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Baratza Virtuoso Review: Why is it so Hot?

The Baratza Virtuoso is one of the best burr coffee grinders in the world, offering users consistency in grind and a super classy style that makes it easy to leave out on the counter for guests to see.

When it comes to home brewing, you can have the best brewing equipment possible and it can all be for naught ...if you don’t have a truly superior grinder to go along with it. The truth is, a good grind is an absolutely KEY element to a properly brewed cup of coffee. With that in mind, we present to you our Baratza Virtuoso review.

The Baratza Virtuoso 'In A Nutshell'

The Baratza Virtuoso Burr Grinder
  • Aesthetic Appeal
  • Ease Of Use
  • Brew Control Ability
  • Portability
  • Price
4.72
the Baratza Virtuoso on white background

The Baratza Virtuoso Burr Grinder is perfect for the home espresso aficionado who realizes the importance of a decent grinder. From it’s solid, metal casing to its impressive 40 grind settings, this elite installment of the Baratza family is an ideal piece to include in your home brewing setup.

On top of its impressive grinding capabilities and quality build, it’s also quite a small grinder, making it the perfect size for your average sized kitchen, family or small office.


A Few Things To Consider Before Getting A Grinder

As with any serious investment into your coffee gear, you’re going to want to make sure you understand what exactly your shopping for before making any long-term decisions. Here are a few important tips to keep in mind when looking for a quality grinder.

Burrs: ceramic or steel?

Just to state the obvious, if you’re looking to make quality coffee, you need a burr grinder.

None of those chopping grinders here, please!

But even if you get a burr grinder, there are still a lot of differences!

One of the main things to look for is if the grinder has either ceramic or steel burrs. Simply put, steel burrs, while still quality, are generally cheaper but can wear out faster. Ceramic, on the other hand, lasts a long time but can be pricey.

There’s also the difference of flat versus conical burrs, with conical usually being better and, again, a little bit more pricey, but when it comes to home brewing, either one isn’t usually a deal breaker.

What will you be brewing?

Another thing to keep in mind is what you plan on brewing.

From course French Press grinds to fine espresso and even superfine Turkish coffee, you’re going to want to make sure that the grinder you purchase has enough settings to grind what you’ll need.

Consistency and dependability so you don’t pull your hair out!

Finally, it’s good to keep your eyes peeled for reviews on the consistency and dependability of the grind of the machine.

If a grinder doesn’t yield a consistent grind, it’s going to be very difficult to brew a cup of coffee with consistent taste!

Alright, now that we’ve covered some things to keep in mind, let’s get on to the review!


The Baratza Virtuoso Burr Grinder Review

a perspective view of the Baratza Burr Grinder

The Virtuoso produces a grind that’s ideal for everything from espresso to French Press, delivering a grind of magnificent quality and equal consistency. In fact, it's uniformity in producing both the fine and the course grinds is so well done that it puts it in a class of its own. Its no wonder it keeps being voted best coffee grinder for home baristas each year (more on that here).

From a host of grind settings to a thin, compact profile that makes it an easy piece to keep right out on the counter, this unit is one of the best grinders you can get at this price range.

One of the only concerns we have with this one (which is common with grinders on this level) is that the metal parts are only found on the top and at the bottom of the grinder. So, while this is certainly an improvement compared to, say, the previous Baratza model, the Encore, it doesn’t change the fact that the rest of the body is still purely plastic.

This has led to the occasional review online mentioning breaking plastic parts, but again, there aren’t a ton of “better built” options in this price range, so it’s not a deal breaker in our humble opinion. 

PROS

  • Consistent grinds on various brewing methods
  • 40 grind settings
  • Compact in size and perfect for average-sized spaces
  • Quiet and less static

CONS

  • On the higher end of the pricing scale for a home grinder
  • It is small, so the ground coffee container is not fit for large quantities

Burrs that are built to deliver a wide range of consistency

The conical burr's on this grinder results are 40mm and have a grind at speed of about 1.5 to 2.4 g/second.

