If you’ve started taking your home brewing to the next level, you’ve probably realized that you have to start grinding your own beans. Whether you enjoy the freshness of home ground beans or you just like to drink a different type of coffee each day, grinding your own coffee will elevate your drinking experience.
Baratza is one of the industry leaders in coffee grinders. They manufacture a wide range of incredible coffee grinders that are great for the small-time home drinkers as well as the professional coffee baristas.
Two great units that Baratza makes are the Encore and the Virtuoso. These two units are Baratzas’ entry-level grinders but produce incredible results at a very low price.
While these two units are similar in many ways, they do have a few differences that are important to consider before making a purchase decision. From their functionality to their appearance to their shape and size – find the right one and you’ll have a grinder you’ll enjoy for years.
|Pulse grinding button and On/Off Switch
|Timer, Pulse, On/Off Switch
|8oz or ~230g
|8oz or ~230g
|40mm stainless steel M3 burr
|40mm stainless steel M2 burr
|Price on Amazon
|Price on Amazon
|Please note that we may earn a small commission from that any purchases made through links on this page at no additional cost to you.
Overview: Encore vs Virtuoso
The Baratza Encore is the company’s most entry-level grinder. It’s a simple to use, beautifully designed grinder ideal for first time home grinders.
The Encore features an all-black (and incredible new white model!) plastic housing with a coffee bean hopper that holds up to 8oz of beans. It stands at 13.8 inches tall and is 6.3 inches wide.
The Encore has a pulse grind button as well as an on/off knob on the side of the unit. It can grind 8oz of coffee in about 3 minutes and 40 seconds using its M3 burr. This burr is conically shaped with slightly flat and dull cutting edges.
Its a simple yet modern looking unit that offers over 40 different grind levels but is very easy and intuitive to use. It’s also compact enough to fit well into most kitchen counter spaces.
Ideal For: As Baritzas’ most entry-level unit, the Encore is ideal for first time home coffee grinders. It has straightforward features and is ultra-easy to use from the very first day. So if you’re just getting started with grinding and are just looking for the bare minimum, get yourself a Baritza Encore.
Withing Baratzas’ lineup, the Virtuoso is a step above the Encore. It’s a great looking grinder that offers more than the Encore and is better suited for slightly more seasoned home grinders.
The Virtuoso features a black plastic housing that is combined with steel components at its base and center. The added steel on the Virtuoso gives it a more modern look, but also make it more durable than the Encore. Like the Encore, it has a coffee bean hopper that holds up to 8oz of beans. It stands at 12.6 inches tall and is 6.69 inches wide, making it shorter than the Encore.
The Virtuoso has a pulse grind button as well as an on/off knob on the side of the unit. But unlike the Encore, it also has a 60-second built-in timer that stops grinding when it times out. It can grind 8oz of coffee faster than the Encore at 1 minute and 50 seconds using its M2 burr. This burr is conically shaped with a sharp cutting edge.
It’s a sleek designed grinder offering 40 different grind levels and a few extra features that give the user more control.
Ideal For: If you’re somewhat of a first time home coffee grinder and are looking for a simple and easy to use machine with a few added features then the Virtuoso is a great option. Its timer offers more control than the encore and its faster speed make it ideal for someone who roasts larger quantities.
Quality or Build
Baratza has a reputation for building coffee grinders that are very sturdy and robust. They have a wide range of products, from the Encore all the way to the Forte AP, each with a varying level of build quality.
The Baratza Encore is the most entry-level grinder made by Baratza. The housing of the Encore is made entirely from high-grade plastic. This includes its hopper as well as the exterior of the body. In spite of its plastic housing, the grinder has a very high-quality feel and is sure to last anyone purchasing it for years.
The Baratza Virtuoso is another great grinder and is only one step above the Encore within Baratza’s product line. Its high-quality plastic exterior is similar to that of the Encore, the only difference being that it also has a steel base and middle section.
Top Pick: Due to the combination of steel and plastic within its build, the Virtuoso has an upper-hand over the Encore. In addition to the fact that the Virtuoso is probably more durable, it’s housing looks aesthetically more pleasing and sophisticated than the Encore.
The feature differences between the Baratza Encore and Virtuoso is the main differentiating factor between these two grinders. Both of these grinders have 40 different grind settings which allow you to grind your roasted beans to any level that would suit coffee that ranges from Chemex to French Press to Espresso.
The Encore has a pulse grinding button and an on/off switch which allows you to run the unit and start grinding. The 40 grind settings you can choose from giving you tons of options with 1 being very fine and 40 being coarse. It has a removable airtight hopper and grounds collection container which makes moving your grounds into a container much easier.
The Virtuoso offers both a pulse grinding button as well as a 60-second timer. Like the Encore it also features 40 different grind settings to choose from and an airtight hopper and grounds collection container. The combination of a pulse grinding button and timer make the Virtuoso great for espresso brewing because of the precisely ground coffee that espresso needs. It also has a portafilter holder that can be replaced with the grounds collection container which makes it great for people focusing their grinds on espresso.
