The Baratza Virtuoso is a great mid-level consumer burr grinder for the price. It doesn’t have many bells and whistles, but is perfectly suited to grind anything from French press to AeroPress. Although Baratza says the grinder can grind for espresso, we wouldn’t recommend it unless you have a pressurized portafilter.
The Virtuoso looks great on the counter thanks to its sleek, minimalist design. We really like the silver metal accents on the top and bottom of the machine. Overall, the machine is incredibly stylish, compared to many other burr coffee grinders out there.
- Stylish – The Baratza Virtuoso takes a leap forward in style from its less expensive brother, the Baratza Encore. It features brushed chrome accents, a minimalist interface, and sleek body style
- Heavy duty – The Virtuoso feels more professional than other grinders in its class partly due to its weight; the machine weighs in at just over 8 pounds
- Adjustable timer – The adjustable timer may take some getting used to (it’s analog, after all), but we think it’s definitely a nice-to-have so that you can get more consistency between cups
- Grind for almost anything – The Baratza Virtuoso excels in grinding for medium to coarse grinds and is best for things like pour-over, AeroPress, or drip
- Front-facing pulse button – The pulse button on the front of the grinder is incredibly useful if you grind for espresso; it lets you hold your portafilter and press the button to grind the coffee all with one hand
- A bit noisy – As with all burr coffee grinders, this one is rather loud; be sure to leave the hopper lid on the hopper to cut back on some of the noise
- Grounds bin and hopper sizes – We’re not sure how this mismatch got through the engineering and design departments at Baratza, but the grounds bin can only hold 5.1 ounces of ground coffee and the hopper can hold 8 ounces of whole beans; you’ll want to make sure you don’t grind too much or you’ll risk clogging the grinder
Overall Score: 4.3/5
The quality of this machine is very high. From the stainless steel accents to the high-carbon steel conical burrs, this machine delivers as a high quality mid-level, consumer burr grinder.
The Baratza Virtuoso is the next step up from the Encore. It is considered to be a much more valuable grinder, especially because of the reduced coffee fines it produces during grinding. For the money, the Encore is an exceptional choice of grinder.
The Baratza Virtuoso is a very stylish machine. It comes complete with metal accents on both the top and base of the machine. These accents, combined with the sleek black body, make for a very well-designed machine.
Surprisingly, the Virtuoso is the same footprint as the Encore. It’s a rather small grinder, as electric burr grinders go. It also fits underneath most kitchen cabinets, which is a definite plus in our book.
The Baratza Virtuoso is an excellent mid-level consumer grinder that blends functionality with style. We have outlined our favorite features of the grinder.
Variable Grind Settings
The Baratza Virtuoso offers 40 unique grind settings. These settings range from espresso (fine) to French press (coarse). The grinder is capable of grinding coffee so that the particle size is between 200 and 1400 microns.
The grind setting can be adjusted by rotating the hopper clockwise or counterclockwise. A notch on the base of the hopper lines up with the markings at the top of the grinder so you know exactly what setting you’ve dialed your grinder to.
As a general rule, lower numbers yield a finer grind, while higher numbers yield a coarser grind. Baratza recommends the following settings for the various brewing methods:
|Espresso||Drip and Pour-Over||Full Immersion|
|2-6||Brewer 13-14||AeroPress 8-11|
|V60 13-14||Siphon 14|
|Chemex 20-21||French Press 30-32|
The Baratza Virtuoso has a pulse button located on the front of the grinder. This button can be pressed and held to run the grinder. Depending on how you make your coffee, this could prove incredibly useful.
At Triple Bar, we like to weigh our grounds before we brew. However, sometimes we will make larger pots of coffee and don’t really want to sit there weighing out every scoop of coffee.
This is where the pulse button is useful: simply tare the weight of your grounds bin, then place it in the grinder and begin to press the pulse button. When you think you’re getting close to your desired dose, you pulse the grinder to get just a bit more ground coffee out.
Another great use for the pulse button is for espresso. The Virtuoso does not have a portafilter holder, so the pulse button allows you to hold the portafilter under the spout and press the pulse button all with one hand.
Heavy-duty Steel Burrs
In the burr coffee grinder world, there are two main types of burrs: ceramic and steel. Both have their strengths and weaknesses, but generally consumer-level machines will have steel burrs.
The Baratza Virtuoso features 40mm M2 steel conical burrs. M2 steel is a form of high-carbon steel, making it incredibly resistant to wear.
The Virtuoso edges out over the Encore in this arena: the Virtuoso’s M2 steel burrs are more wear resistant than the Encore’s M3 steel burrs.
They’re guaranteed to last quite a long time, but when they do begin to wear, you can easily replace them through Baratza’s repair program—more on this later.
One of the more unique features of this grinder is the grind timer. On the side of the Virtuoso, there is a small dial with markings next to it. As you twist the dial, the grinder will start grinding.