These burrs have the ability to grind to a uniform size at a very consistent rate - which is one of the crucial differences between a cup of coffee, and a damn good cup of coffee.

The machine boasts an impressive 40 grind settings straight from the factory — and if you really want to, you can even get more than that! (See more in the video below!)

Whether you're after anything from a Press Pot to an espresso, the Virtuoso can and will deliver.

A motor built for your peace of mind

With this unit one thing is clear: the motor is definitely one of the finer ones in burr grinder grinder market.

The powerful DC motor helps the grinder to produce up to four times the output with twice as much of the efficiency as an AC motor (commonly found in standard grinders within this class).

The fact that the motor spins at less than one-third of the speed also makes the Virtuoso one of the quietest grinders within this price range.

The motor is protected by a thermal safety device that protects it from overheating while at the same time resetting the motor once it has cooled off - meaning you have peace of mind that your machine won't overdo it and fail on you (even though it comes with a standard 1-year warranty anyway).

A note on cleaning

Cleaning any grinder can be a hassle, and with the Virtuoso grinder you still may need to turn the entire machine upside down in order to get anything out.

Keep in mind, however, that when cleaning a grinder it is the burrs that need to be cleaned not the whole machine, and in the case of the Virtuoso, the burrs can be easily removed, as can the hopper as well.

If you’re more of a visual learner, you can find out all about the Baratza Virtuoso grinder here!


Not Sure About The Virtuoso? Here Are A Couple Of Alternatives

Of course, just because we’re big fans of the Virtuoso doesn’t mean its necessarily the right grinder for you. From cost to style, here are a couple of other options for your humble consideration.

The Baratza Encore

a perspective view of the Baratza Encore Grinder

The “little brother” of the Virtuoso, the Baratza Encore is an excellent burr coffee grinder that comes in at a fraction of the price of the Virtuoso.

Of course, this doesn’t happen magically. You can see right from the getgo that saving a little green means you’re losing the metallic pieces of the Virtuoso that give it a little bit more class and durability, but if you’re looking for a great grinder at a lower price point, this is a great way to get the most bang for your buck and still get a consistent, quality grind from a grinder with 40 settings, a ton of other great features, and a great reputation.

You can read our entire rundown on the Encore here as well as our comparison of the two Baratza models here.

The Rancilio SD Rocky

Rancilio Rocky

Next up we have the Rancilio SD Rocky burr grinder.

If you’re looking for something a little bit beefier and more industrial than the Virtuoso, this is a great one to check out.

From its black or black and stainless steel decor options to its blue tinted hopper (to preserve bean freshness) and its whopping 50mm commercial grade burrs, this grinder is built like a tank.

Of course, all of the extra flash and ability also comes at a higher price point as well. But if money is no object, this is certainly an incredible grinder for your home brewing setup. Check our review of the Rancilio Rocky here.


The Verdict

The Baratza Virtuoso is a perfectly designed coffee grinder with impressive ability and powerful features. It’s sleek design also makes it a perfect addition to your home espresso collection.

We hope that through our Baratza Virtuoso review you've seen the light like we have (this is our favorite grinder on the market).

the Virtuoso grinder on a white surface

From it’s sleek design to its dependable motor, its quiet sound, and its consistency of grind right across all forty of its built in settings, the Virtuoso is one of the premier home grinders on the market. When the rubber hits the road, the Baratza Virtuoso is our number one favorite.

Alex
 

Alex is the Founder and Editor of Homegrounds.co. He is passionate about brewing amazing coffee at home, and teaching others to do the same.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 1 comments
Florian - March 29, 2017

what would be the next step up from the virtuosso? any of the other Baratza grinders or do other companies have something comparable? I was trying to look at Mahlkoenig Vario but seems discontinued maybe? in short, arent there a few contenders for ‘best’ home pour over grinder available?

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