Last Updated: August 2018
The Baratza Virtuoso & Vario are no longer our recommended coffee grinders from this brand, they’ve both been updated with new models both of which are excellent upgrades. These are the Baratza Encore & the Baratza Sette 30 both of which are available to purchase right now on Amazon.
Baratza has been designing and manufacturing some of the best and most popular coffee grinders in the world since 1999. They offer several unique products at a variety of price points designed to appeal to consumers of all budgets. The Baratza Virtuoso and the Baratza Vario are two of the most popular products from this company, and the following guide will help you decide which machine is best for your particular wants and needs.
Table of contents
Baratza Virtuoso Features
The Baratza Virtuoso is a relatively small grinder that packs a huge punch. It is ideal for those who want a grinder that offers plenty of power, but won’t take up a lot of counter space.
- The Virtuoso contains 40mm professional-grade conical burrs for a consistent and uniform grind each and every time.
- The powerful motor turns the burrs slowly, resulting in quiet operation. This also prevents overheating the burrs, which causes excess wear and static.
- The burrs can be user calibrated if necessary.
- It offers a 60-second timer with segmented graphics.
- Consumers appreciate the front-mounted pulse button that allows them to easily create their perfect grind.
Baratza Vario Features
The Baratza Vario, on the other hand, offers incredible features that make it simple enough for the home user and powerful enough to use in any café or coffee shop.
- The Vario comes with 54mm flat ceramic burrs which stay cooler than metal burrs. What’s more, they maintain their sharpness for twice as long as stainless steel.
- The Vario also has some 250 different grind settings, a timer, and three timed presets for ensuring the perfect grind.
- The digital display makes it easy to see how long you’ve been grinding.
- This grinder has macro and micro adjustments so that you can completely customize the grind, from very fine to very coarse and everything in between.
In terms of design, both the Baratza Virtuoso and the Baratza Vario offer up a very small footprint along with some pretty serious power. Baratza designed these machines to fit into any kitchen and work with any décor, and they are both constructed of a combination of metal and plastic. Nonetheless, there are a few distinguishing features between the two.
- The Baratza Virtuoso is much simpler than the Vario in terms of settings and use. This means that the Virtuoso may be the better choice for those who are interested in a high-quality grinder, but who do not want to pay extra for features they may not use.
- On the other hand, the Baratza Vario offers a variety of settings that will suit even the most particular coffee lover. There is certainly plenty of customization, and the digital display makes it easy to see where you are in the grind process.
As far as performance is concerned, both of these machines perform their duties well. You can create virtually any grind you want, whether you prefer a Turkish coffee or a pressed variety. There are a couple of differences to keep in mind in terms of performance, though.
- Because the Baratza Virtuoso does not have as many presets as the Vario, users will need to pay close attention to their grind times and settings. However, in a side-by-side comparison, reviewers claim that the Virtuoso provides a more consistent grind with fewer fine particles than the Vario.
- On the other hand, the Vario is capable of providing a finer grind than the Virtuoso, so if you prefer fine grinds for things like Turkish coffee or espresso, then the Vario may be the better choice for you. The Vario also provides presets and timers, allowing you to set your grind and walk away.
Both machines contain the same types of materials. They are constructed of mostly plastic with a few metal parts for stability and aesthetic appeal, so neither option is quite as durable as a grinder constructed of all metal. There is only one major difference between these two machines in terms of durability, and that is the burr.
- The Baratza Virtuoso contains traditional conical stainless steel burrs. These professional-grade burrs are the industry standard.
- The Baratza Vario contains flat ceramic burrs, which offer several unique benefits over steel. Ceramic does not heat up as quickly as steel. When steel gets hot, it tends to collect the oils from darker roasts, which can detract from the flavor. Hot burrs can also produce excess static. Ceramic burrs stay nice and cool, which means they produce little to no static and they will not take away from your coffee’s flavor. Ceramic burrs also maintain their sharpness for twice as long as stainless steel.
The Baratza Virtuoso falls within the $200 to $300 range, which is a fair price considering its limited technology yet excellent performance. Conversely, the Baratza Vario falls in the $400 to $500 range, due in part to the addition of multiple timers, grind settings, and long-lasting ceramic blades. Thus, the Virtuoso is considered a mid-grade grinder while the Vario is a luxury model.
- Design – Neither machine is better than the other in terms of design. Those who prefer simplicity will love the Virtuoso, and those who enjoy the ability to completely customize their grinds will love the Vario.
- Performance – Even though the Vario has hundreds more grind settings than the Virtuoso, consumers who own and review the Virtuoso claim that it provides a more consistent grind with fewer fine particles.
- Durability – In terms of durability, the Baratza Vario wins in this category. Both machines are made of plastic and metal components, but only the Vario contains long-lasting ceramic burrs.
- Price – The Baratza Vario costs significantly more than the Virtuoso due to the ceramic blades, digital display, and multitude of settings. The simplicity of the Virtuoso helps keeps its cost relatively low in comparison.
Which is the Best?
Reviewers note that while the Baratza Vario is the luxury model out of the two, it does tend to have some issues with producing fine particulates on the course grind settings. This can influence the flavor and consistency of pressed coffees. What’s more, even though the Virtuoso is a mid-grade grinder in comparison, and even though it doesn’t offer as many settings and features, the grind consistency is much, much better. Reviewers note that even years after purchasing it, this machine produces very few fine particulates when set on a course setting.
If your search for the perfect coffee grinder has led you to this point, then making a choice is as simple as deciding what you want out of your machine and how much you want to spend. If you want hundreds of grind settings and ceramic blades that last, and if you don’t mind spending more to obtain these features, then the Baratza Vario is the best choice. On the other hand, if you want a simple machine that offers a consistent grind, time after time, at an affordable price, the Baratza Virtuoso may be your best bet.