Grinders are one of the keys to exceptional espresso. Discuss them here.
pcrussell50 (original poster)
Soharu wrote:Man, I've read over all of this so much and I just still don't understand the alignment process between taking care of sick patients all day and watching videos. I'm about to send my grinder to someone to try and do it for me once I get the spacers lol
Have you watched this video? Baratza Forte Grind Assembly Removal
of it is:
1) remove the grind assembly from the rest of the grinder... takes eight minutes in Jakes video. The Vario is ever so slightly easier than Forte
2) Loosen the grind chamber and belt
3) press the two burrs together
4) and while they are firmly pressed together, tighten the burr chamber
(this is not unlike centering your bicycle's disc brake caliper on the brake rotor... you loosen the caliper's mounting bolts, apply the brakes firmly, this centers the caliper, then tighten the bolts.)
Are you clear up to this point? We can work from there...
I'm going to try and order the forte parts for my vario, is there a guide for this somewhere? Once I do that I will attempt this. I was quote 50$ by baratza for the parts and 135$ for them to do it themselves for me
For a Forte BG, anyone have long term experience without using the 3D printed spacers? How long before you started noticing the alignment was off?
Hi, sorry for my english! I'm italian!
I've a Vario Home with steel burrs and this morning I tried the ink test but also with 1A the ink remains on the burrs! Is it normal??! The sound changes, like the burrs touch. How can I do?
Perhaps it's a problem with your ink. Try a different dry erase whiteboard marker. Or use the calibration screw to bring the burrs closer to each other.
I thought I should share my experience. I aligned the burrs on my Forte AP (ceramic burrs) by shimming the top burrs. I have disassembled the grinder before but was lazy this time and did not go the chamber alignment route.
It took two iterations but it worked at the end. Before adjustment, burrs were touching only on one side even though they were touching to the point where motor slowed down quite a bit. Ink was missing on a half inch section only, tops. To shim, I used heavy duty Costco aluminum foil. I cut rectangles with the longer side equal the the burrs width and the shorter side about half of that. In my case, I ended up layering 10 of these rectangles for the first shim needed for on the side that had to be lifted the most (burrs holder upside down). then I spread progressively thinner shims with the thinnest (right under the section where ink was removed) bein only one layer. So from the the side that had to be elevated the most to the lowest point, shim thickness progression (in foil layers) is 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, 1. This repeats on either side. Having larger numbers of shims in smooth progression is important - less likelihood of burrs warping/breakage. DO not overtighten the burrs, ceramic it very hard but is brittle, no flexing at all. I held the screwdriver with 3 fingers only.
I cannot yet attest to the coffee quality as I also changed beans about that time but I think I see more crema. The main noticeable difference though is that before the alignment in order to get any good espresso grind, I had to go 3-4 micro-clicks finer past the point where burrs started to touch. After alignment, I have to be 3-4 micro-clicks coarser from the (new) burrs touching point. Note that after shimming, the setting where burrs start to touch is going to be quite different so one has to rediscover the new setting. In other words, when grinder is dialed for espresso there is no friction between the burrs now and no heat due to that. Also, when hoper is empty motor works at max RPMs and sound is smoother.
- Supporter ♡
I transitioned from a Silenzio to the Aligned Fortified Vario. The only thing I miss about the Silenzio is the ability to grind directly into my portafilter. The Silenzio is also quieter, but takes twice as long to grind the coffee (9s for Vario, ~18s for Silenzio). The Vario barely needs RDT or WDT. I do it out of habit but even with the ultra-fine grind settings I use for decaf, there's barely any clumping. Compared to the Silenzio this is night and day, as the Silenzio cannot grind fine enough for some of the decaf I drink without producing an impossible amount of clumps to deal with. Flavor does seem to have a bit more clarity with the Vario, and a bit less body on the texture. I tend to get more pronounced acidity with the Vario. I only use the ceramics.
The steel burrs: I just did not like them. It took 30-60s to grind depending on how fine I set. The burrs seemed to increase the prominence of the acidity with my current favorite coffee, a natural Ethiopian Dari Hambella. Unfortunately, this has the effect of turning something that tastes like chocolate raspberry milk into lemon juice and milk for my palate. I also found that the lack of body left my shots feeling very watery in my mouth, which I did not enjoy.
Yeah, early impression but I'm not convinced about using the steel burrs for espresso either. Interesting flavors for sure, but I don't think I'd be happy if that was my only option for espresso grinding. Very satisfying for brew though.
pcrussell50 (original poster)
Gotten a few Vario-related PM's in my inbox recently.
I will not be posting much here at HB for the foreseeable future, if ever. Though I would still like to be helpful to the community of users. So you the best way to reach me would be by gmail or WhatsApp. Using my HB user name.
I tried the alignment on my Forte BG, and I'm stuck on the basics - before I've done anything, I can't seem to measure any misalignment using the dry erase marker test. My first step was checking alignment by simply taking out the top burr carrier (I didn't disassemble the grinder), using some dry erase marker on the top burr, reinstalling it, and running it, moving the alignment levers until the sound changed, which I assumed was the burrs touching, around 1F or so. All the dry erase marker was completely removed. I was a but suspicious so backed off a bit, like 1K, no sound of burrs touching, but dry erase marker completely rubbed off again. Even on "2" grind setting, it still removes all the dry erase marker evenly. At around 3, it starts to rub off a bit unevenly.
I bought this November 2019, and have used it daily since then, and I'm having a hard time believe it's just perfectly aligned. Is there any way I could be doing something wrong in the dry erase marker test? Is the test valid if the grinder isn't disassembled? Or if it's rubbing off evenly, is there no way that can happen without it being perfectly aligned, and I'm all good without ever doing the alignment?