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Baratza Encore ESP Review – The Best Budget Espresso Grinder?

In the world of coffee, a good grinder is a must-have. It’s the tool that transforms whole beans into the right consistency for your brewing method of choice. And when it comes to espresso, precision is key. Enter the Baratza Encore ESP – a budget-friendly grinder that’s designed with espresso drinkers in mind. Let’s take a look at what this machine has to offer.

Summary: The Baratza Encore ESP Grinder

Baratza Encore ESP Grinder
  • Outstanding value for money
  • 40 grind settings with 1-20 specifically for espresso
  • Upgraded burr set from the original Encore model
  • Provides balanced and rounded cups for both espresso and filter coffee
  • Better usability and more intuitive adjustment system than some competitors
  • Designed for espresso but also handles other brewing methods
The Encore ESP stands for espresso, signifying its fine grinding capability optimal for espresso brewing – Steven Holm, Homegrounds

A New Take on a Classic Grinder

The Baratza Encore ESP is an upgraded version of the popular Baratza Encore, a grinder beloved by many for its performance in home brewing. This revamped model comes at an affordable price point of $199, providing a blend of functionality and value.

The ESP boasts several notable improvements compared to the original Encore. First off, its design has seen some significant changes, aiming to provide a better user experience specifically for espresso enthusiasts. The grinder now offers options for a catch bin or a dosing cup attachment, creating a seamless workflow whether you’re using the hopper or single dosing.

Fine Tuning for the Perfect Espresso

One of the most significant features of the Encore ESP is its fine-tuned grind adjustment. With 40 settings available, users have ample room to experiment and find the perfect grind size for their espresso.

The grinder features a new dual range adjustment system, dedicating the first 20 settings specifically for espresso, and offering additional control on the finer range.

Another feature that distinguishes the Encore ESP is its upgraded burr set. The M2 conical burrs provide a steeper and sharper cutting edge, which results in a more consistent grind and improved extraction.

The Sound of Grinding

In terms of noise, the Encore ESP doesn’t stray too far from the original Encore. It operates at a similar decibel level, which is quieter than the Sette grinder, another model in the Baratza line. While the sound it produces might not be the most pleasant, it’s relatively quiet compared to other grinders in its price range.

Despite its affordability, the Baratza Encore ESP doesn’t compromise on performance. It’s capable of producing well-rounded and flavorful cups for both espresso and filter coffee, making it a versatile grinder for various brewing methods. In our next section, we’ll delve more into its performance and how it stacks up against other grinders in the market.

Tasting the Encore ESP Difference

One of the essential aspects of a coffee grinder is the taste it delivers. In this regard, the Encore ESP doesn’t disappoint. Its performance is commendable for a budget grinder, with a notable strength in producing balanced and rounded espresso shots.

The Encore ESP yields solid extraction numbers with a sweet spot in traditional espresso ratios, indicating its proficiency in delivering espresso with texture and balance.

However, the grinder isn’t just limited to espresso. When used for filter coffee, it creates well-rounded brews with a fuller mouthfeel and balance. The taste profile of the Encore ESP, like most conical burr grinders, is forgiving and offers a widely appealing flavor. It showcases more balance and complexity but sacrifices a bit of clarity and acidity.

While the Encore ESP offers impressive grind size versatility, it’s important to note that the stepped adjustments might be a bit frustrating when dialing in espresso. This is due to the wider grind size differences between each click.

The threading system of the grinder allows for 18.8-micron adjustments in the espresso range, providing fine-tuning options for espresso lovers.

Lance Kendricks

Even so, with some patience and experimentation, users can find their optimal grind setting to achieve their preferred taste profile.

Small Issues with a Big Impact

No grinder is perfect, and the Baratza Encore ESP is no exception. One issue we’ve encountered during our tests is the clumping of grounds when grinding for espresso. Additional distribution techniques might be necessary for a more even texture and cleaner extraction.

The grinder also faces minor issues with coarser grinding. Some chaff may end up behind the grounds bin, a carryover issue from the standard Encore. The hopper also lacks a gate for controlling the flow of beans, making it potentially messy or wasteful when removing it. The hopper lid also pops out of place due to vibrations during grinding.

We’ll continue exploring the Baratza Encore ESP and how it compares with other grinders in its price range in the next part of this review.

