Crew Review: Baratza Encore Grinder
How Does It Compare?
Functionally adept yet simple, the Baratza Encore is an entry-level grinder that wows home brewers with ground coffee for multiple brew methods. People have been calling the Encore the go-to grinder for home brewing since it’s release. And that’s sometimes all you need: an entry-level grinder that can make coffee for your French press or your V60.
Baratza’s reputation creates jitters—not caused by caffeine—amongst its loyal fans and newbie followers like the release of the Baratza Sette 270. Chances are you’ve heard of the Sette 270 (and if you haven’t that’ll change soon). These are two completely different machines, but the following on the Sette 270 alone should have you taking a second glance at its introductory sibling, the Encore. If you’re just starting to make coffee at home, the Encore is an excellent choice as your go-to grinder.The Baratza Encore is a sleek, tailored machine designed for home grinding.
The Baratza Encore has adjustable grind settings, an on and off switch, and manual grinding button. That’s it. You’re unencumbered by extra settings and can get right down to business. And getting down to business—also known as dialing in your grinds—takes no effort. Twist the bean hopper to one of its 40 settings and take your coffee through a test brew. Sure, 40 seems like a low number, but it can grind from a range between 250 and 1200 microns for a variety of brew methods.The Encore features 40 grinder settings for more ways to dial in your grind.
French Press To Espresso
We recommend the Baratza Encore for French press, drip, pour over and espresso—well, sort of. While we would recommend the Baratza Encore with a pressurized portafilter, we wouldn’t recommend it with non-pressurized portafilter espresso machines. If you’re new to brewing espresso, you might be wondering why that is. A pressurized portafilter will reach the correct pressure in the portafilter basket before the espresso is released, ensuring you a better tasting shot. Of course, you’ll still want to play with the grind setting if your espresso isn’t to taste. The Encore might be hard pressed to adjust in its finer settings
Built with 40mm conical steel burrs, the Baratza Encore can grind from French press to espresso (with a pressurized portafilter). On the coarsest setting, the Encore had a few fines with the coarser grounds. This is pretty typical of grinders: the coarser you go the more inconsistency you’ll see in a grinder. When we moved a couple settings inward from the coarsest, we saw an improvement in consistency.
The more fine we went, the better the Encore’s consistency improved—decent enough for espresso! Try it out on the finest settings and run your fingers through the grounds. Feels like table salt, right? For espresso, the grind size you’d want would be finer than that; that said, this would work in a pressurized portafilter.
Efficiency and Noise Level
The sweet silent grinding of the Baratza Encore wins over our ears. In 2012, Baratza upgraded the Encore’s Gearbox (GB.2.0) for faster, sturdier and quieter performance. Coupled with a high torque motor, the burrs run at a steady 450 RPM (rotations per minute) to reduce noise and heat—you don’t want to roast your beans when you’re grinding. The GB 2.0 also has a thermal threshold to cut power to the gears, saving the Encore from overheating.
The Baratza Encore’s compact size opens up much-needed counter space for your coffee maker. Its petite stature is 13 inches tall by 6 inches deep and 5 inches wide—a perfect fit for apartments or a small office break room. The Encore’s matte black casing and simple functionality have reduced the costs while still creating a grinder that’s easy on the eyes.The Encore comes with a grounds catcher that helps keep your counter cleaner.
The Baratza Encore compact, efficient and quiet grinding has given it a fan following for entry-level grinders. If you’re just beginning your coffee setup, the Encore is an excellent choice for the price and capabilities you’ll see from this small home grinder.