Review: Baratza Encore ESP Coffee Grinder

Published on 04/14/2024 · 3 min readCurated Expert, Peter T., has tested this product to give you their unbiased, definitive take.
Peter T., Coffee Expert
Derek Premenko, Coffee Expert
By Curated Experts Peter T. and Derek Premenko
8 photos
Photo by Peter T. & Derek Premenko

The Curated Take

4.4/5

The Baratza Encore ESP Coffee Grinder is ideal for coffee enthusiasts seeking a versatile and user-friendly grinder. It features 40 grind settings, with 20 dedicated to espresso, and provides uniform grinds and balanced flavor profiles. The grinder excels in its ease of use, with an easy-to-adjust hopper and toolless removal of the hopper and burr for cleaning. However, it can be loud during operation, and the hopper may shake,. The grinder's level of retention also requires purging between grind adjustments. Despite these minor drawbacks, the Baratza Encore ESP is a great value for its price, offering consistent and precise grinding.

Ideal for
  • Easy-to-use hopper for dialing in grind size
  • Uniform grinds and balanced flavor profile
  • Hopper and burr can be removed without tools for cleaning
Not ideal for
  • Can be loud
  • Hopper shakes and the lid pops off during grinding
  • Level of retention requires purging between grind adjustments
Speed
Peter T., Curated Expert
The Encore ESP uses the M2 burrs, which have improved grinding performance over the M3 burrs found on the regular Encore. I found that with these burrs, I can grind...Read more
Derek Premenko, Curated Expert
The ESP grinds at 550rpm, which is about 1.2g per second. It's not crazy fast or crazy slow for something in this range. A little quicker grinder might be desired,...Read more
Dose Consistency
Peter T., Curated Expert
The Encore ESP does have some retention (as most grinders do), especially on the first grind. This is because some of the voids in the grinding chamber are filled by...Read more
Derek Premenko, Curated Expert
The Ross Droplet Technique (RDT) cuts down on static and keeps retention to a minimum. Even if I don't use RDT, I still get a pretty consistent dose when I'm...Read more
Durability
Peter T., Curated Expert
The Encore ESP has a powerful motor, and with the M2 burrs, it can handle denser beans without straining the motor. After owning the grinder for a month and using...Read more
Derek Premenko, Curated Expert
This is a surprisingly heavy grinder. It's decently made, too! It's built super solid except for the lid/hopper. It definitely shakes/jiggles as I grind. If the lid isn't securely on,...Read more
Consistency
Peter T., Curated Expert
Grinding for espresso results in uniform grinds and minimal fines. Compared to my previous grinder in the Barista Express, there are noticeably fewer grinds in the bottom of my espresso...Read more
Derek Premenko, Curated Expert
It doesn't talk back, jump off the counter, or even give me grumbles when I forget to tell it "thank you." It just grinds what I want, how I want,...Read more
Noise Level
Peter T., Curated Expert
Compared to the grinder used in the Breville Barista Express, the noise level is similar but has a lower frequency which I find to be more tolerable. The Encore ESP...Read more
Derek Premenko, Curated Expert
This is actually a bit quieter than some cheaper grinders that I've used, but it's hardly a "quiet" grinder. When my son is sleeping, I still have to take it...Read more
Ease of Use
Peter T., Curated Expert
Adjusting the grind settings for different brew methods with the Encore ESP couldn't be easier. Just rotate the hopper to the desired setting and activate the grinder either with the...Read more
Derek Premenko, Curated Expert
I use this for pour-overs and espresso—often, both methods on the same day. The settings are numbered (thank you, Baratza), so I have setting 29 memorized for most pour-overs (depending...Read more
Grind Consistency
Peter T., Curated Expert
Once all the voids in the grinding chamber are filled from the first few initial grinds, the grind consistency is quite good. However, if it is not routinely cleaned, the...Read more
Derek Premenko, Curated Expert
I can't boast too much about the consistency when I've worked with some really nice grinders in the past. The commercial stuff would be unfair to compare it to because...Read more
Precision
Peter T., Curated Expert
I mainly drink espresso, and I found the 20 dedicated espresso grind settings very precise in dialing in my shot. In my experience, each step results in a 3- to...Read more
Derek Premenko, Curated Expert
It's precise enough for me. This probably wouldn't cut it if I were pulling shots in a commercial setting. I'd still want something better if I were using this for...Read more
Versatility
Peter T., Curated Expert
It is very easy to adjust the grind setting on the Encore ESP. It is done by simply twisting the hopper to the desired grind setting. There are 40 grind...Read more
Derek Premenko, Curated Expert
I needed a grinder that could grind filter and pressure-brewed coffee (and do it well) and was affordable. This hit the mark. I use it for several different brewing methods,...Read more
Noisiness Rating
Peter T., Curated Expert
Compared to the grinder in my Barista Express, the noise level is similar. The big difference is that the Encore ESP has a lower frequency sound, which I find more...Read more
Derek Premenko, Curated Expert
I rate this a 6/10, not because it's 60% quieter than other grinders but because it's an average grinder in terms of noise level that doesn't boast about being quiet....Read more

