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Baratza Encore Review: Is It The Best Coffee Grinder For Beginners?

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This is a review of the Baratza Encore electric conical burr grinder. Read on to learn whether it’s worth getting.

I’ve used the Baratza Encore and felt it was time to let the internet know whether it’s worth getting. That led me to write this review.

Here’s what I’ll cover:

Read on to learn why you should consider the Baratza Encore.

Our Verdict

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Baratza Encore Review: Is It The Best Coffee Grinder For Beginners? 6

I’ve used this grinder for at least a few weeks and have not noticed many issues.

The biggest concerns stem from the lack of grind options for espresso drinkers and an auto-stop feature.

You could fix the former with additional adjustments and/or purchases. I’ll get into this later. Meaning, you’ll need to keep reading.

It’s a bit heavy. But it’s an electrical grinder made with high-quality materials. I didn’t expect anything else.

I had no issues setting up and learning how to use the Encore.

Making it easy for me to recommend this electric burr grinder for beginners. As it is perfect for newbies who want a good-quality grinder without paying too much.


Baratza Encore Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Extremely beginner-friendly
  • Easy to use
  • 1-year warranty
  • Easy maintenance
  • Repairable

Cons:

  • Cleanup is a bit ridiculous
  • Included literature doesn’t specify best grinds for lesser-known brew types
  • A bit slow to grind
  • No auto-stop

The Baratza Encore is an entry-level electric burr grinder that works best for beginners who have a decent amount to set aside for the grinder.

Specifications

ManufacturerBaratza
ModelEncore
PriceAMAZON API
Great forBeginners
Weight7 lbs / 3.1 kg
Hopper Capacity8 oz / 227 g
Ground beans capacity5 oz / 142 g
# of Grind Levels40
Device Dimensions4.7 x 13.8 x 6.3 in (W x H x D);12 x 35 x 16 cm
Power120 w
Voltage120 v
Decibels (Noise)85 dB
Burr Size & type40 mm steel conical burrs
Grind Speed0.8–1.1 g/sec (450 RPM)
Particle range250–1,200 microns
Made inDesigned in Seattle, WA; made in Taiwan; burr made in Liechtenstein [1]
Specifications for the Baratza Encore coffee grinder.

Baratza Encore Electric Coffee Grinder Review

After several months of using a manual burr grinder, I thought, “What am I doing with my life?” That revelation led me to research the best entry-level electric burr coffee grinders.

I chose burr grinders because they have more consistency than a blade. And I went with the electric because I don’t want to waste 5–10 minutes grinding my beans daily.

I took to the internet to search for a common consensus as to what folks recommend. Most folks recommended the Baratza Encore. And as someone from Washington state, the fact that it was designed there motivated me to give them my credit card.

Now I’m here, reviewing this coffee grinder.

Before moving on, let’s see what’s in the box:

image 1
Baratza Encore Review: Is It The Best Coffee Grinder For Beginners? 7

Here’s an itemized list:

  • Hopper lid
  • Bean hopper
  • Black silicone casket
  • Removable burr ring
  • Brush
  • Grounds bin

I didn’t receive this grinder for free. Meaning, I have no potential for bias. What you’ll find is an unfiltered review.


Grind Quality: 3.5/5

The Encore has relatively uniform grind qualities and works best for every brewing method, except espresso. Since it doesn’t include many grind settings to fine-tune espresso grinds.

However, a couple of solutions exist:

Unless you buy a pressurized portafilter for your espresso maker. As it builds pressure throughout the filter and forces espresso through a tiny hole in the center.

Or, you could recalibrate your grinder. This requires disassembling your machine and tinkering with its insides. Something I don’t feel comfortable sharing. I found a video that Baratza published that shows how to do this, though:

I wanted to give this section a 5/5, because I’m not a frequent espresso drinker. But I must remain unbiased. Hence, the 3.5 rating.

Before moving on, here’s what a medium-coarse grind looks like with the Encore:

image 2
Baratza Encore Review: Is It The Best Coffee Grinder For Beginners? 8

And here’s what a similar grind looks like with my crappy manual grinder:

image 3
Baratza Encore Review: Is It The Best Coffee Grinder For Beginners? 9

On to grind capacity.

Grind Capacity: 4/5

Those who need large batches of ground coffee quickly (for offices) may be disappointed in the grounds bin. It’s 5.0 ounces (189 g). Though, that technically shouldn’t be an issue for most people.

Because you want freshly-ground coffee to get the best taste out of your beans. The fewer grounds you store, the more likely you’ll have better-tasting drinks.

