Tag Archives: Weight Based Grinding

Forté-BG on Bar at TED2014

Only 3 days left before TED2014 kicks off! This year Canada is the location and “World Coffee Events (WCE) has partnered with TED, to design and execute a coffee and tea program for TED2014 in Vancouver and TEDActive in Whistler”. The program is focused on Specialty Coffee, enriching the attendee experience and a offering a time of coffee discovery for many!

Peter Guiliano, Director of SCAA’s Symposium says about TEDCoffee “we are once again planning a paradigm-busting coffee service for the conference. Extraordinary representatives of the Barista Guild will craft coffees at a network of coffee bars, featuring special coffees from Canada and other exciting coffees from around the world. We continue to be committed to collaboration, exploration, and excellence, and to spreading the word of specialty coffee among the unique TED audience.”
Laila at TED using Vario-W
This is Baratza’s third year of partnership with the coffee program, through providing grinders for the brew bars. For the last couple of years the Vario-W was on bar and this year we’re thrilled to be able to offer the Forté-BG (Brew Grinder) commercial weight-based grinders to be the workhorses for the event. We’re confident they’ll provide accurate, consistent grinding for the huge volume of delicious coffee that will be brewed!

Sharing their coffee knowledge and expertise, as well as putting 12 Forté-BG’s through their paces this week, will be an awesome team of baristas, from Canada and the US. Not only can they make great coffee but they also have in-depth coffee knowledge and a deep commitment to providing exemplary customer service.

Sarah Dooley, our Education and Quality Manager, worked TED for the last two years and was the team lead for TED Active in San Diego. When we talked about her experience there, she said “attendees craved one-on-one conversations, asking where the coffee was from, who was the farmer/roaster, and barista’s favorite coffee? Having the Baratza Vario-W’s with the ability to grind by weight allowed us to interact over the beverage rather than focusing on building the beverage. In the early TED conferences we had to pre-weigh everything, and we couldn’t keep up, weighing into anything we could get our hands on! The Vario-W made a big difference for us Baristas. The grinders made it super easy to dial in a new coffee, for accurate and consistent grinding, allowing more time to interact about the coffee and further that experience with our guests at the counter. We didn’t have to focus on the equipment. TED is so inspirational for all the baristas. Brewing side by side with peers, or with people that you know through social media, while presenting amazing coffees, confirmed that we were very much a part of the TED experience.”

We wish all the baristas and WCE organizers a very successful week, and thank them in advance for volunteering their time and for creating this enriching coffee experience for the TED Attendees.

Other sources for info on the event:
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.


Kyra & Nick Cho at SCAA Cafe

Forte Feedback from the Professionals!

June 4, 2013

At SCAA in Boston, there was a satellite cafe at the entrance to the show, organized by Nick Cho and Elise Hogan of Kalita USA. They invited Prima Coffee, Marco, La Marzocco, and Baratza to join them in providing the coffee service. They also invited Baristas and coffee professionals from across the US to come and prepare coffees offered from some of the best Roasters in the industry. The attendees were guaranteed excellent coffee every day!

The Forté was on the brew bar – it’s first ‘outing’ – and was really put through it’s paces from a multitude of baristas who had never seen it before, not to mention the huge crowd constantly lined up for coffee! We were anxious to hear what they had to say and reached out to ask about their experiences around the areas of:

  • Ease of Setup
  • Ease of Use with Interface
  • Intuitiveness
  • Consistency
  • Durability
  • The new Shut-Off Hopper

The feedback below from professionals from Intelligentsia Coffee, Sightglass Coffee, and Four Barrel Coffee all point to a grinder that answers the requests we’d received for a quality, commercial, weight-based grinder.

Jesse Raub, Wholesale Educator, Intelligentsia Coffee:

“It seemed super simple to set up. The interface was great — after a minute of studying it, I was able to set the dose without even thinking. Everything on the grinder seemed spot on. I was able to use it without any extra instructions. The weight function was great — I set it for 30g and got 30.1g everytime. It was really amazing. I was grinding right around the middle setting across the board, and was grinding 30 grams at a time. I went through a kilo in three hours, so it cranked out 30 batches with no trouble at all. The Shut-off Hopper worked great!”

