Tag Archives: espresso

Forté AP with Portafilter

Smart Dose – grinding for espresso by weight!

Sarah Dooley, Baratza Quality Control & Educator

The Forte Series is packed full of amazing accessories and features! If you plan on using the PortaHolder you will appreciate our built in software feature that converts weight to time dosing- the Smart Dose.

For accuracy of dose, it is best to dial in your coffees while in WEIGHT mode with the grounds bin in place. Once you have the grind dialed in by weight, it is an easy transition to Smart Dose, see instructions below and in our Baratza Series, Smart Dose video.

Once you are dialed in:

• Dose out a shot in WEIGHT mode with the grounds bin in place
• When it is finished, IMMEDIATELY Press the TIME button on the touch screen
• Next, Press and Hold a preset of 1, 2 or 3 until the touch screen blinks at you
• Now insert the PortaHolder accessory and grind directly into your portafilter for hands free dosing!

We have all been grinding by time for a while. The bragging point of this feature is it’s ability to be accurate to dose while in TIME mode. The Smart Dose software converts the time it took for you to grind out your shot while in WEIGHT mode, allowing you to customize your dose to the coffees in the hopper. All you have to do is save it where you like the extraction with the steps in bullet points above. This software feature allows you to be within a half gram of your WEIGHT preset (equivalent to 3-5 beans), with our hands free PortaHolder accessory!

Making subtle changes to the grind, changing to a different single origin, or loading in a new coffee will change the accuracy of your dose while in TIME mode, therefore I recommend you switch back to WEIGHT mode and dial the extraction to it’s optimal taste. Follow the steps above to convert the WEIGHT back to grinding by Time.

Enjoy!

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Grinding for Espresso

by Sarah Dooley, Education Manager

December 12, 2013

At Baratza, we spend a healthy amount of time in R&D!  Our goal is to be ahead of all the brewing and grinder questions, to be aware of structural and electrical efficiencies, and at times, just good old fashioned coffee talk. There is nothing like engaging directly with fellow coffee enthusiasts, answering questions and learning along side each other about coffee grinding!

This past weekend I had the privilege of offering a Q&A session, on grinding for espresso, at the Seattle Coffee Gear’s store in Bellevue. We set up all of our grinders and the Sylvia espresso machine. To my delight, five minutes into our start time four friendly faces walk through the door to kick off the learning & sharing. The questions throughout the demonstration time were great and so I captured some to share with you, along with answers that I trust will help you in your espresso making!

Coffee enthusiasts at SCG checking out grinding and weight!

Coffee enthusiasts at SCG checking out grinding and weight!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do I have the right grinder for what I am trying to do?

Check out our blog! Baratza Support Technician, Pierce Jens, has created a very detailed description of our grinder lineup.

Also, I will be at Seattle Coffee Gear on 12/14, covering this very topic. See below for more details.

Can I pull espresso with an Encore?
Yes, you can! I make great espresso with the Encore. You actually can with all of our grinders. Choosing the right grinder really depends on how you dial in and what you are looking for as an outcome.
As you move up in range in our grinders you get more ability to fine tune. The Virtuoso has a burr set that has a tighter particle range then the Encore burrs. It also grinds a little faster by burr design. As you venture into the Preciso there’s a micro adjustment ring for finding that half step between adjustments. With the Vario Series, you will find a few great new features. Starting with a flat ceramic burr. This series showcases a focus on macro and micro grind selection especially important for fine tuning espresso. We introduced a revolutionary change to grinders with the weight based grind feature of the Vario W (weight). Weight control is a very important factor for consistency when dialing in all brew methods.
The Forte Series, provoked by the demand of our commercial users comes with the function of the Vario W. signature weight based grinding but in the new form of an all metal body, metal grind chamber, reinforced adjustment arms with an intuitive touch screen interface. There is something for everyone in the Baratza grinder family!

How do I adjust my grinder for finer grind size, specifically for espresso?
We currently have two families of cutting surfaces or burrs, conical and flat.
With regards to the conical there is a very easy way to make adjustments towards a finer particle range. This solution lies in the adjustment ring assembly. This process is quite easy and only requires a few simple tools detailed in the guides below.

