As a barista-turned-coffee writer, I’ve seen dozens of gadgets enter the market, promising to improve your home brewing game, help anyone make coffee as good as their barista, and crack the code on unlocking that exceptional cup of joe. It can be dizzying to try to keep up.
Coffee is a complex drink, and it’s easy to see why folks gravitate towards the newest and latest tools. But brewing great coffee is about nailing the basics: good water, high-quality beans and a well-made burr grinder. And there’s no better, more cost-effective, and durable home grinder than the Baratza Encore. Nothing will help the coffee lover in your life perfect their brews more than a reliable burr coffee grinder, which will help transform their daily cup from just ok to on par with what they’re used to drinking at their local coffee shop.
Based in Bellevue, Washington, Barazta is a coffee grinder company that makes a handful of small, compact grinders. Most of their grinders are for home use, but many still find their way on the counters of specialty coffee shops across the nation. Their coffee grinders have helped define the coffee grinding industry and have been recognized multiple times by the Specialty Coffee Association.
The most defining feature of the Encore is its conical burrs, which are a set of metal pieces fitted to complement one another. Each burr piece is cut to have ridges that look like teeth, which is how the burrs grind your coffee. The hopper, which is the clear chamber on top, can hold up to eight ounces of coffee; it dispenses grounds into a small container that can be pulled out and dosed into your preferred coffee brewer.
If you ask a barista what they think is the most important factor when it comes to brewing coffee, I’d bet most would say having a burr grinder. I didn’t really understand this until I started working in coffee shops, and I saw these huge, industrial coffee grinders used for grinding beans. The very first shop I worked in had four different grinders, each costing thousands of dollars—and I’ve seen other coffee shops line up half a dozen or more grinders for different coffees and different brewing applications.
“The powers of a man’s mind are directly proportional to the quantity of coffee he drank.”— Sir James MacKintosh
As I’ve gotten more into coffee, I’ve upgraded my setup with two grinders also made by Baratza. But the Encore remains my go-to gift for my friends and loved ones because it gives them a peek into my world and provides them the tools to do what I do. In this article, we’ve talked about how the Encore is the perfect gift for a coffee lover, but it’s also the perfect gift to help someone learn and love coffee alongside you.