Review of the Baratza Virtuoso + (Plus) Coffee Grinder, Staff Pick
The Baratza Virtuoso Plus coffee grinder is one of the most reliable pieces of coffee equipment on the market.
It is European-made with state of the art stainless steel conical burrs and delivers an accurate grind every time, whether you’re drinking espresso or choosing the french press.
This comprehensive Virtuoso Plus review delivers in depth information on every single aspect of the coffee grinder that the customer needs to know before making the purchase.
You’ll have everything you need in order to add the right grinder to your craft coffee collection. If the Baratza Virtuoso+ is for you, you’ll certainly know after this review.
About the Baratza's Virtuoso Plus Conical Burr Coffee Grinder
The Baratza Virtuoso Plus is arguably one of Baratza’s finest masterpieces. It carries undeniable accuracy in all grind sizes, making it not only reliable, but extremely versatile.
Its exterior is simple and classic, and looks elegant on any countertop. From a bustling cafe on a busy street corner, to the quaint kitchen countertop in your home, the Virtuoso + coffee grinder fits in no matter what.
Where the exterior is simple, the interior is crafted from finely-tuned, intelligent engineering. The Virtuoso Plus is quick, easy, and precise, and that is largely due to the DC motor and speed reducers.
The Virtuoso's motor keeps all of the beans from getting too hot, while the speed reducers and gearbox work to keep static buildup away. It also slows down the grinding process just enough to ensure that the grinding is smooth and accurate.
Its accuracy helps make it one of the more versatile grinders on the market. The Baratza Virtuoso+ grind settings range from extra fine to extra coarse. After getting used to the grinder, you’ll be able to use it for any type of coffee.
Who is Baratza?
Located in Washington but with international locations as well, Baratza has made a name for itself as one of the highest-quality coffee gear companies. The company began in 1999 and has produced amazing products ever since.
They also run an excellent support system, with quick and effective customer service, as well as an informative blog that is updated regularly.
What is a conical burr coffee grinder?
The first thing you should know about a conical burr grinder is that a burr grinder is largely different from a blade grinder.
A blade grinder resembles something you might see in a blender when you’re about to make a smoothie. They work just fine, but because it’s made of two rotating blades, there’s little consistency as the beans fall through. This is usually why blade grinders are inexpensive compared to burr grinders.
Burr grinders are more popular than blade grinders because they are far more consistent with grind size. Burr grinders are made up of multiple steel burrs that move together to grind the beans.
They come with far more control, which allows grinders, like the Virtuoso+ Conical Burr Coffee Grinder, to have grind settings ranging from fine to coarse with 40 settings in between.
But what does conical mean? Conical burrs are different than flat burrs, and you can find burr grinders with both. Flat burrs do produce even more consistent grind than the conical, but they are far more expensive.
Conical burrs are more quiet, stay at cooler temperatures, and are more affordable for people who want to enjoy their coffee process at home.
What is the Virtuoso Plus Coffee Grinder Made of?
The Baratza Virtuoso Grinder is made of a few different materials. The conical burrs are steel and manufactured in Europe. The body of the Virtuoso's is a combination of plastic, metal, and steel.
The cone-shaped bean hopper and bean hopper lid on top of the Virtuoso is made of BPA-free plastic.
Setting up Your Baratza Coffee Grinder
Setting up your Baratza coffee grinder is a simple process that everyone can figure out.
First, you’ll pull the body of the grinder out of the box. You’ll then take out the bean hopper and lid, which should both be wrapped loosely in plastic.
Once you remove the plastic, set the hopper aside for a minute. Then, take the body of the Baratza Virtuoso + and remove the grounds bin from the front of the grinder. Inside you should find a cleaning brush and a circular silicon gasket.
Then, on the top of the grinder you’ll see a silicon gel pack. Make sure to remove that. You can then take the silicon gasket and place it on top of the white hopper ring, right above the Virtuoso burrs.
