The Breville Precision Brewer Review 2021 – A New Toy for Coffee Nerds?

Please note: Outside of the U.S., the Breville Precision Brewer is sold under the Sage brand name.

Sage The Precision Brewer Kaffeemaschine Arne

Please note: Outside of the U.S., the Breville Precision Brewer is sold under the Sage brand name.

There are two things promoters are able to do in their sleep: come up with bold hypotheses and provoke me. At the Berlin Consumer Electronics Show (IFA) 2019, Breville clearly had the edge in this regard because the promoter introduced us to the  with the words: “It’s waaay better than the Moccamaster”.

Any decent coffee nerd would burst into a fit of laughter when faced with so much conceit. That’s because the Moccamaster has led the field of drip coffee machine reviews without any serious competition since it first took office – and it was developed in the sixties!

So far, no other drip machine has managed to produce coffee automatically with such precision that tastes just like it came from a pour-over coffee dripper.

Not better, but different to the Moccamaster

Breville Precision Brewer

Finally, good drip coffee in the office!

Very precise settings & preparation

High-quality manufacture

Very large volume capacity

Perfect mix of custom & automated options

Coffee like from a pour-over dripper

Steep price thanks to unnecessary functions

We do know, however, that the attack on the Moccamaster has long since begun. Recently I presented here the Gastroback Design Brew Advanced as a shameless Moccamaster clone and gave it very good marks.

The Beem Basic Selection Pour Over approaches things in an even more pour-over dripper-esque way and really impressed me too.

Now Breville turns up and delivers a high-priced drip machine with six (!) different brewing modes, which should be enough to put all other new versions, plus the original, in the shade.

As much as I’d like to continue making jokes about it: Breville has once again succeeded in creating an excellent little machine. But in my opinion, in ways different to the Moccamaster.

Unfortunately, this video is only available in German.

If you’d prefer to watch, not read, you can do so, as always, on YouTube. Click yourself happy!

Overview: Round-Up of the World of Brewing

CategoryDetails
ManufacturerBreville (Sage outside of the U.S.)
NameThe Precision Brewer
Product category Drip coffee machine
Carafe materialThermal stainless-steel or glass
Volume capacity60 oz
Cup portions12
Permanent filterYes
Removable filterYes
Extras Six brewing modes, different filter inserts (cone and flat), 10 flat paper filters, measuring scoop, custom functions
Adjustable brewing temperature Yes
Weight 16.5 lb
Dimensions12.2 x 6.7 x 15.7 in

With a price of almost 300 dollars (as of July 2020), we can’t help but first want to try out the performance offered for this price. In any case, the Breville is not to be sneezed at because this giant stainless-steel monster doesn’t do things by halves:

  • Capacity of up to 60 ounces
  • Six brewing modes: Gold, Fast, Strong, Iced, Cold Brew, customizable My Brew (+ optional Pour Over)
  • Bloom time, extraction time (flow rate) and temperature all adjustable

The capacity of 60-ounces almost approaches gastro standard. It’s no wonder then that Breville supplies the Precision Brewer with a couple of different filter inserts (cone and mesh) as well as a wider filter basket with flat bottom. Many of you will know the wider filter baskets from the giant gastro drip machines.

Breville Precision Brewer Drip Machine Filter Insert Breville Precision Brewer Drip Machine With Large Filter

The six brewing modes, which Breville also loudly advertises on the packaging, shouldn’t really be taken all too seriously. Only the “Gold” and “My Brew” settings are really important – we’ll get to those in a moment.

The “Cold Brew” and “Over Ice” functions are just marketing trash because to use them you first have to set the machine up in a very complicated way. Cold Brew is the simplest thing in the world to make and doesn’t require much more than a big screw-top jar. Why then all the effort and workarounds with the Breville?

By the way, the promoter himself had to admit that these functions only feature on the label because they’re trendy. Spare us then.

The “Pour Over” option, which Breville also likes to trumpet, is nonsense too. You can buy an extra (!) adapter that ensures that the carafe sits closely against your favorite pour-over coffee dripper, which is then used instead of the normal filtration system. Basically, this turns your drip coffee machine into a rather expensive electric kettle – even if the water showerhead doesn’t become any less targeted in the process.

As you can see just from the many words of explanation required here: save yourself the workarounds and just use an ordinary pour-over coffee dripper from the start!

It would be easy to use these unnecessary functions to justify why this machine’s price is too high, however, the more useful functions are all the better for it. What’s more, this 16.5 pound appliance is also the epitome of high-quality manufacturing.

Breville Precision Brewer Drip Machine Thermal And Glass Carafes

Both a glass and thermal carafe version are available from Amazon. The thermal version is more often than not sold out, but you’d be wise to snap one up when you can. That’s because the combination of a glass carafe with hot plate equals burnt coffee – which is all the more disgusting in large quantities.

