If you’re reading this article, chances are you’ve decided to take your coffee to the next level….to grind your own beans with a burr coffee grinder. I would like to be the first to say congratulations on taking the plunge! You’re in for an uber-delicious journey ahead.
Your first task as a coffee enthusiast will be to choose the most important tool in your arsenal— the coffee grinder.
Today we are going to be comparing the Baratza Encore and the Capresso Infinity— two of the most popular choices for a first ‘real’ coffee grinder.
The Baratza Encore VS Capresso Infinity battle starts now!
A Quick Glance: Baratza Encore
Though the Baratza Encore is dubbed an entry-level grinder, it is still one heavy hitter in the specialty coffee world. Many expert baristas and coffee lovers trust Baratza grinders for brewing coffee at home.
- Features a conical steel burr set
- High-quality build
- Super easy maintenance
- Not ideal for espresso
- No timer or auto-off function
Featuring a 40mm set of conical steel burrs, 40 grind adjustment settings, and excellent workmanship, the Baratza Encore is the perfect machine to get you started brewing coffee manually.
What do we love?
There is a lot to love about the Baratza Encore.
For starters, the 40mm conical steel burr set is solid. These burrs spin at a slower speed of 550RPM, helping reduce heat and ensure more even grinding.
Baratza designed the Encore to be user-serviceable, meaning that each part can be easily replaced if something goes wrong.
What’s not so great?
If you are looking for an espresso grinder, the Baratza Encore is probably not your man. While it can grind fairly fine, it doesn’t have the adjustments required to really dial in your shots.
It’s also pretty loud and fairly slow— not great if you want to quickly make coffee in stealth mode.
Anyone wanting to start brewing pour over, French press, cold brew, or AeroPress coffee at home. If you’re buying specialty-grade coffee beans, the Baratza will help you get the most out of them without breaking the bank.
You’ll also be able to grow with this burr grinder because it is a quality product. Not just one for beginners, but also for experts. You won’t feel the desire to upgrade shortly after purchasing.
A Quick Glance: Capresso Infinity
- Grinds very well for the price
- Has a useful timed grind function
- Uses a set of 40mm conical steel burrs
- Only offers 16 grind adjustment settings
- Not good for brewing espresso
Like the Encore, the Capresso grinder uses a 40mm conical stainless steel burr set and a low RPM motor for more even grinding with less heat production.
It’s sleek with a small footprint— a great grinder to move up from using pre ground coffee beans.
What do we love?
The Capresso Infinity is feature-packed for a grinder in this price range.
Within its hard ABS plastic casing lies a 40mm set of conical steel burrs, offering decent durability and fairly even grinding at a medium particle size.
The outer burr is removable without tools for easy cleaning, and the grounds bin holds a decent amount of coffee, good for making batches of cold brew.
What’s not so great?
Capresso insists that this grinder is great for brewing espresso.
But unless you are using pressurized portafilter baskets to pull your shots, it really isn’t. With 16 grind adjustments, there isn’t much room to play with when dialing in your espresso.
Even outside of espresso, you will eventually outgrow the Capresso Infinity with a desire for more precise grind adjustments.
The Capresso Infinity is a huge step up from using either blade grinders or pre ground coffee.
If you want to try out brewing coffee by hand, but not sure if you’ll keep with it, this is a good, entry-level option.
Baratza Encore vs Capresso Infinity Showdown
Let the showdown begin!
We’ve broken things down nice and simple into subcategories.
We’ll look at each aspect of both burr grinders. We’ll see which is better in each area and declare it the winner of that category. This will eventually lead us to an overall winner of this clash of the ‘entry level’ burr grinders.
Both the Encore and the Infinity feel impressively solid when it comes to build quality. Neither of these grinders feels flimsy.
Using a mix of metal where it matters and plastic where possible, the price of these burr grinders can be kept on the lower end of the spectrum. Thankfully, the plastic used for both grinders is durable and heavy.
