Freshly ground coffee fills your kitchen with a scent that is unlike any other, and makes your morning cup taste fresh and delicious. If you’ve never experienced freshly ground coffee, it’s definitely an experience you have to try.
With all the grinder options out there, it might be overwhelming for a newbie grinder. Today we’re going to talk about one of the best beginner grinders you can buy, the Baratza Virtuoso. We’ll talk about what makes the coffee grinder so great, and compare it to some of the other grinders on the market.
What We Look For in Coffee Grinders
We know a thing or two about coffee grinders here at Barista 411. When we’re testing out coffee grinders, there are a few specific qualities we keep an eye out for. Here are some of the parameters we use when choosing the best coffee grinders.
There’s more than one way to grind a coffee bean. The best coffee grinders will have multiple grind settings that range from fine to coarse. The versatility of the grind allows you to brew you coffee in various ways. For example, fine coffee grinds are perfect for espresso, while coarse grinds do well with French Press and other manual brews.
When we test out coffee grinders, we test out as many grind settings as possible. This helps us get a better idea of how well the machine can handle each grade of grind.
Grind Quality and Consistency
A coffee grinder should be able to grind all of the beans the same way, so the final grind looks consistent throughout. You don’t want any large chunks of beans in your espresso grind, nor do you want any sediment in your French Press. A high quality grind will be consistent throughout, and stay fresh long enough for you to make the best cup of coffee.
When looking at grind quality, we put the grinders through vigorous testing to ensure that the grind is consistent after each use. We sift through each grind, checking to make sure the grind looks thorough throughout.
Ease of Use
Unless you’re grinding by hand, you shouldn’t have to struggle to get your grinder going. The best coffee grinders have a simplistic control system that is easy to understand. Complicated professional machines aren’t necessarily bad, but it should still be relatively easy to control once you get past the learning curve.
When testing grinders, we start by following the instructions that come with the machine. This is to make sure that the instructions are easy to follow, and that there are no hidden surprises.
If you are planning on buying a quality coffee grinder, you’ll want a product that will last well beyond the first few uses. Some grinders can last a user up to 20 years, even with frequent use. These grinders are made from durable materials that will hold together through thousands of daily grinds.
To check the product lifespan, we first take a look into what other customers have reported. Typically, satisfied customers will leave positive reviews when a machine exceeds their expectations. We also put the grinder through various shock tests to make sure it can withstand just about anything you throw at it.
A grinder should be able to grind coffee, but that doesn’t mean that’s the only thing it can do. Many of the more high-end grinders have special features that add a professional touch to your coffee grinders.
When check out grinders, we also take the time to test out any additional features to make sure they work as intended. We also make sure these features actually add to the performance for the grinder.
Price shouldn’t be your only deciding factor, but it is something to keep in mind when making any purchase. The price of a coffee grinder should be relative to the quality of the machine and any additional features.
When reviewing coffee grinders, we try to keep the price in mind during every test. This helps give us a better idea of the overall quality of the product.
Baratza Virtuoso Coffee Grinder Overall Review:
Baratza is a brand that is well known for their high quality coffee and commitment to customer service. The Baratza Virtuoso is a mid-level coffee grinder that can make a perfect addition to your kitchen or office.
This powerful machine can handle anything from a ultra fine espresso grind to a coarse grind suitable for cold brews. It also has some additional features that set it apart from other grinders on the marketplace.
The professional-grade 40mm conical burrs work hard to grind your beans to the perfect consistency. Each grind comes out consistent and full of flavor. This is thanks to the 450-RPM motor that smoothly guides the beans into the burrs. The slow-moving motor also helps keep the beans cool, so they don’t prematurely release any of the rich oils.
You don’t need any expert knowledge to work the Virtuoso. The front-mounted pulse button is easy to use, and responds even to a light touch. There is an included 60-second timer on the side of the machine, allowing you to easily replicate the ideal grind cycle.
When it comes to aesthetics, the Virtuoso has it made. The sleek design of this grinder is very attractive, and will likely fit well with any décor. All the materials on the Virtuoso grinder are high quality, so they’re likely to last for years of frequent use.
Best Features of the Baratza Virtuoso Coffee Grinder
The Baratza Virtuoso Coffee Grinder has an attractive, sleek profile that will fit in any space, no matter how you’ve decorated. It has slim dimensions of 12’x35’x16’, and can easily fit in tight spaces or underneath cupboards. The design looks incredibly professional, and mimics the look of many high-end grinders found in coffee shops.
