Baratza Vario, flipping the flapper for the win

Grinders are one of the keys to exceptional espresso. Discuss them here.
pcrussell50

#1: Post by pcrussell50 »

Seems like it's pretty standard for grinders that grind in the horizontal plane, but dispense in the vertical plane, to have some sort of intentional "obstruction", whether it's a rubber flapper like the Vario, or a screen like the Mazzers, to add some sort of compression and mixing to knock off static. As with all things in engineering design, there are compromises. In the case of the Vario, while the rubber flapper works a treat in knocking down static, it can at times, cause some retention, and in an unpredictable way. Sometimes you get none at all, and sometimes you get 0.3g or so. So as with the people who remove the static screens on their Mazzer grinders, some people have taken to remounting the rubber flapper in the Vario, so it's out of the grind/drop path completely.

Sure enough, after this mod, the results are exactly as expected: The Vario grounds are known to be reasonably fluffy stock, but with the flapper out of the way, they are unbelievably fluffy. Now there is pretty much no way NOT to use a funnel when grinding directly into the portafilter unless you have the hands of a surgeon and don't mind spilling a little. This is no problem for me, because I always use a funnel. There is also what I would characterize as a small to medium amount of static, where before there was none at all. With an RDT move, (I use the smallest "psst" possible from the steam wand), the static goes to zero. This also does not bother me, because I used RDT anyway, needed or not. And of course, the biggie, zero retention.


There is a thread about it here, but it is locked due to age and inactivity. If you are interested in this mod, there are useful photos on the first and especially the last, pages.
Single Dosing My Baratza Vario Success!

My Vario has not been apart for any reason since it was brand new in summer 2009, so it's one of the first Varios out in the wild. It has been utterly reliable, never missing a day in service. This has the downside that some of the screws that screw into metal have developed very light corrosion in the threads that go into the metal parts. Nothing serious, but you have to turn your screwdriver harder and try not to strip the cross of the Phillips head. I put mine together with a little lube, in case my Vario lasts another seven years before I ever take it apart again, if ever.

-Peter
LMWDP #553

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cmin

#2: Post by cmin »

Yup, I don't see the point of that flap, it can even cause clumping sometimes. With it flipped the Vario becomes an easily single dosed grinder, and grinds are very fluffy, still had to WDT the Vario. Yeah you have to use a funnel, but I still used one even with the flap, Vario is prone to static period, and notice especially in South FL where humidity can change daily... can see that effect on the Vario.

My Sette though, man does it grind extremely nice and right into the basket with no need for funnel and grinds are even fluffier then the Vario, they hit it out the ball park with the Sette. Just dose, level, tamp and pull.... workflow is so fast, makes my Vario look ubber slow in terms of grinding speed lol

Hope baratza has something up their sleeve for the Vario b/c the Sette is kicking some serious ass against even large conicals, yet cheaper then Vario.

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cuppajoe

#3: Post by cuppajoe »

I removed the flapper entirely from my Vario-W and never had much static or retention problems afterwards. After calibrating the scale I measured the output against the set weight a couple of times and it was usually within 1/10 gram.
David - LMWDP 448

My coffee wasn't strong enough to defend itself - Tom Waits

wingnutsglory
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#4: Post by wingnutsglory »

I'm also getting good results with the flapper mod.

I'm in virtually the same boat (older Vario), but had some issues with the grinder recently and after a significant overhaul by Baratza, I decided to try flipping the flapper. The grind is crazy fluffy now and more prone to static. WDT and a funnel are necessary, but extractions are pretty good.

pcrussell50 (original poster)

#5: Post by pcrussell50 (original poster) »

This^^^

And RDT knocks down the static. A quick "psst" into the pre-weighed yogurt cup of beans from the steam wand just before grinding, and static goes to zero.

-Peter
LMWDP #553

korkiley

#6: Post by korkiley »

I removed my flapper a long time ago. I don't understand the necessity of using a funnel. I give a very brief partial squirt from a re-purposed lens cleaner bottle. It eliminates all static. If I do too much, an occasional bean may stick in the hopper. I wouldn't want to use the steam wand because I don't want to heat up my frozen beans.

Kor