What is the best coffee grinder in the world? This is the ultimate question for any coffee connoisseur. Coffee lovers use their grinder every day. It’s a critical tool for making the perfect cup of coffee at home. Moreover, because coffee grinders have myriad features and are relatively large, paramount considerations are interface, design, and product aesthetic.
The consensus is that the best coffee grinder is the Baratza Encore. Wirecutter, an esteemed review website owned by The New York Times, has for at least four years called it the best “overall” coffee grinder on the market. Consumer Reports also touts the Baratza Encore as one of the best. They praise the grind quality, price, and simple design. In their best-of lists, other publications from New York Magazine to Food and Wine parrot the same sentiments.
After several years of testing, we agree that the Baratza Encore is great for super super coffee nerds, but the best coffee grinder for the average coffee lover is one that curiously never makes it onto “best-of” lists — the KitchenAid Burr Coffee Grinder.
KitchenAid Coffee Grinder vs. Baratza
- Minimal assembly required
- Almost never clogs
- Transparent containers
- Sleek design that showcases coffee beans
- Easy and quality grinding consistency
- Requires assembly and calibration
- Clogs without devout maintenance
- Tinted containers
- Utilitarian design
- Perfect grind control and consistency
- Louder than the KitchenAid
Overall, the KitchenAid grinder is superior on almost all fronts over the Baratza Encore. We can’t imagine why an average customer would prefer the Baratza over the KitchenAid, and here’s why.
The KitchenAid grinder almost never clogs. The Baratza Encore clogs frequently without devout maintenance. While grind quality is always excellent on the Baratza, the device clogs easily and requires great care to archive the perfect grind. In six months of use, the KitchenAid only clogged once and took a few minutes to fix; the Baratza clogged constantly and made messes as a result. If you prefer less maintenance and great grinds over perfect grinds with a lot of maintenance and messes, get the KitchenAid.
The KitchenAid is preassembled. The Baratza Encore requires setup. After you unbox the KitchenAid, you can easily put it together in minutes without even reading the instructions. Installation is frictionless. The Baratza requires assembly: You need to align the wing nut and adjustment ring, install the silicone gasket and hopper, and even put the on and off buttons on yourself. For extreme coffee nerds this might be a cool experience, but the average consumer is bound to find Baratza’s setup time annoying at best; for the less technically inclined, it’s a frustrating process.
The KitchenAid grinder has clear containers. The Baratza Encore has tinted ones. Both the ungrounded coffee bean and grounded coffee container (or ground tray) are transparent on the KitchenAid grinder. Why does this matter? Because the Baratza obfuscates how much coffee you have ground and how many beans you have. This seems like a small detail, but after using both products for so long, you start to quietly enjoy the practicality and aesthetic of the transparency. Furthermore, the ground tray on the KitchenAid is better because it allows you to pour out your grinds either through a small hole or through a large circular, whereas the Baratza only has the large option. The added hole flexibility on the KitchenAid makes it less messy when moving grounds from hopper to machine.
The KitchenAid is as aesthetically pleasing as the Baratza Encore. Yes, this is subjective; however, the Baratza has an intentionally utilitarian design, and we think an equal amount of consumers would prefer the sleek and clean design of the KitchenAid grinder. The KitchenAid feels almost like a modern sculpture in your kitchen, whereas the Baratza is no-frills and feels like a tool. We realize this is deeply subjective and many will prefer the Baratza design because it is made more like a commercial coffee grinder, and of course some people will find that preferable.
The KitchenAid has a digital interface. The Baratza Encore is completely manual. With the Baratza grinder, you literally wind it to set the grind settings against a printed grind size from 0 – 40. The digital interface on the KitchenAid is radically intuitive. You set one of four grind settings and turn a knob for length of grind. Sure, maybe the more manual controls create a better (or more precisely) grounded bean than KitchenAid’s digital setup, but even enthusiastic coffee lovers aren’t professional baristas and probably won’t notice the difference in grind consistency and quality.
