Should you choose an older model or a modern offering? Learn about two of the most popular coffee grinders in detail.
To any coffee connoisseur worth their salt, any run-of-the-mill method for brewing a cup of joe simply doesn’t cut it. From the choice of coffee beans to the brand of coffee filters, everything has to be absolutely perfect for them to get the highly flavorful caffeine fix they have come to know and love. This is also the reason why these coffee enthusiasts almost always insist on grinding coffee beans at home.
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Before they start making their brew, the coffee has to be freshly ground in front of their very eyes. It is one of those rules that stays the same on a constant basis, no matter where they come from or what kind of coffee they like.
Before you deem this as an eccentric quality of an avid coffee consumer, there are very good reasons behind this insistence. Whenever you grind coffee beans, the signature coffee aroma that goes into the air is actually evidence of the coffee oxidizing into thin air. As opposed to whole coffee beans, ground coffee is prone to losing its natural flavor and aroma to oxygen over time.
That’s why pre-ground coffee that is prepared and packaged by a vendor would never have the same flavor as whole coffee beans that you grind yourself. No matter what kind of packaging is used or what kind of storage tips are employed, a certain loss of flavor and aroma is always present whenever you buy ground coffee off the shelf.
In that way, coffee aficionados deem it absolutely essential to grind their own coffee beans just before they are about to make a brew. Doing so brings the most flavor from their choice of coffee beans, and offers a cup of joe that remains unsurpassed in flavor and aroma to one that’s made from ground coffee. Simply put, grinding coffee beans at home is one of the most important steps in making a delicious brew. If you are someone who loves your coffee, then knowing the importance of why and how to grind coffee at home is essential to getting the most out of your coffee fix.
But even when you make up your mind about grinding your own coffee beans, it is not always easy to choose just how to go about it. You have manual grinders and you have electric ones, you have grinders with blender blades and you have ones with burr blades in them. Even when you identify a credible brand such as Baratza to get your grinder from, you are then lost in a sea of different options that can be overwhelming for someone who doesn’t shop for coffee grinders often.
Keeping this in mind, we are here to compare two of the best coffee grinders from Baratza that have been all the rage in the past few years. Both of them are burr grinders. Both of them also identify as the top of the line options for grinding coffee beans at home. With a detailed comparison, this guide will help you decide between these two options to find a grinder that’s the perfect match for you – all without having to go through a sea of options in the first place.
Baratza Preciso vs Virtuoso Grinders
As mentioned above, both Baratza Preciso and Virtuoso grinders are two of the best options when you are going down the route of grinding your own coffee beans.
Both grinders come from the home of Baratza, which has carved a name for itself among coffee enthusiasts as being the provider of reliable coffee grinders since 1999. Like all Baratza products, both grinders sport a professional look that could fit right in with any modern kitchen. They are powerful enough to hold their ground in a professional setting and easy enough to be used by anyone who is trying to learn how to grind coffee at home.
With that being said, when comparing Baratza Preciso vs Virtuoso, both of these grinders have their own different traits that need to be examined in a detailed manner. For instance, one of the most crucial details that set both of them apart is that the Baratza Preciso has been discontinued by the company. You can still find a model easily on speciality sites (options on eBay come and go). But it most likely wouldn’t be a new product and will be sold under the used items section. At the time of writing, the average price for a used Preciso grinder dance around $200.
On the other hand, the Baratza Virtuoso is still going strong for those who prefer grinding coffee beans at home. It can be bought from places such as Amazon or Baratza’s online store itself. At the time of writing, the grinder is available under the moniker of Virtuoso+, and sold at a retail price of $249.
This price could sometimes fluctuate given specialty store discounts around certain holidays or during clearance sales. But you should keep this retail price in mind as a ballpark while making your decision. Some Virtuoso models are also available at Baratza’s own website as refurbished pieces, which cut their price to approximately $175 each.
For those looking for the best coffee grinders on a budget, it doesn’t get any better than finding an old Baratza Preciso model or even purchasing a new Virtuoso+ model. It’s because both of these grinders sport such qualities that would not only let you grind coffee without any hassles, but would give you complete control over the ground coffee’s texture as well.
To see what each of these grinders has to offer, let’s take a look at Baratza Preciso vs Virtuoso in a detailed way.
Baratza Preciso – What’s So Special About It?
Baratza Preciso was launched by the company as its flagship model in 2010. It is a conical burr grinder that provides even coffee grounds, and comes with very fine macro/micro-adjustments. If you know how to grind coffee at home, then this particular quality could come in very handy.
It’s because the Baratza Preciso offers not one, not two, but 40 different settings of grinding your coffee beans to a consistency of your choice. From super fine to coarse and everything in between, you could easily use the machine for grinding your own coffee beans exactly the way you like. This is something that Baratza models have become known for, so finding this quality in an older model that is known for being named after the trait of precision doesn’t seem too out of the ordinary.
But that’s not all.
While Preciso sports Baratza’s proprietary 40-grind adjustment model, it goes a step further than most of the other grinders in the market. Under its 40-grind setting, the Baratza Preciso allows the user to choose from a secondary micro-adjustment setting, which divides the 40-step model into 11 different settings.
Yes, that is correct. If you choose to go with Baratza Preciso, you are opening your coffee customization to a plethora of grind options through its 40mm conical burrs.
This makes Baratza Preciso the best fit for those who are simply nothing but pedantic about their coffee. If you want to get professional-grade settings while grinding coffee beans at home, you don’t need to look any further than the Baratza Preciso.
The micro grind settings offered by Baratza Preciso are not for nothing either. They are not there to simply add a feature for the sake of adding it. But they serve a very real purpose of letting you make the most out of your coffee making choices.
