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Thread: Mahlkönig Vario

  1. #1
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    Mahlkönig Vario

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    I have had my new Mahlkönig for three months now and am extremely happy with it. It is fast, relatively quiet and very configurable. There are three timing buttons for different lengths of grind which are themselves adjustable.

    I find that at its finest setting its grind is too fine for my Otto espresso machine, and I have to back it off a few notches to get the Otto going perfectly. At its coarse settings it is perfect for a plunger and even produces crema with the plunger.

    It is a great addition to my equipment.
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    What settings did you use?

    Quote Originally Posted by blswhite View Post
    I have had my new Mahlkönig for three months now and am extremely happy with it. It is fast, relatively quiet and very configurable. There are three timing buttons for different lengths of grind which are themselves adjustable.I find that at its finest setting its grind is too fine for my Otto espresso machine, and I have to back it off a few notches to get the Otto going perfectly. At its coarse settings it is perfect for a plunger and even produces crema with the plunger.It is a great addition to my equipment.
    HEy there, considering purchasing the vario myself. What grind settings did you use, and what basket -- espresso or supermarket? I assume espresso...

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    I’ve got a year+ mahlkoenig vario drop shipped from Europe and the finest grind settings for espresso out of the box is only just right for the blends I normally consume.
    I’m guessing since it was configured for the euro market where darker roasts prevail, grinds need not be so coarse for a 27-30sec extraction.

    Might have to rip that warranty sticker off and start recalibrating for Aussie use.

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    Hi Avex - no ripping of the warranty sticker required, you just need a 2mm allen key and it can be done from the small hole behind the coffee grind outlet, just search youtube for a how to so you don't over tighten and wreck the burrs. It's easy an I find I have to tweak mine every 9-12 months.

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    I've also had this grinder for a long time. I haven't ever recalibrated everything but it also seems that my shots run out too quick. I'm not sure if it's my dosage or what. I use Proud Mary beans and have recently been using their Angel Wings blend. I always seem to get around 30ml in ~20 seconds. Right now I have it on D and 1. I guess it could make the grind even more finer but this whole 'recalibrating' thing seems interesting to me.

    Is there any guide on how to recalibrate it properly?

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    Quote Originally Posted by anthonypiccolo View Post
    I've also had this grinder for a long time. I haven't ever recalibrated everything but it also seems that my shots run out too quick. I'm not sure if it's my dosage or what. I use Proud Mary beans and have recently been using their Angel Wings blend. I always seem to get around 30ml in ~20 seconds. Right now I have it on D and 1. I guess it could make the grind even more finer but this whole 'recalibrating' thing seems interesting to me.

    Is there any guide on how to recalibrate it properly?
    Hi anthonypiccolo

    Have a look at the Baratza site: they have a tech support series of videos posted on you tube.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WEK...ikgBpMgClqpi3U also has links to most of the other ones.

    performance wise, it seems the first Varios ("gen1" for a better nickname) seem to require more adjusting whilst the gen2 doesn't (my first gen2 has done well over 100Kgs). Also, the various countries Varios seem to be different (i.e. avex's EU one: my only EU Vario encounter was also different from both the US Baratza and Oz Mahlkonig ones). Both my Oz Mahlkonig Varios grind fine enough for Turkish "out of the box". None of the others do. No idea whether I have been lucky or all OZ Varios can do that. As I make a few Turkish, it is a useful bonus. FWIW, neither of mine are good enough at coarser grinds (i.e. drip & plunger) to be useful. Luckily I have an old commercial grinder that does those grinds well...

    Anyway, I would suggest you try setting it finer before you bother to calibrate it.

    Enjoy your cuppa.


    TampIt

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    Senior Member summercrema's Avatar
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    I think my Vario ( purchased from another CSer months ago) needs calibration too, even setting Macro and Micro levels to the top still wouldn"t grind fine enough for espresso, I just need to find the 2mm Vario Calibration tool, sure I didn't get that from the purchase. Would a hex key do the job?

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    Quote Originally Posted by summercrema View Post
    Would a hex key do the job?
    yes any 2mm allenkey will do the job just fine.

    i recalibrated mine and now it chokes at the bottom end of the macro A setting which is just right for me.

    none of the videos i could find on calibrating was helpful to me as the burr labouring sounds happen at several and different stages, so I couldn't tell for sure.

    I just adjusted it till I got a grind size I was happy with for my daily roast with room to go a little finer for when I decide to be more adventurous with a turk roast.

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    mds
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    I've had my vario for a couple of months and it has the "don't calibrate" sticker. It works well with dark roasts and has to be set to 1a-c for medium roasts. Melbourne sours? forget it!!. Fortunately my Dalla Corte also works best with darker roasts.

    On the finest setting there is no sound of the burrs touching so I'm not sure why the need for a warning. Probably because it doesn't have the safety pin (?) that's found on other grinders.

