The Baratza Encore Conical Burr Grinder Review
There’s a blade-grinder-shaped dent in the wall of my last apartment. But if I had gotten my hands on a Baratza Encore back then, that hole wouldn’t be there. Luckily, you don’t have to endure the same frustration I did.
Read my Baratza Encore grinder review to find out why your blade grinder belongs in the trash.
SUMMARY: The Encore
- Wide range of highly consistent grinds
- High-torque DC motor that runs at low RPMs
- Lacks “convenience” features like timed grinding, dose control, etc.
The Encore provides consistent grinds for brew methods from espresso to French Press and everything in between.– Baratza
The Baratza Encore Review
The Encore is an entry-level grinder that’s priced closer to the premium offerings of Baratza’s competitors. But with its amazing build-quality, superior motor and gear system, and diverse selection of grind settings, the Encore is a true champion.
Let’s take a look at what makes this grinder a standout in the competitive burr grinder market.
Design – 4/5
This grinder was designed to be a true beginner’s tool. It’s not going to offer the fancy conveniences of the higher-priced barista favorites, but it doesn’t compromise on the quality like other inexpensive grinders.
Burr & Motor Design: The Encore’s powerful, high-torque DC motor and new gearbox ensures that its 40 mm conical stainless steel burrs rotate at a steady 550 RPM. This slow speed reduces heat, noise, and static generation in the grinder while ensuring that the beans feed smoothly into the burrs.
The Encore’s updated gearbox is so quiet that you don’t have to limit your conversations to between grinds.
Carry on gloating about your fabulous Encore even while you grind!
Additional Features: This machine comes with a thermal overload cutout that protects the motor from overheating due to excessive use. It can also recognize a jam and stop quickly enough without damaging any parts. We’re pleasantly surprised to find these features in an entry-level grinder.
Hopper & Grounds Bin: The transparent hopper can hold up to 8-oz of beans, whereas the grounds bin has a 5-oz capacity. Both parts are made from high-quality plastic, and we have no complaints about their design.
Aesthetics: The Encore’s design has a timeless charm. Despite the plastic body, the sleek, black finish doesn’t look cheap. It’s a piece of equipment that you won’t mind showing off to your friends (and why wouldn’t you?)
Storability/Portability: Baratza designed the Encore to fit comfortably under most kitchen cabinets. With dimensions of 4.7” x 6.3” x 13.8” (WxDxH), and weighing 7 lbs, we can verify that it’s a compact, lightweight machine.
Ease Of Cleaning: The Encore’s top burr is removable without any tool, and the burrs can be brushed with ease. The removable hopper and grounds bin can be rinsed for quick cleaning. But make sure they’re completely dry before putting them back in. Take a peek at our burr grinder cleaning guide for more details.
Durability – 4/5
This is an area where the Encore really shines. Even though most of its parts are made of plastic, they’re all high-quality. In addition, there’s a heavy metal ballast that stabilizes the whole thing. That’s the reason why this machine is so hefty, especially for its small size.
The gears in the Encore are made from 15% glass-filled thermoplastic. This translates into extremely durable and long-lasting gears that are not very loud during operation because as per Ensinger Plastics (1), these materials have:
…very high dimensional stability, good fatigue strength and high mechanical damping properties.
On top of that, there is Baratza’s outstanding customer service and support, which means if any of the parts break, it’s easy to find and replace them. It means that this grinder has everything going for it to be your faithful coffee grinding companion for years to come. At this price, Baratza has over-delivered in terms of quality and durability, and we can’t stop singing their praises.
Ease Of Use – 4/5
The Encore doesn’t have all the nifty features that the higher end grinders have, which isn’t necessarily a negative. This grinder is relatively simple once you learn how much coffee you need for your preferred brewing style.
On the Encore’s side is a 2-way on/off switch, and on the front is a pulse grinding button. There are no timers or dose controlling features. To adjust the grind size, all you have to do is twist the hopper to one of the 40 graduated markings (more on that below).
