Breville Smart Grinder Pro

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The Breville Smart Grinder Pro is a popular entry-level coffee grinder. It is typically paired with one of the Breville espresso machines and fits well with these in terms of vibes, design, and workflow.

As an avid coffee enthusiast, I’ve had the pleasure of using several burr coffee grinders over the years, but the Smart Grinder Pro stands out for its affordability and versatility. In this article, we will review the Breville Smart Grinder Pro and see whether it is a good fit if you are beginning your foray into the world of coffee.

Breville Smart Grinder Pro

Breville Smart Grinder Pro

In short, the Breville Smart Grinder Pro is a good entry-level burr grinder, that works well for espresso. At this price point, you will be hard-pressed to find a better alternative. However, the grind consistency, particularly at coarser grind settings, is somewhat lacking and the high-tech features can be a nuisance. If you are looking for an entry-level espresso grinder at an affordable price then the Breville Smart Grinder may be for you.

Specifications

  • Burrs: 40mm Stainless Steel Conical Burrs
  • Motor: 165 Watt/ 450 RPM
  • Grind Adjustments: 60
  • Hopper Capacity: 18 oz / 1 pound
  • Dimensions: 8.5 x 6 x 15.5 inches
  • Weight: 6.4 pounds
  • Dosing: time-based in 0.2 second increments
  • Recommended For: Espresso, Drip or Pour Over

Breville Smart Grinder Pro Review


Design and Build Quality

Breville Smart Grinder Pro Review

The Breville Smart Grinder Pro has a thoughtful design, with several convenient features that make it user-friendly. Encased in stainless steel and available in brushed steel, black, or red, it pairs well with other kitchen appliances, particularly the Breville espresso machines. The grinder has a sturdy build and a decent weight to keep it stable during grinding. We have been using the grinder for several years and have never had any issues with it. The only potential concern we would have is regarding the durability of its electronic components. If there is a fault with the electronics it is often cheaper to replace the grinder rather than repair it. Nevertheless, it’s worth noting that Breville provides exceptional customer support to address any issues you may encounter.

The grinder features a generous 18 oz hopper, although we would not recommend it for long-term bean storage due to its lack of airtight sealing. Rather, we recommend storing beans in a coffee canister to maintain freshness. A particularly helpful feature of the hopper is the simple release mechanism, allowing you to remove the hopper without needing to empty the beans. This feature proves useful when switching beans or cleaning the grinder. 

The Breville Smart Grinder Pro comes with several accessories. For those seeking to grind in bulk, a plastic grinds bin is included, complete with an airtight lid and convenient volume markings on the side. Breville has also included two removable portafilter holders (one for a 50-54mm portafilter and the other for a 58mm portafilter) that lock into place with magnets. Finally, there is a cleaning brush to brush out the burrs.

To improve the grinder’s daily usability, Breville has incorporated a few small yet practical features. A built-in cord area neatly organizes the power cord and keeps it out of the way. Additionally, a magnetic base plate can be easily detached for cleaning, allowing you to rinse away any residual grinds. 

Burrs and Motor

Breville Smart Grinder Pro Burrs

Equipped with 40mm steel conical burrs, the Smart Grinder Pro excels in delivering consistent grinds, especially at finer settings. Its 165-watt motor operates at a modest 450 RPM, preventing excessive heat buildup, which could prematurely extract oils and aromas from the coffee beans.

The Breville Smart Grinder Pro offers 60 grind settings, spanning from espresso to French press. This is a wide enough grind size range to brew for any method. However, there is a lack of consistency with the grinds at coarser levels, such as would be used for French press or cold brew. The majority of these settings fall within the medium to fine grind range, making the Smart Grinder particularly well-suited for drip, pour-over, and especially espresso brewing.

Breville Smart Grinder Pro Setttings

When it comes to grinding for espresso, the stepped grind adjustment is precise enough within the espresso range to fine-tune your shots (at least for those beginning their journey into espresso). Breville recommends starting at a grind setting of 12 for espresso and then making adjustments as needed. One nice feature that Breville has included is an adjustable upper burr, giving you the flexibility to make an additional 10 micro-adjustments at each grind setting. This feature proves especially valuable when dialing in your grind for espresso.

The grind adjustment system is simple and intuitive to use. You simply turn the dial located on the side of the grinder to your desired grind size, which is conveniently displayed on the LCD screen.

Grind Consistency

Breville Coffee Grinder
Espresso grinder grind consistency

The single most important consideration in purchasing a coffee grinder is grind consistency. To summarize a lot of technical theory, the more uniform the particle sizes of the ground coffee, the more even the extraction, resulting in a nicer-tasting espresso. Grind consistency hinges primarily on the quality of the burrs employed. So how does the Breville Smart Grinder Pro stack up? 

