Baratza's Weight Based Grinding – answers to FAQ’s

Posted on December 24, 2011 by Baratza in Blog, Grind by Weight, Grinders, Innovation

Saturday, December 24, 2011

By Kyle Anderson

We launched the innovative ‘grind by weight’ grinder, the Vario-W and accessory, the Esatto, at the SCAA in Houston in May 2011. At that point, they were pre-production models. Having put them out to test with various Roasters and users we went into full production and distribution in September. Since that time the number of users who have purchased these grinding solutions for their home or café has been amazing. We have been thrilled with how well the concept and the grinders have been received and how well they have functioned in a variety of settings. As with all new innovations, our grind by weight solutions have a few design features that raise questions for our support team. Below we address a couple of those.

Achieving desired grind weight

I want to share the “logic” we use to get as close as possible to the desired weight in these two weight-based grinding devices. We knew we would have to anticipate the desired (programmed) weight by some factor (i.e. we could not wait until the total programmed weight was in the bin to stop the grinder). Like most things in life, if the target is moving, you must lead it a bit or you’ll miss. After a lot of coffee grinding at espresso, filter and press pot, we picked an average “lead” of 0.7g. Our goals in designing the Vario-W and Esatto were twofold: absolute accuracy and repeatability. At mid scale for grind (filter) the absolute accuracy is very high. The flow rate of coffee thru the grinder varies from 1.5g/sec at espresso to 2.5g/sec at press (these are almost the same for Preciso and Vario). We know that on espresso grind setting we will come up about 0.2g shy of the target and for press, we’ll come up about 0.2g long. Though we miss the mark of absolute accuracy (at the two extremes), the good news is these values are VERY repeatable. If you are experiencing challenges in hitting your desired weight, I would suggest that when requiring 20.0g of espresso, you program 20.2g. Conversely, when grinding for 20.0g for Press, program 19.8g.

The Display on my Esatto or Vario-W is showing “EEE” or “out”, what do I do?

When this shows up in the display, re-Calibrating the scale will correct the issue. You will need a 200g weight. You can make your own weight if you have a secondary accurate scale. Put your (Vario-W/Esatto) grounds bin on the scale, add water until you reach 200g (total weight bin + water). Once you have the 200g weight, you are ready to calibrate the scale. Unplug your Vario-W or Esatto and make sure that nothing is on the scale platform. Plug the grinder in and while it powers on, hold buttons 1 &2. Display will come up with a value (approx 310-350). Press button 1 again (display will read “cal”) and set the 200g weight on the platform. Display will show “pas” and then show 200. Remove the bin, empty and dry it, place the bin back on scale and TARE. Your scale should work correctly at this point. If you get a number far outside the range of 310-355, please contact Baratza as the load cell is likely damaged and will need to be replaced.

Our goal is to make grinding by weight as easy, accurate and repeatable as possible. We are continually reviewing and revising our design, so we do want to hear from you with issues you have. Please e-mail us at