A simple solution for single dosing the Baratza Forte

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

#1: Post by gritts »

Hi everyone. I made a beautifully formatted post over on Adobe Spark, but I will copy paste below:

(Scroll down for the solution, these intro paragraphs are just background). For those of us who single dose our coffee beans, the hopper on the Forté leaves a lot to be desired. The beans can get stuck behind the metal spokes and supports built into the hopper. After a handful of uses, I knew I had to look into other options.

There were a number of existing solutions floating around on the internet...


1. 3D Print a custom single-dose hopper - I'm not an engineer, so therefore I don't know Autocad or Blender or any other 3D software. Even if I did, I would have trouble taking ultra-precise measurements so the new hopper would fit perfectly. After a little digging, I found Sebastian had made a single-dose Vario hopper and had shared the 3D file on his website. Even then, when I reached out to Seb, he mentioned that the hopper sometimes had a hard time keeping the micro-switch engaged, and often times grounds would go outside of the burr chamber. There's also a slew of problems trying to 3D print items intended for use with food. From the brass printhead containing lead, to the 3D print surface harboring bacteria (after it gets wet), it seemed to me that 3D printing was not a viable option.

2. Okay, so plastic is bad. Why not machine a single dose hopper out of metal? To answer your question with a question, "what am I, made out of money?" This is an extremely sleek solution but also cost the user 230 euros. Yikes.

3. Just take out the metal piece from the existing hopper, dummy. I tried this and there were still beans getting stuck in the hopper in the wells where the metal supports once stood, as well as behind the plastic supports. Reddit user csfire1986 filled these holes with food-grade epoxy and snapped off the plastic supports and has had some success, but I wanted a non-destructive solution if I ever wanted to get my hopper back to its original state.

As for engineering my own solution...

I wanted to leave the current Forté hopper as in-tact as possible and use as many original parts as I could. This way, I could remove some variables and know that the fit would be tight and the micro switch would stay engaged. I removed the 3 phillips screws securing the metal shut-off and used a 2mm hex key to remove the switch.


Remove the metal shut-off from the hopper. Cover the holes with your favorite tape for an added seal.
I measured the passage for the beans on the existing hopper, which had a diameter of 35mm. I researched "food safe plastics" and came up with acrylic as an everyday option. Now I just had to find an acrylic tube to feed the beans directly into the burrs...

I found one of these generic Chinese acrylic tubes on eBay for $5.00 including shipping. I waited two months for the tube to arrive from China. When it did, I was happy because my estimated 35mm outer diameter was a snug fit in the hopper.


Okay, looking good. Now what? Next, I took a handsaw and cut the tube at about 13.75cm. I wanted the lid to sit flush with the top so that beans could not popcorn out of the tube.


After a few rounds of sanding with 150 grit and 400 grit sandpapers and checking for fit, I finally reached the perfect height (about 13.15cm). The Baratza lid fit on and was fully seated around the edge of the outer hopper, flush with the top of the tube.


I added a broccoli band around the bottom of the tube for a further seal against the upper burr carrier. It also reduces the wobble of the tube when everything is installed. Here's how it runs (in 4K!)

Let me try to preemptively address any concerns. First, yes, there is popcorning. There are two ways to address this: one, acknowledge popcorning isn't a big deal, or two, weigh down the beans somehow to force them into the burrs, effectively reducing the "ceiling." In my case, this would take a wooden dowel of 31mm outer diameter to fit snugly inside the acrylic tube. It really isn't a concern to me right now.

Second, the tube is a bit narrow, so depending on your "dosing" container, it may be a little difficult to transfer the dose. I am used to pre-weighing and dosing from my grounds bin, so it's worked just fine for me. I can see a scenario where someone likes using the lid for dosing, and it might be challenging with this setup. As a solution, you could buy a funnel with an extra-wide opening at the bottom.

To anyone who has made it this far...
Thank you for reading. I'd love to hear your thoughts. Have you adapted your own grinder for single dosing? Did you see anything which could have been executed better, that was out of place, or misleading? Please let me know, and thanks for your feedback!
★ Helpful

Baratza: skilled in the art of grinding
Sponsored by Baratza
Kran

#2: Post by Kran »

If you take a look at post 10 in Baratza Forté hopper safety switch won't stay engaged there's a somewhat in-between solution that uses a 3D printed base combined with the OE mini hopper. This might be a good alternative who for those who aren't comfortable with an all 3D print approach.

I use that same OE mini hopper on a lot of my grinders. It's a very solid platform.

Abu-Hatim

#3: Post by Abu-Hatim »

I use the virtuoso hopper for single dosing

gritts (original poster)

#4: Post by gritts (original poster) »

Kran wrote:If you take a look at post 10 in Baratza Forté hopper safety switch won't stay engaged there's a somewhat in-between solution that uses a 3D printed base combined with the OE mini hopper. This might be a good alternative who for those who aren't comfortable with an all 3D print approach.

I use that same OE mini hopper on a lot of my grinders. It's a very solid platform.
Hey, that's pretty cool! Too bad the hopper itself costs $50 :(

neohk

#5: Post by neohk »

I love that tube lol
I must admit i just give the hopper a slap if a bean gets stuck
with the flapper flipped, i usually get all if not -0.1g beans out on a v60 setting
Sometimes i do randomly lose 0.3 ish so I just try to get it out later either by pulsing the motor or someone suggested moving the big adjustment knob to very coarse and some coffee does come out

User avatar
JR_Germantown

#6: Post by JR_Germantown »

I also looked for a similar tube, but gave up. Nice find!

I've been satisfied with using an Encore/Virtuoso hopper with its finger guard removed.

If popcorning is an issue, I'm just over it.

Jack

User avatar
SteveRhinehart

#7: Post by SteveRhinehart »

Abu-Hatim wrote:I use the virtuoso hopper for single dosing
I've always used the stock Forte hopper. I close the feed gate once the last beans fall through, which catches any popcorning fragments and directs them back downward. I like the solution for closing the gap between the hopper and the upper burr carrier though.

Flair Espresso: handcrafted espresso. cafe-quality shots, anytime, anywhere
Sponsored by Flair Espresso
pcrussell50

#8: Post by pcrussell50 »

Not to take away anything from this great effort. But the basic, non-shutoff Vario hopper fits this machine too. I use it, unmodified, for single dosing. It's also a lot cheaper if you do head down the path of chopping it up.

-Peter
LMWDP #553

Abu-Hatim

#9: Post by Abu-Hatim »

SteveRhinehart wrote:I've always used the stock Forte hopper. I close the feed gate once the last beans fall through, which catches any popcorning fragments and directs them back downward. I like the solution for closing the gap between the hopper and the upper burr carrier though.
I always have some beans stuck behind the hopper's pillars with the stock hopper and I hate tapping. The virtuoso hopper eliminates that(sure there is popcorning but still better than tapping the hopper)

Abu-Hatim

#10: Post by Abu-Hatim »

pcrussell50 wrote:Not to take away anything from this great effort. But the basic, non-shutoff Vario hopper fits this machine too. I use it, unmodified, for single dosing. It's also a lot cheaper if you do head down the path of chopping it up.

-Peter
Couldn't find it. A link would be helpful