The coffee grinder is one of the most important pieces of equipment to have in your kitchen when you are brewing coffee at home. A good grinder can make a huge difference in how your coffee tastes and brews. But finding a good quality grinder, especially when you are looking at burr grinders that range wildly from $50 to over $500 can be difficult to narrow down and decide on.
Today, we are going to look at only two electric grinders that both fall in the middle of the pricing spectrum for consumer grade grinders: the Gaggia MDF and the Breville Smart Grinder Pro.
Let’s start by looking at each grinder individually and then we’ll finish with our thoughts on which is best and what the main differences between them are.
The Gaggia MDF Coffee Grinder
The Gaggia MDF grinder is an Italian commercial grinder produced by the company that pioneered modern espresso brewing. You can, without a doubt say that they know something about coffee.
This is a no-frills dosing grinder, meaning that it first grinds into the dosing chamber and then pull the dosing lever back and forth to release the grounds. The dosing wheel is divided into six separate containers that dispense about 7 grams of coffee per pull. Generally, it is one pull of the doser lever for a single shot and two pulls for a double.
It has a nice compact size to it, so though it was designed as a commercial grinder, you can use it in your home as well. It will LAST a LONG time because it was designed to be extremely durable and withstand the rigors of heavy cafe use.
- The outer body is made from impact resistant plastic to reduce noise and prolong the life of the grinder
- 34 grinder settings from espresso to drip coffee, this grinder will grind too fine for espresso if you use the finest setting, giving you the freedom of getting the grind you need.
- Heavy duty motor that turns the burrs after going through a gear reduction system so the coffee is not overheated and the motor is not over taxed
- 50mm steel flat grinding burrs
- Simple to use controls, on/off button and turn the hopper to achieve your grind setting.
- Doser dispenses approximately 7 grams per pull. Use a portafilter or your own grind bin to collect the grounds.
The Breville Smart Grinder Pro
The Breville Smart Grinder Pro is NOT a dosing grinder like the Gaggia MDF, but does dispense the right dose amount depending if you program it. This is a home grinder and WILL NOT stand up to heavy use like the Gaggia MDF but is perfect for home applications.
It is completely programmable, so you can set the amount it doses for a single shot when using the espresso side of the grinder settings, and a single cup for french press or drip. You can also select the amount of shots or cups you want to dispense for brewing, and it automatically adjusts the amount for you.
This is a smart grinder.
In addition to the 60 available grind settings, within the burrs are additional coarse and fine adjustments to further calibrate your grinder for finer grinds or coarser grinds. Breville recommends adjusting these inner calibrations one setting at a time.
This adjustability of the inner burr will prolong the life of the burrs and your grinder. As you use the grinder, the edges of the burrs are ground down through normal use and these calibration settings allow you to continue to bring the inner burr closer to the outer burr.
The other noteworthy feature, is that it has a button in the back of the grinds collection area so you can put your portafilter in and it fills it without having to push another button.
- Outer housing is made from brushed stainless steel
- 60 grinding settings with additional calibration of the inner burr
- 40 mm steel conical burrs
- Manually dispense using the start/pause button or simply push the portafilter in for auto dispensing. Push the pause button if you want to settle your grinds and then press the pause button again to resume grinding the full dose.
- Programmable functions include:
- Digital timer to precisely dose within 0.2 seconds.
- Select grind consistency
- After programming the precise amount of coffee to be dispensed per shot or cup, you can select how many cups or shots you want to grind.
- Included accessories include 2 removable portafilter cradles for 50-54 mm and 58 mm, grinds container with airtight lid, and a cleaning brush for the cleaning the burrs
Which Burr Grinder Is Best For You?
The decision between the Gaggia MDF and the Breville Smart Grinder Pro is best decided based on 3 factors: Durability, Adjustability and Versatility.
Hands down, the Gaggia MDF is going to beat the Breville Smart Grinder Pro at long life. Some people have the Gaggia MDF as home grinders for up to 20 years. There are very few moving parts and no electronic adjustments to fail. The grind adjustment is achieved through turning the hopper and the dosing lever dispenses the coffee.
It is made in Italy and tested before it ever comes out of the factory. In fact, in their literature, they warn that there may be grinds leftover from factory testing in the grinder. It is suggested that you run some of your own beans through to purge old grounds before grinding for brewing.
The adjustability of the Breville Smart Grinder Pro is better than the Gaggia MDF because of all the options for grinding that it offers. You don’t have to guess how much to grind once you program it because it calculates it for you. The 60 grind settings give you a larger choice in grind consistency than the Gaggia MDF, and the extra room for calibration makes sure you can get a coarser or finer grind if you want.
The versatility of the Gaggia MDF and the Breville Smart Grinder Pro is almost identical. You can get coarse grinds in both for french press and fine grinds that are overkill for espresso in both as well. If you want to grind directly into your filter for your auto drip brewer and then be able to grind into a portafilter, the Breville Smart Grinder Pro is going to be the better option for you. With the Gaggia MDF, you can grind into a container of your choice if you tilt it under the output of the doser.
The Bottom Line is Both Grinders are Great
Both the Gaggia MDF and the Breville Smart Grinder Pro are great grinders. You won’t go wrong with either. They are both conical burr grinders that will help you get the most out of your premium coffee. It comes down to what you want to use the grinder for.
When it comes to brewing coffee at home, the grinder can make all the difference and these grinders will perform flawlessly without breaking the bank.