HomeRoast Digest


Topic: Maestro bean feed woes (18 msgs / 449 lines)
1) From: Lindsay Murphy
As the subject line indicates, my Solis Maestro (standard, not Plus) has
been giving me fits in terms of getting beans down to the burrs.  Simply
put, it won't feed.  Frequently what will happen is I'll turn the "on"
timer, a few beans will grind, and then the burrs will spin till the end
of the cycle with no beans entering the grinding area.  Standing over
the mill with the handle end of a spoon and forcing beans down into the
burrs works, but (obviously!) produces a less than optimal grind and is
a PITA to boot.
The problem seems to be worst with large or irregularly shaped beans,
i.e. Longberry or Pacamara types, and almost never occurs with peaberry
types (exception: Pacamara peaberry wouldn't feed at all, literally had
to drop one bean at a time into the mill and jam each one through the
burrs).  The grinder was secondhand off eBay, and I've probably put
30-40 lb of coffee through it over the years.  Do you guys think a burr
replacement will fix the problem, or is there some other issue that
might be causing my grind woes?
Thanks in advance!
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2) From: Lindsay Murphy
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3) From: miKe mcKoffee
Doubt burr replacement would make a difference. Grinders with small openings
feeding the burrs more prone to beans hanging in the hopper. Larger and/or
more oily beans tend to hang worse. Even Rocky sometimes has this problem,
never seen it on my Mazzer SJs or Majors. While grinding and beans actively
flowing to the burrs gently rocking the grinder side to side usually helps
keep them flowing.
Pacific Northwest Gathering VIhttp://www.mcKonaKoffee.comURL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer, some recipes etc:http://www.mckoffee.com/Ultimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must">http://home.comcast.net/~mckona/PNWGVI.htmKona Konnaisseur miKe mcKoffeehttp://www.mcKonaKoffee.comURL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer, some recipes etc:http://www.mckoffee.com/Ultimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must
first not know. And in knowing know I know not. Each Personal enlightenment
found exploring the many divergent foot steps of Those who have gone before.
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4) From: Vicki Smith
Generally I bow to Mike's experience in such things, but I wonder at 
this becoming a recent (rather than being an on-going)issue. I used the 
same grinder for a number of years before upgrading to my Rocky. As Mike 
said, really big beans can hang in the Rocky, too. The Pacamara Peaberry 
gave me fits in Rocky.
I'd start by giving it a really good cleaning, but if you bought it 
used, then added 30-40 pounds of your own beans to it, I can practically 
  guarantee that it needs new burrs. I can't guarantee that it will 
solve the problem, however, and like Mike says, rocking it can make a 
world of difference.
Fortunately new burrs for this puppy are cheap. BTW, I just bought 
another one of these grinders for my coffee station at work, where I 
have a KMB and the office at large has a drip machine. It's a loser for 
both Fr. Press and espresso, IMO, but a real work horse for "normal" grinds.
vicki
Lindsay Murphy wrote:
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5) From: Sandy Andina
Same thing used to happen with my old Starbucks Barista (aka Solis  
166).  Temporary fix was to turn it off and poke around with a grinder  
brush several times per batch. Turned out that coffee oils had built  
up on the hopper and burrs.  Eventually, dismantled it, washed the  
hopper with Dawn and a plastic mesh sponge pad, reassembled, brushed  
the burrs, ran rice through it, brushed it out again and it fed just  
fine.
On Apr 19, 2008, at 10:50 AM, Lindsay Murphy wrote:
<Snip>
Sandy Andina
www.myspace.com/sandyandina
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6) From: raymanowen
I would have suggested you R&R the burr set- with Virtuoso burrs, of course,
if you were ever bothered by the grind quality.
But, if the machine just stopped feeding beans from the hopper into the
burrs, you should remove the bean hopper, find the white fuzzy ring-
probably out of place- that seals the junction between the bottom of the
hopper and the plastic burr carrier of the top burr.
If you're unaware of its existence, it could easily be moved and block the
passage of beans from the hopper into the burrs.
Cheers, Mabuhay -RayO, aka Opa!
