I have been really busy lately, but I put as much time as I could into using the Virtuoso and checking it out. On first impression, I love just having the macro selection. It’s nice to not worry about a sliding micro arm, or an added adjustment mechanism that simply does not get used. I used the new grinder to make my morning V60 and when I had the time, I did take a look at the grind consistency. It looks just as nice as the Preciso, as expected.
Simplicity. That’s what I think of when I use the Virtuoso. The Preciso has a great feature set, but the Preciso burrs turn the Virtuoso into a dream manual pour over grinder. Paired with the Esatto, I am in heaven. I wish I could clone my Virtuoso, or bring it to my office every day – don’t get me wrong, I love my LIDO – but I love the burrs in this machine. As expected, I noticed no difference in the cup, and would attribute any difference simply to the new burrs versus my Preciso’s burrs, which have seen plenty of coffee to be considered sufficiently broken in. The consistency is spot on and the range of grinds is fantastic. Between the simplicity of the grind settings and the sleek and simple profile of the grinder, I cannot imagine a better grinder for manual brewing. If I had the extra money, I would put one in my office without question.
In May 2012, a customer, Jerry Bezdikian, responded to a question that our support person, Pierce asked him, upon sending him a new grinder to replace a faulty Preciso. We were honored by his response, especially at being placed in the same category with Apple! Read Jerry’s response here …..
What do you think?
I’d be happy to tell you what I think…
I think that when I decided to purchase the Preciso, I made an investment in a company that:
A) Makes the best grinders at the best prices. Period!
B) Proudly stands behind the products they manufacture.
C) Places customer satisfaction above all else.
D) Is more honest and forthright than nearly any company I’m aware of.
E) Is owned and staffed by individuals like you who sincerely care about their customers!
That’s what I think!
I’d like to add the following:
There is one company that I’ve praised endlessly, not only for their innovative products, but because of their exemplary record of customer satisfaction. That company is Apple. I’ve said time and again, that other manufacturers need to follow Apple’s lead, in order to achieve historic level of success. Unfortunately, while most manufacturers (especially of consumer products) are aware of Apple’s success, they’re oblivious to understanding Apple’s ‘simple’ formula: outstanding products AND outstanding customer support. I’m happy to say that I’m now aware of one other company on par with Apple and their proven philosophy – and that company is Baratza! I sincerely wish that I could say the same for other manufacturers (especially those who continue to gripe about poor sales figures) – but at least there’s Apple and Baratza – and I’m grateful for that!
I’m also grateful to you, Colin and Kyle for taking a personal interest, devoting time, and taking steps to ensure my total satisfaction… which you’ve already achieved in spades.
Thank you again and again for all of your courtesy, sincerity, professionalism and thoughtfulness. I wish you, and everyone at Baratza and healthy and happy holiday weekend. You deserve it!
In addition to being a technology writer, I sometimes consult with clients on marketing and communications. Today I had an experience that I sincerely hope no other firm ever emulates because it would mean that my input is no longer needed. To be truthful, I wish that every company I’ve ever dealt with as a consumer or an adviser would take this approach.
Here’s the back story: Several months ago, I bought a coffee grinder that I use at the office. This morning I decided to clean it but when I took it apart I discovered that one of the parts had broken. The manual that came with the grinder provided an e-mail address for support.
Time: About 6:10 am. I wrote:
I purchased one of your Maestro grinders about 6 or 8 months ago. When it was empty today, I decided to disassemble it and clean it. The plastic piece that encircles the ring burr is cracked into two pieces and, from the looks of the surfaces of the breaks, it appears to have been broken for a long time. What do I need to do to obtain a replacement part?
The company (baratza.com) is in Bellevue, Washington. At 12:15 my time (or 9:15 in Washington), Pierce Jens replied:
What is a good mailing address? Your grinder is young enough, I would like to send you the part for free.
3923 120th Ave SE
Bellevue, WA 98006
I replied with my mailing address and 6 minutes later (SIX MINUTES LATER!), I received a reply:
En route today. Let me know if you have any further questions or issues.
3923 120th Ave SE
Bellevue, WA 98006
The coffee grinder isn’t a high-priced unit. As I recall, I paid about $100 for it. It would have been more cost effective (or apparently so) to just ignore my request or to tell me that a replacement part would cost $25 plus a $15 shipping fee. But the company clearly stands by its products and is sending the replacement part I need without request for proof of purchase (which I could easily have provided).
It’s a mystery to me why more companies don’t operate this way and the only conclusion I have been able to reach is that most companies are run by short-sighted fools. Fortunately, Baratza’s owners have empowered its employees to do the right thing.
What a novel concept!
Over 6 months ago, I had a Vario with a defective motor and Baratza sent me a new motor (to Quebec, Canada) free of charge even though my grinder was out of warranty.
During this down time I realized how important having a good grinder really is, and just how good the Vario is, cause my department store brand grinder that I took out of retirement during that time was an unacceptable compromise. I’m writing to you now because I finally put my appreciation of the Baratza experience into action, and to avoid ever being without a good grinder by buying a new Vario-W. Some might say having 2 Vario grinders in the same house overkill, but you started this first!!!
You really lived up to your reputation in customer service. What’s ironic is that I never felt like a customer, but more like a member of an elite club cause I was not forced to send it in for repair, you allowed me to fix it myself. Thanks again
I had a piece of wood in my beans and stripped the gear in my Virtuoso grinder on Thanksgiving morning ( Bummer had to find a backup blade grinder to make do for the Holidays !).
Your website gave me the correct information about the problem, helped me order the correct part (which was reasonably priced), and got it shipped to me in 2 business days. The instructions on your website were outstanding, and allowed me to repair my grinder in a very short time. I had a few questions but every one of them was answered by the instructions laid out in your support page.
This was the best customer service experience I have had in a long time. Thanks for the excellent support ! I will be heavily inclined to purchase your products in the future and will recommend them to my friends !
I would like to commend Pierce Jens for his wonderful customer service. I don’t expect perfection from the products I purchase, but I do hope that the company will back up what it sells, and Baratza obviously has a commitment to doing so as demonstrated by the exchanges I have had with Pierce. He has been both gracious and helpful (and very non-judgmental considering at least some of the problems I experienced were due to my own clumsiness). He responds promptly to my questions and concerns and provides the appropriate information. It has been a pleasure to deal with him and is a wonderful reflection on your company.
Wow. I have to say that you’ve all impressed me with the customer service. I can understand a malfunctioning product, it’s what a company does when it happens that counts and you’ve exceeded my wildest expectations.
I’m super happy with the Vario. It seriously is like a revelation. I see why it’s such an impressive home espresso grinder — I’ve had some amazing shots from it just in the first day, and the timer has allowed me to grind to within 0.1 grams every time.
I just installed the new gear and ground an ounce of beans. The replacement process went exactly as described in your support document, and the grinder is working again.I want to thank you for your prompt service and great support. I’m very impressed and I’ll be happy to buy another of your products when it’s time to upgrade.
I felt it was important to respond to you on my coffee grinder repair. I called on Monday to ask for info. I got a real person and not a computer-Surprising! When I talked to you, you understood the problem and the fix-Amazing! You sent instructions on the repair immediately and parts were shipped within two hours(free!!)-Unbelievable!!!
I got the parts in two days and have repaired the grinder. I just wanted you to know that I truly appreciate your help. It is so unusual these days to deal with a company that provides the response you did.