Thursday, December 8, 2011
You’ve probably heard that this month (December 2011), we upgraded the incredible workhorse – the Baratza Virtuoso. At Baratza, we are continually trying to improve our products and sometimes those improvements come more from listening to our customers than some long-term product plan schedule, so we thought you might be interested in hearing how this particular change came about!
In November 2010 we introduced the Preciso grinder with a new set of conical burrs. We were excited about the burrs because they seemed to reduce the fines in all levels of grind and increase the speed of grind from about 1 g/sec to about 2 g/sec. After a year, the feedback from countless consumers and coffee professionals is that the Preciso produces a great grind profile for Manual Brew, Drip, and Espresso. We are always excited to hear that people can taste the difference and many could, when comparing the Preciso burr with other burrs.
When we introduced our Grind-By Weight solutions many Roasters and café owners chose to use the Vario-W, or the Esatto paired with the Preciso, for their manual brewing stations. They use the preset programmable weight buttons for the preparations they typically offer e.g. Aeropress and Clever Dripper and consistently report efficiencies in terms of labor, process steps, wastage, and footprint plus repeatability and consistency of grind. The grinding speed of these two grinders is about the same and, with the addition of the Esatto, the operation and performance of the grinders is very similar. Having used the new grinders for many months now, Roasters and café owners have told us that they think the grind profile of the Preciso is as good, or better, than the Vario-W for manual brewing.
Since the Esatto/Preciso combination was being used for manual brewing, the micro adjust on the Preciso was not essential and added unnecessary complexity to the grinder. So, we started producing custom Virtuoso grinders with Preciso burrs to be used in cafés on brew stations. After a while it was evident that the improved performance of the Preciso burrs would be a great upgrade to the Virtuoso and we made the decision to build them all with the new burr set. Now, everyone can benefit from the improved performance, not just customers in the café setting, but also those who are passionate about making great coffee in their homes!
Here’s an example of the Virtuoso, set up in Esattos, on the brew bar at Milstead & Co, in the Fremont suburb of Seattle:
The Virtuoso Upgrade Details: Effective December, 2011, all Virtuoso grinders have been built to include the Preciso burr set. With this change we are leaving the name of the grinder the same, but have changed the item # to 586. We also changed the pricing of the grinder to reflect the improved performance. The MSRP of the Virtuoso (586) is $249. The original Virtuoso retails for $229. New speed of grind is 1.5 to 2.4 g/sec. Old speed of grind was .8 to 1.1 g/sec.
Below are images of the burrs, so you can see the difference in design:
So there you have it! The whole story on the Virtuoso upgrade!