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file Baratza Virtuoso Update

  • Bradley P.
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13 years 10 months ago #1506 by Bradley P.
Baratza Virtuoso Update was created by Bradley P.
This thread discusses the Content article: Baratza Virtuoso Update

Dave, thanks for the excellent review. I didn't notice a price mentioned for the Virtuoso. How would it compare with an espresso-oriented grinder like the Cunill Tranquilo, which can be found on the web for $200 US?
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13 years 10 months ago #1507 by dave
Replied by dave on topic Re:Baratza Virtuoso Update
Hi Bradley,

While I do not have first-hand experience with the Cunill Tranquilo / Astra, it comes very well recommended, notably as a very good espresso grinder.

The Baratza Virtuoso is selling for $199 USD or $250 CAD. If you can buy the Cunill for $200 USD, I would have to say that it is the better deal, especially when used for espresso.


The Baratza has a good, sharp conical burr set that grinds very well and very consistently in fine to medium ranges (not so much in very coarse). The Cunill has a large 60mm quality flat burr set that also grinds very well.

However, the Cunill has a loyal following and my understanding is that it will be much better for adjusting your espresso grind. The Baratza is not optimal for espresso grinding: it grinds finely and consistently enough, but there really isn't much room to make adjustments.

The Virtuoso is considerably smaller than the Cunill, mainly in depth: the Cunill is twice as deep and a couple of inches taller than the Virtuoso. The Cunill is also twice as heavy+.

The Cunill has additional features, like the closable hopper gate and a portion-control timer on the doserless model (the Virtuoso has a hand-operated timer and a pulse button).

The Baratza (600rpm) spins much slower than the Cunill's 1600rpm, but still manages to fill a double basket reasonably quickly. The Cunill has a rest to hold the portafilter and a larger catch-pan for stray grounds. The Virtuoso requires you to hold the portafilter (or grind into the bin), but really isn't very messy at all if you hold the basket right up to the chute (there is a ceiling that allows you to prevent grounds escaping between the chute and portafilter).


Bottom-line: the Cunill is a great, well-respected grinder with a lot of (positive) user experience. The Baratza is a new grinder that still seems to be working out a few bugs. At the same/similar price, I'd say that there is no contest: the Cunill wins hands down. At $200, I'd say that it sounds like a pretty good deal.

I would further say that if you are considering the Virtuoso for espresso, you will need to remove the stepper key to make it a stepless grinder and allow you room for fine-tuning your grind -- two or three clicks simply are not adequate for tuning espresso. With my simple modifications, however, the Virtuoso is proving apt enough as an espresso grinder.

Dave
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13 years 10 months ago #1509 by colin
Replied by colin on topic Re:Baratza Virtuoso Update
Bradley P. wrote:

This thread discusses the Content article: Baratza Virtuoso Update

Dave, thanks for the excellent review. I didn't notice a price mentioned for the Virtuoso. How would it compare with an espresso-oriented grinder like the Cunill Tranquilo, which can be found on the web for $200 US?


Fearing a firestorm, I will risk the following thought:

I have never seen anything good, coffee or espresso wise, come from Spain.

Spain does matadors and tapas... and that is about it.
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13 years 10 months ago #1542 by colin
Replied by colin on topic Re:Baratza Virtuoso Update
Oct 2 - this weekend I have received the very latest version of the Baratza Virtuoso grinder.

As it did not \"work to specification\" out of the box (Kyle, engineer and CEO of Baratza actually took it out of the box and tested it initially IN MY KITCHEN... how cool is that?!?) -- and it was useless as far as espresso or drip was concerned.

I did a quickie calibration on it this morning -
Much to my surprise, it is worse than the 2 previous Virtuosos I have tested! How is that possible?

Anyway - stay tuned.

Shocking Virtuoso revelations to be revealed in the test process.
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13 years 9 months ago #1579 by dave
Replied by dave on topic Re:Baratza Virtuoso Grounds Retention
I snapped a few photos <crummy phone camera> to illustrate the relative cleanliness and grounds retention of the Virtuoso grinder.

Virtuoso Grounds Retention:
  • Very little coffee seems to be retained inside the burr chamber (picture attached)
  • The grounds chute will trap a few beans worth of coffee at the top, which can usually be knocked out by rocking the grinder on its feet
  • Regular cleaning is advised, as I found another 7-8 beans worth of coffee stuck to the chute (also shown, chute cover removed)
  • When dosing directly to the basket, I've noticed that much more coffee can get temporarily trapped in the chute: I hold the basket flush, and when overfilling the basket it piles up in the chute (not the grinder's fault)
  • Overall, I find the grinder to be very clean. Even when grinding to basket, I experience very little mess and stray grounds buildup. If they could redesign the base to avoid the cracks that coffee gets through, it would be even better for portafilter grinding. Grinds do get inside the interior of the grinder, though the majority fall through the base.


Tips and Notes on using the grinder:
  • Be careful when moving the adjustment screw, as the carrier collar pops out of its thread at the rightmost setting, which could cause burr slop and an uneven grind if you adjust too far.
  • Beans do get caught up between the hopper and the bean gasket: no biggie, as they don't generally fall back into the burrs.
  • In my home, static is not a problem and is nonexistent when grinding straight to my portafilter basket. With press pot grinds, chaff gets enough of a charge to stick to the sides of the grounds container; easily cleaned.
  • When using it without the container, beware of dripping portafilters as water will fall through a cutout in the base (so do grounds: coffee mud).
  • As mentioned, making the grinder stepless is not difficult and is highly recommended if using the grinder for espresso.
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13 years 9 months ago #1580 by colin
Replied by colin on topic Re:Baratza Virtuoso Grounds Retention
I have made both my VIRTS stepless.

Seems to help.

Used one with a Silvia today -- seemed ok.
Didnt even need to run it down to ZERO
to get a suitable grind.
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