Solis Maestro grinder...? about replacing a part

wallycatJuly 31, 2013

My dear grinder, after nearly 15 years, has developed an issue.
I was cleaning it and the side "clip"/edge on the nylon casing that holds the burr in place has broken off (both sides).
They offer replacement parts for this but said the new round replacement is difficult to put in.
Has anyone done this? Is it truly difficult or impossible?
I could buy a one piece unit, but the comment is that it would no longer do espresso grind (sort of the reason I bought this machine).

Is it time to dump it and start fresh or invest the time (and thankfully under $20) to try and fix it?
After 15 years, is there anything better out there? better and cheaper??

Appreciate any feedback.

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weissman

I can't speak to your machine but I have a Baratza Virtuoso and had a similar problem with it. The plastic ring holding the upper burrs had 3 plastic flanges broken off. I was in the same dilemma as your but Baratza told me I could easily replace the plastic ring for about $3 (the shipping cost was actually a few dollars more than that :-). They told me how to snap the burrs out from the old ring and insert them into the new ring and it worked fine. II could have also bought the ring with new burrs included but they told me it wasn't necessary.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 5:03PM
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wallycat

Thanks...
Out of curiosity, does anyone know how long burr grinder "blades" stay sharp? at some point, I am wondering if a new machine is smarter.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 8:33PM
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herring_maven

We had an early model Solis Maestro, sold by Baratza -- probably like wallycat's. As happened to both wallycat and weissman, we "learned" or experienced the weak point in the grinder, the tabs of the plastic burr holder.

Baratza is one of the best customer service companies that this planet Earth has yet seen, and it has on-line a detailed step-by-step tutorial to replace the burr holder ring. The part itself is cheap, so we tried it.

Unfortunately, the first step of the burr holder ring replacement procedure is to separate the bdy of the grinder from the base -- in order to expose the innards so that the old burr holder ring can be removed. The body is attached to the base by snap tabs; you simply pull the body off the base. (It's not that simple; read on.)

Although we exercised extraordinary care, when we were pulling the body of the Solis Maestro off its base, the snap tabs broke off just as the tabs on the burr holder ring had broken off. After we replaced the burr holder and reassembled the grinder as well as we could, the grinder did not work right.

The good news: Baratza's website has a place where you can buy "factory" refurbished grinders at a steep discount. We replaced our Solis Maestro with a refurbished Starbucks Barista-branded Baratza grinder that is effectively a Maestro Plus (upgrade to the Maestro) less the timer on the on/off dial. The price (which I do not recall at the moment) was very reasonable. There should be more companies lke Baratza; I wish there were.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 8:44PM
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wallycat

Good to know.
I am holding the top part of the burr with they nylon casing with the broken off tabs. It will be interesting to hear how that gets removed from the nylon and replaced with the new nylon (?) holder.

I am not a purist (for coffee or espresso) and just want to make sure I don't over-buy/over-replace this item.
I confess I actually LIKE the Cafe Bustelo preground, which to me, is espresso ground. I own a gaggia espresso machine and the Bustello works well with that, so again, just want to make sure I am not overthinking this.

DH is not a coffee drinker; he fundamentally does not begrudge me anything I say I need....
want to make sure I am replacing or buying based on need and not want.
if the part is replaceable, it makes sense as a first step. My question is whether the burrs/conical grinding mech. ever need to be replaced and when...at that point, it would make sense to buy new/refurb and not fix what I have.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 9:54PM
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herring_maven

Simple answer: the burrs will wear out; they are not impervious to wear. But they should have many years of life in normal (noncommercial) use.
IF you can separate the grinder body from the grinder base, the burr holder replacement is a lead pipe cinch.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 11:54PM
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wallycat

I am not sure I know what a lead pipe cinch is, but maybe my DH will figure it out.
I ordered the part and was relieved that they could snail-mail it vs. UPS it ($12.00 difference). Seeing as Baratza is in Bellevue and I am in Port Townsend, I would have hoped not a huge shipping issue.
When I spoke with them, they did say that the burrs should last for 500# of coffee before showing any wear. I think I have another 5-10 years left!

The harness that the burr (the cylinder part) is in is what I am replacing. THey did make it sound easy on the phone. We shall see.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2013 at 12:08AM
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weissman

I'm a little confused. If it's the upper burr ring that needs replacing, you definitely don't need to separate the grinder body from the base. You only need to remove the hopper and then lift out the upper burr ring straight up and out. To remove the burrs from the ring, you need to use a small screwdriver on the bottom tabs to snap them out. Then you can easily snap the burrs into the new ring. The Baratza web site has a trouble shooting section for all their models. They do have a document about how to separate the body from the base, but if I understand that you simply need to replace the upper burr ring, then you won't need to do this.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2013 at 1:35AM
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herring_maven

wallycat: "I am not sure I know what a lead pipe cinch is ..."

something very easy

Here is a link that might be useful: Merriam-Webster's definition of the phrase

    Bookmark   August 2, 2013 at 6:56AM
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wallycat

Ah...thanks herringmaven ;-)

Yup, I have the top part sitting and waiting for the new collar. I will get the screwdriver at the ready when the new part arrives.
I'll check out their site; the tech guy was very nice and said he would hold my hand via phone if I needed it.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2013 at 1:33PM
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wallycat

Just any FYI for anyone interested.
The part came yesterday and it took less than a minute to replace, and reassemble the hopper. Truly LESS THAN A MINUTE!!
I cannot believe how BEAUTIFULLY it runs now.
I shudder to think how long the hinge/flange was broken as I had started thinking the machine was failing. It is now amazing.
Tried to get the top part off again, but such a hassle that I am planning to do little cleaning of it, hope it lasts another 5 years and then replace it....WOOOHOOOO.
and it is so much quieter now!!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 11:17PM
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weissman

Which top part are you talking about? To remove the bean hopper, you turn it all the way in one direction and lift it straight up. To remove the burr ring, you grasp the two tabs between the thumb and forefinger and lift straight up. The people at Baratza can walk you through it, if necessary. Good idea to clean out the burrs every so often.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 3:02PM
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wallycat

Weissman,
thank you.
The new collar replacement for the round burr is also round and there is ZERO room for fingers to grasp anything.
If I get desperate, I will phone them.
Thanks again for the virtual hand-hold.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 5:22PM
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weissman

oops - you're right! I went to the baratza web page and the parts for your Solis Maestro are different from my Virtuouso. The description of your burr holder actually says:

(5068) Burr Holder for Solis Maestro, MP, and other. The original Solis burr holder was flat on two sides. The new burr holder is round and difficult to get in and out of the grinder.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 7:36PM
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wallycat

Yup; I'd say near impossible....but I'll give it a few months and then phone them if I decide to clean it. I've never removed the bottom (cone) burr to clean just brushed it off as best I could.
Maybe the easiest is to grind some rice through it.....

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 7:13PM
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