March 8, 2012
Well the cat is out of the bag and the word has hit the streets that we’re introducing a new grinder – the Encore!
We pre-announced it last week to our resellers, as our goal is always to support them and have them ready for a new product, as well as deal with current inventory. It turns out that many of them are incredibly excited about the new Encore and couldn’t contain themselves from spreading the joy and anticipatory excitement!
So what is all this hoo-ha about, you ask? Well, we were repeatedly asked by retailers and consumers for an affordable home grinder that works for any style of coffee, including espresso. In response, we have developed a new entry point grinder – the Encore, to replace the current Maestro Plus!
To give you some history, the Maestro has been in our family of grinders for over 10 years. In 2001 we introduced the Solis Maestro, followed by the Solis Maestro Plus in 2003, which had a weighted base. Then, in 2007, we moved to our own Baratza branded Maestro and Maestro Plus, which included the new DC motor and gear box. In 2010 we dropped the Maestro from our line and made some minor changes to the Maestro Plus. During these many incarnations the Maestro was viewed as wonderful for the home, for manual brew, and also for roasters as a cupping grinder. However, perceptions about it’s ability to grind for espresso varied greatly. As a result, in 2010 we stepped back from marketing it as being good for espresso grinding. But we wanted to do more and offer a great value grinder that really could cover the gamut of grinding from espresso to French press, and turned our efforts to searching for a new burr. So, we reengineered the Maestro/Maestro Plus into the Encore. The Encore is built with an improved burr that will allow a greater degree of fineness, as well as the new 2nd generation Gearbox (GB2.0). Many will say it looks just like the Maestro and that’s true, the body is the same, but it’s the guts that are what make the difference and make this deserving of a whole new name and not something ridiculous like the “Maestro Plus Plus”! Here are some highlights:
- New Encore burr grinds fine enough for espresso and also good for the increasingly popular manual brew methods.
- With GB 2.0, Baratza has significantly increased the strength and durability of the drive transmission. In addition to a new drive shaft, motor mounting plate and bushings, this change includes a new drive gear made of 15% glass filled thermo plastic which is quieter than the prior metal gear, wears better and is more shock resistant. We tested it by throwing stainless screws into the burrs, and in every case the motor/gear/burrs stopped dead and the (automatically-resettable) thermal cutout was triggered and the gears were fine. (All of Baratza’s conical burr grinders manufactured after January 2012 will also have the GB 2.0.)
- We have replaced the timer switch with an on/off switch.
- The Encore has the weighted base.
- The Encore replaces the Maestro Plus and will be priced at the same high-value point.
- We anticipate having the Encore available for sale by the end of March.
Naturally we are very excited about this new product and look forward to making it available worldwide by the end of March. More details will soon be available on the website. The Product page is under construction!