Baratza Encore Coffee Grinder Review 2022: Let’s Hear It Again for a Great Performer!

After working as a professional barista for many years, Arne Preuss founded Coffeeness.

Good coffee beans are the most important ingredient for great espresso or drip coffee. Still, even the best beans will turn into bad coffee if you butcher them in an unsuitable coffee grinder.

Baratza Encore Uebersicht mit Arne

Good coffee beans are the most important ingredient for great espresso or drip coffee. Still, even the best beans will turn into bad coffee if you butcher them in an unsuitable coffee grinder.

After lately having spent far too much time on super automatic espresso machines and their grinders, it’s time to take a look at the other side of the coffee coin, so to speak.

If you love pour over coffee, like to fire up the French Press or enjoy experimenting with your Aeropress, you simply can’t do without a decent coffee grinder.

An absolute classic in this respect is the Baratza Encore. It’s neither the most professional grinder on the market, nor is it a true all-rounder. Achieving a perfect espresso grind is not one of its strengths.

However, its price-performance ratio is still so outstanding that I absolutely had to update my Baratza Encore conical burr coffee grinder review to highlight its upgrades.

In this new version, you’ll learn how this machine fares in a head-to-head comparison with similar models, and what you need to keep in mind when using it. You’ll also find all the reasons why I think the Baratza Encore is one of the standouts in my 2022 coffee grinder guide.

The Classic for Demanding Beginners

Baratza Encore

The Best Coffee Grinder for Drip and Chemex

Minimal Static Charge

Easy To Clean

Easy To Use

Compact and Reliable

Consistent Grind

Not Suitable for Espresso

Quite Loud

Baratza Encore: First Impressions

When you go looking for a coffee grinder, there are three things you should keep in mind:

  1. For a good electric coffee grinder, you’re going to have to spend at least $100. Anything less than that is only adequate for medium-grind drip coffee, and even then you’ll have a hard time getting consistent results.
  2. The higher the price, the more likely it is the grinder will produce a suitably fine grind for espresso or stovetop. The number of grind levels is pretty irrelevant — it’s more a case of “you get what you pay for.”
  3. The lower the price, the more plastic is used — which can cause a buildup of static electricity.

In all three respects, the Baratza Encore has, for years, managed to find the perfect middle ground between price and performance. Although at $135.00, it’s close to the minimum I’d spend on a grinder. This is reflected in the range of functions.

Baratza Encore in Black or White

You can buy the Baratza Encore in either black or white. I’m partial to the black, but can imagine that some people would prefer white.

The grinder is “only” made of stainless steel and also “only” has conical burs. This makes the Encore more compact and less expensive. That said, you won’t be surprised to hear that achieving a super-fine grind for espresso will be rather difficult.

In addition, there are no features that could make dosing easier for you. You’ll just find an on/off switch on the plastic casing and a pulse button on the front. Grinding only happens when you hold down the button. It doesn’t stop automatically at a given weight or after a certain amount of time.

A closeup of the Baratza Encore's on/off switch.

Also, there’s no optional portafilter holder. I don’t want to sound negative, I just want to make it clear to you that this is a dedicated drip coffee grinder. The Baratza Encore gets everything done that needs to be done, as long as it’s above espresso in terms of fineness.

For a more in depth look at grind levels, be sure to check out my coffee grind size chart.

Baratza Encore Specifications

 Baratza Encore
ManufacturerBaratza
NameEncore
TypeElectric coffee grinder
Weight6.82 lbs
GrinderConical burrs
Grinding capacity0.8-1.1 gr/sec
Grind levels40
Dimensions6.3 x 4.7 x 13.8 in
Power240 watt
Voltage110 volt
Suitable forFrench press, AeroPress, Chemex, cold brew
Current price on Amazon$135.00

Baratza Encore and the Competition

When purchasing any coffee grinder it’s important to understand how it stacks up against the competition. Below, I’ll compare the Baratza Encore to similarly priced offerings.

Baratza Encore vs Virtuoso

Baratza Virtuoso vs Encore.

In my first Baratza Encore review, I mentioned the Baratza Virtuoso as an identical alternative but with more stainless steel. However, the Virtuoso is no longer available.

Why? Because no one wanted to pay the higher price for (allegedly) less static charge. At this point, I should mention that static buildup is surprisingly unproblematic with the Encore anyway.

The same logic applies to the Baratza Virtuoso+.

But what about all the other competition on Amazon? After all, the Encore is always being compared with the same set of grinders. Let’s have a look.

Baratza Encore vs Capresso Infinity Plus

Capresso Infinity Plus vs Baratza Encore.

Capresso is a Swiss company that just happens to be owned by our old friends, Jura Inc. The manufacturer has built a strong reputation for offering solid and very affordable home espresso machines, and the Capresso Infinity Plus Conical Burr Grinder fits right in with the budget vibe.

You’ll pay $99.00 for the Infinity Plus, but you’re not going to get a life-altering grinder. There are 16 grind settings in total, ranging from extra-fine to coarse. At the finer settings, you’ll experience quite a lot of blockage and static buildup. That said, you should get pretty convincing results if you’re grinding for Chemex or French press.

