If you’re a coffee connoisseur (and we know you are), there is a point when you realize that you need a good coffee grinder.
You want the freshest coffee bean flavor and the right grind for the coffee types that you brew. The engineers at Baratza know coffee and have designed the Baratza Encore to last a long time and meet your coffee-consumption needs.
A product is only as strong as the pride a company has in creating quality products, and Baratza has been proving themselves for over 20 years.
Baratza introduced their first coffee grinder, the Maestro, in 2001. Since that time, they have been making high-quality grinders to meet the needs of the specialty-coffee community. They continuously strive to improve their products and create products that last.
I like that the Baratza company doesn’t subscribe to the modern disposable-product philosophy. They say, “Don’t dump it–fix it.” Their grinders have resealable snaps and simple screws. They provide email and phone support, troubleshooting guides, and videos on their website to assist you with repairs.
Baratza uses a Seattle design team for the Baratza Encore. Seattle is known for its coffee enthusiasts, and I feel like the designers have considered the home coffee brewer’s needs when making the Encore.
The Baratza Encore is a conical, high-carbon steel burr grinder that is ideal for home use. It also has 40 grind settings to meet nearly all your home-grinding needs.
- Because the Encore is a Burr grinder, it can provide a more uniform grind on a wide range of settings than most machines.
- The Encore is easy to set up and doesn’t require any special skills to use.
- The Encore doesn’t take up a lot of counter space.
- There are two different hopper-size options: 8 and 17 ounces.
- It is easy to clean and includes a cleaning brush.
- The company is committed to making high-quality machines and supports home repair.
- The motor allows for longer grinding times than some machines and has a thermal overload cutoff to avoid overheating.
The Baratza Encore has many features that make it stand out. The newest model has a more streamlined exterior than the previous version.
The Baratza Encore is a burr coffee grinder. You’ve probably heard this term before, but do you know why burr coffee grinders make a better cup of joe?
Burr grinders use two revolving, abrasive surfaces to grind coffee beans together instead of cutting them to pieces as blade grinders do.
Burr grinders create more uniform-sized coffee particles than blade grinders can. Consistent-sized particles prevent your machine from clogging.
Burr grinders also help give you the best flavor possible from your coffee. Coffee grinders can cause beans to lose oils and taste quality if they produce too much heat. Burr coffee grinders create less friction than blade coffee grinders, so they don’t heat the grounds before brewing as blade grinders do.
The Baratza Encore uses a European-made conical grinder rather than the flat variety. Conical grinders are perfect for home use since they are quieter and cheaper than the commercial-level flat types. Also, flat burrs create more heat from friction, which can reduce taste quality.
Baratza makes their burrs from high-carbon steel burrs, which are more susceptible to oxidation and rust than ceramic. Even if you live in a very humid environment, your coffee beans’ oils will prevent rust. While ceramic burrs stay sharp longer, they may not stand up to impacts a home grinder may endure being bumps and moving around the kitchen. So, steel burrs are ideal for home use.
I know I’m not the only coffee lover who has multiple types of coffee machines. If you have a variety of coffee-making products, you’ve realized that not every grind grade is appropriate for every coffee machine. You need a grind that’s course for your percolator and French press, medium for your drip coffee pot, medium-fine for your Moka pot, fine for your espresso maker, and extra-fine for your Turkish coffee pot.
With 40 different settings between 250 and 1200 microns, you can adjust the grind intensity to match your needs.
Standard espresso requires about a 400-200 micron grind. Unfortunately, the Encore cannot achieve the 200-100 micron grind that a Turkish coffee grinder can.
The Baratza Encore’s hopper can hold up to 17 oz of coffee beans and keep them fresh between grinds. You can choose just to use the 8-oz hopper or add the included 9-oz hopper extension to give yourself a 17-oz bean capacity.
However, the grounds bin only holds 5 oz. The logic behind this size is that you will have fresher coffee each time by leaving fewer grounds in the grounds bin.
Baratza’s Portaholder provides a convenient place to hold your espresso machine’s portafilter inside the ground bin during the grinding process.
The Baratza Encore is very easy to set up and use. You will need to attach a few pieces and possibly make a few adjustments in the very beginning, but Baratza includes a manual and has a setup video that will have you using your coffee grinder in minutes.
There’s nothing complicated about using this grinder. Just add your coffee beans, choose your grind setting, and turn the machine on.
You can either choose to use the pulse button on the front of the grinder. This button only runs the coffee grinder while you press it. Alternatively, you can use the on/off knob to turn on the machine for a longer grind time.
There’s nothing more annoying than the type of grinder that only allows for about five one-second blast grinds before smelling hot. The Encore has a high-torque DC motor. This type of motor creates less heat and is quieter than some other types. It also allows for longer grinding cycles.
If you overuse your grinder, the Encore has an automatically resetting, thermal overload cutout to protect the motor from overheating.
The Encore’s speed controls keep the burr rotation at 550 RPM with a combination of gear and electric speed reduction components. This slow speed helps beans feed smoothly through the burrs, reduces heat, and produces a quieter grind.
After you unplug your machine, you can easily remove the burrs for cleaning. You will want to clean both the burrs and the chute to have no remaining coffee particles. Considering that some users have mentioned this machine clogging, I would suggest cleaning at least monthly if not more often.
Keep in mind that water humidity can cause the burrs to rust. So, please never use water or soap on your burrs. You can use the included brush or a soft cloth to remove excess coffee grounds. Some people even use a small vacuum for a thorough cleaning.
If the Baratza Encore doesn’t seem to fit your needs, perhaps another highly-rated option would.
The Baratza Virtuoso+ is an upgraded version of the Baratza Encore in both features and price. It features a digital timer to help you grind an exact amount. It is also sturdier, the burrs don’t lose calibration, and it’s faster.
Purists might want to consider going manual since the original burr grinders were manual. The JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder is a high-quality choice. It is quieter than electric, has 18 different settings, dispenses precisely as much as you want to grind, and grinds finely enough for Turkish coffee. Their brushed stainless steel lasts five times as long as regular stainless steel.
If you like the idea of a longer-lasting coffee grinder made from ceramic, then the Hario Ceramic Coffee Mill “Skerton Pro” might be the right choice. It’s a manual burr coffee grinder. Manual controls allow you to grind the exact fineness level and quantity you need. It also provides a very uniform grind.
I’m impressed with Baratza’s dedication to quality products in our throwaway society. However, since I have a Turkish coffee pot and need a grinder that will reach below 200 microns, this isn’t my ideal grinder. I’m also concerned by the number of reviewers who report having to unclog the machine often.
However, this is an excellent grinder for most coffee and espresso enthusiasts with proper maintenance. It’s simple to use, has enough grind settings to make most users happy, and should last you for years.