It’s a draw when it comes to build quality. Neither grinder has anything noticeably better than the other.
Burrs are arguably one of the most important parts of a coffee grinder. They are what comes into direct contact with the coffee, and they are what cuts the beans for brewing.
So what’s each grinder packing, and which is better?
Funnily enough, both the Baratza and the Capresso feature a set of 40mm stainless steel conical burrs. A stainless steel burr set is excellent for durability, far better than those made of ceramic.
Both grinders can perform very well for all practical manual brewing applications. Pour overs, AeroPress, French press, cold brew, and cupping are where these grinders will shine.
Another tie! When we look at just the statistics, both grinders come out equal using a 40mm conical burr set.
When comparing grind quality, we typically look at how evenly each grinder cuts the coffee beans. The more even the grounds, the more balanced and well extracted our cup of coffee will be.
Let’s check out the grinding specs of each grinder.
- Grind sizes from 250 – 1200 microns.
- 40 grind settings.
- Can grind at a speed of between 0.8g per second and 1.1g per second.
- 550 RPM.
To adjust the grind size on this Baratza conical burr grinder, we simply turn the bean hopper. A lower number gives you a finer grind, while a higher number will make the grind coarser. There are 40 grind sizes which is plenty for anything except espresso.
Dialing in the perfect size is easy. The difference between each setting is small, so you can always fine-tune your pour overs.
Grinding at a medium or even an extra fine setting, the Baratza produces a fairly consistent and uniform grind. We have a couple of boulders and a few fines, but in general, pretty good. Absolutely good enough to brew delicious coffee.
The Baratza Encore spins at a low RPM. What this does is increase the consistency of the grinds, while also reducing the amount of heat that builds up within the burr set. If too much heat is generated, the heat can start to ‘cook’ the beans, which is not what we want.
Good for? All manual brewing methods. Pour overs, AeroPress, French press, and cold brew.
Not great for? Espresso.
- Grind size from 300 – 1200 microns.
- 16 grind settings.
- Can grind at a speed of between 1.5g per second and 3g per second.
- <450 rpm
The Capresso Infinity comes at adjusting the grind from a very beginner-friendly place. That’s not to say that the Baratza isn’t beginner-friendly, but the Infinity is really aimed at those new to coffee.
On this machine, we have 16 grind adjustment settings across 4 different size ranges, from extra fine to coarse. These ranges are printed on the housing in the grinder. Turn the bean hopper to the right to go finer, and to the left to go coarser.
It performs well on the finer end of its grind settings. Pretty comparable to the Encore in terms of evenness. Great for any brew method that requires a medium to medium-fine particle size.
What really lets the Capresso down is its number of grind settings. With only 16 grind sizes, there is a big jump between each.
While I don’t see this being an issue at first, it will eventually become frustrating. Because sometimes you do need to go that teeny bit finer. Not being able to make a small enough adjustment will drive many to buy a new, more adjustable device.
Good for? All your manual brews. French press, pour over, cold brew, and AeroPress.
Not great for? Espresso.
Winner: Baratza Encore! Thanks to its number of grind settings, Baratza takes out this round.
Cleaning and Maintenance
Coffee beans are super oily. Even when using light roasts, the oil from coffee will build up on anything it touches. This is why cleaning your coffee gear regularly is imperative!
When it comes to simply cleaning these grinders, they are about equal.
You won’t need to use tools for either machine. You’ll loosen the bean hopper, pull out the outer burr and you’re set to give both burrs a good clean. Brush off any fines, reassemble, and your golden.
When it comes to maintenance, however, the Baratza Encore is leaps and bounds ahead. This bad boy isn’t even just ahead of other budget grinders in the maintenance category. It’s ahead of most other grinders– full stop.
What makes the Encore so great in terms of maintenance? Baratza are big believers of the ‘don’t dump it, fix it’ ethos.
