557 of 568 people found the following review helpful
Color Name: SilverVerified Purchase
This was my husband's "BIG" gift for the holiday (2010), and he hasn't liked a gift this much in a very long time! He likes to think he is a coffee buff, but never had a burr coffee grinder before, and after comparing model after model, name brand after name brand, I chose the Breville BCG800XL Smart Grinder for his gift.
We used to have a nice $50 Cuisinart grinder for years, and it still works well, but the noise it produced was horrifying (and I am NOT exaggerating, the NEIGHBORS even knew we were up when they heard the grinder, we live in a 2 story single family home), and the coffee grounds my husband left all around the machine when he removed the grounds bin was a daily annoyance. That coffee grinder has been cleaned & now happily residing at his office, where they can enjoy the mess and the noise, and a pretty good cup of coffee.
Now you wouldn't think that switching grinders would have an overall impact in the coffee quality, but did it ever! The coffee tastes so much richer, fuller and more aromatic than before! Even our 23 year old son said "Wow mom, this coffee is good, did you switch beans?" Was he surprised to find out all we did was switch grinders!
NOISE: Minimal, I can't even hear it when I'm sleeping. Our old grinder running used to be my wake up call upstairs, on the second floor, in the opposite corner of the house! The Breville's noise is semi~pleasant, like another reviewer stated, and not annoying at all, almost comforting. Happily, the noise just stays in the kitchen now, so only the smell of great coffee wakes me up on the opposite end of the house, YUM!
MESS: Zip, ziltch, nada. I am very pleased that the coffee grounds are housed safely & neatly in the attractive container. No issues with grind mess everywhere.
COST: OK.. can't find it anywhere below $199. I compared a lot of models out there, the two I ALMOST went with were the Kitchenaid $160~ish dollar model (Kitchenaid reviews weren't as good, and there was mention all over the internet about bulk and footprint of the machine), and the cheaper Breville around $95 or so, but the grindings all over the place by a couple of reviewers was enough to turn me off of that model. I opted for spending a more, and got a great machine my husband absolutely loves.
SIZE: Smaller than I thought it was going to be, packs a big BIG tower of conical burrs for massive grinding power. Just takes up the same small footprint of our old Cuisinart model, but a bit taller, so no issues there.
LOOKS: Stylish and elegant. It looks like a sophisticated appliance that can take a lot of wear & built to last. We display it proudly next to our old faithful "BUNN" coffee maker.
QUALITY: No flimsy hardware here, it all performs & appears like it will last for years. Backlit display seems very durable as well, and is very nice to aide pinpointing the perfect grind. The conical burrs are super sharp, super tough, and plentiful. My husband was impressed.
CLEANUP: Not difficult. They provide a nice brush that does a good job, esp since we enjoy a dark french roast with some beans being quite oily. Have to clean it more often with those types of beans anyway. No issues here.
GRIND CHOICES: OK.. WOW is all I can say. The description says it all, pick your grind, pick the strength, pick the amounts, whatever. Tons of ways to tweak the grind out to your liking.
HOPPER: (Amended 1/5/2011) Know now, that this hopper is NOT completely 100% AIRTIGHT. Our old Cuisinart hopper lid was very loose, just sat there and if bumped could fall off, but Breville's hopper lid is tight, and holds a whole 1 pound bag of beans with ease. No need to constantly refill! As per a commentor's statement, this is NOT airtight, and they were disappointed. It has a tight lid on top, but the bottom I did not take into consideration (as the bottom of the hopper is open to the bur wheels and exit, thus not 100% airtight. Even though it can hold up to 1 pound of beans, the guide states it does not recommend storing the beans in the hopper. I must mention that since we've been using this for over a year now, & we go through a full hopper of beans about every 4 - 5 days, we've detected no loss in coffee quality as per our tastes. Even though we keep the beans in the hopper, and we use it 1 - 2 times per day, the coffee still tastes phenomenal in our opinion, from day #1 to day #5. I also agree that finding a completely sealed air tight bean storage on a grinder will probably be next to impossible to find.
There are a lot of other attachments & things to do with this, but I hit the highlights for what we use it for. Our morning cup of YUM, and boy did this ever deliver.
