If you’ve been shopping for grinders you’ve probably come across the Baratza Virtuoso and Preciso grinders.
They look an awful lot alike don’t they?
The Virtuoso and Preciso coffee grinders are definitely similar in many ways.
Wondering what the differences are? How do you know which one is best for you?
This review will help because I’ve been sifting through information on grinders for several weeks – even though it feels like forever.
You’re going to get the answers to those questions so that, by the end of the review, you’ll have a good idea as to which grinder is the one to have in your kitchen for your morning coffee or espresso.
Though the two Baratza grinders do share a lot of the same features, there are some differences that are pretty significant depending on your needs.
Baratza Virtuoso and Preciso Grinders Review
- 1 What’s the Same Between Them?
- 2 How Many Beans in the Hopper?
- 3 Will They Fit and Stay on My Counter?
- 4 Where are Baratza grinders made?
- 5 Other Reviewer Quality Concerns
- 6 Adjusting the Grinders
- 7 What are the Differences Between Them?
- 8 How’s the Grind Quality?
- 9 Where to buy a Baratza Virtuoso or Preciso grinder?
- 10 Which Baratza grinder is right for you?
Let’s take a look by running a Baratza Virtuoso Preciso review.
What’s the Same Between Them?
Considered an entry-level grinder, the latest model of the Baratza Virtuoso coffee grinder has been upgraded to the current Preciso burrs and motor that are used in the more expensive Preciso grinder.
That means the burr on both Baratza units is a 40mm steel conical type. Burr grinders are considered to be the best choice for grinding your beans because they produce a far more consistent pile of grounds than a blade grinder.
Stick with me on this next point, I’m going to get a little technical here for a minute. It is important though as you’ll soon see. The motor in each unit is a high torque and low RPM (450 – 500 revolutions per minute) unit. Essentially this means:
- The grinder is a lot quieter.
- You get a much smoother bean feed from the hopper through the chute.
- There’s no heat buildup to damage your grounds.
- There’s less static buildup.
So no need to worry that you have the noise of a barista station in your home. Both units have fewer jams and your coffee will have no burnt taste from grounds that got overheated during grinding.
The Preciso burrs, made in Lichtenstein by Etzinger, are able to run through 500 pounds of beans before they need to be replaced. That’s a lot of coffee, even for me, and depending on how much you drink, either grinder could last up to 10 years or more.
How Many Beans in the Hopper?
The hoppers on each unit will hold up to 8 ounces of beans. You can buy an extension for both units that will add an additional 9 ounces of capacity. Interestingly enough, you can add several extensions to really increase bean capacity.
The grounds container capacity is enough to enable you to brew a standard 60 ounce pot of coffee.
Something to know. If you want to change to another flavor of bean between grinds, the hoppers aren’t made to be removable when there are beans in them. You’ll need to turn both units over to dump the beans.
That’s a pain.
Instead, weigh out your beans for as many cups as you need. Then grind just that much coffee. This is better for several reasons:
- Easier to change bean type between grinds.
- Beans should be kept in a sealed container until you need them. The hoppers don’t seal.
- Ground coffee goes stale when it’s exposed to air. Stale grounds don’t make for good coffee.
If you do decide to grind more beans than you plan to use at one time, use a good vacuum seal container like the Vacu Vin Coffee Storage system.
But on the plus side, the hopper is easy to remove and clean. Same with the gaskets and the burr. Regular cleaning is highly recommended because of the oils in the coffee beans.
If the oily residue is left in the grinder, it will go rancid and affect the taste of the coffee. If your beans are really oily, try to do a cleaning at least once a week.
But remember to hand wash only. Don’t toss these parts in the dishwasher.
Both units use antistatic parts and coatings. This helps knock down the spray of grounds that you get from some other machines when you remove the hopper. You’re still going to have some flying out, but there won’t be much in the way of cleanup.
Will They Fit and Stay on My Counter?
Both units are relatively heavy at 8 pounds each so they won’t go wandering off the counter. They stand 13 inches tall with the hopper on. If you add the hopper extensions, they will be taller than the base 13 inches.
The Preciso will be taller still with the hopper extension noted above.
Where are Baratza grinders made?
Baratza sounded like a fancy Italian name or company when I was first researching them. I learned that they’re based in Bellevue, Washington. Customer support is located in Washington as well. Both grinders were designed in the US and are made in Taiwan which helps keep them competitively priced.
