This is our Baratza Encore review.
Thousands of coffee enthusiasts found in the Baratza Encore their favorite home coffee grinder. But, recent technical developments and new brands are creating an impressive range of alternatives.
Against all odds, it seems that the Baratza Encore’s simplicity, quality, and affordable price haven’t gotten outdated after several years in the market. Yet. For this reason, this grinder is still a great entry-level grinder for home baristas.
Keep reading to learn more about its main features and if it’s the best grinder for you.
Overview: Baratza Encore Coffee Grinder
The Baratza Encore is an entry-level burr grinder that offers good quality, consistency, and durability. The value you get for the price of this grinder is nearly unbeatable, although it’s far from perfect.
Espresso beginners, beware!
Writing a Baratza Encore coffee grinder review implies saying that this isn’t a dedicated espresso grinder. As an all-purpose grinder, it delivers better results for other brewing devices like Moka Pot, French press, and pour-overs. Coffee grinding technology has its nuances, and it’s pretty expensive to build a grinder that can deliver even coffee grind sizes at the coarser and finer extremes.
For espresso, a Baratza Encore can deliver good results with entry-level espresso machines. Home espresso machines with pressurized portafilters are forgiving, and it’s easier to obtain a good espresso with them. Yet, according to many baristas and experts, it’s better to get a grinder with stepless adjustments for espresso. They’re more accurate and help to dial in the perfect espresso.
The main strengths of the Baratza Encore are its powerful engine and high-quality burrs. And its most significant shortcomings are its appearance and lack of advanced features. Still, for coffee lovers who prefer drip and immersion brewing devices, it’s an excellent option.
And the price? Perhaps you have seen cheaper home grinders below $ 50. But most of them aren’t worth the money because they can’t perform as well as Encore and its natural competitors.
Who shouldn’t buy the Baratza Encore?
Typically, the Baratza Encore isn’t for:
Making espresso requires continuously adjusting the grind sizes to eliminate undesirable sourness or bitterness. Calibrating a grinder for espresso is part of a barista’s craft. And, I found that customers’ experience points toward the most positive experiences out of the espresso world.
Anyone moving a step forward into the abyss of home espresso won’t be happy with a Baratza Encore. The main reason for this is limited grind settings for grind sizes. Moreover, most espresso enthusiasts claim that the Encore can’t grind as fine as they need.
I don’t think that Baratza is deceitful when they claim that the Encore can grind for espresso. Indeed, you can get fine grind sizes with this grinder. But it’s easy to conclude that most people agree: the Baratza Encore performs better at medium and coarse grind sizes.
Premium-oriented home baristas
At a glance, a Baratza Encore doesn’t look too different when compared to a blender. And that home-appliance appearance doesn’t help it with premium-oriented customers.
The Baratza Encore lacks advanced features. No screen, no timer, no dosing.
Additionally, it has a simple, somehow rustic aesthetics. It’s a motor with burrs encased in thick plastic. And, I love that because it helps to get an affordable grinder for those who want it. But, anyone looking for more bells and whistles needs to consider the alternatives.
The Breville Smart Grinder Pro is considerably pricier but tends to be a good option for people who prefer exploring espresso. And to get more advanced features.
Who is the Baratza Encore for?
Typically, the Baratza Encore will make you happy if:
You’re tired of your hand grinder
If you’re like me, you started grinding manually. It eventually becomes an annoying experience unless you have a good one.
So, if you’re tired of cranking slowly every morning, the Baratza Encore is an excellent option for you, mainly if you are on a budget.
You want to upgrade from a blade grinder
It’s time to get rid of that blade grinder!
Blade grinders are affordable and many people start knowing about freshly ground coffee through them. However, they get you terrible flavors in your cup of coffee: We might be used to those because of dark roasts and low-quality coffee.
Intense bitterness isn’t typical in high-quality coffee, but a blade grinder can turn good coffee into bad. For that reason, you might be thinking of upgrading to a burr grinder, which is a great idea.
The only thing that might be stopping you is the price because blade grinders are so cheap!
Still, the Baratza Encore is a good option if you’re committed to improving your coffee brewing experience. You’ll notice the difference immediately in taste and aroma because the coffee will be less bitter. Additionally, the sourness that you usually find in your coffee with a blade grinder will disappear.
You want to upgrade from a cheap burr grinder
That appliance brand made your stand mixer, your air fryer, and it felt like it would give the perfect coffee grinder for home. Right?
Well, not exactly. It might be broken now, or you just realized that you would like to have something better. If that’s your case, the Baratza Encore is an excellent option for you too.