Baratza Encore vs Breville Smart Grinder Pro

Breville Smart Grinder Pro vs Baratza Encore.

I’m a big fan of Breville products. If you’ve read my guide to the best Breville espresso machines or my Precision Brewer review, you’ll know that I can get pretty excited about what the Australian manufacturer produces.

So, does the Breville Smart Grinder Pro deserve similar words of love? Well, at first glance you might think so. After all, this conical burr grinder looks the part, with its impressive LCD display, digital timer and 60 grind settings. It even comes with a pair of portafilter cradles and a cleaning brush.

In reality, though, this is still an entry-level coffee grinder, reflected by its $199.95 price tag. Sure, this is a reliable machine, but it’ll struggle to produce consistent results for espresso, which kind of makes the whole “espresso machine grinder” vibe irrelevant.

Baratza Encore vs OXO Brew Conical Burr Grinder

OXO conical burr coffee grinder vs Baratza Encore

Costing $99.95 on Amazon, the OXO Brew Conical Burr Grinder is an affordable machine that has quite a few things going for it.

There are 38 grind levels and a one-touch start timer that’ll keep your last setting. Plus, the OXO has a tinted bean hopper which protects your coffee beans from the harmful effects of UV radiation. I’m often surprised at how many manufacturers seem to forget about adding this feature to their grinders.

I’ll be reviewing this particular grinder very soon, so I’ll get to see firsthand whether reports of excess static buildup and unacceptable noise levels are to be believed.

Baratza Encore vs Solis Scala Compact

Solis Scala Plus

The Swiss company Solis is pushing harder and further into the consumer coffee market, and they have quite a few nice machines on their hands. The Solis Scala Compact coffee grinder sits somewhat outside of that category.

With its adjustable grind timer and aroma-preserving low speed motor, the Scala Compact offers more start-up help than the Baratza Encore. It’s even almost suitable for espresso at one of 14 grind levels. Still, the results are only moderately convincing at coarser settings.

That said, it costs $89.00 (what did I tell you!) and is at least better than no coffee grinder.

If we wanted to make an upward comparison in this Baratza Encore review, there would be nothing for quite a while, both in terms of price and functionality. That is, until we arrive at my favorite $599.95 Baratza SetteWi or the mega-classic $479.00 Eureka Mignon Silenzio.

Both are proven espresso specialists — but they hit the mark with consistent coarser grind results as well.

Adjusting the Grinder: Different Points of View

Arne showing examples of the Encore Baratza grind settings.

In the Baratza Encore manual, you’ll find optimal grind setting recommendations for a variety of preparation methods, including espresso, AeroPress, Chemex and French press.

Aside from the fact that all beans are different and any given preparation method may frequently require a new grind, the recommendations in the Baratza instruction manual differ greatly from my findings.

My recommendations for Baratza Encore grind settings aren’t set in stone, either. However, they do come closer to helping achieve the optimal extraction:

Encore Recommended Grind SettingsEspressoAeroPressCoffee MakerPour Over ChemexFrench Press
Baratza2-68-1113-1413-1420-2130-32
Coffeeness6 or higher1415161822-24

To adjust the grind, turn the bean hopper and listen for the clicking sounds. This works easiest directly at the base, or with a finger on the grind scale.

Baratza Encore Settings

As with all electric grinders, you should only adjust the Baratza conical burr grinder while it is running. Even if most grinder manufacturers say otherwise. You’ll just have to trust me on this one.

Unlike super automatic grinders, you can see the changes in the grind very quickly, which means you won’t waste a bunch of coffee.

Similar to super automatic grinders, the Baratza’s conical burrs are quite loud. Seeing as they’re installed almost directly on the surface, you’ll have no problem hearing them in action. Grinding coffee at four in the morning? If you live alone on a desert island, it’ll be fine. Otherwise, your neighbors might start giving you dirty looks.

Baratza Encore Operation

One nice feature of this coffee grinder is the two-way on/off switch. It doesn’t matter which way you turn it. So you don’t have to worry about somehow using it incorrectly.

Additionally, the grinder has a pulse button on the front. This is suitable either for grinding a little extra or for low-volume grinding into a portafilter.

A closeup of the Baratza Encore's Pulse Button.

However, as I already mentioned, this isn’t a dedicated espresso grinder. So you’ll need to position your portafilter well below the grind outlet, hold it steady and press the pulse button until it’s full.

This is tricky and, of course, doesn’t work without some amount of spillage. Still, with a little practice, it can be done.

For larger volumes of ground coffee — when you’re using a coffee maker, for example —  you simply use the included container. That way you won’t make a mess.

The grounds container creates almost no static charge, so you’ll get practically all the coffee you’ve ground.

If you also use a coffee scale, you’ll get the right amount of coffee — even with the Encore’s non-existent dosing aids — without wasting half of it along the way.

As soon as you know how long the Encore takes to grind X amount of coffee, you may even forget the scale altogether.

