Baratza Virtuoso+ Review
Pros: Good grind consistency, burly components
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|Price||$269 List||$200 List|
$199.95 at Amazon
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|Pros||Good grind consistency, burly components||Great grind consistency, intuitive interface, relatively clean and quiet||Good grind consistency, relatively inexpensive||Quiet, modern design, user-friendly||Relatively clean and easy to use, quieter than most blade models|
|Cons||Expensive||Not ideal for coarser grinds, expensive||Somewhat loud, can make a mess||Expensive, inconsistent grind quality, messy||Produces inconsistent grinds|
|Bottom Line||A consumer-level model that is built more like a durable, commercial-level machine||This grinder provides top-notch performance in every category except for the coarsest of grinds||Excellent performance and one of the best values on the market make this a great choice||Ideal for those that value aesthetics and minimal sound, but the grind consistency was unfortunately subpar||One of the better blade models on the market, but definitely don't expect it to produce consistent grinds|
|Rating Categories||Baratza Virtuoso+||Breville the Smart Pro||Bodum Bistro||Fellow Ode||Mr. Coffee 12 Cup E...|
|Grind Consistency (35%)|
|User Friendliness (25%)|
|Specs||Baratza Virtuoso+||Breville the Smart Pro||Bodum Bistro||Fellow Ode||Mr. Coffee 12 Cup E...|
|Grinding Mechanism||Conical burr||Conical burr||Conical burr||Flat burr||Blade|
|Burr/Blade Material||High-carbon steel||Stainless steel||Stainless steel||Stainless steel||Stainless steel|
|Best Brew Application||Pour over||Pour over, espresso||Pour over, french press||Pour over||Pour over, french press|
|Dimensions||6.7" x 6.7" x 12.6"||12.5" x 8.5" x 16.3"||7.6" x 7.1" x 12.5"||9.4″ x 4.2″ x 9.5″||5" x 5" x 9"|
|Weight||7.05 lbs||6.4 lbs||3.2 lbs||9.9 lbs||1.7 lbs|
|Cup Material||Plastic||Plastic||Plastic||Metal||Plastic, metal|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Because of its extra burly components, we think the Baratza Virtuoso+ is a great choice for large families, small offices, or any other setting where a grinder is going to see heavy use.
Our first grind consistency tests involved running pour-over-sized grinds through a set of 5 mesh sieves to see how many of those grinds ended up in the ideal size range. In this test, the Virtuoso+ kept 59% of the grinds in that ideal size range, with an additional 23% sitting just on either side of that ideal. That means that only 18% of the grinds sat at the extreme fine or coarse end of the spectrum, which are the grinds most likely to impact a brew negatively. Very few models were able to best this mark in our testing.
In our pour-over testing, we were able to get the Virtuoso+ very close to the ideal extraction time of 3 minutes. We also found that cup-to-cup, this extraction time varied very little. This is a good indication that the grinder is dishing out similar results time after time, making it easier to get your ideal cup of coffee every morning.
We did find that this machine got a bit less consistent at both the finer and coarser ends of the spectrum. This isn't a huge deal on the fine end, as this machine doesn't really get fine enough to make proper espresso grounds anyway. However, the extra fines (coffee dust) it produces at the coarser end of the spectrum could over-extract your French press brew a bit. We highly doubt it will totally ruin your French press brew, but there are other machines that perform better in this aspect.
The Virtuoso+ is also relatively good at dosing or producing the same amount of grinds every time. When we measured multiple sets of grinds produced from the same dosage setting, we found only a 1.32-gram discrepancy, making it an above-average performer in this test.
In our testing, the operation of the Virtuoso+ was cleaner than most, but certainly not the cleanest.
On a day-to-day basis, the Virtuoso+ doesn't require much cleanup. Neither the grind cup nor the grinding chute hang on to too many grinds. This reduces spillage and means that very few grinds manage to make their way out of the cup during the grinding process. However, the few grinds that do find their way out tend to gather in the little gap where the base of the machine meets the body. Once those discharged grinds build up enough to be noticeable, they can be a bit gunky and hard to clean.
We had almost no complaints with the day-to-day use of the Virtuoso+, with the only small annoyances arising when we took the machine apart for deep cleaning.
This machine has one large, analog grind collar for setting the grind size and one smaller dial with a correspondingly small digital display for setting the grind time (dose size). Neither of these functions are programmable (i.e., you can't program multiple settings and then summon them at the push of a button), but they will stay where you set them. Therefore, if you tend to grind the same amount/grind size of coffee each morning, you won't have to fuss with the settings.
Once we opened up the machine for deep cleaning, things got a little less streamlined. While the process itself is straightforward, we found the lower burr to be quite resistant to being taken out. Once the cleaning was done, we also had some issues getting the rubber gasket to line up and stay where it's supposed to be. While we certainly didn't enjoy this process, it's something that only needs to be done once in a while and thus shouldn't be considered a dealbreaker.
Despite a sturdier construction, the Virtuoso+ manages to keep things on the quieter side. The pitch is a bit higher than we'd like, but the sound stays very consistent and steady without any screeching accents that would otherwise upset your eardrums.
Multiple models on the market perform just as well, if not better, than the Baratza Virtuoso+ while selling for significantly less. However, this machine is likely to last longer than most when subjected to heavy use. Therefore, that price premium may be worth it in the long run if you regularly make more than 10 cups of coffee in a day.
The Baratza Virtuoso+ is a good all-around grinder that really shines as a workhorse for large families, small offices, or other situations where a grinder will be asked to grind much more coffee than the average small household.
— Max Mutter and Michelle Powell
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