Baratza Encore ESP Review: Better Than the Original?

Hi! My name is Arne. Having spent years working as a barista I'm now on a mission to bring more good coffee to the people. To that end, my team and I provide you with a broad knowledge base on the subject of coffee.

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In my Baratza Encore ESP review I'll discuss a grinder that's got hearts aflutter in all the coffee-loving corners of the Internet.

In my Baratza Encore ESP review I’ll discuss a grinder that’s got hearts aflutter in all the coffee-loving corners of the Internet.

What’s the big deal? Well, if you’ve checked out my burr coffee grinder guide you’ll know how universally adored the original Baratza Encore is. And this new model promises to take things to the next level, performance-wise.

Even better, the Seattle-based manufacturer has kept the Baratza Encore ESP on the affordable end of the spectrum, which is always a good thing.

So, having tested out the Encore ESP for you, did it win my heart in the same way as its predecessor? All will be revealed in my Baratza Encore ESP review!

Affordable and Effective

Baratza Encore ESP

A Worthy Succesor to the Encore

Compact footprint

Very affordable

Suitable for all preparation methods

Durable construction

Confusing dosing system

Rather loud

Baratza Encore ESP Review Overview

Traditionally, coffee grinder manufacturers have frequently advertised their entry-level models as being capable of grinding for all brewing methods, including espresso and filter coffee. Baratza was certainly guilty of that with the original Encore, as was KitchenAid when they released their latest model.

In reality, though, that’s almost always been a load of balderdash. You previously had to spend a whole lot more than the Baratza Encore ESP’s $199.93 asking price to get such a high level of versatility.

However, a growing number of affordable grinders appears to be changing all that, with the Fellow Opus being the most high-profile example.

Let’s face it, the Baratza Encore ESP grinder looks almost identical to its predecessor. There’s the same plastic housing and 8-ounce (227-gram) bean hopper, as well as very familiar controls and 40 grind adjustment settings. However, look a little closer and there are some very exciting changes that set this model apart.

For starters, the stainless steel 40 mm M2 conical burrs are sharper and more precise. What’s more, there’s a portafilter dosing cup with a 58mm adaptor, which makes transferring grounds into your portafilter much easier.

But the biggest and most significant improvement is the updated grind adjustment system. Sure, there are still 40 grind settings – just like the original Encore – but the first 20 settings have been calibrated for espresso grinding. What they’ve done here is super cool and I’ll discuss it in more detail later in this Baratza Encore ESP review. Suffice to say, I was very impressed by the results.

Listen, the Baratza Encore ESP is far from perfect, especially in terms of its design and operation. So, if you already own the Baratza Encore and you’re happy with it, you can stop reading. However, those looking for an affordable espresso grinder to pair with a home espresso machine should definitely keep going!

Baratza Encore ESP Features

Let’s continue this Baratza Encore ESP by taking a closer look at its most notable features.

Size and Design

As I already mentioned, on first inspection the Encore ESP is almost indistinguishable from its predecessor. The grinder has a fairly compact footprint, and features a streamlined, modern design that’s pleasing to the eye.

Of course, there’s an abundance of plastic in the grinder’s construction, but that’s to be expected at this price point. Still, during my testing I did notice that Baratza has made significant improvements in terms of dead space and static charge. Plus, the grind adjustment collar is metal, giving the grinder a more substantial feel.

Incidentally, the Encore ESP I tested was the standard-issue black version. However, it is available in white if you’d prefer something a little brighter.

Bean Hopper

The Baratza Encore ESP has a plastic bean hopper up top that’ll hold 8 ounces (227 grams) of coffee beans. Removing the hopper for cleaning is a piece of cake, and I also like that it’s UV-tinted.

Although that’ll protect your coffee beans from the harmful effects of sunlight, I still wouldn’t recommend leaving coffee in there for extended periods. Consider getting hold of a coffee storage container and just adding beans to the hopper as needed.

Stainless Steel Conical Burrs

Now we’re getting to the good stuff! Baratza’s new M2 burr set is noticeably better than the M3 burrs installed in the original Encore. These precision stainless steel conical burrs have been specially engineered with espresso preparation in mind.

During my testing I was pretty darn impressed by the consistency of my grind at the finer end of the spectrum.

Speaking of the finer settings, the first 20 are labeled for espresso and have been calibrated differently from the next 20. I have to say that what Baratza has done here is very clever – in the espresso grind size range, each adjustment moves the burrs by just 9 microns, while the adjustments increase to 45-micron steps above grind setting 20.

