Baratza Vario Super Alignment owner experience - Page 47

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

Chura wrote:Thanks.
If I'm not replacing the burrs, should I do this alignment for the ceramic burrs ?
Once you get the upper burr mount loose, then I'd do the marker test first to see what the alignment is like - your grinder may be fine.

I haven't had ceramics in my Vario for years - others with ceramics seemed to have felt benefits, although I think that most of them had also switched to the Forté burr chamber.

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#462: Post by Carneiro »

smt wrote:When I pull the belt tighter, the macro burr adjustment mechanism is a little loose. When I adjust the levers, it gets tighter. However, with the levers in the coarsest position, the lower burr floats a little. Will this go away when everything is assembled? I fear the macro adjustment mechanism is not in the correct position.

EDIT: I realized the levers should be in the FINEST before tightening the macro mechanism. It worked. I was able to calibrate at 2Q when I wasn't before.

Here is a pic:
Hi all!

Finally I tried this alignment on Mahlkonig Vario, one of first units back in the days they launched the grinder together.

The macro adjustment part doesn't stay put after I screw everything back to place. Am I doing something wrong? The whole part is loose, although the brass is firm when I tight the screw.

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#463: Post by Jonk »

So I went through the alignment for a second Vario today. Even though I knew all the steps it still took a couple of hours to get it right. Mostly trial and error for me to get the chamber in position and good belt tension. More than a dozen tries, so the battery is crucial.

This one has ceramic burrs (and the nylon burr chamber). I had no luck confirming the alignment with a marker test, there's no way I can see my red marker properly on the brown background. The sound is perfect anyway so that'll have to do.

Only pulled shots with a failed roast so far so can't really comment on flavor. But I did notice the extremely fluffy grinds others have written about. I'm a little bit surprised that I had to dial it in at a lower setting than the calibrated touch point - could this be the nylon chamber's fault or is this always normal with the ceramic burrs? Got a perfect fill on the bottom of the Robot basket, not something I'm used to.. So to answer Chura's question - yes it does seem to be worth trying, just be aware that it's a bit of work to get it right.

Carneiro: perhaps you need to shim the levers now?
I didn't need to do it on either the 2011 or 2013 Mahlkönig Vario that I've aligned, but perhaps it's worth a try.

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#464: Post by baldheadracing »

Jonk wrote:... I'm a little bit surprised that I had to dial it in at a lower setting than the calibrated touch point - could this be the nylon chamber's fault or is this always normal with the ceramic burrs? ...
I'd guess the chamber.


#465: Post by Jonk »

It's weird, because like a few others have reported it does seem to work pretty good anyway. I wonder what's happening - perhaps the upper burr mount is flexing against the 3 nylon tabs?

Visually, coarse grounds look more even now, but pour over performance is still sub-par with the ceramic burrs it seems. Didn't really expect any different.

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#466: Post by baldheadracing »

I suspect that it has something to do with the hardness of the beans (roast levels). The ultra-light roasts of today's specialty market were not very common in the USA when the Vario brew chamber was developed.

If someone is grinding coffee that is at traditional espresso roast levels, then they're not going to have the same experience as someone grinding lighter roasts.

As for the brew performance of the ceramic burrs - well, there's a reason Baratza introduced Ditting steel burrs :wink:.


#467: Post by Jonk »

Of course, the steel burrs are in my other Vario and they're one of my favourite burrset for brew. Just wanted to state the obvious since I think there were some inquiries about the aligned ceramic burr performance way back in this thread. The steel burrs will do better even without alignment as far as I can tell.

As for light roasts and grinding for espresso with either choice of burrs, I think you're absolutely right that the nylon chamber doesn't cut it. I did get a few good shots actually but it's not really consistent and makes strange noises. Even filling up the hopper doesn't help much. I'm thinking that the weakest points are the nylon tabs that only support about 25% of the upper burr carrier.