Sage Smart Grinder Pro Review: The BCG820BSSXL Burr Coffee Grinder
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 all other grinders felt when the Sage Smart Grinder Pro by Breville walked in through the door.
Why is this grinder so special? We’ve done the hard part of testing and analysing it, and all you have to do is decide if it’s right for you.
Keep reading for our in-depth Sage Smart Grinder Pro review.
Summary: The Sage Smart Grinder Pro
- 60 grind settings
- Smart controls make for easy navigation of the settings
- Pro-level features at an entry-level price
Intelligent settings help your grinder achieve perfect results regardless of how fine or coarse you require your beans.– Breville
The Sage Smart Grinder Pro Review
When Sage made the Smart Grinder Pro, it’s clear they took a page out of the Apple playbook. Sage wanted to modernise the home grinding experience by making a machine that is effective, convenient, and intuitive. Its easy-to-use features make grinding a breeze for the beginner, while a large number of adjustable options allow it to keep up with the professional.
Let’s take a look at what makes this grinder such a strong competitor when pitted against the old-time favorites.
Design – 4.5/5
Apparently, the designers over at Sage don’t know the meaning of “good enough” because they’ve packed this fella full of nifty additions to make your morning grind even easier.
Burr & Motor Design: Fitted with 40 mm conical steel burrs, this Sage coffee grinder will give you as consistent a grind as some of the best burr grinders in this price range. You can check out our top picks here. A 165-watt motor drives these burrs at 450 RPM to ensure that there isn’t any unnecessary heat build-up in the ground coffee beans. Although, we would say the motor is on the louder side.
Additional Features: Sage really put some thought into the end-user when designing this machine. In the box, you will find 2 portafilter holders. One for 50-54 mm portafilters, and the other for a traditional 58 mm portafilter. Both of these are removable and lock into place via magnets. It also has a magnetic base plate where you might spill coffee dust when grinding into your portafilter.
Hopper & Grounds Bin: This is the only home burr grinder we have come across that has a 1 lb (18-oz) hopper capacity. Ordinarily, we’d say that bigger is better, but since we don’t recommend storing beans in the hopper, the size is irrelevant. But what we love about the hopper is the lock/unlock mechanism. At the unlock position, the hopper seals off the bottom portion, making sure that the beans in the hopper stay in the hopper.
This feature makes it super-easy to swap out coffee beans or remove the hopper for cleaning even if it’s full.
The plastic grounds bin fits snugly into place under the spout and has a built-in airtight lid for storing ground coffee. It also has graduated markings on its side to indicate how many cups/shots worth of grinds are in it.
Aesthetics: The Smart Grinder Pro does not look as sleek and trendy as the Fellow Ode, which we reviewed here, it certainly looks the part of a premium product from Sage. It will perfectly complement any home espresso machine that you might have sitting on your countertop. You can also choose to buy it in brushed steel, black, or red, to match your other coffee equipment.
Storability/Portability: It is a big machine, and you have to make space for it. Measuring 8.5 x 12.5 x 16.3 inches, it might not fit into your kitchen cabinet. We wouldn’t recommend storing it there anyway as this 2.9 kg machine is not going to be extremely portable.
Ease Of Cleaning: This is Sage we’re talking about, so of course, they made cleaning this machine as easy as possible. Unlock the hopper and pull it off to reveal the removable top burr.
You can brush out whatever residue you can see with the provided brush. Being an expensive gadget, we would recommend that you clean your grinder every month.
Durability – 3.5/5
The fit and finish of the Smart Grinder Pro leave nothing to be desired. Its plastic body panels sit snugly on its steel casing, which keeps it stable during operation. It looks and feels sturdy enough to last for a few years, just like the steel burrs.
However, this fancy gizmo has a lot of electronics built into it. And that’s not always a good thing when it comes to durability. Just like mass-produced smartphones, you could end up with a faulty piece that fails one day for no reason whatsoever. The saving grace is that Sage has great customer support.
Ease Of Use – 4.5/5
Grab a cup of coffee folks; this section is going to be big because Sage packed it full of features that make this machine a powerhouse.
The “smart” in the Smart Grinder Pro can be accessed by its centrally mounted blue LCD panel. It shows grind setting, grind time and the number of shots or cups — each of which is digitally controlled by a dedicated button/dial.
However, the downside is that the sheer number of combinations possible using these buttons is mind-boggling. Not exactly what we would call newbie-friendly.
However, it’s easy enough to get used to after you’ve gone through this routine a few times:
- Plug in the grinder
- Load coffee beans into the hopper
- Select grind setting using the side-mounted dial
- Select the grind time using the dial under the LCD screen (in 0.2-second increments)
- Press the start button to grind into a portafilter or the included bin
But the “smarts” don’t just stop here. Now we get to the part that makes this grinder such an amazing piece of equipment.
