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Baratza Encore; Due March 2012

by Wes Farnell
© 2012 Eight Ounce Coffee
Posted: 03/03/12

For those of us in the coffee industry, and those who demand a great grinder at home, Baratza needs no introduction.  But just in case you don't know...

Baratza was established in 1999 and make grinders. And only grinders.  Great grinders. Ones that are amazing value and last.  And, if you manage to break them, you don't have to throw the grinder away as you can purchase spare parts easily and cheaply (unlike the usual scenario: if you can get spare parts, they are as expensive as buying a new product).

Until this month the grinder lineup has consisted of, from entry model to top of the range:

  • Maestro
  • Maestro Plus (I have owned)
  • Virtuoso (I have also owned)
  • Preciso ( I currently own - with an Esatto)
  • Vario
  • Vario-W (I want to own - desperately)

Whilst the line up of grinders seemed pretty distinct, the Maestro and Maestro Plus were always a little too similar for my liking, and and now it seems that Baratza agrees with that sentiment as, as of this month, they are replacing both models with a single new model: the Encore!

Now, I know what the cynics amongst you may be saying at this point - "It's just a bloody re-badged Maestro Plus - they must think we were born yesterday!" etc, etc.  Well, if you look a little closer you'll see a few tell-tale signs that contradict the initial impressions: the portafilter, and a slightly different switch on the side.  All is not as it seems...

So what's new with the Encore?

  • New burr now grinds fine enough for espresso as well as manual brew methods
  • New gearbox, significantly increasing the strength and durability of the drive transmission while decreasing noise. In addition to a new drive shaft, motor mounting plate and bushings, this change includes a new drive gear made of 15% glass filled thermo plastic which is quieter than the prior metal gear, wears better and is more shock resistant
  • Timer switch with an on/off switch

How good is the Encore?

Yet to be determined, but if the Encore delivers on a decent espresso grind, this can only be a good thing.  Combining this with the fact that the price point will be the same as the Maestro Plus, Baratza has just cemented their place as the uncontested choice when it comes to great value home grinders.

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