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Breville BCG450XL Grinder - Drew Fleck's Review
Posted: August 15, 2007, 2:50am
review rating: 7.5
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 196,413 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

Previous Review  
Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 7.8
Manufacturer: Breville (Chinese Origin) Quality: 8
Average Price: $100.00 Usability: 6
Price Paid: $99.00 Cost vs. Value 10
Where Bought: Williams-Sonoma Aesthetics 7
Owned for: 1 month Overall 8
Writer's Expertise: I love coffee Would Buy Again: Yes
Similar Items Owned:
Bottom Line: All-in-all I am very satisfied with this purchase.  Bottom line- it is so affordable and works so well that I'll be able to put money aside for an even nicer grinder when it's time to upgrade, and I'll be able to drink excellent espresso in the meantime.
Positive Product Points

A burr grinder for $100?  Good looking, easy to use, and high quality for the price.

Negative Product Points

Grind range could go a little finer.

Detailed Commentary

First off, given the general nature of this site, this review will assume the grinder will be used as a dedicated espresso grinder.  I do not intend to use this for anything other than espresso and have not tried any of the other grind settings.  

This is a terrific little grinder for the price.  In fact, I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a better cost-value ratio out there. Is the taste of coffee from a Rocky be literally three times better?  I don't think so, but of course, value is a relative thing.  In my opinion, price vs. espresso taste asymptotes pretty quickly after about $100.  After around $200 you're not paying for quality, you're paying for perfection.  Many people will tell you that you "need" a $300+ grinder to make decent espresso, but I want this review to dispel of that myth.  If you have a tighter budget, this machine is capable of producing an absolutely beautiful shot, especially when all the other variables are covered:  good coffee, a decent espresso machine, and a solid adherence to "the ritual."

I recently purchased a Gaggia Classic and absolutely love it.   It's a relatively forgiving machine in terms of technique but not exactly a push-over when it comes to the grind.  The Illy I had been churning out great crema with using my old machine is much too coarse for the Classic.  That's fine- Although I can endure the (gasp!) shame of using pre-ground coffee around fellow coffee-geeks, I had been craving other blends for a while now.  And, as acceptable of a job the grinder at Whole Foods does, I just can't stomach pre-grinding fine coffees like Black Cat by the pound.  So until I can convince my girlfriend that a Mazzer Mini is an absolutely necessary addition to our kitchen (and I eventually will!), this little grinder is going to be my best friend.  

Ok, so with that said, I will conclude this rambling soap-box of a review with some actual product details.  I don't like how the spectrum of possible adjustment is clumped into five-or-so main settings, "Espresso," "Turkish," etc.  It looks cheap and since you adjust the grind size by simply spinning the hopper, you could easily have 20 or more settings, but now you'd have to actually listen to and count the clicks in order to really tinker around with the grind size.  This thing just wasn't built for a Coffee Geek.  Fortunately, you don't care about that because the finest possible setting (in the "Turkish" region)  is absolutely perfect, at least for my Classic using fresh Intelligentsia Black Cat.  So, two negatives do make a positive:  Crank the thing all the way clockwise and you're ready to go.  

My other guilty pleasure is the timer feature.  Once you know how long it takes to grind enough coffee for your regular shot, leave the timer set there.  Now you just hit the start button, and enjoy the next 20-or so seconds to multi-task without having to hold your portafilter out like your asking your grinder for donations.  If you want to manually control the grind time, that's easy too- just press the start button again and it stops grinding.  When it's done, simply remove the collection box and dispense into the portafilter.  Although this is probably not as much fun as dedicated espresso grinders- pouring the coffee from a little box doesn't really fit with make-believe Parisian-barista fantasies-  it actually lends to an easy, quick, consistent dispersion into the portafilter, which is all anybody really needs, even Parisian baristas.

It's good looking too:  I don't care much for the way the bean hopper is recessed within the cut-out part of the body, and the grind setting displays are a bit cheap looking, but the build and finish of the machine is very impressive for something in this price range.  The power cord can be wrapped around a recessed wheel in the bottom of the base to keep it nice and short, cleaning up the counter-top, which I like a lot.   To top it off, the black and brushed stainless match by Gaggia so well that it looks like they came together as a package.

Buying Experience

Bought from Williams-Sonoma.  No complaints.  Paid for it, took it home.

Previous Review  
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review rating: 7.5
Posted: August 15, 2007, 2:50am
feedback: (0) comments | read | write
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