    I spoke with the importers in Wollongong who would recalibrate it if you bring it to them. I suspect they placed the sticker on.
    Mel

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    Senior Member summercrema's Avatar
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    thanks Avex, used the allenkey on it , all back to normal now.

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    mds
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    Quote Originally Posted by summercrema View Post
    thanks Avex, used the allenkey on it , all back to normal now.
    Summercrema, what did you do about the sticker? I'd like to adjust mine but I've got the dreaded "do not remove" sticker
    Mel

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    Senior Member summercrema's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mds View Post
    Summercrema, what did you do about the sticker? I'd like to adjust mine but I've got the dreaded "do not remove" sticker
    Mel
    My Vario got no warranty so sticker not there already, I downloaded the calibration document from Baratza website, followed the steps in document, made a couple of half turn using the allenkey, all good after that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mds View Post
    Summercrema, what did you do about the sticker? I'd like to adjust mine but I've got the dreaded "do not remove" sticker
    Mel
    Hi Mel

    The 2mm hole is the "other gap" under the Vario. No sticker removal needed, just a "pop out" rubber cap - unless the new "do not adjust" covers it. Neither of my Oz Mahlkonig gen2's have ever had that sticker.

    Just remember to empty all grounds, run it briefly & then raise both levers all the way to the top (i.e. finest setting) if you decide to turn it upside down to have a better look. Evidently the "tuning pegs" (their jargon) can slip partially out and not adjust properly. It happened to my older Vario when I dropped it two metres onto concrete (don't ask... no other damage, except to the box).

    The easy fix for that is a two minute job: take the front panel off (see Baratza video on shimming a Vario, unlike the calibration ones, that one is from Jens and is brilliant). No need to actually go as far as shimming it, just move the levers around until they relocate (when you move the coarse lever, both levers should move). Reassemble. Needed 1 Philips No2 and a standard smallish flat scewdriver (pliers shown in video not needed either, you are not shimming it).

    TampIt

  14. #14
    mds
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    Hi Tampit
    Thanks for thr reply. I'll check out the video and let you know how I went
    Mel

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    mds
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    Hi Tampit
    Just to let you know that I made the adjustment and manage to "choke
    the Vario. Great little grinder.
    Mel

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    Hi All

    Has anyone done the metal portaholder upgrade here in Australia? I'm interested in doing so but would like to know of a supplier and the cost if possible.

    I have had my Vario for 12 months or so with no calibration issues, a great grinder and so flexible in its uses.

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    Quote Originally Posted by be.stephens View Post
    Hi All

    Has anyone done the metal portaholder upgrade here in Australia? I'm interested in doing so but would like to know of a supplier and the cost if possible.

    I have had my Vario for 12 months or so with no calibration issues, a great grinder and so flexible in its uses.
    G'day be.stephens

    I finally decided to adjust the standard p/f holder that comes with the gen2 and discovered it is possible to get it "exactly right" for my gear with a bit of tinkering (I use naked p/f's and a few different VST's). The next issue was the VST 20 & 22 were too tall to fit under it properly... I ended up just bending the "fork" so the right hand side becomes a stopper and I hold it in place. I still haven't spilt a single grain on the bench, despite all my tinkering.

    Makes the optional one a bit irrelevant IMO.

    BTW, very happy with both my Vario's, even if I seem to keep trying to kill my older one through carelessness / stupidity or inattention. So far the score is Vario 3, TampIt 0. The newer one is (so far) unbaptised by fire.

    TampIt

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    Hi I just got my Mahlkonig Vario and trying to dial it in has been frustrating. Every shot so far with grind settings between 1D and 2Q (the Baratza website recommended for espresso) has taken 4s to come out and then just watery throughout. Tried different things to address it: increased dosage, harder tamp all without success. Also tried weighing out 22g (what I used in my previous grinder) which I put into the empty Vario hopper and ground out on 1D setting with the same volume in the basket as my previous grinder.

    Looked and fingered the grinds when comparing it to my previous grinder and grind felt and looked the same.

    Now tempted to find the right Allen key to tighten up and recalibrate like previous posters but if the grind looks and feel the same and dosage is the same in the basket compared with previous grinder, not sure going finer after recalibration is useful.

    not sure what gen I've got but pretty sure it's at least 2nd bc I have the metal portaholder as the stock part. It's got the void warranty sticker over the hole which the Baratza videos advise you how to recalibrate, but haven't yet found the other one at the back?

    Anyone have any suggestions or what else I could try??

    Beans roasted 2 days ago from Sydney.

  19. #19
    Senior Member summercrema's Avatar
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    adjustments to Macro and Micro level only work when the motor is running.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gregoryw9 View Post
    Anyone have any suggestions or what else I could try??

