Recalibrating the Baratza Vario [photos]

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

HB was kind enough to get me in contact with the designer of the Vario (Kyle from Baratza) regarding my too fine grind. Kyle filled us in on the calibration procedure (zeroing the burrs) and I have recalibrated mine (it took only a few minutes to get it where I like). I took pictures along the way, so here we go:

Tools needed:
1) A thumb nail (right or left)
2) A 2.5mm Allen wrench:

To reset the calibration to a coarser setting do the following:
Locate the rubber grommet (1/4 in wide X 1 inch long) on the roof of the grounds bin cavity, just to the rear of the discharge chute.

Remove the grommet using your thumb nail to grab it.

Just inside the opening locate the black Allen head screw (2.5mm size).

Using a 2.5 mm Allen wrench loosen the screw by turning the Allen wrench to the left as you face the grinder.

With the Allen wrench still in the head of the screw, slide the screw toward the front of the grinder (about 1/8 in to 1/4 in), and tighten the Allen screw.

Replace the grommet.

Pulling the screw forward moves the grind range towards coarse and pushing it in moves the grind range toward fine. Test with coffee to see if espresso is very fine with both levers all the way up. then test for press pot with both levers all the way down. The calibration only sets the zero point. The design is such that if your press pot is too coarse, your espresso will be too coarse, and if the your press pot is too fine your espresso will be too fine also.

Kyle said also:
I hope this will assist you in setting your Vario up just the way you like it. We do calibrate every grinder before it leaves our factory, but we goofed in choosing a set point that was too fine.

UPDATE from Getting started with the Baratza Vario:
Baratza wrote:Calibrating the Vario with the new calibration screw.

Baratza's first shipment of Vario's (March 2009, serial # 001 to 270) were calibrated at the factory to grind too fine. We then changed the factory setting for the Vario so it could be adjusted fine enough for espresso and coarse enough for Press Pot. Since we made this adjustment at the factory we have had much fewer calibration issues. Beginning with serial #271, Baratza added a secondary calibration screw (2mm Allen head set screw) in a round hole between the discharge chute and the calibration grommet. This calibration screw allows the user to easily adjust the calibration in the finer direction with the grinder running. To make the adjustment, empty all beans from the grinder, lower the Macro and Micro levers all the way to the bottom and run it briefly to expel any partially ground coffee. Press the Manual button and then the Start button. While the grinder is running, raise the Macro arm all the way to the top (Espresso). You should not hear any change in motor speed. Now raise the Micro arm up the midpoint. You should begin to hear the motor slow (or labor a little). If not, use a 2mm Allen wrench to slowly turn the 2mm set screw clockwise (when looking up at the screw) until you begin to hear the motor slow or labor. You are done!
See Baratza Vario Recalibration (PDF) for step-by-step instructions. The videos below demonstrate via sound a properly calibrated Vario:
LMWDP #242

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#2: Post by HB »

Thanks Dan for posting the photos and instructions! I'll add a link from the review. And thanks to Kyle for the quick response!
Dan Kehn

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#3: Post by mhoy »

Great writeup!!! I wonder if there is a set for finer espresso and coarser press pot?


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#4: Post by mhoy »

Yeah, now I'm really happy, adjusted to make a finer espresso so I've now some extra notches (OK, so I went a bit too far but that's OK). Now I've got the headroom in the basket that I want with my Elektra and a thick syrup of goodness dripping out.



#5: Post by IMAWriter »

Excellent, Dan.
Now, how does the espresso TASTE? :lol:
Did going coarser overall lessen the static?

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ddr (original poster)

#6: Post by ddr (original poster) »

No static at all, FM

I think it tastes great, but I am not a real good judge. A couple of days and someone who can properly discuss these things will try it out with me.
LMWDP #242

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#7: Post by mhoy »

I also have no static, mind you it's not the driest time of the year in northern CA. Now that I'm in the right range I can click up or down one to fine tune very nicely (or up and down by 1/10 to add/lessen the amount). Taste to me is superb no sign of bitterness. Even with lower dosing, there was no sign of channeling. Yep, grinders make a difference (I think I've heard this mantra before).

My wife is also very pleased with the low rumble while grinding, the size (extra counter space) and the overall aesthetics.


#8: Post by IMAWriter »

ddr wrote:No static at all, FM

I think it tastes great, but I am not a real good judge. A couple of days and someone who can properly discuss these things will try it out with me.
Dan, you ARE a good judge. If it tastes great it IS great. Compare it to shots you get at a good cafe pulled by a competent barista.
These grinders were built for home use, mainly for folks just like us.
Many here are wondering how it will do with French press, which to ME really needs a grinder that produces little or NO dust.
That's your next assignment! :lol:


#9: Post by laughingbean »


I just received the Vario and the calibrations is way too fine.
The blades seem to be rubbing and putting in coffee procduces no grinds. I've removed the top burrs and the coffee that is in there is talcum. Both sliders are as coarse as they can go (press and coarse).

I checked the adjusting screw near the chute thinking it maybe was all the way back. It was all the way forward, which is supposed to be it's coarsest setting.

I've emailed Baratza and will take it to the dealer I got it at but would really love to avoid the one hour drive if I can.

Does anyone know if the cam mechanism can move on its own once the screw is loosened or is it only the movement of the screw that moves the burrs?

Thanks for your help all.



#10: Post by IMAWriter »

Wayne, I feel somewhat qualified to attempt some help, as I've spent lots of time adjusting that little bugger.
If the allen screw is not FULLY tightened in position it can move, and usually to the back.
Not sure why you're getting talc, but I think you might want to remove the hopper, upper burr, CAREFULLY remove the screws that hold the lower burr in place, remove the lower burr, and thoroughly clean the grinder, blowing some compressed air around, and making sure to blow a bit into the crevices where the Macro/Micro levers reside. Make sure you've totally purged the grinder before disassembly.

Before you replace all, that is the time to re-adjust your allen screw calibration thingy. loosen it so that you can slide it forward. A pretty good position is when you have the grinder upside down, the screw is barely visible. That is, it is about 2/3 forward. Carefully lock it in, making sure the guides on either side are straight and lined up, so they tighten down a bit as well. Tighten the allen screw down securely, but don't strip it or over tighten.

Replace the lower burr, then the upper, making SURE to rotate it FULLY counter clockwise until it is full in'll see it slide into position.
This is important...
Make sure when you replace the hopper, you hear it CLICK into place.
For grins, set your Macro lever 1 notch below the upper most position, and the Micro lever about 1/4 up from the bottom.
Fill the hopper 1/4 full. Grind about 10 seconds, and feel between your fingers. If it's "sugar", but a wee bit finer, you're pretty much there.
If you're still getting talc, then Kyle @ Baratza would be the person to speak with, not your vendor.
Baratza has excellent customer service and will make it right, or send you another grinder.
Please let us know how it goes.