Baratza Maestro Plus Burr Grinder
So I just brought a Baratza Maestro Plus Burr Grinder based on the recs on this board. Now that I have it out of the box I dont have a clue how to use it. The "manual" the came with it is really minimal to say the least. Anyway can someone PLEASE help me figure this out?
So far I understand the beans go in the plastic hopper on top but I have a couple of other questions:
1: Do I just put the amount of beans I plan on using for the pot (actually french press) OR can I fill up the hopper (it says it can hold up to a half a pound of beans)...and then somehow stop it after it grinds enough beans for that single use? Does that make any sense?
Which then leads to my next questions...
2. What is the ourpose of the timer on the side? How do I know how long to set the timer for? I I set the grind control on the base of the hopper for 35 (the recommended setting fro french press according to the manual), And I figurred out the timer is essentially the "ON" button but how long should I be grinding enough beans say for 2 cups of coffee for a french press?
And finally is the pulse button on the front just for if I wanted to make expresso?
Thank you all for bearing with me and reading all this confusing mess. I really appreciate all the support and knowledge you guys all have.
I don't have a baratza, I use a rancilio rocky. But I can tell you that beans will get stale fast in the hopper, so I'd just put in the amount you need to use immediately. I would guess the timer is there for convenience and so you don't have to hold the pulse button (Rocky just has an on and off). Play with it a bit and see how long it takes to grind the right amount of beans for your french press (which is a very good way to make coffee, in my opinion)
Great grinder! It took us about a half pound of coffee beans practicing until we got it set up the way we use it for our daily coffee. We make a 'six' cup Freyling (French) presspot for the two of us and use 6 tablespoons of ground coffee into the pot as the proportions that we like (supercharged admittedly).
To grind that amount, we found that a one third cup container of beans will yield the 6 tablespoons of ground beans so that is what we dump into the hopper each AM and then frankly just turn the dial about half way and allow it to run until everything is ground.
Then simply empty the plastic container into our pre-heated press pot and its off to the races.
When we entertain, we fill the hopper with beans and use our 9 cup Freyling press pots with yes, about 9 tablespoons of beans. I think holding down the pulse button on front is too much work for the 30 seconds it takes to grind down each half cup of beans so again, just set the timer full bore and then measure each tablespoon into the pot. Since we typically make 3 to 4 large press pots for dinner parties of 10+, it is rare to find we've overground any beans. In fact, that is when the pulse button comes in handiest, namely when we just need another tablespoon or two to fill out the last pot being made.
You have to experiment to get it right for your own tastes. We did the first couple trials using some old stale decafe beans just to work on the proportions, which made more sense than grinding our good stuff but by the 3rd trial we were ready for the real thing.
By the way, for our presspots we started the grind setting at its largest size but have since backed it down about 5 points for something a wee bit finer.
If you are using grocery store beans then it doesn't matter if they are stale in the bag or hopper. But if you have a full hopper then other complications come into play. If you are using fresh roasted beans then keep them fresh in an air tight container and grind on demand.
It won't hurt the grinder to grinder a few seconds longer than needed to if I'm grinding for a full pot, (I only grind on demand), I turn the timer the full way. If time is insufficient and there only a few beans left finish with the one touch button on the front. You'll get a feel for how much it grinds on a full turn of the timer. The tricky part comes into play with a full hopper. It hard to judge how much coffee you are grinding. I measure my beans then grind. Really I don't see any good reason to keep the hopper full.
Now this is the real important part. Keep your grinder clean. I have heard so many complaints with this grinder of people not being able to remove the top burr or breaking the plastic tabs when changing grind size. This is in most cases from dirty burrs.
Here is how you clean it. Rotate the hopper counter clockwise until it stops and it will lift off. The upper burr carrier will lift out. I use a toothbrush to clean this well. The metal burr and the plastic nylon carrier. You will get some caked on fine coffee residue on the out side. Brush the little tabs on the carrier as well. After cleaning replace the top burr and remount the hopper. The hopper should always be able to rotate from FP to Turkish with little resistance when clean. Note that if you replace the hopper and the machine will not grind the grind setting was moved during your manipulation. With the top burr removed please note that there is a plastic nylon ring round the bottom burr with two tabs that point at 1:00 and 7:00. This must be turned counter clockwise until it stops in this position. If it gets moved one click clockwise while you are cleaning it the top burr will not seat properly and the grinder will not grind when the hopper is back on. For cleaning the bottom burr you can get a small tooth brush in but it is difficult. With the top burr removed turn the grinder over and give it a few taps. This will dislodge a lot of loose coffee. Better yet you can clean with compressed air, either in a can or with an air compressor. Do this outside!. The clean the burrs of old coffee it is advisable to use something like rice or a product called Grindz. If using rice use instant rice which is dessicated or dried precooked rice. Because it is so dry it leaves no oils which are normally found in rice.
I try to do a top burr cleaning once or every other week. A full cleaning once a month. I have had my Maestro Plus since they first came on the market like 4-5 yrs and it still works well and I have never had a problem using it on a daily basis. I chalk that up to regular maintenance.
Also note that the Maestro Plus is not a great grinder for espresso. It produces too many fines or coffee powder and it is prone to fastt burr wear at the espresso setting where you will hear metal touching metal. This is an excellent grinder for drip and FP.