On Sat, Apr 19, 2008 at 9:50 AM, Lindsay Murphy 
wrote:
<Snip>
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"When the theme hits the bass, I dance the Jig!" - -Virgil Fox at the Mighty
Wichita (ex- NYC Paramount) WurliTzer- 1976
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7) From: Jeff
I'd contact Baratza. They have excellent customer service.http://www.baratza.com//support.phpLindsay Murphy wrote:
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8) From: raymanowen
"Baratza _ have excellent customer service." ? ? ? ! ! ! ???
Sure. Check out the seal ring- it's probably mangled by now. -ro
On Sat, Apr 19, 2008 at 7:37 PM, Jeff  wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
"When the theme hits the bass, I dance the Jig!" - -Virgil Fox at the Mighty
Wichita (ex- NYC Paramount) WurliTzer- 1976
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9) From: Vicki Smith
The Virtuoso burrs don't fit the classic. I asked them at Baratza.
v
raymanowen wrote:
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10) From: Lindsay Murphy
Thanks, everyone - your suggestions have been most helpful. :-)
Sandy:  I do that every time I switch coffees.  (My usual pattern is to
roast a pound or so at a time and drink that till it's gone, then clean
out the KBTS and the grinder while I roast a new batch.  End result is
that everything gets broken down and cleaned once every ten days to two
weeks.)  If anything, the problem seems to be a touch worse after a
thorough cleaning, though this is probably user error on my part.
(There's always a little bit of the hopper I can't get at to hand-dry,
right underneath the "loading platform."  I suspect the extra moisture
makes the beans hang up worse.)
Ray:  Funny, my grinder doesn't have any such gasket.  The hopper locks
right into the adjustment ring, immediately above the burr carrier.
Should there be a gasket there?
Vicki, Ray et al:  Replacement burrs are on order from Baratza, and
should get here next week if the Post Office gods are smiling on me.
Another interesting note:  The beans appear to be "kicking" or
"skidding" away from the burrs.  That is, the beans make it down the
hopper and into the little loading platform area fine, but once there,
they appear to bounce off the top burr and ricochet around for a while
before ejecting themselves back into the general bean mass.  Don't know
if that makes any difference to anyone's diagnosis.
Thanks again!
On Sat, 2008-04-19 at 19:07 -0600, raymanowen wrote:
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11) From: Jeff
That's been my experience, and according to many customer reviews on 
Goffeegeek and elsewhere, I'm not the only one. Before I bought my 
refurbished Virtuoso I read as many as I could find. I found nothing but 
praise for their customer service.
Out of the box I had exactly the same problem as Lindsay. It's a known 
issue with some grinders. They immediately sent me a replacement, at 
their expense, no questions asked.
Out of the box my refurbished Virtuoso looked and performed like it was 
brand new. Eight months later it still does.
Jeff.
raymanowen wrote:
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12) From: raymanowen
"Virtuoso burrs don't fit the classic. I asked them at Baratza."
Bet me-
I've never dealt with the Classic- see one = see them all- it's the same
machine,
but I have dealt with the Baratza first line. Good people are real hard to
find.
Think about it- they're** going to make the necessary investment to retool
manufacturing for a minor change, when they won't even make the minor
increment in quality control to stop making rough upper burrs in the first
place?
The only trouble was a dull hob in the gear cutter they used to fabricate
the ring burr. Why sharpen the tool, when they could execute a design
change? Nonsense!
The Automaton I encountered on the phone after I first got the new SMP with
execrable burr syndrome sounded either vacuous or outright misleading- a
taco short of a combination plate.
I'm sure *The Peter Principle* applied- in [Automaton's] Customer Service
FAQ/ Answers ring binder, the section   was read to me.
The original author probably had a degree, with a technical writing minor,
in animal husbandry.
Big Money! Get your FCC 1st Class license- Be a Locksmith- Be a Technical
Writer!
Cheers, Mabuhay -RayO, aka Opa!
