Baratza Virtuoso+ Review

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When it comes to coffee grinders, the Baratza Virtuoso+ is one of the most popular. It’s been a favourite of filter coffee brewers around the world for over a decade and has recently been upgraded with a digital display and timer.

But, the Virtuoso+ isn’t perfect.

Is this burr coffee grinder right for you?

Read on as we do a deep dive on the Baratza Virtuoso+, cover its pros and cons, what type of brewing it’s good for, and list some of the best alternatives.

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Who is this grinder for?

This coffee grinder continues Baratza’s trend of high-quality construction at a reasonable price for home use. It’s ideal for manual brewing methods, but like its predecessor, is considered best for manual brewing methods and less suitable for espresso.

The 40 grind settings are spread over a fairly wide range, allowing for a lot of experimentation.

Despite this being a high-performance grinder, it’s not just suited for baristas and coffee professionals. The grinder is easy to use, even for beginners, and the grounds are consistent throughout.

Downsides of this coffee machine include:

  • Less suitable for espresso grinding
  • Step grinder (as opposed to stepless) so cannot as accurately fine tune as other options
  • Cannot rotate the hopper with beans inside
  • No valve on the hopper for mess-free removal
  • No weighing function
  • Could be quieter

What’s changed from the previous version (Baratza Virtuoso)?

The Baratza Virtuoso+ Grinder is the latest addition to the Baratza range. This new model has all the best features of its predecessor, the Virtuoso, but with a few important upgrades.

The most obvious new feature is the digital display and timed grinding function.

Unlike its predecessor, the Virtuoso, this grinder has a built-in timer that allows you to set the grind time to within 1/10th of a second.

This gives you much more accurate and repeatable dose control.

The Virtuoso+ also features a clear grounds bin that is backlit with LEDs, so you can keep an eye on your coffee while it is being ground.

This grinder still retains all the features that made it so popular: 40mm conical burrs, 230g hopper and 40 grind settings from espresso fine through to French press coarse.

Grind consistency

With 40 grind settings to choose from, you can easily find the right setting for your preferred brew method.

The grind range on the Baratza Virtuoso+ is from 200 to 1200 microns.

The grounds are consistent throughout (unlike what you’d get with a cheaper burr grinder or blade grinder).

The grinding mechanism is powered by an internal AC motor that’s designed to keep noise levels down and maintain consistent grind size and accuracy from grind to grind.

The grinder runs at 550 RPM and has a Speed to Grind range of 1.5g/second to 2.4g/second.

The Virtuoso+ is built to last with durable conical steel burrs that stay sharp longer than flat burrs, and are better at retaining their calibration.

What brew types is this grinder good for?

The Baratza Virtuoso+ is a conical burr grinder designed for manual brewing.

It’s best suited to manual brew methods that required a medium-fine to coarse grind size. This includes pour-over (e.g. V60, Chemex), french press, Aeropress, Moka pot, percolator, drip coffee machines, and even cold brew.

While it can also be used for espresso (and is advertised as being suitable for this brewing method), it lacks the range of finer grinds that would make it a great espresso grinder.

If you are using pressurised baskets on your espresso machine, like those that come with many home espresso machines, you should be able to get away with this grinder for espresso. This is because the pressurised baskets are more forgiving of incorrect grind size.

Ease of use

The grinder is easy to use, even for beginners. To adjust the grind size, the user simply needs to turn the hopper in one direction or the other.

It’s a step grinder (as opposed to stepless), so you’ll hear the step changes as you change the grind size.

Once the grind size is set, the user then needs to simply select a dose time on the digital display using the dial on the front of the machine.

Press the dial and the grinding process will commence.

The contemporary design fits well in any kitchen, whether you’re a home barista or an avid coffee nerd.

Cleaning

The Virtuoso+ is a relatively easy grinder to clean and maintain. The grind chute and grind cup effectively contain most of the grinds, which reduces spillage.

Day-to-day cleaning of the burrs, hopper, and grounds catcher is fairly straightforward and similar to what you would find with most electric grinders.

However, if you want to conduct a more thorough clean, which is recommended as a periodic exercise for any coffee grinder, you may face a few more challenges.

In testing conducted by Tech Gear Lab, they found the burrs can be a bit of a challenge to remove and the rubber gasket difficult to line during reassembly.

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. – Tech Gear Lab

Best Baratza Virtuoso Plus alternatives

Baratza Encore

The Baratza Encore is an entry-level grinder that works great for manual brewing. It’s reliable, durable, and delivers consistent grinds every time.

We’ve been testing this grinder for many months (see our Baratza Encore Review) and we can see why it has such a great reputation as an entry-level grinder in the specialty coffee world. It’s easy to use, easy to clean, and doesn’t cost a fortune.

The main things that differentiate the Baratza Virtuoso Plus from the step-down Baratza Encore are the digital display and timer, allowing you to fine-tune your brew recipe.

This will be especially useful if you are grinding the same coffee regularly, or if you have multiple recipes to follow.

Rancilio Rocky

The Rancilio Rocky Grinder is our top pick for espresso-grade coffee grounds.

This compact, quiet machine handles any type of coffee with ease and is a great grinder for home use. The Rocky’s precision and quality make this a great choice for any coffee lover.

The Rocky uses flat burrs instead of conical burrs to produce a clean flavour in each espresso shot. It grinds directly into a portafilter for simple operation.

This coffee grinder provides smooth settings, making it easy to switch between coarse grind and fine grind options. Users can turn the dial anywhere from 0-55 (0 being fine, 55 being course).

The Rocky uses the same motor found in Rancilio’s commercial MD40 grinder. Thermal protection devices are in place to keep the grinder safe from overheating. The bean hopper and outer burrs are removable, making cleaning and product maintenance easy.

Verdict

There’s no doubt that the Baratza Virtuoso+ is an exceptional grinder.

However, one must be aware of its limitations, more significantly around espresso grade grounds.

However, if you’re mostly manual brewing, or using pressurised baskets, this is a great mid-range option.