For instance, this 40-grind setting with micro-adjustments allows you to get the best grind for coffee types such as espresso, which need you to have super-fine coffee grounds for best results. At the same time, if you prefer another kind of coffee, then the Preciso could still come through as one of the best coffee grinders you can get your hands on. For instance, if you prefer French press over espresso, the Preciso could still come through for you.
The Baratza Preciso comes with speed control option that maintains the burr rotation to 500 RPM. This maintains a certain quality to the grind while also reducing excessive heat and pressure on the machine. The grind range goes from 200 to 1170 microns, with the speed to grind ranging from 1.5g/second to 2.4g/second.
The grinder also comes with a portable holder, or portaholder, which allows you to get your ground coffee directly into an espresso portafilter. But if you are grinding your coffee for an option other than espresso, you can still use a 5oz grounds bin for grinding your own coffee beans. The in-machine bean hopper has a capacity of 8oz.
To give you an idea of how much space you will need to make on your counter, the Baratza Preciso weighs almost 8lbs and sports the dimensions of 12x35x16.
Baratza itself recommends that the Preciso model is the best fit for espresso and other manual pour-over brewing methods. But users who are open to enjoying different types of coffees are still very satisfied with their Preciso grinder and its quality of grinding coffee beans at home for various textures and settings.
The only drawback? The settings are adjusted manually, which seems out of date in this age of digital and modern devices. Oh, and the fact that you cannot find a new model for this grinder also puts a dent in your search to own a brand new coffee grinder.
Baratza Virtuoso+ – Still Alive and Kickin’
Baratza Virtuoso was introduced by the company in 2005 as the first conical burr grinder that came from the iconic firm. Since then, Virtuoso has been one of the brand’s most popular models to date, with regular updates being made to keep it in line with demanding and evolving industry standards.
Much like Preciso, Virtuoso is also considered one of the best coffee grinders even if you are learning how to grind coffee at home, or know everything there is about the process of grinding your own coffee beans. With the different upgrades that have been made to the original Virtuoso model over the years, it also stands as one of the easiest to use grinders in its class.
In its current form, the Baratza Virtuoso+ has retained its 40mm conical burrs. It also still sports a 40-grind setting, which lets you go from super-fine to coarsely ground coffee according to your choice. From espresso to French Press, and from pour-over to drip coffee, you can select from your desired settings to get a grind that fits your needs the best.
Coming to Baratza Preciso vs Virtuoso, unlike the Preciso, the Virtuoso+ doesn’t have any micro-adjustment settings to it. But it somewhat makes up for it with the strength of its burrs. The company claims that when you are grinding coffee beans at home through the Virtuoso+, you can get the consistency you require for espresso while also getting the coarse grounds you expect for your pour-over coffee. In practice, however, the micro-adjustments offered by the Preciso surpass the Virtuoso+ by a large margin.
That doesn’t mean that the Virtuoso+ loses the battle to Preciso even before it has begun. This coffee grinder still has quite a few tricks up its sleeves when it comes to establishing its presence against its discontinued counterpart.
Where Baratza Preciso has a traditional look that comes with a manual setting mechanism, the Baratza Virtuoso+ has a digital interface with a LED-backlit grounds bin that gives the appliance a more modern look. It also comes with a direct drive gear reduction transmission, which in simple English gives the conical burr more juice with direct power delivered to it through the DC motor. It also has a thermal overload cutout function to protect cutouts caused by excessive heat. These safety and ease of use features make the Virtuoso+ a good option for those who are learning how to grind coffee at home. This outlook on the Baratza Preciso vs Virtuoso battle gives you another perspective on the matter.
Other than that, the Baratza Virtuoso+ offers almost the same features as the Baratza Preciso – cementing the reputation of both models as two of the best coffee grinders. The Virtuoso+ has a slightly increased burr speed at 550 RPM, while sporting a grind range of 200 to 1200 microns. Its speed to grind range is the same as Preciso, maintaining the same stats of 1.5g/second to 2.4g/second.
Baratza Virtuoso+ doesn’t have the option for a portaholder, which means you will be resorted to transferring your grounds directly into the LED-backlit bin while grinding your own coffee beans. The size of the bin stands at 5oz, which is once again the same as the Baratza Preciso. Another thing that is similar between both coffee grinders is the in-machine bean hopper, which has a capacity of 8oz.
The size and weight of both models don’t paint a very different picture either. Weighing 8lbs with the dimensions of 12x35x16, the Virtuoso+ remains identical to Preciso in these stats.
Overall, the Baratza Virtuoso+ gets the company’s recommendation for being a perfect fit for all kinds of coffee brewing methods. But for coffee connoisseurs who have used both machines to their heart’s content for grinding coffee beans at home, there’s a slightly different story to be told here.
While Virtuoso+ remains a great all-rounder for a variety of brews, it’s Preciso that takes the cake for espresso enthusiasts. The Virtuoso+ delivers more power to the conical burrs, but the micro-adjustments in Persico leave the former behind in achieving the fineness that is needed for espresso grounds.
Which One to Buy?
Coming back to Baratza Preciso vs Virtuoso: Both appliances could easily be termed as two of the best coffee grinders that have come forward in recent years. With the discontinuation of Preciso, the difference in the budget is also thrown out the window, where you can get a used Preciso at almost the same price as a new Virtuoso+.
If you are someone who doesn’t mind using products that aren’t brand new and don’t have a modern design, then you could go for Baratza Preciso (the company still offers adjustment kits to keep your grinder maintained). This is especially true if you are looking for grinding coffee beans at home for espresso.
But if you are looking for a brand new model that sports all the modern design options while also being a great fit for most coffee grounds, then the Baratza Virtuoso+ would not disappoint. With availability at the company’s official site as well as Amazon, you could order one easily and enjoy it for years to come.