Top Pick: The Virtuoso is hands down the winner when it comes to features and functionality. Its built-in timer and portafilter holder are the small features that make it better than the Encore.
The Encore has a grind speed of about .8 – 1.1 g/sec and a burr RPM of 450. This means that grinding 8oz of coffee would take approximately 3 minutes and 40 seconds. If you’re grinding a smaller amount, say 54g for a standard 8-cup french press, it would take less than a minute.
The speed of the Virtuoso comes in a little faster than the Encore at about 1.5 – 2.4 g/sec and a burr RPM of 500. In this case, grinding 8oz of coffee beans would only take about 1 minute and 50 seconds. A smaller amount for a french press (about 54g) would take less than half a minute.
Top Pick: When it comes to speed, the Baratza Virtuoso definitely beats the Encore. The Virtuoso is able to grind beans at half the speed of the Encore due to it’s improved burr and RPM. However, the added speed the Virtuoso provides, is only useful to those looking to grind large amounts of coffee – 30 seconds more of grinding rarely makes a difference to most.
Of all of the grinders manufactured by Baratza, the Encore and the Virtuoso are actually their lowest-end models. This doesn’t mean that both of them don’t look great.
Aesthetically, both grinders look great. Their simple and modern design makes them look much better than most grinders and even better than some higher-end Baratza grinders.
Top Pick: While the Encore’s full plastic casing does have an aesthetically pleasing look, that is both modern and simple, the Virtuoso’s merging of both plastic and steel gives it a slight aesthetic edge over the Encore.
Both the Baratza Encore and the Virtuoso feature 40mm commercial-grade conical burrs. They’re both extremely effective at producing consistent grinds for your desired level. And with the 40 different individual grind settings, it isn’t hard to see why these are both great options.
While the Encore has an M3 burr, which has duller and flatter cutting edges, the Vituoso has a M2 burr which has a sharper cutting edge. The differences between these two burrs are very minor, but generally, the Virtuoso with its M2 burr will produce a more uniform grind that’s better suited for espresso coffee.
Top Pick: Due to its ability to produce more consistent results and its sharper cutting edge, the Virtuoso, with its M2 burr is a clear winner.
Ease of Use
As entry-level grinders, both the Encore and the Virtuoso are extremely easy to use with only a few differences between the two models.
Generally, the Encore is considered more of an entry-level grinder than the Virtuoso. As such, operating it is a little bit more straightforward and easy than the Virtuoso. All you need to do to run your Encore is place your roasted coffee beans in the hopper at the top and then use either the pulse feature or the on/off knob to start running the grinder. The ground coffee collects at the bottom of the unit in a removable container.
The Virtuoso is very similar to the Encore in its ease of use. It has a removable collection container and hopper as well as a pulse on/off knob. The main difference between the two is that the Virtuoso also has a timer. Since it’s a digital timer, using it is very easy. It’s a simple knob that increases the minutes when turned clockwise and decreases the seconds when turned counterclockwise.
Top Pick: The Encore is ideal if you’re looking for a simple and straightforward grinder with fewer settings while the Virtuoso may be a little more complicated but offers more in terms of grinder control.
Both the Encore and the Virtuoso have identical hopper and grounds container capacities. They both have a hopper capacity of about 8oz or ~227g of roasted coffee beans.
The ground container capacity of both units is 5.1oz or 144g. This is enough for most home use, even for heavy coffee drinkers. Those who find this capacity insufficient could consider buying more heavy-duty, commercial grinders.
When it comes to the size and weight of the two units, they are quite similar. Both are well suited for everyday home environments and fit well into most kitchen spaces.
The Encore has a weight of 6.83lbs. Its measures at 13.8 inches tall and 6.3 inches wide. This is quite a compact grinder considering its grind capacity and quality.
The Baratza Virtuoso has a total weight of 7.05lbs and measures at 12.6 inches tall and 6.69 inches wide. Due to it’s slightly heavier weight, it can be considered slightly less portable than the Encore. In spite of this, it’s actually less tall than the Encore which makes it a better option for those looking for a more compact option.
Top Pick: If you’re looking for a grinder that weighs less, the Encore is the way to go but if you’re looking for a more compact unit, the Virtuoso is slightly better due to its shorter height.
While both the Baratza Encore and the Baratza Virtuoso are great grinders, they serve slightly different people differently.
Overall, the Virtuoso is the better grinder. It has a burr that is a step higher than the Encore, a built in timer, a portafilter holder and, due to it’s steel and plastic housing, it’s a more durable unit. However, the price of the Virtuoso is more than $100 above the Encore which makes it a hefty investment for most first time home grinders.
So if you’re looking for a simple and easy to use grinder that will definitely fill your needs for years to come, the Encore would be a good option. If, however, you think you might need more out of your grinder, in terms of features and speed, then the Virtuoso is the way to go.
Whichever grinder you end up choosing, you can be sure you’ll be getting a great final product each and every time.
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