Curated Experts are not sponsored by brands. Their reviews are based on their honest experiences testing products.
About the espresso equipment
  • Model: Baratza Encore ESP Coffee Grinder
Test conditions
  • Where I’ve used it: Home
  • How many times I've used it: 88

Expert Reviews of the Baratza Encore ESP Coffee Grinder

Peter T. I love this grinder! It has 40 grind settings, with 20 of them dedicated to espresso. I use this in combination with my manual-lever Flair 58 espresso machine, which requires a finer grind compared to semi-automatics. I found it very easy to dial in my shots for espresso; just twist the hopper to the desired setting. Each step in the espresso range results in a 3- to 5-second change in extraction time, which is perfect. It also comes with a single-dose hopper that fits 54mm and 58mm portafilters. As far as cleaning is concerned, it is very easy to clean, as the removal of the hopper and the conical burr is toolless. What I don't like about this grinder is how loud it can be. In the morning, this can wake up others in the household. I find that using the catch bin instead of the single-dose hopper helps to reduce the amount of noise generated. Another thing I don't like is how the hopper shakes during grinding, sometimes causing the lid to pop off. Despite its flaws, I think this grinder offers fantastic value and great performance. I would definitely recommend this to others.
 The Baratza Encore ESP was a thrill from the moment I opened the box. Its footprint is decently compact, but it's a taller grinder than I expected. In practical use, I overestimated how fine it could grind and couldn't pull any water through my first shot. The second was still difficult, so I backed it all the way to the beginning of the ESP section (for espresso) and went from there. Yes, I know this backward. It didn't take long to get the exact grind I was looking for. It's a simple, stepped grinder that clicks into each setting. In a home setting for about $200, considering how many settings it does have, I've been very pleased just the same. It's a quiet grinder with its conical burrs. This grinder is the ideal setup for someone who likes to weigh their beans, grind just that amount, and repeat with each shot/brew. For pour-overs, it excels as I expected. I love the simplicity of its design, the ability to flip a switch, and let it grind until I turn it off or press a button, and it only grinds as long as it's pressed. It's not the grinder for someone who wants ease. It's the grinder for the consumer looking for methodical brewing with no frills, getting consistent and reliable results from their gear.

Product Specs

Housing materialPlastic
Grinding methodConical Burr
Burr diameter (mm)40
Bean hopper capacity (oz)8
Grounds bin capacity (oz)5 oz
Depth (in)6.29

Review Ratings

Averaged between reviewers, view below how all experts voted.

Speed

4/5
Peter T. gave 4 of 5 stars. The Encore ESP uses the M2 burrs, which have improved grinding performance over the M3 burrs found on the regular Encore. I found that with these burrs, I can grind finely for espresso without clogging the grinder. For the typical 18g dose of medium-roasted beans, it took about 15-18 seconds to finish. Using a more lightly roasted bean can take a couple of seconds longer.
 gave 3 of 5 stars. The ESP grinds at 550rpm, which is about 1.2g per second. It's not crazy fast or crazy slow for something in this range. A little quicker grinder might be desired, but for 40mm conical burrs, I really don't expect much. Compared to the Sette or something with flat burrs, the ESP would be considered a mule. But it gets the job done and does what I need at a really affordable price.

Dose Consistency

4/5
Peter T. gave 4 of 5 stars. The Encore ESP does have some retention (as most grinders do), especially on the first grind. This is because some of the voids in the grinding chamber are filled by the initial grounds. In my experience, this can be up to 2-3 grams. However, every subsequent grind will have less and less retention. After five grinding sessions, I found that retention is between 0.2 to 0.5 grams.
 gave 4 of 5 stars. The Ross Droplet Technique (RDT) cuts down on static and keeps retention to a minimum. Even if I don't use RDT, I still get a pretty consistent dose when I'm grinding. I weigh everything out, and I've never had more than a gram of a difference (it's usually far less than that) from pre- to post-grinding. I get a good bit of static cling to the edges when using the bin for larger doses, but it's nothing too hard to knock out. But some spritzing gives me near-zero retention, and I've been really happy with it.