Unlike big appliances brands, Baratza is a specialized company, reputable in the coffee industry. Their customer service is excellent, and the durability of the Baratza Encore is superior to any alternative from brands like Cuisinart or Bodum.
It’s common to find happy customers with these low-price grinders, but thousands of customers complain about the durability and quality of these grinders.
If that’s your case, and you’re tired of that low-quality grinder, keep reading because you’ll find enough information below to decide.
Main Features: Pros and cons
The Encore is a basic grinder that is perfect for beginners. In essence, its major shortcoming is its simplicity. Additionally, it doesn’t have enough fine grind settings for espresso, as I said before.
Looking at its strengths, it’s unbeatable on the most relevant points for an entry-level grinder.
Let’s drill down together its main features so that you can make the best of our Baratza Encore conical burr coffee grinder review.
Baratza built the Encore to last. It looks sturdy and straightforward, but it’s even sturdier than it looks. The size fits most countertops, and when I said that you could easily confuse it with a blender, it’s pretty much the size of a regular one.
Some people prefer metallic surfaces, but the Encore plastic case is thick and endures heavy use for a long time. Baratza has improved several aspects of the original design, mainly thinking about performance. Over the years, the company has made several adjustments to the gearbox, burrs, and the motor, so the Encore hasn’t stopped evolving, although it might look like it got stuck in time.
In terms of appearance, in 2020, Baratza released an assortment of accents and single-dose hoppers that add to the look. Yet, the single-dose hopper isn’t only an aesthetic upgrade. This add-on improves the Encore performance for regular home use because that usually goes below 40 grams per grind.
Operating the Encore is pretty straightforward. Adjusting the grind size is intuitive and switching on and off the grinder is straightforward.
The Baratza Encore takes less than 1 minute to assemble, making it perfect for beginners or anyone else who wants an easy-to-use coffee grinder at home.
In this aspect, Baratza ticks all the boxes because they didn’t overcomplicate anything. On the contrary, the Baratza Encore fits into the daily routine without any hassle. It’s easy to clean and maintain, and it doesn’t take long to keep it in shape.
The shortcomings of the user experience aspect are static’s fault. The grounds container has a weak spot for static, making it a messy and annoying experience to deal with. You’ll need to use the Ross Droplet Technique that James Hoffmann made popular.
Beating static 💡
Spray the coffee beans with a tiny amount of water immediately before grinding them. They will get just the moisture enough to prevent static from happening.
The Baratza Encore falls short in the looks and disappoints a bit with its lack of features. But performance is its superpower.
You’ll find cheaper options, but even close competitors can’t get even close to its 40 individual grind settings, powerful motor, and top-quality burrs.
It comes with stepped grinding, which allows you to control the distance between burrs incrementally, resulting in different size grinds.
Baratza designed the motor to grind slowly to prevent the burrs from getting too hot. It’s a clever decision because hot burrs would harm coffee taste and aroma. Additionally, it makes the Encore less noisy than it could be.
Build quality is essential for any coffee grinder, and the Baratza Encore is an entry-level model that doesn’t compromise on this aspect.
This burr grinder has thermal overload protection to prevent overheating. So, if you use the Encore excessively, it will stop working for a bit before getting damaged.
Baratza has a stellar customer support team for more severe repairs, and most customers speak wonders of their service. Additionally, they can guide you through troubleshooting most issues by yourself at home by getting very affordable spare parts online.
If you’re looking for a highly functional and durable entry-level grinder, the Baratza Encore is an excellent choice for the price.
The cost of this model is slightly below what it should be, particularly when we look at the attention that Baratza pays to durability and performance.
Compared to other home grinders, it’s hard to miss the price gap between the Baratza Encore and cheaper products like the Cuisinart and Bodum.
However, neither are as durable as the Encore, and you can easily spend the same amount of money buying several replacements in a short time. And, in the process, you would add some heavy waste to landfills, which isn’t as relevant for many customers as it should be.
The Encore’s maintenance and cleaning costs are pretty low compared to the burden of lower quality grinders. For this reason, I don’t recommend cheap alternatives, although there are a couple of affordable options worth considering.
Baratza Encore Alternatives
If you prefer espresso or have a pretty tight budget, some manual grinders can serve you well. However, most of the alternatives included in this list are for electric burr grinders.
Most customers like the precision and consistency of the Oxo Conical Burr Grinder at such a low price. It tends to be considerably cheaper than the Baratza Encore, which is hard to find for the quality of this grinder.