Dosing IQ: Here’s what Breville has to say about this feature: (1)
Precision Digital Time allows you to adjust and program grind time in 0.2 second increments giving you total control and a perfect dose every time.
You program a different setting for each of the four grind categories — Espresso, Percolator, Filter, Plunger. You can also change the number of cups/shots to grind for, and the machine will calculate and set the grinding time accordingly.
Manual-grind Button: There’s a manual grind button built into the body of the grinder, right where the portafilter slots in. So if you want to control the dose manually, just press the portafilter in until you hear a click and the machine will start grinding. Remove the portafilter, and the machine stops.
Start/Pause Button: The start button has a built-in pause function too, which is super-handy if you want to settle the grinds into your portafilter before finishing the dose.
Grinding Capability (Settings, Range, & Consistency) – 4/5
We’d expect that this Sage coffee grinder’s 60 different grind settings would offer excellent versatility in grinding for different brew styles. But the 60 settings are just arbitrary numbers, not exactly an indication of the range of grind size particles it can produce. What this means is the Smart Grinder Pro can’t match the fine-ness of a Rancilio Rocky grinder, nor can it go as coarse as a Baratza Virtuoso Plus.
This Sage burr grinder might be limited in its grinding range, but it offers impeccable consistency and an unparalleled level of control. And that matters because as per the pros at Perfect Daily Grind (2):
Just imagine: you bought an exceptional coffee (and probably paid quite a bit for it). But now, you just can’t get it to taste the same way it does in the café – and it’s all because of your grinder.
The coffee grinds are consistent in size no matter what setting you choose. And if you feel like you need a slightly finer or coarser grind without going up or down a full setting, you get 10 steps of micro-adjustments built into the removable top burr. This gives the Sage Smart Grinder Pro 600 possible grind settings!
So if you want to perfect your pour-over or Moka pot brew, you’ll have nothing to complain about.
Some reviews might mention that the Smart Grinder Pro can’t grind coarse enough for French Press. If you run into such a problem, we’d recommend setting your top burr to its coarsest and grind at setting #60.
Value For Money – 4/5
This grinder is just a running list of unbelievable attributes. Along with its ridiculous number of grind settings and convenient features is a jaw-droppingly low price. There are burr grinders that sell for well over twice as much as the Smart Grinder Pro, yet are less flexible and have fewer settings.
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.
Don’t Buy The Sage Smart Grinder Pro If…
You prefer quality over high-tech features – The Baratza Virtuoso + may not have the mind-boggling array of settings and programmability, but it trumps the Smart Grinder Pro in terms of versatility, grind size range and consistency. And it’s slightly less expensive.
Find out what else we loved about it in our review.
You want cafe-quality grind consistency – If you’re a professional barista trapped in the body of an amateur home brewer, take a look at the Baratza Vario flat burr grinder. It offers nearly the same level of control over your grind but with higher quality grind consistency. Though the Vario costs almost twice the Sage, we felt it was worth the price.
You care more about reliability than features – If all you desire is grind consistency and easy maintenance, look no further than the Rancilio Rocky SD grinder, one of the best multipurpose home grinders on the market.
We were blown away by its performance when we reviewed the doserless Rocky model.
Sage Smart Grinder Pro is a good fit for just about any type of coffee enthusiast. It takes the best parts from the other grinders on the market and slams it all into one amazing package. And all of this is offered at a tempting price point.
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 the overwhelming number of settings a breeze to navigate, and its smart features will impress even the pickiest brewer. It’ll make an excellent companion for your entry-level home espresso machine as well as your French Press.
If you’ve decided to swipe right on the Sage Smart Grinder Pro, why not head over to Amazon and get one.
You can clean the Sage Smart Grinder Pro by removing the hopper and the top burr, and brushing out any visible residue. If you tend to use oily, dark-roasted coffee beans, consider using grinder cleaning pellets once a week. For detailed instructions on how to clean your burr grinder, read our article on the topic.
The main difference between the Smart Grinder Pro and the Dose Control Pro from Breville is the level of control for grind time. You can adjust the Smart Grinder Pro in 0.2-second increments, whereas the Dose Control Pro does only 1-second increments. At only $40 more than the Dose Control Pro, we recommend going for the Smart Grinder Pro for its superior fine-tuning capability.
- (n.d.). The Smart Grinder Pro. Retrieved from https://www.breville.com/us/en/products/coffee-grinders/bcg820.html
- Rossi, R. N. (2017, December 15). A Brewer’s Guide To Choosing A (Good) Coffee Grinder. Retrieved from https://www.perfectdailygrind.com/2017/12/brewers-guide-choosing-good-coffee-grinder/