In my years of being a barista, I’ve come to know the great importance of picking the right grinder for my brews. You wouldn’t want to waste the potential of your specialty coffee beans even before the brewing process. But with a low budget, can you still achieve positive results?
Today, I’m sharing with you my review of this entry-level electric grinder, to see if it’s what you’re looking for. I’ll dive into the workings, settings, capacity, and more features of the Encore.
I’ll also be discussing some alternatives to further help you pick the right machine as well, so make sure you read till the end.
Table of Contents
Baratza Encore Grinder Review – My Honest Take
The Baratza Encore is really a standout choice among coffee lovers looking for a budget-friendly automatic grinder. Despite its entry-level price point, it is a sleek and compact machine that performs consistently well.
This versatile grinder is also user-friendly, and you can easily dial in your desired grind size from its 40 grind settings. However, I do not recommend it as is for fine espresso grinds. Still, its precision shines with medium to coarse grinds, and the roomy 300g bean capacity is pretty generous.
Overall, the Encore offers great value for money with its affordable price tag and reliable performance. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced home barista, this grinder will help you enjoy delicious coffee without breaking the bank.
Key Features of The Baratza Encore Coffee Grinder
To really know if the Baratza Encore is for you, here’s my in-depth review of this coffee grinder’s features:
Classic and Compact Look
First impressions last, and the Baratza Encore impresses first and foremost through its classic aesthetic in a sleek black finish. It also comes in a white variant with a dark-tinted bean hopper and grounds catcher, which makes it fitting for white-accented kitchens.
It’s not the most premium-looking automatic grinder, but I like that it looks pretty compact, not having clunky and protruding buttons or knobs, while its grounds catcher disappears right into the device.
Quality Materials for Great Durability
Talking durability, the Baratza Encore’s body is made from high-quality plastic material which is pretty durable and can last long especially if it’ll just sit safely on your kitchen countertop. Also inside is a heavy metal ballast that stabilizes the entire machine as it vibrates from grinding.
As for the gears, they’re made from 15% glass-filled thermoplastic material which is highly heat-resistant. This means that physical fatigue from long and frequent grinding sessions will not burn into these parts.
Steel Burrs for Quiet & Smooth Grinding
The Baratza Encore is equipped with 40mm conical stainless steel burrs that are much more consistent than blade grinders. Running at a low 550 RPM (revolutions per minute). This low RPM translates to a quieter and smoother grinding, and it produces less heat so the temperature will not interfere with the aroma and flavors packed in your coffee beans.
There’s a drawback with this lower RPM though, as it struggles with finer grinds. Out of the box, it cannot create the ideal fine coffee grounds for making espresso. It will either require a complicated recalibration (you have to take the machine apart) which I do not recommend, or you just spend more money upfront for the Baratza Encore ESP that’s optimized specifically for such grinds. The ESP is just a bit pricier, but more versatile.
Other than that though, achieving precise and consistent grinds at medium and coarse sizes is easy with the Encore. More on this up next.
Versatile Settings for Various Brewers
With its wide range of 40 distinct grind settings, versatility is another standout feature of this grinder. As mentioned, it lacks precision on finer grinds such as espresso but it can still produce coffee grounds for your shots, though not as good as I would like.
Overlooking this weak point, I have no problem grinding for my brewers that require medium and coarser grounds such as my AeroPress, Hario V60, Chemex, and French press to name a few.
Space-Saving Size That’s Big on Capacity
Size-wise, the Baratza Encore is quite the space-saver for an automatic grinder. The dimensions are 13 cm wide, 34 cm high, and 15 cm in depth (5″ x 13.4″ x 6″). It’s a sleek device that only requires a small fraction of your kitchen space, and its compact design further enforces this feature. It is also lightweight so moving it around or storing it is an easy feat.
It doesn’t compromise on capacity either. The Encore has a 300g bean hopper capacity and 120g grounds capacity. Letting you brew larger batches in one go without a hitch.
