Baratza Encore Review: Is It The Best Entry-level Grinder in 2021?

Introduction of Baratza Encore

Founded in 1999, the US company Baratza only produces high-quality coffee grinders. The main products like Baratza Encore, Virtuoso +, Sette series are loved and trusted by both home coffee fans and professionals. 

The Baratza Encore is the best entry-level option in our Best Burr Coffee Grinder Reviews. Is it worthy to be the first electric grinder or upgrading from other grinders for your home brewing? Let’s find it out in this hands-on Baratza Encore review.

A quick summary of the highlighted features of Baratza Encore

Baratza Encore Summary

  • 40 grind settings: That’s more than enough for most of the brew methods and coffee types at home. The wide range of grind setting covers from French press to AeroPress and any coffee makers in between. It’s not quite suitable for espresso though.
  • Low RPM: This design prevents producing extra heat that affects the coffee flavor while grinding.
  • Great grind consistency: The ground consistency is above the average among the other choices at the same price point.

Baratza Encore Coffee Grinder Review

I believe many coffee aficionados have already heard of this popular entry-level burr grinder. If you are looking for your first electric coffee grinder or just getting into home brewing, you can easily find it on many coffee gear shops or Amazon since it is often on the Top 10 list. It is popular for some good reasons.

Design

Baratza Encore comes in color black and white. I wouldn’t say it looks particularly fancy or very modern at first glance, as it’s the most basic model. I would say it looks like a trustworthy and capable grinder.

Unbox this entry level grinder

The large hopper on top can hold 8oz (227 grams) of coffee beans. The body is covered with a tough plastic chassis, giving you a solid feel.

It’s very straightforward, with no unnecessary buttons on the machine. Only an on/off switch by the side and a pulse button on the front. You can see some numbers right below the hopper. You can simply turn the hopper to adjust the grind size. The grounds bin at the bottom has a capacity of 5oz (142g), which is enough for serving coffee for the whole family and a group of friends.

It’s a lightweight grinder that only weighs 7 lbs with a compact size. You can easily fit it in the cabinet or just leave it on the kitchen counter.

Ease of use

When you just get your new Baratza Encore grinder, it takes less than 1 minute to assemble all the parts following the manual. To use this grinder, you just need to figure out how to set the grinding size and turn it on and off. No other complicated operation is required. There’s a pulse button on the front, which is super handy when you just need a little more coffee or to clean out the leftover grounds from the burr.

Up to 40 grind sizes setting sound complicated for beginners. No worries, the grinder comes with a helpful guide to help you decide what grind settings are best for the coffee-making method you are using. So you can try to adjust the settings within the range to get the perfect set that suits you best.

different grind sizes

The intuitive design and simplicity help you get started in no time. As the slogan on Baratza’s home page:

We grind, you brew.

baratza.com

No more extra hassles.

Conical burrs and motor quality

Baratza Encore is equipped with 40mm stainless steel conical burrs. It utilizes an updated gearbox and speed reduction technology to control the rotation of the burr to 550 RPM. This setting reduces noise, heat and static generated during the grinding and ensures smoother beans feeding. And it uses a powerful high-torque DC motor with a thermal cutoff switch. These steel burrs are durable enough for years.

conical burr

Even if the DC motor or steel burrs are worn out someday, you can easily order parts from Baratza and replace them yourself. According to customer reviews and feedback, Baratza provides outstanding customer service. They are very responsive and helpful for any problems you have with their coffee grinders.

Baratza Encore grind settings

Ranging from 250 to 1200 microns, with 40 individual grind options, not many coffee grinders in this price category can deal with such a wide range of grind settings. There is lots of room for you to make adjustments to your manual brewing styles. It has you covered from the finest grind for espresso to the extra coarse for a cold brew and other brewing methods, such as pour over, French press, drip coffee, Aeropress and more. However, it’s not fine enough for espresso, though.

