Are you looking to purchase your first grinder?
Well– my first bit of advice is to steer clear and far away from blade grinders. Yes, they are cheaper. But your coffee will taste just as cheap, no matter what quality roast you have. Blade grinders hack away at the whole bean, causing not only a wide variance of grind size, but drying of the essential oils that give our coffee the nice full mouth feel and flavor.
To learn more about why blade grinders are simply a no-no, check out my piece on blades vs burrs here.
Have no fear, I have two amazing burr grinders to tell you about. They come from the same, quality company: Breville.
One of the most widely-recognized companies that make commercial-grade coffee gear is Breville.
Breville has a long history of providing long-lasting equipment since 1932. This Australia born appliance company has been dedicated to ethically made products made from the best materials. Each of their machines is tested thoroughly before it hits the market. They have a support staff available for any questions, as well as an extensive section of their website dedicated to each machine, including blue prints and how you can trouble shoot at home.
This is the type of quality that you can rely on.
Let’s look at two of their best options in the grinder department.
If you’re looking to make an investment that will pay itself off ten-fold, look no further than the Smart Grinder Pro and the Dose Control Pro.
Don’t be troubled by the fact that we have put them head to head. They are both spectacular buys that will produce consistent grinds and last a lifetime (if they are well taken care of, as much as they are well loved.)
I have written a pretty in-depth piece about the Smart Grinder, when I compared and contrasted it with the Baratza Encore. But let me go over the basics and the specs for those of you who may have missed it.
The Breville Smart Grinder
This fine piece of machinery is souped up with, arguably, the most modern technology available for a stand-alone grinder.
For around 200 bucks, you get sturdy stainless steel conical burrs that automatically turn off when its internal temperature gets too hot.
Though other companies offer double the number grind settings, Breville guarantees quality over quantity.
The 25 settings range from espresso to french press, and they are all consistent.
The hopper is large enough to hold 1 pound of beans and is airtight, so you can keep them fresh and full of those volatile oils.
The controls are intuitive.
There are 3 nobs below the LED screen which control the grind, strength and amount of cups desired.
There are two options for catching your grounds.
You can dose into a portafilter handsfree using the cradle that is included with the purchase, or you can opt to use the provided container which has markings along the sides to indicate typical measurements for the different brewing methods.
If you’re new to the espresso world and are not sure what “dose” or “portafilter” mean, you can learn all about that in my previous article here.
With the Smart Grinder Pro, you can have the perfect coffee, tailor-made to your liking with just a flip of the on and off switch.
Dose Control Pro
For about 50 bucks less, you could purchase the Dose Control Pro.
Though it has the exact same burrs as the Smart Grinder Pro, there are several competing factors.
For starters, there are 60 grind settings available on the rotating hopper.
It’s as easy as it sounds!
Turn clockwise for a finer grind. The finest setting is power-like, which would be perfect for a turkish coffee. Turn counter-clockwise for a coarser grind. The coarsest setting is chunky enough to make cold brew with.
And on top of that, there are 10 hidden grind settings on the top burr.
If the settings are not to your liking, you can recalibrate the burrs by popping off the top burr and adjusting it. They recommend you changing the burrs one notch at a time.
This hopper is air-tight to keep the whole beans moist, just like the Smart Grinder Pro.
It is smaller than the Smart Grinder Pro, holing only 12 oz of beans.
How it works:
This comes with an intuitive, automated timer which is adjustable down to the second.
So, all you have to do is choose how long you want the rig to run. It can grind for up to 50 seconds at a time.
Once you’ve got the timer set, you just press the dial to start or stop.
Catching the grounds
Just like the Smart Grinder Pro, you can dose directly into the portafilter, if you are making espresso. This versions comes with 2 cradle sizes. You have your industrial size: 58mm. And you have your more petit options for smaller espresso machines: 50-54mm.
This one also comes with an extra perk.
Along with the 2 cradles, you get a razor dosing tool in this set-up. It helps you pack down and shave off excess grounds so that you can have more precise measurements. And it’s adjustable to match both portafilter sizes.
If you are grinding for a different brewing method, the base has a large enough indentation for you to dose into measuring cups, paper filters, and french presses.
Both choices are impressive pieces of machinery. So let’s put the specs head to head.
|Dose Control Pro
|Smart Grinder Pro
|6″ x 8″ x 13.5″
|6.25″ x 8.5″ x 15.25″
|Conical, Stainless Steel
|Conical, Stainless Steel
|Adjust Grind Setting
|turn dials on front
|# of cups, strength of cups