Jun 07, 2023

Baratza Burr Grinder Reviewer 2023: The Must

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Before the pandemic, I would drink pretty much any coffee you put in front of me. I was never picky about bean quality or brew method. But when my partner and I found ourselves with many mornings stuck at home, our coffee habits changed. First, we got a French press to replace our cheap drip coffee maker. Then, it was a pour-over. And finally, an espresso machine.

The coffee accessory that stuck with us through it all? Our trusty Baratza Encore Burr coffee grinder. We got this beauty from an old roommate in college—and we’re still using it today. Here's my honest review of this must-have appliance.

Katie Bandurski/taste of home

First things first—what is a burr grinder? Well, in the simplest terms, it's a coffee grinder that forces your beans between two rough, ridged plates, resulting in a uniform grind every time. (The other common type of coffee grinder uses blades, similar to a blender. While typically more affordable, this grinder style yields less consistent results.)

The Baratza Burr grinder offers 40 grind settings so you can craft the perfect coarseness for every style of brewing. Whether you need find grounds for your espresso machine or chunky grounds for a French press, the Encore does it all. There's a reason it's our top coffee grinder pick!

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Katie Bandurski/taste of home

Anyone who loves coffee will tell you that whole beans are a better choice than pre-ground beans. They’re fresher, and thus, more flavorful. Plus, when you have a coffee grinder, whole beans give you the flexibility to choose exactly how to prepare your morning brew.

My partner and I have been using the Baratza Encore Burr coffee grinder since 2018. It's become a morning ritual to choose how we want to prepare our coffee for the day. Typically, we choose between French press, pour-over and espresso. (Although, when we’re in a rush, I stand by Cometeer coffee capsules, too.)

Adjusting the grind setting is easy—simply twist the hopper until the grind setting indicator aligns with the desired coarseness number. The smaller the number, the finer the grounds, and the larger the number, the coarser. So, to make a French press, aim for grounds that are a little on the chunky side. I typically set the Encore grinder to a 29 or 30 setting. For pour-over, grounds need to be fine, but not too fine. A setting of 16 or 17 does the trick. Lastly, the finest of them all, espresso grounds. The 5 or 6 setting works best for my machine.

Once I pick our brew method and set the grind setting, it's time to load the hopper with coffee beans. I like to grind directly into the grounds bin, so it's as simple as plugging in and switching the on/off switch. (Seriously, just one button!) Espresso drinkers can also use the "pulse" button to grind directly into their machine's portafilter basket. Once all of the beans have worked their way through, I simply turn off the grinder and get ready to brew!

All in all, the beauty of the Encore coffee grinder is its versatility. You can grind your beans as coarse or as fine as your brew method allows. Plus, it offers flexibility to try new methods and types to coffee to discover exactly how you like your morning cup.

The only con is that removing the ground coffee bin from the machine base can be a little bit messy. To minimize spillage, I like to give the base a few light thumps to ensure all of the grinds have worked their way through the burrs. I also put a paper towel beneath the base before I start grinding for easier cleanup.

Another selling point? Baratza grinders are easy to repair. You can order replacement parts directly from the brand to keep your grinder in tip-top shape, even after a few years of normal wear and tear. That's good news for the environment and your wallet.

Editor's Note: Due to the age of our coffee grinder, it looks a little different than the version currently on the market.

To clean the Baratza Encore, remove and hand-wash the grounds bin, hopper and hopper lid. Dry thoroughly. Then use a stiff brush to remove any buildup around the burrs. Find full cleaning instructions in the Encore's user manual. You can also use grinder cleaning tablets in between manual deep cleans.

I’m not the only one who has made the Encore grinder a staple in their kitchens. Over 14,000 Amazon reviewers give their accolades, earning the appliance an average of 4.4 out of five stars.

"I’ve been grinding beans for 15 years," shares verified purchaser, James L. "I finally bit the bullet and moved up to a conical burr grinder with this Baratza Encore. This thing is unbeatable in this price range."

"It's the best entry-level conical grinder for anyone that doesn't want something cheap or wants to spend a fortune on a device like this. And to say "entry-level" isn't even fair. There are coffee shops that use these grinders, from what I understand. This brand has been a staple in the coffee community for decades. It has a reputation for being the best in its class," writes five-star reviewer, Ronald Epstein.

After grinding beans by hand, Luke L. appreciates the Encore's speed. "It was a relief watching 30+ grams of coffee beans go into the hopper and get sucked down into the burrs and ground in less that a minute. The speed is reasonable, although anything beyond hand grinding would feel fast. The biggest thing I noticed was the consistency. I don't have experience with high-end coffee grinders, but to my novice eyes the grounds appeared to be very consistent and similar in size," he says.

If you like coffee, the Baratza Encore Burr coffee grinder can help perfect your at-home brew. As someone whose habits fall somewhere between "instant coffee drinker" and "professional barista," I love this grinder's versatility, longevity and quality. This gadget is by no means a necessity. But like many specialty appliances (looking at you, outdoor pizza ovens!), it does turn a standard routine into an experience.

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Pick up the Baratza Encore Burr coffee grinder from Amazon or Williams Sonoma for around $150. While it's one of the pricier coffee accessories you can buy, it's also the tool that will make the largest impact on your morning brew. No matter how you like your coffee, this machine consistently offers the perfect grind, every time.

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