Baratza Encore Coffee Grinder Review

baratza-encore-coffee-grinder

baratza-encore-coffee-grinder

Introduction

Baratza Encore is one of the best burr coffee grinders under $150 that produces consistent ground coffee from espresso to French Press. This is a perfect machine for those who are new to espresso making and don’t yet want to commit a substantial amount of money on an expensive grinder.

Although Baratza sounds “foreign” (from Arabic and Swahili) meaning a place locals are gathered to drink coffee, it’s headquartered in Bellevue, Washington. It was founded by Kyle Anderson and Kyra Kenney in 1999 and has since quickly become the most sought-after brand in coffee grinder space.

Table of Contents
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1. Introduction
2. Grinding
3. Hopper Size & Material
4. Controls
5. Dispensing
6. Housing Material
7. Additional Features
8. Clean & Maintenance
9. Included Accessories
10. Dimensions & Weight
11. Warranty
12. Pros & Cons
13. Consumer Reviews
14. Price
15. Summary

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Grinding

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The Encore is equipped with 32mm steel conical burrs made in Switzerland. The 160-watt motor is low revving with 450 RPM to spin the burrs without generating much friction and excessive heat. The grind works by having stationary upper burrs and rotating lower burrs into a cork-screw motion with the adjustment threads pulled either closer or further depending on the grind setting.

It is the slowest in grinding at a rate of 1 gram per second. So if you are making a double-shot espresso, it’d take you 15 seconds or so to grind 15 grams. If you have a dinner party, it might be better to grind enough coffee ahead of time so you don’t have to spend so much time in grinding away from entertaining your guests.

Hopper Size & Material

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The hopper can hold half a pound of coffee beans with a cone shape to allow coffee beans easily fall into the burrs. It’s made of ABS plastic with a brown tint to help block UV rays.

Controls

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The Baratza Encore has 40 settings from fine to coarse (low to high). Baratza has provided their recommendations for settings based on your brewing method. For example, from 1 to 14 for espresso, 16-28 for drip coffee and 29-40 for press. Granted there is still a wide range for each brewing method and it’s really up to you to fine-tune the dial to work with your espresso machine. Also other factors that might influence the grind setting are freshness of the beans, degree of roast such as light vs. dark, humidity and oil content in the beans.

To adjust the setting, all you need to do is to rotate the hopper in either clock or counter-clockwise direction. It’s a good practice not to run the grinder on empty.

Dispensing

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It’s built with a ground coffee container of 5 ounces but you can also dose the right amount into a portafilter basket directly by removing the ground coffee container. If grinding into the coffee container, you can turn the Switch On for grinding and Off when it’s done. But grinding into a filter basket, you can hold down the front pulse button until the appropriate amount is dispensed.

Housing Material

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The exterior housing is made of heavy plastic. As I said earlier, it’s tinted with a dark brown color.

Additional Features

The bean hopper is removable for easy swapping of coffee and cleaning.

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How to Clean

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Empty the beans from the hopper and do the same for the ground coffee container. Wash both in warm soapy water and dry them out with a cloth or air dry.

The upper burr is easily removed by pulling the silicone seal off the top ring burr and lifting it straight up from the grinder. Brush coffee residue with the provided brush and do the same for the lower burr.

Once every few weeks, run a deep cleaning cycle by using a cleaning tablet called Grindz in the hopper with the setting on 20. The purpose is to remove coffee grind, odors and coffee residue. Grind about 4 tablespoons of coffee and discard such.

The User Manual has all the details on how to remove the hopper, upper burr and deep cleaning as well as how to resemble the parts.

Included Accessories

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User Manual and cleaning brush

Power & Cord

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  • Motor Power (W): 160
  • Voltage/Frequency (V-Hz): 110/50/60

Dimensions & Weight

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  • Dimensions (W x D x H inches): 4.7 x 6.2 x 13.8
  • Weight (lbs): 7

Warranty

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One year limited warranty on parts and labor

Pros & Cons

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Pros

  • Very affordable burr grinder providing great value for the money
  • Grinds consistent coffee for all brewing methods with 40 grind settings
  • Small footprint that doesn’t require a lot of counter space
  • Idiot-proof to operate and maintain
  • Responsive and excellent customer service

Cons

  • No timer or automatic dosing mechanism
  • Doesn’t work well with oily beans
  • Reported poor packaging resulting in Missing-in-Action (MIA) upon delivery

Consumer Reviews

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4.0 out of 5.0

76% of the reviewers on Amazon gave it 4-5 star ratings based on the value for the money, consistent grind quality and the ability to brew great coffee. There were a few people who reported the unit dead on arrival due to poor packaging resulting in broken part and inoperable machine.

Price

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At the time of this review, it was sold on Amazon for under $130.

Summary of Baratza Encore Coffee Grinder

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If you’ve set your budget under $200 for a quality burr grinder, Baratza Encore is a very variable option. With 40 grind adjustments, you can experiment with your coffee brewing from the finest (Turkish Coffee) to the most coarse (French Press) and anything in between.

Granted this is a budget type of burr grinder that doesn’t offer all the bells and whistle. But on the other hand, it’s so easy to use with one switch and one button to push. Cleaning doesn’t take much tolls either. Baratza being a U.S. company has done such an excellent job in educating the masses about their products and is committed to your satisfaction.

If you are not totally convinced about the adage that a coffee grinder can make or break the quality in your cup, perhaps you should give a burr grinder a try and experience the difference first hand.

 

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