Part of making a good cup of coffee involves getting a good grind. Without it, you run the risk of having a foul-tasting cup of Joe!
So, how do you do that?
With a great coffee grinder, of course!
One popular grinder is the Baratza Encore. But is it really worth its salt, or should you skip it?
As a former barista, I’ve put together a Baratza Encore review that breaks down the good, the bad, and the ugly about this machine.
Let’s get to it!
Baratza Encore Overview
Although Baratza is a Tawainese company, all their grinders are designed in Seattle. The Baratza encore is no exception.
The Baratza Encore is an all-purpose coffee grinder that’s really meant for beginners. It’s on the lower end of the market, so it doesn’t cost a ton.
Despite not having many bells and whistles to speak of, this particular machine does have lots of grind settings. So, you can grind your coffee for different brewing methods, including:
- Pour over (medium fine)
- Percolator (coarse)
- Moka Pot (medium coarse)
You can even have a fine grind size for espresso with this machine, although repeatedly doing so can wear the burrs out a bit. Still, grinding espresso beans here and there won’t do too much harm.
Overall, it’s a versatile coffee grinder for beginners that comes at an affordable price point.
- Has a lot of grind settings, so you can grind for a variety of drinks
- It’s a silent grinder, which means it’s nice for those who are sensitive to noise
- It’s made of good-quality materials, meaning it’s pretty durable
- Very easy to use, so it’s great for beginners
- It has top-notch customer service, meaning maintenance and repairs are easy
- It’s possible to buy accessories and accessories separately, which means you can enhance the machine to your needs
- It has a lot of parts made of plastic, which means it can get scratched easily
- There’s no dosage control, so it can be tough to measure out the right amount of beans
Baratza Encore Features: A Closer Look
Now that you’ve got a basic introduction to the machine, let’s go over it in a bit more detail.
Here’s a breakdown of the main features of the Baratza Encore coffee grinder and what you should know about each.
How well is it designed and built?
The truth is that the external appearance of the Baratza Encore burr grinder doesn’t dazzle. It’s just plain—with a standard boxy shape and a black color.
The machine also has a plastic casing, which can make it look a bit cheap.
Despite these design drawbacks, the machine is nice and compact. It measures 4.7″ wide x 6.3″ deep x 13.8″ high, so it’s easy to fit in small kitchens.
It weighs a little over 7 pounds, too, so that makes it lightweight and easy to move around if needed.
Another thing to note about this machine is its bean hopper capacity. The machine can hold up to 8 ounces of coffee beans in its transparent bean hopper. That means you’ve got enough space to grind for around twenty-six cups of coffee!
From there, the 40mm precision conical burrs will grind your beans just the way you like. It means you get a smooth coffee thanks to the grind consistency this machine delivers.
Also, burrs are made of stainless steel, which is a rust-resistant and durable material, so you can expect your burrs to last for a long time.
One thing to note is that the gears within the machine are made of thermoplastic with 15% plastic fiber. This design helps make them a bit longer lasting than metal or pure plastic gears.
The design may not look like much. But it’s made in a way that’s durable and gets the job done.
How does the grinder perform?
The number one thing you need to have in mind when buying a grinder is its performance.
After all, if it doesn’t perform well, what are you paying for?
The good news is that thanks to the hardened Swiss steel burrs, this machine has some pretty good performance.
First of all, it’s a burr coffee grinder.
What’s so special about burr grinders?
A burr grinder gives a more consistent grind than a blade grinder because it crushes the coffee bean instead of chopping it, creating even coffee particles.
On top of that, the grind range is pretty generous. You can really tune in to how coarse or fine you want your ground coffee to be. That means you can grind the beans for whichever brewing method you prefer.
It is worth mentioning that steel burrs can sometimes cause heat from the friction they create. When they do so, they can actually start to pull oils out of your coffee too soon, affecting the taste of your final brew.
The good news is that Baratza Encore’s friction is very minimal. So, there’s really not much overheating at all.
The machine is pretty basic, but it does a good job of providing consistent grind.
How durable is it?
In terms of durability, I’d say the Baratza Encore is just okay.
The majority of its parts are made of plastic, which means that it can get scratched a bit easier.
The good news is that Baratza foresaw this problem and chose to use 15% glass-filled thermoplastic. The result is that the plastic is a bit more durable than the usual stuff.
