Tag Archives: Grinder

Having a weak link (plastic burr holder) is a good thing!!

November 19, 2013
By Kyle Anderson, Chief Engineer
All of our grinders use a powerful DC motor that produces a very high torque (even at “locked rotor” conditions). In every electro-mechanical device, there should be some kind of easily replaceable or automatically resettable “fuse”. In the case of the Encore, Virtuoso, and Preciso we have two of these safety systems.
The first is an automatically resettable thermal “fuse” (PTC) that when triggered, cuts power to the motor down to a few milliamps until the timer switch turns off. At this point it can cool down and automatically reset. The PTC requires a “locked rotor” event to last for about 2.5 seconds before the PTC is triggered. Under most abnormal conditions (i.e. a rock or unroasted coffee bean), the grinder will stall, then the PTC will trigger, and after the obstruction is removed, the grinder is ready to go again.
top_burr_preciso

In certain circumstances, the shock to the grinder may be great enough that the motor doesn’t have time to stall, but rather the ring burr carrier can act as a mechanical “fuse” . This is the second safety system.  This shows up as inconsistent grind and a broken tab on the burr holder. In the past, our main drive gear was the weak link and this was inconvenient to our users, because this was not a user-replaceable part. We have since redesigned our entire gearbox so it never fails. As a result, 100% of the torque produced by the grinder is resisted by the ring burr carrier. The ring burr carrier can easily be replaced by the end user, so the grinder is back in action quickly.  We have over 180,000 units in circulation and we go through a little less than 3000 burr holders per year. This works out to 1.7% of our Encore, Virtuoso, and Preciso grinder owners replacing ONE burr holder per year (98.3% do not). In almost all cases, failure of this part is due to foreign objects (stones, screws, etc) or unroasted coffee beans getting into the grinder.

Now you know why we have a plastic burr holder and why it’s a good thing!

 

 

 

Grind Settings to get you started!

November 11, 2013

by Sarah Dooley, Education and Quality Manager

Preciso Burr  sm (640x428)Forte-BG-steel-burrVARIO-WCeramicBurr_290

Baratza provides our users with a range of versatile grinders for all brew types, price points, and to suit many locations and situations.

The Baratza grinders operate in two basic burr styles – conical and flat.  The conical burrs are steel which we use in the Encore, Virtuoso and Preciso.  The flat burrs are available in both ceramic or steel and are used in the Vario and Forté grinders.  We have been doing a lot of testing to find the sweet spot or remarkably tasty flavors in coffee with our grinders. Getting started (brewing coffee) is half the battle, so hopefully the settings in the table below will be of assistance.

BARATZA BREW BASICS – START GUIDE

Encore

Virtuoso

Preciso

Vario/Forte Ceramic

 Vario/Forte  Steel

Chemex

#21

#20

#20D

9L

7O

Hario

#14

#13

#13B

6M

4F

Siphon

#13

#12

#12B

5N

3N

Press Pot

#30

#28

#28G

10B

8L

Basket Brewers

#15

#14

#14F

6M

4Z

AeroPress

#14

#13

#13B

#6M

#4M

Espresso

#5

#4

#4C

2Q

*

 

To sum it all up – if you use great brewing techniques, freshly roasted coffee and Baratza grinders, we will take you where you want to go in the cup, time and time again!

*modifications to this grinder for an espresso grind particle, will offset the grind coarseness range of your grinder. For details email: support@baratza.com.

 

Refurbs: a Win-Win!

Picture of Pierce

In conjunction with our Repair Program, to support our goal of reducing waste to the landfills, we also have a vigorous Refurbished Grinder Program!

Refurbished grinders can be preowned grinders that are part of our warranty program or  they are grinders which we have loaned out to support coffee community events such as SCAA (Specialty Coffee Association of America) meetings or TED coffee brew bar support ( Baratza at TED ) .   In all cases they have been fixed, cleaned, and updated to the newest parts, but may have minor blemishes and scratches from previous use. The refurbished grinders come with a 1 year warranty.

Currently we are putting new refurbs up on our web site on a daily basis.  We sell out extremely quickly of the lower priced models (Encore and Virtuoso) as people often go for these as their entry point to moving to a burr grinder, from a lower end whirly blade etc.,  As we come close to the holiday season, you might be interested in helping a special friend make such a move to improving their coffee experience, OR you might be ready yourself for a move up to something like our Vario or Vario-W.  Check them online here.

 

Picture of Pierce

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!

Picture of Pierce

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.

New Products – Forté Grinder and Removable Hopper

March 25, 2013

OK, so the word is out! We have new, exciting products to share!! We sent an email to our customers last week giving them the heads up about what is going to be released and they seem so delighted that they are spreading the news ahead of us. Hard to be mad when we’re glad!

We have two new products, the Forté – a commercial grade, dual-function grinder, capable of grinding by weight AND time, plus a new Removable Hopper. Both products will be launched at the SCAA in Boston in April. Here are some of the details. If you are going to SCAA in Boston, be sure to stop by our booth #1136 so you can see these products for yourself!

Forté Grinder:

Many of our café/roaster customers have been using the Vario-W for the past 1-2 years and love it. It has proven itself to be an incredible work horse in the brew bar setting with accurate, durable,and consistent grinding, producing coffees with great flavor. However, we’ve also had requests for something ‘beefier’ and more commercial. Kyle kicked his creative juices into gear and designed an incredible, innovative multi-functioning grinder that is solid. We’re very excited about this new addition to our grinder line-up and feel that it will answer the needs of café, roasters, and coffee geeks. Below is a teaser.


Key Features:

  • A new DC motor with 70% more power than the current Vario and with twice the duty cycle (>50% run time)
  • All metal enclosure
  • All metal grinding chamber
  • New graphic touch-screen user interface
  • Integrated Weight and Time based grinding
  • Auto-dosing feature that converts weight to grind time, automatically, to allow precise direct grinding to portafilter
  • New belt drive system (to handle the additional power)
  • Metal detents for positive feel and setting of grind
  • New bean hopper with 20% greater capacity and bean shutoff feature
  • It will be available for general release in July, 2013 and can be purchased with your choice of burr – Ceramic MSRP $950 or Metal MSRP $970
New Removable Hopper

In the process of talking to café operators about the Forté, it became clear that we needed to offer a hopper that could be removed, while beans were still in it. So that’s what Kyle came up with. It’s incredibly cool and functional!

Key Features:

  • Built-in bean stopper to allow hopper removal with beans in it.
  • Backward compatible to Vario/Vario-W and (with minor modification) to all Baratza conical burr grinders
  • Accepts Baratza hopper extender
  • Dimensions 5.25″ Diameter X 5.25″ high
  • Capacity 300 grams/10 ounces
  • Available July 2013 for MSRP $35