This innovative adjustment system means Baratza can legitimately label this as a grinder that’s suitable for all preparation methods. Plus, I found that the Encore ESP was faster than the Encore and kept heat buildup to minimum. 

User Interface

In terms of a user interface, the Baratza Encore ESP offers two options: an on/off lever on the side of the grinder and a pulse button on the front. To be honest, I would have liked to see a timer function at the very least. Still, I guess the Baratza’s controls work easily and efficiently.

Dosing

From my experience using the thing, the main drawback to this burr coffee grinder is its awkward dosing setup. The larger grounds bin is identical to that supplied with the original Encore, and it’s perfectly suitable if you’re grinding for pour-over or a drip coffee maker.

Still, you’re going to want to weigh your beans beforehand seeing as you can’t fit a coffee scale underneath.

As for the espresso dosing cup, it holds 24 grams, which is too much for even a double shot. Again, you’re going to need to weigh your beans beforehand to achieve any kind of consistency.

Which leads me to wonder why this grinder even has such a large bean hopper, especially seeing as there isn’t even a timer function on board. I mean, if the hopper is full, there’s no way to accurately grind any given amount of coffee.

Fortunately, there’s a workaround: purchase a separate single dose hopper. I could see this being a huge advantage for espresso, especially as the built-in bellows force your entire dose through the grinder.

How to Use the Baratza Encore ESP

As you might have guessed, operating the Baratza Encore ESP is as easy as it gets. Once you’ve rinsed and dried the bean hopper, grounds bin and dosing cup, plug the grinder in and you’re ready to go.

Of course, I should mention that you should only make grind adjustments when the grinder is running. Otherwise you could cause some serious damage to the burrs.

If you’re grinding into the portafilter dosing cup, you’ll need the additional adapter for a 58mm portafilter. Otherwise, remove the adapter before dosing.

You have two options for operating the Baratza Encore ESP:

  1. Use the on/off lever and let it run

  2. Use the pulse button for small, well-dosed grinding strokes

The first method is ideal for grinding larger amounts, the second for topping off. I also like to use the pulse button to expel coffee residues from the grinder when I’m changing beans.

As I already mentioned, you’ll need to weigh your coffee beans beforehand. Oh, and don’t expect the Encore ESP to stop grinding once you’ve hit the on/off switch. It’ll just keep going and going!

My Observations

I often spend time on Reddit when I want to read honest opinions about coffee equipment. In my experience, the community is very honest and loves to discuss everything in meticulous detail. Just like me!

When it comes to the question of whether the ESP is more suitable for espresso than the Encore, views tend to differ. Many commentators are of the opinion that thanks to the updated adjustment system, it works like a charm. For others, the results are too inconsistent.

Personally, I maintain that the biggest problem lies in the Baratza ESP’s construction. Especially when compared with the Breville Smart Grinder Pro.

In theory, the Breville Smart Grinder Pro is also designed for all types of preparation. Sure, it has a few more adjustment settings than the Baratza Encore ESP, but it’s in the same ballpark performance-wise. Plus, at $199.95, it costs almost exactly the same. However, the Breville’s design is much more portafilter-friendly.

The Smart Grinder Pro comes with portafilter cradles that attach magnetically, as well as a traditional grounds bin. More importantly, there’s a direct contact switch here, which you activate by inserting the portafilter.

Finally, the Breville has a finely adjustable timer, which makes dosing that much easier. In other words, it’s basically the exact counter-design to the Baratza Encore ESP.

If you already know the Baratza Encore, you’ll immediately notice that the new ESP runs much quieter and faster. This, in turn, reinforces the impression that the materials and the construction have been significantly improved.

Unfortunately, I didn’t measure the original Encore’s sound levels. Still, during my Baratza Encore ESP review the grinder registered a maximum of 80.5 on my phone’s decibel meter app. That’s louder than any super automatic espresso machine grinder. Still, for stainless steel conical burrs in plastic housing at an entry-level price, it’s completely acceptable.

Baratza Encore ESP Cleaning

I don’t actually know what ESP stands for, but it’s probably something to do with espresso. Still, before embarking on my Baratza Encore ESP review, I had the idea that it could have something to do with static charge and ease of cleaning. Either way, improvements have been made in that regard.

The new Baratza Encore ESP is still made of plenty of plastic that statically charges and attracts coffee grounds.

But overall, this attraction has become significantly less pronounced than in its predecessor. The dead space – the section of the dispensing chute in which coffee can collect – has also been reduced. So, Baratza not only promised that, but obviously also delivered!

