Baratza Encore wearing out, needing a new grinder - Page 2

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.

#11: Post by Nate42 »

Personally I despise the Encore, I co-owned one with some people at work once and I hated every moment of it. :D Once most of the people in the group that bought it together had left the company and it was down to me and another guy, I just gave it to him. The virtuoso (which I still own, sort of, in the form of a preciso which has the same burr) is a surprisingly large step up. Not that there aren't other options, but if you liked the encore you will like the virtuoso even more.

Another thing to consider, if you are happy with the encore: baratza sells a range of replacement parts and is pretty helpful in talking people through repairs. You can probably get it in working order for a lot less money than a new grinder. But if it was me, I would be tempted to upgrade too, just throwing it out there.

wormraper (original poster)

#12: Post by wormraper (original poster) replying to Nate42 »

I have been VERY pleased with my encore over the years (I'm a budget coffee snob, I must admit, I can't afford a lot of the higher end gear that I see out there, but I do my very best with what I have) so good to know that the Virtuoso is a solid step up. for Aero and FP I've been very happy, but with pourovers I struggle with consistency and part of it is technique (of course) and part is definitely fines production. So again, good to know that the Virtuoso isn't a "barely noticeable upgrade" to the Encore

wormraper (original poster)

#13: Post by wormraper (original poster) »

mikelipino wrote:Having just done a recondition of an Encore with M2 burrs (effectively making it a Virtuoso without a timer), it can certainly hold it's own in the mid tier range. Compared against the grinders I have (on par with df64 and 1zPresso JX Pro, better than Timemore Slim and Capresso Inifinity) I get comparably good in cup quality, and the metrics look about the same (drawdown time, bed cleanliness - the furthest I can test without a TDS meter) for V60 and Moccamaster. Especially since you already have an Encore body, I'd agree with above and that it's the biggest bang for your buck if your primary goal is in cup quality.

An Ode with stock burrs gets you around df64 level drip (I've never tried it, but JH compared them), but will give you less range than the Encore. And SSP will probably put you over budget with tax+SH. A Commandante would be an interesting choice, especially if you could squeeze both it and the M2 burr / motor upgrade under $500, but might be too slow if you often grind larger doses of beans.
the commandante is actually something I've been eying, but my only reservation is that my wife uses my encore with me, and is NOT a fan of hand grinders. setting it to a dialed in setting, weighing beans, then flipping a switch is more her deal, so I didn't want to get a Commandante and not have a GOOD electric grinder for her to use too. we both do 20 gram doses 2x a day (each) so the grinder would get a 4x a day turn use cycle. I'm the only one who makes pourovers though, so the idea of a Virtuoso AND a commandante for under $500 is a VERY appealing idea. My only thing was wondering if the Virtuoso+ was that big of a difference for drip from the Vario, and whether I'd be better off ponying up the dough for ONE do all machine.

Again, I know the Encore isn't some super duper high end machine but it's done me VERY well for my tastes, and with it on it's way out the door I was just trying to see if I could upgrade my grind level a bit with the new one since I was going to be spending money anyways without blowing the budget. $500 was kind of the max I could justify for the hobby, with $350 being what I WISH I could top off at, but I do know quality means money many times and while I don't try and compete head to head with people spending thousands of dollars for a grinder, I do want to make sure I get the best I can afford if you know what I mean.


#14: Post by Pressino »

I have a "stock" Encore without any burr upgrades. I use it solely for non-espresso brewing and am very happy with it...except for its NOISE. You seem to have been very happy with yours for several years of hard use, so the question is do you really need a grinder "upgrade? You could go for an Ode, which would probably be the least expensive upgrade (excluding those $200 +/- Chinese grinders all over eBay)...but it uses flat not conical burrs, which you may or may not like as much as the conical grinds from your Encore.

I get that you are not into espresso, but adventurously extending your brewed coffee making experience can be fun and rewarding. You may find that you were complacently in a sort of rut for the past 7 years and changing your grinder will get you out into a brave new world of filter brewed coffee.

