If you’re stopping in to check out the Baratza Virtuoso, there’s good news: Our Baratza Virtuoso review is all about Baratza’s upgraded product, the 586. In 2011, Baratza upgraded their highly popular Virtuoso grinder from the 585 to the 586. While this did come with a small price bump, Baratza, in their infinite wisdom, decided to manufacture their Virtuoso grinders with the conical burrs on their Preciso grinders. This match-up produced a better quality grinder with grinding speed that more than doubled what it was on the Baratza Virtuoso 585.
Where it counts, we’ll make sure to tell you the key differences between the 585 and the 586. If you happen to still have a Baratza Virtuoso 585 sitting on your countertop, you’ll likely want to know whether or not you should consider diving in for an upgrade.
For those of you who are just stopping in to get a feel of the Baratza Virtuoso, this review should help you get a better understand of all the specifications that you’ll need to get a good idea of what this product is capable of doing (and not doing).
We also give a little space to give you our perspective of how the price matches up to competitors, and what we think, overall, of the aesthetic appeal of this device.
Our Baratza Virtuoso review for features starts off with Baratza’s iconic grinding feature. While we won’t get into the finely ground details of the grind settings just yet, we will point out that this grinder features a twisting grind setting dial that sits right below the hopper. This particular feature is unique to Baratza, and something that they put on all of their grinders.
Beyond this, you’ll find that the Baratza Virtuoso grinder is very versatile in what it can do. If you’re familiar with or even own, a Baratza Encore, you’ll note that this device is the next step in the design. The pulse button for precise grinding sits right on the front and is perfect for grinding directly into an espresso filter. A 60-second timer allows for a bit more control over your average grind. If you like a specific grind, keep the timer set to the same time you enjoyed, and the same grind setting in order to get a consistent and repeatable grind.
Finally, this device features 40mm conical burrs that were borrowed directly from the Baratza Preciso. These burrs help produce a higher quality grind at a faster speed. The inclusion of these burrs, which the Baratza Virtuoso 585 did not possess, was touted on Baratza’s blog, where they provided both the impetus and the general response to this upgrade.
In this article we compare the Breville Smart Grinder (both the original and the Pro) to the Virtuoso. These machines are so close it's almost a tie, but you can't go wrong with any of them.
The Baratza Encore is an entry-level burr grinder, which offers less features for a lower price. In this article we help you decide if the Baratza Virtuoso is worth its higher price tag (hint: It is!).
The Preciso and the Virtuoso not only look almost identical, they are also very similar in features. The difference is in the grinds settings and we find out if that turns out in favor of the Preciso.
In writing our Baratza Virtuoso review, we can positively note that the build quality on this device is superb. Baratza generally maintains a high standard for their parts, and this is carried over for the Baratza Virtuoso grinder. As stated before, the most benefit in the build quality comes from the 40mm steel conical burrs. Outside of this area, the materials used throughout the device are excellent.
The core shell of the device is a mixture of hard plastic and stainless steel. The ground catcher is a plastic design made to minimize static
There are some positive and some negative things in our Baratza Virtuoso review for grind settings. Positively, the Baratza Virtuoso coffee grinder maintains the same wide and precise 40 grind settings that you will find on the Encore. The pulse button, which helps for more precise grinding directly into espresso filter baskets, is always a plus. The 60-second timer is an upgrade over the Baratza Encore, while the adjustable motor speed has been maintained not only in upgrading from the Encore but in upgrading the Baratza Virtuoso 586 from the older 585 model.
As far as grinding speed goes, this is the real key benefit of the 586 over the Baratza Virtuoso 585. The 585 had a
On the negative end, the main
The Encore is the entry-level grinder of Baratza, sacrificing on build quality and burr set for a lower price.
The Preciso is almost the same as the Virtuoso, but comes with Baratza's MIRCOadjust, for the finest grinds you can get.
While Baratza lists this device at $249 on their website, our Baratza Virtuoso review finds that this device is available on other locations for slightly less. The retail price for the device for $229, which is about as cheap as you’re going to find it. It is sold by different suppliers, who might run a promotion now and then reducing the price even further.
Because Baratza added in higher quality burrs from the Preciso model, they did bump up the price after the upgrade from the 585 to the 586. As the Baratza Virtuoso 585 was sold for $229 as well, this means that you are able to purchase the upgraded model for the price that the 585 originally sold at.
If you’re using a Baratza Encore, you note in our Baratza Virtuoso review that we’ve mentioned an upgrade to the exterior. Most of Baratza’s grinders are similar in look, and every model uses slightly higher quality materials. This means that aesthetically speaking, the Baratza Virtuoso grinder is very similar in look and feel to most if its counterparts.
What you’ll note is that the more expensive Baratza’s products get, the more metal that they contain on the shell. This is true for the Virtuoso. Where the Encore uses all plastic on the outside, Baratza utilizes stainless steel just under the hopper as well as on the feet. This helps give the Baratza Virtuoso coffee grinder a smoother look and feel, but it may not justify a price increase over the Encore by $100 dollars. That justification likely comes in the higher quality conical burrs and the better quality gear box.
In crafting a Baratza Virtuoso review, we went with the idea that honesty is the best policy. In this case, we find that the Baratza Virtuoso mostly lives up to the standards set by its younger sibling, the Baratza Encore. Baratza’s 2011 upgrade from 585 to the 586 was subtle, but it made a huge impact. The doubling of the speed on the Baratza Virtuoso grinder helps justify why one should purchase this device over the Encore.
We have to imagine that this was a large part of the onus for upgrading the conical burrs on the device, as the two devices, outside of a 60-second timer, were just a bit too similar to justify a huge price difference.
The Baratza Virtuoso maintains the high standards that we’ve come to expect from Baratza, and while it would certainly be nice if they had expanded the grind settings just a bit with the upgrade as well, this grinder still provides the even and consistent grind that Baratza is known for.