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file Love/hate with the Virtuoso

  • PittCoffeeCrew
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8 years 8 months ago #3661 by PittCoffeeCrew
PittCoffeeCrew created the topic: Love/hate with the Virtuoso
Hello Colin and others.

Please forgive the drama of my subject line - it's really much more love than hate, but if anyone uses the Virtuoso out-of-the-box for espresso, you'll know my angst is running out of room on the fine end.

With fresh beans (roast date of under a week), I can pull 2 oz shots in 22 to 28 seconds with coffee ground on setting 2 (of 40). After a few days, I am forced to drop down to setting 1. Not long after is 0 - it seems to depend on temperature & humidity, as well as age - then I run out of finer options and fume over 15 second gurgle-shots.

Question is this: has anyone done the recalibration of their Virtuoso to get finer? I've seen the PDFs but am not that handy a fella and the adjustment-while-motor-running part has me gunshy. Anyone have videos to show or stories to tell?

Cheers,
Sean

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  • brokemusician77
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8 years 8 months ago #3663 by brokemusician77
brokemusician77 replied the topic: Re:Love/hate with the Virtuoso
I feel the same angst. I just got a Virtuoso today, along with a new Gaggia Baby, and am having a different, but equally frustrating problem.

I am trying to be as consistent as possible with tamp, dispersion, etc. . I am not using a bottomless PF, so I can't be sure my technique is good. However my problem is that with the grinder set on 9, I get 2 oz. shots coming in at 12-15 sec. With the grinder set at 8, I get the same amount in about 39 sec. That seems to me to be an awfully big jump, especially from what seems to be everyone's new favorite grinder. I can't imagine this thing working with a Silvia, which is supposed to be far more finicky than my machine. I either get super fast shots, or a clogged machine.

The shots look fantastic. LOADS of crema, but are either too bitter (at 8) or too sour (at 9) to drink.

(I may be breaking forum ettiquette by posting this on this thread. If so, I apologize. Let me know and I'll move it.)

Please advise.

kk

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8 years 8 months ago #3666 by goomba
goomba replied the topic: Re:Love/hate with the Virtuoso
PittCoffeeCrew wrote:

Question is this: has anyone done the recalibration of their Virtuoso to get finer? I've seen the PDFs but am not that handy a fella and the adjustment-while-motor-running part has me gunshy. Anyone have videos to show or stories to tell?


I received a Virtuoso for Christmas, and have re-calibrated it. Kinda funny - as soon as I took it out of the box, I took out the burr to have a look and then put it back in rotated 180 degrees. (There's red markings to indicate the proper placement, which I ignored.) It was grinding way too coarse. So I recalibrated about as fine as it can go. It still wasn't fine enough, but once I realized my error and put the burr in the right way, all was good!

I'm not particularly handy either, but the guide was pretty good and it wasn't difficult at all. You need a very fine-tip screwdriver for the calibration screw, that's the only thing.

Running the grinder while adjusting the calibration ring wasn't scary at all, but don't forget to unplug it when you're done calibrating!! I didn't, and my hand brushed the circuit board while putting it back together. (Ouch.)

Now I tend to grind on 9 or 10, with a non-pressurized Gaggia. Grinding it at 0 is so fine, not only does it clog my Gaggia, it clogs the Virtuoso itself!

...As for not brokemusician77's problem, I'm not too sure what to say. I also find that sometimes I wish I had a step between 9 and 10 for some beans and some days. I don't have quite the same variance (40 sec vs. 15 sec), but it's still annoying. I've thought about calibrating it coarser than I have it, so perhaps 3-5 or 4-6 would be the espresso range. I think the lower numbers are supposed to be finer adjustments?

Maybe moving it a bit might just get it so a click setting matches up with the sweet spot. That sounds like a lot of trial-and-error recalibrating/mucking about though.

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8 years 8 months ago #3667 by brokemusician77
brokemusician77 replied the topic: Re:Love/hate with the Virtuoso
Yeah, I'd thought of that. Not a bad idea if I could get the sweet spot right in the middle, but that still leaves me no room to tweak, except by tamp pressure, which I've done already with little success.

I read on some other websites that you can take the step mechanism out and make it stepless. Seems to me Colin has done this as well.

I have two reservations with this:

1. Tinkering with a brand new grinder.
2. Voiding the warranty.
3. I'm not sure I'd be able to master a minute enough movement to find the sweet spot. It seems it only takes a few millimeters to make a 20 sec. difference. (I'm good, but I'm not that good.)

4. Removing the step ring would remove the friction that holds it in one place. Although some people use rubber bands around the hopper and the like. I think I'd rather just return it in that case.

Those are my two reservations (ha ha)

kk

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8 years 8 months ago #3669 by brokemusician77
brokemusician77 replied the topic: Re:Love/hate with the Virtuoso
Hey, PittCoffeeCrew. I tried the calibration today. It's not so bad. Just make sure you have a flat blade screwdriver, and one of those little eyeglass screwdrivers.

Piece of cake. You can do it. Go for it. There's a pdf on espressotec.com detailing the whole process. There's also one on the Baratza website, but it doesn't guide you through putting it back together.

I talked to a guy at Baratza today and he suggested I try recalibrating to alleviate my problem. It didn't work. But he did say he'd never heard of anyone having that problem before.

I'll phone espressotec in the morning and ask for a replacement. If the replacement doesn't fix it, then I think I'd better just get out of the whole espresso thing. I've already spent more than I'm comfortable with. If this grinder isn't good enough for my needs, then I should probably just enjoy the excellent Lattes at my local coffee shop.

Cheers!

kk

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8 years 8 months ago #3696 by PittCoffeeCrew
PittCoffeeCrew replied the topic: Re:Love/hate with the Virtuoso
Thanks brokemusician - I will go for it!

Thanks, as well, goomba. I agree that around 4 to 6 is likely an ideal espresso range on Virtuoso so, with your experience in mind, I will not quite go all the way to the fine calibration.


Then, I will have to figure out new settings for my other methods.

Currently I do:
- French Press at 26 (using Tom at Sweet Maria's 2.5 minute and slightly finer method than the standard 4 mins with courser grounds),
- Chemex at 20,
- Yama (vac pot) at 20,
- Aeropress at 14 and
- Espresso between 0 and 2.

Thanks again, folks.

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