Other Reviewer Quality Concerns
If you read any of the reviews on Amazon or any of the coffee grinder sites, bear in mind that you want to be reading the most current reviews.
The Virtuoso and Preciso grinders have been refined and improved by Baratza to take care of a lot of the older problems that many buyers had complained about.
But there are still two that crop up that seem to cause a little bit of consternation. One is the timer knob coming loose and falling off. Something that doesn’t appear to happen to everyone.
A fix is to use a small piece of cardboard or plumbers tape to refasten it to the shaft. Don’t glue it though. It needs to be removable to take the unit apart. An annoyance, yes. But it’s probably due to the intense vibration when grinding and it doesn’t seem to have hindered many from a purchase.
The other issue is the plastic collar that holds the burr. It tends to break. But this is by design according to Baratza. If a rock or a bean that is too hard gets into the burr, the collar breaks, saving the mechanism. I think it’s a good feature. I’d rather replace a cheap part that an expensive grinder.
It’s a bone of contention for inexperienced coffee folk. Don’t be one of them.
Click Here to Get Your Grinder Checklist
Adjusting the Grinders
There are two little tricks to adjusting both grinders that isn’t fully fleshed out in the manuals.
The grinder needs to be either:
- Running with beans in it or
- It’s empty and turned off.
Choose one and then adjust by twisting the hopper to the desired grind setting.
The reason for this is to make sure the beans don’t keep the burrs from moving together when an adjustment is made. If the unit is running, it keeps the chunks of bean in motion. If it’s empty, there are no beans to get in the way.
Next up then…
What are the Differences Between Them?
Baratza Virtuoso Review:
The Virtuoso has 40 grind settings that are click stop controlled. The settings are chosen by rotating the hopper.
If you want to grind for espresso, it’s not a hands free effort. You have to hold the portafilter under the grinder chute while pressing the pulse button in front. You can buy the Portaholder described below as an option.
Baratza Preciso Review:
The Preciso has 40 Macro and 11 micro grinder adjustments. The same 40 adjustments as the Virtuoso, but the 11 micro adjustments divide the 40 up to give even finer control over the grinding. This is supposed to help you get a good espresso grind.
The Preciso has a holder under the chute called the Portaholder. Pop your portafilter in to holder and this makes it hands-free as opposed to the juggling you do with the Virtuoso.
How’s the Grind Quality?
There was some split amongst buyers of the Virtuoso when the subject of grinding beans for espresso came up. Some felt the finest grind wasn’t fine enough for espresso. Any grind choice for coffees like drip or French roast though was fine.
Baratza customer support offers a solution for the espresso issue, but it involves taking the grinder apart. If you’re Ok with taking your grinder apart and making adjustments, then the espresso problem may go away.
There are many instructional videos on the web and the company gives great direction on making the adjustments.
This wasn’t an issue with Preciso owners. For coffee it appears, the Virtuoso works great. For espresso? You might want to look at the Preciso. With the 11 additional adjustments that split up the 40, it can get that fine grind that you need.
Overall, the majority of buyers are happy and feel grind consistency is good with both units.
Where to buy a Baratza Virtuoso or Preciso grinder?
Baratza grinders may be available at your local kitchen specialty stores. They’re available through Amazon where you can take advantage of Amazon’s generous return policy and quick, free shipping.
Which Baratza grinder is right for you?
For grinding beans for regular coffee, you really don’t need the 11 additional micro grinding adjustments that the Preciso offers. Nor do you need the Portaholder.
If you’re primarily looking for great coffee, then the Baratza Virtuoso is the best choice. It’s less expensive and you can put that money toward something like better beans or buying a spare burr collar to have on hand in case the original one breaks.
If you’re looking to make espresso or any other fine grind coffee drinks, you’re probably better off moving up to the Preciso. Now the 11 micro grind adjustments will be useful to you. These adjustments further refine the original 40 and allow you to get closer to the espresso grind that you will desire. With the added Portaholder, grinding for espresso is hands free.
Both units come with a 1 year warranty. Buyers report great customer support and fast service.
Ready to take the next step in making better coffee or espresso?
Both on Amazon.
Great beans deserve a great grinder. Baratza makes 2 of the best.
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