The Breville Smart Grinder Pro Review – The New Kid On The Block
Remember that feeling when the new kid walked into class and you knew, right then and there, that all your chances of getting a date were ruined?
This must be how grinder makers are feeling right now, because the damn future just walked in the door: the Breville Smart Grinder Pro.
Let’s take a look at what you should expect in this brave new world with an in-depth Breville Smart Grinder Pro review.
The Smart Grinder Pro 'In A Nutshell'
Breville’s Smart Grinder Pro is a machine that seeks to outsmart all other home-use grinders. It offers more grind settings than any other, giving you unmatched control.
There are also a number of clever features to make the whole process quick and easy. Its convenience combined with its precision has led it be voted in our best coffee grinders roundup list - which you can see here.
Dose IQ allows you to program your favorite grind and then quickly change the number of servings. You can still do a quick grind and the machine will record the dose time for future batches.
The hopper can be removed to swap out beans without the mess and to give you access to the burrs.
Additionally, it comes with a sealable grounds container and two portafilter holders.
Things to Consider Before Buying 'The Future of Coffee Grinding'
When Breville made the Smart Grinder Pro, it’s clear they took a page out the Apple playbook.
Breville wanted to modernize the home grinding experience by making a machine that is effective, convenient, and intuitive.
In the world of coffee, many have tried this tactic and many have been drowned out by a barrage of angry reviews.
Not all the experts who are still tied to their old workhorses have put the Pro through the paces.
Other machines have built up a reputation of trust that only time can give, and this grinder hasn’t been around long enough.
Apart from being new, this grinder is packed full of nifty features. It is convenient to the max, and for an (almost) unbelievable price.
I think you know where I am going with this, as we’ve all experienced products that promised more than they can give.
Ignoring (for a moment) the possible problems with Breville’s newest grinder, it would be a good fit for just about any homebrewer.
Its easy-to-use features make grinding a breeze for the beginner, while the large number of adjustable options allow it to keep up with the professional.
The most important things to consider before whipping out your bank card:
- the cost of a grinder like this,
- how well each independent feature performs, and
- its durability.
Keeping those three concerns in mind will help you decide if this is the right grinder for you.
The Breville Smart Grinder Pro Review
The Smart Grinder Pro is the third in Breville’s grinder series.
Not only does it pick up where the other models (the Dose Control and the Smart Grinder) left off, but it also promises to provide what other brands forgot to include.
Compared to industry leaders like Baratza and Rancilio, the Pro offers a wider variety of grind settings and intuitive features for an unbelievable price.
This grinder is meant to be the be all and end all in home-use grinders.
As such, it is a good fit for just about any type of coffee enthusiast. Whether you are just starting out or have been in the game for a while, the Pro has got the goods.
Its uncomplicated controls make navigating the overwhelming number of options a breeze and the numerous smart features will impress even the pickiest brewer.
- 600 different grind settings.
- Affordable on most budgets.
- Clever and convenient features.
- Cannot provide a large enough grind for French press.
- May jam and wear down at the lowest grind settings.
An Ungodly Number of Grind Settings
On the box, the Smart Grinder Pro claims to have 60 grind settings, which alone is a lot.
This many settings allows the Pro to tackle everything from espresso to French press and still give you plenty of room for fine tuning.
When perfection is the name of the game, having many options to play with is key to a tasty brew. Finding the right grind for your taste often takes some experimentation.
The Pro splits its massive number of settings into four categories: press, percolator, drip, and espresso.
Most of the options are where you need them most: in the espresso and drip categories.
Pulling an amazing shot of espresso or accomplishing the best pour-over is a trick that stumps even the experts from time to time.
Perfecting both of these brew methods requires more flexibility than most grinders can keep up with.
Each brew method is sensitive to tiny changes in process, and the first step is always the grind. Getting this right will put you on the delicious road to divine coffee.
If you find that 60 grind settings aren’t enough for you, pluck out the bottom burr to find 10 more micro-adjustments.
These extra settings allow you to tune each individual setting and, for those that haven’t already done the math, multiply your available grinds to a ridiculous 600 different options.
Though it isn’t as easy to change these settings as it with other grinders, it isn’t too difficult either.
Check out this quick video to see how it’s done. Now just try not to get overwhelmed by all the new choices.
A quick note about the coarser grind settings: the Smart Grinder Pro does not perform as well for French press brews.
Its coarsest setting isn’t quite what you want for French press, and you will find some stray grounds floating around in your cup, but it performs great for espresso and pour-over.
Smart Features Make Grinding Convenient
The hard-to-imagine variety of grinds is amazing, but the Pro doesn’t stop there.
Apparently, the designers over at Breville don’t know the meaning of “good enough” because they’ve also packed this fella full of nifty additions to make your morning grind even easier (I know, I’m clever).
It’s as if they tested a standard grinder and then asked themselves what would make each little step even simpler.
They tried to dive into our own damn heads, and they succeeded.
