Initial thoughts on Baratza Vario, and a question...

grinders for home and commercial

Initial thoughts on Baratza Vario, and a question...

Postby jason dominy on Mon Nov 09, 2009 4:54 pm

(This was originally posted over at barista exchange, and lost in post land.)
Well, I sold my Mini Jolly, and bought myself one of those shnazzy Varios. These are my initial thoughts. I really like how small it is. Having used the Maestro and Virtuoso, I was familiar with the line, and loved the size. That was one of the problems I had with the Mini Jolly. As small as it was, it still didn't fit on my counter well under my cabinets. I had to tilt the hopper down and pull it out to load beans every time. This could have been remedied I know with the newer shorter hopper, but I never got around to getting it.

When the chance to get a Vario at a slight discount came up for me, it seemed like a no-brainer. No brainer, because I have a Rancilio Silvia, and brew using AeroPress and Chemex at home, and needed a grinder that would do both, which the Vario will do, and the Mini Jolly would do, but not without adjusting the grind a little tougher. Plus, I liked the programming features of the Vario. So, I ordered one, have had it a few weeks.

I am surprised at how nice and consistent the grinds are. The ceramic burrs do a great job, for sure, and don't get that hot at all. I like that it's so quiet. I like that the grinds that go in the hopper don't seem as staticky and sticky to the walls of the lower hopper like the other two grinders from Baratza. I like it that it can grind fine enough for espresso, and includes a great portafilter hopper for grinding directly into the portafilter, and with a programmed dose, eliminates waste. Really, I like it all, the size, the build quality, the low noise, the consistency of grind, and the ceramic burrs.

The only thing I don't like, and maybe I am missing something, but I usually grind for Chemex at the coursest setting on a Bunn bulk grinder, and the Vario won't go that course. I am looking for a four minute brew time on the Chemex, and the Vario is more like four and a half to five minutes, which lends an overextracted taste to me. I am setting it on the coursest settings on the Vario, with both sides all the way down, but it just won't go course enough, which is weird considering the problem I had with the other two Baratza grinders were that they went plenty course, but not really fine enough to do espresso consistently. I could get the Virtuoso to do espresso on the finest setting, but if it needed to go more fine, I was screwed.

So, as I brew at home using the AeroPress, too, which uses a finer grind, I can still brew coffee at home, I'm not totally without coffee, just can't Chemex right now. Does anyone else have experience with this? Overall, besides that one thing that I may be missing, I am extremely pleased with the package the Vario offers. So far, it's been a great grinder, handling both manual brewing and espresso, and that in itself makes this a great grinder. Factor in the programming of time, the many setting adjustments that can be made, and the overall versatility of it, the Vario's a must have for serious coffeegeeks for their home setup. If I can just figure this Chemex grind thing out on it....
jason dominy.
Batdorf & Bronson Coffee, Atlanta.
BGA Incoming Chair.
SCAA Prof. Dev. Espresso.
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Re: Initial thoughts on Baratza Vario, and a question...

Postby PatrickSmith on Tue Nov 10, 2009 6:51 am

Have you called Kyra or Kyle @ Baratza? They are SUPER cool. Based on my conversations with them, I think they welcome inquiries from people in our position (that is to say, people in the industry with the opportunity to educate their target market). I would be really surprised if Kyle couldn't give you some advise on recalibrating. Keep us apprised, as I the Vario is atop my Christmas list!
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Re: Initial thoughts on Baratza Vario, and a question...

Postby Luke Shaffer on Tue Nov 10, 2009 11:46 am

Had a Vario in my hands for about a week (a customer bought it or else I would have kept it). Great grinder! I quickly discovered, though, that I needed to recalibrate the grind setting and found this thread on home barista...
http://www.home-barista.com/grinders/re ... 10282.html
To pull shots at the same dose/flow rate as my Mazzer Major-E, I had to shift the entire range toward the finer end of the spectrum. I never looked to see how the new "coarsest" grind settings compared to what I would use for a French Press, but there was sufficient range for me to brew a nice chemex or pourover.

Probably doesn't answer your question but just thought I'd point out the HB thread.
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Re: Initial thoughts on Baratza Vario, and a question...

Postby jason dominy on Tue Nov 10, 2009 11:46 am

I haven't yet, although I know they are great to work with. I just wanted to check before I made myself look like an idiot, which may be too late. ;-) It really is a great grinder, and it's amazing to put that kind of quality in such a small package.
jason dominy.
Batdorf & Bronson Coffee, Atlanta.
BGA Incoming Chair.
SCAA Prof. Dev. Espresso.
jason dominy
 
Posts: 44
Joined: Tue May 26, 2009 6:48 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA.
full name: jason dominy
company: Batdorf & Bronson Coffee
: www.batdorfcoffee.com
: www.jasondominy.tumblr.com

Re: Initial thoughts on Baratza Vario, and a question...

Postby jason dominy on Tue Nov 10, 2009 11:47 am

Luke Shaffer wrote:
Probably doesn't answer your question but just thought I'd point out the HB thread.

Thanks Luke, I shall check it out!
jason dominy.
Batdorf & Bronson Coffee, Atlanta.
BGA Incoming Chair.
SCAA Prof. Dev. Espresso.
jason dominy
 
Posts: 44
Joined: Tue May 26, 2009 6:48 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA.
full name: jason dominy
company: Batdorf & Bronson Coffee
: www.batdorfcoffee.com
: www.jasondominy.tumblr.com


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