Tag Archives: Grinders

Baratza at SCAA 2014 – BOOTH 10041

Baratza at SCAA 2014 – BOOTH 10041

We are in the final countdown to The Event of #SCAA2014. We’ll be in our hometown of Seattle for this 26th Specialty Coffee Association of America Expo – Score! It’s going to be a hugely exciting few days of connecting with our customers and the specialty coffee community – in our booth, at parties, at competitions, in classes and all over town! It feels like we will be everywhere this year! To give you some tips on where you can find us and our grinders, we’ve gathered what we know, so far! Be sure to stop by the booth to say hello! See you soon!

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Where we’ll be:

All day, every day – Booth 10041 – Kyra Kennedy and Kyle Anderson, Baratza co-owners will be in the booth, as well as Joyce Klassen (Marketing) and Sarah Dooley (Education), plus a rotation of Colin Francois, Pierce Jens and Greg Girton from our support team! Come and check out our complete line up of our grinders – home and commercial.

In our own booth we’ll have the ‘Forté Tasters Choice’ a daily espresso tasting opportunity by Sarah Dooley featuring the Forté BG and AP. In the last few months we’ve been doing a lot if internal testing with the BG for espresso and we have to say – we LIKE it! Flavors are coming out really sweet and clean. Sarah Dooley is scheduled to do daily tastings (1-2 pm) using the LaMarzocco GS/3. Come taste and see which you prefer!

We will also have Bill Crossland with the brand new Crossland Brewer (hush hush!) on booth doing demos. Don’t miss seeing this! .

BrewBar in our booth – come taste great coffee from a rotation of wonderful roasters, including Ladro, Slate, Stumptown and Chromatic.

Skybridge Café – We’re partnering again this year with our friends from LaMarzocco, Kalita USA, Marco, and Prima to provide espresso and coffee service. A select group of roasters will be delighting you with delicious coffees throughout the day. The café will have a focus on the home brew experience with La Marzocco planning to offer a hands-on experience on their GS/3s on one side of the cafe, while coffee is prepared and served on the other. We will have a couple of Forté BGs on the Brew Bar and a Forté AP with a GS/3, if you’d like to try it out there!

Slate Coffee Roasters – Guest Café – at Expo entrance
Slate Coffee, winners of the 2013 America’s Best Coffee House have been invited by SCAA to host the Guest Café, at the entrance to the show. The Slate team will be sharing their coffees and will have Virtuoso/Esatto combos plus Forté–BG’s on bar, so you can see how the grinders work in a busy bar setting!

In addition, you can see Forte grinders in the booths of:
• Curtis booth (right opposite our booth!)
• La Marzocco
• Café Imports
• Blossom, at the UNIC booth

Sponsorships:
• National Barista, Brewers Cup and Cup Tasters Competitions
• Thursday night, after the Opening Ceremonies – The NWTNT series has organized another brilliant event – yes there will be a grinder to be won!
• US National Aeropress Championship, happening on Friday at the Stumptown Roastery
• Java Jog – Saturday morning to support Women in the Congo

Fun Events
• Thursday – we co-host the ‘Made in Seattle’ party at Von Trapp. Come one, come all!
• Friday – join us on the Java Jog for a Cause, the monies raised will go to support women’s coffee groups in Eastern Congo, South Lake Kivu region. We may not be actually jogging – but walking yes! Join us for chat and connection.
• Saturday – we co-host a party at Kuma Coffee’s Roastery

Social
Need help finding all the booths and events? Download the SCAA App or follow Joyce on Twitter @bartazatalk

See you next week!!

GrindZ

Rice, It’s Just Not a Good Idea (for cleaning!).

February 17, 2014

For many of us, cleaning the grinder is a monthly if not weekly routine.  That’s all good; please don’t ever change that very important routine.  Instead be mindful of a few details regarding the process so as not to permanently damage your grinder.

Using rice to clean your grinder is not a good idea.  Our experience repairing Baratza grinders has shown that using rice or other natural materials to clean a Baratza grinder can cause mechanical damage to your grinder.  This damage would not be covered under our warranty.