The same goes for the hopper size. I’m the only coffee drinker in my home. Meaning, the dimensions of the bin and hopper are ideal. However, homes with more than 3 coffee drinkers may not find this size enough.

At that point, you’ll need patience as you wait for your multiple rounds of beans to grind.

Ease of Use: 5/5

I’d say even a baby could easily use this, but I don’t want to hand a toddler a coffee grinder. But use that reference to illustrate how easy it is to use.

Place the beans in the hopper, twist the button on the side, and wait until all the beans grind. The most non-obvious part of using the grinder is when you should adjust the settings. Baratza says to do this while the machine’s running, which I couldn’t figure out on my own.

I had almost no trouble when assembling the machine. It took me a few seconds to figure out how to put on the gasket. Then I stared at the machine for a few minutes, realizing I didn’t plug in the on/off knob.

That’s not worth taking any points off the review, though.

Cleaning: 3/5

Let’s talk about cleaning after each use.

Here’s a picture of what I dealt with after every grind:

image 4
Baratza Encore Review: Is It The Best Coffee Grinder For Beginners? 10

That results from static collecting loose grounds and sticking them to your machine. The stuck grounds spread all over my desk when I take out the ground collection bin. Meaning, you should consider putting a tray beneath your grinder.

To prevent it from spreading around your table.

It’s not too bad (for me) since I vacuum it every day. But I imagine most people don’t want to vacuum a coffee bean mess after grinding their beans.

Deep cleaning the Encore isn’t too much of a chore, though. Use soapy water to clean the hopper and silicone gasket. Then use the brush to clean the burr and machine. Using tablets will make cleaning even easier.

I’ll emphasize in a bit.

Build Quality/Durability: 5/5

I was disappointed when opening the box to feel plastic around the Encore machine. But. It didn’t feel like cheap plastic. I wouldn’t need to worry about breaking it if I tapped it a bit too hard.

The machine was designed in Seattle, the birthplace of Starbucks. They have coffee shops on almost literally every block. And they have coffee running through their veins (not literally). Meaning, I trust Seattle(ites) to design a high-quality coffee bean grinder.

The M3 burr is a Liechtenstein-made (Europe) commercial-grade high-carbon steel burr that’ll remain sharp for years. High-carbon steel betters stainless steel because it offers higher tensile strength and is harder. Making it ideal for long-term use.

If the M3 burr isn’t good enough for you, give Baratza an extra $35, and you could upgrade to the M2 burrs, which the Virtuoso uses.

Speaking of buying additional parts. If any parts of your machine malfunction, and if you’re out of your warranty, you could buy any replacement part online at an affordable price [2].

They have a 1-year warranty, which means they’re confident their machine will last AT LEAST a year. With the repairability, I’d say it’ll last much longer.

Features: 2/5

You’re not paying for any features with this machine. Instead, you’re paying for the build quality. I would have loved to see an auto-off feature, as the Virtuoso has, but it didn’t include one.

Don’t take the review for this section too seriously. The Encore’s purpose is to grind consistent beans. Not to have Bluetooth connectivity or other features.

Value for Money: 4.5/5

The lack of selection for espresso settings (without recalibrating), the slow grind speeds, and the cleanup put it behind counterparts like the Virtuoso.

However:

The high-quality materials used, the huge choice in settings for other brewing methods, and the ease of maintenance make it worth the price point. If what I’ve said makes you hesitant to buy the Encore, consider getting it refurbished.

Baratza sometimes sells refurbished models on their site much cheaper than most retailers. Or you could find something through second-hand sellers (e.g., Facebook Marketplace). Then buy replacement parts and fix whatever’s wrong.

If you have the extra money, get a new one. You’ll get the warranty and a bit of stress relief. I usually regret my purchases a week later, but I don’t regret this.

Avoid IF

You’re not a coffee-making noob (beginner), and if you want to take part in advanced espresso-making. It has fewer espresso grind settings than other grinders (e.g., Virtuoso).

How to Use the Baratza Encore

Follow these steps to use the Baratza Encore:

  1. Slowly rotate the bean copper clockwise or counterclockwise to your desired setting
  2. Set your grind setting
  3. Measure beans & pour them into hopper
  4. Use the on/off dial or pulse to grind your beans

Ensure you keep your grinder running when making adjustments after your first use. As beans may remain in the burrs, which could cause inconsistent results [3 PDF link].

Let’s dive into the grind settings.