Easy to Use and Maintain
Using the Encore is also really easy and straightforward. The bean hopper acts as the adjustment dial and you just have to twist it to align with your desired number.
When it’s time to grind you have two options to operate. You can either press and hold on the front pulse grinding button which gives you control over the grinding, or turn the knob on the side of the machine which will make it run without you holding any buttons. I like the latter better because I can start prepping up my brewer during this time, I just have to remember to turn it off because the Encore doesn’t have a built-in timer.
Cleaning and maintaining this machine is also simple:
- With the supplied brush, clean the burrs and use a vacuum to remove the residue.
- Wash the bean hopper, grounds catcher, and rubber collar from the top burr plate.
- Make sure they’re completely dry before reassembling.
This process is straightforward but it can be time-consuming. Read my in-depth guide on how to properly clean grinders to know more about the nitty-gritty of such work.
Decent Price and Good Value for Money
Now let’s get to the price. As an entry-level home grinder, the Encore is an affordable pick that can grind coffee well, as shown by its grind quality and consistency. It doesn’t sport special features found in more expensive models, but it has the basic tools that you would need to make a great cup of coffee. The choice between the pulse grinder button and the on-and-off switch also allows for further convenience.
If you want to make sure you are getting your money’s worth while still staying within budget, then the Baratza Encore strikes a great balance between performance and affordability.
1 Year Warranty
If you encounter any issues with your Encore grinder, Baratza offers 1-year warranty for the machine in the US and Canada, and 1-year warranty for its parts if the products are shipped out of those countries.
Baratza Encore Alternatives
To really decide if the Baratza Encore is perfect for your needs, then it’s also important to look at the available alternatives:
Baratza Encore ESP vs Encore
Baratza’s newest version of the Encore is the Encore ESP, which has better burrs, making it suitable for espresso. It is $50 more expensive as a results, but still a great tradeoff, if you drink espresso.
If not, the normal Encore is good enough.
Baratza Virtuoso + vs Baratza Encore
If you have money to spare, you might want to consider going for the more high-end Baratza grinder, the Virtuoso+. It’s quite an upgrade from the Encore because it offers a few additional features such as a wider adjustability of 60 grind settings, a digital timer, and a more stylish silver and black color combo.
The drawback here though is that while you’re paying more, it’s still not an ideal espresso grinder and will require some recalibration if you want to make it work side by side with your espresso machine.
Bodum Bistro vs Baratza Encore
Another popular pick is the Bodum Bistro, which is more affordable than the Encore. It has steel conical burrs, a plastic casing, and a borosilicate glass catcher. I also like its compact look with a clear bean hopper and grounds catcher.
While the Bistro has a preset timer which the Encore doesn’t have, its grind settings are only limited to 12. There’s a 5-minute cooldown between grinds, so if its 220g bean capacity isn’t enough for your household, it will take extra time for grinding.
OXO Brew Burr Coffee Grinder vs Baratza Encore
Another grinder with a lower price tag than the Encore, the OXO Brew burr grinder also offers a great balance between affordability, grind quality, and convenience.
While it also has the advantage of a timer, it is still inferior to the Encore in terms of grind consistency. The OXO brew is good enough for your everyday drip coffee and French press. It does have a bigger 340g bean capacity so it’s quite ideal in environments where a lot of coffee is being consumed by the minute.
If you’re looking for an affordable automatic grinder that doesn’t compromise on performance, then the Baratza Encore is definitely worth considering. It may not be ideal for espresso grinds, but its precision is very impressive when it comes to medium and coarse grinds.
However, if you have more wiggle room in your budget, I recommend that you also check out pricier models that have more to offer. If you can let go of convenience, you might want to pick manual grinders over electric ones. These are generally more affordable, plus some of the best manual burr grinders can produce better results.
Still, as far as entry-level automatic grinders go, I recommend giving the Baratza Encore a try. Don’t let a low budget hold you back from enjoying delicious coffee at home.