Removing the Case, Encore & Virtuoso
Removing the Case, Preciso
Adjusting the Calibration Screw, Barista, Maestro Plus, Virtuoso

When fine tuning the flat burr grinders, Vario and Forte we have a calibration exercise to bring the lower burr up or down to increase or decrease grind range. I’ve attached a guide for making those adjustments. You will need good lighting and the Baratza calibration tool.
Vario & Vario W – Calibration, Finer or Coarser

How do you dial in with a new coffee?
Every coffee behaves a little differently than another. It’s very similar to how every strawberry looks and tastes a little different than the last, even from the same small plant!  I use a pretty strict baseline recipe for dialing in espresso: Grams of ground coffee – 18g, Extraction/contact time- 28 seconds, Espresso volume 38ml

This is a simple starting point that is easy to remember. Based on taste I will adjust the Espresso Volume up our down a few ml. once my grind is set.

How fresh is too fresh?
Typcially, we brew coffee just around four days off the roast date. We do that out of need, and at times find ourselves really enjoying the coffee around seven to eleven days off the roast. That “sweet spot” really depends on roast, density, storage and your own personal preference. We’ve at times even enjoyed a coffee nearing it’s fourteenth day off roast, so don’t be afraid to just taste the coffee before you toss it. It might just be great!

What is the actual shelf life of my coffee?
Storage, varietal and roast play a big factor in the shelf life of a coffee. I store my coffee like I store my dry goods and grains. In airtight containers, away from strong smells that may leach into the coffee, out of direct sunlight and avoid extreme temperature changes. Preservation is partially the key. Varietal or density of bean along with your roast preference can play a part in the shelf life too. It comes down to taste and performance. Give yourself some credit as you become the espresso expert, and get to know your coffee you’ll soon know when it’s past its prime.

Whenever possible I encourage the good folks who take the time to brew espresso at home, to do it with some very simple controls. A scale that measures to the tenth of a gram- for measuring brew weights and grind weights, a timer, a few glasses that fit the extraction spouts well, fresh or locally sourced specialty coffee, good water (if it’s smelly or not clear don’t brew with it), an idea of your extraction recipe so you can have a baseline for what you do and the willingness to try new and old things. Making espresso well can pay off in the cup!

Remember, on Saturday 12/14, from 11-2, I will be at Seattle Coffee Gear in Bellevue again! This time sharing information about our range of grinders and helping people choose the right one for their brewing needs.  See Seattle Coffee Gear Class Schedule.  I encourage you to stop by and spend some time checking out our full range of grinders, and picking the one that’s right for you, for where you are in your coffee journey!  We will also be giving out a free grinder – these lucky people won the last one!

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Which Baratza Grinder is Right for You?

Pierce Jens, Baratza Email Support Guru, shares his thoughts on how to choose the best grinder for you!

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What grinder is best for me? This question has popped up more than a few times in the Support department, I hope that this blog will help inform and educate how to optimize your grinder selection for your caffeination needs.

The first thing you need to decide is what kind of brew method(s) you plan on employing. Next, think about how far down the rabbit hole you want to go. Coffee, like all things, can be a basic enjoyment, or a scientific art. Having expensive equipment definitely helps procure good extractions, but spending money is not going to guarantee you delicious shots, beautiful art or delicate flavors in your pourover. Those things come from practice, understanding, and appreciation of the process. Are you interested in drinking a tasty cup of coffee, and that is all? Do you want to find the perfect balance of complimentary notes in your manual extraction? Or, do you want to procure an exact 30 second, two ounce with crema shot (or whatever parameters you prefer) and have the ability to change the shot time in increments as small as one second?

We have two different families of grinder models- conical and flat burr grinders. The discussion of which is better between conical vs flat burrs could be compared to the argument of Ford vs Chevy; people will stick to their side of the argument tooth and nail depending on personal preference. Right now we have one hopper design on the market that holds 300 grams of whole beans- our new hopper with the bean shutoff lever will be available later this summer.

The current conical lineup includes the Encore, Virtuoso, and Preciso. These grinders all have 32mm conical burrs made in Liechtenstein. We pride ourselves on having high quality conical burrs that generally last for about 500# of coffee. The 160 watt DC motors are low revving compared to AC motors, spinning the burrs at ~450rpm and keeping heat transfer to the grounds down. Our new gearbox layout, the GB2.0, accurately meshes the helical worm shaft of the motor with the reduction gear for a smooth, direct drive transfer of power. The grind is adjusted in a cork screw type fashion, with the adjustment ring threads pulling the stationary upper burr closer or further from the rotating lower burr. Grounds retention in the machine is about a gram, which reduces the amount of coffee needed to purge. The 100 gram capacity bin and the discharge chute are made of an anti-static plastic, which helps battle the inevitable static better than a coating.

