Coffee Grinder Review: Breville Smart Grinder Pro
Breville Smart Grinder Pro
Ease of Use8/10
- 60 default grind settings
- Stepless (technically 600+ grind sizes)
- Great for espresso
- Easy to clean
- Removable grounds tray
- Two magnetic portafilter holders
- Great value
- Good for drip
- Grind timer is not an accurate way to dose
- Grounds container lid is not airtight
- Durability is questionable
- Plastic smell post-grind
- No good for French Press
The days of manually grinding my coffee with a hand crank grinder are over. After using the new Breville Smart Grinder Pro for a couple weeks now, I'm pretty blown away.
It didn't start off so pretty though.
After only one day of using my new grinder, it had already stopped working. I couldn't believe it.
$250 and a week of waiting for the delivery and I already had to send it back to Breville. Fortunately, it was a relatively smooth (and free) process, but I still had a sour taste in my mouth. And unfortunately it wasn't from a bad shot of espresso.
Then My Replacement Came
It's working like a charm. In fact, it's way better than I was expecting.
I don't come anywhere close to the finest grind setting and I have beautiful shots of espresso. I adjust the grinder by one level of fineness or coarseness, and the change isn't even visible to the naked eye. It's definitely apparent in my espresso shots though.
Go down one level on the grinder, the shot time is reduced by about 5 seconds. OK, so I haven't quite measured how much shot time is affected, but it's ever so slight. To me, this is a great thing.
Then, I had to get it replaced again
In August of 2015 I got my second unit replaced due to the burrs locking at finer grind settings. This was a major bummer, especially after my replacement came and was still having the same lock-up issues.
This may just be an issue with some of the units, but I think in general the Breville Smart Grinder Pro doesn't do well with lighter roasts at finer settings (10 and under).
Most Recent Update
I'm still on my third unit (as of December 2015) and it has been holding up pretty well without the burrs locking up.
However, I'm still holding my breath every time I grind for espresso. Here are some tips I've found to prevent issues:
- Adjust the burrs with coffee beans in the hopper while running the grinder
- Grind in small increments. e.g. run the grinder for a few seconds, pause, then run it again
- Try not to run the grinder with an empty hopper
By doing these 3 things I feel like I've been able to avoid further disaster.
The Stepless Step
The Breville Smart Grinder Pro is technically a stepless grinder, but it still has the clarity of a step grinder.
Let me explain…
By default, there are 60 grind settings displayed on an LCD screen on the front grinder. These grind settings are labeled 1 to 60, but when you turn the dial to adjust the grind, you aren't definitively on 40 or 41 for example, even if it displays this on the screen.
In reality, you could actually be between 40 and 41 somewhere, as there are no notches that the burr grinders settle into.
Think of stepless grinders as Pi. You could be on grind setting 3.145926535 even if it's displayed as grind setting 3.
Smart Grinder vs. Smart Grinder Pro
So let me show you:
Breville Smart Grinders
- Grind Settings
- Type of Grinder
- Dosing System
- Hopper Size
- Magnetic Grounds Tray
- Grind Pause
- Adjustable Upper Burr?
Is This The Best Value Grinder Out There?
Right now, I'm not sure if there is a better value home grinder out there. There are just way too many grind settings on the Breville Smart Grinder Pro for it to cost so little in comparison to comparable grinders.
If anything, the Lido 2 or 3 by Orphan Espresso is probably the best value grinder. Don't let the fact that they are manual fool you either. These grinders are said to grind extremely fast!
I should have a review for one of the Lido grinders coming in 2016.
Have a Favorite Coffee Grinder? Share By Commenting Below!
Until there is a grinder that comes along and does a better job than the Breville Smart Grinder Pro is currently doing, I'm sticking with it as my go-to grinder.
Sure, I'm concerned it might break down after the 1 year warranty given the fact that I already had a dud, but when it works it really works. I'm willing to take the risk.
Why? Because for now the alternative is grinding by hand…something I hope to never have to do again (unless I'm on the go).