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Why I took back my Smart Grinders

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  • Why I took back my Smart Grinders

    I had 2 breville smart grinders for 6 months. Nothing but trouble.

    First they wouldn't grind fine enough for espresso.

    Sent for the shim kit.

    Then couldn't remove the lower burr set to install shims on one of them - it was stuck fast!

    Did the other one with shims. Put in two like it said. Tried it out. GRINDER MADE A HORRIBLE NOISE LIKE IT WAS TEARING ITSELF TO PIECES.

    Took out one shim. Single shim, no nasty noise. Only one problem. STILL WOULDN'T GRIND FINE ENOUGH for espresso!

    Took the stuck one to breville repair shop, they dislodged lower burr set. Installed shims. No nasty noise.

    Only one problem. STILL WOULDN'T GRIND fINE ENOUGH FOR ESPRESSO. Also the grind fineness swung wildly from fine to coarse ON THE SAME SETTING.

    Hopeless.

    Took them both back to shop in disgust. Got money back.

    Bought Rancilio Rocky.

    Ahh, it WORKS. It just works. It actually grinds coffee the way I want it. Generally on about 9.

    Thankyou Rancilio!

    Happy now...

  • #2
    Ah yes,

    killed two in the last month.

    The first died two days out of warrantee, Breville were great to replace it. Well, Harvey Normal where great.

    The new machine lasted three grinds same issue returned, stripped drive trying to grind my fresh roast fine enough. Time to call it quits and move on.

    First replacement choice was a Kitchenaid Mill with Mezzer Mini bur pgrade. Not even KitchenAid Australia could help with hooking me up with something locally.

    Second choice was a locally bought Iberital Challenge. Great little machine for the price and powers through my fresh roasts with ease.

    Very happy with the choice made, now if only Wollongong just had a good coffee equipment store for the home DIY people it would be even better. Always having to buy online or travel to Sydney, making online the cheaper option and generally from over seas.

    John

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    • #3
      I slso had the Smart grinder for my first grinder, even though at first I was also unplease with the grind it was giving me after having it awhile however it began to work quite well. I also had plans of getting a shim kit, but didnt get around to it. I gave it some time and it turned out to be a great grinder. I sold it too a friend who also uses it on the same setting as i did which was not the finiest grind. The only reason i sold it was a bought a new grinder for a good price. If you search on this forum there is a thread about thease grinders, so good and some bad. My overall thoughts is that for a grinder of that price, its did a pretty good job. Unless you are willing to pay more around $400-500 and up you cant expect too much when it comes to grinders. Im glad that a gave it some time and it turned out well for me. I know you have changed your grinder now grimac but i must ask what sort of coffee were you using?

      Chris

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      • #4
        Originally posted by grimac View Post
        GRINDER MADE A HORRIBLE NOISE LIKE IT WAS TEARING ITSELF TO PIECES.

        Took the stuck one to breville repair shop, they dislodged lower burr set. Installed shims. No nasty noise.

        Only one problem. STILL WOULDN'T GRIND fINE ENOUGH FOR ESPRESSO. Also the grind fineness swung wildly from fine to coarse ON THE SAME SETTING.
        Just a couple of lessons here for anyone looking to install a shim kit:

        Installing a shim will raise the bottom burr, making it closer to the top burr. There's a chance that the two burrs may rub against each other after the installation of the shim (the shim is simply just a washer). To prevent that 'horrible noise', just make sure you set your grinder to the coarsest setting and do one shim at a time. Test the grinder after installing the shim, and work out a reference point/range that gives you the best extraction. If you find that one shim isn't enough, repeat the process and install another shim. If that doesnt work, then you probably have a dud grinder.

        As for the variation of grind size for the same setting - I can only assume that this refers to a grind setting and the resulting extraction rate. Assuming the grinder works well (eg nothing is bent, blunt, deformed etc), sometimes the extraction rate can vary even on the same grind setting.

        Some reasons include: climate (temperature/humidity), different beans/roast, inconsistent dose, inconsistent technique/process, failure to purge stale grounds the chambers/chute, the amount of beans that's in the hopper (to prevent popcorn effect) etc.

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        • #5
          The lower burr on the Smart Grinder is held in by a nut on a left hand thread. Turn it clockwise to remove.

          With one of the thickest shims added I have enough adjustment to be fine enough to totally block the flow of my Breville BES900, without the burrs touching.

          Barry

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          • #6
            G'Day All,

            I understand all of the comments about the shim kit.

            First machine was a shimmed grinder. It was great for the first 12 months. Faultless. Then died once we started roasting our own coffee.

            The second machine was a new non-shim required grinder. This lasted three grinds of fresh roasted coffee. Not set to the finest setting. The drive stripped, plastic on metal is bound to give under pressure.

            I have no issue, just upgraded to a more powerful machine. I make at least 8 coffees a day in this house so the Breville Smart Grinder more than paid for itself and I was happy to upgrade.

            John

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            • #7
              Would be interested to know what espresso machine you are matching the smart grinder against? I know someone who'd just bought a smart grinder and BES 900 and by the sounds of things isn't getting a fine enough grind.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by AtomicGrog View Post
                I know someone who'd just bought a smart grinder and BES 900 and by the sounds of things isn't getting a fine enough grind.
                Your friend should phone Breville for some shims. They are easy to install.

                For what you get with the Breville Smart Grinder and Dual Boiler I don't think you can get more bang for your bucks. You can and may want to buy better machines but you will have to pay a lot more cash.

                It's not just the machines that make great coffee. You need to develop some skills and use the best coffee beans.

                Barry
                Last edited by Barry_Duncan; 11 September 2012, 04:18 PM.

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                • #9
                  G'Day,

                  I used the Smart Grinder with the BES900, it was great. Once I went to a La Pavoni lever machine and our own roaster the smart grinder was not quite upto the task.

                  But as mentioned, it is great value for money when matched up. At the time I purchased they were $299, my new grinder Iberital Challenge was only $40 more. But the Iberital is very very basic. More a tractor than bells and whistles machine.

                  The BES900 was replaced under warranty as it failed. Another story under another thread.

                  John

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                  • #10
                    I keep reading about issues with the smart grinder. I guess I should be happy with mine while it lasts. I think I got a decent one though as I haven't had to add any shims. I can't go anywhere near the finest setting without clogging my bes900. The grind setting adjustments are pretty trial and error though. When you turn the wheel you can feel something adjusting and you can see that it doesn't necessarily correspond to what's displayed on the lcd.

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                    • #11
                      Like you Khanuen I mentioned above that as time went on i had to set my grinder to a more corse setting not to clog my Expobar. I didn't require shims and mine was also a good grinder and never had a problem with it. It seems many have though..

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                      • #12
                        i must ask what sort of coffee were you using?

                        Chris [/QUOTE]

                        I tried many different beans, same problems all round

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                        • #13
                          Grimac La uno

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Barry_Duncan View Post
                            Your friend should phone Breville for some shims. They are easy to install.

                            For what you get with the Breville Smart Grinder and Dual Boiler I don't think you can get more bang for your bucks. You can and may want to buy better machines but you will have to pay a lot more cash.

                            Barry
                            Bought my Rocky NEW off ebay for $282. It's brilliant.
                            As I mentioned, the Brevilles were two pieces of junk.

                            So bang for my bucks? I'll go the Rocky thanks.

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                            • #15
                              Totally agree, tried the Smart grinder out for fun next to my Compak K3, I prefer the K3.

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