Is Baratza Virtuoso for You?
Investing in a quality grinder is one of the simplest and most effective ways to improve your coffee-making skills. But how are you required to believe which model is correct for you when so many products appear to be great? We’ll present all the pros and cons of the Baratza Virtuoso+. This review will help you to determine if it’s a suitable unit for your kitchen.
Continue reading for an overview of the company and product, as well as in-depth analysis, some purchasing tips, and some alternatives available if this isn’t the one for you.
Baratza is a company located in the United States that makes electric coffee grinders. Kyle Anderson and Kyra Kennedy formed the company in 1999, intending to make affordable grinders for the domestic brewing industry.
You know you’re getting quality goods because they’re solely focused on producing the world’s best, consumer-level grinders.
What are the Benefits of Having a Grinder?
If you’re debating whether or not a grinder is worth every penny, rest assured that it is. This advice holds true independently of whether you want the Virtuoso+ or anything else entirely.
The most important reason to buy a grinder is to keep your coffee fresh. Freshly ground coffee is just as essential as newly roasted beans.
When you buy pre-ground coffee, it will go bad much faster, so using a grinder is particularly important for people who want to buy in bulk.
Baratza Virtuoso Review
If you don’t want to read the full explanations and breakdowns of this article, skip ahead to the main points and our most valuable takeaways on the machine’s upsides and downsides.
Why We Like Virtuoso
- Since it’s geared more towards manual and drip brewing, the 40 grind settings are a decent selection to use.
- Despite the mid-level price tag and metal parts, the Virtuoso feels like a top-quality unit.
- As always, we are passionate fans of consistency, and on that front, the Virtuoso+ delivers. The range of grinds throws most of the rival products out of the ring with a few slight difficulties.
- Baratza’s customer support is truly excellent.
Why We Don’t Like Virtuoso
- The Baratza Virtuoso+ is still a little bit noisy, like other electric grinders, mainly if you forget to put your lid on a hopper.
- If you run this machine at the maximum rpm for an extended time, you risk destroying your beans due to the high-temperature gradient.
- The grounds bin’s capacity (5.1oz) and the bean hopper (8.0oz) differ, which may be a problem for some users. The ground bin is also opaque.
- The price is high for what you really get; you can get professional devices with 60+ grind settings for less money.
Baratza Virtuoso: Grind Consistency
This unit has a whopping 40 grind settings. However, the quality of the options is more relevant than the number of settings available. So, let’s look at the consistency of the grind.
You’ll find some inconsistency in your grind if you go to the top of the ground level near #40. Since coarser grinds need wider gaps in the burrs, more clumps fall through the cracks. This is relatively common across the table.
That, however, will not derail your plans for a French press or cold brew. At a lower setting, you can still produce a consistent coarse grind with Baratza Virtuoso.
This machine is most consistent in the mid-range settings, near the grind size used for drip methods. This setting is around #20-#30.
The ground stays consistent at the lower, finer end. However, we believe it is not sufficient enough for a non-pressurized portafilter. If you have a sophisticated semi-automatic unit, look for one that has a broader range or is explicitly made for espresso brewing.
The Baratza has the advantage of being as straightforward or as complicated as you want it to be. If you don’t want to mess with the unit, you can use the 40 grind levels at 450 rpm. All will be perfect.
However, if you want to adjust the rotational speeds or grind time, you can do so by opening the gearbox. You can change between 405 to 495 rpm instead of the usual 450 rpm. Additionally, the ground speed can be adjusted between 1.5 and 2.4 g/sec, which is quite interesting.
Nonetheless, without all of that stuff, this is a straightforward machine to operate. You can also grind directly into a pressurized portafilter with the handy pulse grinder.
There are no cons about the build quality. The Virtuoso+ has the elegant, classy look that you’d expect for this price. It has an elevated feel to it, thanks to the metal base and top. With a DC motor, this unit has 40mm steel burrs made in Europe. This means you can expect years of reliability and longevity before you need to search for spare parts.
Baratza products are covered by excellent customer service and a one-year warranty in regards to their solid construction.
Cleaning and Maintenance
Cleaning every electric grinder is a chore, and there is mixed feedback about how easy or hard it is to clean this one. However, here are our thoughts on the topic. Yes, some wrangling and upending may be needed to clean every nook and cranny of this machine’s inner workings.
The pieces that you DO need to clean and inspect (the burrs, hopper, and grounds bin) are readily accessible. So all you need is a cloth, a brush and a few minutes to get started.
On a separate note, Baratza advises consumers to fix rather than replacing their devices as wear and tear inevitably takes its toll on the machine.
The Baratza Virtuoso is marketed as the ideal machine for beginning your manual brewing quest. And it certainly does its job in terms of offering you a range of grind choices as well as a few extra features to make you feel like an expert.
This machine sits in the middle of the famous entry-level machines (like the Baratza Encore, Capresso Infinity, and Bodum Bistro) and the more feature-rich, customizable expert-level devices.
All in all, it is a reliable and trustworthy unit. However, we believe that for the majority of people, opting for anything other than this at a similar or lower price point would suit them just as well or better.