Annie McGee, Wholesale Account Representative, Sightglass Coffee Roasters

“Ease of set up was great, I was able to hop on the brew bar and immediately make the needed adjustments to begin service. I think what really impressed me was the volume that the grinder could handle while still providing consistency. In a 4 hour period I brewed 5 lbs of coffee, which is an incredible amount for a pour over station. During that time the grinder was able to keep up with my flow of service and remained consistent with dose and grind.”

Alex Powar, Education, Four Barrel Coffee Roasters

“Overall I’m really impressed with the sturdiness of the build and more than anything else, I’m particularly excited for what this grinder means for high end restaurant accounts that are looking for a grinder that can satisfy their coffee brewing needs. One of the biggest hurdles in restaurant coffee is convincing accounts of the necessity of spending time to weigh out coffee in and coffee out. The dream scenario from a wholesaler perspective is to find a durable grinder that produces consistent particle size and predictable integrated weight-based dosing that one can lock in so that it’s not as easy for baristas or restaurant staff to void the programmed parameters.”

Vario-W on Bar at TED2013

February 20, 2013

TED is passionate about people sharing their ideas to enrich the lives of others. This year, TED2013 kicks off on February 25th, with two events, running simultaneously, at Long Beach and Palm Springs, with the theme of “The Young, The Wise, The Undiscovered”. Happily, Specialty Coffee will be an enriching component of the attendee experience and a time of coffee discovery for many!

In 2012, the organization Coffee Common collaborated with TED to provide coffee service for the event. The coffee program was hugely successful. Baristas shared their delicious coffees from around the world, as well as sharing the stories of the growers and roasters.

(photo – Brian Jones, CoffeeCommon)

This year the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), in partnership with the Barista Guild of America (BGA), are stepping in to lead the coffee program for TED. Roasters across the country have submitted coffees which will be brewed as espressos and on manual brew bars. We are thrilled that once again our weight based grinder, the Vario-W, has been chosen to be the grinding workhorse to support all the manual brew bars! With an event of this size, the need for accuracy, repeatability and reliability on a busy bar is critical. Grinding by weight eliminates the need for the baristas to pre-weigh the coffee, but instead allows the hoppers to be filled with the featured coffees of the hour or day, set the grind size and then grind the dose required, on demand. This allows the baristas to focus their time on the attendees they are serving.

Sharing their coffee knowledge and expertise, as well as putting 19 Vario-W’s through their paces this week, will be an awesome team of brilliant baristas, selected by the TED Coffee Team. They “were vetted for their ability to not only make great coffee but have a high level of knowledge and exemplary customer service skills”.

We wish all the BGA baristas and SCAA organizers a very successful week, and thank them in advance for volunteering their time and for creating this enriching coffee experience for the TED Attendees.

Other sources for info on the event:

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

Baratza Virtuoso Upgrade!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

You’ve probably heard that this month (December 2011), we upgraded the incredible workhorse – the Baratza Virtuoso. At Baratza, we are continually trying to improve our products and sometimes those improvements come more from listening to our customers than some long-term product plan schedule, so we thought you might be interested in hearing how this particular change came about!

In November 2010 we introduced the Preciso grinder with a new set of conical burrs. We were excited about the burrs because they seemed to reduce the fines in all levels of grind and increase the speed of grind from about 1 g/sec to about 2 g/sec. After a year, the feedback from countless consumers and coffee professionals is that the Preciso produces a great grind profile for Manual Brew, Drip, and Espresso. We are always excited to hear that people can taste the difference and many could, when comparing the Preciso burr with other burrs.

