Baratza Encore Review

Baratza Encore Conical Burr...
The Baratza Encore doesn’t need an introduction.

Well, at least not if you’re a coffee geek.

For the rest you, let me tell you this: Not only is the Encore the perfect beginner grinder – it also very likely that you won’t ever need to upgrade ever again.

Introduction

Baratza is an American grinder company founded 1999. The company both makes grinders for professionals as well as home-users.

The Encore is the most basic model available from Baratza, and also one of the most popular ones.

The company’s customer service is generally awesome. If you have a problem they will fix it. It’s actually a part of Baratza’s philosophy to design their grinders so they can easily be repaired. That’s pretty rare among appliance manufacturers.

The Encore is perfect for pour over.

Baratza Encore Grinder Review

As mentioned before, the Encore is an entry-level burr grinder, but that doesn’t prevent it from delivering strong performance and durability.

The quality of the grind is definitely way better than anything, you’d get from a blade grinder or even the cheaper disk-burr grinder (those are typical among the sub $50-models out there, but they are nowhere near as consistent as the conical steel burrs in the Encore).

You will get more flavor clarity and consistency in your brews with the Encore.

Frankly that will be enough for most people.

How to know if the grinder is good enough for your needs?

  • If you always buy fresh coffee beans from a local roaster, and have started to experiment with using different kinds of mineralized water for your brew, then you might belong to the demography that could benefit from an even better grinder.
  • If you don’t use a digital scale for your brews, and mostly buy coffee from the supermarket, the Encore will definitely suit your needs
The grind is quite consistent and the grinder only produces few fines-

The Encore’s grind quality is good for its price range. It does really well for most kinds of regular coffee, such as:

  • Pour over
  • French Press
  • Aeropress
  • Stovetop Espresso maker

The Encore does produce some dust – the so-called ‘fines’ – but not much compared to other entry-level grinders.

If it really bothers you, you can always sift it out from the grinds, but this really isn’t necessary.

Overall, the grounds look better than anything else at this price range. You will have to either look to a manual grinder or drop a lot of extra money, if you want to go a significant step up in consistency.

The Encore isn’t suitable for espresso. While you probably can pull a shot from the Encore it will never be outstanding. In a pressurized basket (which is more forgiving) you can get away with it, but in a regular portafilter it won’t be good.

It’s also a lot harder for the motor to operate at the fine range required for espresso, which means that you’re more likely to damage the grinder.

a few things we like:

Low RPM = Grinds slow. This is good because it means that the grinder doesn’t produce much heat while grinding.
Up to 40 grind settings to tailor to all kinds of brew styles. You can brew both Aeropress, French press and pour over with this guy. However, I wouldn’t recommend it for espresso.
Great customer service: Baratza is famous for going that extra mile. If you have any issues, help will be at hand.
Baratza Encore Conical Burr...

Ease of use

There’s a central front pulse button in the center of the device while the power and grind setting are on the top and the side. The catch bin collects most loose grounds, although some users have noticed that static causes the grounds to stick to the inside and make a mess when you try to clean out the grinder.

You may find it difficult using the Encore if you use coffee beans that are larger than average. Bigger beans don’t feed through the hopper as well as regular-sized beans, which could result in some loose beans left over.

Build Quality

Compared to Baratza’s older Maestro models, the Encore device has an improved gearbox for quieter operation and a sturdier design.

Aside from the steel burrs, the Encore’s internal parts are mostly made out of plastic. The gears, however, are made of 15% glass-filled thermoplastic, which makes them more durable.

Since the grinder works at a rather low RPM and mostly handles grinds in the coarse to medium-range, you shouldn’t worry about lifespan.

Additionally, the new and improved gearbox can prevent jams from stopping quickly enough without causing damage to internal parts, making for quite the resilient grinder.

baratza encore and timemore scale
In 2020 Baratza also released a white version of the Encore.

Special features?

The Encore is a very basic model. But it does have a few interesting aces up its sleeve.

The Baratza Encore has a rather basic calibration system; almost like that of commercial grinders. It’s one of the only grinders in its price range that can be adjusted which is an especially useful feature if you are a picky user.

You also have 40 different grind options to choose from whether you want a fine or coarse grind to please almost any palate.

The DC motor keeps your beans cool while the gear speed reducers slow the burr to 450 RPM for less noise and smoother bean feeding. This also means the Encore is not producing excess heat which can cause your beans to prematurely release volatile aroma oils.

Drawbacks

  • Slow: It’s a rather slow grinder. This might be construed as ‘pro’ depending who you ask.
  • Basic: There aren’t any “convenience” features such as dose controls or timers, which isn’t a surprise since the Encore is the most basic model from Baratza.
  • Messy: It makes a bit of a mess when the basket is removed because of static electricity building up.
  • No espresso: This model isn’t meant for espresso. Yes, I know it’s possible to calibrate it to grind finer, but this doesn’t mean that it will survive for a long time grinding this fine.

Are there any alternatives?

Baratza Virtuoso - Conical...

Baratza Virtuoso

Lo and behold: The Encore has a big brother! Enter the Baratza Virtuoso. This grinder also has 40mm conical burrs, but it is built with a 60-second timer instead of an easy on/off switch.

Unlike the Encore’s grind speed which is 0.8 to 1.1G/sec, the Virtuoso’s speed is 1.5 to 2.4G/sec.

In terms of price, it’s only slightly more expensive.

When it comes to its build, the Virtuoso takes the cake since it has more high-quality metal parts for better performance and value.

Check out my other in-depth review of this grinder.

1Zpresso Jx

The 1Zpresso Jx competes at a similar price level as the Encore, however, for the money you get a way more consistent grinder.

The quality of this manual model is close to a professional level. Coffee will taste smooth and clearly defined with a grinder like the Jx.

However, the downside it’s a hand grinder. This means that you’ll have to put in some effort every time you drink coffee.

If you’re in good shape and mostly brews smaller batches, this shouldn’t be a big issue. But many people will probably prefer the convenience of an electric grinder, even if it means less consistent grinds.
1Zpresso JX Manual Coffee...

The final verdict

The Baratza Encore is an excellent choice for both first time buyers, and people who want to upgrade from a blade grinder or entry-level grinder.

Its simple features and consistent grind will help you get a good start in the world of specialty coffee without hurting your wallet more than necessary.

However, if you’re looking for something more advanced, then you might want to the Virtuoso or 1Zpresso Jx, instead.

→ Check Price on Amazon

→ Check Price on Prima Coffee (White color available)