jmack Senior Member Joined: 13 Jun 2014 Posts: 8 Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Fri Jun 13, 2014, 7:47pm Subject: Re: Constant clogging of my Breville Smart Grinder
They are oily but not as bad as the beans I bought to tide me over, as my main issue started when I ran out of my normal beans. Maybe I should just look for new beans and hold off on buying a new grinder.
Posted Sun Jun 15, 2014, 11:40pm Subject: Re: Constant clogging of my Breville Smart Grinder
I think the main concern is still the type of beans you are using. Try to avoid anything off the shelf that says "Bold, Dark, Full Bodied" etc" Those off the shelf beans are almost always going to be too oily and burnt. Your Smart Burrs are probably gunked up from oils now and perhaps a good wash and a very thorough drying might help. Take the burrs out wash in water and towel dry and perhaps take a hair dryer to it. Run some cheap but not oily beans for seasoning and try making your espresso from there. Coffee from Starbucks is called Charbucks for a reason and also why they had to roll out a light Blond roast for those that prefer something "lighter".
On a side note, I agree that the Smart is not your ideal espresso grinder but you might be able to make do with it for now. You can also contact Breville for a shim if you think you need to grind finer. I own the Kitchenaid grinder that you mention and it works because the motor is powerful. Is it a good grinder? No. The Smart is considerably better than it as I own that as well. The Barazta or Lelit as suggested are your two best options for an upgrade for espresso. The Smart is an excellent brew grinder for the money though.
Posted Mon Jun 16, 2014, 2:21pm Subject: Re: Constant clogging of my Breville Smart Grinder
Last January ('13) I bought the Smart Grinder after looking at reviews and wanting to be somewhat economical but get something decent. Have had pretty constant issues with it clogging, especially lately after running out of my coffee and buying some grocery store stuff - Starbucks and then some Steep & Brew (local) ... just needed something to get me by. The Starbucks was a bit oily but nothing major. BUT my coffee grinder absolutely canNOT deal! I've had to take the burrs out completely, dig out the compacted coffee, and then run rice through it for like 1, maybe 2 more grinds, and then I have to do the entire thing over again! I run it on the FIRST setting for espresso (so most coarse espresso setting). Even with my other coffee I would routinely have to run it down to coarse into a cup and then back up to espresso ALL the time to get it to unclog! I'm so SICK of this machine.
I don't mean to hijack your thread at all, but I wanted to sympathize with you regarding your Smart Grinder issues. I experienced something similar. I was using a Starbucks Barista and a bottomless PF to try and make "real" espresso. It acutally did pretty well and I was able to dial in my shots and get lattes and capps that we liked much better than "Charbucks." I was using Red Bird and managed to get realitively consistent results for over 6 months. Then one day the grinder started making a clicking noise and it was all downhill from there. Like you, I would clean it out and get it working again only to see it clog and jam and give me coffee grounds that would CLOG my Barista on the coarsest setting!!! (I don't know how I was getting grounds TOO fine!?)
I contacted Breville, but since I had purchased on fleabay, they would not honor the warranty. I am stuck with a $170 appliance that looks nice, but does NOTHING. Does anyone have any ideas about fixing mine and Jmack's Smart Grinders? We promise to get rid of them and use only CG-approved grinders from now on!! =)
Also, in attempt to avoid accusations that I hijacked the thread, I picked up a used Rancilio Rocky grinder that has been AWESOME. I did the cheap and easy MOD to make it stepless, and I have to say it CRUSHES the Smart Grinder into tiny unrecognizable pieces. If you can stomach buying something used, this would be an option in my experience and IMHO.
Posted Mon Jun 16, 2014, 2:52pm Subject: Re: Constant clogging of my Breville Smart Grinder
Can you explain these "clicking" noises more? Does it still click every time you grind or has it stopped? It just doesn't make sense that you are using the coarsest grind yet chocking the machine. The ability to grind fine enough is probably the Smarts only weakness. Have you reinstalled the burrs properly? Perhaps there is some slipping issue since the Smart does not tighten down with phillips screws like traditional burr sets? The Smart is not that bad a grinder especially for the price. You just need to be realistic of what its capabilities are.
If you don't know how to clean, maintain, reinstall burrs, use beans too oily or crush a rock/pebble then you will have similar issues with any grinder.
jmack Senior Member Joined: 13 Jun 2014 Posts: 8 Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Mon Jun 16, 2014, 3:10pm Subject: Re: Constant clogging of my Breville Smart Grinder
webbles, I don't mind the 'hijack' at all - only adds to the conversation, IMO.
The clicking noise happens when the grinder gets clogged but it's not due tot he burrs being in wrong or anything. Yesterday morning I had the worst time EVER with it - I removed both burrs and then used a knife to scrape out the fine grounds that were caked all around that plastic disk (I believe it's the clutch? That's what the person from Breville said - she said it was NOT removeable). I'd clean it out as good as I could, then run some instant rice - but each time I tried, it would NOT go through and it would just click again (because it was still clogged) - but each time more coffee was mixed with the rice when I took it apart again - again cleaned it - reinstalled everything, tried to run the rice through again ... clicked AGAIN! It literally took like 6 tries and FINALLY the rice would go through. Put yet another brand of espresso bean in it, one I've had decent luck with in the past, and it's been working well now since yesterday morning.
Another issue is I avoid A/C as much as possible in the summer unless it's REALLY bad, so the humidity in our house isn't helping, either, I'm sure.
I'm definitely thinking I just need to stay away from the oily beans! We'll see how it goes ...
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