The answer is good considering the price, but not amazing. The Breville Smart Grinder can be described as a versatile but not outstanding performer. It achieves decent grind consistency within the medium to fine range thanks to its 40mm stainless steel conical burrs, but it doesn’t truly excel at any particular grind size. This coffee grinder is really aimed at those looking for an affordable espresso grinder. So if you are looking to use the Breville Smart Grinder for espresso or pour over this might be worth investing in. However, if you are looking to grind for French press or cold brew, you may find a better match with a grinder like the Baratza Encore.

Ease of Use

Breville Coffee Grinder LED screen

The Breville Smart Grinder Pro stands out with its LCD screen, displaying grind settings, grind time, and the number of shots or cups—an uncommon feature in coffee grinders at this price point. While the grinder is generally user-friendly and straightforward, some have remarked that it might be too smart for its own good. There is something to be said for basic, well-made coffee grinders that will stand the test of time. 

Nevertheless, it’s worth noting that the Smart Grinder Pro lives up to its “smart” capabilities by offering a range of extra features. Firstly, it offers time-based dosing. The grind time is adjusted via a rotary knob in 0.2-second increments, enabling you to fine-tune the grind time. The timer operates effectively and stops promptly, producing consistent doses. 

Although the setup process can be a bit intricate, you are able to program a grind time for each of the four grind categories; espresso, percolator, filter, and plunger. Dosing is then as simple as pushing a button. 

Pro Tip: The Smart Grinder Pro is known to have chute retention issues. To mitigate this, we suggest purging the grinder for a second or two before starting the actual grinding process.

For those who prefer not to use the dose timer, there’s a manual grind button. You can initiate manual grinding either by pressing the Start/Pause button or by activating the portafilter switch for as long as you require.

Breville has also incorporated dosing IQ technology into the coffee grinder. Here you select the number of shots or cups you intend to brew, and it automatically adjusts the required dose accordingly. However, one drawback of this system is that you can’t grind in bulk as there is only the option of selecting the number of shots or cups you want to brew.

Cleaning

When it comes to cleaning, Breville has thought of everything. From the simple release hopper we discussed above, to the magnetic grounds tray that is easy to remove and clean. Additionally, the hopper and top burr are very simple to remove making it easy to access and clean out the burrs. We recommend running Urnex cleaning tablets through the burr grinder every 1-2 weeks, and giving it a deeper clean by brushing out the burrs every 4-6 weeks. See our guide on how to clean a coffee grinder for some tips and tricks.

Alternatives

Baratza Encore ESP

Baratza Encore ESP

For those in search of an all-purpose grinder suitable for both manual and espresso brewing, our recommendation would be the Baratza Encore ESP. This is a no-frills grinder that comes with quality 40mm burrs (the same M2 burrs that are found in the Baratza Virtuoso) and a unique grind adjustment system. It has 40 grind settings, 1-20 are micro adjustments solely for espresso, while 21-40 are larger gaps for filter coffee. The Baratza Encore ESP promises to be a great burr grinder for both espresso and filter for those starting out. 

Breville Dose Control

Breville Dose Control Pro

The Breville Dose Control grinder is a slimmed-down version of the Smart Grinder Pro. It shares the same 40mm conical steel burrs as the smart grinder, but a slightly less powerful motor. The Dose Control offers 60 grind settings to choose from, adjusted by rotating the hopper. Instead of the LCD screen, there is a simple dial on the front allowing you to adjust the grind time in 1-second increments. The dose control comes with the two portafitler cradles, but no grinds bin. If you can’t justify splashing out on the Smart Grinder Pro, the Dose Control is a compelling alternative, delivering comparable grind quality and features.

Final verdict- Breville Smart Grinder Pro

In summary, the Breville Smart Grinder Pro stands as an excellent choice if you’re after an affordable espresso grinder. It offers great value for money, with few alternatives available at this price range for espresso grinding.  The grind consistency at the fine to medium level is good and the grinder boasts an array of impressive features. The Smart Grinder is an excellent stepping stone into espresso and will pair perfectly with the Breville espresso machines.

Pros:

  • Abundance of features and programmable options
  • Excellent value for the price
  • Stylish and sleek design
  • Good grind consistency in the medium to fine range
  • Offers 60 grind adjustments

Cons:

  • Inconsistent grind quality at coarser settings
  • Utilizes time-based dosing instead of weight-based
  • Contains numerous components that may be prone to wear and tear

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