CONS: Haven't found any yet, other than the $199 cost. Only time will tell if this machine is as durable as we think it can be. But since it only had a few reviews, and I always go to Amazon first, I needed to write this to add it to the happy family of 5 star ratings for this grinder.
Hopefully, this will be the last grinder we will ever need for quite a L O N G time. We are amazed at everything about this machine & the coffee it makes.
Thanks Amazon members for putting the reviews out there, this helped us make a great decision.
UPDATE: (03/20/2012): I must also state that finding a similar priced grinder that matches this one, (in finished grind, features, performance and taste of the coffee), will be difficult to duplicate. We have had no disappointments in regards to this grinder.
UPDATE #2: (12/17/2013) STILL.. best darn grinder EVER! LOVE IT and use it daily, sometimes several times per day!
158 of 161 people found the following review helpful
Color Name: Silver
> UPDATE == I was lucky enough to get a Baratza Vario as a gift, and have posted my impressions in a review of the Vario. While I still love the Breville and it scores much higher in terms of ease/convenience of use, the Vario does produce a more consistent grind. Best value = Breville. Best grind = Vario
I've spent the last three months looking for a decent burr grinder that didn't break the bank in terms of cost. To jump to the end of the story for those who want the bottom line, the Breville wins out as providing the best mix of convenience features and performance of any of the several I've tried (both less and more expensive). Highly, highly recommend.
I started out by going cheap - the Cuisinart DBM-8. This packs a lot for the price, especially if you can find one for about 20 bucks at a warehouse club. Even at the regular price (under $50) it gives you a lot for your money. It worked very well for the medium-fine grind I need for my Senseo, and was passable for other tasks (espresso and a french press). But, it's also loud, messy and does not give a consistent grind - you get a fair amount of dust. But, for the price, I have no qualms about recommending it for a drip application, and will be keeping the one I bought.
The next stop was also a Cuisinart, their CBM-18N. A definite step up, but it had some quirks that I found really irritating, such as a display that never turned off unless you unplugged it. The grind was better than the DBM-8 in terms of consistency, but still not good enough for my needs. This went back.
I then tried a Bodum Bistro. Nice to look at, but it lacked the convenience features that I liked (such as automatic grind amount based on number of cups), plus it states you can only use it for 20 seconds before letting it rest for 5 min to cool down. To me that's a sign of an undersized motor. But it did have a glass bin to cut down on static, and the fine grind level was very nice and more consistent than the Cuisinart. The coarse grind, however, was not as coarse as I wanted for a french press. Good choice to give as a present for someone who prefers style over function and is mostly a drip brewer. For me, it was another return.
The next two were borrowed from a friend: the Baratza Vario and the Virtuoso. I absolutely loved the Vario - perfect grind for everything from my espresso maker to my french press. Real workhorse, and solid construction. The catch is the price - about $450. Not in my price range, but if you're willing to spend the money, it's a very nice grinder. The Virtuoso is more what I was looking to spend, and that also is a nice grinder. I had zero problems producing a grind fine enough for espresso; my french press grind was excellent as well. The burrs on the Virtuoso are not as high quality as the Vario, but certainly up to the task of a typical consumer user.
I was set on the Virtuoso until I tried out the Breville. I had no problems getting it fine enough for espresso (although I should note that I use a pressurized portafilter which is not as fussy in terms of the grind as a non-pressurized). French press grind was spot on, and everything in between came out nearly as consistent as the Vario and just as consistent as the Virtuoso.
What really sold me on the Breville was the convenience features. You can dial in the number of cups (or shots) you want, and the grinder puts out the needed amount. You can fine tune the amount up or down as well. The hopper is big, has a very nice lid, and can be removed without dumping out all of the beans. Nice looking overall, with lots of stainless and high quality plastics.
Best of all is the fact that you can grind right into a portafilter or filter basket. I do my drip brewing using a My-k cup attachment on a Cuisinart k-cup brewer. I grind right into the basket with zero - and I mean ZERO - over spray of ground coffee. Just hold it by hand under the spout and the coffee shoots right in nice and fluffy. It goes into sleep mode after a few minutes, and wakes up with a push of any button (retaining your last grind setting). Easy to clean the burrs. Pretty quiet.