It’s a good option for people looking for an affordable entry-level grinder. Bear in mind, however, that it grinds better coffee across the medium and coarse grind-size range.
The price is the best value for an electric burr grinder, considering its built quality, stainless steel burrs, and overall performance. In terms of convenience, It surpasses the Baratza Encore thanks to its built-in timer. The overall functionality is pretty similar to the rest of the features. Adjusting the settings is straightforward.
The most significant shortcomings are that it’s hard to clean and maintain, and OXO’s customer and technical services can fall below our expectations.
The Capresso Infinity Plus coffee grinder has decent burrs that provide good grind quality. Additionally, this grinder is relatively easy to maintain.
In terms of features, it comes with 16 grinder settings and a timer to grind from 5 to 60 seconds. That said, it’s evident that the grinding capacity isn’t too wide, but the timer is an excellent feature to have for many customers.
It’s a pretty popular choice among coffee enthusiasts, although I prefer the bulky construction and looks of the Encore. At least for coffee grinders! It all boils down to personal taste when it comes to aesthetics anyway.
The Verdict: Baratza Encore Burr Grinder Review
The Baratza Encore is an affordable option to upgrade from low-quality grinders or manual grinders. It’s the best entry-level burr coffee grinder because it’s reliable, durable, and easy to use.
Additionally, it’s easy to repair, and Baratza cares about keeping a healthy stock of spare parts and excellent customer and technical service.
Q&A with Baratza
I had the crazy idea of asking some questions to the Baratza team about the Encore, and they answered!
Find below our lightning-fast Q&A with Alvin Kim from Baratza:
How are different Encore owners now from the first customers who got it years ago?
From the beginning, Encore owners have always been highly curious and excited about the exploration of coffee quality. Nowadays, the knowledge level has increased and Encore owners are perhaps more skilled than ever, which is why many of them sought out a high-quality burr grinder like the Encore in the first place!
What improvements have seen the Baratza Encore since it was first released?
You’ve keyed in on something that is at the core of our ethos! We’re all about innovation and taking care of our customers. At its launch, the Baratza Encore received a lot of praise for leading the industry in making high-end burr grinders more accessible. Through years of experience, experimenting, and customer feedback, we’ve continued to roll out updates to keep raising the bar. Some of these improvements include updated aesthetics, more intuitive graphics, a new white colorway, durability inside the grind chamber, and we added intuitive markings to the adjustment ring for easier setup.
What’s the average life of an Encore?
With love and simple preventative maintenance, we expect that our grinders can operate for around ten years. Where it matters, we use premium materials like the high carbon steel burrs and a powerful DC motor, while we intentionally design easy-to-replace parts like the paddlewheel that will break first if a rock or screw makes it in the grind chamber. This helps to protect the more expensive components in these situations and means customers can easily keep their grinders running for longer.
What feedback do you get from customers that you would like to share?
I think we have some of the kindest, most engaged customers anyone could ask for. Beyond our regular tech calls, our support team regularly enjoys conversations with customers nerding out about grinders, the latest bag of delicious coffee, and interesting new brew methods. Our repair program has received a lot of praise for being low-cost and simple. All of this is part of our “don’t dump it, fix it” mentality paired with our desire to make sure everyone that we interact with feels cared for!
FAQ about the Baratza encore grinder
In addition to my questions, I wanted to include some questions about the Baratza Encore that I have been reading over and over again. I am answering the most relevant that I found below.
How Quiet Is The Baratza Encore?
The Baratza Encore is as loud as a blender. If the hopper has the lid on, it dampens the noise a bit. Still, you will hear the beans crushing inside. The whole process usually takes less than 30 seconds, so it isn’t too bad at all.
Is Baratza Virtuoso Quieter Than Encore?
The Virtuoso is quieter than the Encore and more expensive too. It’s an excellent grinder for pour-over coffee enthusiasts and was the best for that purpose for more than a decade. Now, with the Fellow Ode in the market, the Baratza Virtuoso is the best second, in my opinion.
Can A Baratza Encore Grind Espresso?
No, the Baratza Encore doesn’t grind fine enough for espresso. It can grind fine enough for Moka pot and Aeropress, however.
What type of coffee is best suited for the Baratza Encore?
All burr grinders work better with medium roasts. Dark roasts can be good as long as they aren’t oily. Many burr grinders clog due to dark oily coffee beans. If you’re a fan of oily coffee beans, I recommend cleaning the grinder more frequently to avoid preventable issues.