Any coffee barista worth his salt would know about the Baratza Encore grinder. The Encore is a highly versatile coffee grinder that goes well with espresso machines, drip coffee pots, and French press – you get 40 grind settings which are plenty for any home grinder.
Compared with other high-end brands such as to Rancilio Rocky or Quickmill Silvano, the Encore is highly value for money and can even “choke” the Silvia at around grind setting “6” – a feat which even the Maestro and Maestro Plus were not able to achieve because the grinds were not fine enough.
While it does not perform as well as the legendary Preciso or other high-end grinders, the fact that you are able to compare them speakers volumes for the Baratza Encore grinder, especially at this price range. Many professional reviewers have stated as a matter of opinion that there is no other grinder on the market that can stand next to the Encore in terms of quality and versatility within this price range.
Baratza completely overhauled their Maestro and Maestro Plus models and produced the Encore, which offers a tonne more functionality at the same price – the innards are improved for better durability along with the conical burr design for a more consistent and fine grind.
The Breville smart grinder comes close to the Encore in terms of grind quality but costs around 50% more, and comes with a complicated LCD display which you may have to get used to before grinding at full efficiency.
- Burrs: Manufactured in Europe, the Encore’s 40 mm conical burrs will grind for many styles of coffee. Conical burrs grinders are exceptional at producing consistent grinds from very fine to very coarse as well as being durable and will remain sharp for many years.
- Gearbox: In 2012, Baratza introduced the second generation Gearbox (GB 2.0). With GB 2.0, Baratza has significantly increased the strength and durability of the drive transmission while decreasing noise.
- Grind Adjustment: Turn the hopper and with 40 settings you can quickly adjust from fine for espresso to coarse for French Press. The grind range is from 250 to 1200 microns.
- Grinds Left in Grinder: To maximize freshness, the Encore minimizes the ground coffee left in the grinder.
- Brewing Methods: The Encore is a great grinder for manual brewing and espresso.
- Motor: A powerful, high torque DC motor effortlessly drives the burrs. This motor turns slowly resulting in cool, quiet operation and permits long grinding duty-cycles. The circuitry is equipped with an automatically resetting, thermal cutoff switch.
- Calibration: An innovative burr calibration system ensures that each grinder has the full range of grind. If necessary, the grinders can be user calibrated.
- Speed Control: With unique speed control, the Encore uses a combination of gear and electronic speed reduction to control the rotation of the burr to 450 RPM. The electronic speed controller is adjustable from 405 to 495 RPM in the event that specific user conditions require modification of the speed. This slow speed reduces heat, noise, and static generation in the grinder.
One improvement which Baratza made with the Encore is noise reduction – the burr design is highly efficient and does not produce much noise when switched on, which means you won’t wake up your household in the morning.
If you use coffee beans that are very oily, you may have to help them along in the hopper. For a standard french press, you can fill the bean hopper until you can’t see the little round burr-guard – it makes a perfect cup of french press coffee.
The grinder will not saturate the french press with overly fine coffee grinds, along you may have to do maintenance once in a while to preserve the grind quality.
A nice touch that the Encore has is the efficient DC motor which keeps the beans cool, even during extended grind times, while a combination of electric and gear speed reducers slow the burr to 450 RPM, ensuring a smooth bean feed and reducing noise, heat and static build-up.
Some customers have complained that the Encore produces static during the grinding process but we have not experienced any static so far when grinding for espresso.
We did notice some static build-up with coarser grinds (it seems the coarser the grind the greater the issue), but even at its worst is just a minor annoyance.
We really liked the convenient, front-mounted pulse button which makes it easy to grind on demand into the brew basket.
Overall, the Encore is a great all around home grinder, and to some extent even better than the grinds we ordered from the local coffee roaster. Do note that you need to grind a quarter pound of beans then discard to initiate the machine – it comes with a little bag of coffee for you to do this and adjust the grind settings.
Check Price of the Encore Coffee Grinder