Every coffee enthusiast knows that to make a cup of amazing coffee, you need a perfect grind as the foundation.
This can only be achieved with a decent burr coffee grinder. So don’t go around wasting your time and money on some blade grinders that can only produce a sub-par quality grind.
In this article, your Coffee Geek in resident will compare and contrast two of the best coffee grinders in the market, Breville Smart Grinder Pro vs Baratza Encore, to help you find the one that can meet your grinding needs.
Breville Smart Grinder Pro
If you’re familiar with the brand Breville, you’d have known that it’s one of the leading manufacturers in the coffee community that produce high-quality coffee equipment, notably, espresso machines and drip machines.
Another hit of the brand is the Smart Grinder Pro. It contains stainless steel conical burrs that are optimally constructed for grinding coffee beans for an espresso machine.
It has an impressive number of grind settings for enhanced precision, making it capable of accommodating whatever brew method you have in mind, from French Press coarse to Espresso fine.
There’s also a Precision Electronic Timer that enables users to adjust the grind time in very small time increments to get the correct grind size that they desire. It’s a useful feature for coffee lovers who are used to timing their grind.
The user can conveniently grind directly into their portafilter (by resting it on the portafilter cradle), grinds container, paper filters, or other types of filter baskets.
Overall, the Breville Smart Grinder Pro is a durable professional-grade coffee grinder that’s most popular for grinding for an espresso machine.
Baratza Encore Coffee Grinder
The Baratza Encore is a product of Baratza, a brand that’s well-known for making easy-to-use cutting-edge coffee grinders. You might have heard of its Baratza Virtuoso and other grinders as well.
The Encore, in particular, is often marketed as an entry-level coffee grinder, a solution for beginner home baristas who are getting into the craft of making great coffee, due to its simple ON/OFF switch and pulse button navigation.
This best-selling burr grinder from Baratza utilizes commercial-grade conical burrs, enabling users to explore a wide grind range for various brewing methods. That’s also possible thanks to its pretty large number of grind settings.
The device is also well-known for its very small footprint, making it suitable for those with limited counter space.
Breville Smart Grinder Pro Vs Baratza Encore – Similarities
These burr grinders are practically as different as night and day with very little in common.
These two coffee grinders are both conical burr grinders. Due to the construction of the conical burrs, they can consistently produce dual-sized ground beans rather than one uniform size like a flat burr grinder.
And the combination of both smaller and larger coffee particle sizes is actually more suitable for making espresso as it optimizes the coffee-to-water contact and the water flow rate during the short brew time.
The vertical grinding action of conical burr grinders also helps reduce grinds retention and noise and produce less heat build-up, compared to its flat burr counterparts.
Just leave the portafilter or grounds bin in place and the grinders should automatically dispense ground beans into it with no need for your hands.
Breville Smart Grinder Pro Vs Baratza Encore – Differences
|Breville Smart Grinder Pro||Baratza Encore|
|Dimensions (WxDxH)||8.3″ x 11.5″ x 19.4″ (21.1 x 29.2 x 49.3 cm)||12″ x 16″ x 35″ (30.5 x 40.6 x 88.9 cm)|
|Weight||6.4 lbs (2.9 kg)||7 lbs (3.1 kg)|
|Material||Stainless steel||Black plastic|
|Bean hopper capacity||18 oz (510 g)||8 oz (227 g)|
|Type of grinder||Conical burr||Conical burr|
|Grind settings||60 with adjustable inner top burr||40|
|Suitable brewing methods||Any but most suitable for espresso||Manual brewing methods and espresso|
|Motor||Direct drive||Gear reduction|
|Dosing IQ||Precision Digital Timer||No|
|Grind dispensation||Grinds container, portafilter, filter basket, or paper filter||Grinds container or portafilter|
|Grinds container||Airtight sealed glass||Plastic|
|Appearance||Modern, smart, and professional||Simple and minimalistic|
The Breville Smart Grinder Pro totally trumps the Baratza Encore in terms of coffee beans capacity. The former can carry up to 18 oz (510 g), while the latter can only handle up to 8 oz (227 g).
But, when you buy the Baratza Encore, you may also receive a hopper extender that can extend the capacity of the grinder by an additional 9 oz (255 g).
That means you can grind up to 17 oz (482 g) in total with the Baratza Encore, which is still less than what the Breville Smart Grinder Pro is capable of.
Though the Baratza Encore comes as a close second to the Smart Grinder Pro in terms of capacity, the Breville grinder definitely wins by a landslide in this round.
With a whopping number of 60 grind settings, the Breville Smart Grinder Pro can accommodate various brewing methods from French Press to espresso.
What’s more, if you find the finest or the coarsest grind settings still not fine or coarse enough to your liking, you can disassemble the grinder to adjust the inner top burr of the device to effectively extend the range even further AKA more grind settings! (This is different from the outer grind settings that you can see).
Some users may find the Breville Smart Grinder only suitable for making espresso and not the best for other brewing methods due to the fine grind levels that it offers.
But, with this trick up your sleeve, you should be able to grind beans for any methods that you intend to dabble into.
The Baratza Encore doesn’t have as many grind options, but any beginner or coffee connoisseur should still be satisfied with its 40 grind settings to make a great cup of Joe. The grind range is from 250 – 1200 microns.
These grind settings make it most suitable for various manual brewing methods (French Press, Pour-Overs, AeroPress) and espresso.
The heat build-up issue can potentially burn the coffee beans while grinding and it’s often the case with many coffee grinders in the market.
If you’re worried about this, you can rest assured that it won’t happen with the Baratza Encore.
It runs on a direct drive gear reduction system which transmits the power from the DC motor to the rotating cone burr.
This ultimately helps protect the motor. As the burrs would run at a slower grind speed (550 RPM), there’s less of a risk of overheating due to excessive use.