No experience necessary-
On Sat, Apr 19, 2008 at 7:58 PM, Vicki Smith  wrote:
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13) From: Sandy Andina
This happened all the time with my Rocky until I hit on the idea of  
preventing their return to the bean mass--by no longer storing them in  
the hopper en masse, but feeding them about 14 gm at a time (measuring  
with one of those little clear plastic ingredient dishes sold in  
restaurant supply stores) and then upending the little plastic dish  
over them as a dome.  As the beans make it down into the burrs and the  
top of the mass drops below the level of the feed chute, I remove the  
little dish and cover them with a tamper.  Takes a little longer that  
way, but they don't seem to get hung up.  The tamper acts as a weight  
aiding the feed. Now, on a Solis the feed chute into the burrs is a  
little narrower than on a Rocky, but you can substitute an inverted  
shot glass for the plastic dish once you've measured.
On Apr 19, 2008, at 9:59 PM, Lindsay Murphy wrote:
<Snip>
Sandy Andina
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14) From: Sandy Andina
Ray, while the Solis Maestro Plus is certainly not the best consumer  
grinder available, neither is it bad--mine is still doing great for  
press and drip (and was a quantum leap up from my previous espresso  
grinder--until I got my Rocky and then Mazzer).  And the techs at  
Baratza/Cafe West in Salem, OR--especially Jerry--were terrific when  
my Livia popped its first pressurestat early in its existence.
Your experiences with your Solis grinder appear to have been far worse  
than anyone else's on this list. Sounds like you got a lemon---and  
that someone in Customer Service got up on the wrong side of the bed  
when you called.
On Apr 20, 2008, at 1:38 AM, raymanowen wrote:
<Snip>
Sandy Andina
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15) From: raymanowen
"...someone in Customer Service got up on the wrong side of the bed when you
called."
Actually, I disremember the name of the person with whom I first spoke, and
I agree for the most part. He never did wake up on the right side of the
habitat.
My original Solis Maestro cost $0.99 at a thrift store, and was greatly
broken. It did however, serve as an educational tool. Those first burrs were
an intriguing design, and the best Maestro burrs I ever inspected.
In every case, the newer burrs had progressively rougher edges where they
should have been sharp. The Automaton couldn't grasp the concept. My beans
were too oily, when I had never mentioned grinding a thing with the
educational grinder.
When I bought the new SMP, it arrived with a worse ring burr than the
original thrift store example or the replacement burrs I had bought for it.
It was too broken up to resurrect, so I bought new. Couldn't walk away.
On inspection, the grounds were divided into very regular sizes and shapes.
The proportion of fines was bothersome, probably caused by being scratched
by the rough burr. The old burrs just looked a little ragged. Little did I
know that new ones would arrive worser and worser.
While Kyle Anderson of Baratza made me whole, the ultimate fix involved the
power cord. The Maestro grinders all had twin lead power cords with
polarized connectors, and I needed the three- prong grounded plug. Fixxed
it- Unbelievable.
Cheers, Mabuhay -RayO, aka Opa!
On Sun, Apr 20, 2008 at 12:55 AM, Sandy Andina  wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
"When the theme hits the bass, I dance the Jig!" - -Virgil Fox at the Mighty
Wichita (ex- NYC Paramount) WurliTzer- 1976
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16) From: Vicki Smith
http://www.baratza.com/parts_cleaners.php"Top Burr for Virtuoso.  This burr does not work in a Maestro. "
"The Silicon Bean Gasket comes with the Virtuoso.  It will fit on the 
Maestro grinder, however, it will not key into any tabs because the 
Maestro grinders don't have tabs on their ring burr."
There is a difference in the SMP and the Maestro (classic). Really, Ray, 
I did the whole phone 'em and ask 'em thing when I first heard that the 
Virtuoso burrs worked with the SMP.
vicki
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17) From: raymanowen
I'm just reciting history. My former Solis Maestro Plus grinder has found a
new home with my friends Naida and Ray. I was sent a pair of Virtuoso burrs
and I easily installed them in the SMP.
The Baratza front counter squad had nothing to do with it.
Talking about it takes more time than when I did it.
Cheers, Mabuhay -RayO, aka Opa!
May Peace be upon them. Peace on all of them.
On Sun, Apr 20, 2008 at 2:44 AM, Vicki Smith  wrote:
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18) From: Paul Helbert
I never dealt with them over the telephone, but reply to my e-mail was
top notch customer service in my book.
-- 
Paul Helbert
Prepackaged, roasted & ground coffee,,,
Some of the worst ideas since sliced bread.
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