How can you pick a coffee grinder from such an ocean? The advice is to look at the grinder series of the Baratza brand. More specifically, let’s scrutinize the two most famous in this line: Baratza Virtuoso vs Encore.
The coarseness of beans can make or break your cup of joe. And the grinder is the key to determining your drink’s taste. It helps you prepare espresso beans to get involved in the extraction and create a unique flavor for your cup. That’s why you need to refer to these top two models for a dependable brew.
This article will provide you with an objective comparison based on various criteria such as grinding speed, burr size, or ground bin. Then you can find your champion. Click on for more info!
Baratza Virtuoso Overview
Before jumping into the battle between Encore and Virtuoso, it’s better to take a grasp at these two models in terms of general specifications.
Virtuoso is one of the most loved products in the Baratza series of mid-range multipurpose grinders. It brings a reliable sense with conical burrs 40mm in size. This creates fine grounds with commercial quality.
It possesses a 40-degree adjustment mode, which can grind espresso beans from the size range of 200 to 1200 microns. This feature lets you get fine espresso ground or French press ground only by turning the hopper.
Besides, thanks to 40mm conical burrs, it can grind beans more uniformly and consistently. It also includes an easy-to-use digital interface that allows you to regulate and reproduce the number of coffee beans you use.
With a firm base, it runs quieter while grinding. The timer allows you to store coffee beans in the tank and crush your required amounts. Most of the body is stainless steel and black plastic, so it is relatively durable.
Baratza Encore Overview
Another option in the Baratza lineups that comes after Virtuoso is Encore. This model also owns a wide range of outstanding features that a grinder should have.
Like other models in this series, it boasts a coarseness extent from 250 – 1200 microns. This range is adaptable enough for general brewing methods like pour-over, drip, or AeroPress.
What’s more, it includes a pulsation button and a standard on-off front switch. The grinding range adjustment falls to 40 degrees, which allows you to mill beans by twisting the hopper.
Additionally, this machine features 40mm conical burrs to enable you to get better coffee grounds. The body comes in white or black plastic with a compact design. It’s best suited for small kitchen cabinets.
Baratza Virtuoso vs Encore Comparison
Baratza Virtuoso vs Encore: Similarities
The two machines will surely have a ton of resemblances because they are both in the grinder series of Baratza.
At first, the two gadgets come with M2 40 mm conical burrs made of stainless steel. This property is useful for producing fine coffee grounds with consistent texture.
Moreover, they have 40 various grinding sizes for you to select suitable adjustments. This enables you to get very fine or coarse grounds only by switching the hopper.
Since both Encore and Virtuoso are equipped with UV-resistant plastic bean hoppers, which can contain up to 8 oz. of beans, you can make numerous cups of coffee with only one grinding.
They also possess a similar inner gear system. More specifically, their gearboxes are upgraded and reinforced to accommodate new gears. Also, the gears are renewed with thermoplastic, up to 15%. Hence, you can use them daily without fear of damage.
The next similarity lies in the pulse button. Both options own this feature to grind the coffee beans straight into the filter basket. This makes the brewing process simpler and quicker.
Both of them are mid-range multipurpose grinders which are ideal for those who are looking for burr grinders. They are the perfect alternatives for professional espresso grinders to make pour-over, drip, or manual coffee.
Last but not least, the two machines share the same maintenance requirements. Baratza suggests changing burrs after grinding 500 – 1000 pounds of beans. However, this is a milestone that takes quite some time to achieve.
Parts are easily removable and altered in the same manner, so there is no need for screwdrivers when disassembling. When it comes to cleaning, there isn’t any trouble or mess. Because the pieces are made of stainless steel and plastic, they are easy to clean.
In addition, all Baratza items come with a one-year warranty that covers any faults or mishaps. In the event of a malfunction, you can return the unit to Baratza for proper service.
The Differences Between Baratza Virtuoso and Encore
At first glance, you might think that Encore and Virtuoso are similar in size and weight, but that is not the case. The truth is that Virtuoso is slightly larger than its brother.
