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.
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.
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
- 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:
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.
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.
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.
- 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?
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.
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.
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.