If you are looking for the best coffee bean grinder you are probably wondering whether to go with the Baratza Encore vs Virtuoso.
The Encore and Virtuoso coffee are both powerful grinders with a lot to offer, not least because both are produced by Seattle-based Baratza, a brand known in the coffee community for producing high quality coffee grinders since its inception in 1999.
It should be no surprise that the Baratza Encore and the Baratza Virtuoso share many similarities, but there are also some crucial differences between them. In this article, we’ll be looking at both coffee grinders’ notable features and key differences, comparing the two head to head before answering the question of whether or not there is a clear winner.
If this sounds good, then keep on reading.
Drink coffee like never before
If you are on a mission to raise your coffee game, being able to grind coffee beans at home is the first important step. If you have been subsisting on pre ground coffee, you are in for an whole new world of taste and aroma once you start grinding coffee beans yourself.
Coffee lovers everywhere should be able to prepare and enjoy barista quality coffee whenever they want, whether in the comfort of their homes or in their office break rooms. And a great coffee or espresso machine is only half the equation, because there is a world of difference between coffee brewed on pre-ground coffee and coffee brewed on freshly ground coffee beans of your choice.
Bring out the best in your coffee beans
Freshness isn’t even the only issue. There is also the matter of grind coarseness and consistency. With coffee that has already been ground, all you get is a uniform blend that isn’t tailored to any particular brew method or coffee preferences. What’s more, despite air-tight packaging, pre-packaged coffee grounds aren’t as fresh and aromatic as the fresh stuff – there is simply no comparison. With your own grinder, on the other hand, you will be able to custom-grind your coffee beans in small batches to suit your favourite coffee recipes, plus you will achieve a more full-bodied and flavourful cup, every single time.
If you are a card-carrying member of the specialty coffee community, you absolutely need a powerful burr grinder like either the Baratza Encore or the Baratza Virtuoso. Either machine will empower you to get the very most out of your coffee beans – and by the same token, to get the very most out of your coffee drinking experience.
Let us say, for example, that you want to prepare a cold brew coffee recipe. Cold brews are best prepared using coarse coffee grounds, and with the precise grinding settings that a quality coffee grinder offers, you are able to prepare the perfect morning cup of coffee every time, whether it calls for a fine grind or a coarse blend.
A coffee grinder is, in many ways, a gift that keeps on giving – particularly if you are working from home and want to grant yourself the gift of coffee shop quality coffee on a daily basis to brighten your work day.
The Baratza Encore and the Baratza Virtuoso are both remarkable machines, worthy of the buzz that surrounds them in the burr grinder space. In this article, we’ll be taking a detailed look at both, starting with the Baratza Encore.
Baratza’s Encore coffee grinder is more than a robust entry level grinder – it is a surprisingly compact yet powerful machine, packed full of all of the features most coffee drinkers need. Baratza grinders are known for packing a powerful punch in a compact package, but the Baratza Encore takes this sentiment to entirely new levels of efficiency.
In terms of built and appearance, the Baratza Encore features a powerful DC motor encapsulated within a reinforced plastic gearbox, made from 15% glass-filled black thermo plastic. What this means in practical terms is that the grinder is both sturdy and durable, and that it makes much less noise than any of the earlier Baratza models it replaces. In the Baratza Encore, you will have found a machine that whispers rather than roars while it handles the grinding process at record speed. The enforced plastic encasing also means that you won’t have to worry too much about accidentally damaging your grinder while using it.
The fact that the body of the Baratza Encore is made from high-quality plastic resin also means that it is delightfully easy to keep clean. Its hopper is made from clear ABS plastic, which serves the dual function of funnelling the coffee beans into the machine while protecting them against the damaging UV rays of sunlight. Overall, the Baratza Encore is optimised in every way, from its innovative design to its sturdy and high quality built, to ensure the highest quality coffee possible.
All in all, coffee lovers can’t go wrong with the Baratza Encore. It is a sturdy and reliable grinder, with enough grind settings and features to satisfy most coffee enthusiasts.