Breville Precision Brewer Set Up: Let's Go Nerds!

I give this drip machine special credit for managing to satisfy single-dial control fans just as much as us wacky coffee nerds.

For us lovers of single-dial controls, the “Gold” function is the measure of all things. Using this setting, your coffee is prepared according to the Specialty Coffee Association’s (SCA) “Gold Cup Standard”. It would be a step too far to attempt to dissect this standard – suffice to say it lives up to its name.

Breville Precision Brewer Drip Machine Six Brewing Modes

The “Strong” and “Fast” functions both affect extraction time, thus actually ensuring a stronger or thinner (because of a faster extracted) coffee. I don’t like either version very much because they always tend to put the aroma of the coffee a bit out of balance.

For me, the old nerd, the custom version is especially exciting. That’s because with the Breville, you not only have control over the brewing temperature and extraction time (flow rate), you can even make the blooming phase more exact.

Breville Precision Brewer Drip Machine Custom Brewing Mode

A quick reminder: coffee blooming entails evenly moistening the ground coffee in a pour-over dripper with water and then leaving it to swell for about 30 seconds, so that even extraction can follow.

The Breville allows you to set both the blooming time and the amount of water used. There are no generally applicable standards here, just try it for yourself. I myself played around with the settings for a very long time until, for this review, I eventually found my way back to the Gold Standard.

In this review, I used 11 tablespoons (approx. 2 oz) of coffee and 34 fluid ounces of water, freshly ground the coffee beans using a medium-fine grind setting and, of course, chose the best beans from a small roastery.

Incidentally, in one regard, the Breville is the same as almost every other drip coffee machine out there: it only stops brewing when the water in its tank runs out. The successful show-off that is the Beem Basic Selection Pour Over goes one better here.

Be sure then to measure your water quantity carefully. The best way to do this is to use a separate measuring jug.

Breville Precision Brewer Drip Machine Water Tank

The Brewing Process: Cup Results Speak for Themselves

When it comes to its brewing process and cup results, I do expect the Breville Precision Brewer to now be able to back up, with evidence, the claims of its promoters.

I therefore hope for a coffee that’s at least as good as one made using a pour-over coffee dripper and better than one from a Moccamaster.

Breville Precision Brewer Drip Machine Serving Finished Coffee

The Breville runs extremely quietly with a gentle gurgling sound, which immediately makes me feel at home. You can see everything you need to know about the brewing process on the display. And yes, the preset default settings are all implemented very precisely too.

The water flows gently onto the ground coffee. You can very clearly see in the ‘after’ photo that there aren’t any craters, instead the whole surface has obviously been used evenly during the extraction process.

Breville Precision Brewer Drip Machine Coffee Grounds

It’s no surprise then, that in the end, I end up with coffee in my cup that I can’t actually tell apart from the pour-over coffee dripper version: fruity, fresh, multi-faceted and with the right kick at the right temperature. Everything was terrific and I loved drinking it!

Breville Precision Brewer Drip Machine Drinking Coffee

My only objection: I can get all this from the Moccamaster too – for almost the same price (sometimes even less) and without all the marketing dribble.

This in no way changes my positive attitude towards the Breville, but I’ve come to the conclusion that the Australians really should market this machine differently…

Breville Precision Brewer Review Summary: Precision-Made Coffee at Scale

The  fills a gap in the market that it (I think) doesn’t even know exists:

It provides high-precision coffee made in the style of a pour-over dripper, at gold cup standard (almost), in gastro-sized amounts. Whereas other giant drip machines are only able to spit out garbage roasts as half-baked cups of joe, the Breville can be used to serve guests, customers, colleagues or business partners exceptionally good coffee without having to make a huge effort.

Not better, but different to the Moccamaster

Breville Precision Brewer

Finally, good drip coffee in the office!

Very precise settings & preparation

High-quality manufacture

Very large volume capacity

Perfect mix of custom & automated options

Coffee like from a pour-over dripper

Steep price thanks to unnecessary functions

However, “excellent drip machine for the office” doesn’t sound as sexy as “Moccamaster competition”, which is probably why Breville has preferred to go down the hip route. This isn’t wrong, but it’s also aiming too high.

The Breville Precision Brewer also makes the most of its advantages with smaller fill quantities, but why would a small family or hipster single buy such a huge coffee machine?

The Breville and the Moccamaster are, in my opinion, two different pairs of shoes – there’s no original and no “further development”. With its many settings and sheer size, the Breville model strikes out on its own – and is very successful at it!

What’s your opinion? I look forward to your comment!

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