Breville BCG820BSSXL Smart Grinder Pro Review

Breville BCG820BSS Smart...
The Breville Smart Grinder Pro is a “jack of all trades but master of none” kind of grinder.

It’s an attractive and compact device for people who want to dabble with espresso without paying the high price normally associated with this type of coffee brewing.

The grinder would be a good choice for beginners, if it wasn’t for the issues with durability and build quality that you should be aware of.

Breville 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.

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.

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.

Breville’s Build Quality (or lack thereof)

Breville smart grinder display
The display is nice and clear.

In many ways Breville is an interesting yet annoying brand.

The company makes a lot of innovative of coffee products. They make advanced technology available on relatively inexpensive machines (well, at least cheap compared to the competition).

On the other hand, sometimes the build quality of certain products or parts is questionable.

Breville want to do all repairs in-house, and that will cost you extra – even if it’s just a small problem.

If your product is no longer covered by the warranty, this will often mean that a repair is almost as expensive as buying a new grinder or coffee machine.

If you’re the kind of person who like DIY-stuff, this philosophy will most like put you off.

This approach is also very much in contrast to that of another famous home-grinder company, Baratza, which famously encourages repairs at home.

Impeller-Gate⚠️

When it comes to Breville’s grinders such as this model here, as well as the cheaper “Dose Control Pro” this approach to durability is especially frustrating and disappointing.

It has previously been a common issue that the impeller underneath the burrs would get worn out after just 1-2 years of typical usage.

This small issue will cause the grinder to get clogged and the motor will stop, which effectively make the grinder useless.

Since Breville doesn’t sell a replacement impeller, thrifty home-users have created their own “mod” to get around the issue.

Apparently, Breville has updated newer models with more sturdy impellers, however, it’s still unclear whether this problem is fully fixed, since the company has been very silent around the issue.

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:

Relatively cheap for an espresso grinder
Attractive design and small footprint compared to the old school Italian rivals
Lots of settings for dialing in the espresso.

Breville smart grinder pro review

breville smart grind size fine
The find grind is rather consistent

Build Quality

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 the typical Italian espresso grinders, but the main body is stainless steel. This gives the overall grinder some heft and keeps it stable while it is doing its thing.

As mentioned above, the impeller underneath the burrs is made of a plastic material that will eventually be worn out. In more recent versions of the grinder, the impeller has been enforced, but it’s still unknown whether this has completely eradicated the issues.

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.

Grind consistency

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 decent 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.

Breville BCG820BSS Smart...

Are there any alternatives?

Baratza Encore Conical Burr...

The Baratza Encore

There’s a lot of good things to be said about the Breville Smart Grinder Pro. But at the same time this is a very competitive market with plenty of great options. Let’s take a look at some of our other favorites in this price range.

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.

1Zpresso Jx

So you want an all-round grinder with espresso capabilities, and you want it cheap? Then manual grinders should be on your radar.

The Jx Pro is one of the most popular grinders among budget-conscious coffee lovers. It has plenty of wiggle adjustability, so you can dial in your shot, and the burrs are big and powerfull 48mm conical ones.

This grinder is fast, and consistent at all grind settings, and a great deal at its current price point.

1Zpresso JX-PRO Manual Coffee...

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 has some well-described issues with durability, but if you’re not scared away by this, then you can often find great deals on this model.

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