Grindz is a product, from Urnex, that was designed to clean grinders and has been tested to ensure it will not harm your grinder and is safe for use.  Grindz is flavor neutral, composed of food grade products, and does a great job eliminating stale oils, flavors, and residue from the burrs and grinding chamber.  Make sure you follow the factory instructions on the amount of product to use while cleaning your grinder.  For home use that is just around 40 grams of grindz tabs.

We recommend setting your conical (Encore, Virtuoso, Preciso) grinder around the setting of #20 and setting the flat burr grinders (Vario and Forte) at a setting of #5.  That’s just around the middle of your grind range allowing for a solid cleaning as the pellets are ground to powder.  At finer settings we have seen clogging occur and possible mechanical damage.

Follow your cleaning cycle with 30-40 gram coffee bean to purge any cleaner left in the grinder.

Thank you for caring for your Baratza grinder.  We wish you many tasty cups of coffee!

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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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Video of GB 2.0 installation

October 23, 2012

At the beginning of 2012 we introduced the 2nd generation gearbox (GB 2.0) for our conical burr grinders. All new grinders manufactured since January have the new gearbox. At the same time, we developed a parts kit to upgrade the gear box of Baratza conical burr grinders manufactured before 2012. A LOT of people are upgrading their grinders to the new gear box. We felt that the response warranted an installation “how-to” video, in addition to our installation guidelines, already in our troubleshooting section, so here it is! YouTube GB 2.0 installation video

Upgrade kit for Baratza gearbox 2.0

In case you are not familiar with the GB 2.0, here are the highlights!
With GB 2.0, we significantly increased the strength and durability of the drive transmission while decreasing noise. In addition to a new drive shaft, motor mounting plate and bushings, this change included a new drive gear made of 15% glass filled thermo plastic which is quieter than the prior metal gear, wears better and is more shock resistant. We tested it by throwing stainless screws into the burrs, and in every case the motor/gear/burrs stopped dead and the (automatically-resettable) thermal cutout was triggered and the gears were fine.

The upgrade kit is available through our webstore GB 2.0 rebuild kit

Baratza Support – how we get you back grinding coffee ASAP!

October 9, 2012

Something happens with your grinder and it stops working or grinds differently to how it used to. You’re afraid you won’t be able to make another cup of coffee. You need coffee, what do you do?

First we recommend you check our Troubleshooting pages on our website, organized by grinder – it has answers and solutions there to all the most frequently asked questions, plus lots of pdf documents with step by step instructions for fixing your grinder yourself. Yes, it can be done!

If you can’t find your solution there, then please E-mail us at Support@baratza.com – we promise to get back to you within one business day, (but usually we get back to you within a couple of hours!). One of our brilliant support people can solve the problem quickly through e–mail, without the bother of telephone tag.

If email is not an option, give us a Call at 425 641 1245 and we will assist you as soon as possible. We are often on the phone with others customers and will need to call you back, which unfortunately can lead to a delay if we get into the phone tag loop, that’s why email is so wonderful!

When you email or call, please provide us with the following information:

  • Product Name
  • Serial Number
  • Date purchased and from whom
  • Type of beans used (light/med/dark roast)
  • Brief description of the error: enclose photos where available/appropriate
  • Preferred method of reply – email or phone. (Give number)

Our hope (of course!) is that you and your grinder have a hassle-free relationship, but we are realistic in knowing that issues do arise. We expect this info will be helpful to you and ensure that you receive timely, efficient support and service!

Burrs and their life expectancy!

September 6, 2012

People ask us all the time about life expectancy of their burrs. It’s hard to give a hard and fast rule as the life expectancy of a burr varies, depending on the type of coffee, degree of roast, grind size, volume ground, and any rocks you may run into! The increasingly popular lighter roasted beans tend to be a lot harder on the burrs. However, as a good rule of thumb you can expect the burrs on our grinders to last as follows:

  • Encore, Virtuoso and Preciso burrs 300 to 500 pounds of coffee
  • Vario and Vario-W 500 to 1000 pounds of coffee

So, take my household for example, I mainly use a Vario to grind for espresso. My household makes about 8 double shots a day. Dose for the shots are 20 grams. The Vario is grinding 160 grams a day or around 58,400 grams a year. There are 453 grams of coffee in a pound. So I am grinding about 129 pounds a year. This number is a little low since once a month I use my grinder to cater a coffee hour at church and serve about 100 drinks. I also grind for Chemex, French press, Aeropress, and there is always the wasted coffee dialing in a new coffee. So I estimate that I grind about 150 pounds of coffee a year. Therefore, my Vario burrs should last about 3 to 7 years.

