Sage Precision Review: Auto Drip Coffee Exactly How You Like It
Not all drip coffee makers produce burnt and bitter coffee. Some are simply victims of drip coffee’s stereotypically lousy reputation. By some, we mean Sage Precision Brewer, whose precision brings it close to manual coffee drippers’ subtle tastes.
Read our Sage Precision Brewer review to find out if this SCA-certified model is best for you.
SUMMARY: The Sage SDC450 Precision Brewer Coffee Maker
- Incredibly precise PID temperature control
- Meets the Specialty Coffee Association’s Golden Cup requirements
- Staggering level of programmability
The world’s first 1.8-litre drip coffee maker with the precision required to brew craft filter coffee, automatically.– Sage
Sage Precision Brewer Review
The Sage Precision Brewer combines the complex technique of manual brewing with the convenience of automatic drip machines. It gives you the ability to brew a fancy pour-over style coffee right at home, and lets you tweak every possible brewing parameter to make it perfect.
Design – 4.5/5
The Sage Precision Brewer is an elegant electric drip coffee maker that will stand out in your kitchen. Unlike the Smeg coffee maker which looks retro, the Precision brewer has a brushed stainless steel finish that looks sleek, stylish, and sturdy. It features a see-through water reservoir made of tough plastic. While it’s not removable, it has markings that make it easy to measure your coffee-to-water ratio. Thanks to its Thermocoil Heating System, it also delivers hot water that is purer than more popular aluminium-based brewing systems.
We must warn you, though. It’s quite big and heavy (4.8 kg). Its body (measuring 36 x 16.8 x 39.5 cm) might not fit on every countertop, so make sure that you have enough room underneath your cupboards.
Features – 5/5
The “Precision” in the name is not just a marketing buzzword; when it comes to customizability, this Sage model has no rivals.
This Sage coffee maker features a PID temperature control (proportional, integral, derivative), which is usually found on high-end espresso machines and is incredibly accurate. It also uses a variable flow rate pump to optimize the brew time.
The Sage Precision Brewer coffee maker lets you control all aspects of the brewing cycle, from the rate of the water flow to the brew temperature.
You can choose from 6 different brewing modes: Fast, Strong, Over Ice, Cold Brew (which is designed to run overnight), Gold, and My Brew. The Fast and Strong brewing modes are exactly what they sound like, and the Gold setting makes coffee according to the Specialty Coffee Association’s Golden Cup standards: (1)
Coffee shall exhibit a brew strength, measured in Total Dissolved Solids, of 11.5 to 13.5 grams per litre, corresponding to 1.15 to 1.35 “percent” on the SCA Brewing Control Chart, resulting from a solubles extraction yield of 18 to 22 percent.
The Over Ice setting compensates for brewing hot coffee over ice by making a stronger brew, whereas the Cold Brew setting is designed to run overnight to produce a delicious and smooth cold brew coffee.
The My Brew setting allows you to brew craft filter coffee as you would do with a manual pour-over, except that now you can also replicate it exactly every time you want. You’ll be able to set the brewing time as well as the bloom time (from 0 to 5 minutes) to let your coffee grounds degas and achieve the best flavour (2). You can also change the brew temperature and select a flow rate (Fast, Medium, or Slow).
And then, there’s a Pour-Over mode on/off setting. This works best if you purchase the separate adapter and lets you combine your favourite pour-over brewer (V60, Kalita Wave, etc.) with the practicality of an automatic dripper!
While this drip machine lets you brew up to 12 cups of joe (a large 1.8-litre carafe), you can easily brew coffee in smaller quantities thanks to the different baskets. The Sage Precision Brewer Thermal Carafe coffee maker comes with a flat-bottom filter basket holder which is compatible with standard paper filters or the included gold-tone filter. Optionally, you can use a cone filter adapter with #4 paper filters for smaller quantities of coffee.
Thanks to their patent-pending Steep & Release valve, you’ll be able to brew single cups of coffee, too.
This valve holds the water in contact with the coffee when the carafe is not in place, and the coffee maker changes its brewing mode automatically when it doesn’t detect the carafe.
Personally, we like to grind our coffee beans right before brewing to retain all the flavour, but if you’d rather wake up to the smell of coffee you’ll be thrilled to know that the Sage Precision Brewer has an Auto-On function. You’ll be able to prepare your grounds and favourite brew settings the night before and program it to wake up before you do.
We really like the stainless-steel carafe with its brew-through lid, which will keep your coffee piping hot for much longer than glass models. However, if you prefer elegance over quality since you usually drink your coffee immediately (fair enough!), the Sage also makes a Precision Brewer model that with a glass carafe instead.
Ease Of Use – 4.5/5
The Sage Precision is perfect for the wannabe barista who likes to combine their knowledge of coffee extraction with the perks of an automatic drip coffee machine. If you love getting technical about bloom and temperatures, the Sage Precision lets you do that very easily.
The intuitive, user-friendly LCD screen and the single button/dial make it effortless to tweak each variable or change the brewing mode.
