I have the Breville Smart Grinder Pro, which we got from Rustan’s about one and a half years ago, a gift from J. I was in a French Press coffee phase and I read that freshly ground beans gave the best crema. Of course, that phase didn’t last very long 😀 Too time-consuming and added another French Press to wash.
And then I received a Nescafe Dolce Gusto. It was great – the machine was convenient to use. The coffee itself was okay. The pods were not economical – P26-P30 per pod for the single pods, and P52-60 for the drinks that use two pods (price depends on where you buy the pods). If it was around P10-15 per cup of coffee that would be reasonable, even up to P20 for really good coffee, but P26-P60 for a so-so home brew sounds a bit impractical once you consider how much it will cost per month. Sure, we pay P100+ for coffee at a coffee shop, but you’re not really paying for the coffee there — you’re paying for the ambience, for a place to sit, a place to wait, a place to study, a place to meet with friends. For P30 a cup at home, I’d rather head to a 7-Eleven and get a cup of City Blends good coffee. I also wanted to use other coffee beans.
So I looked for alternatives and bought the refillable Dolce Gusto pods online. These were the brown plastic ones. I wanted to get the metal ones but they were harder to buy and more expensive, and I wasn’t sure how long this phase was going to last to justify buying them. Anyway, with the refillable Dolce Gusto pods, I could use whatever coffee I wanted with the Dolce Gusto machine!
I still buy the original Dolce Gusto pods but only when I know we will be having guests. This way, the guests can easily make their own coffee in the coffee station that I usually set up for parties. All I do is print out short instructions on how to use it and put it in a picture frame. But for home use, I just use our own ground beans.
THE BREVILLE SMART GRINDER PRO
What a long intro! So, in summary, I was very confident about buying whole beans because I knew I had a nice coffee grinder to grind them to the correct grind size, whether I wanted to use the Dolce Gusto or a French Press or a drip coffee machine. That Breville Smart Grinder Pro isn’t cheap! Price range is around P13,500+!
I normally would not buy such an expensive small appliance but we expected it to last years and years of use. As in YEARS. YEARS. DECADES, EVEN. It can also grind from very coarse to very fine, for espresso, which other grinders can’t do. Unlike the cheaper Krups coffee grinder (around P1,500), this Breville one uses a burr grinder, so it grinds the coffee more evenly, with the grounds all around the same size. At the Breville’s price, I expected the materials they used to be durable and long-lasting.
Now, I became too lazy to grind coffee every time I wanted to drink coffee. It’s too tedious. After the initial excitement of owning a coffee grinder died down, I ended up grinding 1/3 a pack’s worth of coffee and storing it in an airtight container. This also freed up counter space because I didn’t have to keep the Breville on the counter all the time now. Depending on circumstances, my pre-ground coffee lasts around a month to 2 months because I only drink coffee at home when I’m home for the day. Some days I am super lazy and just use instant. Most days, I attend events and have coffee there. So I actually only use my Breville every 1-2 months. Does coffee that’s freshly ground just before brewing taste better? Of course it does! But it’s just too much effort to do every day! 😀
So far, so good. It ground coffee nicely.
GETTING THE BREVILLE SMART GRINDER PRO REPAIRED
So imagine my worry when one day the Breville just wouldn’t continue grinding coffee. It would start grinding for 1-2 seconds, and then will just continue to whir but no coffee would come out. After trying several times, I was worried that the machine was broken. Bye bye P13,500 🙁
After the initial panic, I googled and was relieved to see that Breville had a service center. It was all the way out in EDSA Balintawak but I just wanted to get it fixed. This is the Breville repair website with contact info.
QUEZON CITY SERVICE CENTER
#1081 EDSA Balintawak, Quezon City, Philippines
Tel Nos: (632)361-9450, (632)361-9547 local 879
Email address: [email protected] or [email protected]
TeleFax: (632)361-9450 local 857
They have an option where I could just drop off the grinder in their Greenhills location, but I wanted to personally be there in case there were any problems. If I just dropped the grinder off at Greenhills, they will just ship it to the EDSA Balintawak service center since Greenhills does not do repair. It was a good thing that I was present for the repair, too, because I was able to head off a potential problem.
I called ahead and was told to go earlier because they closed at 5pm. I arrived at 3pm. It’s just a little past the Ford dealership so I just pinned the Ford in Waze to get there. The place is called IAJ Wellness Corporation and it’s also on Waze. Parking is available in front.
I was worried that the repair would cost as much as the unit itself. I was so glad to hear that their estimate was P200 for the part. The labor cost was P700, sigh. Unfortunately, my grinder was already out of warranty. I waited for about an hour. I didn’t want to come back the next day because it’s far from home.
The technician came out with the repaired grinder and showed me the main gear that was worn down. I was incredulous. I hadn’t even been using the grinder all that much! It was a bit disappointing, to be honest. I don’t even grind the beans for a long time – I grind about 6 tablespoons, let the grinder rest for a few seconds, then grind another batch, until I grind 1/3 the small bag of coffee beans.
Here is the worn gear. I was disappointed to see that it was plastic. Costs P13,500 but uses a plastic gear 🙁
They said that maybe I bought beans from some place that wasn’t so good with quality control (palengke) and a small stone slipped by that caused the Breville gear to get worn, or maybe I used lightly roasted beans that are too hard. Dapat daw dark roast lang. Huh? Kuya, my coffee beans are from CBTL. And then the last batch was from Bag of Beans in Tagaytay. Dark roasts, all.
So after they replaced the worn gear, we tested it again. I had the foresight to bring some coffee beans with me to test the grinder. When we tested it, the grinding sound was too loud. Louder than normal. The technician wanted to take the grinder apart again and check. But it was nearing 5pm so I had to come back again the next day after lunch nalang. Fine. I just wanted to get the grinder fixed. Sayang all my coffee chu-chu if I don’t have a working grinder.
I went back the next day. They replaced the gear with another new gear. Apparently, there was something off with the first replacement gear. The new gear (2nd replacement) was fine now. I felt like it was a good thing that I made the effort to be there myself and that I was able to talk to the technician, or else I might have gotten another dud.
We ground a container’s worth of coffee beans there to test so I still have enough ground beans to last me several weeks. I haven’t used the grinder since I took it home. Will update if I encounter any more problems.
As for the actual repair service, the staff were easy to talk to, although not very friendly. The price was P200 for the replacement part and P700 for labor, for a total of P900. It’s not as expensive as I expected. The repair includes a 3-month warranty on the replacement part. My fear was that the repair would be too costly that it would not make sense to repair it.
My experience with the grinder will have me thinking twice about buying another Breville product, but now at least I know that the repair price is, at least, generally reasonable. However, I am not happy about the fact that the expensive grinder I don’t use that much has worn down so badly, and just in time after my 1-year warranty ran out that I had to shell out P900 for repair.
I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please feel free to leave a comment below, I love hearing from you!