Help: Bottomless Portafilter Spitting All Over Creation - Page 6

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.
Nate42

#51: Post by Nate42 »

GEGIJr wrote:I would hope your $2500 grinder is better than my $570 grinder otherwise you got shafted :wink:
You are pretty much spot on with the suggestion I use dark roast, grind coarser and pull a larger ratio. That's pretty much what I do. It helps that I don't even like most light roast coffee especially with a fruity or citrus taste UGH!
Just as a side note since my Vario-886 was still under warranty Baratza offered to send me a refurbished Vario-886 with the metal grind chamber and burr carriers like in the new Vario+. Just got it yesterday 1/26/22. Hopefully the metal will allow me to get a more repeatable and consistent grind especially when moving between brew methods.
Sincere Regards to you for your time and advice.
Yeah, a grinder in that price range better be better, but its not as much better as you might think. In fact on a dark roast I would be willing to bet you would be hard pressed to tell the difference between yours and mine in a blind tasting. You are well into diminishing returns at that price point, and I went through a lot of grinders before I decided that yes, it really is worth it to me to go there. I've owned several baratza grinders and played with many others. I recommend them to people all the time, they are very good values for the money. I think your vario should be more than capable of traditional medium/dark espresso.

Some tips on the vario: don't try to switch between brew and espresso with coffee in the hopper, unless you are willing to waste a lot of coffee during the transition, as you would have to grind while adjusting and then purge a bit more after.

Even when you adjust with no coffee in the hopper, it can be helpful to run a small amount of coffee through at your espresso setting to get the burr carriers to "settle". Maybe the metal upgrade will be better about this, I haven't used it. And remember, its normal with any grinder (especially flat burrs) to have to adjust your espresso grind regularly to stay dialed in. that's just the nature of the beast. If you are evil like me, a great way to make sure your grind is at least approximately dialed in, is to be "nice" and pull a shot for someone else first. :D

GEGIJr

#52: Post by GEGIJr »

Since my 2nd Vario-886 was still in warranty Baratza did a refurbished replacement and upgraded the refurb with metal burr housing and carrier. I just got it a few days ago and haven't yet had chance to check on whether it is easier to switch between radical grind sizes, e.g., espresso to pourover and back.
Additionally, I already do make grind changes with an empty hopper (I single dose) and also run a few like 18-20 grams after making radical changes especially from coarser to finer.
I have to say though that I feel Baratza would make life much easier by making it simpler to calibrate the burrs. The sound method is much too subjective. There has to be an objective way to calibrate that can be consistent between users.
If I tell another Vario-886 user that set my ceramic burrs at set 4M with a 2Q calibration point it really means nothing because that users hearing capabilities could be more or less sensitive to the sound of the burrs contact.
I know I'll get blow back but I am not at all happy with Baratza and find it impossible to recommend the Vario-886 as an AP grinder. Maybe if you have more than one and can leave one for pour-over, one for espresso and one for press then I could recommend but not for a home user with one grinder that has to do duty for different brew methods.

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Jeff
Team HB

#53: Post by Jeff »

I think it is a fair assessment that moderately priced grinders can either produce good grinds for espresso or good grinds for drip, but there are few, if any, that can perform well for both. Switching between the two definitely complicates things further.

Nate42

#54: Post by Nate42 »

GEGIJr wrote: I have to say though that I feel Baratza would make life much easier by making it simpler to calibrate the burrs. The sound method is much too subjective. There has to be an objective way to calibrate that can be consistent between users.
If I tell another Vario-886 user that set my ceramic burrs at set 4M with a 2Q calibration point it really means nothing because that users hearing capabilities could be more or less sensitive to the sound of the burrs contact.
For what it's worth, finding "zero" by sound is pretty universal, and not all grinders even have a way to calibrate their adjustment. The idea that one person's grind setting is not directly applicable to anyone else is a fact of life no matter what grinder you have. Calibration, if you do it at all, is generally something you do once and forget about, unless you have to disassemble the grinder for some reason.

exidrion

#55: Post by exidrion »

In my experience, when I switched between my $700 Eureka Specialita to an MC4 the difference was immediately apparent and pretty drastic. I'm aware of variability and confirmation bias but when that happened I do think higher end grinders are worth the money. To me.

In fact I went into it thinking I wouldn't be able to tell the difference and bought a monolith purely for the workflow, longevity and craftsmanship. The difference in the cup was just a bonus.

YMMV.