Baratza Encore wearing out, needing a new grinder

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

#1: Post by wormraper »

I have a quick conundrum. I've had my Encore for quite a few years and have been generally very happy with it with 3rd wave coffees (I've a huge Ethiopian fan). Anyways, I know that my encore is starting to wear down quite a bit and rather than toss money repairing and upgrading it I figure it's time to upgrade the quality of my grinder as well.

Let me start off with stating that I will NOT be doing espresso. I'm a filter coffee only type of guy so I won't need one that needs to do dual duty. I will be using a V60, French Press, Aero Press as my standard brew methods. I'm looking for a new grinder that gives a better quality grind for the above methods and I'm not too worried about needing to do espresso as stated, so I'm kinda looking at a dedicated filter grinder. Is the Virtuoso+ a solid enough upgrade? Or is there a higher end model I should be looking at (TOP end is $500 budget) for the use I described. I've seen a lot of higher end $500 (ish) grinders raved about their espresso use, but since I have no need of espresso I don't want to waste money on a higher end grinder that does great with espresso, but only moderate with filter. I guess you could say I'm looking for the best bang for your buck upgrade from my encore to do better and more consistent grinds for filter, but not over pay for super fine grind settings I'll never use. At the same time I don't want to get just a tiny upgrade (if that's what the Virtuoso+ is) if say the Vario W+ with steel burrs is THAT much better for filtered coffee/pourovers too.

La Marzocco · Home: customized for espresso aficionados
Sponsored by La Marzocco · Home
sethde

#2: Post by sethde »

For $500 max and filter only, Fellow Ode w/ SSP burrs or Baratza Vario or Commandante C40 if you're willing to hand grind. I don't think Encore --> Virtuoso is a good way to spend $250 right now.

wormraper (original poster)

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

that's what I was wondering. Whether the Virtuoso was only a minimal upgrade. For the Vario, would the new VARIO W+ with steel burrs be reccomended, or the ceramic ones of the regular Vario+

I have thought about the Commandante C40 before, but my wife will use the grinder too, and after I've dialed it in for this bag of coffee she'd much rather just push a button and go vs. hand grinding.

TallDan

#4: Post by TallDan »

Steel burrs all the way for pour over. It's a nice burr set and the + looks like they've put a little more effort into some of the areas that needed it. (As compared to the regular vario that I had.)

Jeff
Team HB

#5: Post by Jeff »

In the "bang for the buck" category, from reading Inexpensive Chinese Ghost Burr Grinder, it seems the Xeoleo has many advocates and a few detractors. At least worth a read, in my opinion (I have not used an Xeoleo myself.)

Coffiend

#6: Post by Coffiend »

You could always upgrade the burrs in the encore to the M2 burrs (virtuoso burrs). Cheap upgrade that may tide you over while you decide if you still want to upgrade. Plus you'd then have a spare grinder you could take to work or donate to a family member?

wormraper (original poster)

#7: Post by wormraper (original poster) » replying to Coffiend »

it's the motor and the burrs that need replacing.... after 7.5 years of heavy home use they're on their last legs and by the time I replaced both I might as well have bought another... that's why I was in the market for "hmmm, I wonder what the next step up?"

Weber Workshops: tools for building better coffee
Sponsored by Weber Workshops
tennisman03110

#8: Post by tennisman03110 »

I don't have an answer to "next step up".

As a reference, I upgraded my Encore burrs recently. Improves grind speed and produces a more even grind.

I'm sure I'm naive (which is fine, not looking to spend more money anyway), but it's great for V60. Ultra light roasts, admittedly, it struggles with.

Add the motor upgrade also, that's $65 and an easy Saturday morning DYI project. How that compares to a full upgrade, I only wonder. No opportunity for me to compare currently.

User avatar
BuzzedLightyear

#9: Post by BuzzedLightyear »

With only $500 as your budget I would skip any electric grinder and get an amazing hand grinder. Your taste buds will thank you. Plus the new models grind coffee faster then your current encore, a lot quieter, with virtually no grind retention

mikelipino

#10: Post by mikelipino »

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.