Updated: January 18, 2022 by Owen Richardson
Breville might not be a new name to you if you know your coffees well. Very rarely will the name go unnoticed in any mention of barista-standard coffee grinders. Do all of them live up to the brand’s iconic reputation? Let’s find out in this Breville Smart Grinder Pro review.
Breville has not been spared from controversies. Coffeeholics have so much to say about the brand, both positive and negative. The same goes for its grinders, including the subject of my review.
In this article, I’ll dissect and analyze it to reveal all the important things you will want to know about the grinder, from design and performance to ease of use and aesthetics. There’s also a buyer guide just to make sure you don’t end up with the wrong item. And that’s what I’ll start with.
What to Consider When Buying a Grinder
Buying pre-ground coffee sounds easy and convenient, but that’s until you grind whole coffee beans at your home and realize what you have been missing. It’s a lot, really! From bold flavors, sweeter taste, and pure freshness to the ability to brew a drink of your choice… The list goes on and on.
For coffee connoisseurs eager to experience all that, the solution lies with one tool: a coffee grinder.
You can expect to come across various forms, shapes, and designs, but only one towers over the rest when it comes to grind consistency: a burr coffee grinder.
The other popular alternative is blade grinders, but their chief disadvantage is that they chop up your coffee beans into particles of all shapes and sizes. Burr grinders, on the other hand, crush and grind your whole beans, giving you more control over grind consistency and particle size. The result? You’re able to easily brew a beverage of your choice using the different brewing methods.
Unfortunately, burr grinders don’t come cheap. The entry-level price for a quality electric burr grinder is around $150. Even though many of them provide the ultimate value for your money, I would suggest you opt for blade grinders if you aren’t ready to stretch your tight budget. You can get a quality blade grinder for as cheap as $25. Bodum BISTRO Blade Grinder is a perfect example.
That said, you will want to want to have the following factors in mind before settling down on a burr grinder:
- Rounds Per Minute (RPM) & Burr Size — Higher RPMs translate to more heat, which unfortunately messes with your coffee flavor. The trick is to ensure that your grinder has a larger, flatter burr in case you choose to go for the powerful motors.
- Grind settings — With a wide range of settings, it becomes easier to prepare different beverages with ease.
- Grinding style — Three options are available at your disposal: pulse, auto-grind, and time setting. Always go for a grinding style that you find more convenient and suited to your preferred brewing method(s).
- Cost — You will have to spend more if you are looking to have the best performing coffee burr grinder. However, you can still find cost-effective options that are equally good.
- Ease of Use — This varies from grinder to grinder. Be guided by your experience and level of knowledge.
The Smart Grinder Pro Review
Back to the Breville Smart Coffee Grinder Pro! It’s an entry-level electric coffee burr grinder armed with steel burrs designed to effectively crush your whole coffee beans for different brewing styles, from espresso and French press to drip and cold brew. The older versions had an impeller that wore out so fast and was hard to clean, but this recent version comes without any of those shortcomings.
Compared to other equally great entry-level electric grinders like Baratza Encore and Bodum Bistro, it’s more expensive, but it compensates for that in several ways you will learn about shortly.
Breville Smart Grinder Pro is a leader in this category, ready to do everything you would expect from a quality burr grinder, particularly grinding your coffee beans to a uniform size of particles with impeccable consistency.
One of its biggest flexes is the sheer number of grind settings. That’s what most of the other entry-level electric burr grinders lack. Baratza Encore, for instance, only has 40.
Compared to other espresso grinders, it’s so affordable, making it a perfect choice for espresso lovers on a tight budget. And its greatness doesn’t end there; the grinder will still do a stellar job as you go about your other brewing adventures with Aeropress, pour-over, and French press.
Unfortunately, the Breville Smart Grinder Pro coffee grinder is sophisticated enough to trouble you as a beginner, so I would instead recommend you go for an option that is easier to use like the Bodum Bistro or The Fellow Ode.
In the box, you have the following:
- Two portafilter holders (large and small)
- Cleaning brush
- Cradles for the two portafilters
Features & Benefits
Thoughtful designs are easy to spot, especially when they are made with the user in mind. Breville clearly went above and beyond with this one.
Let’s begin with interaction. For that, you have a large, bright digital LCD screen that displays the grind setting, number of shots/cups, and grind time, each of which is operated by the dials/buttons on the grinder. On the right-hand side, you have a sizeable knob that lets you adjust the grind to your preferred size.
As you move down, you’ll spot the portafilter holders. This is for you espresso lovers. This device locks into place with the help of magnets. You can still place your pour-over cone below the dispenser to collect your grind.
Of course, we can’t wrap this up without talking about the hopper.
