Grinder to match my new Breville Infuser espresso machine

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.
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#1: Post by Zonka »

I have received a Breville Infuser machine a week ago as a present.
I do not manage to pull very good shots. They come out with only little creams; the shot time with the pre-set (double shot volume) is too short, taste is not great.
I presume that my old Barista grinder is not up to the task.
I am trying to figure out which grinder to purchase - being budget conscious, but still looking for good espresso.

I intend to grind my coffee for each shot, so I would think that I should buy a grinder that has a portafilter holder.
The Breville Smart Grinder Pro seemed to be a good choice - reasonable price ($ 220) relative to the machine, and very fine adjustability (440 steps). Also my impression is that that the ability to accurately time the grind will help getting consistently good shots.

After reading reviews on Amazon I wondered if I need to look for a better one. A couple of others that seem to surface up at the low range in espresso forums as grinders with fine adjustability are the Baratza Precisio and Rancilio Rocky. Those do not have the dosing/timing capability of the Breville, and I would prefer not to spend $300-$350 ; also both have on Amazon roughly the same percentage of negative reviews as the Breville... So I am not sure if those will give me better tasting and more consistent shots on my new machine.

Any thoughts and suggestions - relating to what is needed to get good results with the Infuser, and regarding these three grinders or any other that will fit the bill?

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#2: Post by NightFlight »

1. DO NOT buy a rocky!
The rest is my opinion only and YMMV.
2. I would go with a preciso before the BSGP.

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#3: Post by HoldTheOnions »

The PL53 is another popular budget grinder I would consider. Also refurb available for cheap right now ... 3p8549.htm If you drink straight espresso then you can really fine tune the shot nicely with this thing.

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#4: Post by truemagellen »

I own the Breville Smart Grinder pro. I've owned the non pro. I also have owned a range of other grinders including Compak K8, Faema, Rancilio MD, Baratza, etc.

The electronics on the Breville Pro are are awesome, Hopper awesome but I could NEVER consistently pull a decent shot even with the most forgiving beans on the most forgiving spring lever I own. 75% down the drain, 24% not great but drinkable with steamed milk, 1% ok to drink straight but nothing special.

The burr carrier and motor are too weak to produce an even grind. I kept the Pro for Vietnamese hot coffee. The only good news about the weak motor/gears is I caught a rock and it seized up so quickly the burrs were barely scratched. I caught a rock on the Compak k8 and it managed to crush the rock mostly and deform the burrs.

Go with the baratza or buy a used commercial unit.

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#5: Post by Bret »

Interestingly (or not) Socratic Coffee evaluated the particle distribution of the Breville (and other grinders, higher end ones noted at the beginning of the linked thread).

Grinder studies by Socratic Coffee

I, too, have had the Smart Grinder and now own the Pro. The consistency of the grinder has never been a problem. I suspect there is much wider variation in consistency of operators and bean freshness than in the grinder. I know it is true for me :-)

While the timer is nice, if you want consistency from shot to shot, you'll want to weigh your dose. Different beans/roasts will vary and they will also vary somewhat with freshness. Some say that, as the hopper level goes down, the weight of the beans above affects how many will flow thru the grinder in a give time. I have not noticed that effect, and I am not aware of any definitive test results either. If you want to be in the ball park, for a given bag of beans used in a reasonably short time period, the timer might be close enough that you won't notice a difference.

I find the Smart Grinder Pro to be perfect for my needs. Depending on your needs, it might be just right for you, too.

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#6: Post by Gig103 »

The quality in grind consistency that you get for the extra $80 upgrading your budget to the Preciso is definitely worth it. Better consistency means better shots, and with Baratza you get long term customer support.

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#7: Post by forbeskm »

Have you considered the Lido E? Manual definitely helps keep the budget <200

Zonka (original poster)
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#8: Post by Zonka (original poster) »

Guys, thank you very much for the advice.

Following your responses I did some more research. Learned that grinders like the Rocky and PL53 are not convenient for occasional use of french press; also hand grinding is not for me.
Both the BSGP and the Preciso have their own enthusiasts, pros/cons, feedbacks, and feature set.
After a lot of hesitation I converged on the Preciso, and ordered it today.

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#9: Post by maxbmello »

You won't be disappointed with the Preciso, it is a great grinder and any problems you have with the burr carrier, will be supported by Baratza's great customer service.

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#10: Post by Ivanruiz »

I have my Infuser paired with a Mazzer Super Jolly and it works flawlessly, it's incredible how important is the grinder to get a proper shot!