Alright, it’s time to come clean. I am guilty of using pre-ground beans at home to make my daily cup of coffee. And with high-quality beans (like my personal favourite the Colombian Wild Grown Coffee Beans) I was always very happy with what I was getting out my Aeropress. I was also a little wary of how complicated, loud and fiddly owning a grinder seemed. UNTIL… I got my hands on a Breville Smart Grinder Pro. I’ve come over to the light side, this grinder is awesome! It’s a straightforward burr grinder that is super easy to use, but also possesses enough features to be able to fine-tune your grind.
Straight out of the box, the Smart Grinder is incredibly easy to set up. Put it on the counter, pop your hopper on top and plug it in. The grinder comes with some cool add-ons, like two different sized portafilter rests, a small sealable canister to grind into and a little brush to clean your burrs with. The canister is a great feature, as someone who is using an Aeropress, I can grind into the canister and scoop directly out of there. The machine is nice and compact, so it will fit nicely in small kitchens too.
The front of the grinder features an LED screen showing your grind coarseness, the seconds of grinding and how many cups you’re making. There is a sliding scale showing you roughly where you want to be for different brewing methods, which is pretty helpful if you can’t exactly tell the difference between the grind when rubbing between your fingers (It’s definitely an art I have yet to perfect.) The grinder has 60 settings along this scale, so you can really find the right one for your machine or brewing method. Calibrating is as easy as turning the knob on the side for grind coarseness and the one on the front for time spent grinding (in 0.2-second increments – talk about precise!) Then you literally press “Start,” and the grinder gets to work. I was pleasantly surprised at how quiet it is, which is a great plus when you’re living with people who might not be starting their day at the same hour as you! As for speed, your coffee is ground in mere seconds so it won’t take up too much of your precious morning time.
When I was using my pre-ground Colombian Wild Coffee beans, the Kitchen Aid Variable Temperature Kettle and Aeropress, my coffees were delicious. Admittedly getting to the bottom of the bag meant less flavoursome coffees that didn’t quite deliver the hit I was after. But after three days of using the Smart Grinder in my set-up, every coffee I am making is delivering on all fronts. The flavours are well balanced and delicate. I can taste the light stone fruit flavours and feel the citrus acidity on my tongue a lot more than before. I don’t need to experiment with steeping for longer and longer to get more flavour out of the coffee anymore.
The only con I can think of it that when you turn the grinder back on after it’s been off, it doesn’t remember your Grind Time. It brings back up the other previous settings but weirdly not that one. But in the grand scheme, it’s not that big of a deal, you can just take a second to change it, or press the button twice to get more grinds out.
So if anyone out there is thinking about making the switch from pre-ground beans to buying a grinder, I would highly recommend the Breville Smart Grinder Pro as your first grinder. It’s super easy to use, quiet and most importantly will take your morning brew to the next level.
Header image from CliveCoffee.com