Baratza Encore Review
For the rest you, who are just getting into coffee, 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.
Baratza (meaning a place where locals gather to enjoy drinking coffee) is an American company that started out in 1999.
Since then the company has offered state-of-the-art grinders for professionals as well as the most demanding consumers.
Baratza’s customer is generally awesome. If you have a problem they will fix it. The service revolves around offering a quick and easy warranty where they can solve issues over the phone or replace your grinder entirely.
They also offer a comprehensive troubleshooting guide and parts and instructions for if you wish to fix the grinder yourself.
Although the Baratza Encore coffee grinder doesn’t break the bank in terms of price, it still has its fair share of benefits that could prove useful for the beginning coffee lover. It’s also rather durable so you don’t have to worry about it breaking on you too easily.
Typically, grinders of this price range won’t really be suitable for espressos, and while you probably could pull a shot from the Encore it won’t be good. In a pressurized portafilter (that’s usually more forgiving) you might get away with it, but you shouldn’t even attempt to use this grinder with a normal portafilter.
a few things we like
the baratza encore grinder review
As mentioned before, the Encore is a beginner’s grinder, but that doesn’t stop it from delivering strong performance and durability. 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, which is something most connoisseurs would smirk at. They have good reason to since plastic is usually more vulnerable to damage than metal.
However, the Encore’s gears are made of 15% glass-filled thermoplastic which make them more durable and resistant to shock. If you just put well-roasted beans in the hopper, you shouldn’t have any issues. Only under-roasted beans or small stones should cause concern.
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.
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.
The Encore’s grind quality is excellent for its price range. It does really well for most kinds of regular coffee, such as:
- Pour over
- French Press
- Stovetop Espresso maker
However, it shouldn’t really be used for espresso. This is to be expected for a grinder in this price range.
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.
The Encore is a very basic model. But it does have a few interesting aces up its sleeve.
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.
- If you’re looking for a grinder that’s perfect for espresso, the Encore isn’t an option.
- There aren’t any “convenience” features such as dose controls or a high precision timer, which isn’t a surprise since the Encore is meant for beginners.
- It also makes a bit of a mess when the basket is removed because of static electricity building up.
Are there any alternatives?
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.
It shares a lot of traits with the Encore: It’s good for most things except espresso, it’s sturdy and at the same time cheap.
If you’re on a really tight budget, this grinder might be the better choice.
In our opinion it’s not as awesome as the Encore, but on the plus side it’s less noisy.
The final verdict
The Baratza Encore would be a very good choice for both first time buyers, and people who want to upgrade from a blade grinder or entry-level grinder.
Its price tag isn’t intimidating and it will have no problem in grinding for everyday use, but if you’re looking for something more professional, then you might want to look to the Virtuoso instead.
Otherwise, 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.