Last Updated on February 18, 2023 by Marie Cooper
Baratza makes some of the most popular burr coffee grinders on the market, like this one, which is the Baratza Encore, and the Virtuoso+. The Encore is the best-selling model, and this is because it’s a cheaper grinder, even though it has most of the features you’ll find in the Virtuoso+.
The latter is an upgraded version of the former and costs almost twice as much. The main reasons for the huge price difference is the higher build quality, the presence of a digital timer which the former lacks, and the stainless steel top and base (the Encore is completely made of plastic).
I know I’ve been comparing both versions so far and the Virtuoso+ is the superior model that is available at a much higher price, but the Encore is a wonderful entry-level grinder that should meet all your needs regardless of your preferred brewing method.
Benefits of the Baratza Encore
The first benefit of buying this product is the fact that it is made by Baratza, a company that makes award-winning grinders, and whose products are loved by professionals. As an appliance with a small footprint, this product is perfect for making coffee grounds at home, since it will only take up a small amount of space.
It’s also perfect for those who are new to brewing coffee at home and experienced home baristas so long as you don’t have exacting requirements. In other words, if a simple grinder is sufficient for your needs, this model is a great option for you.
As far as ease of use is concerned, this machine is incredibly easy to use. There is a pulse button on the front part of the machine that you can hold for as long as you want it to grind your beans and release it when you have the quantity of grounds you want.
The bean hopper can hold up to 8 ounces of beans, while the grounds container or bin can hold a good amount of ground coffee as well. The container has a fill line and you’ll have to empty it when it fills up to that point.
This is an entry-level grinder, but it’s not a limited one. It supports all the grind sizes you’ll need for most brewing methods – espresso, V60, Aeropress, Chemex, French Press, and more. There are 40 grind settings to choose from, so fine or coarse or anything in between is not beyond the functionality of this product.
Starting the machine is an easy process, thanks to its simple on/off switch on the right side of the grinder. A simple turn switches it on or off. The 40mm European-made conical steel burrs powered by its powerful DC motor are the most important parts of the machine and responsible for transforming your whole beans into the flavorful grounds you need to make the perfect cup of coffee.
Lastly, the replacement parts for this grinder are relatively cheap, so it should be cheap to replace a broken part if you ever have to deal with that.
Side note: This machine is available in two colors – black and white.
Drawbacks of the Baratza Encore
It has no timer. Some users measure their beans using a digital scale to determine how much beans they’ll need before grinding, and this helps to get around this disadvantage.
If you want a workhorse with incredible grind consistency and quality, that is also simple, cheap, and easy to use, then get this product. If you want the fancy features like a timer, better build quality, and a more premium look/feel, then get the Virtuoso+.
Make no mistake, though. The all-plastic build of this machine has no impact on longevity. It’s a highly durable coffee grinder.
- Is this product easy to clean? Yes, and no. Yes, for the burrs, no for the chute (not too difficult, but a bit challenging).
- Do I need to worry about static cling? Yes, as with all grinders, but there are simple solutions to this problem — adding two drops of water to the beans before grinding or letting the grounds sit in the bin for a few minutes so the static electricity discharges on its own.
- How long is the power cord? 55 inches!
What Buyers Think of this Grinder
Buyer 1 — “I Made Mine Better Than Expensive Models”
This review is from Steven, a customer that bought this burr grinder, used it for a month, and left a review after 1 month of use and had a great experience with it. They talk about how they’ve not experienced any of the issues some other reviewers have mentioned in their own reviews, and even shared a nifty tip on how to add a nice DIY feature to this machine to make it work like the expensive models.
Steven uses their machine to grind coffee for pour-over and has just one minor complaint which is common in most grinders. They went on to talk about how to manually add an automatic timer to this machine using a smart outlet switch and a bunch of other tools. Since this model is lacking a timer, it will grind until you turn it off. But this method shared by Steven lets you program the grinder to turn off after a certain period of time.
If you want one with a timer and don’t wish to go through this hassle, you can spend a bit more and get the newer model, which is the Baratza Virtuoso+.
Buyer 2 — “It Produces Consistent Grounds”
Nickson decided to buy this burr grinder after reading many reviews and watching comparison videos. At the end of their research, they were ready to buy, but they had two products they were seriously considering — this one and the Breville Smart Grinder Pro. They eventually settled on this one because, based on information they gleaned from their research, this grinder is easy to repair by yourself if something gets damaged, and it’s easier to use as well.
The reason why this machine is so easy to repair is because Baratza sells replacement parts on their website, which ties in with their philosophy that encourages consumers to fix their damaged products, especially small appliances, instead of dumping them and getting a new one.
Buyer 3 — “Better Cups of Coffee”
After using a blade grinder for a good while, Watson was looking to upgrade with the knowledge that a conical burr grinder would help them brew better cups of coffee with consistent flavors. They picked and purchased this one, and as soon as they started using it, they noticed a huge difference between the smoothness and taste of their brews with grounds produced by the Baratza Encore and grounds produced by their former blade grinder.
They also noticed that they didn’t need to use as much coffee grounds as they used before as they got the desired strength with less coffee grounds than they needed to use to produce brews of the same strength while using their former machine. So, the Baratza Encore is paying for itself by helping them save on coffee beans. That’s a wonderful benefit that they didn’t expect, but gladly accepted and appreciated.
In terms of noise, burr is noisier than blade and that’s the only disadvantage Watson could mention, but the difference between the noise produced by this machine and their previous one is not considerable, so that’s not really an issue. Watson’s 5-star rating speaks volumes about how happy they are with their purchase.
Buyer 4 — “Excellent Customer Service”
This review is from a buyer who managed to clog up their machine by neglecting it and through improper usage. They not only put more beans in the hopper than is recommended, they never cleaned it — not even once. After breaking it, they tried to remedy the problem by cleaning it thoroughly with the aid of video instructions, but they couldn’t get it to work.
At that point, they had no choice but to call Baratza’s customer service. They got an instant response from a highly knowledgeable agent who assisted them. They were able to get their grinder working again after the call and in their words, this is the best customer service they’ve “encountered in ages”.
Baratza also have a lot of good tutorials that cover all the topics and issues on cleaning, maintenance, and more that you might be interested in on their YouTube channel, so you won’t even need to place any calls if you run into any issues. Watch a video, fix it yourself. Easy!
Buyer 5 — “Better Than Expected”
Tex thought electric burr grinders were extremely noisy and produced so much static that would cause all of the grounds to fly and spread all over the counter thanks to all the negative reviews they’ve read about them, but they decided to take a chance on their first burr grinder and they’re satisfied with its performance. In their experience, it works well and has easy to use and understand features.
They talk about the noise level which is loud but not disturbing and some of the features they like, like the change in sound that happens when the grinding process is complete, which sort of serves as a notification to turn off the grinder. They also like the simple operation – turn on and turn off — and were pleased to see that the grounds remained in the container when they pulled it out instead of flying around.
The grind consistency is great and the machine remains in its place when it’s working. These are the rest of the pros mentioned by Tex in their comprehensive review.