Incidentally, cleaning the burrs is a cinch thanks to a sweet quick release system. Plus, Baratza throws in a cleaning brush for keeping the burrs free of stubborn buildup.

I’ve sometimes experienced a crisis with cheaper grinders after cleaning, when the conical burrs no longer seemed to fit together properly. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case here.

By the way, nothing is officially allowed in the dishwasher. And I would stick to that. Instead, rinse removable parts such as the bean container and grounds bin by hand. Oh, and make sure everything is bone dry before using it again!

Baratza Encore ESP Specifications

Barata Encore ESP
ManufacturerBaratza
NameEncore ESP
TypeElectric coffee grinder
GrinderStainless steel conical burrs
Grind levels40
Power70 watt
Voltage110 volt
Weight7.0 lb / 3.2 kg
Dimensions13.8 x 4.7 x 6.3 in / 35.1 x 12.0 x 16.0 cm
Suitable forEspresso, moka pot, AeroPress, pour over, drip machines
AccessoriesUser manual, grounds container with lid, dosing cup, cleaning brush
Current price on Amazon$199.93

Baratza Encore ESP vs Fellow Opus

I mentioned the Fellow Opus at the start of this Baratza Encore ESP review, so I figured I’d circle back and see how the two coffee grinders compare.

Costing $195.00, the Fellow Opus is almost identical to the Baratza in terms of price. Plus, like the Encore ESP it was touted as being an all-round grinder for everything from espresso to French press and cold brew.

As you’d expect from Fellow, the Opus is a sleek and stylish beauty, although plenty of plastic was used to keep costs down. Still, I was mighty impressed by the grind consistency during my Fellow Opus testing, and found it to be as espresso-capable as I’d hoped.

One advantage of the Opus is its single dose hopper. Plus, the hopper lid doubles as a cool volumetric doser. In that regard, the Fellow beats the Baratza, hands down.

However, Fellow’s complicated method for making micro-adjustments via an inner fine adjustment ring leaves a lot to be desired. Sure, it works great, but it’s easy to get lost.

Ultimately, both the Fellow Opus and Baratza Encore ESP are very affordable, and perform at surprisingly high levels. There are pros and cons to each grinder, but I’d say the Opus has a slight edge in terms of design and functionality.

See Also: Fellow Opus Review 2024

Baratza Encore ESP vs Fellow Opus Comparison Chart

Barata Encore ESPFellow Opus Grinder
ManufacturerBaratzaFellow
NameEncore ESPOpus Conical Burr Grinder
TypeElectric coffee grinderElectric coffee grinder
GrinderStainless steel conical burrs40 mm stainless steel conical burrs
Grind levels4041+
Power70 watt140 watt
Voltage110 volt120 volt
Weight7.0 lb / 3.2 kg4.0 lb / 1.8 kg
Dimensions13.8 x 4.7 x 6.3 in / 35.1 x 12.0 x 16.0 cm10.6 x 5.1 x 8.3 in / 27.0 x 13.0 x 21.0 cm
Suitable forEspresso, moka pot, AeroPress, pour over, drip machinesAll brewing methods
AccessoriesUser manual, grounds container with lid, dosing cup, cleaning brushUser manual, catch cup, cleaning brush, portafilter dosing funnel
Current price on Amazon$199.93$195.00

Verdict: Baratza Encore ESP

Affordable and Effective

Baratza Encore ESP

A Worthy Succesor to the Encore

Compact footprint

Very affordable

Suitable for all preparation methods

Durable construction

Confusing dosing system

Rather loud

Having reached the end of my Baratza Encore ESP review, one question still remains: is it worth upgrading from the original? I guess that’s a question only you can answer.

Still, for those of you looking for your first entry-level coffee grinder, I can definitely recommend the Encore ESP. And if the new ESP version works as reliably as my old one for as long, I am even more convinced.

Ultimately, all the updates have been successful and the manufacturer largely adheres to what it promised us. Whether you can and want to use this grinder for espresso may end up being a question of how willing you are to overlook its shortcomings.

Have any of you bought the Baratza Encore ESP? How do you like it? I look forward to reading your comments!

Your coffee expert
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Arne Preuss

Hi! My name is Arne. Having spent years working as a barista I'm now on a mission to bring more good coffee to the people. To that end, my team and I provide you with a broad knowledge base on the subject of coffee.

More about Arne Preuss

Hi! My name is Arne. Having spent years working as a barista I'm now on a mission to bring more good coffee to the people. To that end, my team and I provide you with a broad knowledge base on the subject of coffee.

More about Arne Preuss

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