If there was one thing I wish I knew when I started my coffee journey, it’s this: the secret to brewing consistent and flavourful coffee resides in having a quality coffee grinder.
Starting out on my coffee brewing journey while at university, I was trying to get by with an inexpensive blade grinder I found at a general store. When I struggled to get the flavour profile I wanted out of my coffee, I bought more expensive coffee and different brewing devices, thinking they were the root of the problem. It wasn’t until I reached out to a local cafe owner for advice that I learned I needed to step up my grinder game.
I’ll be honest, my grinder troubles didn’t end when I bought my first burr grinder.
But, after working with a few grinder models along the way, I was able to invest in a grinder that worked best for my brewing style: The Baratza Encore. This grinder is a well-built, easy-to-use device that excels with manual brewing methods. This grinder review seeks to explore the ins and outs of this appliance.
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Who is the Baratza Encore for?
With its simple design and minimal special features, the Baratza Encore can be a great fit for entry-level users looking to invest in their first burr grinder, or for brewers looking for a grinder without all the bells and whistles. With a power switch on the side, a button in the middle, and a hopper dial to adjust the grind size, this device keeps it simple, and leaves space for the brewer to shine through.
For those looking for a grinder that excels with espresso-fine consistencies, the Baratza Encore is not best-suited for you. While this model has 40 different grind settings available, the Encore struggles to grind coffee fine enough for espresso.
This device is the perfect fit for users looking to grind coffee for manual brewing methods from pour-over to French Press.
Getting Started with the Baratza Encore
To maximize coffee extraction, and make flavourful coffee at home, a burr grinder is essential. Without a quality grinder, it’s practically impossible to grind coffee beans to an even consistency. When I desperately tried to make a blade grinder work, I was left with bitter or under-extracted coffee. By adding the Baratza Encore to my kitchen bench, I was able to gain a level of consistency and efficiency in my brewing routine.
The Baratza Encore makes it easy to adjust grind size and consistency with a hopper that doubles as a dial. The marks range from 0-40, with 40 being the coarsest setting and 0 being the finest. The grinder offers an automatic grind option using the dial feature on the side of the machine once it’s plugged in, and a pulse grinding feature used on the front-facing button.
I’ve found the pulse grinding feature is great when you’re working with smaller quantities of coffee beans. The plastic bean hopper can hold 230g of beans at a time, making it easy to grind a large amount of coffee for the week. With 40mm stainless steel conical burrs, the Encore grinder easily creates uniform coffee grounds to use in your favourite manual brewing methods. The grinder is available in black or white to better accent your kitchen space.
While simple in its design, the Baratza Encore offers a few key features other coffee grinders don’t always include.
Key Features And Benefits
Design and Build Quality
With a simple and modest design, the Encore grinder is constructed primarily of heavy duty plastic. This makes the device lightweight, durable, and easy to clean. While most small appliances are meant to wear out over time, Baratza grinders are designed like commercial coffee grinders. This allows each Baratza grinder to last for years if well-maintained. I’ve had mine for a few years now, and it’s held up well despite the wear and tear of regular use.
The Encore uses an efficient direct drive gear reductions transmission to move power from the DC motor to the burr set. This grinder includes a thermal overload cutout that protects the motor from overheating due to excessive use. Since the motor is designed for interval use, it’s important not to run the DC motor for long periods of time. It also includes an auto shut off when a tough object comes into contact with the burrs.
Since Baratza is reflective of review and feedback about their products, they also offer a wide variety of replacement parts for their grinders on their website. Instead of completely replacing your appliance, users can easily replace a part or two and extend the life of the product.
Ease of Use
With a button, a switch, and a dial, the Encore eliminates confusion and allows the primary focus for users to be grinding their favourite beans to the perfect consistency. Once this appliance is plugged in, users can turn the dial with ease to select the grind size, turn the switch on for automatic grinding, or press the button on the machine’s front to use the pulse feature.
One feature I’ve truly appreciated about using this grinder is the built-in calibration and speed control system that ensures the Encore produces a full range of consistently ground coffee. If a user wants more control over the calibration, the Encore provides the possibility to be calibrated manually, too.
The unique speed control uses a combination of gear and electric speed reduction to control the rotation of the burrs to 550rpm, which reduces noise, heat, and stress on the machine.
The Encore comes with easy-to-read instructions and was very easy to navigate in the initial uses. For those easily overwhelmed by extensive buttons, switches, and settings, the Encore does a great job of minimizing the excess, and prioritizing the essential features. Not to mention, the plastic surface ensures cleaning is easy, too.