I could go on for pages as to the positive features, but I'll save you the trouble of reading my ramblings by summing it up as thus: if you're looking to spend less than $200 on a grinder, this is the one to get.
1. (Apologies to Amazon). You can get this at the bed bath store using their 20% coupon. You have to put in the order at the store to use the coupon, and if you ask nicely, the store manager will waive the shipping charges. That brings the price to $160 plus tax. They only seem to carry it online.
2. You can get a shim kit that will allow you to go even finer. It's free from Breville - I got mine four days after emailing them about it. I haven't used it since it already goes fine enough as it is, but wanted to have it in case I upgrade to a better espresso machine down the road that needs a finer grind. There's a video on the Seattle Coffee Gear site on how to install it.
3. You can buy extra hoppers from Breville so you can keep different coffees ready to go in different hoppers. There is a small amount of beans left in the machine when you remove the hopper that you have to shake out between changes, but having multiple hoppers makes it quick to switch between types of beans.
234 of 244 people found the following review helpful
on February 14, 2011
Color Name: Silver
I owned a coffee house in the mountains above Santa Cruz California and we tested and sold a number of different grinders over the years. When I sold that shop, I continued to buy and sell espresso equipment on Craigslist and eBay, mostly higher-end and commercial units. Many purchases were to test and evaluate, then sell, the equipment I bought.
Until recently, I was using a Pasquini Livia espresso machine paired with a Nemox Lux doserless grinder. The Lux was OK but it was a mess to use. Coffee grounds all over the place. I have since replaced the Livia with a commercial Nuevo Simonelli Mac Digit.
When I came accross the new Breville and read that it had an insert for a 58mm commercial portafilter, I was very interested. I had been looking at more expensive commercial grinders in the $400-$600 range but just wasn't ready to spend that kind of money so I bought the Breville.
This is simply one amazing grinder. Evenly ground beans with no clumping, a fine enough grind to use with my commercial Nuevo Simonelli rotary-vane pump machine and not one stray coffee ground after grinding directly into the portafilter. Another nice feature is being able to remove the bean hopper without having to empty the beans. This way I can have another hopper filled with decaf and can switch from regular to decaf beans in a few seconds. No more having to empty a bean hopper and replacing the regular beans with decaf beans. Very nice!!
I would recommend this grinder for the most hard-core coffee afficianados out there. You will not be dissappointed!
106 of 117 people found the following review helpful
on December 15, 2010
Color Name: SilverVerified Purchase
This is my 2nd conical burr grinder. I used the earlier Breville grinder BCG450XL for a year, and while it gave me reliable daily service, it sure made a mess when removing the grinds container. Breville appears to have listened to its customers and totally redesigned this grinder. The grinds container is a sturdier translucent plastic with a stainless steel lid that seems to have solved the grinds sticking to the lid. There is absolutely no grinds scattering! The bean hopper holds 1 pound which is the size of freshly roasted beans I purchase at the local coffee shop. The ability to choose the size grinds and the amount is just outstanding. As you adjust the grind size to the finer grind, it asks you how many shots? As you adjust to medium or more coarse grinds, it asks you for how many cups? In addition to grinding into the well-designed grinds container, it claims it will also grind directly into your coffee filter. So I put that to the test using my Technivorm mochamaster cone filter holder, but that cone filter holder was too large. However, my Swiss Gold cone filter I use with it fit perfectly by itself, and the grinds poured nicely in it without grind scatter. It also comes with several size portafilter cradle holders to grind directly into your portafilter for espresso drinkers, but I don't have an espresso machine to test it out.
Breville includes a special brush to easily brush clean the conical burrs every now and then, with easy instructions.
Without need to measure out the coffee beans or the coffee grinds, I no longer need to have coffee scoops laying around. The grinder looks very attractive on my kitchen counter, better looking than the tiny picture reveals. And the grinds themselves? Even, consistent-sized grounds, just what you'd expect from a well made conical burr grinder. All in all, it was well worth the extra expense.
