From the inception of the company in the late 1990s, Baratza has been solely focused on the manufacturing of coffee grinders and ensuring the availability of affordable appliances for their customers. This specification in manufacturing and loyalty to the production of only one line of appliances has contributed significantly to the quality of coffee grinders they are known for making.
As such, the company is a reputable one in the coffee grinding sphere, and this Baratza Virtuoso+ review charts how this product follows through on the standards set by the company.
Thanks in part to the concentration of the manufacturers on the production of only coffee grinders, Baratza products have always been praised for their amazing attention to detail and efficient design. This is exemplified by the way this coffee grinder has been designed to provide effective grinding and maintenance.
Based on performance and certain other criteria, the Baratza Virtuoso+ is considered by professional reviewers and customers alike to be a quality product. The manufacturers also offer exceptional customer service and warranty policies.
When it comes to overall performance, the Baratza Virtuoso+ stands up there with the best coffee grinders available. This is most exemplified by the reviews the appliance has garnered from customers. While these reviews could be accessed online, I would love to note that a key reason for the high praise received is due to the consistency of the grind produced.
This consistency, along with the very precise timer of the machine, continues to amaze reviewers. It can be safely assumed that both have played a big role in the popularity of this award-winning grinder and going forward, the grinder is expected to remain a favorite among coffee drinkers and baristas alike.
The type of grinder to be purchased is usually one of the first factors to be considered. The two types of coffee grinders available are the electric and manual models. As with most appliances that offer similar options within the market, both have their advantages and disadvantages. For one, the manual grinders are usually portable and suitable for grinding small batches. However, using them is a more labor-intensive process.
Electric coffee grinders are faster to use and generally more convenient. This is probably a key reason for their popularity in commercial settings. This electrical nature could, however, result in the machine being noisier.
The Baratza Virtuoso+ is an electrical coffee grinder despite its popularity as a home brewing machine. While this ensures that it provides quick and convenient service, the manufacturers have also gone to great lengths to make noise less of an issue.
This coffee grinder is quite easy to use, and it operates at a standard speed setting of about 450 rpm. However, this speed can be tinkered with to make it faster or slower, depending on your preference, but such a change could have other effects on the quality of your coffee. For instance, operating the coffee grinder at very high speeds for a long time could damage your coffee grind due to heat transfer. Though the machine comes with a built-in system that slows the speed and seeks to prevent this, don’t push too much.
As expected, the change in rpm results in a change in the grind time. As such, the machine could be rigged to work at between 405 to 495 rpm, which consequently results in speeds of between 1.5-2.4g/sec. 450 rpm and 2.0g/sec are the standard settings.
The Baratza Virtuoso+ comes with 40 grind settings, and this is especially important if you’re going to be preparing a wide variety of coffee which would require multiple different particle sizes. The zero setting produces an extremely fine grind, while the 40 setting is for the coarsest possible grind. In between, you should be able to figure out and select a grind setting that would be appropriate for your brewing technique or whichever brewing technique you want to use at a certain time.
At this 40 setting, there are more inconsistencies in the grind, but the larger gaps can explain these in the burrs at the setting, which allow larger particles to fall through. As such, it is not uncommon to have people avoid this problem by grinding at a setting low enough to avoid too much inconsistency but high enough to produce the coarse grind they need. The grind is considered to be most consistent at around the 20-30 sets.
As expected, the hopper of the Baratza Virtuoso+ grinder is made of plastic. Despite this, though, the hopper has been reported to be quite sturdy and durable by professionals and customers. The capacity of the hopper is about 8 oz. most customers are quite comfortable with this capacity. However, an area of complaint has been the discrepancy between the capacity of the hopper and that of the grounds bin.
It is expected that grinding would reduce the size of the particles and hence, the volume of space they would require. So, this perceived discrepancy shouldn’t be a problem at all. To help with this, the grounds bin is also labeled with a fill line indicating the point where the bin should be emptied.
Even better is the fact that the bin is lighted to help users of the machine see clearly when the line has been reached. The lighting has been called insignificant or unnecessary by some professionals but judging by how customers are quick to point out the few faulty lights, and I would go out on a limb and say they are quite cool and handy.
