We’ve all had the disappointment of a bad cup of coffee in the morning.
It’s something that can make your whole day bad. Having the right coffee set up can help ensure that you avoid those bad mornings.
If you’re considering upgrading your coffee grinder or want to know if it’s even worth it, this review of the Baratza Encore coffee grinder will help.
Baratza Encore Coffee Grinder: What Is It?
The Baratza Encore coffee grinder is a high-end, at-home coffee grinder.
It’s “fancier” and more effective than the usual blade grinder but smaller and more manageable than a grinder you might see at a coffee shop.
The grinder is adjustable and operates with a conical burr.
We’ll go over what all this means, so you feel sure about deciding what grinder fits your needs.
Baratza Encore Design and Build
To better understand the product, here is an explanation of the various parts and features of the Baratza Encore.
Burrs are the gears inside of the grinder that grinds the coffee beans.
You may hear the Encore called a burr grinder.
The Encore has precision conical burrs inside, meaning that the coffee beans are funneled through cone-shaped metal burrs.
The small at-home coffee grinders you usually see use blades, which chops the beans to grind them, yielding inconsistent results.
You’ll find a fine powder on the bottom, with large chunks on the top.
You also can’t adjust the grind at all.
Burrs offer much more consistent grind results, with the opportunity to make adjustments depending on your brew method.
The gearbox is exactly what it sounds like: the gears that are inside of the machine. Besides the motor, these are the parts that make the grinder tick. It consists of the drive shaft, the motor mounting plate, bushings, and drive gear.
That may sound like a bunch of nonsense, but they are vital factors when considering a grinder. All grinders are loud, but the right gears can make it significantly quieter. They also help to create a smooth grind process overall.
3. Grind Adjustment
The burrs inside the grinder are adjustable, which means they can move closer or farther apart depending on how coarse you want the grind to be. Adjusting the grind makes your coffee finer or coarser, depending on what you’re looking for.
If you’re making at-home espresso, you want to be able to get a consistent, fine grind. If you prefer a french press, you’ll want a coarse grind. The Encore lets you make detailed adjustments so that you can yield the exact results you want.
4. Grounds Left in Grinder
After the beans go through the burrs, the ground coffee goes into the “grounds bin.” This piece is fully removable, allowing you to pour your freshly ground coffee into the brewing method of your choice.
It’s advised that you make sure that there are no beans left in the burrs when you turn the grinder off, which could cause unnecessary wear or even rust. It’s also best to grind just what you need for your brewing so that old grounds don’t get stale and lose their best flavor.
5. Brewing Methods
There are tons of different brewing methods to choose from. Whether you want a Turkish coffee, where the grounds sit in the bottom of your mug as you drink, or you like a crisp french press, it is all about personal preference.
It seems that the most popular brewing method used with the Baratza Encore is the pour-over method, often with a Hario v60. With this method, you use a gooseneck kettle to pour the water over the grounds yourself. It puts quality control right in your hands and also makes an amazing cup of coffee once you get the hang of it.
All Baratza Encore grinders are fitted with a 110V motor inside. These small but mighty motors make the whole machine run. In general, a customer can expect 10 years from their grinder’s motor with regular use.
If it starts to wear down, you’ll notice a slower grind time, a lot more effort from the machine, and possibly more noise. The motor installation isn’t complex, making it easy to replace at home.
The term calibration may sound fancy, but it’s very simple: calibration is adjusting the grind. Just like we said before, the Baratza Encore is fully adjustable. To calibrate your grinder, you adjust it to the settings you prefer.
On the grinder, at the top of the body but beneath the hopper, you will see what’s called a “calibration ring,” which is the tool you twist back and forth to bring the burrs closer or farther apart, depending on how you want to calibrate the grind.
8. Speed Control
The Baratza Encore offers a speed control feature, keeping the grinding speed at 550 rotations per minute (RPM). It may sound unnecessary, but this is the main feature that keeps the grinder’s motor from overheating. It also works to reduce noise and static.
9. Hopper extender
The hopper on a grinder is the area on the top that holds the unground beans. The Baratza Encore grinder comes with an 8-ounce hopper. For reference, that’s 4 ounces less than a traditional bag of coffee beans.
If you feel like you need some extra space, Baratza sells a hopper extender separately. It goes on top of the regular hopper, adding 9 ounces of space for your beans. You could even stack more extenders on top. Keep in mind that these machines aren’t meant for grinding a lot of beans at once. That would likely result in a clogged grinder.
Performance and Grind Quality of a Baratza Encore Grinder
To judge the performance and quality of the Baratza Encore, it’s best to establish what the grinder is meant for – simple, everyday home use. If you are looking to churn out cup after cup for you and your guests every day, or start a small business, you should be looking at a higher level of a grinder.
But, if you want a simple, high-end grinder for your everyday cup of coffee, this is a great choice. Encore offers consistent results that extract all the best flavors from the coffee. It’s also very user-friendly for a simple home setup. You won’t have to fiddle with a hundred different settings before you’re ready to grind every day.
How Durable Is a Baratza Encore Grinder?
The Baratza Encore has some features that are very durable but other features that are not so that the grinder could be affordable to the public. The majority of the body, like the hopper and the grinds bin, are made of thin plastic. The on/off switch also feels slightly flimsy, but there aren’t often problems reported with it.
The parts of the machine that are durable are the parts that matter – the burrs, gearbox, and motor. These would be the pieces that would be expensive and frustrating to replace, so they’re built to last. You should expect 10 years of use before having to replace any of those parts.
Pros and Cons of Baratza Encore Grinders
- Affordable for a high-end machine
- Sturdy construction where it matters
- Consistent grinding results
- A bit large for a countertop
- Plastic parts can feel flimsy
- Can’t grind more than a few ounces at a time
Baratza Encore Price
Baratza Encore grinders sell for about $170. On the Baratza website, you can find a refurbished section where you can occasionally find a used Encore for a more affordable price.
Directions to Use a Baratza Encore
After assembly, using a Baratza Encore is very simple. Twist the calibration ring to your desired grind coarseness. Then, add your measured beans to the hopper (you could add your beans and store them in the hopper, but keeping them separate and measuring the whole beans ensures there are no grounds that will go stale).
To grind the beans, press the “pulse” button on the front for a quick burst of grinding or turn the switch on the side for a continuous grind. Once all the beans are cleared from the burrs, turn the machine off and pull out the grind bin. Your grounds are now ready for whatever brew method you choose.
How to Clean a Baratza Encore Grinder
Cleaning the grinder is surprisingly simple. Remove the hopper, its lid, and the grind bin. Hand wash these and leave them to dry (dishwashers are usually too hot and can crack the plastic).
As for the burrs and other mechanisms, it’s best to only clean them if you have to. Just never, ever get your burrs wet, which will cause them to rust and deteriorate very quickly. Only wipe them and the other gears down with a dry cloth. For this reason, it’s also crucial to make sure the hopper and grind bin are truly dry before putting them back on.
The Baratza Encore is a far leap from a blade coffee grinder, which is its primary purpose. It offers consumers a barista-quality grind at a moderately affordable price. Overall, if you’re looking to take the next step in your coffee set-up, the Baratza Encore is worth it.
With conical burrs, it grinds the beans instead of chops, providing users with consistency and a full extraction with each brew.
With a simple design, you can adjust the grind easily yourself, allowing you to perfect your favorite brewing method without having to spend hours just getting set up.