to judge by a picture, but it seems like what I've seen online has a good amount of space around the chute for attachment. Perhaps something like velcro could work well for such an application. Velcro around the lip of the funnel (some have a wide rim) as well as around the chute on the grinder. This would allow for easy detachment to clean as well.

 
"But it is not a perfect world and none of us are god-shots.  As for me, I am a little over extracted and therefore slightly bitter and my crema is thin..." -Buckley
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Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sat Mar 1, 2014, 8:51am
Subject: Re: Vario-W mod to catch grinds from chute straight into portafilter basket ???
 

Hmm, velcro is an interesting idea, good for holding something in place but not permanently.

I've pictured something sitting on the scale that is holding the basket up to the chute, perhaps I could attach a funnel of some sort up near the chute and then just let the basket sit directly on the scale.

Thanks for the ideas. Still hoping for some confirmation from a Vario-W owner, even if they haven't tried it to at least weigh in if it's feasible or if I'm missing anything.
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CoffeeRon
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Posted Sat Mar 1, 2014, 11:28am
Subject: Re: Vario-W mod to catch grinds from chute straight into portafilter basket ???
 

I was just messing around a bit and confirmed at least that you can tare the scale to whatever container you put on the scale. I think the catch- or the tricky part- may be to stick something on it that doesn't cause any sideways pull. The grounds bin is carefully designed to sit with even force straight down on the scale. Looking at it I see that the discharge chute is slightly forwards of the scale, so you would have to devise something so that the weight would be reasonably centered on the scale. The scale is a 1 1/2 by 1 1/4" square. The discharge chute, from what I can tell lands over the front half of it.

From what I understand the standard Vario can be set to give you acceptably precise results using the timer. Have you considered going that route?
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moosepucky
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Posted Sat Mar 1, 2014, 11:30am
Subject: Re: Vario-W mod to catch grinds from chute straight into portafilter basket ???
 

When I had a Vario-W I used the wide Orphan Espresso funnel to pour from the grounds bin into the portafilter.  

Click Here (www.orphanespresso.com)

Worked exceptionally well and far less bother than tiring to modify the grinder so that it would not work for drip and pour over grinds (where I wanted the grounds in the hopper when it finished).
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CoffeeRon
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Espresso: Wega Lyra, Europiccola(still...
Grinder: Macap M7D, Pharos, Vario W,...
Vac Pot: Sunbeam CoffeeMaster
Drip: Melita BCM-4
Roaster: FR SR500,B-1600, SC/TO
Posted Sat Mar 1, 2014, 11:43am
Subject: Re: Vario-W mod to catch grinds from chute straight into portafilter basket ???
 

moosepucky Said:

When I had a Vario-W I used the wide Orphan Espresso funnel to pour from the grounds bin into the portafilter.  

Click Here (www.orphanespresso.com)

Worked exceptionally well and far less bother than tiring to modify the grinder so that it would not work for drip and pour over grinds (where I wanted the grounds in the hopper when it finished).

Posted March 1, 2014 link

+1, exactly what I do. I've had my OE funnel for a few years now and don't know what i'd do without it (cut down yogurt container?). Putting velcro on the scale may work but would be really difficult to remove if you ever wanted to.
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eastbaysanfranman
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Posted Sat Mar 1, 2014, 12:09pm
Subject: Re: Vario-W mod to catch grinds from chute straight into portafilter basket ???
 

I'd like to see some more talk on this as well. I've been told once that if you pour from the container into the basket, you are causing clumping. I'm kind of having a hard time seeing this if you pour gently but what do I know, I'm a newbie. That being said you could always WDT after pouring with a funnel if you are having channeling problems. Coffeenewbie rigged her W up to grind directly into the basket and then lock into her portafilter. I think this is the route I'm going to go but with one of OE's funnels so I can WDT if I feel need. (I have been having clumping). One thing I do know, however, is that if you're going to put the packed basket into the portafilter after the fact, you better make sure you have a ridge less basket. That "snap" of a ridge is fer sure going to wreck all kinds of havoc on a puck. (unless you tamp after you lock it into the portafilter, but still I don't see a small earthquake being good for grounds distribution.
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CoffeeRon
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CoffeeRon
Joined: 26 Apr 2009
Posts: 733
Location: Tacoma Wa.
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Wega Lyra, Europiccola(still...
Grinder: Macap M7D, Pharos, Vario W,...
Vac Pot: Sunbeam CoffeeMaster
Drip: Melita BCM-4
Roaster: FR SR500,B-1600, SC/TO
Posted Sat Mar 1, 2014, 12:43pm
Subject: Re: Vario-W mod to catch grinds from chute straight into portafilter basket ???
 

eastbaysanfranman Said:

One thing I do know, however, is that if you're going to put the packed basket into the portafilter after the fact, you better make sure you have a ridge less basket. That "snap" of a ridge is fer sure going to wreck all kinds of havoc on a puck. (unless you tamp after you lock it into the portafilter, but still I don't see a small earthquake being good for grounds distribution.

Posted March 1, 2014 link

There are some folks out there who  prefer to take the spring out of their portafilter so that they can easily take the basket in and out. They will often leave the PF in the machine while preparing the basket, then just drop it in and go when ready. Not sure what the standard technique is for ejecting the puck when they go this route.
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