Baratza Encore Burr Coffee Grinder Review: Old-School Stamina
The Baratza Encore is one of the most popular entry-level grinders on the market. It’s known for being good value, long-lasting, and versatile. But does it live up to the hype? Our Baratza Encore review will cover all the pros and cons of this bestseller.
Summary: The Baratza Encore
This all-around workhorse grinder produces the consistent grind required to brew delicious coffee, and it doesn’t cost a fortune. – Wirecutter
A quick Baratza Encore review
The Baratza Encore isn’t one of the cheapest grinders you’ll buy, but you’d be hard-pressed to find one that’s better value for money. It benefits from the same build quality as more expensive Baratza grinders, and the 40 grind settings put it on par with even some commercial grinders for versatility.
There isn’t much in the way of special features here, but that’s part of the charm. It’s a straightforward conical burr grinder that’s simple and intuitive to use. It’s an ideal grinder for new brewers, or anyone upgrading from a blade grinder.
Great value for money
- 40 grind settings
- Durable construction
Not amazing for espresso
- Slow grind speed
Full review of the Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder
The Baratza Encore is a great value entry-level grinder, but like every product, it still has its strengths and weaknesses. Here’s what you need to know before buying the Encore.
Design – 4/5
There’s nothing fancy about the Baratza Encore, but that’s part of the appeal. The grinder has a timeless, streamlined design that will fit in with almost any home decor. Standing at 13.8 inches high, it will fit under standard kitchen cabinets, and at just 4.7 inches wide, you can easily tuck it away when not in use.
At the top, the standard bean hopper will hold 8oz (225g) of coffee beans, enough for around ten large cups of French press coffee (1). If this isn’t enough for your needs, there’s an optional hopper extension that adds an extra 9oz. The grounds bin at the front will hold 5oz. If you want hands-free grinding (and an easier cleanup), you can replace the bin with a portaholder that allows you to grind directly into a portafilter.
It’s what’s on the inside that makes the Baratza Encore such a good value grinder. Stainless steel conical burrs are driven by a powerful and efficient high torque DC motor, which is speed controlled to 550 rpm. This does mean that the Encore is not a fast coffee grinder by any means, but the upside is a reduction in heat, noise, and static.
For added safety, the motor also has a thermal overload cutoff switch. This is designed to cut the power if the grinder overheats from excessive use. But if you’re grinding an average amount for home use, it’s not likely to be an issue.
Durability – 4.5/5
Baratza products are known for their durability, and the Encore is no exception. As you might expect from something at this price, the Encore’s casing is made from plastic, but that doesn’t mean it looks or feels cheap. It’s a high-strength plastic resin that’s not only tough but also resistant to fingerprints.
The gearbox has been upgraded in more recent models to make it more durable. The gear shaft is now made from 15% glass field thermoplastic, which not only makes it more hardwearing but also reduces heat (2).
At the heart of the Encore are the 40mm conical burrs, made from a hardened stainless steel alloy to maintain sharpness. You’ve probably heard that the best burr coffee grinders use ceramic burrs as, among other things, they have a longer lifespan. While this is true, it’s not necessarily anything to worry about. The average steel burrs can grind upwards of 500 pounds of coffee before they needs replacing. Even if you’re grinding a pound a week, these burrs will last you close to 10 years (3)!
Customers are encouraged to get out of the mentality of throwing out appliances when they break and repair them instead. As such, even Baratza coffee grinders for home use are designed to be maintained like commercial machines. Replacement parts are easily available, and there are online tutorials and live support to help you care for your grinder.
Ease of Use – 4/5
Getting ground coffee out of your Baratza Encore is a very straightforward process. To grind the coffee, you simply turn the side-mounted dial to the on position. You adjust the grind size by twisting the hopper, which has well-marked graduations from 1 to 40. There’s also a pulse button on the front for grinding just that little bit extra.
This no-frills operation can be a pro or a con depending on how you look at it. It’s simple to use but also lacks any features that will make life easier. With no timer or scale, you’ll have to learn to judge how much coffee your need for your brewing methods and particular coffee beans (4). One option is to weigh your beans before adding them to the hopper. It’s not a perfect solution, but the Encore has low grind retention that will get you fairly accurate output.
If you want the option to switch between different beans, say from regular to decaf, Baratza sells a single dosing attachment compatible with the Encore. This 60g capacity container screws on in place of the regular bean hopper and still allows you to use the grind settings as usual.
Baratza has designed the Encore for easy cleaning. Like many of the brand’s grinders, you can access the burrs without needing any tools. You can easily remove the hopper for cleaning.
