Ever wish for a grinder that just really seems to get it when it comes to producing great coffee? A grinder that you can really count on to produce the right type of grounds, in the right amounts, for the exact type coffee you want to drink – every time.
Seems pretty simple, right? Personally though, I hadn’t yet found that top burr grinder that just gave me a sense of trust in its quality and consistency time after time.
So when the new Breville Smart Grinder Pro landed on my countertop, I put it through its paces and expected a bit of the same: some excellent shots and pours, intermingled with a few throwaways.
But after consistently great shot after cup after pour, I have to admit: this innovative and technology-driven machine really does think like a barista.
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With this new model, Breville took their existing line of grinders and examined every possible way they could be expanded and improved upon. What they’ve come up with is truly one of the most efficient, powerful, and smart machines that we’ve seen out there.
You can feel the quality of this new high-end Breville conical burr grinder right out of the box, as its sleek and compact stainless steel body fits attractively on any countertop.
But appearances are only the beginning – under the hood, this grinder’s packing more power than you’d expect for such a streamlined machine.
Sixty (that’s right, sixty) individual grind settings are split up by category, so coffee fanatics can achieve the exact grind they need for press, percolator, drip, cold brew and espresso machines.
You can tell that the people at Breville understand coffee inside and out, as they’re really attended to the finer details that other machines have skipped over.
Pulling the perfect espresso shot is a fine and often tricky art, yet is easily matched by this grinder’s array of finely-tuned settings.
But get this – there are actually far more settings available than even that (we’re talking ten times more!) We’ll be getting into that later though...
Technology is the theme here, as you almost get the feeling they took inspiration from Apple in its design and functionality. Breville left no stone unturned in creating a machine that makes coffee grinding truly simple and enjoyable.
Its Grinding Timer feature and Dose IQ help automate the perfect dosage and portion, letting you “set it and forget it” for the perfect cup every time.
As far as features go, you can consider this new Breville conical burr grinder king of the coffee fanatic’s bells and whistles. That is to say, they’ve covered all the details in crafting the perfect user experience alongside a boldly smooth cup of joe.
What’s great about this grinder is that it incorporates a ton of extra useful features without becoming overly complicated. The machine manages to effortlessly balance its impressive array of extras with an intuitive, enjoyable user experience.
Here are some of our favorite features of the Baratza Encore coffee grinder:
Most grinders out there offer various grind settings for different types of coffee. But few, if any, match the range of this smart mill. Out of the package, you’ve got 60 different grind settings, categorized by manual press, percolator, drip, and espresso.
Most of the settings lie within the last two, which makes sense as these are the two coffee types that generally require the most subtle attainments in grind size and texture.
But if 60 straight-up settings aren’t enough for you, just remove the bottom conical burr to make 10 more micro-adjustments to each setting. Yes, that’s right – you’ve got 600 individual settings to keep you busy crafting up that exquisitely perfect cup of coffee. (If you never get anything else done, don’t say we didn’t warn you!)
Breville has added a handy “Grind Time” dial that lets you preset the perfect dose amount for each grind. If you already know the exact timing, you can pre-adjust the timer down to 2/10 of a second, all displayed satisfyingly on an sleek LED screen.
If you’re in a more experimental mode, simply hold down the button and the timer will begin counting up from zero. This is great for those who might not yet know what exactly to choose, or want to play around with what works best.
So let’s say you’ve established the best grinding timer for your coffee type, and perfected the automation.
You want to invite the neighbors over to show off your fancy new coffee-making skills – so you’d just need to multiply the time by the number of people, right?
Sure… but Breville is ready to step in and make this even easier for you using the next feature...
Enter Dose IQ, yet another handy feature that simply requires you to enter the number of shots or cups, and it will automatically adjust the dose accordingly. You just need to program your preferred dose (for each grind type) by holding down the button, and the machine will remember – so you can easily produce multiple portions with the same dosage.
The grinder can store programs for different grind types, so all you need to do is indicate espresso, pour-over, etc, and you’re good to go!