41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on December 6, 2011
Color Name: SilverVerified Purchase
I wanted a conical burr coffee grinder that fit my budget. My choice was between this Breville grinder and the Baratza Virtuoso selling for about the same price. Both have garnered good reviews. In the end, some negative comments in reviews of the Baratza concerning its difficulty handling dark-roasted and oily beans swung the pendulum toward the Breville. So far, I'm very pleased. I would give it a 9 out of 10. Since I can't award it a 4.5 in Amazon's 5-point rating system, I'm bumping it up to the full 5 stars.
What I especially like about the grinder:
Build and Appearance - It's well-made and sturdy. There is a lot of stainless steel and relatively little plastic. It looks attractive sitting on my countertop. In fact, it looks just like a smaller size of a much more expensive professional machine. It's also easy and logical to operate. You almost don't need the instruction manual to figure anything out.
Evenness of Grind - I consider this the most important element of a good coffee grinder, and the Breville passes the test handily. I've used the grinder both for French press and drip with excellent results. My coffee tastes fresh without any of the bitterness that can result from uneven grinding. I have not made espresso, so can't comment on how well the grinder produces the very fine grind required for it
Lack of Static - No grinder is 100% static-free, but this one comes close. Nothing sticks to the lid of the grounds container and only a few grounds stick to the inside of the container itself.
Ease of Clean-up - My old Braun flat burr grinder scattered grounds all over the counter and fine stuff stuck to the beans container, the grounds container and the lids. It took ten minutes to clean up each time I ran it. By comparison, the Breville is a joy. I simply wash the grounds container in soapy water and let it dry for the next day's use. I'm done in less than a minute! The burrs do need to be cleaned as well, but not every day. I do that about once a week and it takes two or three minutes.
Noise Level - The people who have complained that this is a noisy grinder haven't experienced other grinders that are much louder. For what it has to do--pulverize coffee beans--it is pretty quiet.
Speed - I make about 4 cups of coffee at a time. It requires only about 10 seconds to grind the amount of coffee needed.
There are a few criticisms I have about the Breville grinder. They aren't serious enough to affect my overall recommendation, but I'm including them for the sake of completeness.
Strength of the Motor - Before cleaning the burrs, you are supposed to run the grinder to empty out any remaining beans in the hopper. When I hold the grind button down, I can detect the smell of ozone, which tells me that this may not be the grinder you want if you process a pound of beans at a time. In normal daily use, however, there has never been a problem.
Cleaning of the Burrs - This is a straightforward procedure. Still, I was surprised by the amount of grounds retained within the grinder itself, even after all the beans in the hopper have been processed through. To really clean the grinder thoroughly, you have to turn the grinder over and slap it on its sides several times. A teaspoon or more of grounds falls out.
Seating of the Grinder Container - The lid of the grinder container has a hole that needs to be placed directly under the spout from which the ground beans fall. Otherwise, some grounds fall onto the lid or the base of the grinder. You also need to hold the container while grinding so it doesn't move off center. It's not a big deal, but Breville could have designed the machine so that the grounds container would lock into the correct spot. I've found it easier to just leave the lid off the container. You could also grind directly into your filter, if you have a type that will fit under the grinder spout.
Measurement by Cups - Of course, this is a major selling point of the grinder. You can dial in the number of cups you're making and it grinds the proper quantity of coffee beans. In theory, this sounds easy. In practice, it isn't quite so straightforward. First, some people like their coffee stronger or weaker than others. The grinder has a control button that allows you to adjust the strength up or down in increments, but you'll almost certainly have to play around with it over several days to get it the way you like it. Second, there's no universally accepted definition of what constitutes a cup of coffee. It ranges from 4 ounces of water per cup for press/plunger pots to 5 or 6 ounces (depending on the manufacturer) for drip coffeemakers to 8 ounces (the common definition of a cup of liquid). Nowhere in the instruction manual does Breville state what definition it uses, so you're left to guess. I had a series of e-mail exchanges with Breville customer service and was told that the grinder produces about 8 grams of ground coffee per cup, although it varies somewhat according to the fineness of the grind selected. If we accept what the Specialty Coffee Association of America recommends--10 grams of ground coffee per 6 ounces of water--we can deduce that the Breville has been calibrated for making coffee with about 5 ounces of water per cup. It would have been helpful if they had stated that explicitly in the instructions. Again, the bottom line is that you'll probably have to do some experimentation both to fit the particular coffeemaking equipment you're using and to suit your personal tastes.