After that, take the hopper and hopper lid and twist into place. You’ll hear it click as you twist in the hopper. Once you’ve set everything up, you may want to place a couple grams of coffee through your grinder to test out that it is working.
As you become more familiar with your Virtuoso+, you’ll learn how to quickly adjust the grind size.
How to Use the Baratza Virtuoso+ Grinder
The Baratza Virtuoso coffee grinder is easy to use, even for beginners. The grinder itself might seem intimidating at first, especially if you’re not used to an advanced grinder at home.
But the truth is, it’s rather simple. Once your grinder is set up, you’ll want to adjust your Baratza's grind settings.
To do this, make sure your grinder hopper is empty. This is the best way to ensure that the burrs will be able to adjust without the coffee beans getting in between them.
Once you’ve adjusted your grind settings (which we’ll discuss in detail later on), you can point your attention toward the electronic LCD screen on the front of the grinder. This is where you’ll set the amount of time you want for the coffee to grind. You can add time by turning the knob to the right, and subtract time by turning it to the left.
You’ll notice a white line on your grounds bin. This is the fill line, which they recommend not exceeding in order to avoid blockage.
When the grinder is done, turn it off and remove the grounds bin. It’s that easy! You can remove the hopper for cleaning purposes if you need to as well.
To clean your Virtuoso Plus coffee grinder, remove the hopper and coffee beans. You can wipe down the hopper with a dry paper towel, or dampen one for a bit deeper of a clean.
You can do the same with the grounds bin. To clean the burrs, use the brush that came in your Baratza's box.
Baratza Virtuoso Grind Settings
One of the best and most impressive qualities of the Baratza Virtuoso Plus coffee grinder is its large range of grind settings and incredible accuracy. You’ll find 40 grind settings on the adjustable hopper, which are all accessible by just twisting the bean hopper to match the notches.
There are clearly marked notches for each setting, and a large white line that marks your “zero” point. This is important to know when setting your grind.
The fun part of using the Baratza Coffee Grinder is that you can use it for any type of coffee you’re craving. If you wake up craving the dense, bold flavors of a french press, the Virtuoso + is perfect for the coarse grind you need. If you wake up wanting an Aeropress, you just have to twist the hopper to a more fine setting. It’s that simple!
There are recommended standard Baratza's grind settings for specific types of brewing methods, but these can all be slightly adjusted to match your preferred taste. (Chart pulled from Baratza’s website).
Espresso - 8
Aeropress - 12
Hario V60 - 15
Automatic Drip - 18
Chemex - 20
French Press - 28
Baratza Virtuoso Plus Parts
The interior engineering of the Virtuoso is quite advanced and sometimes complicated to the average coffee lover.
But if you break down the list of Baratza's parts, you’ll find that although the design is mechanically advanced, it is approachable to every user.
The Virtuoso+ parts consist of:
- Plastic bean hopper
- Plastic bean hopper lid
- Plastic grounds bin
- Steel conical burrs (internal)
- Silicon gasket
- White hopper ring (internal)
- LCD timer screen
- Timer knob
- DC motor (internal)
- Speed reducers (internal)
Baratza Virtuoso Plus: an upgrade from the Baratza Virtuoso
If you’ve heard of the Baratza Virtuoso+, you’ve probably heard of the previous model: the Baratza Virtuoso. But what are the differences between the two?
The two Baratza's grinders are not very different, but there is one key component that separates the two: the digital grind timer with an LCD display.
The Virtuoso Plus comes with all of the same beloved features as the Baratza Virtuoso, including the 40 grind settings, the steel conical burrs, and the easy-to-use adjustable bean hopper.
The digital grind timer on the Virtuoso+ makes your experience even easier and faster than with just the Baratza Virtuoso. The LCD display is easy to read in any lighting.
The Virtuoso + also comes with a light in the grounds bin so you can easily see your coffee grounds as they fall in. This feature is not included in the Virtuoso, just the Baratza Virtuoso Plus. The Plus is a high-powered upgrade, which is why Baratza chose to discontinue making the Virtuoso.