    Beans roasted 2 days ago from Sydney.
    try some beans that are a little older,..7-14 days.
    can you adjust fine enough at all to choke the machine?
    what burr set is fitted steel or ceramic ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by blend52 View Post
    try some beans that are a little older,..7-14 days.
    can you adjust fine enough at all to choke the machine?
    what burr set is fitted steel or ceramic ?
    No, even at 1A it doesn't slow down but the grind is a little bit finer so I assumed it was doing its job. Tempted to recalibrate although I prefer not to muck around back there unless I have to.

    blend52 - at what setting should the grinder start choking?

    It's fitted with ceramic burrs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TampIt View Post
    Hi anthonypiccolo

    Have a look at the Baratza site: they have a tech support series of videos posted on you tube.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WEK...ikgBpMgClqpi3U also has links to most of the other ones.

    performance wise, it seems the first Varios ("gen1" for a better nickname) seem to require more adjusting whilst the gen2 doesn't (my first gen2 has done well over 100Kgs). Also, the various countries Varios seem to be different (i.e. avex's EU one: my only EU Vario encounter was also different from both the US Baratza and Oz Mahlkonig ones). Both my Oz Mahlkonig Varios grind fine enough for Turkish "out of the box". None of the others do. No idea whether I have been lucky or all OZ Varios can do that. As I make a few Turkish, it is a useful bonus. FWIW, neither of mine are good enough at coarser grinds (i.e. drip & plunger) to be useful. Luckily I have an old commercial grinder that does those grinds well...

    Anyway, I would suggest you try setting it finer before you bother to calibrate it.

    Enjoy your cuppa.


    TampIt
    Thanks for the info TampIt

    Is there a difference between Baratza and Mahlkonig apart from the country it's branded under? Just surprised to see that the Baratza website suggested a 2Q setting for espresso which is pretty coarse on my grinder. If each individual grinder is calibrated differently it'd be odd that Baratza has provided a recommended setting. Or maybe Baratza ships out grinders under much more uniform settings than Mahlkonig.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregoryw9 View Post
    Thanks for the info TampIt

    Is there a difference between Baratza and Mahlkonig apart from the country it's branded under? Just surprised to see that the Baratza website suggested a 2Q setting for espresso which is pretty coarse on my grinder. If each individual grinder is calibrated differently it'd be odd that Baratza has provided a recommended setting. Or maybe Baratza ships out grinders under much more uniform settings than Mahlkonig.
    Hi gregoryw9

    "Is there a difference between Baratza and Mahlkonig apart from the country it's branded under?" - good question - how 'bout "almost certainly" but I really am not 100 sure. The gen1 / gen2 difference is probably greater, as is the 110V / 240V thing. Also, a lot of cheaper domestic machines in the US are preset for "supermarket grind" and severely resist change. Having only 110V is a major headache which also limits espresso machines performance noticeably amongst other hassles*. 2Q would have to be 80% of "universal supermarket grind" I would think - close enough to work without changing the typical US machine's settings.

    *Note: I lived in Colorado for nearly a year and a half. Just two of my six audio amps would not even work there (even wired as three phase!) without pulsing the lights in reverse time to the music volume. The local electrician could not come up with an answer except "Why do you need 1.8KVA transformers on each channel anyway" (answer: to run my speakers properly) - I sent all the gear back to Oz. I had to swap my 110V US GS3 for a 240V one and used "US three phase" as my Oz 240V one worked so much better... always hard to go backwards.

    Calibration:
    I only did limited testing on my original "gen1" Vario - I only had it for three weeks when a FIFO friend in need snaffled it on the way to the airport. The replacement turned out to be a gen2 (lucky me...) which was a massive improvement "in the cup".

    Both my gen2 Varios must be calibrated correctly from the factory as 1A is at the finer end of Turkish for either of them (only domestic "powered grinder" I have ever had that can do Turkish).

    Further info: as stated earlier in this thread, the Vario must have the motor running to adjust it (if there are beans present). It is easy to "do a Conan" and bend the adjustors if you use too much force. Two of my friends managed this - I recalibrated their Varios and put a "RTFM note" on their Vario with a copy of the two major don'ts:
    1) Do not adjust the grind unless the grinder is running
    2) Do not turn the Vario upside down unless both adjustors are at the top (i.e. 1A)

    Hope this helps


    TampIt

  24. #24
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    I have had my "Vario gen 3 I am told", for a few weeks now and am very happy with this grinder< I can find no info on GEN 3 Vario anybody Know anything about GEN 3, I have it down pat now with no grinds on the bench at all after dialling in new beans, just dialled in "redemption of the Spro" very nice drop indeed. I am constantly trying different blends and different single origins. This Grinder will do me small footprint well made and consistent grind quality and very good flow with no clumping with any of the beans I have put though. I have tried many roasters over the years and now will stick with the cheapest and freshest on line as I find no real difference difference between some roaster's that charge nearly double the price for the same or similar beans
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