The grind size tips can be found in Baratza’s official blog here. I added a few different grind sizes for your reference:

  • Turkish – 1-3 (Not fine enough)
  • Espresso – 4-9 (You may get away with a pressurized portafilter)
  • AeroPress – 8-12
  • Moka Pot – 4-12
  • V60 – 13-18
  • Pour Over – 13-20
  • Siphon – 12-29
  • Chemex – 18-23
  • Drip Coffee Maker – 18-23
  • French Press – 24-34
  • Coffee Percolator – 24-34
  • Cold Brew – 30-40
  • Cowboy Coffee -36-40

Grind Consistency and Quality

In the past decade, Baratza Encore earned its reputation for excellent output consistency. I picked different coarseness grind options for the most common brew methods to test the consistency.

Here is the result

#12: It’s fine enough if you follow the official AeroPress instruction. Since AeroPress is such a versatile coffee maker, you may use other recipes. Encore always produces a consistent grind for your different recipes.

#15: That’s what I have been using for V60. It’s pleasing to see how uniform the coffee grounds are. You can easily make a great cup of coffee using V60, Kalita Wave or other pour over makers.

#20: That’s what you would use for Chemex or other pour-over. As you can see in the photo, it’s still very consistent. #15-#20 are quite suitable for many pour over styles, you can make a slight adjustment between this range to find the sweet spot.

#28: This setting is suitable for the French press. But it’s not always necessary to use medium coarseness for the French Press, we can use a finer setting like the pour over as well.

#36: If I try the extreme coarse like 35 or above, it produces chunks and inconsistent grounds. As a home grinder at this price category, Baratza Encore does an outstanding job in the ground consistency already.

And no matter what setting you use, the machine has no hiccups as it grinds through the beans with ease.

grind-setting-encore

Downsides

Since it is the basic model in Baratza’s product line, it doesn’t include fancy features such as the dose control or timer like the Encore’s big brother Baratza Virtuoso +. The grind speed control is good for the quality but makes it a slow grinder. And it’s not mainly designed for espresso. If you are looking for a decent espresso grinder, you can consider the Baratza Sette series, we compare the Sette 30 vs. 270 vs. 270wi so you can choose depending on your budget.

Price

Honestly, the Baratza Encore conical burr coffee grinder is not cheap for beginners. It costs more than some entry-level burr grinders, such as its main rival Capresso Infinity (Check out our review, we also compared Baratza vs Capresso side by side so you know how to choose), or you can get started from a hand grinder or a blade grinder under $50 or $100. But you probably will want to upgrade for better grind quality after a while.

But once you have this Baratza Encore, you can definitely use it for several years without considering upgrading. It’s more than enough for your everyday brewing as long as you are not an espresso enthusiast. At this price, Baratza Encore produces a higher level of uniform grounds and more flexibility compared with other home grinders at this price level, so that you can make consistently good coffee. It is well worth its price tag and you get even more value than that.

The Verdict: Is it the best burr grinder in this price range?

I think so, it’s not an exaggeration to say the Baratza Encore is the ultimate, entry-level conical burr grinder for coffee enthusiasts. It does its job perfectly for any manual brewing methods. Simple enough to use for everyone. And the consistency is among the best in this price range.

It’s suitable for the coffee lovers who want to upgrade from the blade grinder or hand grinder or anyone who wants to start their home brewing journey from a higher level. This is the one that you can use for years without upgrading.

However, if you are an espresso fan, it can grind fine enough but isn’t as great as the more advanced grinders specially designed for espresso.

FAQs

How to clean the Baratza Encore?

Cleaning the Encore is not difficult. You can remove the hopper, the silicone gasket, grounds bin, and the ring burr. Then you can clean the plastic parts and the gasket in water and dry them thoroughly before putting them back. Use a brush to remove the remaining fine grounds attached to the ring burr, but don’t wash it in water or it will rust. It’s good to do the maintenance from time to time to keep it in the best condition. We show you step by step guide to clean the Encore, check it out >>

Is the Baratza Encore good for espresso?

You can make espresso with the Baratza Encore if your espresso machine has a pressurized portafilter. These baskets are more forgiving because they allow for a wider variety of ground coffee. But it may not be good in a non-pressurized basket. It’s an awesome grinder for drip or pour over makers, but it lacks the adjustability to dial in espresso.