This Baratza Encore review comes from our favorite award-winning barista, Austin Childress.
Austin is a regular on our YouTube channel and he’s been using the Baratza Encore as his at home grinder for years.
Check out the video below or keep reading to find out what he loves about it, and what he thinks can be improved.
Know Before You Buy
A product is only as strong as the company that created it. Fortunately for anyone considering the Encore, Baratza has been working to prove its strength for over 20 years now.
Baratza introduced its first coffee grinder, the Maestro, in 2001 and has been producing high-quality grinders for the specialty coffee community ever since. The company continuously strives to improve each product on its roster and makes sure it constructs something durable enough to last a good, long while.
We like that Baratza doesn’t subscribe to the modern disposable product philosophy other companies often do. Instead, the company declares, “Don’t dump it — fix it.” Baratza lives this motto not only by putting resealable snaps and simple screws on all its grinders but by providing downright outstanding customer service, complete with email and phone support, troubleshooting guides, and videos on the Baratza website to guide you through repairing your machine.
The Baratza Encore Design
Because Seattle is known for its coffee enthusiasts, it’s only fitting that Baratza would enlist the talents of the city’s experts to design the Encore. And naturally, the company considered the home coffee brewer’s needs during the development of the Encore.
The Baratza Encore is a conical, high-carbon steel burr grinder ideal for home use. Because the machine’s primary purpose is to produce consistent grinds for many java drinkers, the Encore has a whopping 40 grind settings. We appreciate the variety and think you will, too, but that’s not all we like about this machine.
Things We Like
- The Encore isn’t a blade grinder. Instead, unlike many other machines, it has burrs that can provide a more consistent grind size on a wide range of settings.
- Since the Encore is easy to set up and using it doesn’t require any special skills, it makes a decent entry-level burr grinder.
- The Encore doesn’t take up much space on your kitchen counter.
- You can choose one of two bean hopper capacities: 8 or 17 ounces.
- The Baratza Encore is easy to clean and comes with a cleaning brush!
- The motor allows for longer grinder times than some other machines. Plus, there’s a thermal overload cut-off to prevent overheating.
Room for Improvement
- It’s not the most affordable grinder, which is somewhat disappointing because it has relatively simple features compared to other products.
- It’s not the best grinder for espresso, which won’t be a problem if your brewer has a pressurized portafilter, as those are pretty forgiving. However, if your machine doesn’t have one, we recommend not choosing the Encore as your dedicated espresso grinder.
- It doesn’t have the extra features — like a screen, digital timer, or dose controlling tools — dedicated home baristas want.
- It’s a rather slow grinder.
What Stands Out About the Baratza Encore
Plenty of features make the Baratza Encore stand out, including:
Stainless Steel Burrs
The Baratza Encore is a burr coffee grinder; in our opinion, it makes a better cup of joe than a blade grinder. Why? Because burr grinders use two revolving, abrasive surfaces to grind coffee beans. Blade grinders just cut them to pieces.
Ultimately, burr grinders provide superb grind consistency (a.k.a., uniform-sized coffee particles), which keep your drip coffee makers and espresso machines from getting clogged as they brew your cup.
Additionally, burr-ground beans help you make the most of your coffee flavor. If they produce too much heat, coffee grinders can strip the beans of their flavor-filled oils and lower the quality of their taste. However, burr grinders create less friction than blade coffee grinders, so they don’t heat the grounds as much.
Baratza uses high-carbon steel burrs, which are more susceptible to oxidation and rust than the ceramic that other companies often use. But don’t worry; the oil on your coffee beans will help prevent the burrs from rusting.
The Baratza Encore has conical steel burrs, not flat ones, which means they are quieter than the flat burrs you’d find on a more expensive commercial grinder. Besides, flat burrs create more heat from friction, reducing your brew’s taste quality.
40 Grind Settings
Since you’re a serious coffee lover, we’re willing to bet you have plenty of coffee-making tools at your disposal. And if you do, you likely know that some coffee grind sizes are only appropriate for certain brewers.
For example, you need extra-coarse coffee for cold brew, a coarse grind for your percolator and French press, medium-sized grounds for your automatic drip machine, medium-fine coffee grounds for your Moka pot, and a fine grind for your espresso machine.
Fortunately, the Baratza Encore boasts 40 individual grind options between 250 and 1,200 microns. With such a wide range of grind settings, you won’t have any problems making sure your coffee grounds are the right size for almost any brewing method you use in the morning.
If you’re unsure which Encore grind setting to use, check out our detailed coffee grind size chart here.
Coffee Grounds Bin and Bean Hopper Capacity
The Baratza Encore’s hopper can hold up to 17 ounces of whole coffee beans and keep them fresh until you’re ready to grind them. If you don’t need to store that much joe, use the eight-ounce hopper and save the nine-ounce hopper extension (which comes at no extra cost) for when you’ll be grinding and brewing for a crowd.
The grounds bin isn’t big; it only holds five ounces of ground coffee. This might be a bummer for some, but the logic here is that you’ll have fresher coffee each time by leaving fewer grounds in the bin.
