Most importantly, the Encore is very easy to use. An accompanying guide will tell you which number to set your grind at based on how you’re making the coffee—with a French press, drip machine, pour-over, or espresso machine. Simply turn a switch for it to start and use the ground beans as you wish. I brew mine with the Oxo coffee maker, and thanks to this grinder, it’s a cup of coffee that tastes fuller, more aromatic, and more nuanced than my previous home brews. These days, I can identify why some beans say they’re “chocolaty” and others claim “notes of blueberry,” something I was never able to discern in the past when making coffee at home.
Note that this machine doesn’t grind coffee directly into an espresso filter basket—so if you’re drinking espresso consistently, you might want to splurge on the Baratza Virtuoso+ model.
The Encore strikes a perfect balance between affordability and functionality, but there are plenty of great burr grinders at every price point. Here are a few of our favorites:
With a $250 price tag, the Baratza Virtuoso+ is a step up from the entry-level Encore. The high-end grinder comes with a few additional features that make the purchase worth it—most notably, a digital timer that’s adjustable to a tenth of a second and the ability to grind directly into an espresso filter basket. With sharper, sleeker burrs than the Encore, it’s able to grind coffee faster and with more precision. The Encore works well with standard drip machines, but if you have an espresso machine or really want to dial in your pour-over game, the Virtuoso+ is a worthy investment.
The Fashionable Yet Functional Picks: Fellow Ode and Opus Conical Burr Grinders
If you’re looking for a cafe-quality burr grinder that also looks great on your countertop, go for one of Fellow’s modern burr grinders: the Ode or the Opus. The Ode Gen 2 ($345), which won a Best New Product award from the Specialty Coffee Association in 2021, is compact, easy to use (simply set the dial to your desired grind size and press a button), and relatively quiet. Food director Chris Morocco uses this model at home: “It does a better job than most grinders at containing any mess and flyaway chaff (you fans of light roast coffees will know what I am talking about).” Its cafe-quality stainless steel flat burrs will help you produce a top notch at-home brew. The one downside of the Ode Gen 2 grinder is that it does not grind finely enough for espresso—use it for pour-over, drip, and French press coffee only.
If you’re looking for a less expensive electric coffee grinder with a wider range of settings (including an espresso grind), go for the Opus—which, according to Chris, “dropped out of heaven into all our collective laps.” At $195, it’s more expensive than the Baratza Encore, but the 10 grind settings (from fine espresso to coarse cold brew) and minimalist design make this a very worthy upgrade. The Opus is full of thoughtful features, like a magnetically aligned catch cup that slides right into place when you’re ready to grind and a smaller “dosing cup” for an easy, mess-free transfer of a single espresso shot’s worth of grounds to the portafilter. Unlike the Encore, which can store a larger quantity of beans in the hopper, the Fellow models are designed to grind individual doses—a plus if you live in a household where one person likes a dark espresso roast and the other prefers a light roast for pour-overs. Grind to order in one of these sleek machines and everyone’s happy.
If you’re starting out on your coffee journey and not ready to shell out over $100 for an ultra-precise grinder, this Oxo burr grinder ($99) is just the thing. With a simple, intuitive design and excellent consistency, it’s the least expensive option on the market that still delivers a quality grind for home use. Like the Fellow grinders, the Oxo bean grinder operates on a numbered dial, which you can set to an ultra-fine or coarse grind, but the range is only 15 settings. While Fellow’s user-friendly grinders default to a 30-second grind, with the Oxo grinder, you can adjust the grind time on a separate wind-up timer (although it maxes out at 30 seconds, so you’ll have to rinse and repeat for larger batch brews). Though it can achieve a grind fine enough for espresso, it doesn’t grind directly into a portafilter, so the transfer process from grinder to espresso maker can be a bit messy. But all in all, it’s a good coffee grinder for the unfussy but dedicated coffee drinker.
Want to get a morning arm workout as you brew your cup of joe? Switch from an electric grinder to a manual coffee grinder; this one from Flair is Chris’s pick for the best espresso. The little device has conical steel burrs and 72 fine-grind settings, giving you plenty of options to customize your espresso grind. It has an easy-to-grip silicone body and a convenient thumb rest for seamless grinding, plus, it doesn’t take up any counter space. Note that this hand grinder is designed specifically for espresso but will also work for brewing techniques that require a finer grind, like the Aeropress, Turkish coffee (boiled in a cezve), or coffee made in the moka pot. Don’t open a cafe with it, but if you’re going camping with your Aeropress or are just an occasional espresso drinker, this grinder’s got you.
Complete the set-up:
Zoe Denenberg contributed additional reporting to this piece.