The Cost The most important thing I can tell you about the Baratza Virtuoso+ is that it is an investment, long term. It costs $250, which for many people seems like a lot of money. But I know a lot […]
The most important thing I can tell you about the Baratza Virtuoso+ is that it is an investment, long term. It costs $250, which for many people seems like a lot of money. But I know a lot of people who will drop $100 on a walmart-shelf “name brand” grinder only to see it fail after 2 or 3 years worth of use. Then they spend another $100 on another “name brand” grinder, and repeat the process.
When you buy a Baratza grinder, you’re buying a “generational product”. One designed to work for a decade without any issues, and decades longer if you do regular maintenance, like replacing a burr set or internal gears. Sounds like rocket science? It really isn’t, and Baratza has hundreds of instructional videos on doing pretty much every possible repair on their grinders.
The best part is, Baratza doesn’t charge an arm and a leg for replacement parts. I always think back to La Marzocco at one point charging $500 for a replacement drip tray cover for GS/3 machines, and then you find out Baratza charges $10 for the entire main housing replacement chassis for a Virtuoso. If La Marocco was selling that chassis, it would $150. This really shows you how some companies care about happy customers and others… not so much.
I like to think in terms of amortization of the cost of an expensive coffee product over the expected life of it. If you spend $100 on a department store grinder, it’s reasonable to expect it to last 3-5 years, making the cost about $33 to $20 per year depending on its life. There’s also almost zero chance of repairs if something breaks, like a grinds bin or a selection dial.
A Baratza Virtuoso+ costs $250, but will give you at least 10 years of service trouble free, and probably another 10 years of service with some minor maintenance, and burr replacement; figure less than $100 for the maintenance (including shipping) and its cost per year is just $17.50 over the grinder’s usable life.
As an aside, I have a Baratza Virtuoso from 2006, one that has ground so much coffee (it saw cupping duty in the CoffeeGeek Lab) I’ve had to replace the burrs twice. And it still runs well to this day, and doesn’t even sound that much louder than the new Virtuoso+.
Something to think about.
Compared to Others
I have done some extensive testing of this grinder compared to other models on the market, but will save that evaluation for the full review for the Virtuoso+.
The closest grinder in its price range is the Breville Smart Grinder Pro, which takes a very different approach to “features” and user interface, compared to the Virtuoso+. Both produce fantastic output for their price range. The Breville offers a lot more in the way of features. But Breville treats these grinders as “throwaway” type products – if they break, there’s very few repair options. That brings the overall value down for me.