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Breville BCG450XL Grinder - Ian King's Review
Posted: April 2, 2008, 9:26pm
review rating: 8.0
feedback: (0) comments | read | write
Breville BCG450XL Grinder
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More About This Product
Arrow The Breville BCG450XL Grinder has 37 Reviews
Arrow The Breville BCG450XL Grinder has been rated 7.52 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since July 7, 2007.
Arrow Breville BCG450XL Grinder reviews have been viewed 197,073 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Michelle P 8.25
Pat D'Arcy 8.00
Mick Paulin 8.00
Lance Johnson 8.00
Ian King 8.00

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 8.4
Manufacturer: Breville (Chinese Origin) Quality: 8
Average Price: $100.00 Usability: 9
Price Paid: $99.00 Cost vs. Value 9
Where Bought: Williams-Sonoma Aesthetics 8
Owned for: 1 month Overall 8
Writer's Expertise: I love coffee Would Buy Again: Yes
Similar Items Owned:
Bottom Line: It's not an art work, it's a fine appliance that gets the job done nicely.
Positive Product Points

Reproducible grinds, easy dispense, grinds fine enough to be too fine!

Negative Product Points

Power switch in inconvenient place.

Detailed Commentary

I looked at this grinder and the Baratza for some time, here on CoffeeGeek and other sites.  I discovered that Williams-Sonoma carries both, and I was glad to have a chance to actually see and heft each unit.  I also had a gift certificate there, which lowered my price by $50.  Nevertheless, I wasn't going to buy just on price (although I was reluctant to pay hundreds of dollars so I can make a cup of espresso in the morning!).  

Both units had good ratings as 'value' grinders.  I had been using a blade grinder and had come to understand the challenge of making good espresso with such - it was quite variable.  When I went to the store and actually saw both units, I liked the overall design of the Breville better than the somewhat 'arty' design of the Baratza.  Hey, it's going in my kitchen, not a gallery.  But it's not an unattractive item by any means, and seems solidly competent standing on the counter.  Moreover, the Breville looked like it would better serve how I use my equipment: typically, I make one or two doubles in the morning.  

Some have commented on the plastic of the Breville as seeming flimsy or cheap.  To the contrary, I think that the design of the catch bin is quite well considered, as it pours nicely into the portafilter.  It seems delicate, but not underengineered; I think it would look cheap if it were thicker and bulkier.  The plastic they used seems to 'shed' the ground coffee very efficiently; I never have to wipe out the bin, all the coffee pours into the PF.  I don't fill the upper reservoir, especially since I typically have two to four different beans on hand at any given time.  I've found it works to pour a single scoop of beans into the hopper and hit the button; with some experimentation, I've found a timer setting where it whirs for a second or so after the beans are fully ground, so I'm confident I don't have beans left in the machine.  For the first week or so I was checking; I've quit, as it grabs every bean every time.  

I wonder about people who say this grinder doesn't grind fine enough.  I'm dead on the 'espresso' setting, which is several clicks up from the bottom; one click further up was too coarse.  Setting it finer, I was seeing extraction take too long and the shot be too bitter.  Of course, I give it a firm tamp, and I wonder if that's an issue for others.  I'm using a Breville Cafe Roma (stop sniggering, person) with an unpressurized portafilter (cannibalized from my old Krups) and I get excellent crema and full flavor from the various beans I've tried.  

The other day, my eight-year-old was surprised to see me making espresso after dinner.  It just sounded good, I explained.  My current combination inspires me to draw a shot "just because".  

The only negative I noted is that the power switch is a rocker on the side that faces the wall in my kitchen.  If I push the machine toward the wall, the rocker will become 'centered' and the grinder won't run.  It would be nice if it were recessed.  

I like machines that do their job well without a lot of fanfare and foo-foo.  I'm quite happy I bought this unit, and would be happy if I'd paid full price.  I have no idea what a more expensive unit would do better.

Buying Experience

The staff at Williams-Sonoma is nice enough, but they don't really have a clue about a product like this.  Still, the price was comparable with other vendors.  The gift certificate certainly made a difference in choosing them, but I can't say I wouldn't have paid full price for it there as opposed to doing so somewhere else.

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review rating: 8.0
Posted: April 2, 2008, 9:26pm
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