Baratza designed the Encore’s Portaholder with the espresso enthusiast in mind. The Portaholder gives you a convenient place to store your espresso machine’s portafilter during the grinding process.
Ease of Setup and Usage
As any entry-level grinder should be, the Baratza Encore is easy to set up and use. Sure, you’ll initially need to attach a few pieces and possibly make a few adjustments, but with the instruction manual in hand and our handy review video playing, you’ll have your grinder figured out in minutes.
Once you set up the coffee grinder, add your beans, select a grind setting, and power the machine on. For a long grind session, you can use the pulse button on the front (the coffee grinder will only run while you hold the button) or the on/off knob.
Fewer things are more annoying than a coffee grinder that only works for a few seconds before starting to smell hot. Fortunately, that’s not a factor with the Encore. It has a high-torque DC motor that creates less heat and allows for longer grinding cycles than other motors. And should you overuse your grinder, the Encore has an automatically resetting thermal overload cutout that keeps the motor from overheating.
The Baratza Encore has speed controls that keep the burr rotation at 550 RPM. This slow speed helps beans feed smoothly through the burrs, reduces heat, and produces a quieter grind.
Easy and Quick Cleaning
Some coffee grinders are a pain to clean — maybe that’s why so many are hesitant about buying one. You won’t run into that difficulty with the Encore. After you unplug the machine and turn the grind size dial to the coarsest setting, you can easily remove the hopper and rubber seal to get to the burrs and give them a good wipedown.
Be sure to clean this electric grinder thoroughly; you don’t want to leave any coffee particles stuck anywhere. Also, remember that water humidity can cause the burrs to rust, so please, never use soap and water on them. Instead, use the included cleaning brush or a soft cloth to remove excess coffee grounds.
Alternative Grinder Options
If this entry-level coffee grinder doesn’t seem to meet your needs, perhaps you’ll consider trusting one of these alternatives to grind your favorite beans.
Get a more advanced model.
If you don’t think the Encore is powerful enough to get the job done, check out the Baratza Virtuoso+. This machine is like an upgraded version of the company’s Encore in terms of price and features. Check out this comparison of the two conical burr grinders.
However, if you don’t feel like reading, note that the Virtuoso has more advanced features, like a digital timer, sturdier build, burrs that don’t lose calibration, and the ability to grind faster.
Go with a manual option.
More devoted coffee drinkers may be interested in manual grinders, especially since the original burr grinders were manual. If you’re that kind of java purist, consider the JavaPresse manual grinder; it’s an overall excellent choice.
This tool is quieter than an electric coffee grinder, dispenses just how much you want to grind, and cuts beans fine enough for Turkish coffee. The grinder’s brushed stainless steel also lasts five times as long as regular stainless steel.
Go the ceramic route.
Not everyone wants a stainless steel grinder. If you fall into that category, you may want to give Hario’s Skerton Pro a chance. Unlike the Baratza Encore, it’s a manual coffee grinder, so you have total control over the size and quantity of your grounds. You end up with a batch of uniform-sized ground coffee perfect for whichever brew methods you use.
Read our full Hario Skerton Pro burr coffee grinder review.
Is the Baratza Encore loud?
A common complaint among Baratza Encore users is that, though lauded for being quiet, the machine is still somewhat noisy. However, noise isn’t particularly unusual for an electric burr grinder, so you shouldn’t be concerned that you can hear your Encore working. Besides, the Encore isn’t as loud as some other grinders on the market.
How long will a Baratza Encore last?
Provided you clean your Encore regularly (about once a month) and replace its burrs when they get dull, you can expect your machine to last between seven and ten years.
How big is the Baratza Encore?
The Baratza Encore is a fairly compact, lightweight grinder, weighing only seven pounds and boasting dimensions of 4.7 by 6.3 by 13.8 inches (width by depth by height).
Is the Baratza Encore good for espresso?
Yes. Espresso grind, much like the grind settings needed for pour over, french press, and others is all about getting consistency. The Encore is excellent at delivering a consistent grind, including when you need it fine enough for a shot of espresso.
We’re impressed with Baratza’s dedication to quality products in our “just throw it away” society, and that commitment shows through the Encore. It essentially has the same internal parts — burrs, motor, etc. — as one of the company’s more advanced grinders; it just lacks the extra bells and whistles some other models have.
So, if you want something that gets the job done just as well as the fancy grinders but sits in a more reasonable price range, the Encore could be what you need.
However, none of the Encore’s grind settings cut your beans to the perfect size for a Turkish coffee maker, so if that tends to be your drink of choice, this is a less-than-exceptional grinder choice for you. Most coffee and espresso enthusiasts will be happy with it, and as long as you make time for proper maintenance and regular cleaning, this automatic grinder will last for years.
Baratza Encore Review: Why This Barista Loves It
The Baratza Encore has been on the counter of award-winning barista, Austin Childress for years. Here's why he picked it:
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