Baratza Vario vs Forte with brew burr sets? - Page 2

Grinders are one of the keys to exceptional espresso. Discuss them here.
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johnny4lsu

Postby johnny4lsu » Apr 17, 2019, 8:06 am

I use a Vario brew burr for pour over. It's works great. I also own a MonoFlat that I use for espresso. I have no desire to use the flat for pour over. I'll take my pour overs at home over 99% of what I've received at popular specialty shops.

RyanJE

Postby RyanJE » Apr 17, 2019, 8:49 am

ben8jam wrote:Wow couldn't have been better timed. Last week I arrived at the conclusion the monflat is actually not very good for pour over. I'm sure that comment will bring the heavens down upon me but at a coarse setting the amount of fine vs boulders is staggering. Grind into a small cup and give a shake and the layers are apparent. I compared to a Gautama and the grind from that grinder was incredibly uniform. This all came from trying to get the same quality pour over at home that I was getting at the shop. Denis at kafatek confirmed this was to be expected as monflat is an espresso grinder first most.

So in lieu of tossing $2k at a new guat, it was recommended (today actually) I try the steel burr set for my vario. So I'm very eager to hear how it goes for you.

Looking at an old thread of mine from a year or so ago , mitanksiky rated the vario with steel as good for brew but the monflat substantially better. So if that's the case then I'm not going to bother with the vario at all bc the flat doesn't do the quality of grind I'd want for pour over.


If you like the grind of a guat and can tolerate the size but not price, check out a grindmaster 890. It has 80mm guat burrs and costs about 1K new.
I drink two shots before I drink two shots, then I drink two more....

discsinthesky

Postby discsinthesky » Apr 17, 2019, 5:08 pm

ben8jam wrote:Wow couldn't have been better timed. Last week I arrived at the conclusion the monflat is actually not very good for pour over. I'm sure that comment will bring the heavens down upon me but at a coarse setting the amount of fine vs boulders is staggering. Grind into a small cup and give a shake and the layers are apparent. I compared to a Gautama and the grind from that grinder was incredibly uniform. This all came from trying to get the same quality pour over at home that I was getting at the shop. Denis at kafatek confirmed this was to be expected as monflat is an espresso grinder first most.

So in lieu of tossing $2k at a new guat, it was recommended (today actually) I try the steel burr set for my vario. So I'm very eager to hear how it goes for you.

Looking at an old thread of mine from a year or so ago , mitanksiky rated the vario with steel as good for brew but the monflat substantially better. So if that's the case then I'm not going to bother with the vario at all bc the flat doesn't do the quality of grind I'd want for pour over.


That is surprising. I'm curious if other Monflat owners can comment on their experience with using it for pour over??

blkswn

Postby blkswn » Apr 17, 2019, 5:39 pm

I have the Vario with the steel burrs and, like you mentioned regarding terrible alignment, my burrs needed 26 foil shims just to get it within reasonable alignment. I marked the lower burr and upper burr carrier so that it is clamped down in the same position each time, and I've noticed when I tighten the burr carrier in a different position the alignment would wildly shift and change. If my 11 o'clock was the one area where burrs didn't touch, changing the position of the burr carrier would make, for example, 4-6 and 12 o'clock be the areas where it didn't touch. I think my plastic carrier might be warped or something is way out of tolerance.

I use it for espresso at work now, but for brew grind quality it wasn't terrible. Gradient of particle sizes was quite large, and had larger variance than my Virtuoso. With espresso, my latest recorded extraction was 17.9g in, 36.9g out, and 8.76% TDS = 18.06% EY. For reference, my 64mm SSP red speed burrs produce 19.5% EY and my unaligned EK43 was producing 20.6% on any given day.

