You finally have your own espresso machine. But your grinder doesn’t let you grind directly to your portafilter, or adjust grind time. You just spent a fortune on your espresso machine, and money doesn’t grow on trees. What are your options?
Well, first, you could stick it out like a champ. Scoop up some arbitrary amount of coffee for every single espresso pull. Now is that a life you really want to live? Do you think that’s an effective way to become a skilled home barista?… Probably not.
The alternative option: get a Breville Smart Grinder Pro. It’s an affordable option that has 60 different grind settings. It’s cheaper than most espresso grinders with similar features. But like them, it’s compatible with almost all espresso machines!
An excellent entry level grinder which works well for any grind size. Perfect if you enjoy espresso as much as a pour over!
Breville Smart Grinder Pro 2021 Review
The Smart Grinder Pro is the best entry-level option out of the coffee grinders Breville produces. And it’s a great one to own for home brewers everywhere!
Unlike most other affordable grinders, it’s compatible with espresso machines. So you can use it for any kind of brew. And it also gives you control over your grind, with 60 different settings to choose from.
Build Quality & Design
External & Interior Material/Parts
The Breville Smart Grinder Pro has a heavy plastic body and a brushed stainless steel finish. It’s durable and complemented by a sleek, modern design.
Two of my favorite features are its user-friendly LCD display and a precision electric timer. Interestingly, this means it doesn’t measure in grams but relies on a 0.2-second increment for dosage. Nonetheless, when you understand how fast the Breville coffee grinder can turn beans into grounds, this isn’t a problem to obtain the perfect dose
This makes the Breville an extra attractive buy for espresso drinkers. The settings make it easy for you to adjust your dose for your next espresso pull. And they make it easier to keep your dose the same, too!
Using this display, you can also choose whether to grind for shots or cups of coffee. This makes it easy to brew an exact amount for whatever method you’re using. This way, you won’t have to keep drinking from the same batch of coffee for more than a day at a time!
Another function of the LCD display of the Breville is that it lets you choose from the 60 grind settings. These range from the coarsest to the finest grind available. You can use this grinder to brew pretty much any type of coffee at home! Just make sure you know the right grind size, which will best suit your coffee.
And finally, as touched on earlier, the Breville Smart Pro Grinder shines when it comes to compatibility with most espresso machines. It even comes with two different portafilter cradles. One lets you grind directly to the 50-54 millimeter portafilters of smaller machines—meanwhile, the other works with 58-millimeter portafilters of more commercial options.
Most standard-sized espresso machines will have 58-millimeter portafilters. But just in case, it’s always good to make sure before deciding on which grinder you want to invest in!
The Smart Grinder Pro of Breville comes with a plastic hopper. It has an 18-ounce coffee bean capacity or around 450 grams. This lets you hold large batches of beans at a time. That’s a lot of coffee ready to grind, regardless if you’re accommodating visitors or just fueling up for a long day.
The hopper also has a locking system that makes it easy to store beans or transfer them to and from the hopper. Ease of use is one of the best features of the Breville Smart Grinder Pro, and it’s completely evident in its design.
Burr and Motor Design
What makes the Breville Smart Grinder Pro so effective is the quality of its burrs. Its 40-mm stainless steel conical burrs ensure that you get as close to a precise grind as possible, no matter the grind settings you choose. A precise grind is essential in achieving an even extraction of your coffee grounds.
Poor quality grinders often yield grounds with variable particle sizes. This results in the simultaneous over-extraction and under extraction of your coffee beans, muddying up all different flavors in your cup. And yes, that goes for expensive and “specialty” coffee beans too!
The only downside of the Breville Smart Grinder Pro, however, is its motor design. At just 165 watts, it’s not meant for grinding big batches of coffee at a time. This should not be a big issue, provided that you use it only in 10 to 15-second spurts rather than continuously for minutes at a time.
The most common complaint about the Smart Grinder Pro is that the motor is the first to give out. But grinding in 10 to 15-second spurts and not leaving the device running when you’re done grinding can go a long way in preserving the longevity of this and any other grinder.
The 40-mm conical burrs in the Breville Smart Grinder Pro revolve at a rate of 450 RPM. This is fast enough to be effective, without generating too much heat in the coffee. A poorly designed conical burr grinder can go so fast that it ends up preemptively extracting oil and aroma from your coffee grounds.
When a burr grinder generates too much heat, the chemistry of your grounds alters. This process can affect the taste of your brew, or worse, even remove some delicate aromas and flavors initially present in your beans.
In a nutshell, it’s great that the Smart Grinder Pro of Breville operates at 450 RPM. That means you can always expect consistent quality from this grinder, even when making multiple batches of coffee throughout the day!
Portability and Weight
At 8.5 x 6 x 15.5 inches, the Breville Smart Grinder Pro will undoubtedly fit nicely on any worktop. Highly portable, it’s also easy to place in your car and move around if necessary. However, it’s probably still not a good idea to regularly take out for a spin. Grinders, especially home grinders, are built to withstand wear and tear from grinding, but not from bumpy car rides.
Still, at 6.40 lbs, the Smart Grinder Pro is easy enough to bring along with you on the weekend spent in faraway Airbnb’s if you don’t have a manual coffee grinder for travel already (you should!).
Whether you pick up this Breville coffee grinder in brushed stainless steel, cranberry red, or sesame black, it’ l blend in on any countertop. It’s also quite a good-looking partner for any home espresso machine.
