Recalibrating the Baratza Vario [photos] - Page 2

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

#11: Post by laughingbean »

Just wanted to pass on a note regarding my experience with a Vario.

I ordered one to use in my shop as a decaf grinder.

Due to a quirk on how the grinder was shipped (lever position and having the box upside down at some point) when I tried to grind coffee nothing came out. When I took off the top burrs, the chute was plugged with talcum powder consistency grinds.

Checked the calibration and it was already as coarse as it could go, with both levers as coarse as they could go.

Contacted supplier and at same time sent an email to Baratza with problem.

In less that 24 hours I got a reply from the man who designed the grinder himself, Kyle Anderson, who asked for my number and then called me within a hour of me sending it via email (He was on holidays too!!)

He had it fixed in about two minutes and I now have the grind set and will start using it in my shop tomorrow.

If this is standard customer service from Baratza, they now have a loyal customer!

Wayne Bertrand

Decent Espresso: espresso equipment for serious baristas
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#12: Post by dsc »

Hi guys,

just out of curiosity, how does shipping it upside down screw up the setting? or was it wrongly calibrated straight from the factory? I've heard about those grinders being incorrectly set when taken out from the box a few times now and I'm simply wondering how is this happening?

Second question, has anyone took their grinder apart? I'm still curious how the mechanism looks like.


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#13: Post by IMAWriter »

laughingbean wrote:
In less that 24 hours I got a reply from the man who designed the grinder himself, Kyle Anderson, who asked for my number and then called me within a hour of me sending it via email (He was on holidays too!!)

He had it fixed in about two minutes and I now have the grind set and will start using it in my shop tomorrow.

If this is standard customer service from Baratza, they now have a loyal customer!

Wayne Bertrand
The answer is Yes, Wayne. Their customer service has always been excellent, as is their service department, headed up by a fellow named Joe, who has the inside scoop on the ins and outs of all Baratza grinders, and is extremely patient. (This I know from personal experience)
LMWDP #187


#14: Post by neo82087 »

Hi everyone. I ordered the Vario grinder from Chris Coffee and received it last week. I'd been playing around with it for a couple of days and even on the finest setting, I was getting very coarse grinds that gave me a very quick (under 15 seconds) extraction. Using my Super Jolly on my Isomac tea at 9 bar of pressure with the same 4 day old home roasted coffee, at the same temperature (using an erics thermometer) and an espro tamper, I am easily able to choke my machine. I read a bit here about recalibrating the grinder and I thought that that might solve the problem. I tried adjusting the allen screw, but now I cannot push the cam to espresso, it pops right back between filter and press. I tried a to move it a couple of times, and one time the little plastic slider popped out and it appears one of the little nubs that clicks into the inside of the slider is broken off.

When I contacted Chris about this issue, he told me that I shouldn't have been changing anything on the grinder. I'm concerned that I may have voided the warranty by adjusting the allen screw and that I'll be stuck with a grinder that doesn't work for me. I've tried adjusting the allen screw back to where it was, but the cam still does not appear to work and will not stay on the espresso setting. It's also now very difficult to adjust the allen screw forward or back as it seems to stick even when loosened and I cannot move it :x . Does anyone know how to fix this???

...merged with thread on same subject by moderator...

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#15: Post by sweaner »

Jacob, call Kyle at Baratza. They will get you going. You did nothing wrong in trying to calibrate, and this will not void any warranty, I am sure.
LMWDP #248

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#16: Post by IMAWriter » replying to sweaner »

This is true.
Chris can get you a slider, but Kyle will be faster.
I explained on a Vario thread that a friend's Vario had that same problem of the Macro slider getting stuck 2/3rds of the way up. yours a current Vario, with the extra little 2mm (not 2.5mm) screw hole)?
If so, THAT is the only thing you want to mess with right now.
My solution would be..for now, to set your MICRO slider 1/2 way, remove the slider carefully, and attach it to the Macro area.
Empty the hopper of beans, grind the remnants, remove the hopper and upper burr...unplug.
If you see copious amounts of grind inside, tip over the grinder and empty, then at a distance use compressed air to get the rest out, including under the lower burr.
Then slide that Macro arm up and should NOW slide freely. If it doesn't, blow a bit of air through there as well.