In particular, Virtuoso measures 14.5 inches in height, 7.9 inches in width, and 3.3 inches in depth at the back. At the same time, its counterpart has a dimension of 13.3 inches in height, 5.5 inches in width, and 3.3 inches in depth.
The first model is bulkier than the second one because it has an extra metal accent at the bottom and top. Hence, it is more robust with a minimalist and sleek design. Despite the additional element, it doesn’t occupy more space.
That’s why Virtuoso is more attractive in terms of aesthetics.
Plastic is used entirely in the construction of Encore, so it is considerably more lightweight than its brother with a weight of 6.83 lbs. On the other hand, Virtuoso is heavier and bulkier because it weighs approximately 7.05 lbs.
The body of Virtuoso is made of stainless steel rather than thermoplastic like Encore. Although steel may limit its mobility, this feature also makes it more stable while grinding coffee beans.
Therefore, Virtuoso grinder seems to be the winner in this round due to its durability, regardless of its weight.
The most obvious difference between the two types of grinders lies in their speed while grinding beans. Do you want to know how quickly they can manufacture high-quality coffee grounds?
First, you should understand the concept of revolutions per minute (RPM). RPM is an indicator of the frequency of circular motion or calculates the speed of an object’s movement.
In coffee grounds, high RPM frequently entails high-temperature levels. The purpose of pushing heat is the same as the impact of precooking the coffee beans.
When it comes to the grinding speed comparison between the two, while Encore achieves 450 RPM, Virtuoso turns 550 RPM. As you can see, the first option may be quite slower. However, this speed range is acceptable to get fine grounds with desired flavors and aromas.
Virtuoso comes with a higher speed, taking less time to grind beans than its counterpart. Specifically, while Encore can grind around 0.8 or 1.1 grams/second, Virtuoso processes 1.5 to 2.4 grams/second.
So Virtuoso earns another point in this round.
As shared above, both models own 40 grinding settings, but there is a remarkable difference. Virtuoso features rough to medium-coarse adjustments.
This means there is nearly no coffee dust blending the grounds. Also, you can get the desired coarse level as you want. This exceptional feature reduces coffee waste and a French press drink without sludge.
Sadly, Encore can’t create fine coffee grounds like its brother, so it is not ideal for making espresso.
There is a slight difference in their grinding range. Encore has a grinding range of 250 to 1200 microns, while the other can grind from 200 to 1200 microns.
This property enables Virtuoso to create more uniform grounds for various kinds of coffee, about 20% more consistent than the setting on Encore.
Thanks to this feature, many drinkers in the coffee community decide to invest in Virtuoso instead of Encore though it’s a big budget. With finer particles, you can brew different cups like espresso or Turkish coffee.
It’s worth mentioning that these two Baratza models possess smart ground bins. These designs are useful to stop overloading, driving coffee toward the unit, and possibly destroying their motor.
That said, they are not exactly the same. The Encore grinder comes with a transparent ground bin with a horizontal line indicating the ideal fill height.
Meanwhile, Virtuoso includes an illuminated bin to make it easier to keep track of the quantity. The ground bin’s bright blue illumination allows you to see how much coffee grounds your grinder produces for your cup effortlessly.
Though both options are armed with 40 mm conical burrs made of stainless steel, these burrs are not similar. For instance, Virtuoso is equipped with an M2 burr while its counterpart has an M3 model.
The M3 burr in Encore has the coarsest settings for French press brewing. And you’ll notice greater irregularity, which is quite common with grinders. However, moving the settings inwards will result in finer grinds with greater consistency, but not good enough for an espresso.
The M2 conical burr of Baratza Virtuoso, on the other hand, consistently offers uniform grinds from coarse to fine. The main distinction is that it uses finer grinds specifically designed to provide high-quality espresso shots.
One of the primary differences between Baratza Encore and Virtuoso is how you control them.
Featuring an entry-level grinder, Encore is quite user-friendly to make a cup of coffee for hectic mornings. It is typically perfect for unprofessional baristas or inexperienced brewers.
This model comes with an on/off switch. You may get your hands busy while it works because you need to use it manually. In other words, you must observe and measure during the grinding process.