It is difficult to know when to change the burrs. One clear indication that it is time for new burrs is if your grinder is not capable grinding coarse any more.

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

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 support@bartza.com

Never Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

Or when given a present, be grateful for your good fortune and don’t look for more by examining it to assess its value. This is good advice, but….

My 17 year old daughter recently returned from a trip to Costa Rica , bummer that I did not get to go along. She brought everyone in the family a specially selected gift that she thought they would love. Well she brought me coffee of course. What else would you buy a coffee lover when visiting a coffee producing nation? She handed me the bags with great excitement explaining that the guy at the store had told her these were the best in Costa Rica. One was whole bean Italian Espresso roast and the other was ground (bummer). She explained that she understood that ground coffee was not a good idea, but she loved the design of the bag.

The next morning she came out to ask how I liked the coffee. I looked at my delicious Ritual Sweet-tooth cappuccino and said that it was up next. As I opened the bag, I dipped my nose in to smell the rich aroma a fresh roasted coffee. Not!! The beans smelled stale and tasted stale.

The coffee from Costa Rica was an incredible and thoughtful gift, because it made me appreciate even more the coffee I drink each day and the people behind the coffee. Just this month I have had the pleasure of drinking Blue Bottle, Barefoot, Ritual, Stumptown, Intelligentsia, Pacific Bay, Four Barrel, Verve, Zoka, Metropolis, Klatch, Cherry Hill and Luna. I wish everyone was lucky enough to experience the great taste of fresh roasted, fresh ground quality coffee from around the world. I am truly bless.

Grind Fresh for the Love of Coffee

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

Baratza sells grinders, so of course we believe that grinding fresh is synonymous with great coffee. This morning, I was checking out a new coffee site that sells coffee from some great micro-roasters. When I went to checkout, I was surprised to see that I could buy the coffee pre-ground to my specifications. I was surprised to say the least that roasters that scour the earth for the best beans, cup and roast for perfection, and stamp the bag with the roast date, would pre-grind the coffee. There must be some mistake. I then went to the web sites of some of the award winning roasters, to find that almost all of them will pre-grind the coffee for mail order as specified by the customer.

This morning as I was grinding my Metropolis Redline Espresso I noticed that the roast date was clearly stamped on the bag. I decided to grind extra, use it for my afternoon coffee break and see if I could taste the difference. When afternoon rolled along, I made a shot with fresh ground coffee. Than pulled a shot with the coffee I had ground 6 hours earlier. This was not a blind, formal test. This was just me seeing if I could taste the difference. Well, I could defiantly see, smell, and taste the difference.

  • The smell of fresh ground coffee is heavenly, and the coffee loses a lot of the aroma after a few hours.
  • The pre-ground espresso shot was faster, with less crème, and had lost some of the rich flavor of the fresh ground. It was not a bad shot; it was just not as good as it could have been.

All this got me thinking about why people do not want to grind their coffee fresh. I most often hear?

  • Way to messy!
  • I don’t really know enough about coffee to grind it myself.
  • I doubt I could taste the difference.
  • I do not want to spend the money on a grinder.
  • It takes to much extra time

Below are a few comments on the subject that I found from people in the industry:

George Howell (Terroir Coffees) says, “Storing pre-ground coffee greatly accelerates the staling process, because the entire surface area of the bean’s cellular structure is now exposed to oxygen. So, always, always (did we say ALWAYS) grind just before brewing. Some studies have found that the shelf life of ground coffee less than one (1) hour when ground coffee is placed into an airpot, or filter. Best to throw it into the compost, and start anew.”

Mark Prince (Coffee Geek) says “Well, here’s the deal folks – you too can brew amazing coffee in the home with a brewing system that costs $4. The caveat? You gotta spend good dollars on a grinder. With anything coffee related, the grinder is of paramount importance.”

As I said in the beginning, Grind Fresh for the Love of Coffee…..