The Baratza Virtuoso+ utilizes a digital display timer which would come in quite handy if you keep the hopper full of coffee beans for grinding while you perform other duties. The timer could negate the need for weighing your coffee beans first but leaving the beans in the hopper means it would go stale faster.
The timer of this machine maxes out at 40 seconds. This means that extended grinding times that could damage coffee quality are less of a problem.
When it comes to burr material in coffee grinders, there are two options; ceramic or steel. While the ceramic takes long to dull and has been claimed to prevent overheating, the steel ones tend to start sharper and are considered more durable.
The Baratza Virtuoso+ utilizes a hardened steel alloy burr which is conical in shape. The conical shape of the burr means that it would rotate at a slower rate (compared to if it were flat), but the slower speed reduces the chances of overheating. Such a situation could mess with the quality and flavor of your grind.
The choice of the conical hardened steel burr also means that maintenance would be easier. By avoiding the flat burrs that are more disposed to clogging, the manufacturers have prioritized the maintenance of this machine and the convenience of the customer.
The Baratza Virtuoso+ coffee grinder weighs in at about 7.05 pounds. This is quite important as the appliance is heavy enough to ensure its stability but light enough not to be too bulky. This weight, as well as the quality of the materials used in making the grinder, lends a professional feel to the machine.
Away from the weight of the machine, though, the manufacturers of this coffee grinder have another bit of innovation in the form of an accessory that could help make your coffee grinding even more convenient.
It is a testament to the commitment of Baratza to making quality products that despite the level of praise their products receive in the electronic coffee grinding community, they still strive to improve their services.
Though the Baratza Virtuoso+ is quite stylish, it doesn’t achieve this to the detriment of durability. The machine is made from high-quality parts (such as the metal top and base) to ensure this durability, but good maintenance practice would go a long way in extending the life span.
Maintenance here would include cleaning. Though you can attempt disassembling the entire machine for comprehensive cleaning, a simple brush could do a proper job cleaning the major parts.
The DC motor used in the machine also indicates that it is rugged enough to last a couple of years before requiring a replacement. The durability expected of the machine is also ably supported by the customer care provided by the manufacturers. They encourage customers to repair rather than replace their coffee grinders and help this task by giving directions and solutions to any issue the grinder might encounter.
The company also provides manuals and step-by-step guides to aid repair and maintenance. Whatever spare parts are needed for such a situation could be ordered via the company’s website, and if your problem can’t be solved this way, there’s a warranty as well.
The admirable customer service also extends to the warranty. The company offers a one-year warranty policy, and this is made easy and quick to satisfy customer’s needs efficiently.
While some have been quick to label the Baratza Virtuoso+ as expensive, I feel the label is unjustified. For one, the virtuoso provides more flexibility in use compared to your regular home brewing grinders. This appliance simultaneously strives (and mostly) to provide service that is suitable for home consumers of coffee but would not be out of place in a commercial café or coffee shop.
As such, the machine is a purchase at its price. It goes for between $249.95 to $259.95 and is available for order via online retailers or the company’s website.
The features of this coffee grinder have been touched upon from the burr to the grind settings. This combination of features is important to the overall quality of the appliance, but no product is completely perfect.
As stated earlier, the Baratza Virtuoso+ has its advantages and disadvantages, and these are listed in the table below.
|It produces a consistent grind||The machine might be unsuitable for commercial use|
|it is a perfectly weighted appliance||It might not be suitable for certain types of coffee|
|It is very suitable as a homebrew appliance||Due to its electrical nature, some people might consider it noisy|
|It is quite easy to use||The coffee beans could popcorn around in the hopper as it empties during grinding|
|The machine is backed by excellent customer service from the manufacturers|
|The machine is durable and stylish|
As I’ve tried to explain in this Baratza Virtuoso+ review, there is very little doubt about the quality of the product. The reputation of the manufacturers confirms this. However, if extra confirmation is needed, you could always check out the customer reviews readily available online for more assurance. Once sure, though, don’t sleep on this; up your coffee game with a grind of better quality.