Here is the way to control your Encore grinder:
- Use the on/off switch positioned on the right side of the grinder
- Turn the beans hopper to select the desired grinding setting
- A front-mounted pulse button releases the ground in the portafilter or cabinet.
On the other hand, Virtuoso is the next-level model. Despite being simple, it has advanced settings to help you easily control your grinder without observing the grinding process.
A 40-second timer is available on this option. This function promises a hands-free experience while the grinding process continues.
Hence, if you are really into an automatic machine, it is perfect for you. Also, it has a pulse setting that enables you to top up or grind into a portafilter directly.
The two machines are high-quality grinders of Baratza without a doubt, but the final deciding factor depends much on their price. The exact cost of both grinders will vary based on the market.
Still, Virtuoso is nearly double the price of the Encore for its advanced innovations like speed, convenience, and power. It comes with several add-ons, but it is only helpful if you plan to use it with an espresso machine.
Remember that because Virtuoso grinds the coffee beans quicker, it will produce the necessary 500–1000 pounds of coffee in less time. As a result, compared to the Encore, you’ll have to pay for new components sooner.
Encore isn’t an average beginner grinder, though. In fact, many new coffee connoisseurs buy a grinder for personal usage.
Which Baratza Grinder Is Better?
After the comparison between Virtuoso and Encore, are you still up in the air? You are not alone. It’s very normal as both machines own specific outstanding features that fit your purpose and preference.
What you require from a coffee grinder will determine whether you should purchase the Encore or Virtuoso.
For example, if you’re searching for a low-cost grinder, the Encore is a good pick. It has a straightforward design that will not confuse you in the very early mornings.
It doesn’t have a lot of complicated selections, so that might be beneficial for coffee brewers who are just getting started with homemade grinding practices.
The Baratza Encore grinder is a simple and affordable solution if you want to try out the grinding concept before investing a lot of money and time.
If you require a more advanced and complex grinder, you can’t go wrong with the Baratza Virtuoso. It isn’t the market’s largest or most ostentatious lineup, but it is an upper-level step up from the Encore grinder.
This is since it offers more coffee personalization choices and more complex circuitry behind the hood. You’ll have to pay a larger price upfront, but if you’re a frequent java coffee consumer, it could be worth it.
In general, the Baratza Virtuoso grinder is an ideal option for home brewers that fall halfway between the categories of newbie baristas and connoisseurs.
FAQs Of Baratza Virtuoso vs Encore
1. Can Baratza Encore Grind Fine Grounds Enough For Espresso Shot?
The short answer is no. Although you can grind grounds with a Baratza Encore grinder, the quality of the grounds for espresso shots is not suitable and sufficient. Its motor is not ideal for these shots.
2. Can The Virtuoso Grind Espresso?
The Baratza Virtuoso can grind fine coffee grounds enough for espresso. Still, it can’t make the tiny changes needed to dial in an espresso shot properly. As a result, the Preciso is often regarded as the most affordable Baratza grinder capable of producing consistent espresso.
3. How Long Will A Baratza Encore Last?
If you grind a pound of coffee beans once a week, your coffee grinder should last ten years. The machine will last longer if you substitute the steel burrs with ceramic ones. To prolong its shelf life, clean it well and avoid smashing it.
4. Is Baratza Virtuoso Quiet?
The good news is yes! For a smooth grinding experience, its drive gear comes with the explicit objective of being quiet without losing quality.
The Bottom Line
After reading the showdown between two famous coffee grinders: Baratza Virtuoso vs Encore, have you decided which is your champion? Most consumers agree that Virtuoso provides them with more advanced settings and high-quality grounds for a better cup of coffee.
However, the final verdict should depend on your purpose and interest. As stated above, if you want to try out a coffee grinder, it’s better to select Encore. Still, if you’re a professional barista, investing in Virtuoso will never be a wrong decision.
Thanks for reading and see you in the next post!
Almost 20 years already spent committed to coffee and more than 3 years of experience as a barista at Starbucks. Madelyn Doyle graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutritional Science from the University of California and finished the Coffee Skills Program at the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA).