07 Mar Review of the Conical Burr Baratza Encore Coffee Grinder
We were searching for a small, good quality, entry level grinder for manual infusion methods, and that’s why we chose the Baratza Encore. Of all grinders under 200$ currently available on the market, it was the clear winner in terms of grind quality and durability. Read below the reasons that motivated this choice.
Medium to coarse grinds produced by the 40 mm Etzinger conical steel burrs are excellent. Distribution of fines is great, whether on a medium grind for a Hario V60 or a coarse grind for French press.
We tested the grinder on a medium grind for a Hario V60, with medium roasted grains from Kenya. We ground 21 g of coffee in approximately 20 seconds, then did our standard Hario V60 infusion method. We found the result very balanced and full, with flowery notes and a taste of caramel reminiscent of Tootsie Rolls. A real pleasure to drink!
Then, we tested a coarse grind in a French press. We ground 75 g of the same grains in approximately 60 seconds, then did our standard French press infusion method. A very different result this time, still very interesting, with flavours of raw cane sugar, a bit more acidity, bitterness and body, and notes of fresh figs. Also very pleasant to drink.
All in all, we were very impressed with the medium and coarse grind quality of the Baratza Encore grinder. We also tested it for espresso but, unfortunately, the adjustment steps are too wide to obtain a satisfactory result. The Baratza Sette 270 is a much better option.
Ease of use
There’s nothing simpler than using the Baratza Encore. You adjust the grind by rotating the coffee hopper on itself. The larger the number, the coarser the grind, and the smaller, the finer. You also have to make sure the grinder is grinding beans when you do the adjustment, or it’ll be more difficult as there will be grounds blocking the mechanism. After doing the adjustment, you need to grind some coffee to make sure you get a stable grind, that doesn’t contain another size of grind from a previous setting.
Then, to grind the coffee, you press on the quick grind button on the front, or use the rotating toggle switch on the side. The coffee grounds bin can contain approximately 150 g of coffee, but it’s better to grind only what you need on the spot to preserve freshness.
Quality of construction
The Baratza Encore is an entry level grinder, with a fully plastic chassis. Even though it’s very well assembled, the chassis doesn’t block sound from emanating from the grinder. We can’t say the Encore is a silent grinder, but the sound itself is fairly low pitched and not too annoying.
It’s also great that some critical parts like the adjustment ring are made from fiberglass reinforced plastic, improving the durability of the adjustment mechanism. The adjustment ring is also protected by a silicone seal, keeping the adjustment mechanism cleaner over time.
In the eventuality that something breaks on the grinder, it’s very simple to find replacement parts, something that can be difficult on other grinder brands. For the DIYers, Baratza grinders are designed to be easily repairable. Those are company values that are becoming rarer in this era of purchase-throw away.
How to maintain your Baratza Encore
It’s fairly simple to maintain the Baratza Encore. Approximately once per month, you have to clean the grinder burrs. Even though it’s easier and faster to use cleaning tablets (such as Grindz), it’s better to clean the burrs with a stiff brush.
Start by unplugging the grinder and removing the coffee beans from the hopper. To get to the burrs, rotate the hopper counterclockwise until it stops, and lift it straight up. Remove the silicone seal, and lift the outer burr straight up to remove it. Clean the removed outer burr with a stiff brush. Then, without removing it, clean the center burr with a stiff brush. You can then use compressed air or a soft paintbrush to remove the remaining grinds in the burr chamber. Never use water to wash the burrs. Then, reinstallation is the inverse of removal. Make sure to align the red tab on the outer burr to the indentation on the adjustment ring. It’s important to seat the outer burr firmly on the adjustment ring. Then, put the hopper back on and grind some beans. Voila! Your grinder is now in tip top shape.
The Baratza Encore is a great purchase for someone that’s just starting out in the world of coffee and that wants to discover all the subtleties of manual infusion methods on the market. Whether you’re more into Aeropress, Hario V60, Chemex, French press, or any other method on the market, you’ll be impressed by what you’ll be able to achieve with the Baratza Encore grinder.
However, if you were looking for a grinder for espresso, you might be a bit disappointed in this grinder, especially if you use it in a non-pressurized portafilter. In this case, we would strongly recommend going for a Baratza Sette 270 or a Rocket Fausto.