If not, nothing wrong with spending about $135 for a new Encore, since you already know it works for you!


#15: Post by sethde »

For your budget, you could refurbish the Encore with Baratza's amazing support (upgrading the burr in the process) and get something like Q2 seven core or Commandante for those special coffees or when you have a bit more time.

wormraper (original poster)

#16: Post by wormraper (original poster) replying to sethde »

the more I listen, the more that seems like a logical choice. spend the $80 or so upgrading the baratza to "virtuoso" grind and get a commandante or the like for pourovers (which is where I'm having the most problems in terms of grind stuff).

is the Commandante worth that much over the IZ pro that's $169? I got ZERO problem spending more money on a more reliable or better quality product, just wanted to make sure the commandante was worth the dinero


#17: Post by mikelipino »

Yeah, and you don't even have to do it at the same time! I'd start with the Encore upgrade and wait on the hand grinder until you get the upgraditis itch again. It might be in a few months, or never.

On the Commandante vs 1ZPresso, it depends. If you want the absolute in cup quality, Commandante is probably the way to go. If you want to give up a little on grind consistency for things like speed and adjustability (and of course price), 1ZPresso performs admirably.

wormraper (original poster)

#18: Post by wormraper (original poster) replying to mikelipino »

Understood. In that case I'll go with the Commandante... the reason I'm willing to spend money is to upgrade my grind consistency from the Encore, so I'd rather not skimp on the quality of the cup.

well, again thanks fort the help guys. Been falling in love with pourovers with Ethiopian single origins recently and my dying Baratza encore hasn't been as perfect as I'd hoped for that usage, so I figure it's time to make that upgrade from entry level grinder to mid range


#19: Post by tennisman03110 »

mikelipino wrote:Having just done a recondition of an Encore with M2 burrs (effectively making it a Virtuoso without a timer), it can certainly hold it's own in the mid tier range. Compared against the grinders I have (on par with df64 and 1zPresso JX Pro, better than Timemore Slim and Capresso Inifinity) I get comparably good in cup quality, and the metrics look about the same (drawdown time, bed cleanliness - the furthest I can test without a TDS meter) for V60....
I'm now wondering myself about purchasing an additional hand grinder, to be used exclusively for V60. One cup a day, 5 days a week.

My Encore has been going strong for 4 years, the last 3 months with the M2 burr upgrade. I've got nothing but good things to say about it. It's used on weekdays for Aeropress (my girlfriend) and V60. Occasionally cold brew large batches. It's sticking around.

Are you saying the M2 is comparable to 1zPresso Jx? I've been reading some older posts, they indicate 1zPresso is far and away a better grinder, comparing in the cup quality. I drink lighter roasts, sometimes more expensive beans, don't want to miss out on anything.

Getting off topic, I also have a Baratza Sette 27, used on weekends for espresso. Up to 6 shots a day. Not hand grinding that, but interesting to think about waiting for the new Vario, using it for everything.


#20: Post by mikelipino »

While I haven't done any direct comparative tests, I switch my grinders often for each prep method to fill out my notes (batch, pourover, and espresso). I'll discount espresso because the Encore doesn't have the resolution to dial in. For batch and pourover I'll dial in for brightness and bitterness and then take some tasting notes. The drawdown times seems very similar to the 1ZP indicating that the amount of fines is about the same. And looking at my commentary most of the same tasting notes (where I try to ID what's described on the bag) are shared across these two grinders -- if I can pick it out on one, I can usually pick it out on the other.

One interesting thing that I didn't notice until I filtered for those two grinders and compared across notes is that there are several instances where I noted that the M2 Encore lacked some sweetness. On the other hand the 1ZP Pro had many notable instances of very strong sweetness. This is completely anecdotal, and the 1ZP has many more data points as I've had it longer, but interesting nonetheless.