Want to make James Hoffman proud? Go ahead, look him up. Of course you do. And for that reason alone — if not for the exponentially better coffee — you should be grinding your own beans at home. The easiest way to make that happen? The Baratza Encore Coffee Grinder.
Most of us started our coffee journeys with a cheap, chopper style grinder like the Bodum BISTRO that’s better served turning whole spices into a fine powder. Or perhaps we used a hand crank like the JavaPresse; it’s a reliable, old-school option that allows you to dial in the grind a little easier and travels well.
While these methods work, they’re mostly inconsistent. You’ll either be grinding for the entire time it takes to boil water, or you’ll turn your French press dreams into a sludgy, bitter mess.
That’s why we recommend the Baratza Encore. It’s reliable, easy to use, and — for the money — the best entry-level coffee grinder you can buy.
What Is The Baratza Encore Coffee Grinder?
Baratza is an Arabic and Swahili term that translates roughly to “a place where people get together to enjoy our beloved brew.” The company was founded in Bellevue, Washington, by Kyle Anderson and Kyra Kennedy, who made supporting the burgeoning Third Wave Coffee Movement their number one goal.
They stick to what they know only producing grinders for home and commercial use and for whom they call the “Prosumer”. The company designs their machines in the Pacific Northwest, builds in Taiwan, and sources burrs from Europe. Never satisfied, Baratza is always looking for ways to innovate and improve their products as well as the customer experience.
One of the company’s best-selling products is the Baratza Encore, an entry-level bean grinder that provides near-professional quality grinding to the residential consumer. We’ve tested quite a few grinders in our time, but the Baratza Encore is continually our favorite.
The Review: Baratza Encore Coffee Grinder
Is it extravagant to spend $130 clams on a coffee grinder? Hardly. My Baratza Encore is a welcome sight every morning. I even get excited going to bed, knowing I get to see my buddy Luigi (yes, I named a coffee grinder) in action the next day.
The Encore is a workhorse. It’s an entry level model not too different from the machine you’ll see the barista using at your favorite coffee spot, just smaller and much less expensive.
This mighty little machine is easy to operate and only has a few moving parts. It’s sharp conical burrs do all the grinding work with ease, allowing you to choose from coarse for cold brew to extremely fine grounds for espresso.
These precise and consistent settings are easily changed with a twist of the hopper, which rotates on a scale of 0 to 40. Flip the side switch or hold down the button on the front and the hopper gently feeds the beans into the burrs.
Cue one of the best smells in the world.
What Grind Settings Should I Use?
Finding the right grind setting changes with every bag. But this is where exploration, artistry, and flavor meet.
For example, I brew with the Hario V60 and tend to grind my beans in the 12-18 range. There’s no set number but for a pourover like the Hario V60 or the Chemex, you want to grind as fine as possible. This brings out subtle peachy notes in a naturally processed, tea-like cup, but it also boosts that caramel flavor in a bosky dark roast.
That being said, it’s a fine line to walk, as you’ll notice the grounds are not coarse enough if those delicious tasting notes are overshadowed by bitterness. But experimentation is half the fun of making coffee at home!
Caring For Your Baratza Encore Coffee Grinder
Easy to take apart and clean, there’s no excuse to not keep the Encore in tip top shape. And if you’re rough with the machine, Baratza has replacement parts, a friendly knowledgeable support department, and troubleshooting guides that will get you back on your grind. Just visit the “Don’t Dump It – Fix It” section on their website.
Zero planned obsolescence here.
You can also get under the hood of your Encore and do a little hot rodding and level up your burrs to the same as Baratza’s higher end model, Virtuoso+, for under $60 rather than its $249 price tag. If you decide to get really serious, Baratza also offers a larger hopper and a scale attachment.
The Bottom Line On The Baratza Encore Coffee Grinder
Should you buy the Baratza Encore? Big 10-4, buddy. This is a kitchen appliance that doesn’t collect dust. I use mine up to three times a day, which I can’t say for either my Vitamix or huge stand mixer.
Conveniently, the Baratza Encore is so well loved that you can find it almost anywhere that sells coffee or kitchen equipment. I found mine at Crate & Barrel. However, during these new and wild times, I’ve seen many small roasters offering it for sale. These are the folks slinging fire beans because they want you to have the best experience possible with their product; if you don’t trust me, you can at least trust them. You can also find the Baratza Encore for a great price on Amazon.
The Baratza Encore is essential for your at home coffee arsenal. Upgrade your coffee game and pick one up today.
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