If you are a dedicated coffee drinker, you should have a good coffee grinder at home. Grinding fresh coffee beans by yourself will give you much better coffee flavor – a real step-up from instant coffee and pre-ground coffee. Below, we will discuss the comparison of Cuisinart DBM-8 vs Baratza Encore, two popular coffee grinders in the entry-level price range.
Continue reading below to learn more about:
– Why Cuisinart DBM-8 and Baratza Encore are considered good
– The design and build quality of each coffee grinder
– The capacity of each coffee grinder
– Which coffee grinder that is easier to use
– The performance of Cuisinart DBM-8 vs Baratza Encore
– Which coffee grinder that will give the best value for the money
Why Burr Grinders are Better
Before we proceed further, it should be pointed out that Cuisinart DBM-8 and Baratza Encore are burr grinders. When looking for a good-quality coffee grinder, you should make sure that it is a burr grinder instead of a blade grinder. See also: Nespresso vs Dolce Gusto.
What is a burr grinder? A burr grinder uses two abrasive surfaces (which are called burrs) to crush and grind coffee beans. This is in contrast with a blade grinder, which uses a blade in the center of a compartment just like a blender.
Although burr grinders are a bit slow, they are much more recommended for grinding coffee because they produce even, consistent results. In turn, the ground coffee will deliver better flavor. On the other hand, blade grinders are fast, but typically produce uneven and inconsistent results. If the ground coffee doesn’t have good consistency, it won’t give the right mix of flavor.
Both Cuisinart DBM-8 vs Baratza Encore are burr grinders, so they both are good options for an upgrade from instant coffee or pre-ground coffee. However, there are several things that set them apart. Cuisinart DBM-8 is dramatically cheaper and more affordable, but Baratza Encore offers impressive build quality and performance.
Cuisinart DBM-8: Design and Features
If you are on a tight budget, Cuisinart DBM-8 is a pretty good choice. It can already serve the purpose of getting fresh ground coffee quite well. It also has a nice retro design, good capacity, and useful features.
Cuisinart DBM-8 comes with an elegant stainless steel look. Both the bean hopper and the grind chamber are transparent, so you can easily see the remaining amounts of coffee beans and ground coffee. Both the bean hopper and the grind chamber are removable. Right under the bean hopper, there is a control dial which will allow you to adjust the grind level. There are 18 levels available, from super fine to super coarse.
The bean hopper has a capacity of 8 oz, whereas the grind chamber can hold up to 32 oz of ground coffee. Cuisinart DBM-8 is also equipped with a slide dial and an electric timer; you can choose how much coffee to grind (ranging from 4 cups to 18 cups) and the unit will shut off automatically once the grind cycle is finished.
For an electric burr grinder, Cuisinart DBM-8 is quite basic. There is no special feature. It is extremely simple and straightforward to use. There is almost no way to misuse the grinder. Maintenance is also an easy task, as the cleaning brush is included in the box.
The build quality is pretty good for an electric burr grinder in this price point. Most other cheap models tend to fail within two or three months; Cuisinart DBM-8 can easily last longer than that. However, if we compare the build quality of Cuisinart DBM-8 vs Baratza Encore, it is obvious that Cuisinart DBM-8 is the inferior product. The burrs tend to erode more quickly.
Cuisinart DBM-8: Performance
Cuisinart DBM-8 utilizes disc burrs. There is a pair of discs which have dull nubs on their surfaces for whacking and shattering coffee beans. This is different from Baratza Encore, which is a conical burr grinder.
Disc burrs like the ones used by Cuisinart DBM-8 are slightly better than blade grinders because they don’t produce as much heat. As the effect, they can do a better job at keeping the quality of the coffee during the grinding. However, disc burrs are not as good as conical burrs because they don’t provide as much consistency. They typically produce a lot of fines, even when you are grinding at a coarse setting. Not to mention that the disc burrs of Cuisinart DBM-8 erode quite quickly, and you will eventually need to buy a replacement.
When tested, Cuisinart DBM-8 vs Baratza Encore indeed shows the quirks mentioned above. The results are actually pretty good when you are grinding at fine settings. However, you will notice fines when grinding at medium settings. The fines become even more noticeable at coarse settings. Unless you carefully separate the actually ground coffee from the fines, it may affect your coffee flavor negatively.
Cuisinart DBM-8 is not a bad choice if you want to get fresh ground coffee but you are on a tight budget. However, if you really want the best quality, you should consider Baratza Encore, which offers much better build quality and performance.
Baratza Encore: Design and Features
Baratza Encore is a little bit more expensive than Cuisinart DBM-8, but this is the perfect beginner grinder. If you choose this model, you probably won’t ever need to upgrade again in the future. The build quality and performance are excellent. The capacity is sufficient for home use.
The housing is mostly plastic, which is understandable because of the fairly low price. But the burrs are made of steel and are very durable. According to the company, Baratza Encore has a new, improved gearbox which is quieter and sturdier than its predecessors. The gearbox is jam-resistant. In addition, the gears are made from glass-filled thermoplastic, which makes them more resistant to shock. The highly resilient Baratza Encore is built to last for a long time.
There are 40 grind settings available, ranging from super fine to super coarse. Compared to what Cuisinart DBM-8 offers, Baratza Encore has more options so that you can get more precise grind quality.
The bean hopper has a capacity of 8 oz. The bean hopper is also transparent. Meanwhile, the 5-oz grounds bin is semi-transparent, so you can still see the amount of grounds inside without having to open it.
There is an on/off dial on the side of the unit. You can turn it on and let it grind coffee continuously until you switch it off. However, there is also a pulse button on the front; you can use this pulse button for some quick grind-on-demand.
Perhaps the only weakness of Baratza Encore is the lack of dose control. You can’t set the grinder to work for a number of cups; you need to control the grind cycle manually. However, once you get used to it, getting the right amount of ground coffee won’t be difficult.
Another cool thing about Baratza Encore is that the company encourages you to fix the unit if you find any problem instead of dumping it away. The company provides excellent customer support, and will help with the repair in case that the unit fails. This showcases the company’s confidence in the product’s build quality and durability.
Baratza Encore: Performance
The performance of Baratza Encore is truly impressive. The results look much better than any other entry-level coffee grinder in the class. The grind consistency is really good.
Baratza Encore is a low-speed grinder that runs at about 450 RPM. One immediate advantage of the low speed is the quietness. The grinder runs very quietly, so it is really convenient to use. Another advantage of the low speed is that the grinder doesn’t build up much heat. When grinding coffee, you want to avoid excessive heat which may release volatile oils prematurely and degrade the coffee quality. Baratza Encore does a great job in preserving the coffee quality.
With 40 different grind settings, Baratza Encore can easily deliver any kind of grind that you want. The conical burrs deliver excellent consistency in all grind settings. You can still see some fines, but the amount of fines is really kept at the minimum. Sifting the fines is possible but not really necessary.
Baratza Encore is suitable for most kinds of coffee that you usually make at home. It is great for pour-over coffee, French press, and AeroPress. That said, Baratza Encore is not really good for pulling espresso shots. You can use a pressurized portafilter and still get good results, but using a normal portafilter for an espresso shot is not recommended.
Cuisinart DBM-8 vs Baratza Encore
Between these two grinders, Baratza Encore is indeed the winner and the more recommended product. It is a conical burr grinder which offers superior build quality and performance. With 40 grind settings ranging from super fine to super coarse, you can always get the precise grind that you want. The consistency is excellent. The grinder doesn’t build up heat, so it can preserve the coffee quality throughout the grinding process.