The one-pound hopper that comes with the SGP is larger than that of many other coffee grinders, which is useful in itself. But the real convenience comes in the simple release button that you push to lift the whole container away from the machine.
This lets you replace the beans without making a mess, and access the burrs for easy cleaning. (This is also how you’ll access the 10 extra grind settings.)
For those days when you just want to make your coffee and get on with it, without fiddling with timers – enter the hot button. This little metal button behind the portafilter container produces quick grounds on demand.
Simply push your container back on the wall to activate the hot button, and the LED will start counting up so you can visually see how much you’re grinding. Release, and the grind will stop. It’s a great feature for getting your fresh grounds quickly and easily without fiddling or tweaking any other settings.
What type of coffee is best suited for the Breville Smart Pro?
With its 60 grind settings, the Breville grinder definitely makes itself available for a wide variety of coffee makers. But, like any grinder, it has its strengths and weaknesses.
We were especially impressed with its performance in the espresso machine, cold brew and pour-over department, producing a remarkably consistently quality of grounds for each.
In fact, we have to nominate smart pro as the best in its class for both of these coffee types – no other machine simply came close in terms of producing such a high quality shot and pour-over consistently.
On the weaker end of the spectrum, though, this Breville doesn’t quite stack up with the same quality for the coarser grounds required for French Press. While still deemed acceptable, we did find a few stray grounds floating in our cup now and then.
So if you’re an avid user, you may not be quite as enamored by this model as our espresso and pour-over lovers.
Still, for overall performance and flexibility, we have to hand it to this grinder for its massive range. (Curious which pick we would recommend? We’ll be sharing down below!)
Pro tips to make the most out of this grinder
To be honest, this is grinder for true coffee lovers. If you’re going to set the grinder to one setting forever, you’ll probably still be happy with what you get, but you won’t be making the most of this grinder’s powerful range and capabilities!
So how can you make the most of this grinder? We’d start by having you explore its many options and grind types. The Grind Timer allows you to experiment with the best time for you, so take a few minutes to play around and see what produces the ideal portion for each of your coffee maker.
Once you find your favorite setting, hold the button down to program the machine in so it will remember the correct portion.
While we love this Breville coffee grinder, it’s not perfect by any means. There are a few weaker aspects here that you may want to consider, in case any of these may be a deal breaker:
It doesn’t have a scale, so it’s basing the grounds portions by time instead of weight. This is pretty common for many grinders, so it wasn’t a huge issue for us – and we found the portioning to be very consistent.
However, if you’re someone who wants to measure out their ground coffee by the gram before grinding it, this machine doesn’t make it very convenient. You’d need to repeatedly push the Start/Pause button if you wanted to grind this way, instead of using the timed function.
So if this is important to you, we’d recommend buying a scale and going with another grinder like the Baratza Encore, which makes manual grinding easier with its on/off switch.
This machine is an ace when it comes to espresso, pour over, and even coarser grinds for percolator. But the coarsest grounds didn’t always turn out as well as we hoped.
I guess we can’t expect perfection, right? If you’re looking for that perfect slow coffee cup, you may want to look elsewhere.
How to clean the Breville Smart Grinder Pro
One great feature of this grinder is how easy it is to take apart and clean. It’s important to clean out the grinder every few months to make sure it keeps running smoothly – and fortunately, this grinder’s removable hopper makes it as simple as possible to do so.
Here are the simple steps for cleaning:
- Empty the beans from the hopper and grind out any excess beans before removing the hopper (by pressing the release toggle button.)
- Unplug power cord
- Wash grind container, lid, and hopper in warm soapy water. Rinse and let dry thoroughly.
- Use a soft, damp cloth to wipe off the exterior of the machine.
- Replace bean hopper, grind box, and lids.
While this grinder has stepped proudly out into the market with its technology-driven grinding capabilities, it is by no means the only kid on the block with impressive skills. These other grinders pick up the slack where Smart Pro may be lacking:
Coming in at a smaller price tag at just $130, the Baratza Encore is an incredible amount of bang for your buck. This is one of the most consistently great grinders we’ve tried, despite not having the impressive amount of features found on the Smart Pro.