Depending on how far you twist the dial, you can get up to 60 seconds of continuous grinding. This feature is great for grinding (relatively) repeatable doses of coffee every morning.
We recommend experimenting with different amounts of time until you achieve your desired grind time.
While we’d love to see a digital display with an integrated timer, that’s asking a lot for a reasonably-priced mid-level grinder.
Fast Grind Speed
One thing that the Virtuoso excels at is grinding speed. The grinder’s motor is capable of running up to 550 RPM without any beans in the hopper.
This translates to a grinding speed of 1.5 to 2.4 grams per second. The actual value is dependent on how full the grinder’s hopper is.
The fast grind speed will keep you focused on brewing and serving coffee, rather than waiting on the grinder to finish up. If you’ve ever used a hand grinder for a prolonged period of time, you will understand the frustration of slow grinding.
The Hopper, Grounds Bin, and Other Features
The Baratza Virtuoso comes with both a hopper and a grounds bin. The hopper is capable of holding up to 8 ounces of whole bean coffee. The grounds bin can hold 5 ounces before you run the risk of clogging the grinder.
If you’re planning to grind a full 8 ounces, it would be a good idea to empty the grounds bin when it begins to reach 4-5 ounces. Cleaning a clogged grinder is no fun.
A benefit of the 40mm burrs and the design of the Virtuoso is that the grinder has pretty low retention. Retention is the amount of ground coffee that’s left inside of the grinder after grinding. For example, if you dump 20 grams of coffee into the hopper and get 18 grams out, your retention is 2 grams.
Grind retention is an important factor to consider because any grounds left inside your grinder will become stale and begin to impact the flavor of future cups of coffee. Thankfully, the Virtuoso has pretty minimal grind retention, so it shouldn’t be an issue. You’ll still want to make sure you brush out the grinder on a regular basis.
The Virtuoso is a pretty good looking grinder from the stainless steel accents to the smooth contours of the case. The entire package looks sleek and sophisticated. Coupled with the minimalist controls, the Baratza Virtuoso will look great in any kitchen.
The device is rather small, especially as home burr coffee grinders go. The total footprint of the grinder is 4.7 x 6.3 x 13.8 inches, making it the exact dimensions of the Virtuoso Encore.
The grinder weighs in at approximately 8 pounds. This weight gives the Virtuoso its heavy-duty feel.
Repair, Don’t Replace
Baratza is incredibly focused on the customer experience. Part of that includes supporting their grinders for the lifetime of each unit.
To support their commitment to customer service, Baratza offers a grinder repair program. This program lets you send in your grinder at various points through its life to have Baratza repair it for a fraction of the cost of a new grinder.
If you’re more of the do-it-yourself type, Baratza also offers a full parts list that documents every part of your grinder.
The part numbers make for easy replacements directly from Baratza. The parts list even indicates the parts that are more frequently serviced like the motor or rubber gaskets.
We commend Baratza for their commitment to the longevity of their grinding equipment.
Cleaning and Maintenance
Cleaning the Baratza Virtuoso is very simple. The hopper can be quickly removed for easy access to the burrs. The burrs can then be brushed with a grinder brush to remove any stuck on oils or coffee.
In addition to brushing the burrs, you can also wash the stainless steel burrs with soapy water. Be sure to let them dry fully before putting them back into the machine.
Another way to clean the grinder is to use a tablet-based cleaner. We prefer to use Urnex’s Grindz. You simply dump the allotted amount of Grindz into the grinder, grind the tablets up, then run some coffee through the grinder to remove the Grindz. It’s a pretty straightforward process and we recommend doing it once a month or every time you switch coffees.
- High quality Natural fiber bristles & Wooden handle,A well made sturdy brush for everyday use
- This coffee grinder brush is specially designed to brush away coffee ground residue without damaging the blades.
- For proper maintenance it is essential to keep espresso equipment free of grounds and this brush is great for that. Helps maintain your expensive coffee equipment
- Comfortable, round handle,Long lasting bristles,Great for grinders and pasta makers
- Makes cleaning any type of grinder quick and easy
Last update on 2019-12-13 at 22:24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
- Removes coffee residue and oils in standalone coffee grinders (not for super automatic espresso machines)
- Patented, all-natural, food safe and gluten-free tablet absorbs and loosens coffee grounds
- Effectively cleans grinders without disassembling burrs or casings
- Use regularly to ensure proper hygiene and to maintain consistent grinder performance
- Ideal for use to prevent flavor transfer when switching between regular, decaffeinated and flavored coffee beans
Last update on 2019-12-13 at 17:42 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
- Hario V60 drip coffee scale measures in 0.1 gram increments for highest precision
- Includes a drip timer for perfect bloom times and pours each time
- Integrated timer for complete and total control of your coffee brewing process
- Auto power off in 5 minutes (not activated when the timer is on)
- Scale dimensions: 7.4" x 4.7" x 1.1" ; Uses 2 AAA batteries (included)
Last update on 2019-12-13 at 22:24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API