When Baratza released their new Encore grinder, they made a point of talking about how the re-engineering of the burr set resulted in a lower cost burr grinder that could still go fine enough for traditional espresso machines. While the consistency isn’t quite as good as its Virtuoso, Preciso or Vario counterparts, it does do a fairly solid job grinding for espresso — as long as the 0-point is set accurately.
The first demo model we tested worked just fine from the factory and we were able to use it with the Rancilio Silvia without issue; however, subsequent models — and a few customer reports — led us down the path of re-calibration. In this video, Gail shows how to take apart, re-calibrate and then put back together the Encore, including a demonstration of the grind quality before and after the adjustment.
LCD screen lets you set grind (coarse to fine) volume (in cups and shots depending on fineness of grind) and dosage (weak to strong)
Timer or on/off switch
Timer and manual
Timer and manual setting
Time to grind double shot
Only with timer, not by weight/volume
Automatically adjusts with grind; from coarser (dose in cups) to fine (dose in shots)
Doser avail for +$10, otherwise chute only
Grind consistency (1-5 scale, 5=most consistent)
40 individual step settingsFinest setting: 3
Coarsest setting: 1
25 settingsFinest setting: 4
Coarsest setting: 2
55 settingsFinest setting: 5, like talc
Coarsest setting: 3
Shot performance (scale of 1-5, 5=strongest)
3: Overall, a solid shot, with the depth you’d expect from a fresh grind and proper dial-in.
4: A solid shot with great flavor and slightly more complex notes using the 2nd finest setting.
5: Shot has a great mouth feel, and you can taste more complexity and richness to the shot.
No frills, no fuss, easy to use, it’s a strong performer for espresso and other coffee applications. No electric panel makes trouble shooting a breeze as your grinder ages.
The lightest of the pack, this grinder is extremely versatile and a great value. It’s all about the features and accessories: portafilter holders, ground coffee canister, removable hopper to switch out beans.
Commercial quality for home use and it shows. Largest footprint of all grinders, a big commitment to your counter top, but with definite benefits in shot quality.
The Rocky is a literal heavyweight coming in at 18 pounds and a hundred dollar heftier price tag, but there’s no doubt that the commercial quality burrs make a difference when it comes to tasting the complexity of your shot. I love the Virtuoso’s ease of use and inherent versatility, so it’s often my go-to for testing espresso, pour overs and french press. But like an ostrich, I am drawn to shiny objects and I wish it had more stainless in the casing. The Smart Grinder fulfills this need, and weighing in under six pounds means it doesn’t need to be a permanent fixture on your countertop – but it could be because it’s great for households with multiple coffee drinkers with different bean preferences. What would you choose?
One of the darlings of both the home and commercial espresso communities, Baratza produces several different types of coffee grinders designed to suit pretty much any coffee need. With the majority of them clocking in at under $500, they provide excellent functionality for the price.
To break down the differences between their offerings, Gail lines them up and knocks them down! Okay, she doesn’t really knock them down … but she does show off their burr sets, compare functionality and demonstrates grind consistency on the Encore, Virtuoso, Preciso and Vario.
In the market for an espresso grinder but not sure if dropping an extra hundred bucks will benefit you? We asked Gail to compare the functionality, grind consistency and shot quality (using the Crossland CC1) of the Breville Smart Grinder and the Rancilio Rocky to find out.
Coffee grinder maintenance is essential. Period. End of story. Reasons for doing so include better tasting coffee and increased equipment longevity, but we generally prefer to lean on good ol’ peer pressure: Do you really want your friends and family to see you using a grinder encrusted with months of coffee residue? Really? We didn’t think so.
For the Baratza owners in the house, Gail has kindly walked us through the finer points of their care and feeding, including how to take them apart, tips on cleaning and then — most importantly! — how to get them back together again. Watch her walk us through the fundamentals.
Introducing Baratza’s newest entry-level grinder, the Encore! Featuring their Gear Box 2.0 upgrade — which will provide for greater strength and durability throughout the grinder’s life — it otherwise looks almost identical to their former entry-level Maestro series. But looks can be deceiving! While its predecessors worked only for espresso machines that featured pressurized baskets or portafilters, the Encore tested well even with one of the hardest to please ladies on the block: The Rancilio Silvia.
Watch as Gail takes us through features and functionality, shows off grind consistency and demonstrates extraction on the Silvia. This is a heckuva lot of grinder for a really great price!
In yet another grudge match (!!), Gail dialed in the new Baratza Virtuoso and the new Breville Smart Grinder for use with the Rocket Giotto, pulled several shots and then we did a side by side taste comparison.
Does either of them have the edge, taste-wise? Watch to find out.
For entry level espresso-grade grinders, the Baratza Virtuoso and the Breville Smart Grinder have a lot of features one might want to cuddle and caress (with the finger guards in place, of course!). At similar price points, how do their features and grind performance compare?
We asked Gail to take these out for a stroll and show them off for you. Watch her go through their features and functionality, then grind at three different settings (finest, medium, coarsest) to compare how the burrs practically perform.
Since our last look at Baratza’s offerings, they’ve added some new options and changed their line-up, so we asked Gail to provide us with an update.
Watch as she talks us through the different features of the Maestro Plus, Virtuoso, Preciso, Vario, Vario-W and the Esatto retrofit accessory. Then we demonstrate grind differences between the Maestro burrs, the Preciso burrs (used in the Virtuoso and the Preciso) and the Vario burrs (used in the Vario and Vario-W) to see how they compare at their finest and their coarsest.