This simplicity grants you immediate control over each grind, allowing you to play around and tailor each batch to your needs. It’s an intuitive system, and you’ll quickly get used to it.
Grinding Capability (Settings, Range, & Consistency) – 4.5/5
With a 40-step grind-size adjustment, the Encore is capable of grinding from 250 microns to 1200 microns. This means that it can churn out an espresso grind just as easily as it can produce a French Press grind. It can even handle the extra-coarse grind required for cold brew. For an entry-level grinder, that’s more than enough to cover all brewing styles.
If you’re new to home brewing, I hope you understand the importance of a consistent grind in how your coffee tastes. As the Coffee Technicians Guild puts it (2):
…inconsistent grind size will make determining the right grind to use for extraction very difficult.
The Baratza Encore has a reputation for producing super-consistent grinds, and we can vouch for that. Even at its finest setting, the grinds are quite consistent. But a word of caution:
You can use the finest grinds only with a pressurized porta-filter.
The grind remains consistent throughout until you reach the settings #35 to #40. At maximum coarseness, the grinds are noticeably inconsistent, and the particles are way too big even for a French Press. So it has the range, but not the consistency. But that is to be expected of a budget home grinder.
Price – 4.5/5
The Encore is certainly more expensive than most other entry-level grinders. And honestly speaking, it isn’t the best burr grinder on the market either. But for its cost, it is a damn fine purchase that will last you for several years.
The saying “you get what you pay for” is often used as an insult, but for the Encore (Amazon link) it is a compliment because this is a grinder worth more than its price.
Do Not Buy The Baratza Encore If…
You have a low budget – For a less expensive option that doesn’t compromise on the quality of the grind, take a look at the Capresso Infinity Conical Burr Grinder. It is as close as an entry-level grinder gets to the Encore’s grind consistency.
You want simpler cleaning and maintenance – If you want a grinder that takes care of static cling to avoid spilling fine coffee grounds, you can get the Bodum Bistro. It doesn’t offer the same grind consistency as the Encore, but it has a funkier design and is available in 4 eye-catching colors.
Read our full review here.
You want more bells and whistles – If you don’t feel that the Encore will meet your requirements for versatility, consider paying a little more for the Breville Smart Grinder Pro. With 600 possible micro-adjustments, a digital timer, and dose control, this machine is the iPhone of burr grinders.
Read our full review here.
You want to brew espresso – Want an even more consistent grind and enough range for a traditional espresso? The Encore’s big brother, the Baratza Virtuoso Plus, has got you covered. This machine is probably the last coffee grinder you’ll ever need, and it got our vote for the best burr grinder of 2020.
Read our full review here.
The Baratza Encore makes for an easy introduction to the world of craft coffee. It’s no wonder it was voted as one of the best coffee grinders in this list. As we learned in this Baratza Encore review, its various grind settings and simple features can promote you from trainee to veteran without breaking a sweat. And the more-than-reasonable price makes this grinder hard to pass up.
If you’re a fan of manual brewing, want to play around with different grind sizes, but without sacrificing the consistency, The Baratza Encore will satisfy all your coffee grinding needs. It is even capable of grinding fine enough for espresso (only when pulled through a pressurized portafilter, though).
However, if you are an espresso aficionado and want to experiment with micro-adjustments and doses, you’ll find the Encore severely lacking. Suffice it to say, it can’t grind fine enough for Turkish coffee either (for which you’ll need a dedicated Turkish coffee grinder).
If you liked this Baratza Encore Grinder review and have decided that this is the one for you, click here to check it out on Amazon.
The Baratza Encore can grind fine enough for espresso, but it isn’t great. If you really want to use the Encore to grind for espresso, you can recalibrate it and make all the grind settings finer. Follow the instructions from Baratza to do so:
- (n.d.). Glass Filled Polyamides. Retrieved from https://www.ensingerplastics.com/en-us/shapes/modified-plastics/glass-filled-polyamides
- Lemos, C. (2018, January 09). Grinder Basics. Retrieved from https://coffeetechniciansguild.org/blog/2018/1/9/grinder-basics