Baratza Encore ESP vs. Fellow Opus

Both the Baratza Encore ESP and the Fellow Opus grinders with a similar price point of around $200. They each have their unique design, with the Encore ESP bearing a strong resemblance to the original Baratza Encore, while the Opus showcases a unique design similar to Fellow’s Ode.

In terms of noise level, the Encore ESP runs with a high-pitched whirring sound but is slightly quieter than the original Encore. On the other hand, the Opus operates a bit more quietly, although it’s still on the higher pitched end.

When we delve into the mechanics, the Encore ESP uses a knob and a hopper for adjustment. The Opus, on the other hand, features timed functions and necessitates hopper removal for micro-adjustments. Interestingly, both grinders are equipped with espresso-focused capabilities but can also handle coarser grinding for brewing methods such as the French press and cold brew.

The Encore ESP is powered by 40mm conical M2 burrs and features 20 steps of adjustment, facilitating fine-tuning for espresso. In contrast, the Opus employs c640 burly burrs and a unique adjustment mechanism, offering a wider range of adjustments for espresso after removing the hopper.

In my testing, I enjoyed the Opus for its less clumpy and cleaner grinding experience, courtesy of its anti-static feature. The Encore ESP’s grounds can appear clumpy, making a weiss distribution tool and occasional cleaning necessary due to higher retention.

When it comes to flavor profiles, both grinders hold their own for espresso, with the Opus offering a bit more clarity and acidity compared to the Encore ESP. However, if you’re brewing medium roasts or milk-based beverages, both grinders would suffice. They may fall short when handling ultra-high clarity light roasts.

The big difference in the grinders is how they perform for filter and drip coffee brewing, with the Fellow Opus a clear winner. The ESP didn’t perform anywhere near as well outside of espresso ranges, and in my blind taste testing, the Opus showcased a bit more clarity and acidity in the cup.

Both the Baratza Encore ESP and the Fellow Opus offer commendable performance at their price point, marking them an excellent choice of grinders at the price point.

Watch Homegrounds compare the Encore ESP and Opus in depth

Encore ESP vs Fellow Ode

Another popular alternative to the Baratza ESP is the Fellow Ode Grinder. While both grinders have their strengths, they cater to slightly different audiences.

If your focus is mainly on espresso, the Encore ESP could be a better fit for you with its fine adjustments and improved ability to grind fine for espresso. On the other hand, if filter coffee is your go-to, the Fellow Ode may offer a slight edge.

Comparing the usability and adjustment system of the two, the Encore ESP does have a more intuitive system and better user experience. This makes it an excellent choice for espresso beginners or those who value simplicity and ease of use. However, if you’re grinding beans for French press or other coarser brews, then the Ode is far superior.

An Affordable and Reliable Grinder

One of the key reasons the Baratza Encore ESP is such a compelling option is its price point. At $199, it is considerably more affordable than many espresso grinders on the market, without sacrificing quality or performance.

The Encore ESP’s affordability combined with Baratza’s renowned customer service make it a great choice for home baristas.

While the Encore ESP might not match up to the premium performance of higher-priced grinders, it does offer excellent value for money and is a solid investment for those starting their espresso journey.

Final Thoughts on the Encore ESP

Despite its limitations, the Encore ESP has managed to improve upon its predecessor, offering a more capable and espresso-focused grinder at a reasonable price. Its upgrades focus on internal components, allowing the overall design and form of the grinder to remain the same, ensuring a lower cost for consumers.

The Encore ESP is a nostalgic and affordable all-around coffee grinder that addresses the limitation of grinding for espresso with the original Encore.

So, is the Baratza Encore ESP the best budget espresso grinder out there? While it certainly has its strengths, it may not provide the highest level of performance compared to more expensive options. However, for its price range and its focus on usability and intuitiveness, it’s an excellent choice for home coffee grinding needs.

Have you tried the Baratza Encore ESP? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section!

Baratza Encore ESP



Coffee expert and industry insider, I’ve dedicated years to mastering the art and science of coffee making. From scrutinizing particle fineness to evaluating burr shapes, I delve into the minutiae that elevate coffee from good to exceptional. Whether it’s a complex pour-over or a robust espresso, my insights cater to those who don’t just drink coffee, but experience it.

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