Baratza Grinders: Virtuoso Plus vs Encore
In the debate of Baratza Virtuoso Plus vs Encore, which coffee grinder wins? Both grinders are similar in many ways, including their 40 grind settings and classic exterior design.
The Virtuoso Plus and the Baratza Encore are both extremely reliable and advanced coffee grinders, especially among the “home” brewing market.
One thing you’ll notice right away is that they are very similar in size and physical appearance. The Virtuoso+ is slightly heavier than the Baratza Encore, but it’s only a few pounds. This is not a noticeable difference to most coffee drinkers.
The grind settings and grind range on both grinders are almost exactly the same. A main difference in grinding between the two that is worth noting is the grind speed. The Baratza Virtuoso Plus coffee grinder is faster than the Baratza Encore, which is an important quality to some users.
The Virtuoso is a step above the Baratza Encore. The Virtuoso+ features a built-in timer, which is not a feature of the Baratza Encore coffee grinder.
Another important difference between the Baratza Virtuoso+ vs the Baratza Encore is that the Virtuoso Plus grinds coffee at a faster speed.
The Baratza's is built with high-powered speed reducers and a gearbox that controls the heating of the burrs. This advanced design allows for the Virtuoso + to grind at a higher speed without overheating.
The Virtuoso Plus is more expensive than the Baratza Encore because it is a more advanced model of a conical burr coffee grinder.
You can purchase the Virtuoso Plus for $249.99, while the Baratza Encore is $139.99. With that slight of a price difference, the Virtuoso+ might be your best choice.
Ultimately, when it comes to Baratza Virtuoso Plus vs Baratza Encore, they are both extremely trustworthy, advanced burr coffee grinders. But the Virtuoso + is one step above the Baratza Encore.
Baratza Virtuoso+ vs Breville Smart Grinder
Both coffee grinders are intelligent designs that produce a high-quality coffee grind every time.
Both the Baratza Virtuoso Plus and the Breville Smart grinder are made with conical steel burrs, make them both advanced and accurate coffee grinders.
The Virtuoso has 40 grind settings to choose from, and the Breville Smart Grinder has 60 grind settings. This makes the Breville Smart Grinder slightly more accurate than the Baratza's Grinder.
The Breville Smart Grinder comes with an LCD display screen on the front of the grinder body. On the display screen you’ll see grind speed, grind size, and amount (number of shots or number of cups).
The Baratza Virtuoso Plus also has an LCD display screen, but it is limited to the grind timer setting. The LCD display screen with more advanced grind adjustment settings on the Breville Smart Grinder ultimately makes it easier to use.
The Breville Smart Grinder also allows you to place various containers underneath the grinder so that the grounds shoot into whatever you’d like.
For example, you can place an espresso portafilter underneath to save yourself a step. If you’re grinding extra, you can place a storage container underneath. Some people even place the V60 directly underneath the grinder.
The appearance of the two coffee grinders is also noticeably different. The Baratza Virtuoso+ has a body with a cone-shaped hopper, whereas the Breville Smart Grinder has a more uniform shape.
Baratza Virtuoso+ vs Rancilio Rocky
Have you ever heard of the Rancilio Rocky Coffee Grinder? Rancilio is a company well known for its amazing commercial coffee grinders. You may find one at your favorite local coffee shop.
Rancilio has a coffee grinder called Rocky, which is an advanced, accurate, flat-burr grinder you can use at home or in a cafe.
In the Baratza Virtuoso Plus vs Rancilio Rocky debate, it’s necessary to understand that although the Rancilio Rocky is more advanced than the Virtuoso +, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is of better value.
The Rancilio Rocky comes with a whopping 55 grind-setting power adjustment that you can change with just the click of a pulse button. This compares to the 40 grind settings that are adjustable by hand with the Baratza Virtuoso+.
The Rancilio Rocky comes with two options: the doser or the doserless model. With the doser model, you can automatically set it to grind a standard size each time, which saves you time and energy if you drink the same drink.
