Comparing the Baratza Encore vs Virtuoso: Which Grinder Should You Choose?
Getting a quality grinder is a no-brainer if you want damn great coffee. It prepares your beans for extraction to get the flavor out and into your cup. But with such a wide range, how exactly do you choose?
To help you narrow your list, let’s look at the two top players making waves in the burr grinder space: The Baratza Encore vs Virtuoso.
We’ll look at their individual qualities, grind settings, function, and other extra features, to give you a better idea of which Baratza grinder will help give you a taste of coffee bliss.
The Baratza Encore
The Baratza Encore is loved for being feature-packed – giving you precise grinding, durability, and a smooth operation (even for super fine espresso grounds!) at a pocket-friendly price.
Its super-grinding powers come from its powerful DC motor, which helps power the burrs to give you a fantastic 40-grind setting. This allows you to take your grounds from coarse to very fine and everything in between – meaning you can grind for just about any brew method.
It also features an improved, reinforced-plastic gearbox, which houses new gears made of 15% glass-filled thermoplastic, making them more durable and less noisy. This allows you to use it daily without worrying about damaging it too quickly.
The Encore’s large-capacity bean hopper, which can effortlessly hold 8 ounces of beans, only gives us another reason to smile over this grinder. This allows you to grind big batches without making it a marathon of many rounds.
Like what you’ve heard about the Encore so far? Read our Baratza Encore review here.
The Baratza Virtuoso
The Baratza Virtuoso is a VERY reliable machine with 40mm conical burrs, producing commercial-quality, even grounds. Uniformity in coffee grounds is essential for achieving the ideal extraction rate, giving your brew more flavor.
Using the Virtuoso gets your beans from 250 to 1200 microns – which means you can quickly get your coarse French press grind or fine espresso grind with just a hopper turn.
No need to take on a trial-and-error approach as this grinder is also built with a 60-second timer, which complements the Virtuoso’s pulse button feature. You can time each session and work with your ideal grinding duration again. Please read our full review of the Virtuoso here.
Baratza Encore vs Virtuoso – Comparison of Quality, Grinding Performance, and Special Features
Now that you know exactly where these two grinders stand compare them head-to-head on quality, grinding performance, and unique features. This should help you discover which will answer your grinding and brewing needs.
Suppose your daily aim is to experience coffee nirvana. In that case, you need a dependable grinder like the Encore or Virtuoso to prep your coffee beans and get the most flavor and body from them into your brew.
Baratza Encore vs Baratza Virtuoso: A Comparison of Two Quality Coffee Grinders
The Baratza Encore: Affordable and Convenient
The Baratza Encore is a beautifully made grinder perfect for those new to specialty coffee or home brewing. It is made of high-quality materials, including top-grade plastic resin, making it lightweight and easy to clean. The hopper is made of tinted ABS plastic, which protects your beans from harmful UV rays that could affect the freshness and quality of your coffee.
The Baratza Virtuoso: A Step Up in Quality
The Baratza Virtuoso is a versatile grinder that offers even better quality materials. It features a durable stainless steel top, base, and high-quality plastic in the Encore. While this does make the Virtuoso slightly more expensive and heavier, it also provides added stability and ensures the grinder can withstand everyday use without wearing down quickly.
Winner: Baratza Virtuoso
BothTheore and Virtuoso are made by Baratza, so the quality is comparable. However, the Virtuoso wins out for using more high-quality metal parts, offering better performance potential and added value.
Uniform Grind and Easy Grind Level Adjustment
The Virtuoso and the Encore use 40mm conical burrs, which help produce a consistent particle size in your coffee grounds. This ensures that you can fully enjoy the flavor of the coffee during the brewing process.
Both grinders also offer 40 grind settings, making it easy to adjust the grind level to your preference. Whether you want a finer or coarser grind, dial in your desired location and let the Baratza grinder take care of the rest. This feature removes the guesswork from grinding and ensures you achieve the perfect particle size for your chosen brewing method.
Speed and Grinding Quality
While Encore and Virtuoso have many similar features, some key differences exist. The Encore has a ground speed of 0.8 to 1.1 grams per second, while the Virtuoso is faster at 1.5 to 2.4 grams per second. The higher grinding speed of the Virtuoso allows you to work with more beans in less time, making it ideal for those who need to make multiple cups of coffee.
Furthermore, the Virtuoso delivers a cleaner grind with coarse to medium coarse settings. This means you get almost no fine coffee dust and more of the coarse coffee grounds you desire. This feature reduces coffee waste and ensures a sludge-free French press brew.
Winner: Baratza Virtuoso
The Virtuoso takes the top honors in this category for its consistent grinding results and ability to produce more grounds in less time.
Distinctive Features for Different Needs
While the same manufacturer makes both the Encore and Virtuoso, they each have unique features that cater to different preferences.
The Encore is an excellent choice if you are new to specialty coffee or home brewing. It features a user-friendly on-and-off switch, allowing you to start grinding with a simple touch of a button. Its lighter weight of 7 lbs makes it more portable than the Virtuoso.
On the other hand, the Virtuoso offers an added feature of a front-mounted pulse button with a 60-second timer. This combination allows for more precise grinding, especially for an espresso basket that requires finely and consistently sized grounds. Espresso enthusiasts can also use the Virtuoso-compatible portafilter holder, which replaces the grounds bin, allowing for hands-free, direct grinding onto a portafilter.
In conclusion, the Baratza Encore and Baratza Virtuoso are high-quality coffee grinders with unique features. For those new to specialty coffee, Encore offers affordability and convenience. However, the Virtuoso is the clear winner if you want better performance and additional features.
Winner: The Virtuoso
The Virtuoso wins for extra features (but you pay more for them)
Regarding grinders, the Baratza Encore and Virtuoso are top-rated picks for their reasons.
The Encore is a worthy partner for the sort-of-new coffee enthusiast with its well-made body, 40 grind settings, and convenient on-and-off switch. These features make it easy for those still in the ‘trying-it-out’ stage of coffee grinding to produce uniform grounds based on their brew’s needs. Oh, and the affordable price tag is only a bonus.
The Virtuoso gives home brewing fanatics more stability and control with its manual features, such as the pulse button and timer, and more consistently even grounds ideal for brewing using drip, espresso, or French press methods.
Choosing any of these two grinders is a decision you won’t regret because of their quality and consistent performance. They can also be user-calibrated to match your specific grinding requirements.
Just remember, damn great coffee isn’t just about the grinder – make sure to pair it with an equally dependable brewer and freshly-roasted beans to enjoy a pleasant coffee experience every day.
If you’ve gone mad and, after reading the Bartaza Encore vs. Virtuosa showdown, you’re STILL on the fence, look at some of the other similar favorites on the market. We cover them here.