When we introduced our Grind-By Weight solutions many Roasters and café owners chose to use the Vario-W, or the Esatto paired with the Preciso, for their manual brewing stations. They use the preset programmable weight buttons for the preparations they typically offer e.g. Aeropress and Clever Dripper and consistently report efficiencies in terms of labor, process steps, wastage, and footprint plus repeatability and consistency of grind. The grinding speed of these two grinders is about the same and, with the addition of the Esatto, the operation and performance of the grinders is very similar. Having used the new grinders for many months now, Roasters and café owners have told us that they think the grind profile of the Preciso is as good, or better, than the Vario-W for manual brewing.

Since the Esatto/Preciso combination was being used for manual brewing, the micro adjust on the Preciso was not essential and added unnecessary complexity to the grinder. So, we started producing custom Virtuoso grinders with Preciso burrs to be used in cafés on brew stations. After a while it was evident that the improved performance of the Preciso burrs would be a great upgrade to the Virtuoso and we made the decision to build them all with the new burr set. Now, everyone can benefit from the improved performance, not just customers in the café setting, but also those who are passionate about making great coffee in their homes!

Here’s an example of the Virtuoso, set up in Esattos, on the brew bar at Milstead & Co, in the Fremont suburb of Seattle:

Milstead sm (640x350)

The Virtuoso Upgrade Details: Effective December, 2011, all Virtuoso grinders have been built to include the Preciso burr set. With this change we are leaving the name of the grinder the same, but have changed the item # to 586. We also changed the pricing of the grinder to reflect the improved performance. The MSRP of the Virtuoso (586) is $249. The original Virtuoso retails for $229. New speed of grind is 1.5 to 2.4 g/sec. Old speed of grind was .8 to 1.1 g/sec.

Below are images of the burrs, so you can see the difference in design:

Virtuoso Burr

Virtuoso Burr

Preciso Burr

Preciso Burr  sm (640x428)

So there you have it! The whole story on the Virtuoso upgrade!

Weight Based Grinding ….. It Works (not that we doubted it would!)

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

The feedback is in and it’s very positive! The Vario-E, our new weight based grinder that was launched in Houston at the SCAA, has been put to work! We were anxious to see how the Vario-E would perform in a live, busy coffee shop setting, so we loaned the only two we have to Noble Coffee in Ashland, OR and Thump Coffee in Bend, OR to put it through its paces. See our earlier blog for our story on Thump Coffee. We didn’t have an Esatto for them to try, but they were happy to have the Vario-E!

At Noble, they have been using it at their walkup window, brewing 2 Chemex at a time, all day long and going through around 25 pounds of coffee a week. They have around six different people using it.

Jared Rennie, Owner at Noble Coffee says “To sum it up, we love it! It saves us SO much time, the accuracy is wonderful, the footprint is great, and everyone loves it”. One piece of feedback from Jared was a desire for a larger hopper and we were glad that we were able to let him know that we’ve already manufactured hopper extenders (which will work with all our hoppers BTW). Each extension adds 9oz capacity, about 3 to 4 inches in additional height and can be stacked up to 3 high. They will be available from our website at the end of July.

Kent Chapple from Thump Coffee is really pleased with the consistency of the weight, using the Vario-E, in comparison to the pre-weighing approach they previously used with their Ditting. For him, the hopper size is not an issue as they like how the grinder fits neatly under their overhead cabinets.

Kent says “Initial brews have the staff very excited. We are producing delicious coffee with much less hassle and mess. Use of the machine is very intuitive and after I set the grind, the training time for another barista was about 30 seconds”.

Interest is high on the Vario-E and the Esatto and we are in production now. We plan to have them available in North America at the end of July!



Photos below are of the Vario-E at Noble Coffee, Ashland, OR.

Who could use WBG?

Monday, April 25th, 2011

Wow, what a week it’s been! Our new weight-based grinding products, the Esatto and Vario-E were announced last Tuesday (4/19). We knew that this would cause a stir and we were right! The Twitter world has been a chorus of chatter! Our phone and email conversations just got WAY longer – everyone wants to talk about it. We’d have to say that pretty much all the feedback has been very positive, so we know for sure we’re on the right track. Sure, we have had some pushback, and that is to be expected whenever you come out with a new product. However, overall we are so impressed with the thought and debate that the industry is giving to the introduction of weight-based grinding (WBG). People are trying to figure out how it might work for them, especially in their work/cafe settings. We’ve had conversations with many coffee people who would like to try the products out, not just at SCAA, but testing it real-time in their cafes. Here’s the thinking from Kent Chappell of Thump Coffee in Bend, Oregon on how the Esatto could help provide a solution to his increasing customer demand for pour-over.

