The Baratza Virtuoso and Baratza Preciso are two of the top conical burr grinders in the under $500 range, delivering an exceptional grind for both coffee and espresso lovers.
Designing products with the coffee expert in mind, Baratza has been known as a dependable name in the market of coffee and espresso grinder machines. They are an established brand that has been a favorite for home brewers since 1999.
I like the professional styling of Baratza’s products and the incredible value you get when purchasing their grinders and espresso machines.
From a number of products by Baratza, I have picked out two of the more popular models in the conical burr grinder market to highlight.
|Name||Baratza Preciso||Baratza Virtuoso|
|8 oz||8 oz|
|Conical Burr||Conical Burr|
Both the Virtuoso and Preciso Coffee Grinders by Baratza evolved from one of Baratza’s original base grinder models: the Encore. As both conical burr grinders were patterned on the same parent design, they share more similarities than differences, so we’ll start there.
Before we dive into specs, what we really love most about these machines is that the particle size uniformity is some of the best in the industry, so good that commercial roasters and cafes use these models on a daily basis.
For experts, this is music to your ears. For rookies, this means either model is going to be a huge upgrade from just about any other machine you might currently be using.
So how else are they alike?
The hopper at the top of the machine is the same size for both models. The hoppers on these units can accommodate up to 8 ounces of coffee beans while the ground bin can hold 5 ounces.
The hopper gasket is made of rubber for a tight seal between the hopper and the grinder attachment. This is important because it prevents the unground beans from getting caked up inside of the machine.
The Virtuoso and Preciso also feature the same basic design and macro settings, with the exception of the Preciso offering micro settings with the mark ‘MICROadjust’ on a black base on the neck of the grinder.
Other than that, both the grinders are equipped with a smoky tinted hopper at the top of a tall slim black body.
The tint on the hopper is nice, especially if your machine is exposed to sunlight. It helps maintain the freshness of the beans inside.
The grind adjustment is intuitive and simple on both of the grinders. All you have to do is to rotate the hopper by pressing clockwise or counter clockwise. The grind coarseness ranges from 0 to 40 allowing you to range from espresso fine grind range to French press very coarse grind.
The units have wind up timers on the right side. You can set the timer from 5 seconds to 60 seconds, but the dials are not labeled with actual grind times, so it does take a little time to get the feel of it.
Both models also feature 40mm stainless steel conical burrs. The burrs are both powered by DC motors. The motors rotate the burrs at generally 450 RPM. However, for Preciso RPM is adjustable from 405 to 495 RPM in the event that specific user conditions require modification of the speed.
The DC motors are great because they keep the beans cool while running and during longer grind times. The RPMs are also important because this will affect how smooth your beans feed and how noisy the machine will be. The range for both models is right where you want it to be.
Both the units have a pulse button on the front and a bin made up of inherently dissipated property (IDP) plastic, which basically means, the plastic used to make the bins have anti-static properties so your ground beans won’t cling to them.
This is a nice feature because it also makes the machines easier to maintain and keep clean, especially if they see frequent daily use.
The major point of difference between the Baratza Virtuoso and the Baratza Preciso is the grind settings.
Similar to the Baratza Encore, the Virtuoso has 40 micro settings ranging from fine to coarse.
But with the Preciso, Baratza decided to take the grind settings option to a whole other level. They added a new feature called a ‘micro adjust system’ which allows you to fine-tune your grind coarseness with greater accuracy, just like the large scale commercial grinders. You can set the micro grinding size in between the macro size, giving you up to 440 different settings.
Whether this feature is necessary or not is up for debate. A lot of users find that it’s a little overkill and the current settings system allowed for plenty of variation to get a solid grind. But really, it depends on what you’re using it for.
The Virtuoso is good for everything from drip, pour over, French press or espresso, if you happen to have a pressurized portafilter.
If you ever think you are going to step up to a non-pressurized portafilter, level up to the Preciso. The Preciso does a better job here, since it allows you with significantly more control over your espresso grind. This matters the more advanced you get.
As it’s name suggests, the Preciso achieves better fine particles in this match-up, which are ideal for a lot of beans used in espresso making. This is the top reason why the Preciso is my top pick.
PortaHolder is the unique accessory that only comes with the Preciso, and not with the Virtuoso. The PortaHolder is adjustable and like the name says, secures the portafilter directly in the machine.
Simply put the portafilter into the PortaHolder by tipping the basket down; the lip of the portafilter slides under. It gets hooked by the hook bracket at the top rear of the holder.
The base of the basket is supported by the two metal fingers that extend from the PortaHolder.
This permits hands-free grinding into an espresso portafilter and makes clean up really easy.
You can still buy a PortaHolder add-on for your Baratza Virtuoso, if you aren’t sure that you want this feature right away.
When it comes to weight, surprisingly the Preciso is the winner. It weighs half of a pound less than the Virtuoso. The exact weight of Preciso is 7.9 pounds while Virtuoso accounts for 8.6 pounds.
Not a big deal, but with so few features differentiating these machines, it’s worth noting.
It’s obvious that with all those high quality bonus features, the Preciso is going to cost you a bit more than the Virtuoso.
Fortunately, the extra cost seemed pretty reasonable compared to the features of these two grinders. The Preciso costs around $50-75 more depending on when/where you buy.
Considering all the different features from both the machines, for serious espresso lovers, I prefer the Preciso for the range of control it offers and the ability to get those extra precise fine grinds.
The Virtuoso is really not far behind and is an exceptionally good machine for coffee lovers and espresso brewers with a pressurized portafilter. The cost savings on the Virtuoso is also great, especially considering the quality of the grind it offers.
Chatting about coffee is my passion! Leave me a question in the comments, I answer each and every one and would love to get to know you better.
I am a die-hard espresso fan. I love every form of the drink from straight espresso shots to lattes and cappuccinos. I currently use a Breville BES870XL Barista, it is an awesome machine. BUT, my dream machine is definitely an Italian Quickmill Andreja. Those bad boys make badass espresso. I love answering your questions, leave a comment or question below!