Notable Baratza Encore features
Despite its compact size, the Baratza Encore coffee grinders packs a number of high-powered features. The highlights are listed here, in no particular order.
Grind speed, settings and range
First of all, let us take a look at the Baratza Encore’s grind settings, as well as grind range and speed.
The Baratza Encore comes with no less than 40 different grind settings, which is very impressive for such a small grinder.
You can adjust the grind settings on the machine for any grind size you like – from coarse to super fine and anything between, you are going to get an even and consistent grind every time you use it. Specifically, the Baratza Encore is able to reduce whole beans from 250-1200 microns. This is referred to as the grind range. Ideally, this should be as wide and extensive as possible, to enable you to prepare anything from fine to coarse grinds to your heart’s content.
As for the grind speed itself, this grinder goes from 0.8 to 1.1g a second. In other words, the Encore grinder is not only precise and powerful, it is also extremely fast, meaning you will never have to wait long for your freshly ground coffee to be ready.
The Baratza Encore comes with a surprisingly large capacity bean hopper, which effortlessly holds up to 8 ounces of coffee beans at a time, thus circumventing an infuriating limitation that most smaller coffee grinders tend to have.
With the Baratza Encore, it is up to you whether you want to grind beans in larger batches, or simply prepare enough to fill in your trusty French press for now.
Easy on-off switch
The Baratza Encore is operated via an easy on-off switch.
Thanks to its high-quality stainless steel machinery and thermo plastic encasing, the Baratza Encore is a shockingly durable and robust little machine. Of course, you shouldn’t be dropping it on the floor too often, but it might give you some peace of mind to know that this is no flimsy piece of kit. In fact, you should expect your Baratza Virtuoso grinder to last you a great number of years, even if you put it to the task through daily use.
The Baratza Encore’s small and compact size means that it will fit on almost any kitchen counter without problem. This is a real pro, particularly if you are a city dweller, as so many of us are, and are concerned about bringing a grinder into your kitchen that is going to take up a significant amount of space. Thanks to the Baratza Encore’s small footprint, it doesn’t pose that problem.
Now that we have taken a good look at the Baratza Encore, it is time for us to take an equally detailed look at the Baratza Virtuoso.
Because the Baratza Virtuoso and the Baratza Encore are both created by the same manufacturer, they are pretty much on par when it comes to quality. It almost goes without saying that, much like the Baratza Encore, the Virtuoso grinder doesn’t scrimp on high quality materials. However, the way that the Baratza Virtuoso is built means that it comprises more high-grade stainless steel and less plastic than the Baratza Encore. While the body of the Virtuoso grinder is made from the same plastic as the Encore grinder, it also has a brushed stainless steel top and bottom. The additional steel makes the Baratza Virtuoso slightly heavier than the Encore – but only by a single lb.
The main difference between the Baratza Encore vs Virtuoso is that the Encore is a smaller and more compact machine with many features – but not quite as many as what the Baratza Virtuoso has to offer.
If you are intend on achieving the full at-the full home barista experience, the Baratza Virtuoso has got to be the perfect choice for you. There are a number of reasons for this. In this section of the article, we are going to be looking at them all.
Notable Baratza Virtuoso features
Here are the most notable features and highlight-worthy functions of the Baratza Virtuoso coffee grinder, listed in no particular order.
Grind speed, settings and range
When it comes to grind speed, settings and range, the Baratza Virtuoso isn’t all that different from the Encore. Let us take a look at what this means.
The Baratza Virtuoso machine comes with 40mm conical burrs, which allows you to produce consistent grinds of any size you desire. Luckily, the Virtuoso’s 40 different grind settings make it exceedingly easy to get the grind size just right – all you really have to do is choose the right setting and let the conical burr grinders take care of the rest. With the variety of grind settings available to you, you are able to tailor-make the precise grinds you need for any brewing methods. If you are a coffee lover but a relative novice when it comes to preparing your own barista quality coffee, your new-found ability to create the perfect uniform grind for your favourite coffee recipes is going to be quite the revelation.
