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MarkPrince
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Posted Fri Mar 11, 2011, 11:00pm
Subject: Baratza Virtuoso Preciso
 

Baratza Virtuoso Preciso

CoffeeGeek takes a detailed look at the latest grinder from Baratza: the Virtuoso Preciso. Has the company found a winning combination with a new burr set and macro/micro settings? Read the review to find out.
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Joel_B
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Joel_B
Joined: 9 Oct 2007
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Location: Pacific NW
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Astra Mega II
Grinder: Mazzer SJ, Virtuoso
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Drip: nope, french press
Roaster: Behmor, WP, BBQ drum
Posted Mon Mar 14, 2011, 5:14am
Subject: Re: Baratza Virtuoso Preciso
 

Mark, nice little write up.  Have a few questions though.  Does the Preciso use the same carrier as the Virtuoso?  That's been one of the biggest disappointments with my virtuoso.  If I'm understanding you correctly, the practical reasons to opt for the vario is features and lower grind retention?  A subjective question, but As a grinder for soley non espresso use, is there real reason to get the Preciso over the Virtuoso? I can't see the increased settings offering much but I'm curious how the two compare grind wise for non espresso use.
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randytsuch
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Espresso: Expobar Office with...
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Posted Mon Mar 14, 2011, 11:05am
Subject: Re: Baratza Virtuoso Preciso
 

Nice review of the Preciso

I do have one comment.
In the PDF that compares all of the Baratza grinders, you grade the Vario better then the Preciso is "repeatability", being able to change to a different grinding method, and then coming back to your old setting, and getting the same results.

On my Vario, I change everyday between drip and espresso, and I love it's ability to switch back and forth with little or no difference.

In deciding if the Vario is worth the difference in price over the Preciso, I think this could be a factor.

I would like to add though that before Baratza came out with the Vario, this parameter would not even have been a consideration, I don't think people switched back and forth.  Since I have owned the Vario for over a year, I would be not want to give up the Vario's repeatability.

Randy
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Joel_B
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Joel_B
Joined: 9 Oct 2007
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Location: Pacific NW
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Astra Mega II
Grinder: Mazzer SJ, Virtuoso
Vac Pot: Yama 5 cup
Drip: nope, french press
Roaster: Behmor, WP, BBQ drum
Posted Mon Mar 14, 2011, 12:38pm
Subject: Re: Baratza Virtuoso Preciso
 

randytsuch Said:

In the PDF

Posted March 14, 2011 link

oops.  Somehow missed the links to the .PDF  That actually clears things up for me.
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MarkPrince
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Espresso: KvdW Speedster
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Posted Mon Mar 14, 2011, 1:16pm
Subject: Re: Baratza Virtuoso Preciso
 

Joel_B Said:

Mark, nice little write up.  Have a few questions though.  Does the Preciso use the same carrier as the Virtuoso?  That's been one of the biggest disappointments with my virtuoso.  If I'm understanding you correctly, the practical reasons to opt for the vario is features and lower grind retention?  A subjective question, but As a grinder for soley non espresso use, is there real reason to get the Preciso over the Virtuoso? I can't see the increased settings offering much but I'm curious how the two compare grind wise for non espresso use.

Posted March 14, 2011 link

Hi Joel.

In the white paper I wrote for Baratza (linked at the end of the article), I detailed a fair amount of information for non-espresso grinding, including particle sizes, evenness, speed, you name it. One thing that impressed me a lot was the lack of fines. The Preciso just made for a better cup overall for almost every brewing method.

As for the carrier - I'm not sure what you mean - the burr housing? Its similar in appearance, but given that the micro-adjustment feature exists and works, I have to assume the burr housing mechanism is different - the microadjust moves the carrier in 2 digit micron movements.

Mark

 
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Joel_B
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Joel_B
Joined: 9 Oct 2007
Posts: 1,826
Location: Pacific NW
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Astra Mega II
Grinder: Mazzer SJ, Virtuoso
Vac Pot: Yama 5 cup
Drip: nope, french press
Roaster: Behmor, WP, BBQ drum
Posted Mon Mar 14, 2011, 3:33pm
Subject: Re: Baratza Virtuoso Preciso
 

MarkPrince Said:

In the white paper I wrote for Baratza (linked at the end of the article), I detailed a fair amount of information for non-espresso grinding, including particle sizes, evenness, speed, you name it.

Posted March 14, 2011 link

Yes, I missed that when I posted my original post.  Appreciate the detailed comparisons there.


MarkPrince Said:

As for the carrier - I'm not sure what you mean - the burr housing? Its similar in appearance, but given that the micro-adjustment feature exists and works, I have to assume the burr housing mechanism is different - the microadjust moves the carrier in 2 digit micron movements.

Posted March 14, 2011 link

Perhaps I'm not using the proper terms; Baratza calls it the "burr holder".  None the less, based on what you're saying that makes sense it wouldn't be the exact same.  Although that doesn't mean it's any more robust.
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MarkPrince
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Location: Vancouver, BC
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Espresso: KvdW Speedster
Grinder: Versalab M3 Grinder
Vac Pot: A bit too many
Drip: Bonavita
Roaster: Hario Glass Retro Roaster
Posted Mon Mar 14, 2011, 4:44pm
Subject: Re: Baratza Virtuoso Preciso
 

randytsuch Said:

I would like to add though that before Baratza came out with the Vario, this parameter would not even have been a consideration, I don't think people switched back and forth.  Since I have owned the Vario for over a year, I would be not want to give up the Vario's repeatability.

