If you love coffee, you know that an excellent grind is crucial for a great cup of brew. To make the flavors of your coffee beans sing, you want to be able to fine-tune the grind size.
That’s why you want a reliable burr grinder, and be sure that it will produce a consistent grind at various grind sizes.
As two of the most popular and affordable burr grinders on the market, the Breville Smart Grinder Pro and the Baratza Encore are workhorses that deliver a consistent grind.
So which one is right for you? We’re here to help you decide. Read on for a breakdown of the Breville Smart Grinder Pro vs the Baratza Encore.
Breville Smart Grinder Pro Review
In the 1930s, Breville began manufacturing radios in Australia. From there, they grew into a global home appliances brand. Today, they make a wide range of kitchen products and have over 100 patents and dozens of product design awards to their name.
Breville has been making home espresso machines for over 20 years. The company’s coffee products include super-automatic espresso machines, as well as capsule-based pod coffee makers.
The Smart Grinder Pro is Breville’s entry-level espresso grinder, offering nearly the same performance and precision as more expensive grinders. It’s designed to grind for a range of brew styles. The stainless steel conical burrs ensure a high-quality grind and durability, while programmable grind settings simplify operation.
Things We Like
- The Smart Grinder Pro is highly adjustable, which makes it suitable for all sorts of brew styles, from espresso to french press.
- Better grind consistency than most other grinders in its price class means better tasting brews.
- An all-around coffee grinder that works well for most brewing methods, including espresso.
Things We Don’t Like
- The machine uses a time-per-dose grinding system that can be confusing and tedious to circumvent.
- It’s less consistent at coarser grind settings, so if you mostly make french press or percolator coffee, it’s not the best option.
Baratza Encore Review
Baratza was established in 1999 in Seattle and has specialized in building coffee grinders from the start. Their first grinder, the Maestro, was released in 2001.
They have a range of high-quality coffee grinders for home baristas and commercial use.Breville bought Baratza in 2020, but the company is still run the same as before.
Baratza’s Encore is the company’s entry-level home burr grinder, a reliable and cost-effective model that’s backed by the brand’s reputation for excellent customer service.
The Encore’s simple design, consistent grind, and low price tag make it a good choice for novices interested in specialty coffee and coffee enthusiasts on a budget.
Things We Like
- Good, even grind quality in the medium to the coarse range means it’s well suited if you mostly make pour-overs, drip coffees, and french press
- Built to last: it’s durable and made with high-quality parts that are easy to replace or upgrade if something goes wrong.
- Good looking and compact.
Things We Don’t Like
- Since the Encore operates with a simple On/Off switch, it’s challenging to dose the grind with any imprecision.
- The finest grind setting is too coarse for espresso (although it might be fine enough if you use a pressurized portafilter)
- The Baratza Encore’s hopper doesn’t have a shut-off valve, which makes it tricky to remove the hopper while beans are still in it without making a mess.
Breville Smart Grinder Pro vs Baratza Encore: Comparison
|Breville Smart Grinder Pro||Baratza Encore|
|Dimensions (WxDxH)||22 x 16 x 39 cm||12 x 16 x 35 cm|
|Weight||6.4 lbs||7 lbs|
|Burrs||38 mm stainless steel conical burrs||40 mm stainless steel conical burrs|
|Grind Settings||600 (60 macro settings, each with 10 micro settings)||40 stepped grind adjustments (macro adjustments only)|
|Burr Speed||450 rpm||450 rpm|
|Hopper capacity||18 oz (510g)||12 oz|
|Noise during grinding||80dB||85dB|
At the heart of both these grinders is a set of conical burrs made with durable stainless steel. They’re both high-quality and should last a long time without getting worn down.
The Baratza Encore has slightly larger burrs than the Breville, but the difference in size is marginal at only 2mm.
A bigger difference between the burrs on these machines is the shape. The Smart Grinder Pro’s bottom burr has sharper edges and deeper grooves than the Encore, which helps it grind faster.
One thing to note is that it is possible to upgrade the burr on the Encore to one of Baratza’s higher-end burr sets. Baratza sells a large inventory of replacement parts, which means it’s easier to make upgrades and repairs on the Encore than it is on the Smart Grinder Pro.
The Breville has a much wider grind range and can produce finer grinds than the Baratza Encore. It can grind for everything from espresso to french press or cold brew, although the consistency of the grind tails off at the coarser end of the range.
The Baratza Encore has 40 grind settings and really excels in the medium range, where it will produce an excellent uniform grind for your V60 pour overs, percolators, and french press.
The Encore’s finest grind setting isn’t fine enough for classic espresso, but it will probably work in a pinch if you’re using a pressurized portafilter since those are more forgiving.
The Breville Smart Grinder Pro has 60 macro grind settings that can each be fine-tuned with 10 micro adjustments on the top burr.
Essentially, the Smart Grinder Pro gives you 600 increments to fine-tune the size of your grind. That should give you plenty of options to really bring out the best of your coffee’s flavors.
The Baratza Encore is straightforward and easy to operate but it doesn’t give you as many options to control your grind as the Breville does. To adjust the size of the grind on the Baratza, you rotate the hopper, and to grind the coffee, there’s an on/off switch or a “Pulse” button.
This can feel limiting if you’re looking for more precision in the amount of coffee you grind for each dose. If you want to produce accurate doses, you’ll have to use a scale and dose by weight.
Baratza does sell a single-dose hopper, which you can use to make your dosing more accurate.
The Smart Grinder Pro gives you more control to customize your coffee grounds. The knob at the side adjusts grind size, while another knob in front adjusts the amount that gets ground.
There’s also a button for setting how many shots you want to grind, as well as a start/cancel button that will run the grinder for a set time or can be pushed and held for manual grinding.
Both the Breville Smart Grinder Pro and the Baratza Encore are offered at a reasonable price for the quality they offer. They’re both marketed as budget-conscious choices for people who are buying their first burr grinder or are looking to upgrade from a blade grinder.
However, the Baratza Encore is less expensive. While it lacks some of the functionality of the Smart Grinder Pro, the lower price tag and the fact that it’s easy to replace and upgrade its internal parts make it the more cost-effective option.
If you’re looking for an affordable burr grinder that’s durable and offers good grind quality for drip coffees and french press, the Baratza Encore is a great option. It’s a sturdy, compact, well-made grinder at a lower price than the Smart Grinder Pro.
The Baratza lacks the range of the Smart Grinder Pro, and won’t grind fine enough for espresso, but it’s a good choice for home baristas who just want a reliable grinder for their morning cup of coffee.
If you want a grinder with more features or want to grind coffee for espresso, then the Breville Smart Grinder Pro may be the better choice for you. It’s more versatile than the Encore and allows a wider range of grind sizes. Overall, it offers excellent grind quality and is a really good machine for the price.