Crew Comparison: Baratza Encore vs OXO Barista Brain Grinder

How Does It Compare?

You’ve probably heard the grind is the most important part. You’d be right! From pour over to French press, the Baratza Encore and OXO Barista Brain Conical Burr Grinder are two grinders that are up to the challenge! If you’ve been searching for beginner’s grinders, we bet the Encore has popped up a couple of times. It’s been around for years and with Baratza’s reputable name and quality build, it has been a consistent favorite amongst home brewers.

The Barista Brain came to the market about a year ago and made its home with other entry-level grinders. With its user-friendly operation and extra features like a built-in scale, people just starting to build their coffee setup were drawn to the Barista Brain. If you’re in the market for an entry-level grinder, check out these two and see which one is right for you.

 

The Baratza Encore is a sleek, tailored machine designed for home grinding. The Baratza Encore is a sleek, tailored machine designed for home grinding.
OXOBaristaBrain_front Check out the OXO Barista Brain Conical Burr Grinder!

Grind

Smart Settings

The Baratza Encore and OXO Barista Brain both come equipped with 40mm conical steel burrs. For entry-level grinders, that’s not half bad! What it comes down to is how they use what their manufacturers gave them. The Encore has 40 macro settings to dial in a variety of different coffees. The straightforward design complements beginner baristas by removing all the guesswork—you’ll always find your spot! And it’s all manually operated, so it's all stop and go as you please.

The Encore's manual button. The Encore's manual button.

The Barista Brain has some geeky qualities that add more guidance than the Encore. Turn this grinder on and the controls light up like a Christmas tree. And we bet you’ll think it’s Christmas with all the different brew methods this machine can do! You can select the portafilter, grams or cups to use with each brew. Plus, with 15 macro and an additional five settings near the chute, the Barista Brian dials in fast. That said, the Barista Brain’s 15+ settings don’t offer as much to work with compared to the Encore’s 40 adjustments.

The Barista Brain features a portafilter, gram and cup setting for quick dosing. The Barista Brain features a portafilter, gram and cup setting for quick dosing.

Built-in Scale

The Barista Brain’s built-in scale gives it a leg up over the competition. Using the grams application, you can set the amount of coffee and it will grind until the correct weight is reached—that’s it! And as we know, for the best brew, weighing the grams is essential. The convenient scale makes it effortless for entry-level home brewers to learn brewing ratios.

Grade

Brew Method

Both the Baratza Encore and OXO Barista Brain grind for French press, drip, pour over, Chemex or even a pressurized portafilter! But both are definitely not fine enough for non-pressurized portafilters. Even if you did use the finest setting, both grinders wouldn’t be able to offer enough adjustments to properly dial-in. Since both are entry-level grinders, it's no surprise that they don’t grind well for espresso.

The Encore features 40 grinder settings for more ways to dial in your grind. The Encore features 40 grinder settings for more ways to dial in your grind.

Grind Size

In a comparison of the finest grind size, both the Barista Brain and the Encore were neck and neck with consistency. And as we've discussed, the finest settings was still too granular for espresso. That said, at the coarsest setting the Encore came out ahead with consistent grounds. The coarsest setting can be hard for a grinder! And for the Barista Brain, we ended up with a lot of fine grounds mixed in with our chunky coffee. While it is still fine for French press, it’ll probably leave more grit and silt in your cup like a typical French press.

With 15 macro settings and an additional five micro, the Barista Brain is easy to dial in. With 15 macro settings and an additional five micro, the Barista Brain is easy to dial in.

Glamour

Small Footprint

The Baratza Encore’s uniformed design looks sleek and stylish in barista’s homes. It definitely helps to have a small footprint—the Encore is 13 inches tall, six inches deep and a not-so-staggering five inches wide. Overall, the only thing that seems to stick out is the Encore’s 8-ounce bean hopper.

The Encore comes with a grounds catcher that helps keep your counter cleaner. The Encore comes with a grounds catcher that helps keep your counter cleaner.

The OXO Barista Brain Conical Burr Grinder isn’t too shabby in size either! The only difference is it’s a long machine at nine inches deep—that’s three extra inches on the Encore! In fact, the rest of it is just a tad bigger than the Encore, including the 16-ounce bean hopper. And is it ever really bad to have a bigger bean hopper? We don’t think so.

Long and slim, the Barista Brain has an ergonomic design. Long and slim, the Barista Brain has an ergonomic design.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for the perfect beginner grinder, check out the Baratza Encore and OXO Barista Brain Grinder. Both are great grinders for French press, pour over, Chemex, drip brewing and even in a pressurized portafilter. Share what grinder you’d take home in the comments below.

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