The Baratza conical burr grinder offers a full range of 40 grind settings, ranging from coarse settings for cold brew and french press to finer settings for pour over. While there have been many a Baratza Encore review discussing the grinder’s struggle to achieve espresso fine grounds, the finer settings do work well for drip methods. The dial moves easily from setting to setting, allowing for easy, stress-free use.
While I may not consistently use the full range of available grind settings, I enjoy having the flexibility that comes with its range. In comparison to other coffee grinders, the Baratza Encore offers a great number of settings for its price. Pair the versatility with the uniform coffee grounds, and users have flexibility to maximize coffee extraction.
The steel burrs in the Baratza Encore do a great job of producing a smooth, even grind across its full range of grind sizes. In my experience working with burr grinders, I’ve found that the uniformity of the ground coffee far surpasses that of a blade grinder. With this conical burr grinder ranging from 250-1200 microns, it is a great entry-level device for manual brewers. While this coffee grinder doesn’t excel with fine grinds, it does excel in creating consistent coarser grounds at a reasonable price.
Whether I’m working with my pour-over devices, French press, or I’m steeping cold brew in the fridge, I’ve had nothing but a positive experience with this coffee grinder! I’ve been able to consistently maximize the extraction process with each manual brewing method, and in turn, have enjoyed the flavour profile resulting from the upgrade.
The key to getting the most out of your grinder is regular cleaning and maintenance. I try to do a light clean out of the grinder after every few uses, work through a deeper clean once a month to ensure the grinder can function at its best. The Baratza Encore make cleaning easier than the average machine.
The Encore’s design creates easy access to the burrs after removing the hopper. With a twist, one can remove the top burr to clean the set. It is helpful to remove all coffee beans prior to removing it from the grinder itself to avoid extra mess. Users have easy access to the grinder’s conical burrs once the hopper is off the machine, allowing for a cleanout to take place without much labour and difficulty.
Baratza Encore Alternatives
While I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time with my Baratza Encore coffee grinder, this grinder isn’t for everyone. If you’re looking for something beyond entry-level grinding, or you need a better fit for beyond manual brew methods, there are plenty of great alternatives that may meet your grinding needs.
Breville Smart Grinder Pro
The Breville Smart Grinder Pro is the perfect fit for brewers who like techy solutions and fine grounds. This grinder provides a consistent and versatile calibre that other entry-level grinders can’t. This device is more expensive, but its extra grinding features are well worth the investment.
The Pro excels with medium, fine, and extra-fine grinds, and is perfect for regular espresso users. The Smart Grinder Pro has a backlit LCD screen that displays grinds, grind time, and the numbers of shots or cups selected, and the Pro lets users grind beans directly into the portafilter, airtight container, filter basket, or paper filter.
The Pro delivers exactly what it advertises: high quality, uniformity, and at a higher price. This is a great tool for espresso makers, and will help users brew the perfect cup of coffee every time.
Check out our hands-on Smart Grinder Pro Review.
Baratza Virtuoso Coffee Grinder
The Baratza Virtuoso is a great upgrade from the Encore. Perfect for at-home grinding, the Virtuoso offers different feature levels at a higher price. If you’re looking for the reliability of the Encore, but with more complexity in terms of capability, this may be the best coffee grinder for you.
The Virtuoso’s motor is controlled by a digital timer displayed on the screen, making it easy for repeatable dosing. The timer is adjustable by a tenth of a second. The upgraded burr calibration system makes sure that each model has a full range of grinds for users to experiment with. The Virtuoso is a great upgrade from the Encore, but like the Encore, the Virtuoso isn’t ideal for espresso.
For those looking for the consistent nature of the Encore, but are craving more features, the Virtuoso is a great high quality electric grinder to add to your kitchen.
Whether you’re looking for consistent grounds to improve your brew routine, or are looking for a well-rounded coffee grinder that is a good value for the price, I cannot recommend the Baratza Encore enough.
As far as beginner grinders go, this device is dependable, versatile, and easy to use, clean, and empower the maker behind the machine. I hope this Baratza Encore review provides some helpful insight and helps narrow your coffee grinder search along the way. As someone who had to try many grinder models to find the machine that worked best for my style, I cannot stress how rewarding it is to find a device that fits.
The Baratza Encore is reliable, durable, and suitable for all manual brewing styles without costing a fortune. If your preferred brewing method is pour over or french press, this high-quality burr grinder is our top pick for grinding coffee beans at home.
Product SKU: 6374
Product Brand: Baratza
Product Currency: AUD
Product Price: 228.95
Product In-Stock: InStock