Folks, this hopper is probably the biggest you will ever see on an entry-level burr grinder. It’s plastic and holds up to 18 ounces, meaning you can hold a huge batch of coffee beans in one go. Still, I wouldn’t recommend that you turn it into your storage container for obvious reasons. I’m talking about freshness!
That aside, the hopper operates via a lock/unlock mechanism that simplifies your job when you have to store or transfer coffee beans to and from the container. To clean the grinder, unlock the hopper and lift it off to reveal the removable cover that protects the burrs. Use a brush to get rid of residue. Once a week is the recommended frequency.
Ease of Use
You might want to sit upright for this one because this is one area the Breville Grinder Pro outperforms its rivals. Earlier, I mentioned that the grinder’s user interface is a digital LCD screen. The part I didn’t tell you about is how smart the feature is.
Whatever combination you would love to try about grind time, the number of shots/cups, and grind size, simply feed them into the grinder, and it will provide perfect results for you.
Here’s the best part: You still have more micro grind settings for the different grind categories. This gives you absolute control over the grind size, allowing you to brew your preferred beverage. But as mentioned earlier, all these combinations can be overwhelming if you are a beginner.
What’s more, there’s a manual grinding button, just in case you want to do this the traditional way.
I know this is the part many of you have been waiting for. I’ll get straight into it, starting with the grind settings.
There are 60 of them, and no matter what level you choose, the consistency in size doesn’t change. You could go up and down to achieve a finer or a coarser grind or move between the micro grind settings on your grind category. Not every burr grinder manufacturer can pull that off, but Breville did it so well to leave you with up to 600 grind settings in total.
It gets even better when you factor in the 40mm conical steel burrs. This is what you would find in some of the premium burr grinders on the market. The grind consistency they offer is what every coffee connoisseur craves.
These burrs are driven by a 165-watt motor at 450 RPM to avoid lots of noise and heat build-up that would mess up your coffee flavors and make cleaning a tiring process.
Elegant and stylish! That’s how Breville’s Smart Coffee Grinder announces itself. It has a premium feel and comes in various color schemes and styles that easily complement other coffee equipment. There’s brushed stainless steel, sesame black, and cranberry red, all of which also look perfect on just about any countertop.
What We Like
Top on the list is grind consistency. Not many grinders in this price range can provide you with the combinations Breville offers. The best part is that it offers the same performance at every grind setting, leaving you with only flavorsome and aromatic coffee.
Isn’t that what we all cherish along with excellent durability and ease of cleaning? This grinder ticks almost all the boxes.
The other thing I admire a lot is the value it offers for the price. Good luck running into a quality entry-level electric burr grinder that offers so much for less besides the Breville Grinder Pro.
What We Don’t Like
Well, I’m sure you can make a correct guess here. Price! Yes, it’s not cheap, and considering that there are equally great alternatives, it’s easy to find yourself considering such options. Unfortunately, you are less likely to find an option that is as packed with features as the Breville Smart Coffee Grinder Pro.
Coincidentally, the majority of coffeeholics love and dislike the same issues I have just highlighted above, from how it looks and works to the consistency of the grind. It’s why many regular coffee lovers buy it without hesitation. But a good number of those with barista-level skills would rather have a more expensive and quality burr grinder because the Smart Grinder Pro’s grind consistency, although great, is not really cafe-quality.
About the Brand
Breville is the superstar of the coffee universe. Founded in Sydney, Australia, the brand has gradually risen to iconic levels with a long list of stand-out coffee makers and kitchen appliances.
Over the years, the brand has refined its coffee makers (based on consumer insights), making them innovative, effective, intuitive, and super convenient. Whatever you thought wasn’t possible in your coffee-making experience, Breville probably already figured it out.
All their products boast of at least a one-year limited warranty, and they have a reliable customer service team ready to serve you to your satisfaction.
Breville Smart Grinder Pro Review Summary
- Grinds coffee beans for various brewing methods
- Stylish design and elegant look
- Enough grind settings for you to customize your brew
- Excellent grind consistency
- Easy to clean
- Slightly more expensive than its rivals
- No weighing scale; instead it uses time
Is Breville Smart Grinder Pro Worth It?
Well, the answer depends on what you are looking for. If you can’t compromise on grind consistency and budget isn’t an issue to you, then this grinder will meet your expectations. The fact it can grind for other brewing styles just as well as it does for espresso further makes it a worthy option for coffee lovers.
Breville Smart Grinder Pro coffee grinder has carved out a niche for itself among coffee connoisseurs. Grind consistency and versatility are its biggest flex and what most consumers love about it. Espresso lovers eager to experience perfect coffee without spending a fortune couldn’t be any happier. It is probably the most reliable, versatile, and affordable entry-level electric burr grinder you can find in the market right now for that purpose.
That’s not to say that it does an average job when it comes to other brewing styles. Its greatness knows no boundaries.