If you’re always on the lookout for the best equipment for making great espresso, then one of the standout grinders of recent times is the new Baratza Encore ESP grinder.
An upgrade to the popular Encore grinder, this new device promises more features to cater to the espresso-loving crowd.
But is it worth the hype? I’ll answer this question with my detailed review of this Baratza grinder.
Baratza Encore ESP Review 2024 Summary
The Baratza Encore ESP coffee grinder looks similar to its predecessor, the original Baratza Encore, but it has some improvements that for me, make the upgrade worth it.
Available in black or white, the ESP has a wider range of fine grind settings to make espresso shots. With over 40 grind settings, it also delivers decent drip coffee and sports a better M2 burr set for consistent grinds with less fines.
While the plastic parts and noise level can be an issue for some, you have to keep in mind that this is an entry-level grinder. I’d say that the affordable price paired with the features of the Encore ESP grinder make it a great pick for making espresso and filter coffee in 2024.
The Baratza Encore ESP is a precision-focused, yet affordable grinder, designed for rich, syrupy espresso shots. It boasts durable, metal dual-range adjustments suitable for both espresso and other brews. Grind retention and grinding volume are on the higher end, but at this price, that's an acceptable trade-off.
Features of the Baratza Encore ESP
Here are the specifics of the Encore ESP coffee grinder:
Design and Aesthetics
The Encore ESP looks almost identical to the original Encore, with just a few changes to its look. The first things I noticed were the different pulse grind button shape and the printed “Encore” in front was swapped for “Baratza” while the side bears the “Encore ESP” name.
I like that the ESP remains classy in black and stylish in its white variant, while the bold branding is toned down a bit.
Keeping the costs down, the external parts of the Encore ESP such as the outer case, bean hopper, grounds catch bin, and even the dosing cup are made of quality plastic materials.
But don’t worry, this doesn’t compromise its long lifespan due to high-quality engineering on its internals, including its stainless steel burrs. The ESP also comes with a 1-year warranty.
Baratza has a good reputation in customer service and replacement parts are readily available should you need them.
Burr Performance and Grind Versatility
The highlight of this upgraded Encore is in the burr set. The ESP sports M2 stainless steel conical burrs that are superior to the M3 of its predecessor.
The M2 40mm burrs’ sharper and steeper edge delivers consistency and fewer fines in my grinds.
Talking versatility, the redesigned grind adjustment dial that comes with 40 different grinder settings now allows for finer grind sizes. You can see these espresso grind settings labeled ESP for “espresso”. The combination of 20 macro steps (#21-40) for coarser grinds and 20 micro steps (#1-20) for fine grinds means you can get good results for espresso. It is not stepless though, so you can’t dial it in perfectly, but it will be good for 90% of home espresso drinkers.
With this, I was able to pull an excellent espresso while the machine stayed user-friendly with other settings such as filter coffee, French press, and even cold brew.
Being an entry level grinder, the grinds come out clumpy at finer settings.
As for the grinding speed of the Encore ESP, it tested between 1.4 g/sec to 2.5 g/sec when I used it. The grinder runs at a lower 550 RPM to minimize the noise level, but it’s still a bit loud. I measured between 80-83 DB while grinding, it wasn’t bad at all.
Naturally, the coarser the setting, the faster it is to grind. This is on par with mid-range grinders, like the Breville stand-alone and built-in grinders.
As for grinds retention, the Baratza ESP retains between 0.3 to 0.4 grams of coffee, which is expelled every 4-5 grind cycles.
Size and Capacity
The Encore ESP has a compact size (4.75″W x 6.3″D x 13.75″H) that can easily fit on any countertop without hogging all the space. Mine sits neatly next to my espresso machine.
Capacity-wise, it can hold up to 8 oz (227g) of coffee beans with a 5 oz (141g) grounds catch bin— just right for brewing at a home setting.
It also comes with a dosing cup that fits right into a 54mm portafilter and a 58mm portafilter adapter.
Ease of Use
I like how the ESP is very user-friendly that it can cater to both beginners and experienced baristas. It has an on/off switch at the side and a pulse grinding button at the front.
It’s as straightforward as can be:
- Fill the machine with coffee beans.
- Move the adjustment collar to your preferred settings.
- Start the machine. You can either continuously grind with the knob on the side or control it with the pulse grinding button in front of the machine.
The ESP offers incredible value for its features. With a price point that’s $50 higher than the standard version, the ESP ups the performance with its better burrs and a wider range of grind settings, highlighting its versatility as an espresso grinder.