So what about grind consistency and quality? Look — if you’re deeply concerned about this because you love espresso or are a professional, this review isn’t for you. When making coffee at home, the average consumer only cares about the ability to make medium-ish grounds for drip coffee and pour-over and coarser grounds for cold brew and French press. We’re not trying to be Jooyeon Jeon over here; we just want to make a good cup of coffee. It’s a morning ritual, not a part-time job. The KitchenAid grind quality will be more than sufficient for most people, and while Baratza Encore might be superior in this regard, it also requires a lot more work to achieve this effect, which only extreme coffee nerds or espresso fanatics concern themselves with.
KitchenAid is quieter. Baratza Encore is louder. The KitchenAid grinder is so quiet it probably won’t wake anyone up in your house. The Baratza is significantly louder.
Reviewing the Wirecutter Review
Wirecutter mentioned the KitchenAid grinder as an aside in their mostly well-researched best-coffee-grinder roundup. They disliked it:
The KitchenAid Burr Coffee Grinder also came with a vast list of options, boasting 70 different settings. Also like the Breville, those options made this grinder more confusing to use and [to] dial in what you want: You set the brewing method on a slider; then there is a digital interface where you can tinker with a numerical grind size, the number of cups you want to make, and the time to grind. The grind consistency was good (not as good as with the Encore, but not that far behind the OXO). One big flaw is that the plastic used in the bin and hopper feels cheap and has an unattractive gloss (though this grinder does come in a range of colors, which is nice). At 15 inches tall, it’s also the largest machine we tested—and one of the messier ones.The Wirecutter
Distilled, they disliked it for the following reasons:
- Confusing to use
- Plastic feels cheap
While the KitchenAid has a bevy of settings, it is designed with amateur coffee enthusiasts in mind. We don’t think is confusing to move the lever to one of the four grind types — French Press, Perc, Drip, Espresso — and press the Start button.
According to Wirecutter, the “big flaw” is the “cheap” plastic with an “unattractive gloss” used in the bin and hopper. First, the gloss fades after use. Second, we can’t tell the difference between “cheap plastic” and “expensive plastic” in the context of coffee hoppers, except we think most consumers would prefer a transparent hopper over a tinted one. Third, the KitchenAid hopper is better because it comes with a removable hopper lid, which makes transferring beans from the hopper to your coffee maker easier.
Wirecutter notes KitchenAid is a tall coffee grinder without any context. The KitchenAid grinder is three inches taller than Baratza Encore. What do you get with the extra height? Baratza Encore holds 8 oz. of ungrounded beans, and the KitchenAid holds 12 oz. So if you’re a heavy coffee drinker or have a bigger family, the KitchenAid has more capacity.
In terms of the KitchenAid being “one of the messier ones” — well, coffee grinders are messy when they cause clogs or the hoppers are poorly designed. The KitchenAid rarely clogs, and the hopper is the best designed one we’ve ever used. The KitchenAid grinder is one of the cleanest machines, not the messiest. Perhaps they reviewed one of the older models, but they currently link to the same one we’re reviewing.
Other Coffee Grinders
There are two primary types of coffee grinders: burr and blade. Suffice it to say, burr grinders are the way to go because they create more consistent and controllable grinds; both the KitchenAid and Baratza Encore are burr grinders. But here are four other picks, including an upgraded pick from Baratza that we prefer over the Encore.
- A Cheap Blade Grinder for Newbies: Bodum BISTRO Blade Grinder.
- Best Manual/Hand Coffee Grinder: Timemore Chestnut C2.
- A Budget Pick for Burr Grinder: OXO Brew Conical Burr Coffee Grinder.
- For the most devout coffee fans and lovers of espresso: Baratza Sette 270 Conical Burr Coffee Grinder.
The KitchenAid grinder is an incredible product that for too long has been brushed aside by media outlets and consumers alike. Most people will find the machine to be absolutely perfect. It’s beautiful, easy to use, and makes high-quality coffee. It’s almost $60 more than Baratza Encore, but in the long run it will save you money as it’s such a joy to use you’ll find yourself going to Starbucks less. The Baratza Encore is a great product, too, but think of KitchenAid as Spotify and the Baratza as a vinyl record player.