“We would use the Esatto with our pourover bar and our existing Preciso. We are currently pre-weighing little canisters of beans for the pourover. But, as the brew method is gaining in popularity, keeping track of the contents and amount in each container is becoming cumbersome. We are also wrestling with the issue of serving more than 1 size of drink, which means having different amounts pre-weighed in the same kind of canisters. We have a complicated system of marking each canister and updating a chart with the varietal, roast date and mass of its contents. This system will eventually break down as the pourover program continues to grow.

The Esatto would be a perfect fit for us, because we feature 1 premium bean on pourover at a time, and it would allow us to serve different sized cups. All we would have to keep track of is what is in the hopper. It would also allow us to skip the tedious steps of pre-weighing and charting. We would improve quality by making fewer mistakes with our manual weighing and charting system. And of course we love the Preciso for its consistency and accuracy (for this application, I believe it produces a better cup than even the Vario)

As for the quantity, we serve an average of about 80 pourover cups per day. We are currently limiting the pourover to certain time periods when we can handle the additional labor it takes to prepare a single cup. As much as our staff and customers seem to like the single cup service, it has been difficult to integrate the pourover bar into our current workflow during busy times. I see the Esatto as a potential component in streamlining that workflow.”

The Esatto will be a great solution for Kent and Thump Coffee. We’d love to hear more stories like this, come and talk to us at the SCAA this week (booth # 1825), or send us your thoughts at info@baratza.com.

The right weight, without the wait – every time!

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

We’ve been at it again – we can’t stop! We love to innovate and give our customers improved products and functionality everywhere we can. Not just innovate for the sake of fun or wow factor. Of course we love those aspects, but we’re truly about giving you an improved coffee grinding experience that will result in a consistent and delicious cup of coffee, and support you in giving your customers a ‘wow’ experience that has them becoming repeat customers.

Last year at the SCAA in Anaheim, we were talking with Jared at Noble Coffee, all about the on-going rise in manual brewing. Jared talked about what a great tool our grinders were for this, but the whole pre-weighing of beans –especially in the busy café, was a pain. What could Baratza do? Well we love a challenge, so we focused this year on how to marry the weighing with the grinding of beans. We developed an accessory, the Esatto, that is designed specifically for use with your Maestro Plus, Virtuoso or Preciso. This innovative addition to your grinder will allow you to grind precise dosages of coffee using real-time weight-based control. With its easy assembly and simple operation, you will be automatically dosing ground coffee to within +/- 0.2 gram repeatedly.

In addition, we have designed a new Vario, the Vario-E, that is a fully integrated weight based grinder. Baratza’s groundbreaking Vario-E uses real time weight-based grinding with a built-in electronic scale. Set the weight you want, the Vario-E does the rest, weighing the ground coffee within a tenth of a gram while grinding, and stopping automatically.

How cool is all this?! We are so excited about it as we feel that it’s going to be a real game changer for so many cafes/coffee shops. Many cafes want to showcase a selection of beans at one time, be they a Single Origin or seasonal blend, offering the customer a choice for the bean and the brew method. Using the Baratza solution you could easily set up two to three dedicated grinders, each set to match the particular weight and grind type best suited the particular bean, and all that for the price of one ‘commercial’ grinder. We’ve even come up with a new hopper extender. With one extension, you can hold about 17.5 ounces (500 grams).

We will have the Esatto and Vario-E ready to ship in June.

Come check us out at the SCAA. We’ll be at booth #1825. This year we’re having our own manual brew bar, manned by some great local baristas. Come see the newest weight based grinding solution – we feel you will be charmed, intrigued and desirous!