Baratza Encore Review | 2017 Update

If you're looking for a decent grinder on a budget, our Baratza Encore review will point you in the right direction. Coffee grinders are crucial to the brewing process and the resulting flavor of your coffee. Don't fall into the trap of thinking that the grinder is just something to smash up your beans.

A high-quality grinder is essential for great-tasting coffees and espressos. The most reliable grinders are the market use burrs, which produce smoother and more consistent grounds than a grinder that only uses blades.

In this Baratza Encore review, we'll evaluate the product by our usual criteria: grind quality, grind consistency, ease of use, and overall durability.

After looking at all aspects of the Encore grinder, we hope you can make an informed decision on whether it's a good match for your coffee needs.

Baratza Encore

Baratza Encore

Quick 1-minute breakdown


If you're in a hurry and just want to know whether or not you should purchase the Baratza Encore, let me give you a quick breakdown:

  • If you're looking for an entry-level coffee grinder which is capable of producing a wide range of coffee grinds, the Baratza Encore is an excellent choice.
  • If you are looking for a budget-friendly coffee grinder to go with your budget espresso machine, the Baratza Encore is a perfect way of entering this game.
  • If you want consistent, high-quality espresso grinds for a higher end espresso machine, you're better off with a more expensive grinder which produces a better consistent grind. Also, this grinder isn't perfect for French press.

Grind quality
Grind consistency
Ease of use
Durability
Price
Average

If you're still unsure, please keep reading. Hopefully, after reading this full and detailed Baratza Encore review, you can make a solid decision. If not, just let me know in the comments, where I am happy to answer any questions.


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First published: 4/25/2017
Last update: 4/25/2017


How did we review the Baratza Encore?

The goal of each of the reviews on Let's Grind Some Coffee is to do an insane amount of research, so you don't have to anymore. We work with a number of talented and experienced writers, who know what they're talking about. Each writer is responsible for conducting his/her own research, so there's no miscommunication possible. When doing this review we didn't own the Baratza Encore. For the comparison I used product reviews, customers comments, and instruction videos and manuals. For more information, please have a look at the disclaimer at the end of this article.

Click to learn more about our review process


An Introduction to the Baratza Encore

The Baratza Encore is a popular entry-level grinder for to grind coffee beans at home. It has 40 individual grind settings, ranging from fine to coarse. It can even produce espresso, which many grinders under $200 cannot.

It uses 40 mm conical burrs made of hardened steel. The machine comes with the option to calibrate the grinders at home manually if the need arises. Its settings produce excellent grinds suitable for manual brewing methods including pour-over, and recently popular brewers like Aeropress, Chemex, and Siphon.

Although the Baratza Encore can produce a fine grind, its DC motor has checks in place to prevent it from becoming too hot. It operates at 450 RPM, with electric and gear speed reducers to keep the grind speed consistent.You can grind beans for extended periods of time without worrying about the temperature of your beans increasing or a static buildup in the machine.

Coffee 101: Conical Burr vs. Flat Burr Grinder

The difference between conical burrs and flat burrs is how they are placed, the form being in a more vertical position than the latter. Both allow for perfect grind quality, however, flat burrs are capable of producing the finest type of grind. 
Conical Burr vs. Flat Burr Grinder


The Encore replaces Baratza's Maestro Plus, with improvements such as more grind settings and a wider range. The bean hopper holds up to 8 ounces, while the grounds bin has a 5-ounce capacity.


Grind Quality

With 40 different grind options, it's easy to imagine that Baratza may have sacrificed quality for quantity. Luckily, this isn't the case. Consistent with the manufacturer's claims, this grinder has no problem producing grinds fine enough for espresso. Users even found that on setting 6, with a dense tamp, the Encore provided a grind fine enough to choke an espresso machine. Choking usually happens when a grind is too fine for espresso.

Espressos produced from Encore-ground beans have a light taste that draws out fruit notes in a coffee bean. However, the grind can cause the shot to run a little more quickly than average.

Coarse ground settings on the Baratza Encore grinder produce grounds that are well-suited for brewed coffee and manual brewing methods. The grind quality functions well with nearly all manual brews (but we'll address one limitation in the next section). You should have no problem using these grounds for pour-over, Aeropress, Siphon and Chemex brewing methods.


