fzman1956 Senior Member Joined: 24 Oct 2013 Posts: 3 Location: skokie Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Thu Oct 24, 2013, 2:50pm Subject: Grinder purchase decision
Hello All. I am starting to get tired of having to shake my Kitchenaid grinder with both hands to get all of the beans to drop thru for my morning coffee. I roast my own beans fullcity(+), brew in a technivorm (daily) and occasionally French press or vietnamese brewer or aeropress, and am trying to decide whether it will be worthwhile to by either Breville BCG800XL or oneof the two entry level Baratza grinders either Encore or Virtuoso.
I weigh my beans before grinding, and want value, performance, and reliability. All of thee grinders get both good and bad press, so I was wondering if anyone has used at least two of the three for enough time to make informed comparative comments.
I do not do espresso except very occasionally and I have a Delonghi superautomatic for that - I know it's gauche, but I like it.
everything i can tell from the encore makes me think it's perfect for home use, especially for the price. if you can afford it, the virtuoso would be a better buy but i wouldn't say it's necessary for your methods. the encore would be a definite upgrade from your kitchenaid.
thanks for the reply. do you own the encore, or are you basing this on reviews and my preferred brewing methods only? I weigh my beans prior to grinding 7gm per 'cup' so i don;t need fancy display panels (Breville has one, but it is not necessarily a plus for me, however cool it is). For me it is a question of performance and reliability. The Baratza's have a fair number of negative reviews regarding DOA, or short-term failures, which is not awe-inspiring for me as a prospective customer. that's why I posted to see the real story from actual users of these grinders.
I have 4 Baratza grinders in the family. I have a Maestro Plus. My (older) children have an older Maestro, a Precisio and an Encore.
All work well. The Precisio is used for espresso; the rest are for regular coffee.
They are very reliable except for one situation. If you get a small pebble among the beans you can stall the grinder and sometimes strip the gears. (That might be true for other brands as well.) I had that happen once, in 3 years.
Baratza has excellent service. They will tell you (by phone or email) what your problem might be and recommend an appropriate parts kit. The parts are not expensive. In the case of my 'pebble' I had to replace a stripped gear and a counter-shaft. The parts cost $11.00 + S&H.
The grinder is built such that most repairs can be done at home with simple tools. That saves you the cost of an expensive repair and shipping 2 ways. Baratza has a library of illustrated step-by-step instructions to help you along.
For normal maintenance, you can field-strip a grinder and clean it up in about 15 minutes without any tools.
While I am quite happy with my Maestro Plus, I am considering upgrading to a Virtuoso. I understand it grinds faster and quieter.
I do actually own an Encore and have had no issues personally. It's not as quiet as I would have liked (but far quieter then my old Kitchenaid one, that thing was crazy loud), but it still gives a consisten grind with a small amount of fines. It really feels to be more suited to drip coffee, it's got a far more even grind than when it's on either end of the spectrum. For speed, it grinds about 50g of coffee in around 15 seconds. I've never timed it but it doesn't feel like I'm waiting for it. The few times I've actually weighed the grounds found less than a gram lost, so it's good in that regard as well.
I haven't had any experience with the others on your list so I can't comment.
just looking online at places that collect consumer reviews from purchasers, the bulk are positive, but there are a number that report DOA, or failures not long after receiving them..... stuff like that - i don;t remember which specific sites, but things like amazon, etc.
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