There are quite a few, so I am going to break this section up into smaller chunks:
Dose IQ for the Win
This grinder comes equipped with a “Grind Time” dial, which lets you quickly set the dose amount for each batch.
You can adjust the grind time down to two-tenths of a second, and the LED screen will show the countdown.
If you don’t want to set a specific time, or don’t yet know which time to choose, you can hold down the start button and the timer will begin counting up from zero.
This makes experimenting with different doses a breeze, as you can see the time for your most successful grinds.
Say you’ve found that perfect dose but now you want to brew up a few more cups. You’ve brought some friends over and you quickly need more than one cup of coffee.
Just multiply the grind time by the number of people. Simple, right?
Yes, it’s easy to do, but math is for schmucks. (My editor requests I state that my personal opinions do not reflect the opinions of this website — stay in school kids).
Regardless of my stance on mathematics, Breville obviously thinks it is a waste of time as well.
Enter Dose IQ, which automatically adjusts the dose when you press the “Shots | Cups” button.
All you need to do is program in your preferred dose by holding down the dial, and the Pro will remember it. One of the best things about this feature is that it works for each grind category.
You can have a programmed dose for espresso, for pour-over, and for percolator.
Add-Ons? Why Not!
The Breville Smart Grinder Pro comes with a couple additional pieces to make your life a little more hands free.
Two different portafilter holders can be attached underneath the grounds outlet, one for 50–54 mm portafilters and another for traditional 58mm portafilters.
These extra holders make it easy to keep your portafilter balanced while you grind up a fresh batch for espresso.
They are held in place by a magnet, so can be replaced without any hassle.
If you aren’t grinding for espresso, you can leave in the grounds container, which has a sealable lid to keep your coffee fresh.
“Hot Buttons” for Quick Control
Underneath the grounds outlet, just along the back wall is a little metal button, which is meant for quick grinds.
Using either your portafilter or the grounds container, press against and hold the button for an easy dose.
Once you press the button, the amount timer will automatically start counting up and stop as soon as you release it. The “Start | Pause” works the same way.
These hot buttons give you extra control over each grind and quick access to a fresh grind without having to fiddle with the timer.
A Hopper that Makes Life Easier
The Pro comes with a large 1 pound hopper, more than many other consumer grinders, but size isn’t the coolest thing about it.
The hopper has a simple release toggle that closes off the bottom and allows you to lift the entire piece away.
Removing the hopper allows you to smoothly change out your beans without creating a mess. It also gives you access to the burrs for cleaning and the 10 extra grind settings.
An Unbelievable Price
This grinder is just a running list of unbelievables.
Along with its ridiculous number of grind settings and convenient features is a jaw-droppingly low price.
There are grinders that offer less settings than the Pro that sell for much more.
Good luck finding a machine built with so much care for consumer use at such a price. If the other goodies weren’t a deal sealer for you, the price tag might be.
Alternatives to the Breville Smart Grinder Pro
I understand if you want to stop now to go buy yourself one of these amazing grinders, but it’s always wise to take a peek at the competition first.
Here are a few grinders you may want to consider instead of the Pro:
The Baratza Virtuoso
In my humble opinion, the Baratza Virtuoso is another great deal.
It is slightly less expensive than the Smart Grinder Pro, and a little more reliable with extremely fine and coarse grinds.
On the other hand, the Virtuoso only offers 40 grind settings. A respectable number, but not near as many as the Pro.
The Virtuoso only has an 8 oz. non-removable bean hopper and basic controls. Additionally, it does not have the LED screen or any of the other convenient features, like Dose IQ.
The Baratza Vario
The Baratza Vario comes much closer to the Pro than the Virtuoso. It doesn’t have 600 grind settings, but it does have 230, and the adjustments are more intuitive for fine tuning.
Unlike the Pro, the Vario uses ceramic burrs, which don’t heat up as quickly and help to keep your delicate beans cool.
It comes in two different models, one which doses based on time (like the Pro) and another which doses based on weight.
The downsides to this grinder are that it is nearly double the price, it doesn’t have Dose IQ, and it takes a bit of practice to get used to.
The Rancilio Rocky
Rancilio is a well known among shop owners for their high quality grinders, and they’ve used that expertise to create a sturdy home-use grinder. The Rocky (which we covered here) features a powerful motor that spins the steel burrs at a very low RPM to keep your beans cool.
It is quieter than most other consumer grinders and it has a thermal protection device that protects your burrs from grating against one another.
Compared to the Smart Grinder Pro, the Rocky only has 55 grind settings and takes up significantly more space.
It isn’t quite as pricey as the Vario, but it is still costs much more than the Pro.
For the price you pay, the Breville Smart Grinder Pro offers more than what should be allowed.
It takes the best from the other grinders on the market and slams it all into one package.
You want a (near) endless number of grind options? Check.
A system that knows how to work with you, and not the other way around? Check.
And how about a few extra customizable features, just in case you need to tailor it to a specific taste? Ya, it’s got that too.
I hope you enjoyed this Breville Smart Grinder Pro review.