Grind Settings to Use for Various Brewing Methods

Here are the recommended grind settings—based on my testing and Baratza’s recommendations:

Brewing MethodGrind Setting
Espresso2–6 *
AeroPress12
Hario V60 (pour-over)15
Chemex20
French press & percolator28
Vietnamese coffee maker (phin)25
Cold brew37–40
Moka (stovetop coffee maker)4–16
Siphon11–29
DIY K-Cup & drip coffee17–23
Turkish coffee1–3

Different grind size settings for Baratza Encore coffee grinder.

* Baratza recommends “8”

I use a phin and cold brew at home. I had an ideal drink without any grinds at 37. And I had to try a couple of attempts with the Vietnamese maker. I first did 24—found a couple of grounds in my drink—then went to 25 and had more success.

I wasn’t specific with many of the numbers, but:

Everyone’s coffee makers differ. You’ll need to experiment before finding settings ideal for your use. I suggest using cheap beans while testing. To save you a bit of money.

Once you find an ideal grind for each coffee maker, write it down somewhere. Whether on a sticky note you keep on the grinder or your phone. Because you don’t want to waste a bunch of money experimenting again.

How to Clean the Baratza Encore

Clean your grinder once a month when using dark roasts. These beans have a lot of oil that accumulate in your machine over time (like cholesterol in humans) and can eventually lead to clogging.

If using light roasts, clean “as needed.” Meaning, if the residue from previously used beans smells weird, it’s time to clean your grinder.

How to set up cleaning:

  1. Empty the hopper
  2. Run the grinder to push out residual residue
  3. Unplug your grinder
  4. Pull out the grind bin
  5. Unscrew your hopper
    1. Turn fully counterclockwise until on the grind setting to the right of “40”
  6. Pull out the gasket & ring burr

Clean the hopper with warm soapy water. Use a soap with a degreaser, and it is mild. To ensure it doesn’t leave behind any residue or scent. Don’t use steel wool or scouring pads. These will damage the hopper.

If you dry your hopper by hand, use a lint-free towel. To prevent leaving residue on your hopper. You don’t want to mix lint with your beans.

Also, use warm soapy water to clean the black silicone gasket, but be careful. Being too rough with it could tear the gasket. In the video at the end of the section (time: 3:55-4:06), the presenter shows how to clean it.

You could opt for grinder cleaning tablets. These supposedly absorb odors and dislodge coffee particles. I, along with Baratza, recommend Urnex Full Circle tablets.

They’ll make your life a bit easier. If you have disposable income, use these. If not, try using the included brush, first.

To clean the burrs:

Use the included cleaning brush and scrub all the debris from the “O” ring. DON’T wash the burr in soapy water. Doing so will cause the ring to rust.

Take the same brush and scrub the inside of the grinder. Clean the passageways. Ensure you pat your grinder (not too hard) to knock out additional residue. Alternatively, using canned air could remove more debris.

Here’s a video of how to clean your machine:

Look through my recommendations before watching the video. I covered a few points the presenter didn’t.

Baratza Encore vs. Other Grinders

Let’s see how it does against other grinders:

GrinderPriceGrind SpeedBurr TypeDecibels (dB)# of Grind Settings
Baratza EncoreAPI450 RPMConical85 dB40
Baratza VirtuosoAPI500 RPMConical83–84 dB40
OXOAPI400 RPMConical88 dB38
Capresso InfinityAPI200 RPMConical85 dB16
Fellow OdeAPIUnknownFlat60 dB31
Different coffee grinders compared.

The Fellow Ode dominates the competition on this list, though it doesn’t have as many grind settings as the Baratza duo. However, the flat burrs result in consistent grinds. I recommend this grinder over the Virtuoso if it’s on sale.

Otherwise, the Virtuoso grinds the quickest and is the second-quietest.

The Capresso Infinity and OXO cost the least, but are the loudest and don’t offer many customization options.

The Baratza Encore balances the pros and cons of most of these grinders. It’s an acceptable price, grinds somewhat fast, and has plenty of settings to fine-tune grinds.

Baratza Encore vs. Virtuoso

Baratza Encore Coffee Grinder
Baratza Encore

Choose the Virtuoso+ because:

  • Grinds much faster

Choose the Encore because:

  • More affordable

The Virtuoso+ performs better than the Encore because it has a 60-second auto grind timer, grinds quicker, and has the M2 burr. That means it’ll deliver more uniform grinds than the Encore’s M3 burr.

When dealing with coarse grinds on the Encore, I found a few fine grinds. With the M2 burr, that’s less likely to happen.