Using the Baratza Encore: A Few Tips

You’ll only find the correct Baratza Encore grinder settings through a little trial and error. However, as always, there are a few practical tips that will get you in the right neighborhood from the start. That way, you won’t waste too many of your good coffee beans.

Apropos: For adjusting, you should always keep a separate batch of “test beans” handy. Something cheaper and less tasty will work, as long as it has a similar roast profile to the good stuff. Don’t go too cheap and corporate, though. Otherwise, the unholy market power of the mass-produced coffee industry will never be stopped.

Baratza Encore for French Press

Pouring French press coffee.

While the perfect coffee grind for French Press is always on the coarser end of the spectrum, following Baratza’s instructions will make your full immersion coffee too bland and boring.

I believe that Italians tend to treat this preparation method with some disdain. That or they underestimate their skills. As it happens, the Baratza Encore coffee grinder is ideal for the French Press — as long as you set the grind to a much finer-than-recommended setting.

In this way, the grind will be super-consistent, and the water can perfectly extract the many nuances from your beans.

Baratza Encore for AeroPress

Grind coffee using Baratza Encore for Aeropress.

The AeroPress is tailor-made for experimentation. That’s why it’s no big deal that my grind setting differs from Baratza’s suggestion.

Depending on the contact time with the water, the volume of ground coffee and the method (inverted or normal), you’ll always tease new facets from your favorite beans.

My general AeroPress range is the first level where the Encore coffee grinder is really convincing. From here on up, the grinder can work cleanly and efficiently, and the grind is exact after setting.

Baratza Encore for Pour Over

Use the Baratza Encore conical burr coffee grinder for pour over.

The pour over is my litmus test for any coffee grinder. If it’s no good for that, you don’t need to buy it. I do set the grinder a touch coarser than the manufacturer’s recommended level, but again, that’s a bean issue. I can say with confidence that the Baratza Encore plays in the pour over A-league.

Baratza Encore for a Coffee Maker

Ground coffee in the Moccamaster coffee maker's permanent filter.

I know that pairing a “simple” coffee maker with a decent coffee grinder may sound strange.

But this combination is a game-changer when it comes to how the coffee tastes. It’s no wonder the Baratza Encore is also available bundled with the fabulous Technivorm Moccamaster.

The differences in terms of perfect grind vary depending on the machine. It all comes down to the way the coffee maker distributes water over the ground coffee, what temperature it reaches, etc.

I recommend starting with a medium grind, then adjusting up or down in small increments, depending on how the coffee tastes.

Baratza Encore for Espresso

Don't use the Baratza Encore for espresso.

Despite my mistrust of the Encore as an espresso grinder, there’s nothing to say you can’t give it a shot (pun very much intended). However, you’ll have to live with the fact that the finest grind will be too coarse and a bit too irregular. In short, you’ll have a hard time getting espresso that isn’t under-extracted..

In addition, a grinder unsuitable for espresso quickly tends to jam during the grinding process. This happens because the cones get pushed too close together at the finest settings. 

The Encore definitely has this problem. Only from level 6 and up does the grinding run smoothly, with the grounds falling evenly into the portafilter.

How To Clean the Baratza Encore

I’ve heard through the grapevine that some of you have been using your coffee grinder for years without cleaning it. Eew!

True, there’s no water in a grinder, so you don’t run the risk of finding moldy coffee in there. However, coffee beans have plenty of oils and fats. And they go rancid. So, regular cleaning is just as important here as it is in a super automatic grinder.

What “regular cleaning” means in terms of frequency depends on the intensity of use. Once a month is probably a good starting point. To clean an electric grinder, you have two options:

  1. Clean with special cleaning tablets
  2. Disassemble, vacuum out and brush off individual parts

Both options have their fans, but I tend to prefer the second method. The grinder consists of two “ring burrs” the upper of which is easy to remove.

First, remove the bean hopper, vacuum up the excess coffee beans and then take care of the grinder. You don’t need a screwdriver for this.

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Once you have the upper ring burr in hand, you can either brush it dry or rinse it if needed. The lower ring burr should be vacuumed again and brushed dry.

Be careful: the ring burr has sharp edges. After cleaning, make sure you replace it precisely and in the correct position. In addition, you’ll need to readjust the grinder settings after cleaning.

Baratza Encore Coffee Grinder: The Best in Its Class?

Even after years and many alternatives, I still think the Baratza Encore is one of the best coffee grinders in the sensible entry-level bracket. As long as you want to prepare and grind everything except espresso, that is. It certainly won’t break the bank.

The Classic for Demanding Beginners

Baratza Encore

The Best Coffee Grinder for Drip and Chemex

Minimal Static Charge

Easy To Clean

Easy To Use

Compact and Reliable

Consistent Grind

Not Suitable for Espresso

Quite Loud

Of course, $135.00 is no small amount. Especially since there are plenty of more affordable alternatives in my 2022 coffee grinder guide. Still, if you’re serious about your coffee, it just doesn’t make sense to skimp on a grinder.

You’ve already left loads of comments about the Baratza Encore. I’d love to read more — especially with your tips for the best grind for certain coffee beans and preparation methods!

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