Grind Consistency

Coarse French Press grinder

Coarse French Press grind

Although the grind quality is high, the Encore's consistency isn't as smooth as other grinders on the market. The Baratza Encore grinds well enough for pour-over brewing, Aeropress, and even espressos. However, it's not consistent enough for French press or press pot coffee maker.

This grinder produces a significant amount of "dust," or extremely fine coffee grounds with each grind. You'll lose some coffee each time to the fine dust. Sifting it out from the coarse grinds will improve the consistency enough for use in a press pot, but involves extra work and inconvenience for you.

For espresso, the grind is fine enough, with a few clumps from time to time. Given the price, this machine can't be expected to perform as well as high-end commercial grinders. Settings 7, 8, and 9 tend to function the best when grinding for espresso, although your machine's calibration might vary.

With some skilled tamping, grinds from the Encore should be able to work with any espresso maker. You can find several grinders with a smoother consistency than the Encore, but their price rises proportionately with their quality. For its price range, the Baratza Encore produces excellent results.

Ease of Use

A central front pulse button is placed conveniently in the center for easy use, while power and grind settings are on the side and top of the machine.

The Baratza Encore coffee grinder isn't very loud and doesn't produce much static when compared against similar level products. The catch bin captures most grounds, leaving the surrounding area clean. Although the product has antistatic measures, some users found that static caused grounds to stick to the interior of the machine. These remaining grounds can make cleaning out your machine a messy process.

If you use coffee beans that are bigger than average, you could have some difficult with the Encore. For example, Kenya AA belongs to a larger size classification. Large beans don't feed well through the hopper, so you may be left with a few stray beans.

Over time, clogging can become an issue. Taking the grinder apart and performing periodic cleanings help prevent this problem from affecting the quality of your grind.


Durability

The Baratza Encore is long-lasting, with burrs remaining sharp for many years. Although some users experienced clogging, this could be addressed with cleaning and didn't affect the overall durability of the machine.

A major benefit of purchasing from Baratza is how easily a user can replace worn down or broken parts. All replacement parts are available on the Baratza website for easy viewing and purchase. There's no need to contact a representative or jump through any hoops to get new parts.

Despite the complaints, the Baratza customer service team appears to be consistently pleasant and helpful. The product comes with a warranty, and for some users, the staff has been willing to send a replacement machine even after their warranty has expired.


Alternatives to the Baratza Encore

The Baratza Encore is a great, allround coffee grinder. However, when you're making espresso, you might want even more grind settings, as each bean requires different variables. Also, with espresso, consistency is the key is making a smooth espresso. 

Best Alternative: Rancilio Rocky

More grind settings, and better grind consistency

The Rancilio Rocky is an excellent alternative if you want a bit more power, larger burrs (for faster operation), and even more grind settings. The Rocky is capable of producing very fine grind, perfectly suited for espresso. It is also more than capable of producing the more coarser French press grinds. The Rocky is getting many positive reviews, and is known for its consistent coffee grinds. It's also the #1 on our "Best Espresso Grinder" list. It is, however, far more expensive than the Baratza Encore because of its higher quality built.

The Rancilio Rocky model shown here is the doserless model. There's also model with dosing chamber (this one), which costs about the same. The main benefit of a doser chamber is that you can grind a few cups in advance, but I personally prefer to keep it as fresh as possible and have it grind directly in my portafilter. Read our full Rocky review.

Smart Alternative: Breville Smart Grinder Pro

High-quality grinds, from espresso to French press, the smart way.

The Breville Smart Grinder Pro is a perfect alternative for the Baratza Encore, if you're willing to spend a bit more on your grinder. This grinder is capable of producing anything from espresso to French press. The main difference with the Baratza Encore are its "smart" features (hence the name). 

The Smart Grinder Pro allows you to pre-define the grind time, along with the number of cups required. This way you can grind the same amount of coffee every time you make coffee, instead of timing yourself. 

All these parameters are shown on its digital display, along with your grind settings. Its cradle make sure you can grind straight into your portafilter, for maximum freshness.
Check out our full review.


Rounding up the Baratza Encore Review

The Baratza Encore grinder is an excellent choice for its tier - for entry-level, at-home use. While it doesn't have the smoothest grind consistency, it's enough for most brewing methods.

I hope this review gave you a good picture of the Encore. Do you plan to try it for yourself? Let us know what you thought in the comments below! Thanks for reading!


Resources used for this review