It’s easy to get a quality grinder when you have an unlimited budget, but if you’re on a budget or just starting, it’s going to take some more discerning shopping. The Barazta Encore and Capresso Infinity are two of the best entry-level coffee grinders on the market, but which one is right for you?
Our guide will give you an introduction to these two models and see how they compare when it comes to essential features.
The Baratza Encore
The Baratza Encore is commonly listed as one of the best home coffee grinders due to being excellent value for money. The Baratza brand produces both commercial and prosumer grinders, and the professional quality is evident on even their cheapest grinder, the Encore. The hard plastic body is built to last, and all of the inner mechanical parts can be replaced if needed, rather than discarding the whole grinder.
The standout feature of the Baratza Encore is the M3 grinder, which offers flexibility and consistency not usually seen at this price point. The 40 grind settings are suitable for a wide range of manual brewing techniques, with the option to make small adjustments where needed. A powerful, speed-controlled motor ensures that temperatures remain cool during the grinding process.
The Baratza Encore conical burr grinder has a fairly compact footprint that will see it fit nicely in most domestic kitchens, but there’s no skimping on the size of the bean hopper. With a capacity of 8oz, it should be plenty for all your home brewing needs. Operating the grinder is incredibly simple, with an on/off toggle to stop and start the motor, plus a front-mounted pulse button for grinding just that little bit extra.
- 40 grind settings
- Excellent grind consistency
- Great value for money
- Manual start/stop
- Average grind speed
The Capresso Infinity
Capresso coffee grinders perhaps don’t have the same pedigree, but they certainly shouldn’t be underestimated. Capresso makes coffee grinders and coffee makers, and experts credited them with many innovations in the industry (1). The company is backed by Swiss brand Jura, makers of some of our favorite premium coffee machines.
The Capresso Infinity conical burr grinder is a smart option for coffee lovers just starting. The budget price is undoubtedly part of the attraction, but with more than 4,500 five-star reviews on Amazon, this grinder has made many coffee enthusiasts happy.
The grind settings are more limited, with just 16 options for adjustment. But depending on the brewing method you choose, this might be all you need. It’s also perhaps less overwhelming for anyone just starting. It’s an incredibly compact machine, at less than 11 inches in height, but retaining a generous 8.8 oz bean hopper capacity. There’s a timer dial on the front that can be adjusted from 5 to 60 seconds to start your grind.
Capresso makes two very similar models, the Infinity and the Infinity Plus. The Plus model has a larger capacity bean hopper, and instead of a timer, there’s a dial to select the number of cups. This review covers the specs for the Capresso Infinity model only.
- Hands-free grinding
- Compact and lightweight
- Fast grind speed
- Limited grind settings
- Not as consistent
The Comparison: Baratza Encore vs Capresso Infinity
To better understand which of these entry-level coffee grinders is right for you, we’ve compared the Capresso Infinity vs Baratza Encore on some of their key features. Let’s see how the two contenders stack up.
Even if you’re not planning to spend a lot of money, a coffee grinder should be considered an investment. And for that, you need to know that whatever you buy will last.
Both the Baratza and the Capresso have a plastic body, which you should expect at this price point. The Baratza Encore grinder casing is a high-strength plastic resin (available in black or white), durable and less likely to pick up fingerprints. The conical bean container is a tinted ABS plastic that helps to protect your coffee beans from sunlight.
Driving the Encore’s hardened steel conical burrs is a high torque motor that’s speed controlled to 550 rpm. This is designed to stay cool during the grinding process and is protected by a thermal cut-off switch.
The Capresso Infinity base model has an entire ABS plastic casing for incredible lightness. You have the choice of a black or “stainless” finish, but be aware that the stainless option is also plastic, not metal. Both the beans hopper and the grounds bin are clear ABS plastic.
The Infinity also uses hardened steel conical burrs, and these are hand-assembled as matched pairs to ensure an accurate fit. The Infinity’s motor is restricted to less than 450 rpm, making it even cooler and quieter (2). And with a lower RPM motor, you can potentially expect a longer lifespan.
Grind settings and consistency
When discussing grind settings, we should include the grind size range. The number of grind settings is essential, of course, as it tells you how much flexibility you have with the grinder, but these are essentially arbitrary numbers. You also need to know whether you can get the coarse grind or extra-fine grind you need for different brewing methods (3).
With the Baratza Encore, you have the choice of 40 grind settings, putting it in the same league as many more expensive conical burr grinders. These cover a range between 250 to 1200 microns, making it an excellent grinder for pour over methods.
The Baratza Encore grinds coffee more evenly, on a wide range of settings, than any other machine we tested at its price level.Wirecutter
It’s not just the range that’s impressive; it’s also the grind consistency. Consistent grinds are the key to a balanced flavor and repeatable results from your coffee maker, whether it’s manual or electric.
Capresso claims that its Infinity is suitable as a grinder for Turkish coffee right through to cold brew, but the numbers tell a different story. It’s capable of grinding from 300 to 1200 microns, settings that are good for drip coffee, pour-over, or French press, but not as fine as you need for espresso or Turkish coffee. It has only 16 grind settings, which might be enough depending on your coffee maker, but it won’t allow you to experiment.
Sadly, the Capresso Infinity also falls a little short when creating a consistent grind, particularly when you get too coarse grinds. The machine produces a lot of fines, which can muddy the flavor of an otherwise fantastic coffee (4). So although it can grind coarse enough, this isn’t a great grinder for French press.
Neither of these burr grinders is suitable for use with espresso machines. The Baratza Encore burr grinder will technically grind fine enough, but you probably won’t get the range of grind size settings at this end to let you dial in the perfect shot. You will get a good grind for a Moka pot, as it’s a little less fussy.