These are all minor quibbles. Overall, I would not hesitate to recommend the Breville to anyone looking for a well-made, versatile grinder for everyday use.
101 of 115 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 2012
Color Name: SilverVerified Purchase
Had mine for almost a year now, still going strong.
- Grind size and amount adjustment range is great
- Not too loud
- Daily user
- Coarsest grinds generate a decent bit of coffee dust
Cleaning is the biggest con with this machine. The hopper will collect water internally, so you're limited to wipe-downs lest that water get loose on your beans. The O-ring part of the grinding mechanism comes out easily and is fairly easy to clean with the supplied brush and a paper towel. However, the inner conical part of the grinding mechanism is not removable, and wiping it down requires some finger dexterity. Not the end of the world, but annoying.
Additionally, one thing I did find recently was that the grinds chute internally collects a ton of grinds with static charge over time, quite deep in the recesses of the grinder on the bottom side of the grinding mechanism. Ensue pipe cleaners, etc and out poured an avalanche of musty grinds.
I use dark fresh-roast coffees, I find I need to clean the grinder at least every pound. Not sure if this is typical for this range, but I at least expected disassembling the machine for cleaning to be much simpler.
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on February 12, 2011
Color Name: SilverVerified Purchase
I was skeptical at first. Not so much in a brand of coffee grinder, but in grinding coffee on-the-spot for brewing. I was wrong, dead wrong. I have a Breville espresso machine. After years of living in Spain, I came to appreciate good coffee. Upon returning to the US, I bought my Breville espresso machine and bought coffee already ground and off the shelf. (Bad idea) Always Italian roast or French roast. I like it strong. After many months of using "off-the-shelf" already ground coffee and becoming more and more dissatisfied with what I was tasting I broke down and bought this Breville coffee grinder. I've owned Breville products before. What always struck me about Breville was the engineering in design and intelligent functioning. They actually think about what they make before they make it, period. This is a smart company who listens to the people who use these products. When researching for a grinder (I would never buy a $200 grinder w/o reading and researching) the biggest complaint from folks was the grind. Mostly, folks wanted a fine grind for their espresso machines and many of the products wouldn't grind the coffee FINE or CONSISTENT enough .... two of the most important aspects of grinding coffee for a great taste. I chose this product because nearly every review, people mentioned how the grind was fine and consistent enough for espresso ..... AND because, in my past experience, I believe Breville products are intelligently made products which do the job they are made for. (I have a Breville espresso maker and Blender and now this Grinder .. all are excellent products) Leave it to the Aussies.
This product delivers and delivers it very well, in a stylish and very clever way. I don't know if it is smart, but it definitely delivers a consistent, fine coffee ground very suitable for any espresso machine, and it does it w/o using the extreme choices on the dial ... meaning I could get even more fine a ground if I desired. (For those Turkish coffee lovers for example.) This machine works exactly as advertised. And my coffee experience has improved 100% because of it. I love a good coffee and a good grinder IS the key to making good coffee.
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on April 24, 2011
Color Name: SilverVerified Purchase
I'm very happy with this grinder. A professional espresso grinder ($400+ range) was out of my price point. This machine has the following features I couldn't find anywhere else:
-It's a burr grinder
-It will dispense grounds directly into the portafilter
-The esthetics are very nice and match my espresso machine.
Other pros I noticed after using the machine for a couple weeks:
-Attachments are held in place magnetically
-There is a portafilter push button to start the grind, so if your hands are wet you can avoid touching a button and putting a finger smudge on the buttons
Here are the cons, and some are unavoidable:
-When grinding into the included plastic (not glass) container, the grounds are a little "statically charged" (minor and unavoidable con)
-When selecting from a course grind down to a fine grind, it feels like the machine has to physically crush the beans left over in the grinder. To avoid this gradual pressure on the hopper mechanism I remove the hopper and clear leftover beans from the grinding mechanism. This is a little annoying and could be avoided if the machine allowed you to grind the excess beans without the hopper in place.
