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A REVIEW – BARATZA VIRTUOSO PRECISO


The new Virtuoso Preciso grinder from the Baratza stable of grinders has been with me since early this month. Things I was keen to explore:
  1. What are the key differences between a Virtuoso Preciso and a Virtuoso?
  2. What’s the grind profile for the Preciso vs. the existing Virtuoso?
  3. New burrs – how is the brewed coffee from the new burrs?
  4. How does the performance of the Micro function affect espresso preparation?

 photo virt and prec

  1. What are the key differences between a Virtuoso Preciso and a Virtuoso? There are 3 key differences:
  1. There is a new micro function which gives the user a 100 micron adjuster to finely tune a grind between each standard Virtuoso click. This micro scale is an 11 step progression, reading from A-K; setting F is bang in the middle and equates to 0, with A being minus 50 microns and K being plus 50 microns.
  2. There is a new improved burr-set. The new design ‘sucks’ in the beans quicker due to the organic shape of the feed. See pic.
  3. The Preciso is faster. Note – the model I have is a prototype whereby a 110V unit was reworked to 230V.  Thus mine does not have the speed control circuitry populated on the board. I will add an edit when I get the speed data.
  2. What’s the grind profile for the Preciso vs. the existing Virtuoso? I don’t have laser analysis at my disposal. Using Endecott sieves and El Salvador Las Delicias from Karl @ Coffee Angel, I shook for 2 minutes on 100g samples on grind settings 10;15 & 20.   I wanted to determine the differences between Virtuoso and Virtuoso Preciso re. burr performance. The differences indicate a better profile for brewed coffee coming from the Preciso. See plots. I didn’t do the sieve analysis at espresso settings.  Virtuoso Preciso vs Virtuouso grind profile   3. New burrs – how is the brewed coffee from the new burrs? I first wanted to ascertain the parallel between the grinders at the same grind settings. Here are the set-up details.   Coffee & Brewing Parameters
Method French Press & filtered thru’ V60
Brew Time 4 mins 0 secs
Brew Water Temp 93°C/200°F
Dose Weight 30.0 g
Brew Water Weight 500 g
Farm/Region/Country Karimikui Kenya
Roaster Name Coffee Angel
Roast Style Light
Grinder Virtuoso Preciso
Grind Setting 16 16F
Extraction Yield 17.13 % 20.09 %
TDS 1.15 % 1.35 %
      You can see a setting 16 on a Virtuoso extracts a lot less than the same setting on the Preciso. No big deal, just interesting.   I then aligned the grinders to give a similar extraction yield, aiming for 19% or thereabouts. Settings and yields using Extract Mojo were:
Grinder Virtuoso Preciso
Grind Setting 14 18F
Extraction Yield 18.72 % 18.55 %
TDS 1.26 % 1.25 %
      IMG_4167measuring preciso               In the cup, both brews were good with the Preciso winning out by virtue of a less muddled cup with clearer flavours. You could say it was a more precise brew! 4. How does the performance of the Micro function affect/enhance espresso preparation? Set up – CMA Plus 4 You 2 group espresso machine; 19g dose for a double shot.
  1. First check was the effect of the micro range. Using normal click setting no. 6, we compared setting B and setting J on the micro scale, effectively far left vs far right.
    1. 6B looked ok, while fast. Shot stopped on 24 seconds.
    2. 6J was super fast. Shot stopped on 20 seconds had already yielded approx 50% more volume than 6B.
    3. Next up, try to nail the shot.
Click Setting Micro Setting Comment Taste

5

J

Too fast

 

5

F

Good pour

Dusty, dull

5

D

Good pour

Good balance and clear flavours

5

C

 

Ristretto – too much so
 With the micro setting, we were able to dial in the shot successfully, changing no other variables.   Conclusion The Preciso is better than the Virtuoso. It delivers a better brewed coffee, courtesy of the fewer fines, and gives the Barista more control on an espresso. Expected to be priced between the Virtuoso and the Vario, I can see it taking sales from both. A fine extra offering from the fine people at Baratza.   Note- sincere thanks to my co-testers: Karl Purdy (@Coffeeangel) – owner of Coffee Angel; IBC champ 2006; purveyor of coffee excellence. Industry prodder. David Walsh ( @otherblackstuff) – 2nd place World Cup Taster 2010; 3rd IBC 2010; Coffee curmudgeon. Mr. superhead.

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