Size and capacity
The size of a grinder won’t affect the output, but many of us have limited space in our kitchens. Thankfully, both of these conical burr grinders are designed for home use, so you’re not dealing with huge pieces of machinery.
The Baratza Encore is a relatively small piece of kit that should easily find a home on most countertops. Measuring 4.7 x 6.3 x 13.8 inches, it has a compact footprint and is low enough to slide beneath overhead cabinets. The bean hopper holds up to 8 oz of coffee beans, while the grounds bin at the front has enough space for 5 oz of ground coffee. You can extend the hopper can with an optional accessory that adds 9 oz of space, but we don’t recommend it. For the best flavor, you should store your bean in an airtight container until you’re ready to grind.
The Capresso Infinity is a better option if you’re tight on space. It’s slightly wider than the Baratza grinder but quite a bit shorter at just 10.5 inches, making it much more compact overall. This hasn’t impacted the size of the bean hopper, which has a slightly larger capacity of 8.8 oz. Be aware that the grounds bin has a lot less space. With the capacity for just 4 oz of ground coffee, you won’t be grinding a full hopper in one go.
Buying an entry-level coffee grinder isn’t just about getting a lower price; it’s also about getting a grinder that won’t overwhelm you with options.
The Capresso Infinity and the Baratza Encore feature the exact mechanism for adjusting the grind settings. Twist the bean hopper to line up with the numbered grind setting underneath.
To start the grinding process with the Encore, it’s just a matter of turning the switch on the side to “on” and switching it off when you finish. On paper, there couldn’t be anything easier. Still, it means measuring your coffee grounds manually, either with a separate timer or by only filling the grinder with the exact amount of whole coffee beans you need.
The Infinity works through a timer, which you can set to anything between 5 and 60 seconds. While it will take you some trial and error to figure out how many seconds’ worth of coffee you need for your morning brew, you’ll be able to repeat it precisely each time. It also means you can start the grinder and walk away – the machine will stop grinding after the designated time.
If getting your morning coffee as quickly as possible is essential to you, you might be surprised by the difference in grind speed between these two burr grinders. Both machines grind at a similar RPM, but the Capresso Infinity is much more efficient, and it can grind coffee beans at up to 3g/second, compared to a top speed of just 1.1g second from the Encore.
Cleaning and maintenance
Cleaning your coffee grinder is an essential part of keeping it running, so this must be made as easy as possible. For any burr grinder, this requires disassembling the grinder mechanism then cleaning all the coffee residue off the teeth with a toothbrush.
Both The Barata Encore and the Capresso Infinity allow you access to the burrs without the need for tools. You can easily remove the upper conical burr on both grinders, but some complain that the lower burr on the Infinity can be challenging to get out.
It’s the long-term maintenance where we see the real difference in the Baratza Encore vs Capresso Infinity. All of Baratza’s grinders are designed to be repaired rather than thrown out when something goes wrong.
Most small, consumer appliances are designed to wear out… so consumers are trained to dump and replace.Baratza
Baratza instigated a “don’t dump it – fix it!” program (5). This includes making accessories and upgrades compatible with older models, selling inexpensive replacement parts, and providing detailed instruction guides and support for anyone making their repairs. It does mean its products are slightly more expensive, but they become a better value in the long run.
When comparing the Capresso Infinity vs Baratza Encore, it comes down to the most important things to you. If you’re a coffee enthusiast willing to spend the extra cash, the Baratza Encore does have a better grind quality. If you’re simply after the most user-friendly option at the best price, the Capresso infinity will tick all your boxes and still make a high-quality coffee.
Use the Baratza Encore if:
- You need a wider range of grind settings
- You want better grind consistency
- You prefer to repair rather than replace
Use the Capresso Infinity if:
- You’re on a budget
- You want hands-free grinding
- Noise is an issue for you
The difference between the Baratza Encore and Virtuoso Plus is the grind range, grind speed, and operation. The Virtuoso Plus grinds finer, making it more suitable for espresso, and grinds at around twice the speed. The Virtuoso features a digital timer, compared to the Baratza Encore’s manual on/off switch. The Virtuoso Plus is also more expensive.
Blade grinders are bad for coffee because they chop rather than grind, resulting in incredibly uneven particle sizes that are unsuitable for coffee making. A blade grinder has no options to adjust the fineness–the longer you grind, the finer the contents become. The reason blade grinders are suitable for spices is that they can create the extra fine powder that’s needed for cooking.
Grinder pellets are bean-shaped tablets that you can run through your coffee grinder to help clean it. Grinding a dose of grinder pellets will help remove leftover coffee particles and oil residue from the teeth of the burrs. You can use these as a deep-clean option in conjunction with your regular cleaning with a toothbrush.
- Friedrick, J. (2020, August 04). Capresso marks 25th years of coffee and beverage innovation. Retrieved from https://www.hfndigital.com/housewares/capresso-marks-25th-years-of-coffee-and-beverage-innovation/
- High Speed vs Low Speed Grinders. (2021, May 05). Retrieved from https://www.wholelattelove.com/blogs/articles/high-speed-vs-low-speed-grinders
- Kasperowicz M. (August 07, 2019). The Complete Guide to Coffee Grind Size. Retrieved from https://www.drinktrade.com/blog/education/coffee-grind-size-chart
- Cotter, P. (2021, October 4). What are Fines? Retrieved from https://www.seattlecoffeegear.com/blog/2021/10/04/what-are-fines
- STOP! Don’t Dump It – Fix It! (2019, May 24). Retrieved from https://baratza.com/stop-dont-dump-it-fix-it/
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.