Besides plastic, you’ll also find that the machine has flat steel burrs. These are rust-resistant and durable, so even if the plastic gets nicked, the burrs won’t.
All of that amounts to a life expectancy of between 5 and 7 years. It’s longer than a lot of entry-level grinders, helping you avoid making the same investment twice.
Despite being made of plastic, the grinder is pretty durable and should last several years.
How easy is it to use?
There’s nothing worse than fumbling around with a grinder you don’t know how to use!
Luckily, this Baratza grinder is relatively easy to use.
Since the machine doesn’t have a ton of bells and whistles, even beginners find it pretty straightforward.
The on/off switch is located on the side of the Encore. On the front side, it also has the pulse polishing button.
In terms of grind size, all you have to do to adjust it is rotate the grind hopper. There are graduated marks that show you how coarse or fine your grind setting is.
Besides using the machine, maintenance and cleaning are just as easy.
The tank can be rinsed very quickly as well as the removable hopper and upper burrs. Just rinse them off with soap and water, pop them back in place, and you’re set!
This is a spectacular entry-level machine. It has straightforward controls, and it’s ideal for a beginner brewer but also a coffee enthusiast.
What special features does it have?
Even though the Baratza Encore burr grinder is a basic model, it’s still got a couple of cool features.
For one thing, there are 40 different grind sizes on the machine. That’s quite a lot for a grinder since many basic models only have up to 10.
On top of that, this machine has a DC motor. The motor helps reduce the speed of the burrs down to 550 rpm.
The result is that although they’re fast and smooth, the burrs don’t produce excess heat. This helps avoid releasing the beans’ oils prematurely.
The machine features a DC motor that avoids heating the coffee. Plus, it features up to 40 grind sizes.
Are there any drawbacks to the grinder?
Despite the good things that Baratza Encore has, there are some drawbacks, too.
For one thing, the machine is a bit slow. If you don’t like waiting around to brew your coffee, that might not make this the right choice.
On top of that, it’s a fairly basic machine. There are no fancy timers or dosage controls, so it’s more of an entry-level device. If you’re an experienced barista, this could be a bit frustrating.
It’s also worth mentioning that this machine isn’t an espresso grinder. Although you can choose a fine grind, repeatedly doing so can shorten the life of the appliance.
So, it’s probably better suited for Cold Brew, French Press, or other brew methods that require coarser grinds.
Finally, the machine is a bit messy. Quite a bit of static builds up, so the grounds can go flying when you remove the container.
It’s not ideal for espresso grinding. Also, it can be a bit messy when removing the grinds.
What’s the value for money?
Baratza Encore costs a bit more than some competitors.
Still, this thing will last you for quite a while.
It’s a durable, entry-level grinder that should last you between 5 and 7 years. There are even baristas that claim it’ll work for up to 10!
Another thing about this machine is that it’s pretty affordable to repair and clean.
So, even if something does break down, you won’t have to break the bank to fix it.
Overall, that makes this machine a pretty good value for money.
The machine is a no-frills grinder that’s reasonably priced. If you treat it well, it should last you for quite a while.
Picking a good grinder isn’t something you can do on a whim.
So, to make sure you’re making a smart decision, here are a couple of FAQs to help you finalize your pick.
Is Baratza Encore Good Enough for Espresso?
Yes. The Baratza Encore has 40 grind sizes, meaning that you can really fine-tune your grind. If you want to make espresso, you’ll want to set your grind to somewhere between 7 and 9.
Is the Baratza Encore Loud?
The Baratza Encore is actually nearly silent, thanks to the company’s 2012 upgrades to the machine’s gearbox. This update helped reduce noise and heat, making for smoother, quieter use.
How Often Should I Clean my Baratza Encore?
You should clean your Baratza Encore every four to six weeks. However, the darker roast you use, the more often you’ll want to clean your Baratza Encore. That’s because these beans are oilier, so they leave a bit more debris in your device.
The Final Verdict
This wraps up our Baratza Encore review, and as you can see, this is a pretty good option when it comes to coffee grinders.
The simple functions make this entry level grinder easy to use. At the same time, its versatile grind settings let you really hone in on your drinks.
Sure, it can be a bit slow, and it heats your beans while grinding them. Still, it’s budget-friendly and gets the job done when it comes to getting the perfect grind size.
If you’re ready to try whipping up tasty coffee drinks, pick up a Baratza Encore grinder of your own today!
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