Baratza Vario Super Alignment owner experience - Page 6

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

#51: Post by iBrew » Oct 04, 2019, 6:24 pm

I'm not sure if I agree that the demand is greater with an espresso grinder than a brew grinder, is this a fact? As I can taste a big difference between an Virtuoso/Vario with steel burrs vs an EK43 or the OE Apex. EK43 and the Apex are in a different league with sweetness, clarity and flavour separation. I still have an Encore with the Virtuoso burrs and it's a great grinder but when I compare it to the OE Apex or the EK43 it's not anywhere near those grinders for cup quality, although it's still very good.

pcrussell50

#52: Post by pcrussell50 » Oct 04, 2019, 6:34 pm

There is quite literally NOTHING in common between the Virtuoso and the Vario except the brand name. I'm not even sure they had the same designer. The Virtuoso looks like an ancient Solis design from the days before Baratza took over to fill out the bottom of their lineup. I am confused as to why you put a slash between them (Virtuoso/Varo) as if there was something similar between the two. Can you fill in more here?

-Peter
LMWDP #553

iBrew

#53: Post by iBrew » replying to pcrussell50 » Oct 04, 2019, 7:51 pm

I owned a Vario-W with the steel burrs and I also have the Encore with the Virtuoso burrs so I've owned and compared the two side by side. I personally found them very very similar in cup, Vario with steel burrs was slightly clearer. I agree that the Vario looks much better, it's a great home grinder but in the end the slightly clearer cup didn't justify the price difference for me personally and was able to return the Vario-W with steel burrs.

pcrussell50

#54: Post by pcrussell50 » Oct 04, 2019, 9:26 pm

Out of curiosity, did you have your -W long enough to run enough beans through to season the burrs? Or did you return it too soon for that?

Sounds like you're all set for drip anyway. The only data point I have on drip is from a hyper-aligned Forte with brew burrs, versus a MonolithFlat with SSP burrs. For brew, the Forte trounced it. I don't drink much brew myself. This comes from a friend who owns both grinders.

-Peter
LMWDP #553

iBrew

#55: Post by iBrew » Oct 04, 2019, 9:44 pm

I put 5lbs through it first, I had it for 30 days and went through a lot of coffee testing it out with the Encore. With seasoning burrs I haven't notice seasoned burrs making a huge difference in the taste. But I never did any alignment adjustments with the Vario and that may change things as I don't know how good or bad the alignment was on Vario I had.

nuketopia

#56: Post by nuketopia » Oct 05, 2019, 9:17 pm

To be fair, I don't think burrs in the Monolith are brew optimized. I think they're all using burrs that are intended for espresso use.

On Vario vs. Sette - honestly, the Sette 270w makes better espresso than my Vario ever did. I totally wore that Vario out too!!!

My Vario got a new lease on life with the metal upgrade and brew burrs. It grinds pretty slow, but it does a great job on brew methods now. I can squeeze an espresso out of it, especially since I aligned the burrs. But it is well suited for brew and better than the ceramic burrs.

pcrussell50

#57: Post by pcrussell50 » Oct 05, 2019, 9:50 pm

nuketopia wrote:On Vario vs. Sette - honestly, the Sette 270w makes better espresso than my Vario ever did. I totally wore that Vario out too!!!
Totally believable especially if you stay within the roast degree and grind that the Sette excels at.

-Peter
LMWDP #553

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spromance

#58: Post by spromance » Oct 07, 2019, 4:35 pm

Thanks to everyone who has been paving the way on this - previously I achieved okay alignment using marker/shims, but I'd rather correct at the source and be as close to forte as I can get!
ben8jam wrote:To follow up. I contacted Baratza and they were already ready to go with upgrade instructions for vario->forte. They will do it for you in house as part of the Vario maintence pricing ($80), but there looks like an extra $50 to get the metal chamber (I think others on here reported they got it for free).

But to do it yourself, you can buy all the parts for $28. Plus shipping. I'm converting to brew, so also getting the steel burrs for $60. So not a bad little weekend project for just under $100!
How did this go for you? I'm going to write Baratza and inquire about ordering the same pieces, but just to be clear, the 28 you paid was for the metal chamber and some other corresponding forte parts for the upgrade? Or was it 28 plus 50 for the chamber? Thanks!

pcrussell50

#59: Post by pcrussell50 » Oct 07, 2019, 4:38 pm

For me, I paid $50 and they did it for me. So I gotta think that $28 would get you the metal chamber and matching upper burr carrier. Those are the Forte bits that matter.

-Peter
LMWDP #553

mlunsford27

#60: Post by mlunsford27 » Oct 09, 2019, 10:23 pm

Just read through this thread and considering getting a Vario. Has anyone spent further time using the steel burrs for espresso with an aligned grinder?