The Alicorn: Achieving Precision Alignment with the Baratza Forté/Vario - Page 9

Grinders are one of the keys to exceptional espresso. Discuss them here.

#81: Post by Steveberco »

This method and all the guidance is incredible! I've discovered that my Forte has a less than ideal particle size distribution and so decided to give the Alicorn process a shot. Although I've performed various grinder "surgeries" before, I'm not all that skilled at working with machines, etc... Has anyone by any chance documented and willing to share step by step instructions on the end to the process? To supplement the videos and all the helpful discussion, etc... Thx!


#82: Post by expertlevel »

Unsure if all the COVID crazyness has caused stock issues but i finally have the time to do this upgrade.

Now i just can't find the parts anywhere in NA...
Specifically 1024 - metal threaded burr carrier

Anyone know a source that may have this still?


#83: Post by symbology »

Did you call Baratza? They do not list the burr chamber on their site. You have to call them and order it over the phone.


#84: Post by Steveberco »

It's hard to get them by phone but they are very helpful by email.


#85: Post by symbology » replying to Steveberco »

Yeah, good point. I emailed them and then they called me to make sure I was comfortable disassembling the grinder. So, it was email and order over the phone.


#86: Post by rhodium1 »

That's really frustrating. I emailed them over a week ago and was told that the parts were not available for sale right now and that they would (eventually) be listed on the website as a kit with a guide.


#87: Post by pcrussell50 » replying to rhodium1 »

Handful of us got them and then blabbed it all over HB and created a (to use a word that has entered the vernacular recently), panic buy. :wink:

Sounds good that Baratza is nimble enough to respond to market demand by creating an upgrade kit. They never disappoint. Even though I have a Monolith now, I'm still not leaving the Baratza fold.

LMWDP #553


#88: Post by shotwell »


So, this is where I'm at for the best tasting espresso out of my aligned forte. The ratio for this particular shot is ~3:1, with a coffee that is well suited (a filter roast Chiapas from Tim Wendelboe.), pulled with a pretty typical slayer style profile of 30 seconds low flow, 30 seconds high flow closing with a quick flow taper at the end. Pushing the extraction any higher without doing something that just isn't espresso anymore is resulting in bland, unpleasant shots. The coffee is excellent. Well beyond what I can get in any cafe that I've visited.

I get similar extraction percentages at a much lower ratios (1.5-2:1) with coffees that are roasted a little more traditionally. I can also push into the mid twenties for extraction percentage on those coffees with a longer ratio, but that is giving me way too much roast taste for my preference.


#89: Post by gritts »

Hi everyone, new Forté owner here. I am trying to wrap my head around this process and I wanted to double check some details:

- What exactly is taco burr syndrome?
- In Post #11, Jake wrote "...loosen the four screws that secure the grind chamber to the lower motor plate and then using the levers themselves to force the lower burr to square itself against the upper burr." Does this refer to the macro and micro control levers? Does this work with both the Vario levers (as shown in a few of Jake's Youtube videos) and the Forté levers?
- Which should I perform first, the vertical / concentric alignment (described above), or adding spacers between the burrs and their carriers to complete axial alignment?

Thanks for the clarifications!

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Team HB

#90: Post by Jake_G » replying to gritts »

TBS is what happens when the burr screws are tightened with nothing supporting the bottom of the burrs. The ceramic burrs have flat bottoms and do not "taco". The steel burrs have a little lip that they sit on and the majority of the burr is floating above the burr carrier surface. The spacers fill this void and allow you to tighten the screws fully without the burrs bending towards the burr carrier, which results in a shape akin to a taco salad bowl. The burrs will pull down where the 3 screws are and pop up in between - not good.

You are correct on the macro and micro levers for bringing the burrs into contact. And yes, it works for Varios and Fortes alike.

Order of operations:
  • Remove burrs and vacuum out the grind chamber, clean the burrs and mounting screws
  • Install the burrs with the screws finger tight. This ensures that the burrs are not at all warped from the screws (TBS)
  • Perform the alignment process as detailed here.
Then and only then, work on the spacers.
The idea is that the alignment is perfect with no spacers and loosely mounted burrs and then you can verify perfect alignment with spacers and tight screws. If the spacers are uneven the ink pattern will suffer, so you work on the spacers until the ink pattern is good again. Starting with a poorly aligned grinder makes it all but impossible to verify that the spacers were fitted properly.


- Jake