The doserless model does not have the option to set a recurring dosing timer. The Baratza Encore does not offer the option of setting a timed dose.
Another notable difference with the Baratza Virtuoso+ vs Rancilio Rocky is the size and weight. The Rancilio Rocky is larger than the Baratza Virtuoso Plus, and it is more than twice the weight.
The Baratza's Virtuoso Plus weighs right around 8 pounds, and the Rancilio Rocky weighs about 18 pounds.
The Baratza's Grinder is significantly cheaper than the Rancilio Rocky. The Virtuoso + costs you $249.99, while the Rocky will cost you $370.00.
As you can see, the Rancilio Rocky is quite an impressive grinder, and it’s undoubtedly more advanced than the Virtuoso +. What you’ll have to consider is where you’re using your grinder. The Baratza's Virtuoso seems to still be the better choice for home manual brewing methods because of its size, weight, and cost.
Baratza Virtuoso Plus Troubleshooting
I know what you’re thinking. The Baratza Virtuoso Plus is an amazing grinder, but it is very complex. What happens if something goes wrong? What happens if a part breaks? What happens if there’s trouble with one of the settings, or an issue with the electrical pieces?
First of all, don’t panic! Baratza’s website has tons of Baratza Virtuoso + troubleshooting solutions. At first glance, you’ll notice that on the Baratza Virtuoso Plus page, there are Quick Start Guides and multiple manuals, all in different languages to choose from.
If the guide or manual doesn’t work, you can move on to informative blogs or YouTube videos. Our website is an amazing place for that, and we have tons of information for you there, or visit our YouTube channel.
We also recommend that you check out our FAQs section on the website. We are constantly updating with new information about coffee grinders and brewing methods.
Pros and Cons of the Baratza Virtuoso+
- Excellent grind accuracy with steel conical burrs
- Easy to operate
- 40 different grind settings
- Great value for a high quality grinder
- Might be above some people’s budget for home brewing
- Can get overheated sometimes
- A little bulky for countertops
- Adjusting the settings can take getting used to
Buying the Baratza Virtuoso Plus Coffee Grinder
Alright, have you made your decision? Do you feel that the Baratza's Coffee grinder is the perfect next addition to your home brewing station?
If so, buying the Baratza Virtuoso is simple. You can head to our store and purchase yours there for $249.99. You’ll receive a box that includes your grinder, instruction manual, cleaning brush, hopper, and hopper lid.
With your purchase you’ll also receive free shipping, a 45-day return period, around the clock customer service, and 1 year of insurance.
We recommend buying a new brewing method for your home to go along with the Baratza's Coffee Grinder. If you love traveling, the Aeropress is an amazing coffee brewer that yields delicious flavor. If you want something a little bigger and more permanent, try the Espro Press P7 French Press.
Conclusion: The Verdict on the Baratza Virtuoso Plus Coffee Grinder
You should have everything you need to know about the Baratza Virtuoso Plus coffee grinder. You know the price, features, ins and outs, and the differences and similarities between other high-quality coffee grinders on the market.
Now, it’s up to you to decide if the Baratza Virtuoso is the right grinder for your craft coffee lifestyle!
Well, first off, I had a cheap $40 grinder and it was torture using it. Not only that, the sludge was horrible, which I take to indicate a very inconsistent grind. Well, I had ordered a highly reviewed pound of organic beans from Guatemala. Now, with my old grinder, grinding the beans would have been a battle lasting, yes, you're hearing this right, around 40 minutes of fighting to get the thing to work. With this Baratza, it took less than a minute and, wow, so much more consistent a grind. I noticed no sludge while pouring. So, as I type, I'm drinking my first truly delicious cup. My daughter, who never drinks unadulterated coffee had some unaltered brew and she said it was amazing.
This is all from one who has never had a decent grinder before, but I'm absolutely stoked.
Definitely glad I took the leap and purchased this grinder. It's a joy to use and creates perfect grinds for brewing.