Breville BCG800 Smart Grinder - the verdict
The thing about geeks is geeks obsess. There is no greater oxymoron than “indifferent geek”.
There are a lot of pejorative terms that are associated with geeks: obsessive, anal, control freak. But is it wrong to have standards based on knowledge and want to be able to live up to them? Is it wrong to see the appropriate constants for life’s variables and want to achieve them?
Breville doesn’t seem to think so. The company that is better known for $30 sandwich presses has decided to step it up a notch in the domestic coffee market with the BCG800 Smart Grinder, which is well designed, well engineered and beautifully constructed.
As well as allowing you to control how fine your grind is it also provides portion control: the same amount of coffee at the same level of coarseness every time.
Once you’ve got your settings right there are no day-old grounds sitting in the machine - you only grind as many beans as you need. For those of us who don’t have the money to fork out $1500 for a domestic espresso machine and instead rely on a $60 stovetop espresso for our caffeine hit at home, this is innovation.
Consistent grind and portion control with most of the mess contained within the bounds of the machine mean a simple 125g of roasted beans from the local micro roaster can cover all requirements for the week.
The small visual and physical footprint of the BCG800 means that it sits comfortably in a domestic kitchen. Simple application of magnets combined with build quality means that you’re able to easily slip components in and out for cleaning.
There are also some rants to go with the raves: the volume presets are fine for standard group head bowls but not so useful for stovetop bowls. Having a volume setting with linear increments would be useful. It’s also not that easy to accurately put stovetop bowls directly under the grinder’s outlet – maybe it would be possible to create stovetop bowl holders like the group head bowl holders.
These are minor niggles, though. A geek would be satisfied that this machine can provide the right amount of the right kind of grind at the press of a button, but with the BCG800, Breville has gone a step beyond.
- Angus Smallwood