Posted Wed Dec 11, 2013, 11:01pm Subject: New Coffee Person...Breville SmartGrinder Question
So first things first, I'm new to the Home Coffee Bar world. I am formerly an automatic coffee pot user with pre-ground Starbucks beans. I made the decision about a month ago to switch to home-ground beans. I didn't have a huge budget, so bought a Chemex and a Breville Smart Grinder, and am pouring with a Hario Buono V60. I'm having a blast with the pour over method but am starting to second guess my grinder decision. Since the Smart Grinder auto doses for me, I don't know how many grams I'm getting. I would assume that changing the fine-ness of the grind, but not the dose amount (#of cups) would grind the same weight of bean, but I have no way of knowing. I also have no way of altering the water portion of my dose based on grind type. I feel like I'm flying blind with a pot full of hot water. Anyone have advice on how to maintain consistent doses with a Breville Smart Grinder? Am I current in assuming that coffee weight wouldn't (shouldn't?) change with grind type? I would love to hear from anyone with experience with this grinder.
Thanks for reading. I'm having a blast, and can't wait to get up tomorrow morning and make coffee.
*Edit* I just realized I posted this in the espresso forum, so I'll just add that I also stumbled upon a relatively free Krupps Novo 964 today. Pulled one shot today with it just to make sure it worked. Seemed to produce a fair Crema, but haven't messed with it too much yet. The Breville does seem to produce a fine enough grind for it. Any advice/pointers on using this machine with the Breville Smart?
Posted Thu Dec 12, 2013, 7:53am Subject: Re: New Coffee Person...Breville SmartGrinder Question
I used a Smart for a couple of years as my non-espresso grinder -- up until last week in fact. It's a great performer for the purpose and price. Good buy!
The Smart relies on a timer and not a scale to do its dosing. If you change the grind the dose weight will change as well. How much? I'm not sure. Once I got everything dialed in for my different brewing methods the consistency of the grinder made it unnecessary for me to weigh the doses for my various brewers -- so while I remember the dose weights and settings, they won't mean much if I repeat them, because:
A general truth about grinders, espresso machines, coffee roasters, etc., is that particular settings don't translate exactly -- not even from machines of the same make and model. My grind fineness of the seventh hash mark exactly coming up from six, 7 cups amount with no extra or minus strength, was perfect for my Espro filled to the top mark -- but not only is that necessarily right or wrong for your Hario, it wouldn't necessarily be right for your Espro -- if you had one. All of which is a long winded way of saying that NO ONE can give you the right settings.
If you want the assurance of using the "ideal" brew ratio of 6g/100ml; or at least starting there; or of at least knowing what you're actually doing; you're going to have to buy a scale and measure. The good news is that once you've got everything dialed in, you can leave those settings for another brew method, then return to them with confidence.
Many of us, including me use this one. It's great if you can get everything done in the roughly two minutes it takes before the auto-shutoff kicks in; and that shouldn't be a problem for everyday brewing. If you need something which can stay on longer, consider this.
Note: Always run your grinder when you're adjusting it finer. Even a click. You don't have to run it when you're adjusting it coarser.
Neither the Breville nor the Krups are good enough to make consistently good espresso. You might enjoy the espresso you get using them which is a good thing, but also a different thing. If you're going to upgrade either, you should upgrade the other. Taken separately each is sufficiently awful so as to limit the effect of an upgrade in the other.
If you do better your espresso setup, keep the Smart for all your non-espresso brewing. There are very few grinders which can go back and forth from espresso to coarser brew grinds and maintain consistent settings, and those (a) start at close to $900; and (b) even then, usuall produce the wrong kind of grind size distribution (i.e., they're "bi-modal") to be really good for non-espresso (which wants "uni-modal").
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