Bellevue, Washington-based Baratza has lifted the curtain on a new espresso-focused take on its entry-level consumer grinder called the Encore ESP.
Unveiled at last month’s Specialty Coffee Expo in Boston, the ESP version of the Encore includes a number of tweaks under the hood designed to improve espresso preparation, including a different burr set and a new system for finer resolution in the grind size mechanism. (Find DCN’s complete 2022 SCA Expo coverage here.)
While the overall range of particle sizes from coarsest to finest remains the same, the Encore ESP includes a redesign to the adjustment collar that maintains the original Encore’s performance in coarser grinds for filter preparations while also providing adjustments in smaller increments at the finer end for espresso.
The coarse end from settings 40-20 remains the same as the original Encore, while at settings 20-1 the screw-down adjustment collar’s helix angle levels out, resulting in less travel up or down as the collar turns.
“It’s a thread that then flattens out to 1/10 the slope of [the coarser end],” Baratza Co-Founder Kyle Anderson told Daily Coffee News. “So that’s how we achieve a macro and a micro with a simple mechanism, without cams and levers.”
Added Anderson, “It turns out no one’s ever done anything like that, so we patented it.”
The result is a much smaller change in grind size per click of the stepped mechanism, allowing more precise control for home baristas in dialing in espresso.
“It feels just like an Encore, but the world changes dramatically when you get into this range now,” said Anderson. “You can be in an espresso’s range with four clicks, two clicks on either side, whereas with a regular [Encore], you don’t even have half a click either way and you’re out of range… What we wanted was resolution.”
While the adjustment collar on the original Encore is manufactured with injection-molded plastic, the Encore ESP’s collar is made of all metal. Meanwhile, the ESP comes with the same 38-millimeter conical burrs found in the more espresso-oriented Baratza Virtuoso.
In another upgrade, the cone burr in the ESP is secured with a wing nut on top that also stirs the beans in the direction the burrs spin and feeds them in, diminishing “popcorning.”
The ESP rollout is the second major Baratza product launch since the company was acquired by Australian global kitchen appliance manufacturer Breville in 2020 for $60 million.
In addition to a full-sized Encore grounds bin, the ESP will come equipped with an anti-static plastic dosing cup with a 54-mm opening, befitting portafilters on consumer espresso machines made by Breville. An adapter will also be included for dosing from the ESP cup directly into standard 58-millimeter portafilter baskets.
Also forthcoming from Baratza is another mini-hopper aimed at single-dose usage. As opposed to the Single Dose Hopper Baratza rolled out two years ago, which can hold between 60-90 grams of whole bean coffee, the upcoming hopper will hold only about 30 grams, truer to the purpose of grinding one dose at a time. That is slated to launch this summer at a price of roughly $20.
The Encore ESP is currently in its final testing period before production and is slated to launch for sale by the third quarter of this year at a retail price of $199.
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Howard Bryman is the associate editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. He is based in Portland, Oregon.
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