If given the choice, I'd go with the Forte for the all-metal construction. With espresso, since that's all I use it for now, given how light roasted the beans are it seems to shift the burrs a bit. I'm guessing it has to do with the plastic carrier warping under pressure.

ben8jam

Postby ben8jam » replying to blkswn » Apr 17, 2019, 5:59 pm

Are you single dosing with the Vario or keeping the hopper full? I found after years of Vario use, that when I used it with a full hopper, the grind consitency never faltered day to day. It was only when I was grinding with one shot at a time, that each day it was totally thrown off. Found that barazta themselves say it doesn't do well running dry. (i posted a stupid long post about it a while back.

blkswn

Postby blkswn » replying to ben8jam » Apr 17, 2019, 6:25 pm

I actually was single dosing back then for filter brews and for a few weeks when I first brought it into work. Now that it sits in an office environment I keep the hopper full for espresso and keep relatively similar roast levels. When I switch from undrinkable dark roasts (some coworkers only drink the carbonized smokey coffees) back to medium there's a noticeable shift in grind setting and resistance getting the levers to 1A. I had set touch point at 1A with a med-light roast and after running the dark roast for a week, the touch point suddenly was at 3M. I noticed the general grind range also changed after I vacuumed the inside housing. There was a lot of coffee powder getting inside the chassis and after cleaning it out my grind levels got much coarser for the same settings I was using prior. I never adjusted the burrs during the process so all that coffee dust might be jamming up the adjustment levers somewhere.

I just let it be now and deal with it as needed. Hasn't been much of a headache lately as I've kept the roast level right at the medium/med-dark range.

ben8jam

Postby ben8jam » replying to blkswn » Apr 17, 2019, 6:28 pm

The reverse chute trick helps stop that blockage. When i did it, the chute was packed so densly with grinds, after reverse the chute they came out so much fluffier.

pcrussell50

Postby pcrussell50 » replying to ben8jam » Apr 17, 2019, 11:06 pm

On my Vario, I only ever used very light, to sometimes overly light roasts, so I never had any problems with a packed chute. Then after flipping the flapper, it's not even a consideration any more. The only thing I can say about the flapper mod is that if you are work flow obsessed, the grinds come out so fluffy and tall after the mod, that it is impossible to grind directly into a portafilter without a funnel, without risking spilling some. And that includes light roasts that you have to grind so fine they will choke a flow profiling machine unless you do a 30s "Rao soak and bloom" to soften the puck. This is with the ceramic burrs. I have not tried the steel burrs.

I am curious of somebody can write up an alignment process. I am handy with tools and have a dial indicator.

-Peter
LMWDP #553

bas

Postby bas » Yesterday, 2:22 am

I tried the Forte with steel burrs for espresso. Works great but grinding is very slow. Takes about 2 times longer compared to the the ceramics. And the grinder is much noisier with the steel burrs. It seems that the grinder has to work harder with the steel burrs for espresso fine. As I prefer medium roast I changed back to the ceramic burrs.

I have used to Vario steel for filter but did not dare to use it for a espresso as I was seriously afraid of ruining it.

The Forte looks and feels much more robust. Both from the oudside and inside. More solid burr carier and grind adjustment mechanism for instance.

I remember getting a bit more consistency with the Forte over Vario.

nuketopia

Postby nuketopia » Yesterday, 4:13 am

pcrussell50 wrote:Larry,

Since the top burr is stationary, and it's the bottom burr that turns, how did you turn it to determine the clock position for contact? I have zero complaints about how my early Vario performs, but that doesn't mean I'm not curious about its alignment, too.

-Peter


I just take out the upper burr carrier, clean the upper burr, then mark the outer ring of "triangles" on the burr face with a whiteboard marker and let it dry for a few minutes. Then put the burr carrier back in, start the grinder and slow lift the grind setting lever until it just barely starts to slow down. Then drop the settings down all the way, shut it down and take out the upper burr carrier. The contact point is where the white board marker has been rubbed off.

Ideally, the contact would be even all the way around.

The upper carrier can be inserted in 3 positions. I tried that, but the first contact point was always in the same position, indicating the problem wasn't the upper burr or carrier, but in the geometry of the grind chamber and/or position of the spinning parts.