But don’t worry if terms like bloom time, degassing, and brewing temperature aren’t of interest to you. The Sage Precision Brewer has got you covered. Just select one of the presets — Fast, Gold, or Strong — and press the Start button. You can have a full pot of craft filter coffee ready in just a few minutes.
This brewer is also effortless to clean and look after. The filter baskets and stainless steel thermal carafes just need to be rinsed under running water. The showerhead is removable for periodic cleaning. Although the machine doesn’t remind you when it’s time to descale, it does have a descaling mode that will only take you 15 minutes to run.
Value For Money – 3/5
This Sage coffee maker might offer unprecedented customizability and precision, but it comes at a price — an exorbitant price for a drip coffee maker. We understand that only the very best coffee machines obtain the Specialty Coffee Association certification, which is a guarantee that you’ll get a perfect cuppa. But there are other coffee machines with similar credentials.
Where the Precision Brewer stands out is in its vast array of presets and programmability. It lets you control every single aspect of your brew to extract the best cup of drip coffee you can. That’s why we think it’s totally worth the price tag, but only if you’re planning on making the most of its myriad features.
Don’t Buy The Sage Precision Brewer If…
You’re on a budget – If you’re willing to sacrifice precision and customizability for a lower priced machine that will still produce a “golden” cup of coffee, then look no further than the Bonavita BV1900TS. This brewer has a pre-infusion brewing mode and features a showerhead-style lid to ensure even extraction.
Find out more about this coffee maker here.
You want cafe-quality coffee at the touch of a button – The Oxo On Barista Brain pairs the quality of a perfect pour over with the convenience of a drip coffee machine. It’s also significantly less expensive than the Sage Precision Brewer and one of the best-looking coffee makers out there.
Read our review of this machine here.
You want the best of the best – Look no further than the Technivorm Moccamaster, a style statement that translates into a perfect cup of coffee, thanks to its precise copper-heating system and pulse action that mimics the agitation achieved through manual pour overs. Given that every Moccamaster brewer has been awarded the SCAA certification, it’s no surprise this is our favourite drip coffee maker (3).
You want a smart coffee machine – The GE Cafe Specialty is an SCA-certified coffee maker with an added feature It’s a smart coffee maker, which means you can control it via your smartphone. The only downside to it is its $$$ price. But if you’re willing to splurge, this programmable coffeemaker would also double as a pretty decoration on your countertop. Here’s our full review of the GE Cafe Specialty coffee machine.
You want to enjoy milky coffees – If you love black coffee but also have a soft spot for milky drinks, consider investing in a machine that can froth milk. We recommend the Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker, which at the time of this article is the only SCA-certified dripper that offers milk-steaming options.
With its PID temperature control, Thermocoil heating system, and variable flow rate water pump, the Sage SDC450 Precision Brewer Thermal Carafe Coffee Maker truly has no rivals. It stands head and shoulders over most other drip coffee makers when it comes to precision and customizability. But we cringe just thinking about the hole it will burn in your pocket.
We don’t recommend the Precision Brewer for someone who is only interested in pressing a button and is satisfied with whatever kind of coffee the machine produces. This drip coffee machine is perfect for those who want to unleash their inner barista and craft specialty coffee without giving up the perks of an automatic dripper experience. We’re sure you’ll get why so many coffee enthusiasts are swooning over this machine as soon as you taste your first cup of coffee.
You should use medium-sized grounds for your Sage Precision Brewer. However, since you can tweak many variables, including the hot water temperature, you can experiment with slightly finer or coarser grounds to achieve the flavor that you prefer. If you’re using the Cold Brew mode of this brewer, then you should opt for an extra-coarse grind. You can find out more about the different grind sizes in our article and chart.
To descale your Sage Precision brewer, you must pour a descaling solution into the water reservoir and ensure that there are no coffee grounds inside the basket before putting it into position along with the empty carafe. Then press the Select button and hold it for 3 seconds. The LCD screen will show “dSL” for a second before starting a countdown (approximately 15 minutes). Once it’s finished and the LCD screen goes back to the usual menu, discard the liquid and rinse the water reservoir, basket, and carafe with fresh water. (4) In order to ensure its longevity, you should descale your drip machine every 3-4 months, depending on the hardness of the water that you use.
Yes, the Sage Precision Brewer comes with a two-year warranty.
- (n.d.). Coffee Standards. Retrieved from https://sca.coffee/research/coffee-standards
- Molina, A. (2019, January 2). Why Does Coffee Degas & What Does It Mean For Brewers & Roasters? Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2019/01/why-does-coffee-degas-what-does-it-mean-for-brewers-roasters/
- (n.d.). The Coffeemaker Makers. Retrieved from https://us.moccamaster.com/pages/the-coffee-brewer-for-coffee-lovers
- (n.d.). Precision Brewer™ Thermal BDC450BSS. Retrieved from https://www.brevilleusasupport.com/bdc450bss/care-and-use/care/