[Homeroast] Baratza does it again

Doug Hoople doughoople at gmail.com
Wed Aug 15 18:50:05 CDT 2012

Hi All,

It's been a while.  Living in New Zealand, I've been in lurk mode mostly,
and have to pick my moments to read the list carefully, as I get very, very
nostalgic for the days when I could pick my greens from that vast variety
at SM and just drive down to their Oakland warehouse and pick them up.

Nearly three years on, I'm still brewing vacpot coffee with a glass rod,
mostly Vienna-roast organic Papua New Guinea ground coarse.

I've found that the coarse grind is the secret to the roundness and
sweetness that characterizes the best of this brewing method.

And, as many of you may recall, it's grinding coarse that is
counterintuitively a factor in difficult drawdowns.

In three years, making coffee every day, I've experienced about 5 drawdown
delays, all of them when I didn't get the burst of heat right.

But I digress.

I've been using a Vario grinder during this time, one of the early ones,
serial number 18.  I had it on a stepdown voltage converter, and, without
knowing why, assumed that this would be bad for the grinder and that I was
slowly killing it.  A little over a week ago, it stopped.  I emailed Kyle,
apologizing for abusing his lovely Vario, and asked if it was reasonable to
expect that a similar Vario properly built for 220 volts native would have
done better. I love Vario, and had no reason to want a different grinder.

His answer?  There should be no reason at all why my grinder should feel
abused through a stepdown converter, and I had every reason to expect my
Vario to continue functioning properly.  He then gave me a few diagnostics
to try to pin down what was going on.  A couple of email exchanges later,
he asked for my address and said he was going to ship a replacement motor
to me.  I insisted that he at least let me pay the shipping, and he
accepted.  He added a new circuit board, the replacement display that saves
its settings and a replacement drive belt.  Basically, he sent along a
complete update to the machine's internals!

Shipped internationally on August 10, arrived at my door August 15!

Following simple instructions, I pulled the grinder apart and put it back
together again, completely refurbished, in about a half hour.

Baratza's customer service is legendary.  And with good reason.

Thanks, Kyle!

btw, the Vario grinds coarse-ground drip beautifully consistenly, and beats
anything remotely close in its class, even the Mazzer Mini (which is
supposed to be yet a class above).  You can't beat the build qualtiy on the
Mazzer, but it's what's in the cup that counts, and the Vario wins easily
on that count.


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