Baratza Encore Vs. Fellow Opus Comparison
It’s an exciting time for anyone looking to get a starter espresso grinder. Why? Because two exceptional grinder manufacturers have both released recent forays into entry level espresso grinding. In one corner, we’ve got the Baratza Encore ESP. The Encore ESP takes Baratza’s legendary Encore coffee grinder and tweaks some of the details to make it work for espresso. In the other corner, we’ve got the Fellow Opus, which does something similar with the basic design of the Ode coffee grinder.
These are both great options for your first espresso grinder, but which one is right for you?
As mentioned, the Encore ESP is very similar to the existing Encore from the outside. It has a hopper-twist adjuster, a similar shape, simple operation, and you can use it with a catch bin or the included dosing cup. The dosing cup is a really great addition here, as it allows you to grind into it with less mess than if you did so directly into a portafilter. You can then fit the cup into the portafilter to transfer the grounds, and get excellent distribution.
The Encore ESP uses macro and micro adjustment to allow for finer tuning of your grind size, and this is how it gets down to those finer settings needed for espresso. This model also has updated conical steel burrs to help give you the most performance out of those finer settings.
Cleaning and maintaining the Encore ESP is easy as well, with tool-less access to the burrs and high quality components. Plus, Baratza does a great job making parts available to keep your grinder running for years and years.
So what about the Opus? Actually - these grinders have a lot in common. Where the Encore ESP takes after its brew grinding cousin, the Fellow Opus does the same. Based on a similar look and feel to the Fellow Ode, the Opus is itself an espresso-ified version of a grinder we really love.
Much like the Encore ESP the Opus has a macro and micro adjustment to allow for very high resolution grinding. In fact, we really love the quality out of both of these grinders, and we think either will suit any user from a grounds size and quality standpoint.
The Opus also features a catch bin with a dosing cup inside as well, taking a slightly different but functionally identical approach to grinding receptacles as the Encore ESP.
The Opus is also easy to maintain and clean, but there is one major difference between these two grinders. The Baratza Encore ESP uses a traditional hopper that is very similar to the one you’ll find on the brew Encore. You turn it on to grind, then either use the timer or turn it off manually. It has a pulse button as well. The Opus, on the other hand, is built for single dosing. This means that you grind out your beans before putting them in the hopper, then the grinder grinds through them in one go. These approaches both have merit, but which one works best for you is going to be the biggest deciding factor in your choice aside from aesthetics.
Which One is Right for Me?
This is the ultimate question - which of these two grinders should be your purchase? Both grinders are great for espresso and slow brewing, both are well built and easy to maintain, and both come with many of the same creature comforts like their dosing cups. Despite this, there’s two main areas where these grinders differ.
The first is looks. We think both of these grinders convey their function well with their aesthetics. The Encore ESP comes in two colors and is a bit more traditional in its design, while still keeping up with modern design ideas. The Opus, however, is a bit more unique looking. We enjoy its stark, modern design, but it might not be a fit for every kitchen. Which grinder will look better on your countertop is a question you’ll have to answer.
What we can help you with is hopper size and dosing method. Since both of these grinders are great for multiple brew methods, you might also want to switch coffees frequently. Since the Opus is built for single dosing (measuring and pouring in just what you need) it could have an edge for the user who wants to take advantage of that versatility.
That being said, the Baratza Encore ESP can be used this way as well, it just has the taller hopper. This taller hopper might in fact be desirable for some. If you love a coffee bean that works for a lot of different brew methods then you may not want to single dose. This could also be the case if you just like one brew method.
Outside of this, these grinders both perform great, so if you can try them or at least check them out first then you’ll get a better feel for which one will be the better fit.