But one reason you may love the Baratza Encore over Breville is if you prefer measuring your grounds by weight.
It’s much easier to manually grind using the Encore’s simple on/off switch, while the SGP is better for timed grinding – manual grinding requires an annoying workaround.
A very similar machine to the SGP, the Baratza Precisio also uses conical burr for a fast grinding time. Its design is much simpler and more traditional which may appeal to more of the coffee purist.
But while its hopper capacity is half that of its competitor, the Preciso actually has a greater range of producing consistently great grounds – it’s a more ideal choice for slow coffee makers, as its coarse grounds turn out much better than its competitors.
The Italian made powerhouse challenges the SGP to step up its game! This bigger machine can handle up to 7 pounds of grinding, making it a better pick for commercial or high-volume usage. It comes in at a higher price point, but you get what you pay for.
The Rocky doesn’t have all the fancy, high-tech features of the Smart Pro, but sometimes you don’t need more bells and whistles – you just need a powerful grinder to get the job done.
Breville Pro vs. Rancilio Rocky
Let’s take a closer look at this last comparison. What happens when you pit the Italian-made Rancilio Rocky against Breville’s Pro? We’ve got ourselves a showdown between two coffee grinders at the top of their class. Here’s how they break down:
It’s a close call in numbers here, as the Rancilio Rocky offers 55 grind settings to the Smart Pro’s 60. Both models produce impressively consistent grounds at each setting, but the Rocky wins out for producing better coarse grounds.
We still have to hand it to the SGP for offering 550 more little tweaks for the ground coffee perfectionist.
Both coffee grinders are made to high standard of quality, using durable stainless steel conical burr and external materials. The Rancilio Rocky has a decidedly more rugged-looking design with its sharp corners, while the Smart Pro goes for the more sleek, curvaceous appearance.
Both are incredibly well-made machines that will stand the test of time, making them both a great investment for your kitchen.
Here’s where we get into some of the differences between these two similar machines. The Rocky is a lot of grinder, built to handle up to 7 pounds of beans at a time. It’s also heavy, weighing in at around 18 pounds.
So if you’re someone looking to just drink a cup or two of coffee per day, this machine may be a bit much. However, for high-volume coffee maker, the Rocky outperforms the SGP any day of the week.
The Breville grinder, how is equipped with handy features that just make grinding your beans that much easier and more enjoyable! We love the Dose IQ and Grinding Timer features, and cheerful LED screen keeping us up to date with the perfect time for our coffee.
It’s also able to handle multiple doses on automation, though not to the high-volume extent of the Rocky. The Smart Pro comes in at about a third of he weight and half the price tag of the Rocky as well – so it’s really just a matter of considering how much machine you need.
Smart Grinder Pro
- 40 mm conical burrs and 60 individual grind settings
- Quicker - double shot in 17 seconds
- 6 pound weight
- Stainless steel
- Ideal for smaller-volume grinding
- Grinder Time feature for automatic programmed grinding
- LED screen and programmable grind settings
- Hot Button for quick grinding
- 50 mm flat burrs and 55 individual grind settings
- Slower - double shot in 25 seconds
- 18 pound weight
- Stainless steel
- Ideal for high-volume grinding
- Fewer bells-and-whistles, greater power and consistency
Overall, putting this grinder to work was an absolute joy. We haven’t found another grinder that’s so intuitive and fun to experiment with in creating the perfect settings for our favorite coffee types.
The espresso shots in particular were some of the best we’ve made with any grinder.
While by no means perfect, we have to hand it to Breville for thinking inside and outside the box in coming up with all the little features that coffee lovers will truly appreciate.
And for all its high-tech and innovative features, the price tag is truly surprising.
You’ll pay no more for this machine than you would for much simpler counterparts – but what you get is a true powerhouse and innovator that’s a great investment for any countertop.