All of the materials used on the Virtuoso grinder are incredibly durable, and should last you through even the toughest grinds. All of the parts are removable without tools, making it easy to clean or replace any individual components.
See-Through Bean Hopper
The transparent bean hopper can hold a total of 8 ounces of beans at any time, making it a great option for a house full of coffee lovers. We appreciate the sophisticated look of the frosted hopper, which allows you to gauge how much you want to grind. We enjoyed watching the beans funnel into the burrs and fall into the grind catcher below.
The funnel-like shape of the hopper guides the beans down to the grinding burrs, which helps reduce any waste. The hopper is easy to remove, so you don’t have to worry about trying to blindly stick your fingers into the burrs.
Strong Steel Burrs
The steel burrs of the Virtuoso are what grind down the beans to your desired coarseness. The company claims that the steel burrs will be able to grind between 500-1000 pounds of coffee before needing to be replaced. This means that the burrs can last up anywhere between 15-20 years, which is pretty impressive.
The burrs are manufactured in Europe from a strong steel material that is highly resistant to rust. The conical shape of the burr helps keep in the flavors, and are especially useful for espresso grinds.
Ultra Quiet Motor
The motor on the Virtuoso is one of the slowest on the market, which aids in keeping the machine quiet during a grind. The motor is embedded in a specialized Gearbox, which helps minimize vibrations and protects the delicate pieces. These components are incredibly durable, and are able to withstand just about anything.
The high torque DC motor has an automatic cutoff in case anything goes wrong. Should the motor begin to overheat or there’s a foreign object in the hopper, the automatically resettable thermal cutout will trigger to ensure nothing is damaged.
Forty Grind Settings
The Baratza Virtuoso Coffee Grinder has 40 adjustable grind settings, found at the base of the bean hopper. These settings range from an ultra fine espresso to a coarse grind for manual or drip brewing. The grind size range goes from a thick 250 microns to a very fine 1200 microns.
When testing out the Virtuoso, we wanted to try as many of the grind adjustments as possible. After about 30 grinds, we were confident that the Virtuoso could handle all types of grind consistency with ease.
If you’re a beginner, it can be difficult to consistently recreate a grind that works for you. To help combat this frustration, Baratza added a 60-second timer to their Virtuoso machine. Once you find the right timing for your perfect grind, you can set the timer to easily repeat the process.
We found that the timer switch is easy to turn on and off. We appreciate that the timer can be easily canceled should you overestimate how long you needed to grind. All in all, the timer is a great little addition to this already fantastic product.
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Baratza Virtuoso Coffee Grinder Pros and Cons
Let’s take a step back and examine the pros and cons of Baratza Virtuoso to get a better idea of whether or not this is the grinder for you.
How the Baratza Virtuoso Compares to Other Grinders
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The Capresso Infinity Grinder is even quieter than the Virtuoso, thanks to it’s 250 RPM motor. This slow-moving motor creates less friction, and prevents any heat buildup that might cause the beans to lose their flavor.
The Capresso has 16 grinding settings ranging between fine and coarse, which is far less than the Virtuoso. However, we found that the Capresso does have a very consistent grind that matched the results of the Virtuoso almost perfectly.
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The OXO On Conical Burr Coffee Grinder is very similar to the Virtuoso, with the same 40 mm burrs and a total of 38 grind settings. It also has a high torque motor that keeps beans from overheating.
There are a few things that sets the OXO On Conical Burr Coffee Grinder apart from the Virtuoso. This OXO model has some interesting additional features, such as a built-in scale. It also holds about 2 times more coffee beans than the Virtuoso.
Baratza Virtuoso Coffee Grinder Pricing
The Baratza Virtuoso Coffee Grinder has an MSRP of around $200 to $250 can be purchased from a variety of different retail stores, which are listed on the Baratza website.
It can also be found on online retail shops, including Amazon.
Would we Recommend the Baratza Virtuoso Coffee Grinder?
The Baratza Virtuoso is a powerful grinder that can take on any grind you’d like. While it’s still considered a beginner grinder, we found that the grind results rivaled some of the best professional-grade grinders on the market.
We recommend the Baratza Virtuoso Coffee Grinder to those who are just getting into home brewing. We believe that this model has more than enough power to get you through thousands of daily grinds.
If you’re looking for a grinder that can take on a bit more, we recommend looking into professional grinders such as the Baratza Vario Grinder. The Vario has upgraded features such as a fine-tuner and an LED display.