wilburpan I might have this wrong, but it sounds you’re describing how the grinder and the type and size of burr affects the espresso along the bright/acidic/clear to strong/rich/intense spectrum that I’m thinking of, and I can see how a grinder can do that. My experience is that I can also make those adjustments with my current grinder, and I can do the same thing by changing the dose of coffee I’m using for my espresso.
I think your grouping of characteristics is not quite right, in the context of what different grinders offer.
With one grinder you can only change the grind setting, meaning you can’t really affect the profile in any other way than:
- under-extraction (acidic, very bright, tart, sharp),
- balanced (might be have pleasant acidity, might be rich…but these will depend on bean/roast, not a grind malfunction)
- & possibly, but often unlikely, over-extraction (drying, smoky, rarely drinkable).
The fact that your grinder is not what most would consider ‘up to the job’ means you are needing to tweak parameters like dose to keep things within a usable range, rather than using the grinder to achieve consistency with just grind setting.
I’m not saying what you are doing wrong/bad, far from it, but you are conflating dialling in/extraction, with grinder profile. They overlap, but are not the same.
Should you change? Tricky without knowing where you want to go and what specifically will suit that. If you don’t know where you want to go, maybe stay as you are for a while and think about identifying any persistent shortcomings you might experience that give similar, generic off tastes with a range of coffees.
My point of view is that with a more capable grinder (whatever the profile), you may find it easier to adjust fewer parameters, rather than having to make more exploratory shots as you work out/second guess what you need to do to the dose, to bring things back into line.
Do you have a problem? If so, is it big enough for you to want to jump? …If you jump, can you see where you want to land & why?
The Virtuoso is not a very expensive grinder, can you afford to buy another grinder without selling the Virtuoso? Then at least you can A/B for while & weigh up the pros & cons.
Don’t buy a Sette, they are horrifically loud & not reliable, Baratza make some good grinders, this isn’t one of them.