The flat burr lineup includes the Vario and Vario W at this time. The Forte is pending release, it is designed for heavy commercial use. The Vario and Vario W have 54mm flat ceramic burrs that are very resilient and last longer than steel burrs- around 750# estimated. The digital front panel is capable of saving 3 preset functions, and the adjuster levers are easy to read and adjust. Grind size is adjusted by a milled metal camshaft. As you raise the adjustment lever, the lobe on the camshaft presses up against the bottom of the lower burr, decreasing the gap between the lower burr and the stationary upper burr. The same 160 watt motor powers the burr, using a belt drive transmission that reduces noise.

Encore

Our entry level conical burr grinder is the Encore. At $129 USD, it has the ability to grind a coarse French press grind and a 40 setting range that produces an espresso fine grind as well. The Encore has an intermittent pulse button on the front of the machine as well as an on/off knob on the side. I recommend the Encore for those who do not want to commit substantial time for brewing, but understand and appreciate the benefit of fresh ground coffee at home. The Encore does grind slowest of our models, at a rate of about a gram a second.

Virtuoso

The Virtuoso is a step up from the Encore with a price point of $229 USD. With a sharp looking cast zinc upper casing and base, this grinder immediately catches the eye. Besides being nice to look at, it excels at a consistent coarse grind, and readily produces espresso fine grind. Like the Encore, the Virtuoso has an intermittent pulse button, but on the side of the machine it has a 60 second timer switch. The timer switch is nice to have over the on/off switch of the Encore, because you can turn it a quarter of the way or so when grinding by dose. The machine will chug through the beans and power itself off while you prepare your filter/brew equipment. With a max throughput of around 2 grams a second, the Virtuoso is very efficient and quick enough for impatient coffee connoisseurs. I highly recommend the Virtuoso, as I enjoy operating mine at home for single cup pourover.

Preciso

The next step up in our model line is directed for users who are seriously making espresso, along with manual extractions, and desire more control than the 40 step adjustment. Although the Virtuoso and Encore models will grind fine enough for espresso, a user may find it difficult to procure an exact shot time. The Preciso, at $299 USD, addresses this issue with the addition of a micro adjustment which allows users to find a grind setting in between the 40 macro steps. When pulling espresso shots the micro adjustment function can be used to adjust the shot time by as little as one second, ceteris paribus. I recommend the Preciso for users who are pulling shots and are controlling the other variables such as dosage, water weight, shot time, temperature, tamp pressure, and of course having fresh beans (preferably less than two weeks from the roast date).

Vario

The Vario is our ceramic flat burr grinder at $449 USD that grinds based on a time input (ten seconds, fifteen seconds, etc). With macro and micro adjustment options, the Vario is superb at grinding for espresso. It is also available with a set of steel burrs that are cut for manual brew grinding ONLY. The digital display holds three preset times that are programmable by the user. A Porta Holder is included with the Vario, allowing users to grind hands-free into the espresso basket. The regular grounds bin has a 140 gram capacity. I recommend the Vario for espresso fanatics, and encourage heavy users to buy the Vario over the Preciso.

Vario W

Mechanically speaking, the Vario W is identical to the Vario. However, rather than grinding based on a time input, the Vario W grinds based on a desired weight input and will grind the dose within 0.2 grams of the desired input. This allows users to control another variable in the brewing equation without additional equipment/steps. With a 300 gram maximum capacity of the load cell, the user cannot grind by weight directly into an espresso porta filter- only into the 120 gram capacity grounds bin provided. The Vario W is priced at $549 USD.

Esatto

At $129 USD, the Esatto is an attachment for our conical burr grinders that allows the users to grind by weight directly into the 60 gram capacity grounds bin provided, saving the user the extra step of weighing the dose on a separate scale. The Esatto has a 300 gram max cap for the scale and cannot grind by weight directly into an espresso porta filter. The Esatto fits the Encore, Virtuoso, Preciso, as well as our superseded models Maestro Plus and Baratza Starbucks Barista P/N 1MP1SP.

If you are looking for a grinder for Turkish
No Baratza grinders are designed for Turkish coffee grinding. Although our grinders are capable of producing a Turkish fine grind, the demands on the machine are high. Our grinders have a thermal overload protection circuit that will cut power to the motor if it draws a large amount. Power consumption for Turkish is great, which will cause the machine to shut down into protect mode until it has cooled down for 15 or 20 minutes- perhaps before even grinding a full dose. I have helped several customers with Baratza grinders and the intention of Turkish over the years; none in my experience have been satisfied. I recommend a hand grinder for home Turkish grinding.