Posted March 14, 2011 link

One thing I've noticed over the years on CoffeeGeek with its more hardcore members:

There's a certain calibre of coffee lover who has no second thoughts about having two grinders (or more): one dedicated for espresso, another for "everything else". I'm definitely in this group myself.

But I also know for a fact that a much larger number of coffee enthusiasts - not necessarily the type who will pour over particle distribution graphs or temperature decline charts - but the ones who love good coffee and want better coffee in the home --- this type doesn't have (or want, or can afford) two dedicated grinders. They want one grinder that will cover all bets.

Some over the years have detailed, through writing and photos, the efforts they go through to get their Mazzer Mini to do a press grind. Some have documented modifications they've done to a Maestro Plus so it can do an espresso grinds. Many more have just "settled" for a grinder that may be great at one thing, but not so good at another brewing task.

This is why personally I am excited by the Vario and the Preciso - these truly are the first two grinders available to consumers that cover these bases:

  • super fine tuning of the espresso grind
  • can cover the full range of grinding needs, from >200 microns (turkish) up to 1200-1300 microns (press pot); though the Vario does need some adjustment to really cover this range (Baratza includes a tool in the box to do this now).
  • easy - very easy in fact, to jump from espresso to drip and back to espresso again. Ditto for any other grind setting.

My previous pick for a sub $600 espresso grinder was the Anfim Best (faster than a Mazzer Mini, smaller, better dosing, worse fork tho). But Now the Vario is my pick, based on grind quality, speed, adjustability, and the digital controls. The only reason why the Preciso doesn't beat the Vario (for espresso only) is the digital controls and the better portaholder the Vario has.

On overall grinding however, from espresso to press pot, I'd have to give the nod (barely) to the Preciso based on two things - price and the better press pot grind it does (and also it is fractionally faster than the Vario). If the Preciso had a digital timer built in or volumetric (weight) dosing, it would go to the head of the class.

Mark

 
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whd2102
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Joined: 5 Sep 2010
Posts: 87
Location: boston

Posted Mon Mar 14, 2011, 6:02pm
Subject: Re: Baratza Virtuoso Preciso
 

If it's the case that the Preciso's speed leads it to heat up the grounds a bit, is the speed such a great thing? We're speaking in terms of seconds here and--all jokes about one's extreme need for black gold in the morning aside--I personally wouldn't mind waiting longer in exchange for less heating of the grounds. Forty seconds instead of fifteen for my pour-over dose at home? No problem at all. In a cafe that's another story, but this is clearly meant for the consumer market.
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MarkPrince
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Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 5,628
Location: Vancouver, BC
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: KvdW Speedster
Grinder: Versalab M3 Grinder
Vac Pot: A bit too many
Drip: Bonavita
Roaster: Hario Glass Retro Roaster
Posted Mon Mar 14, 2011, 9:11pm
Subject: Re: Baratza Virtuoso Preciso
 

I may have to go over my review - if I used the words "hot", that's probably excessive. The grinds get warm but not what I'd consider hot. I've felt very, very hot grinds from a Mazzer Robur or a Anfim SC going for a while; the grinds from the Preciso get fairly warm to the touch. I have not used a thermometer (IR temp reader or Fluke) to measure the warmth of the grinds, but if I had to guess, they're probably around 35C... MAYBE 40C max if grinding around 50-60g.

Mark

 
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IMAWriter
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IMAWriter
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Posted Mon Mar 14, 2011, 9:20pm
Subject: Re: Baratza Virtuoso Preciso
 

I own both the Vario and Preciso. I can verify nearly all of Marks claims, other than that it has less fines than the Vario. I was much less scientific, using a cheap magnifying glass!

I will add that my settings are nearly identical to Mark's on all the grind setting's he indicates. Perhaps that indicates an even improved consistency from machine to machine than even the Vario, though with the addition of the 2mm adjustment screw, that is no longer an issue.
When I first received mine, I had an eerie experience.
After a running about a # of beans through it, I decided to take a stab at an espresso double shot, with my wonderful Olympia Cremina lever, a machine that can be just a wee bit finicky of grind and proper distribution.

Well, I went to the approximate place they recommended (centered around the 10 mark..as did MARK. Moved the Micro lever to around the f/g area.
Made sure all the drip grind was gone, poured in some beans, inserted my wee 49mm PF, and had at it. Boy, it was fast, yes a tiny bit faster than the Vario. which worried me...did I grind too coarse?

I had my answer after my usual puck prep, and insertion into the group...25 beautiful seconds later, I had 1.5oz's of great looking espresso...the taste?
Pretty close to myVario shots when I'm ON...which is to say it was delicious, with the same layered flavors, maybe a wee touch more top end...in a good way. YMMV there, of course.

I've owned mine for nearly 5 months, and it does have the newest incarnation of the burrs, They are pretty beefy.
I actually emailed Kyle and Kyra and jokingly referred to the Preciso as Vario Jr. (I almost said Vario killer , but i didn't want them to have a heart attack! LOL
Yes, I still go more with the Vario for espresso, as I'm a timer junkie now, but I can honestly say that the Preciso is every bit as competent as Mark has  reported it to be.
Finally, I believe it says a LOT about a company that could stand on it's Laurels with it's "flagship" grinder, the Vario, but instead brings forth a new product, the Preciso that actually may draw new customers away from it's more expensive brother.
Either way, the Consumer wins.


Let it be noted that I am not, nor ever have been employed by Baratza, but I do unashamedly say I am a HUGE fan, going way back to my first REAL grinder nearly 10 years ago, a Maestro. Their CS is as good as it gets.

 
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