Durability

5/5
Peter T. gave 4 of 5 stars. The Encore ESP has a powerful motor, and with the M2 burrs, it can handle denser beans without straining the motor. After owning the grinder for a month and using a variety of different beans, the lowest grind setting I've used is a 14, with plenty of room to grind finer and account for wear. Even if I reach 0, Baratza has included shims with the Encore ESP, further prolonging its life before having to replace the burrs.
 gave 5 of 5 stars. This is a surprisingly heavy grinder. It's decently made, too! It's built super solid except for the lid/hopper. It definitely shakes/jiggles as I grind. If the lid isn't securely on, it'll shake right off. The shaking might affect which grind setting I put it to over time, but I change it so often that I can't say for sure.

Consistency

5/5
Peter T. gave 4 of 5 stars. Grinding for espresso results in uniform grinds and minimal fines. Compared to my previous grinder in the Barista Express, there are noticeably fewer grinds in the bottom of my espresso cup. Also, the level of retention is quite low (0.2g to 0.5g) after the first few grinds. My first grind had around 1.7 grams of retention.
 gave 5 of 5 stars. It doesn't talk back, jump off the counter, or even give me grumbles when I forget to tell it "thank you." It just grinds what I want, how I want, day in and day out, like a good ol' grinder should. I have my settings, and it respects them! I've never had to change up my "default" setting for a particular brew method unless I change out the roasts; then, some tweaking is required. But if I keep my beans the same, it'll give me the same output with some pretty reliable consistency.

Noise Level

4/5
Peter T. gave 3 of 5 stars. Compared to the grinder used in the Breville Barista Express, the noise level is similar but has a lower frequency which I find to be more tolerable. The Encore ESP is louder when using the catch-cup for single dosing and also results in more of a mess. For this reason, I just stick with the large bin for single dosing.
 gave 4 of 5 stars. This is actually a bit quieter than some cheaper grinders that I've used, but it's hardly a "quiet" grinder. When my son is sleeping, I still have to take it into the garage if I don't want to chance waking him up. For comparison, some of the really quiet grinders on the market boast about 20dB of output compared to 80-90dB with the ESP.

Ease of Use

5/5
Peter T. gave 5 of 5 stars. Adjusting the grind settings for different brew methods with the Encore ESP couldn't be easier. Just rotate the hopper to the desired setting and activate the grinder either with the side switch or the front grind-on-demand button. For ease of cleaning and maintenance, the hopper and the burrs are easily removed without the use of any tools.
 gave 5 of 5 stars. I use this for pour-overs and espresso—often, both methods on the same day. The settings are numbered (thank you, Baratza), so I have setting 29 memorized for most pour-overs (depending on the beans, but still) and setting 19 for espresso on a Flair. All it takes to adjust the size is a simple twist of the hopper, which I absolutely love.

Grind Consistency

4/5
Peter T. gave 4 of 5 stars. Once all the voids in the grinding chamber are filled from the first few initial grinds, the grind consistency is quite good. However, if it is not routinely cleaned, the machine can develop a buildup of oil and old coffee grinds. This can lead to more clumping and the development of more fines, which will in turn lead to channeling issues during brewing and affecting the flavor of the espresso. Also, as the grind setting is adjusted finer, it will result in clumpier grounds, which will necessitate using a WDT. I would highly recommend using a WDT as well as spritzing the coffee beans with water prior to grinding to improve grind consistency.
 gave 4 of 5 stars. I can't boast too much about the consistency when I've worked with some really nice grinders in the past. The commercial stuff would be unfair to compare it to because it really does a pretty decent job at grinding consistently, but I definitely get a little variation in the grind size (especially when I grind coarser). It's not terrible, and I hardly notice most days, but for costing 1/8th of a decent commercial grinder, I can't be too harsh.

Precision

5/5
Peter T. gave 5 of 5 stars. I mainly drink espresso, and I found the 20 dedicated espresso grind settings very precise in dialing in my shot. In my experience, each step results in a 3- to 5-second difference in extraction time, which makes it easy to dial in my shots. Occasionally, I will brew using a French press when I have guests over, and I found the Encore ESP capable of grinding coarse enough for French press as well.
 gave 4 of 5 stars. It's precise enough for me. This probably wouldn't cut it if I were pulling shots in a commercial setting. I'd still want something better if I were using this for a professional slow bar. But this is about a $200 grinder with stepped settings where I'm locked into settings by number as opposed to having (theoretically) infinite granularity that a stepless grinder would offer. The ESP is the most entry-level of good grinders, so for what it costs, I'm actually really happy with how precise and consistent it is. However, a stepless grinder is 100% necessary if someone wants to go from "good" to "great" coffee.