Like any grinder, the Baratza Encore can have some issues with static buildup, mainly when it’s new. You may have seen many weird and fabulous suggestions to get around this, but the simplest option is to wait a few minutes after grinding (4).
Grinding Options – 4/5
One of the stand-out features of the Baratza Encore coffee grinder is the number of different grind sizes. With 40 stepped settings, it gives you a level of versatility that’s not usually found on an entry-level grinder.
The grind options run from 250-1200 microns, which is a way of measuring the fineness of coffee grounds. The smaller the number, the finer the coffee, with fine Turkish coffee usually around 100 microns and grounds for cold brew upwards of 1000. This range and grind consistency make the Encore such a good grinder for pour over coffee and for French press.
Where the Baratza Encore coffee grinder does lose some points is when grinding for espresso. Two hundred fifty microns is technically fine enough for espresso, but the extreme ends of the settings don’t have the same grind quality as what you get in the mid-range of the grinder.
It’s possible to recalibrate the Encore to grind finer overall, making it better for espresso, but this will mean losing some of the coarser grind levels (6). You can get around this by using a pressurized portafilter with your espresso machine, much more forgiving of grind size. It also makes it easier to pull a shot, so it’s a good tool for espresso newbies (5).
As we mentioned previously, the Encore’s motor has been restricted to 500 rpm. While this does have its benefits, you’ll notice this coffee grinder is somewhat slower than others on the market, with an output of 0.8g.—1.1g per second, you’ll be looking at around 20 seconds grinding to get enough for your morning cup of coffee.
Is this really for you?
Suppose you’re buying your first home grinder or finally getting around to upgrading from a blade grinder. In that case, the Baratza Encore grinder is an excellent option, particularly at this price point. The 40 grind settings will allow you to experiment with all types of manual home brewers, and if you use a pressurized portafilter, you can even use it for espresso.
Don’t buy the Baratza Encore if…
You only drink espresso. You’ll need to increase your budget a little more, but upgrading to the Baratza Virtuoso Plus is worth it. It has the same great build quality as the Encore, but with an upgraded grinder that’s more suited to espresso – grinding as fine as 200 microns. It also has a digital timer for accurate dosing and it grinds at around twice the speed (7).
You’re on a really tight budget. The Encore is great value for money, but it isn’t the cheapest burr grinder on the market. For under $100 you can get your hands on the Bodum Bistro. It offers 12 grind settings, a pre-set grind timer, and a friction clutch to protect the machine from foreign objects like stones. It looks pretty cool too.
The Verdict – 4.125
You’re not going to get a better value for money burr grinder in this price range. Yes, the Encore doesn’t give you an excellent grind for espresso, but you’d have to spend more to get something with consistent grinds at that fineness. The build quality, versatility, and sturdy construction make this an obvious choice for anyone who uses a wide range of brew methods, including pour over, French press, or AeroPress.
- French press coffee to water ratio calculator. Handground. (n.d.). Retrieved September 12, 2021, Retrieved from https://handground.com/french-press-coffee-to-water-ratio-calculator
- Benefits of long fiber reinforced thermoplastic composites. PlastiComp. (2019, August 12). Retrieved September 12, 2021, from https://www.plasticomp.com/long-fiber-benefits/
- Choppin, A. (2019, November 4). When should I replace my burrs? Baratza. Retrieved September 12, 2021, Retrieved from https://baratza.com/when-should-i-replace-my-burrs/
- Minimizing static in burr grinders. Cook’s Illustrated. (n.d.). Retrieved September 12, 2021, Retrieved from https://www.cooksillustrated.com/how_tos/8357-minimizing-static-in-burr-grinders
- Pressurized vs Non-Pressurized Portafilter Baskets. Whole Latte Love. (2021, April 28). Retrieved September 12, 2021, from https://www.wholelattelove.com/blogs/quick-tips/pressurized-vs-non-pressurized-portafilter-baskets
- How To Re-Calibrate a Baratza Grinder. (2012). YouTube. Retrieved September 12, 2021, Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JyQ_AywdBRQ
- Virtuoso+. Baratza. (2021, March 18). Retrieved September 12, 2021, from https://baratza.com/grinder/virtuoso-plus/
Husband, father and former journalist, I’ve combined my love of writing with my love of coffee to create this site. I love high end products, but write all my content with budget conscious coffee enthusiasts in mind. I prefer light roasts, and my normal brew is some sort of pour over, although my guilty pleasure is the occasional flat white.