Baratza is a highly respected and well-established brand in the coffee industry. They have built a reputation for producing high-quality and reliable coffee grinders that deliver exceptional performance.
Breville, one of the leading espresso machine brands acquired Baratza in 2020, further establishing Baratza’s position in the world of coffee brewing.
Baratza Encore ESP Alternatives
Can’t decide yet on whether the ESP is right for you? To help you make up your mind, here are some close alternatives to the coffee grinder:
Fellow Opus vs Baratza Encore ESP
Around the same price point, the Fellow Opus is a worthy competitor to the Encore ESP. It has a unique minimalist design that Fellow is known for, equipped with over 41 precision settings, the C6 Burly Burrs (6-blade 40mm burrs), and anti-static technology.
Unlike the ESP, the Opus is a single-dose grinder with only 3.9 oz (110g) hopper capacity. It also has an automatic shut-off feature after 30, 60, 90, or 120 seconds.
It also has an ionizer to reduce static and clumping, which gives the Opus a big edge.
The Fellow Opus Grinder is tailored for both espresso and general brewing needs. With 41+ adjustable settings, a 6-blade 40mm conical burr set, and a robust motor, it ensures consistent grinds for diverse brewing methods, including espresso. Its quality, consistency, and intuitive design, making it a reliable choice for daily coffee grinding.
Breville Smart Grinder Pro vs Encore ESP
A bit heftier in price, this smart grinder from Breville is another home espresso grinder that can also handle your filter coffee well. Its adjustment system is comprised of 60 precise grind settings and it comes equipped with extra features like dose control and an adjustable burr speed.
Learn more about this machine in this Breville Smart Grinder Pro review.
The Smart Grinder Pro isn't pro enough to use in a café, but it does a good job in the home kitchen. It has stainless steel conical burrs with 60 grind settings ranging from espresso fine to French press coarse. An electronic timer can be set in 0.2 sec increments for consistent dosing.
The hopper has a large 18 oz capacity, it's easy to transfer beans, has a single dosing accessory, and can grind directly into multiple containers, including portafilters.
Eureka Mignon Silenzio vs Encore ESP
For those who prioritize noise reduction when making coffee, the Eureka Mignon Silenzio is known for its quiet operation while still delivering excellent grind consistency across various methods.
The Silencio is powered by 50 mm hardened steel burrs and Eureka’s patented Stepless Micrometric Regulation System offering infinite adjustment points for your espresso range and beyond.
The Eureka Mignon Silenzio Espresso Grinder combines sound-insulated construction and 50mm steel burrs for quiet, efficient grinding. It features precise grind adjustments, easy cleaning without setting loss, and offers both timed and manual dosing. The low noise output and anti-clumping technology ensure a smooth, consistent grinding experience.
How to Clean the Encore ESP
Cleaning the ESP is a breeze, and it requires minimal maintenance thanks to its static-free parts that prevent messes.
Still, I recommend that you clean it once every three months, or more frequently if you like to use oily coffee beans. Here’s how you can deep clean the ESP:
- Remove the coffee bean hopper.
- Unlock the quick-release knob and slide the burr off.
- Use a brush or vacuum to clean the grind chamber and chute.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here are answers to some questions about the Baratza Encore ESP:
The most notable upgrade between the Encore and the new Encore ESP is that the latter has been further improved for espresso. ESP has a wider adjustment range for fine espresso grinds while its M2 burrs are sharper and steeper than the Encore’s M3, offering more consistent results.
By default, the ESP uses a hopper, but you can use Baratza’s single-dose hopper add-on with this machine. It’s an additional purchase but worth it if you want to enjoy the advantages of single-dosing with this burr coffee grinder.
The Encore ESP can be loud when grinding, but you can reduce that noise. Place it over a sound-dampening surface such as a rubber mat to lessen the vibration. Just know that it still won’t be as quiet as other machines with silent technology.
This device is primarily marketed as an espresso grinder, but it is capable of catering to other methods. These include drip, French press, pour-over, and even cold brew, thanks to its 40+ grind settings.
Final Verdict – Should You Buy The Encore ESP?
Making espresso at home has been part of my daily routine for a very long time now, which is why I couldn’t use the older Encore model (read my Encore review).
I must say though that its successor, the ESP, is quite the upgrade and the added features make it worth the extra cost while it still maintains its affordability. Keep in mind though, that this is an entry-level grinder. It isn’t perfect in any way, so serious espresso aficionados should look at higher-tier grinders.
But the price point is attractive enough to warrant the purchase for most home baristas.