Baratza Vario vs Encore: Which Grinder Should You Purchase?
The Baratza Vario might be one of the most popular Baratza models to date, but it’s far from the only one. How do the other Baratza options hold up to it?
Our goal in this guide is to delve into that question by comparing the Baratza Vario vs Encore. This is what we’ll talk about:
- Features that are the same in the Vario and Encore.
- Differences between these grinders.
- Suggestions we have for how to decide which one to get.
Let’s dive right in…
Of the two grinders in this comparison, the Baratzo Vario is definitely the most versatile. On top of its 230 grind fineness setting combinations, it has the ability to grind into either a portafilter or grounds bin. We’d suggest the Vario for beginning baristas who want more control over their grind.
What the Baratza Encore offers to you is fine Baratza craftsmanship for one amazingly affordable price. Its steel conical burrs are long-lasting and easy stepped adjustments make it a great pick for novices. Grab this Baratza if you’re searching for an entry-level coffee grinder at a low price point.
Stepped Grind Adjustment
The Vario and Encore have a stepped grind adjustment system. In short, it means that either one will give you a range of premade fineness levels to choose from. Simply turn their adjustment dials, which will click into place at each setting.
It’s a great design for beginners, especially when you consider how complex the alternative, a stepless system, is. Stepless grind systems eliminate the premade settings, making it possible for you to turn the adjustment dial to any point.
Although stepless systems have infinitely more flexibility, they are also undeniably more complicated. A stepped system is easier to learn simply because you won’t have to struggle as much to find the perfect setting.
Grounds Bin or Portafilter
Either a grounds bin or a portafilter can be used in tandem with the Baratza Vario or Encore. Both grinders come equipped with grounds bins or portafilter holders.
This increases their versatility. You can grind into your portafilter to make a single shot of espresso, for instance, or you can grind into the bin to prepare a bigger batch of coffee.
It’s worth noting, however, that some have reported the Encore isn’t as good for espresso because it doesn’t get quite as fine as necessary unless you’re using a high-pressure portafilter.
Either grinder in this comparison has a holder on the front for a portafilter or the included grounds bin. Because the grinders can cling to your portafilter or bin for you, grinding coffee is a pleasantly hands-off experience.
While the grinder takes care of your coffee beans for you, you’re free to work on other things. You could even just take the few seconds necessary to grind coffee or espresso and relax momentarily.
Read Also: Baratza Vario vs Rancilio Rocky
Hoppers are the coffee bean compartments located at the top of the grinder. A big hopper will make it possible for you to grind more continuously, since it can hold more beans to dispense to the machine.
When it comes to hopper size, the Vario and Encore are equal. Either one will hold up to eight grams of coffee beans for you, which translates to half a pound. That should be more than enough for the average home to prepare drinks for the whole family.
Worried that bringing a grinder home will lead to regular noisy disruptions to your household’s quiet? You’ll be relieved to find that this is simply not true with these Baratza models.
Both were designed with high-quality DC motors that run at a low volume. Because of this, you can use them both without fear of waking any sleeping family members.
There are a couple huge differences between these grinders, and one of them is their burr shape. In the world of grinders, there are two types of burrs: flat and conical. Both types have their own benefits to offer you.
The Baratza Vario has flat burrs. This shape allows the grinder to produce coffee particles of perfectly uniform size. As a result, beverages made on the Baratza Vario should have a richer, fuller flavor that some even describe as chocolatey.
On the other hand, the Baratza Encore has conical burrs. Its cone-shaped grinding discs make the grinder produce coffee particles of two different sizes that are called bimodal particles. Bimodal particles create a brighter flavor in your cup.
Further Reading: Baratza Vario vs Virtuoso
Just about every single aspect of the burrs in these grinders is different. That includes their size, which is another vital aspect to consider.
The burrs in the Vario are larger. It has 54mm burrs. In comparison, the Encore’s burrs are 40mm.
If you’re wondering why this matters, it comes down to speed. Larger burrs have more surface area and can therefore grind more coffee beans quickly.
If you think burr shape and size are the only things of consequence, you’d be wrong. The material from which a grinder’s burrs are made is consequential, as well.
Let’s look the Vario’s burrs first, which are made from ceramic. You expect longevity from ceramic burrs, as they don’t grow dull quickly. Ceramic burrs also don’t overheat in the way that metal burrs do, protecting your coffee beans from being burnt.
The burrs in the Encore are made from metal. They’ll start off razor-sharp, in addition to being resistant to chipping or cracking.
Baratza Vario Macro/Micro Grind Adjustment
While it’s true that both grinders have a stepped system, the Baratza Vario takes this system to lofty new heights. It has an innovative macro/micro grind adjustment design that turns this normally limiting feature into something much more flexible.
Basically, you’ll have two different grind adjustment dials to use. Set the overall fineness level on the first dial, then turn the second one to adjust the fineness even further within that setting.
Baratza Encore Color Options
For some, the look of an appliance is crucial. Many people will spend extra simply to match the appliances in their kitchen and promote a cohesive aesthetic.
If that sounds like you, then you’ll prefer the Baratza Encore in this comparison. Of the two grinders in this guide, it is the only one available in more than one color. Specifically, you can purchase it in either black or white.
Related Article: Baratza Vario vs Vario W
Baratza Vario Digital Control Panel
Take the Vario and Encore, then set them next to each other. One of their key differences will be immediately obvious: the Encore lacks the control panel that the Vario has.
If you want a machine that looks simple and minimalist, you may find the lack of a control panel preferable. However, there are quite a few benefits to the panel on the Vario.
For starters, the control panel brings together all the settings you need to control it in one location. Everything you need to operate the grinder is right there in front of you.
Second, the panel is easily replaceable. If something breaks in it, a repair can be made by just sliding a new panel into place.
Baratza Vario Programmable Buttons
The Baratza Vario has another feature that makes it a match made in heaven for beginners: its programmable buttons. If you know the correct duration for a specific dose of coffee, such as a single shot of espresso, you can save it in one of the programmable buttons.
With your timings saved in advance, all you need to do is press the correct button and wait. Grinding fresh coffee could not be any more effortless.
Majesty Coffee’s objective is to have the best coffee gear for the lowest prices. We’re pleased to say that this also applies to our Baratza models.
We have the Baratza Vario in our store for $479. Presently, we do not have the Baratza Encore in the store, but it is available through other stores.
Which Grinder Should You Purchase?
The important question that remains to be answered is which grinder you should purchase. Let’s look at reasons why you might choose either grinder to help you answer that question.
One thing to think about is user-friendliness. If you’re a total beginner, the control panel on the Vario can look kind of intimidating. However, it’s actually packed full of features that make it suitable for all skill levels.
For instance, its programmable buttons could save you a lot of time. Once you’ve programmed the right times into them, all you need to do to get a freshly ground dose of coffee is simply press the right button.
If you still think the Vario is intimidating, though, then you may prefer the Encore’s uncluttered appearance. It’s an excellent choice for those that just want to make basic coffee.
Are you searching for a grinder with more color options? Your choice should be the Encore, then, which is the only grinder of the two available in more than one color.
This is our suggestion:
Pick the Baratza Vario if you want to prepare espresso frequently, you want more versatility, or you want the ease that comes with programmable buttons.
We recommend the Baratza Encore for coffee lovers on a budget or those who want a grinder that’s available in a couple different colors.