This gear reduction system also makes the good grinder operate more quietly, reduces static generation, and lengthens its lifespan.
This system isn’t available on the Breville Smart Grinder Pro.
Ease Of Use
Next, let’s discuss how easy it is to use these grinding machines.
Breville Smart Grinder Pro has a helpful LCD screen that clearly displays the grind setting, grind time, and the number of shots/cups you select.
You’ll be interacting with the Breville Smart Grinder Pro via classic Breville buttons and dials.
There’s a dial on the side of the machine to easily and quickly adjust the grind size along the 60-setting spectrum.
You can also adjust the number of shots/cups (up to 8 shots) via the middle button on the front of the Smart Grinder Pro. This will prompt the grind time to automatically change accordingly, which can be viewed on the LCD.
There’s a simple START/PAUSE/CANCEL button for either automatic or manual grinding. Alternatively, you may press and release the portafilter to start the grinding process. Feel free to pause anytime to settle the ground beans midway so that they don’t fall out.
Users can also use the GRIND AMOUNT dial to increase or decrease the grind amount if they find the pre-programmed shots/cups amount too little or too much.
The Baratza Encore, on the other hand, doesn’t have a convenient LCD screen to display the grinding information.
Unlike the Breville Smart Grinder Pro and its more technologically advanced features, the Baratza Encore serves its purpose as an entry-level beginner-friendly grinder with a much more simple interface that anyone can navigate through with hardly a need for an instruction manual.
You can find some numbers and marks underneath the bean hopper. That’s the grind adjustment scale. So, to adjust the grind size, simply spin the hopper so that the grind setting indicator is pointing at your desired size.
For a regular or large dose of coffee, find the ON/OFF switch on the side which basically starts and stops the grinding process as you turn the grinder on and off.
The convenient pulse button on the front of the grinder also offers very straightforward and intuitive control for fine-tuning the grind.
Press and hold the button and the grinder will dispense more coffee within that duration.
The Breville Smart Grinder Pro also comes with an innovative Precision Digital Timer. It allows users to adjust and program the grind time in 0.2 second increments to enhance dose precision and give users more control over the process.
It’s little things like this that make it a perfect grinder for a coffee aficionado. The beginner home baristas likely prefer the Baratza Encore, which doesn’t have more complex settings and technologies like this.
You can follow the pre-programmed settings that the intelligent Breville grinder gives you or press the PROGRAM button to alter the specific grind time for each number of shots/cups.
And, again, this feature isn’t available on the entry-level Encore.
Overall, the Breville Smart Grinder offers a lot more attention to detail and precision with various adjustable and programmable functions.
On the other hand, Baratza’s burrs focus more on ease of use with its simple navigation and basic functions.
On the Breville Smart Grinder Pro, you can have the grounds dispensed into the airtight sealed glass grinds container or directly into your portafilter (thanks to the portafilter cradle), filter basket, or paper filter and move on to the brewing process immediately.
On the Baratza Encore, however, you’ll most likely have to rely on its plastic grounds bin and take the time to transfer the grounds from there to whatever filter basket or paper filter you’re using.
But you may find a portaholder (portafilter cradle) as an accessory of the machine. It can replace the bin and hold the portafilter so you can fill it directly to save time.
If you only have limited counter space for an extra burr grinder, your best bet is the Baratza Encore (4.7 x 6.3 x 13.8 inch/12 x 16 x 35 cm) as it’s a lot smaller than the Breville Smart Grinder Pro (8.3 x 11.5 x 19.4 inch/21 x 29.2 x 49.3 cm).
This is to be expected as the Encore is known for its small footprint despite how powerful it is. It can certainly fit under most kitchen cabinets.
The Breville Smart Grinder Pro is a lot more durably built with stainless steel housing and conical burrs.
Some users may find the Encore rather flimsy due to its plastic outer housing and coffee container. But its burrs are also made of metal – hardened alloy steel, to be specific.
So, just make sure the little guy doesn’t fall off your counter and you should be fine.
The Breville Smart Grinder has a modern, smart, and professional appearance that matches its abilities.
You can find it in an array of different colors, from clean brushed stainless steel and timeless black to funner colors like cranberry red.
Similarly, the Baratza Encore has a simplistic design that matches its functions.
A small and minimalistic machine should fit right on any kitchen counter.
You can get it in either black or white.
These two grinders are generally moderately priced (under $200), as in they’re neither outrageously expensive nor cheap.
With the number of features and amount of convenience that the Breville grinder offers, you can probably tell that it’s more expensive than the Encore.
However, for an entry-level grinder, the Baratza Encore can be considered quite pricey as it’s only $30 cheaper than the Breville machine.
But, you are getting one of the best beginner-friendly grinders that operate with the conical burr method in the market.
Breville Smart Grinder Pro Vs Baratza Encore – Final Verdict
People drink coffee differently, brew coffee differently, and, certainly, grind coffee differently.
So there’s no clear winner here as these two grinders that can’t be more different from each other can satisfy each person’s personal preferences.
Is The Breville Smart Grinder Worth It?
As a coffee aficionado, I prefer the Breville Smart Grinder Pro as I prioritize grind precision above all.
Considering the number of settings and innovative adjustable features that the machine can offer, this durable device is definitely worthwhile for a long time and suitable for many brewing methods, especially espresso.
Is The Baratza Encore Worth It?
If price isn’t an issue, the Baratza Encore with a very simple operation is perfect for any beginner home barista who’s getting into brewing fresh cups of Joe at home rather than relying on coffee shops or pre-ground coffee all the time.
Not to mention its small footprint that should fit any counter.
The Baratza Encore is also a great option for those who frequently make espresso and manual brews such as Pour-Overs and French Press.