They offer schematics and affordable spare parts for their grinders. Everything from a replacement motor and a circuit board to a single nut or bolt. So if it stops working, you can speak to someone at Baratza, order the part you need, install it yourself and keep on brewing.
Less waste and far less cost in the long run.
Another win for the Encore! When it comes to cleaning, both machines come out even. But in terms of maintenance, the Baratza Encore is far ahead of the pack.
If both grinders were equally priced, choosing which is better would be easy. The Encore is better overall– hands down. But when we consider the price of the two, it becomes less clear.
At under $100, the Capresso Infinity is a straight-up bargain. It has everything that the Encore does, minus the range of grind adjustment settings.
That means that we really need to think about how important these extra settings are. What good is a bargain if it can’t grind the way we want, right?
If your go-to coffee device is an automatic drip coffee maker, I’d say the Infinity is excellent value for money. You probably don’t need to drop the extra $50 or so on the Encore.
But if you’re experimenting with different V60 brew recipes where your grind size is more important, the Encore is better value. With this style of brewing, the Infinity, regardless of its price, will become frustrating fast.
It’s a tie!
If you use an automatic drip coffee maker, the Infinity is excellent value for money. Brewing using a V60 or Kalita Wave, the Encore is a much better option for the money you’ll be spending.
The act of grinding coffee beans is not a quiet one.
Unless you are grinding coffee by hand, there will always be a level of noise. The sound of the grinder’s motor, combined with the burrs munching away on beans can rattle through the house— not the most pleasant way to wake up one’s significant other.
The Baratza Encore is slightly louder than the Infinity. It has a deeper sound, which some people may prefer, but it is louder overall.
The point goes to the Capresso Infinity on this one. It runs quieter than the Encore.
Dimensions & Hopper Size
Both of these grinders have a small footprint, taking up very little space on the countertop.
The Baratza has one of its grind controls mounted on the side of the unit, so it does need a little more space on the side to operate the dial.
The Encore has an 8 ounce (227g) bean hopper and a 5 ounce (142g) grounds bin. Plenty big enough for brew methods requiring a large amount of coffee like batch brew and cold brew.
With an 8.8 ounce (250g) hopper capacity, the Capresso Infinity is slightly bigger on the hopper, but slightly smaller when it comes to the grounds collection bin. Holding 4 ounces (113g), it too is big enough for automatic batch brews and cold brewing.
Win: Encore. The capacity of the Encore’s hopper and grounds bin just makes more sense.
Up until this point, both grinders seem fairly similar. They have similar sizes, fit-outs, and the grind quality is comparable.
One big difference between these two burr coffee grinders is how you operate them.
The Encore features two modes of operation. On the side, we have a simple on/off switch, and on the front, there is a pulse button. Hold the pulse button to start, let it go to stop. Ease of use at its finest.
Not one for a simple on/off button, the Capresso Infinity uses an auto grind timer.
Turn the dial on the face of the machine, and the Infinity will grind for between 5 and 60 seconds. If you have the dial set at 2, the Infinity will run for about 10 seconds. Each step equals around 5 seconds of run time.
So which is better?
If you’re single dose grinding, that is to weigh out a dose of coffee, throw it into the grinder and grind all of it, the Infinity is probably better.
It will take some experimenting to know what number on the dial will grind a 20g coffee dose. But once you figure it out, you basically have an auto-off function, which is really handy.
Winner: Infinity. Once you’ve figured out how long this grinder takes to grind your dose, the Infinity basically has an auto off function.
The Final Verdict
Both of these contenders are solid options when it comes to a budget burr grinder. But this isn’t little league, and there can only be one winner!
After putting both grinders under the microscope, the Baratza Encore is the clear winner.
Thanks to its wide range of grind settings, and the Baratza repair program, the Encore will grow with you on your coffee journey. And once it does come time to trade it in for something better, you’ll be able to pass it on to the next generation of coffee beginners!