Your coffee beans won’t brew themselves. Grinding your coffee fresh before brewing is the most important step in order to enjoy your coffee’s full flavor potential. Yes, buying coffee pre-ground or a “pod” that brews at the touch of a button may be more convenient, but you will be sacrificing quality here. That’s why owning a top-of-the-line grinder is vital. One such grinder is the Baratza Encore Conical Burr Grinder.
Read on to find what makes Baratza Encore Conical Burr the best choice for you.
Baratza is an American Brand that has been in the coffee business since 1999; it specializes in making professional grinders for all types of users.
The Baratza Encore is a high-end entry-level coffee grinder that has been highly rated by consumers and professionals alike for its quality, ease of use, and durability. Its simple interface and consistent grind will help get you started in the world of specialty coffees without breaking the bank.
The brand’s customer satisfaction team is also pretty quick. If you have any questions, help will be at hand. Baratza’s whole philosophy is to design their grinders to be easy to repair. It’s something you’ll mostly find missing among appliance manufacturers.
Design & Build
The Baratza Encore is slightly smaller than grinders from other companies. It stands 13.3 inches tall and has a width of 5.5 inches. Despite its smaller footprint and weight, the Encore is still quite heavy. The extra weight combined with a tough plastic casing gives the whole machine a sturdy, in fact, bulletproof appearance.
Other than the sturdy construction, the Encore comes with a more or less similar profile to most other high-end grinders. At the top, you’ll notice an eight oz—transparent glass jar with a lid that holds whole beans. At the same time, the ground bin has only five oz. capacity. The burrs are made from heavy steel and driven with a powerful DC motor. They also have grooves with razor-sharp edges to assist with cutting.
You can adjust the grind size by turning the bean hopper left and right, which in return changes the distance between the burrs. The Baratza Encore boasts a whopping 40 different coarseness settings, including graduated positions along the bean-hopper base.
With this level of control, the Encore can grind coffee effectively, ranging from fine to coarse depending on what type of brewing method you’re using.
Besides the burrs that I’ve mentioned earlier, the gears that rotate these burrs are made of a 15% glass-filled polypropylene material, making them tough as a tank. This is an improvement over the previous all-metal models and results in less noise, improved durability, and increased shock resistance.
Performance & Grind Settings
The Baratza Encore’s powerful, high torque motor ensures that its 40 mm conical burr rotates at a constant 550 r/min. This relatively slow speed reduces heat, noise, and static generation—you don’t want to roast your beans when you’re grinding (duh).
Other features include adjustable grind settings, an easy-to-use on/off switch, and a manual grinding option. That’s pretty much it! Meaning you don’t need to worry about any extra settings or distractions. Simply turn the bean hopper to any of its 40 settings, and you’re good to go with your grind. Sure, 40 doesn’t seem much, but it can grind between 250 and 1200 microns depending on the brewing method that you’re using.
Grind Size & Quality
The Encore has a pretty great reputation for producing super-consistent grinds. Even at its finest grind settings, the ground quality is fairly consistent. However, bear in mind that one may only use the finest grind settings with a pressurized portafilter.
In contrast, at the maximum coarseness setting, i.e., #35 – #40, some users pointed out some inconsistency in grind quality—proving that the range doesn’t follow up with the consistency.
However, Encore’s grind quality works exceptionally well with some of the most commonly used brewing methods. Such as Pour-over, French Press, Aeropress, and Stovetop Espresso maker. As a matter of fact, the Encore does produce some ‘fines’ (tiny dust-like coffee particles), which can be frustrating sometimes. But it’s pretty common to expect from such entry-level grinders. You can always sift it through the grinds if it bothers you a lot, but this isn’t necessary at all.
BTW, if you really crave an even better performance from your Baratza, you may consider upgrading your burr set from the default M3 burr to M2 that only costs 35 bucks. This upgraded burr comes pre-installed in one of their more expensive Virtuoso Grinder. And It offers a more consistent particle distribution. Logically, it’s a smart way to turn your Encore into a Virtuoso at a lower price.
