Confused between Baratza Encore Vs Virtuoso? Read the in-depth review and comparison between the two models below! We will discuss how the Encore and the Virtuoso differ from each other, so that you can choose the coffee grinder that suits your needs best.
Continue reading below to find out further about:
- The comparison of their design and build quality
- Which model that is generally more practical to use
- How many grind settings that are available on each model
- The grind consistency of Baratza Encore Vs Virtuoso
- Whether you should choose Baratza Encore or Baratza Virtuoso
Baratza Encore – The Impressive Budget Grinder
If you have been in the world of coffee brewing for a while, this grinder probably doesn’t need an introduction. Baratza Encore is an excellent entry-level burr grinder that is often recommended for beginners and enthusiastic home users. There is a good chance that, with the Baratza Encore grinder, you will never need to upgrade to another grinder. See also: Capresso EC100 Vs DeLonghi EC155
The customer support is very good. The company encourages you to maintain the grinder, and they even provide service as if it is a commercial-grade unit. The service is mostly based on a warranty which has easy terms. They can solve issues over the phone if you don’t want to ship the unit, and they can replace your grinder entirely in case of a manufacturing flaw. When the parts are worn, you can easily find replacements, and there is a comprehensive guide if you want to replace the parts by yourself.
Despite the affordable price, Baratza Encore still offers a fair share of benefits that can be very valuable for a beginner. It is also quite durable, so there is no need to worry about it breaking too quickly.
Baratza Encore: Design and Build Quality
As mentioned previously, Baratza Encore is a beginner-level grinder. But this doesn’t stop it from offering strong performance as well as durability. In addition, both Baratza Encore vs Virtuoso grinders have been equipped with a new gearbox which performs more smoothly and quietly than their predecessors.
The 40mm burrs are indeed made of steel, but Baratza Encore’s other internal parts and housing are mostly made of plastic. However, this is not just plain plastic; it is 15% glass-filled thermoplastic which is far more durable and shock-resistant. As the effect, grinding well-roasted beans won’t be an issue. You only need to avoid putting under-roasted beans and small stones into the grinder.
The new gearbox on Baratza Encore has also been designed to prevent jams. It will stop working right away when it is overloaded, so that the internal parts won’t be damaged. This makes it quite a resilient unit.
However, the 8-oz bean hopper and the 5-oz grind container are made of plastic, too. As the effect, there can be static build-up which will make some coffee stick to the surfaces. You will need a bit of extra effort when cleaning the surfaces.
Baratza Encore: Features and Ease of Use
There is a pulse button on the front panel of the grinder, whereas the dial for selecting the grind setting is on the top. In addition, there is a manual on/off knob on the side. However, Baratza Encore doesn’t have any feature to make the unit stop grinding automatically, so you need to start and stop it by yourself.
You want to avoid using coffee beans that are bigger than average. This is because the hopper is rather narrow. Bigger coffee beans won’t be able to feed through the hopper smoothly, which may result in some loose beans left-over.
Baratza Encore gives you 40 different grind settings to choose from, ranging from fine to coarse. As the effect, you can make ground coffee for pretty much any brew method. Though, the finest and the coarsest grinds are by no means the best.
The DC motor is equipped with a speed reducer, which will keep the burrs operate at 450 RPM. The slow speed ensures minimum noise and smooth bean feeding. It is also beneficial for preventing overheating, which may degrade the coffee quality.
Baratza Encore is the only grinder in the low-end price range that is equipped with a calibration system. Although it is rather basic, it is still useful if you really want to fine-tune how the motor operates.
Baratza Encore: Speed, Grind Settings, and Performance
If we compare Baratza Encore vs Virtuoso, the difference is quite noticeable. Baratza Encore is slower. The grinding speed of Baratza Encore ranges between 0.8 – 1.1 grams/second. You can approximate the time that you need to grind a particular amount of coffee based on those numbers.
The finest grind that Baratza Encore can produce is 250 microns. This can be used for espresso if you really want to, but you need a pressurized portafilter to get good coffee out of it. Meanwhile, the coarsest grind is 1200 microns. Baratza Encore does produce a small amount of coffee dust, which can be a problem when you need a coarse grind, but you can just sift the coffee dust out.
Overall, the performance of Baratza Encore is quite consistent, and the grinds are mostly good. For sure, it is one of the very best grinders in its class. Baratza Encore is particularly great for pour-over and aeropress, and good enough for espresso and French press.
Baratza Virtuoso – More Capable, Slightly More Expensive
Coffee snobs call Baratza Virtuoso as a ‘modern classic’. It is indeed designed for home use, but the quality can easily rival the more expensive gear that costs twice or thrice more. In fact, you can easily find Baratza Virtuoso in a coffee shop serving as a back-up grinder for simple stuff such as pour-over coffee.
Just like the sibling, Baratza Virtuoso is also equipped with 40mm conical burrs that are made of steel. However, this model offers dramatically increased grinding speed, which ranges between 1.5 – 2.4 grams/second. Furthermore, Baratza Virtuoso comes with a 60-second timer which can stop the grinding action automatically once it hits zero.
Baratza Virtuoso is just one step higher than Baratza Encore in terms of price. However, the build quality is much better. There are metallic parts that are far tougher and more durable.
Baratza Virtuoso: Design and Build Quality
Baratza Virtuoso is a sturdy grinder that can withstand daily use without complaining. However, it will still break if you drop it to the floor. The housing is mostly plastic, but the top and base are stainless steel. The DC motor is powerful and robust.
The design is minimalist, and is quite similar to Baratza Encore. However, in addition to a pulse button, Baratza Encore also has a timer dial which is simple and easy to use. You just need to twist the timer, and the grinder will start working right away and you can leave it to do other work.
Baratza Virtuoso: Features and Ease of Use
Baratza Virtuoso definitely makes great cups of coffee, but you need to perform some light clean-up every several grinding cycles. If the unit is used frequently, then the clean-up will also need to be more frequent and more consistent in order to prevent coffee dust from reaching the nooks inside the unit.
The 60-second timer is definitely very useful to semi-automate the grinding. However, you will need to experiment with different time settings at first, in order to see how much coffee that you can get from each.
As mentioned above, both Baratza Encore vs Virtuoso come with a new gearbox which has low noise and smooth performance. The DC motor of Baratza Virtuoso also has a speed reducer to keep the operation at 450 RPM.
Baratza Virtuoso: Speed, Grind Settings, and Performance
The 40mm conical burrs of Baratza Virtuoso help to produce uniform particle sizes, and the unit offers 40 grind settings to choose from. The 0 setting is the finest, which is suitable for espresso, whereas the 40 setting is the coarsest and suitable for French press.
Baratza Virtuoso is able to make finer grinds than Baratza Encore. The finest setting on Baratza Virtuoso is 200 microns. It can make good espresso. Meanwhile, the coarsest setting is 1200 microns.
As mentioned above, Baratza Virtuoso is able to grind at 1.5 – 2.4 grams/second. It is much faster than the Encore. As the effect, you can turn more beans into ground coffee in less time. This is very useful if you often need to serve multiple cups of coffee.
The grind consistency is really great. There is very little coffee dust. Baratza Virtuoso can easily compete against grinders that cost much higher, as the grind consistency is that good.
Baratza Encore vs Virtuoso
In general, Baratza Virtuoso is easily the winner. It is better in pretty much every aspect. The build quality is better, as it has not only steel burrs but also metallic parts. The grind speed is higher, meaning that you can get more ground coffee in less time. The grind consistency is excellent. Additionally, there is a timer to stop the grinding automatically.