Baratza Vario Grinder - First Look - Page 21

Grinders are one of the keys to exceptional espresso. Discuss them here.
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#201: Post by IMAWriter »

Bob...I'm real familiar with the delivery systems you described, as I've owned 2 SJ's and a Maestro, which delivers coffee basically as does the Vario. Both my SJ's delivered to the left (my doser, I mean), typical of Mazzers. But as you explained, there is lots of room underneath the mazzer to pivot the PF.
Did you not have the PF attachment for the Vario?
Not that that would necessarily help, if the grind was dropping in an inconsistent manner.
This would be less a problem with my 49mm PF than a much larger 58mm you were using.
Still, as you say, the timing electronics, a BIG selling point for me, if negated by having to interrupt several times, as opposed to maybe just once, for a quick tap to settle, would probably be... "Unsettling."
Lets see what the other owners have to say.
Thanks for the response.
LMWDP #187


#202: Post by javafool »

Hello. This is my first post and I will have to admit that I drink primarily brewed coffee. I am, however, serious about my coffee (have been roasting all of my coffee since about 1997) and I did buy a Vario grinder. The question I have is has anyone tried grinding for drip or French press? I have adjusted my Vario to French press and the left slider all the way down on coarser. The grind at these settings is still so fine that it all but chokes my Chemex brewer. The powder is so fine that it is difficult to dump from the hopper, and this is a coffee roaster to city +, with no oils showing on the beans.

Thanks for any reply and I am enjoying reading the other posts.

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#203: Post by greatphotos »

I also have the new vario and have been in touch with the designing engineer of this grinder.

My distribution is towards the front center of my portafilter which is a 51MM. The Vario was designed for a 58mm portafilter. I was told that the portafilter holder assembly does not need to be shoved all the way to the back and has plenty of drop clearance and could be pulled forward. I did that and now my ground coffee goes into the exact center of my portafilter by pulling it out a little more than 1/8th of an inch. Distribution pattern is even with a little mound in the center. I am getting 2 grams/second for espresso. The timer is very accurate and the spec is repeatability of .1 second for grounds delivery. If your dosing method requires multiple deliveries just set one button for a very short time period.

The Vario is also capable of doing Turkish coffee. I felt that my Vario might be grinding too finely as I was on the center settings of both levers. To check this you empty all coffee out of the Vario. Move all levers to the bottom, then move the right course level all the way to the top. Turn on the machine and gradually move the left fine lever up. The unit should start showing a load at the mid point and should exhibit a heavier load as you reach the top position. The burrs will never give you a screeching sound as they are milled together as a set. If they stop (the drive belt can't slip as it is toothed) then the unit is set too fine. The setting is checked multiple times at the factory, the last time just before being boxed up. There is an adjustment that can be made by the user if you feel it is out of calibration.

Hope this helps.


#204: Post by javafool »

I'll have to call next week. If I have the left lever down and move the right lever up towards espresso, the grinder starts to load just before I am all the way up to espresso.

Thanks for the advice greatphotos.

Bob Barraza

#205: Post by Bob Barraza »

IMAWriter wrote:Did you not have the PF attachment for the Vario?
Yes we did have the portafilter holder in place (very positive locking mechanism, no chance of falling out by mistake). I think that part of the problem is that the sides of the grinder body come almost flush with the trailing edge of the filter basket (part closest to you). This means that you can only 'swing' the portafilter handle somewhere between 90 and 120 degrees, certainly less than 180. The Mini allows more like 180. I don't think that this is a function of the basket size. If it has a handle, it can only swing so far.

I don't quite understand or like the explanation of leaving the portafilter adapter partially leaning out? It is well designed to fit and smartly snap into place. Also, my problem was that it dumped most of the coffee at the 3 o'clock position, not the 6 o'clock position. So how would leaving the contraption partially installed help that?

It's only my humble opinion, but it seems like an awful lot of money for a grinder that requires so much tweaking, and compensating for stuff. Your grinder is the heart of the system. It needs to be as reproducible and robust as possible. I have not checked on the price difference between the Vario and the Mini, but just the build quality alone puts them in two totally different categories. My guess is that the Mini would outlast four or five of these grinders. My guess is that the Vario would not hold up very long in a commercial setting, yet we know that the Mini does.

Like I said, the Vario is very sexy looking, and it is no comparison to my Solis Maestro, however, it is no Mazzer Mini. My first grinder was the Solis Maestro. Very nice for drip and press grinds, but unacceptable for espresso (my intended use). I felt that I had wasted about $125 since I still needed a grinder. Talking with the vendor, he explained that the Mini was no comparison. He told me that my biggest concern would be that it would out live me and that I would need to decide whom to leave it to in my will. If you are much younger than me, and it eventually seizes the motor, you will still have a decent boat anchor.

I have since moved on to a Mazzer Super Jolly that was cleaned up and repainted after it's first life in a Starbucks (before they went to the super automatics). It is still flawless after it's early years of abuse and neglect. I still use my Mini with my backup machine and it is of similar quality and build, the primary difference is the rate of coffee ground per unit of time. My point is that if you are going to pay that much for a Vario, I think that you should give serious consideration to the Mini and get used to counting in your head while you grind so that you know when to turn it off.

I don't own stock or anything in Mazzer, but after more than 5 years of daily use I can see no difference in performance of my grinders. By now I thought that I would at least have had to change the on/off switches. So far so good.

Good luck with your choice,
Bob Barraza


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#206: Post by sweaner »

For better or for worse, most of the equipment seems to need a bit of tweaking.

The Mini is over $200 more than the Vario.
LMWDP #248

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#207: Post by IMAWriter » replying to sweaner »

That is correct, and Mazzer has had decades to fix it :lol:
Sloppy doser, doser pull to the left, lousy that has to do with the moron in front of the PF handle. :lol:
LMWDP #187

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#208: Post by HB »

sweaner wrote:The Mini is over $200 more than the Vario.
I found the Mini for $569 vs. the Vario at $429.
Dan Kehn

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#209: Post by sweaner »

Dan, I was looking at Chriscoffee, but you are correct, as usual. 1st line has it for $569.
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#210: Post by cai42 »


Mazzer's hefty metal parts will out live Vario's printed circuit boards and chips.

Cliff Isackson