Reassemble the grinder..but before you place the hopper on, make sure the Macro slider is still moving freely.
Replace the upper burr, making sure it snaps solidly, and rotate counter clockwise into position. Then replace the hopper, turn it clockwise making sure it clicks.

Now, hit manual, turn on the grinder, and SLOWLY raise the Macro lever....when you're past drip, a few above you should hear either the motor start to lower in pitch as it works harder, or at a notch below espresso, you might hear a few ticks of burrs. If at 1 notch below espresso you hear nothing lower the Macro back to the bottom, then adjust the little scree (2mm hex) but slowly rotating it clockwise, while the grinder is running, and at the same time raise the Macro lever. When you hear motor load, THAT is close to your 0 point for espresso.

Leave the Macro where it is, REGARDLESS of it's position. This will change as the burrs break in.
Now, 1/2 fill the hopper, and grind some espresso, tamping lightly as to not choke your machine.
Before loading the PF, feel the grind. Is it sort like sugar, maybe a wee bit finer?

If you have a 58mm basket, I'd recommend a 12 second grind to start with.. If your basket is way overflowing, you're probably too coarse. If 1/2 empty, you're too fine. As I'm working with a 49mm basket, my figures may be off a bit, but start there. FEEL THE GRIND.

Sorry for the extended post.
LMWDP #187


#17: Post by neo82087 »


Thanks very much for your extended reply! I was able to get the cams working again and by adjusting the 2mm hex screw I was able to calibrate it perfectly. I think Baratza should consider hiring you... it was your reviews that convinced me to get the grinder, and now it's your tech support on a Sunday evening that convince me to keep the grinder :D ! Now all I have to do is get that little plastic nub, I'll try to contact Baratza for that. Thanks again for your help!

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#18: Post by IMAWriter »

You are most welcome.
Most here are WAY more DIY oriented, that is, technically more adept than I.
So when I find a piece of gear (musician talk ) that enables me to actually make a contribution I feel I should.
I have no pony in this race, though I freely admit my preference for CUSTOMER SERVICE that companies like Baratza provide.
There are always niggling little things you'd like to see adjusted/improved, but that is true about most equipment.
I think this grinder provides a viable alternative for folks that are space challenged, have need for an easily adjustable multi purpose grinder, yet desire excellent espresso grind. Is it a Robur or K10?
No, as it is not a conical burr grinder, nor near as fast. But, so far I have not been able to fault the grind quality nor its repeatability.
I do think the manual should delve deeper into the adjustment procedures. perhaps an online line "primer" would be in order. (pdf style)
Also, the PF fork, though much better for us with small PF's (no jokes, please :lol: ) could be made to hold our PF's a bit more rigid. Geesh, should have chosen a better word. :oops:
LMWDP #187

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#19: Post by espressme »

Re small size pfs ; I have tried to let the fork and rear tab to hold the small pf but it spilled more than filled when I removed the pf. To fill a small pf basket I use a 2oz plastic portion cup which I got at a drive in. It is the low type and the bottom diameter is just the right size to fit into a 49mm basket. I just cut the bottom out, leaving no curl, and there is enough clearance at the top to hold under the chute and get enough fluffy grind into the basket to fill and tamp to the height I prefer. That also reduces spillage. I had trouble with static when I tried to hold the basket against the chute and off the fork to prevent spillage. I almost never have static now.
I haven't figured a method of no-hands grinding with a small pf and basket.
PS. Someone else posted and they used a cut-off metal measuring cup of the proper proportions.
richard penney LMWDP #090,

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#20: Post by IMAWriter »

Richard, I've been using my yogurt cup from the get go. I just wanted to (for others sake) give the PF holder a go.
No biggie.
LMWDP #187