Breville BCG800 Smart Grinder
Gday all, time for some thoughts on this grinder.
I know its been nearly a week since Ive had it, but a 2 year old and a newborn seem to divert my attention these days* ;).
The packaging of the grinder is top notch and protects the grinder, and assorted bits and pieces very nicely. Although you shouldnt judge a book by its cover, the first impressions always count and this one is certainly good.
One slight whinge at this stage involves the hopper. The instructions state to wash the hopper and the ground coffee container prior to use, which I did.* The design of the hopper is such that it has an inner and outer portion, having a locking mechanism and gates. This creates space which retains some water after washing and takes a long time to air dry.
The grinder only requires a minimal amount of construction to get it up and running, with the instructions being very easy to follow. It certainly looks impressive and surprisingly, isnít much smaller than the Macap M4 being only 70mm shorter, although itís not nearly as heavy.
It comes with 2 group handle/porta filter holders, one for 50-54mm and one for 58mm.* The standard La Spazial 53mm g-handles donít fit into either of these holders, as theyre too deep and the spouts touch on the base plate. The naked g-handle fits in, but you still have to hold it whilst grinding, as it wonít latch properly. I canít comment on the retention of a 58mm g-handle, as I donít have one available to test.
Now to the purpose of this machine, coffee grinding of course. I loaded up a double shots worth into the hopper and adjusted the grind to near the finest setting (2 or 3 from the end I think), then hit the start button.
I didnt time the grind (Ill explain why a bit later), but it seemed quite quick, possibly on par with the Macap (which I havent timed either BTW ::)).
It didnt seem overly noisy or quiet either. Its probably comparable in volume to the Macap, but its a different sort/frequency of noise. One has flat burrs with higher RPM and the other has conical burrs with lower RPM. Neither of them is super noisy or whisper quiet, which I wouldnt expect from any grinder BTW ;).
The grinds seemed to clump a lot, leading me to think that the grind was too fine. I removed the g-handle twice during grinding to distribute, tap and settle the grinds in the basket (which is why I didnt bother timing the grind). I levelled off and tamped, then attempted to pull a shot. No joy on the first activation of the pump or the second, with the third activation rewarding me with a super restricted ristretto of approx. 10ml* :o.
After tweaking the grind size, I ended up on the coarsest espresso setting, which is adjacent to the percolator setting, which still gave me a very fine grind and choked the La Spaz.* I ended up taking out 2 shims (all 4 shims in this grinder are 0.3mm) and trying again. Whilst I was able to pour some decent shots, I found that the grinding range is still a long way from the finest setting.
EDIT - I just pulled out a third shim, but I havenít tested it as itís getting a bit late in the arvo and everyone else in the house is having a siesta. Iíll have another go tomorrow morning and see how that goes.
Iíll list some of (my) proís and cons thus far.
-Itís a good-looking unit.
-Good build quality, it feels solid as well.
-It has some nice features such as multi-sized g-handle holders + a substantial seal-able ground coffee container, easy to read LCD display, a Ďsleep modeí which turns itself off after 5 minutes of inactivity
-It has a magnetic ground coffee waste tray, which makes it super easy to remove and clean.
-Very easy burr dis assembly for cleaning.
-The grind size and dose are easy to adjust, especially if you need to go from espresso to plunger regularly.
-Bean hopper retains a fair bit of water after washing (only a problem if you have to wash it).
-The holders donít hold La Spaziale g-handles.
-The distribution of grinds into the basket isnít very good (although this could simply be due to the fact that my g-handles donít fit correctly).
Please donít take this as any form of recommendation or product bashing; theyíre just my limited observations over a couple of days, which someone might find useful. No doubt therell be more things to be found as I get to know the grinder a bit better.
All the best,