Breville BCG820BSSXL Smart Grinder Pro Review
It’s a “jack of all trades but master of none grinder” that could work well for you, if you want to dabble with espresso without paying the high price normally associated with espresso grinders.
Overall, it’s a small and attractive grinder that a big group of coffee people would be happy with.
The Breville Smart Grinder Pro is more expensive than most entry-level electric burr grinders. However, if you compare it to espresso grinders, it’s still pretty affordable.
This combination makes it a very interesting option for people who want to get into espresso without spending a fortune.
These people just want one single grinder to take care of all of their needs; be it espresso, Aeropress, French press or pour over. If that’s you, read on.
This Breville BCG820BSSXL review will go over some of the key features of this grinder and help you find out if this is the right pick for you.
what you should know about breville
Breville has come a long way in recent years, and it is one of the first brands that come to mind when thinking about entry-level espresso equipment. It is one of the largest manufacturers of coffee equipment for the home. In parts of Europe the company is known under the different name Sage due to copyright issues.
Breville is a big company, so regardless of whether you will need replacement parts next year or ten years in the future, Breville will most likely still be around to fulfill your customer service needs.
However, it’s worth pointing out that Breville products is little bit like Apple when it comes to repairs. They want to do the repairs in-house, and that will cost you extra – even if it’s just a small problem.
If you’re the kind of person who like DIY-stuff, this philosophy will (and should) put you off.
This philosophy is also very much in contrast to that of another famous home-grinder company, Baratza, which famously encourages repairs at home.
Set your expectations
- This model is aimed at the many espresso-interested folks, who might not be able to afford a typical espresso grinders. It’s capable of making a decent espresso grind.
- Anything that requires a medium to fine grind would work well with this grinder.
- At a really coarse level, the grinds can lack consistency, which is to be expected with most burr grinders in this price range. For some, this can be an issue if they brew a lot of French press. For me, however, I think that immersion brewing methods, such as the French press benefit from not using too coarse a ground, so it’s a bit of pseudo-problem, to be honest.
a few things we like:
Breville smart grinder pro review
The Breville coffee grinder has 40mm stainless steel conical burrs that offer good grind consistency that goes fine enough for espresso.
Much of the grinder is made of plastic, which will feel lighter and less durable than stainless steel, but the main body is stainless steel. This gives the overall grinder some heft and keeps it stable while it is doing its thing.
The large size of the coffee hopper allows for you to grind up to an entire pound of beans at once, which is great when you are entertaining.
Ease of use
This Breville coffee grinder has a digital interface, which is a nice addition and definitely not something that is common with grinders at this price point.
Every setting is distinct and quantized instead of being on a continuum, which makes for easy switching between settings
It also has a timed doser that you can program to your liking. When you have found the ideal setting, the grinder will give the same amount of coffee each time. However, if you’re going to use it for something as finicky as espresso, I’d probably use a seperate digital scale.
The grinder has a magnetic grounds tray, which makes cleaning it a breeze. This makes brushing into the nooks and crannies of your grinder a thing of the past.
This grinder offers 60 settings, which can be further calibrated; either coarser or finer. It should be enough for dialing in your espresso. Or you can adjust the grinder to be more focused on the medium to coarse spectrum.
The consistency of the grind, as with any other grinder, decreases with the coarseness of the grind.
This grinder struggles to provide a consistent coarse grind, but does well with medium to fine grounds.
Interestingly, Consumer Reports, rate this grinder as being ‘excellent’ when it comes to grinding at the medium-level, which is used for pour over coffee. However, the fine-setting is only deemed to be ‘good’.
Overall, it has a score of ’69’ with the consumer organisation, which places it just a bit lower than another entry-level favorite, the Baratza Encore.
Things to be aware of?
The grinder’s main downside is how common defects or abnormalities are. The motor of the grinder is slightly underpowered for something that’s going to be used for espresso, and that can lead to problems if you’re not careful. If you hear the motor having trouble make sure to stop the grinder and remove the hopper to prevent any damage taking place.
It might seem like the Breville grinder has many problems, if you read reviews, but this is a common theme with all entry-level electric grinders. Grinding coffee beans day in and day out is tough, and many small appliances eventually have to throw in the towel.
It does seem like Breville’s customer service is responsive and willing to provide support when needed. The company is large enough and expansive enough to even replace an entire grinder when necessary.
Are there any alternatives?
The Baratza Encore
The Baratza Encore is an everyday, no-fuss grinder that most home users are very happy with.
Baratza is also famous for their support and customer service, which is miles ahead of Breville.
That being said, the Breville Smart Grinder Pro does have an ace up its sleeve: It really performs better when grinding for espresso, so that should be a factor to consider.
However, if you are just looking for a grinder for filter brew, I would prefer the no-frills approach of the Encore.
Breville Dose Control
Essentially the Breville Dose Control is a back-to-basics version of the Smart Grinder Pro. The burrs are the same, while you get a cheaper housing and no digital display for easier setting.
Even though it’s basic, it’s still a nice little entry-level espresso grinder.
The final verdict
This model is one of the cheapest espresso grinders out there, and that alone makes it interesting.
The Breville will do a little bit of everything reasonably well, and you can’t actually say that about many grinders in this price range.
It will most likely not impress advanced coffee snobs, but if you’re looking for something that will work while progressing in your coffee journey, this is an excellent option.