Versatility

5/5
Peter T. gave 5 of 5 stars. It is very easy to adjust the grind setting on the Encore ESP. It is done by simply twisting the hopper to the desired grind setting. There are 40 grind settings for grinding extremely fine for espresso (20 of the settings are high-resolution adjustments specifically for espresso) to very coarse for cold brew. The M2 burrs perform well and provide excellent grind uniformly.
 gave 5 of 5 stars. I needed a grinder that could grind filter and pressure-brewed coffee (and do it well) and was affordable. This hit the mark. I use it for several different brewing methods, mostly pour-overs and espresso, and I've loved how it's performed well on both ends of the spectrum.

Noisiness Rating

3/5
Peter T. gave 3 of 5 stars. Compared to the grinder in my Barista Express, the noise level is similar. The big difference is that the Encore ESP has a lower frequency sound, which I find more tolerable. The grinder is louder using the single-dose catch cup and also creates slightly more mess. This is why I just stick with the larger catch bin as it seems to do a better job of insulating the noise.
 gave 3 of 5 stars. I rate this a 6/10, not because it's 60% quieter than other grinders but because it's an average grinder in terms of noise level that doesn't boast about being quiet. If it claimed to be quiet, I'd have some issues. It's quieter than other options out there, but it's also louder than a lot of other options too. I'm also being a bit generous because something way quieter would cost 3x as much.

FAQs

What do you love about this product?

Peter T. I love how the Encore ESP makes it easy to dial in for espresso. I found that one adjustment in the espresso range results in a 3- to 5-second change in extraction time. Also, grinding for other brew methods is done by simply twisting the hopper.
When I was looking for a cheaper upgrade to my old grinder, I wanted something that was versatile enough to still make pour-overs but precise enough to pull decent shots as well. This grinder hit all the marks for me: reputable brand, decent price, and versatile enough for any brewing method I wanted on any given day.

What was your favorite moment with this gear?

Peter T. I really enjoyed dialing in my first few cups of espresso using the grinds from the Encore ESP. It was effortless, and I was surprised to find that I was able to grind fine enough using the settings in the top 15-18 range. It is reassuring knowing that I can go much finer if needed.
The Baratza ESP is hardly the most expensive grinder out there, but my wife had been using a $60 grinder to try and pull shots on her Flair and never really had good results, so this was a pretty necessary upgrade that I didn't really ask for permission to buy. Skeptical and a little annoyed that I spent so much on something that "already did what our grinder could do," she wasn't too sold on the idea of the ESP—until she pulled her first shot. I got it dialed in to make things easy and let her enjoy pulling a real shot of espresso. The flavor, the quality of the pull, the experience of making real coffee with something designed to grind fine enough for espresso—it only took a minute to convince my wife that it was a solid buy, and I didn't have to say a word. Her moment of realization that a good grinder was 100% needed was definitely my favorite moment using the ESP.

Why did you choose this product?

Peter T. I wanted a versatile espresso-capable grinder that was affordable, easy to use, and easy to clean. The Encore ESP ticks all the boxes. Grinding for different brew methods is done through a simple twist of the hopper. To clean the Encore ESP, the hopper and the conical burr do not require any tools for removal. Once removed, I can use a vacuum cleaner hose to clean the grinding chamber.
I chose the Baratza ESP for a few reasons. Baratza is a very well-known name in the coffee game, and I've almost purchased the Encore on several occasions to make pour-overs at home. But the ESP's versatility for filter coffee and the precision required to dial in espresso sold me. A $200 price tag is also a really nice deal compared to what else is out there.

What is the value for the money versus other options?

Peter T. Compared to its competitors like the Fellow Opus and the Smart Grinder Pro, the Encore ESP offers uniform grind performance with minimal fines and ease of adjustment. It's easier to adjust than the Opus and performs better than the Smart Grinder Pro. For being a "budget" espresso grinder, the Encore ESP offers a lot for the money.
In my opinion, the only real competitors are the Breville Smart Grinder and the Fellow Opus. The Smart Grinder lacks the ability to do lighter roasts, and it's just a cheaper-built machine. The ESP has upgraded M2 burrs which is a nice pro versus what Breville offers. The Breville Smart does have timed dosing, which the ESP doesn't. I like to weigh my doses, so that's not a big deal for me, but it's a big factor for a lot of folks. The Fellow Opus is a prettier grinder, but I don't love the workflow. It's just as versatile as the ESP. There's an adjustable inner ring that opens up a world of macro adjustments for calibration or dialing-in shots, and it's actually a neat design. But for a household that does pour-overs and shots on the same day, quickly twisting the hopper to adjust the grind size makes the ESP a winner.

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Peter T.
Coffee Expert
Derek Premenko
Coffee Expert
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