In terms of grind speed, the Virtuoso grinder possesses a little more raw power than the Encore does. It accelerates between 1.5 to 2.4g per second. In layman’s terms, this means that the Virtuoso grinder grinds the same beans significantly faster than the Encore is capable of.
Not only does the faster grind speed of the Virtuoso result in less wait tine between bean and cup, it also means a cleaner grind by reducing any of the fine coffee dust that can result in a sludgey French press brew.
Finally, when it comes to grind range, the Baratza Virtuoso has the same range as the Encore and is able to reduce whole coffee beans to anything between 250 and 1200 microns.
Both the Encore and the Virtuoso’s transparent bean hopper has a capacity of up to 8 ounces of coffee beans. In other words, you can choose to prepare freshly ground coffee in small or large batches, precisely as you prefer.
60 second timer
Now, this is a feature that the Baratza Encore coffee grinder lacks – a 60 second timer.
While the Baratza Encore and the Baratza Virtuoso both have a front-mounted pulse button feature that makes it smooth and easy to navigate between different grind settings, only the Virtuoso grinder has the addition of a 60 second timer instead of a simple on and off switch.
The 60-second timer feature might seem like a minimal difference, but it does make for a smoother, faster and more automated coffee grinding process. The 60-second timer quite literally eliminates the need for trial and error as you work out the ideal grinding time.
When it comes to noise, the Baratza Virtuoso coffee grinder is once again the winner. Sure, the Baratza Encore grinds with a whisper, but thanks to its reinforced steel elements, the Baratza Virtuoso is even quieter.
Even sturdier built
While we are on the topic of its brushed stainless steel exterior, it is also worth noting that the steel to plastic ratio matters in terms of a coffee grinder’s sturdiness and reliability.
Not only does the Virtuoso’s reinforced steel exterior make it the more robust and resilient coffee grinder, it also means that it is heavier and more difficult to accidentally knock onto the floor.
Hands free portafilter
Coffee enthusiasts who opt for the Baratza Virtuoso over the Encore have the option of fitting with with a Baratza compatible portafilter – yet another feature that the Encore grinder doesn’t offer an equivalent of.
Baratza Encore vs Virtuoso FAQ
Is Virtuoso better than Encore?
The simple answer is that the Virtuoso is the better coffee grinder, simply because it is a little more sturdy and offers a greater grind range as well as more manual and automated features.
The real answer, however, is a little more complex, as it inevitably depends on what you are looking at in a coffee grinder. If you are looking for a high-quality entry-level grinder in a compact size and at a reasonable price point, then the Baratza Encore might be the perfect grinder for you.
If, on the other hand, you want as many different features as possible and don’t mind spending a little more on a higher-end grinder, the Baratza Virtuoso is the right choice.
All in all, it is worth being aware of the fact that there areas many if not more similarities between the two grinders as there are differences.
Is Baratza Virtuoso quieter than Encore?
Yes, thanks to its mostly stainless steel exterior, the Baratza Virtuoso is quieter than the Baratza Encore.
Is Baratza Virtuoso worth it?
The answer to this question depends on what you are looking for in a coffee grinder.
If what you are looking for is a high-quality coffee grinder that is both sturdy, reliable and versatile, then the answer to the question of whether or not the Baratza Virtuoso is worth buying is a loud and resounding yes.
Baratza Encore vs Virtuos0 – which is the superior coffee grinder?
If you have read this far in the article, you have probably already drawn your own conclusion as to whether or not the Baratza Virtuoso or the Baratza Encore is the right coffee grinder for you.
The simple truth is that you cannot go wrong with either. Since both grinders are produced by the same brand and built using mostly the same design and materials, you can be sure that whichever coffee grinder you choose to bring home to your kitchen, it is going to do a stellar job at grinding your coffee beans for you, almost regardless of what your coffee preferences are.
If you are still wondering whether to invest some of your hard-earned in a Baratza Encore grinder or a Baratza Virtuoso grinder, you should ask yourself whether you need a more versatile and sturdy grinder at a slightly bigger price tag, or whether a compact grinder offering most of the same features at a smaller price tag would be a better fit.