Ease Of Use
The Baratza Encore Coffee Grinder is highly convenient to operate. To start grinding, you only have to push the front pulse button located at the center of the device. And to adjust the grind settings, all you have to do is twist the hopper to one of the 40 graduated marks. Simple as that.
On the downside, there aren’t any timers or dose-controlling features with the grinder. Larger beans don’t flow through the hopper as easily as smaller beans, resulting in some leftover beans.
The thing I appreciate the most about this grinder is how super-easy it is to clean and maintain, which means it’s an investment you can count on morning after morning. You can remove the top burr and twist off the hopper easily. To ensure your morning cuppa always tastes tip-top, the manufacturer suggests cleaning the grinder in between every two months or so.
A few steps on how to clean your Baratza Encore grinder?
1. Rotate & Remove the Hopper
When you twist the hopper anti-clockwise, it’ll easily come off. Wipe off any residue from this area and place it aside for a while.
2. Remove the Top Gasket
After removing the hopper, you’ll have a clear overhead view of the inside section of your grinder. On the very top, you’ll see the top gasket. Remove this gasket with your hands and place it aside until you’re done cleaning.
3. Remove the burr and start cleaning
Beneath the gasket comes the core of the grinder that includes the burr—probably the most important part of the grinder. Take these burrs out and clean any residue or leftovers attached to them with the help of the provided brush. Put these parts aside as well so you may clean the remaining parts of the grinder.
4. Clean the grinder inside
Clean the inside of your grinder by using the same soft brush to clean out any residue left behind after grinding. Turning the machine upside down is never recommended as it may upset the placement of parts inside the machine.
5. Place all parts back together
After brushing off all the residue and dust, ensure that the parts go back into the machine in the exact order they came out but in reverse. After placing the hopper back on the grinder, always double-check that you haven’t missed any parts and the grinder is ready to be used again.
Here is an effective video from the brand itself to get even better clarity on how to clean your Baratza grinder:
A Word On Price
The Baratza Encore is pricier than most other entry-level grinders you can find online. And to be honest, it isn’t a particularly great value either. You can certainly get slightly better performance for less than what you’re paying now.
On the positive side, the Encore holds a compact footprint, a plus point for those with small countertops.
Unfortunately, it’s not all the bells and whistles; the product comes with some downsides too. A few of them are;
- The grinder runs a bit slow, and for a good reason. But it still isn’t the ideal option in case you need to prepare coffee for many people.
- The grinder lacks many advanced features, such as the timer and the dose controls, which is a downside in the sense that you are paying more than what you’re getting in return.
- Because of static electricity building up, the grinder makes a bit of a mess when the grind bin is removed.
- Though the grinder is capable of producing super fine grinds, it still doesn’t work well enough with the espresso unless you’re using a pressurized portafilter.
So, should you drop a hefty amount of cash on Baratza Encore Conical Burr Grinder? The answer depends on how you prefer to brew your coffee without sacrificing consistency as well as how much you want to play around with different grind sizes.
For anyone who likes brewing coffee, pulling espresso shots, and seeking an affordable, highly capable grinder, the Baratza Encore will be a worthwhile investment. It’s a cinch to operate, relatively quiet, widely available, and will satisfy all your coffee grinding needs.
However, its no-frills design isn’t best for experimenting with micro-adjustments and doses. It also won’t be able to grind fine enough for Turkish coffee.
With that said, I hope you liked this Baratza Encore Grinder review and if you want to give it a shot, click here to view it on Amazon.
Taimoor followed his passion to become a coffee connoisseur and now travels the world to visit the most popular coffee shops. His cupboard is also stocked with a collection of brewing gadgets. He loves to drink Death Wish Coffee’s dark roast and highly caffeinated coffee grounds when he needs a boost of energy.