Have you ever seen a monster movie where the beasts seem equally matched, and you can’t decide who to root for? Well, that’s what it feels like to compare Bodum Bistro and Baratza Encore. Bodum and Baratza are titans in the coffee industry, and both are excellent at what they do. Even when comparing their coffee grinders, they are surprisingly evenly matched.
Bodum is a kitchenware company with a long history that started in 1944. They produce all types of kitchen supplies, from glassware to coffee machines, to baking tools and more. Bodum is especially well-known for its French press coffee makers.
As a company, Bodum has a strong preference for coffee-related paraphernalia. All their products tend to have a similar design of mixed media glass, cork, and silicone. While it is pretty recognizable, it is certainly not to everyone’s tastes.
Baratza was founded in 1999. It is a company devoted entirely to perfecting the coffee bean grinder. They have a wide range of products and services. With dozens of grinder designs, they are one of the top coffee paraphernalia companies in the world.
Baratza not only offers a range of grinders, but they also sell replacement parts and offer a repair program. They are devoted to repairing and upcycling their machines rather than contributing to the world’s waste. While there is a flat rate for the repair program, they have been known to do repairs for free and seem intent on standing behind the quality of their products.
Bodum Bistro coffee grinders are sleek, classically designed burr coffee grinders. They produce wonderful, aromatic coffee by crushing, rather than slicing, beans in their conical, stainless steel grinder. To use this grinder, all you have to do is put the beans in the sealed bean container on top, turn the dial to one of the 12 settings, and turn it on.
The built-in preset timer on this popular burr coffee grinder makes sure the beans are ground just the right amount to preserve the flavor. The burr grinder design spins slower than other grinders to reduce noise and mess when grinding. This device is compact and stylish and has a bean hopper capacity of up to 220 grams of coffee beans.
A huge bonus of the conical design is that it never needs sharpening, unlike a blade grinder. It even has a special friction clutch feature that prevents damage to the gears if anything like a small stone ever gets caught up in the beans—the freshly ground beans land in a borosilicate glass container designed to reduce static cling.
- Fast and quiet grinding
- 12 grind settings
- Preset timer
- Compact and efficient design
- Limited color options
- 5-minute required cooldown
- Hard to find replacement parts
- Max grind of 20 seconds at a time
The Baratza Encore electric coffee grinder is one of the most versatile grinders on the market. With 40 individual grinder settings, you can make any type of coffee. The Encore uses 40mm conical burr grinders that never need sharpening and has an overload cutoff to prevent overheating.
The electric motor employs high-power torque to drive the burrs and keep the grinder cool while operating. It runs slowly to prevent noise and heat build-up. To use the Encore grinder, all you need to do is put some beans into the 8-ounce bean hopper, select a grind setting, and turn it on.
This quality grinder is also specially designed for easy storage in most cabinets but is stylish enough to leave out on the kitchen countertop.
- 40 grind settings
- Sleek, stylish design and consistent grind
- Easy to store
- Very quiet operation
- No timer or auto-off
- It can get a little messy
While both grinders seem equally capable, there are a few key differences. To begin, the Encore does not have a timer function. While this may seem like a minor thing, it can be problematic for anyone who is not experienced in coffee grinding or is easily distracted. While the Overload cutoff will prevent overheating, it would still be nice to have some sort of auto-off.
The second key difference is the selection of grind settings. While 12 settings on the Bistro may seem inadequate compared to 40, the difference between each grind setting on the Encore is minuscule. Unless you are obsessive about how coarse your coffee ground is, 12 settings are probably more than enough to cover the range of grind options you might want. That is to say, there is no real benefit to having an excess of grinding settings. Both grinders boast the ability to grind for “espresso to French press.”
Lastly: overheating. If you are looking for a long grind, the Encore is the better option. The Bistro has a maximum grind time of 20 seconds and requires a five-minute cooldown in between operations. The Bistro also tends to get hotter while grinding, and depending on how full the hopper is, 20 seconds is not enough time to get through all the beans.
As far as similarities go, both grinders have a lot in common. They are about the same size, work just as well overall, grind in the same fashion, and are about the same reasonable price. There is no clear winner between them. I prefer the design of the Encore, but I like the operation of the Bistro. I like the excessive number of grind settings on the Encore, but I also really like the timer function of the Bistro.
If you are having a tough time deciding on which grinder you prefer, don’t worry, I am too. Bodum’s Bistro has a more modern feel. It is better designed for intractability; however, it is not the most efficient option if you are trying to grind a lot of beans in a short period. Baratza’s Encore, on the other hand, is quite classic. It works well and has good functionality but is not the most convenient to work with.
In the end, the choice is up to you, though I do find myself giving the slight edge to the Encore as Baratza has a better reputation for repairs and replacement parts.