Furthermore, due to its consistency, Virtuoso’s burr works better for espresso grinds.

I have to be honest here. I couldn’t find official documentation covering decibel levels for either Baratza model. I found the Encore dB level through testing. Then the Virtuoso level from random folks on Reddit [4].

Baratza Encore vs. OXO

Choose OXO because:

  • Costs less
  • Almost as many settings as the Encore

Choose the Encore because:

  • Quieter
  • Grinds faster

Choose the OXO conical grinder if you want to save money and can’t find a refurbished Baratza Encore. However, Encore sells replacement parts that don’t cost too much, which makes it better for long-term usability.

Baratza Encore vs. Capresso Infinity

Baratza Encore Coffee Grinder
Baratza Encore
Capresso Infinity Coffee Grinder
Capresso Infinity

Choose the Infinity because:

  • More affordable

Choose the Encore because:

  • More settings
  • Includes pulse button
  • Much faster

The Capresso has a slightly bigger hopper (8.8 oz / 332 g), a smaller grounds bin (4 oz / 151 g), and fewer settings than the Encore. But it costs less.

The Encore is faster, more customizable, and a bit more user-friendly.

If you have extra money, get the Encore. If not, go for the Capresso.

Baratza Encore vs. Fellow Ode

Baratza Encore Coffee Grinder
Baratza Encore
Fellow Ode Coffee Grinder
Fellow Ode

Here are some points supporting the Ode:

  • Flat burrs have more consistency than conical burrs
  • Quietest option out of all the grinders
  • Auto stop

Here’s when to choose the Encore:

  • Save money
  • More settings

The Fellow Ode is the obvious winner if you’re after a flat burr grinder. Otherwise, beginners who aren’t super-optimizing their coffee grinds will find Encore a better deal. It’s more affordable, offers more settings and acceptable grind results.

I couldn’t find the RPM for the Fellow Ode. One source claimed it’s “1,400 RPM,” but I couldn’t find any documentation supporting that statement [5]. 

Tips for Using the Baratza Encore

Here are some tips for using the Baratza Encore coffee grinder:

  • Adjust the grind size according to your brewing method & preference.
    • A finer grind will produce a stronger & more bitter flavor.
    • A coarser grind will produce a weaker & more sour flavor.
  • Clean the grinder regularly to prevent clogging & maintain optimal performance: Use a brush, a vacuum, or cleaning tablets to remove any coffee residue from the burrs & the grounds bin.
  • Store your coffee beans in an airtight container away from heat, light, & moisture: This will preserve their freshness & flavor for longer.
  • Do not fill the hopper with more beans than you need for one brewing session: This will expose them to air & cause them to lose their aroma.

Let’s stray away from the generic tips. The following sections will cover specific tips for different brewing methods.

Baratza Encore for Espresso

The Encore doesn’t provide the most options for espresso customization, but you could fix this with the following tune-ups:

  • Upgrade from the included M3 burr to the M2
  • Calibrate the Encore
    • I presented a video on how to do this earlier
  • Buy a pressurized portafilter
    • I explained earlier why this works better

If you’re not into advanced espresso-making, sticking with the 2 to 6-grind settings should work fine. This grinder shouldn’t trouble you if you’re a beginning espresso brewer.

Baratza Encore for Drip Coffee Makers

Stick with 17–23 settings; you shouldn’t have issues grinding your beans. Ensure you experiment with those numbers to find an ideal brew.

Baratza Encore for French Press

The included booklet suggests using the 28 grind setting. Meanwhile, their online manual recommends 30–32. Experiment with all these numbers until finding the best grind.

Baratza Encore for Pour Over

Again with the booklet. It recommends 15 for the Hario V60 and 20 for the Chemex. Their manual recommends 13–14 for regular pour-over makers, 13–14 for V60s, and 20–21 for Chemex.

Tinker with these numbers until finding an ideal grind.

Baratza Encore for AeroPress

Their online manual recommends 8–11 for the AeroPress. The included booklet recommends 12.

Most of my tips for these specific brewing methods aren’t special. But how detailed can I get with providing grinding details?

Wrapping Up

I don’t regret buying the Baratza Encore. Though a bit costly, the high-quality materials used in the machine and burr make it well worth the cost. Furthermore, the accessibility of parts enhances the grinder’s appeal and potentially makes them last way longer.


Photo of author

Author

Tim Lee is, as you might have guessed the founder of TimsCoffee.com. He is a former barista and a professional web publisher. He has now combined his knowledge and expertise in both subjects to create TimsCoffee.com.
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