Two Conical Burr Mills from Baratza to choose from...

Maestro Plus is a good general mill for drip grinds, and good for occasional espresso uses.

 

Maestro Plus Conical Burr Mill
$149 (9.2 Lbs. Ship Weight)
add to cart

The Maestro Plus Mill is a good all-around conical burr and a good choice if you mosstly drink french press or filter drip, with maybe an occasional espresso. The Virtuoso Mill is also a good all-around mill but a better choice for espresso with commercial grade 40 mm conical burr set. In our tests it produces a more consistent, even fine grind. Both mills carry the Baratza name but are manufactured by Solis for Baratza who has sold the grinder for years and knows it well.

Both mills have the following features:

  • grinds selector dial features 40 numbered stops for grind repeatability
  • a powerful DC motor
  • an improved and expanded manual
  • unique gear reduction design that produces slow rotation of the conical burr, ensuring the retention of the aroma and flavor, and helping reduce static
  • whole bean hopper can hold 1/2 pound of beans
    timer knob for repeatable coffee dosing
  • pulse button in front for grinding directly into portafiler handle
  • small cleaning brush included (looks like a tiny pine tree)

1 year warranty against defect, repair or replacement, provided by the US importer. Both machines measure 5"x14"x6". The Maestro Plus is matte black with a brushed metal base. Virtuoso is matte black plastic with a brushed metal top and base.



Virtuoso is the better choice for espresso, but a good all-around mill too.

 

Virtuoso Conical Burr Mill
$199 (10.2 Lbs. Ship Weight)
add to cart

Some comments of fineness: Most folks grind coffee too coarse. In general, you want to grind as fine as possible without allowing sediment through your filter, or clogging up your espresso machine portafilter. This mill will allow you better control of the finer settings while still allowing for the coarser adjustments, like French Press. You can grind coffee finer when it is an EVEN grind such as the Maestro produces, get better extraction from the coffee, and ultimately get a better cup. I encourage you to push your filter-drip grind to a finer range with this mill, and see the results! The Maestro Plus features a larger grind range than all previous models: 40 click stops. Click here if you want to download the PDF file of the manual for the Maestro (which includes directions to clean the burrs.) If you are stepping up to a conical burr mill from a whirley-blade mill, you might not be aware that you can't regrind coffee in any burr mill! In other words, you can't put ground coffee in the bean hopper and grind it finer - it clogs the burrs.
The Maestro Plus has the fancy new base- a solid chunk of polished metal that gives the mill stability, helps reduce static transfer, and doesn't look bad at all!

It might sound odd to say, but the plastic body on this mill is really nice: matte black and silver hides fingerprints and it is thick stuff.


Grind scale on Maestro Plus mill

Maestro Plus has 40 click grind range from Espresso to French Press: you turn the bean hopper to adjust the grind

Switching from a blade mill to a burr mill? It goes without saying, but maybe it should be said ... with any burr mill you should never re-grind coffee. That is, only whole bean goes into the hopper.


Grind scale on Virtuoso mill (minus the hopper)

Easy access to the hardened steel conical burrs also means periodic cleaning is simple. Burrs are the the core feature in a high-quality mill, and the conical burr configuration is the best. While the design and ease-of-use are important features of the mill, it would all mean nothing without great burrs ...and this is what separates this mill from other expensive mills. The Maestro features a larger grind range than all previous models: 40 click stops.

 

The Maestro Plus burr set is housed in very tough high density polyethylene (same heavy duty plastics used in commercial cutting boards). It is easy to access and clean the burrs: you turn the grind hopper to the coarsest setting, lift it off, then lift out the top burr. If the burrs seem a bit loose in this position, don't worry. As you tighten the grind setting all the slack is taken out and they become rigid in their housings. The burrs are tool grade steel. They are not stainless, so you can see some discoloration (see pictures to the left) on them, but that is normal.

 

Side view of Maestro showing the timer knob: the mill measures 14H x 5”W x 6 ” D. This is a really handsome mill, something that is definitely not a detriment to the appearance of a kitchen countertop.

 

You activate the grinder using a mechanical timer or use the new Maestro Pulse On-Off button on the front of the mill! You can advance the knob to stop grinding prematurely. So it's easy to get consistent quantities by setting the timer. It is designed to be used either way, and will not break by advancing the dial forward.

 


Maestro Plus pulse button

 

Below the name on the front of either mill is a button - this is the pulse on-off button.


Virtuoso pulse button

While its not a dosing espresso grinder, the mill dispenses grind vertically: this means you can grind right into the espresso coffee filterbasket using the Pulse On-Off Button. So many mills shoot the grinds out the back of the base, horizontally: not good

The hopper is dark acrylic. The body and controls are well-designed and the materials are a plastic that doesn't show fingerprints: hey, you are paying for the great burrs here, not the wrappings...