-WITH the shim upgrade kit, the most course grind setting is a little finer than I would like for my french press. I am still able to depress the french press filter without resistance, but a few grind remnants can be found at the bottom of my cup. I'm an espresso man, and would prefer to have a proper espresso grind and sacrifice my french press grind. But if you NEED both to be perfect, this is not the machine for you. That being said, I couldn't be happier, and I'm completely fine with the compromise because the chopper grinder this replaced was worse for both french press AND espresso.
Here's the mid level espresso machine I use now with this grinder: Breville 800ESXL Commercial 15-Bar Triple-Priming Die-Cast Espresso Machine
YOU NEED TO ORDER THE SHIM KIT UPGRADE!!! E-mail or call Breville support after purchasing your grinder and request the "shim kit upgrade." It is free. You will need a wrench or ratchet to remove the burr and replace the 0.4mm washer with a combination of 2-3 washers they send you (totaling 1.4mm or 1.8mm) Based on Coffee Crew's suggestion (see link below for their youtube review of the machine and shim kit upgrade) I used 1.8mm. Previously I was using the finest setting and getting slightly bitter, dark brown espresso shots using my Breville espresso machine. Now I am at the 7th to finest setting and get perfectly sweet, black espresso shots. The finest setting and the four above it will actually "choke" my espresso machine. I'm glad to know there is such a thing as "too fine" from my machine! With the shim upgrade kit this grinder produces superb fine grind for my mid level espresso machine, and I SUSPECT that years down the road when I upgrade to a professional (i.e. $1000 range) espresso machine, this grinder will provide adequate grind.
Coffee Crew's review and overview of shim kit upgrade. I don't know these people, but their videos have been rather helpful and they seem to be the only ones who knew about the shim kit upgrade kit. After using the shim kit upgrade kit from the manufacturer, I couldn't be more pleased with the fineness of grind from this machine!
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on February 7, 2011
Color Name: SilverVerified Purchase
I have owned many, and spent hundreds of dollars on grinders over the years. I had some that were ok, some that were terrible, and all were messy. This grinder is by far the coolest coffee grinder I have every owned. The ground coffee is perfect- beautiful and uniform. The design is great and most of all, it is clean! Grinds go right into a sealed cup that allows no errant grounds to spew all over the counter-top. It isn't very noisy (it isn't silent, either). Measurements are spot on, and it is very easy to use.
Looking for a the 'right' grinder? Your wait is over. This is the one.
43 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on August 28, 2012
Color Name: SilverVerified Purchase
[EDIT - 2years later & happy]
I definitely will get the GRINDZ now that I know about it. That product does sound handy for cleaning it.
2years down the road now and I'm happy with the machine. It still seems to have issues with grinding a couple of pounds of oily French or Italian Roast beans, but I've my flavor preference has moved on. Paired with my Technivorm, every morning is a delight.
I was excited to start using a new burr grinder for my coffee. I was a spice grinder kind of guy before hand.
I want to like this grinder, but I don't think I'll be able to tolerate its shortcomings for longer than a year. $200 wasted in my opinion.
* being able to set number and a grind for the appropriate amount of coffee
* nice design aesthetic
* CONSTANTLY gets stuck. I reached out to Breville on this issue and they suggested reducing the level of grinding to something more coarse. I did this, but it still gets backed up.
You can fill the hopper with close to 1 lb of coffee. BUT you'll have to clean the burrs before you'll be able to grind all of that pound of coffee. My trick is to use both the included cleaning brush and a chopstick to dig out the compacted grinds. It sucks, especially on those early mornings when you need a fix! You're stuck spending 20minutes digging out the compacted grinds.
For the record, I thought it was because I prefer an oily bean (Pete's or Starbuck's French and Italian roasts). I've since found out that even using a dryer bean resulted in compaction. A true pain in the rear.
Choose wisely on this one.. I wasn't too happy; so much so that I've decided to write a review on it to educate others. I never write product reviews.