Its design may not necessarily jump out at you, but It can hold Its own Inside any kitchen space.
The grinder comes with a conical burr cleaning brush courtesy of Breville. You can access the burrs by unlocking the hopper and pulling it off. The top burr is removable too if you want to give it a thorough cleanse less frequently.
This feature will come in handy should the machine begin to slow down and have a more difficult time grinding your coffee. However, as long as you grind in 10 to 15-second bursts and refrain from straining your motor, this grinder shouldn’t need much maintenance.
Durable or Not
As suggested by its price point, you can’t expect the Smart Grinder Pro of Breville to be suitable for industrial use. If you use it at a large cafe, the motor will likely quickly wear out and malfunction. You’ll end up having to replace it after just weeks, or if you’re lucky, months of use.
A better option for longevity would be an industrial burr grinder that’s designed for consistent use. But if you just want something affordable that will let you pull espressos at home, this is a durable, high-quality option.
The Smart Grinder Pro’s build is a light, but a sturdy option with all its parts well put together.
While it relies on an LCD display to adjust settings may worry some users, I don’t think it’s a cause for concern. But if you want something super robust that can you can place in your car for long trips and vacations, you might want to look for something less fragile display wise.
Grind Range & Rating
The Smart Grinder Pro has 60 grind settings, which makes it more precise than many similar grinders. That’s precisely why it’s such a great way to get into the espresso game. The number of grind settings allows you to make minute adjustments to your espresso, resulting in much better flavor.
Its precision with grind settings also makes it so ideal for home use. It’s super versatile and can assist you in the preparation of any brew you want. It doesn’t have to be an espresso!
Regardless of whether you enjoy French press, cold brew, or drip coffee the most, you’ll find that the Smart Grinder Pro of Breville gives you a quality grind. And according to this test, the grinder is most precise with the finest grind size.
That means that if you enjoy a nice drip, pour over, or AeroPress coffee, this smart little coffee grinder Breville offers would serve you well. And if you prefer espresso, Moka pot, or Turkish coffee, it would serve you even better!
With all its grind settings and a 450 RPM speed, you won’t have to worry about over extracting your cuppa because of this grinder. Don’t get me wrong: you can still over-extract your coffee. But the Breville’s consistency makes it easier to brew well!
There aren’t many grinders at this price point that are entirely compatible with espresso machines. Grinders meant for espresso can often go for up to 5 times the price of this grinder. And the reality is, that’s just not affordable for coffee lovers who are on a tight budget.
However, I can’t stress enough the importance of having a consistent and reliable grinder to your brew’s quality. If you want to even give yourself a chance to become your very own home barista, it’s imperative that you get something that you trust to provide you with an even grind every time you use it.
And when it comes to the consistency of its grind, the Breville can give you expensive-grinder quality without breaking the bank. Overall, If you’re looking to buy an affordable grinder that will help you sharpen your espresso skills, but you also enjoy manual brewing, then this is precisely for you.
Don’t Buy the Breville Smart Grinder Pro If…
You aren’t looking to at least learn how to pull an espresso
If you don’t have an espresso machine at home, and don’t plan on getting one soon, I wouldn’t suggest buying this Breville. The main advantage of getting this grinder is its compatibility for using alongside espresso machines. But if you’ll only be using it for drip coffee, you may be better off investing in a cheaper alternative like the Bratza Encore.
There are some alternatives for around the same price that are more simple and durable than this option. The feature of adjusting your grind time is useful to espresso drinkers, and not many others.
You have enough money for a high-end coffee grinder
Don’t get me wrong: this is one excellent alternative for those who can’t afford expensive equipment.
But you get what you pay for, so don’t expect it to outperform high-end grinders on any basis. Just think of it as being able to do everything a high-end grinder can do, except with cheaper parts.
That being said, it’s not the most durable option out there. If you don’t think you’ll take care of this grinder (by using it in spurts, not leaving it on, cleaning it regularly, etc.), it’s probably better to buy another option you won’t have to be as concerned with.
If you need a helping hand re picks, check out our favorite burr grinders to see which you like more.
You’re looking to use it in a coffee shop
Like I mentioned earlier, this grinder is built for home use, which means maybe a couple of times a day. It would break down quickly in an environment where it can be used a hundred times per day.
If you’re using it for a business, it would be better to get something more expensive that lasts than something cheap that will likely break given severe repetitive use.
However, if you’re looking to practice pulling espressos as you look to bring the coffee shop home, this is a great grinder to own. You can sharpen your coffee skills without having to invest much, and you’ll have more left over to spend on other useful equipment like a gooseneck kettle.
The Final Verdict
All in all, I think the Breville Smart Grinder Pro is a great starting grinder for someone looking to improve their coffee skills at home. The true measure of a barista’s skill is how well they can pull an espresso. And the better you get at that, the easier it is to improve the rest of your skill set.
An excellent entry level grinder which works well for any grind size. Perfect if you enjoy espresso as much as a pour over!
Of course, that’s assuming coffee is still just a “hobby” for you and you don’t want to throw so much money at it yet. Or maybe you already have an excellent quality grinder and just need one for practicing your espresso pull. If either of these is the case, the Breville Smart Grinder Pro is perfect for you.
But before you decide, it’s good to evaluate the other options too and then review. Figure out what exactly it is you’re looking for in a grinder. If affordability is a primary concern, there aren’t many options that will work better than the Breville Smart Grinder Pro.