SMEG Coffee Grinder Review 2024: Style Over Substance?

Hi! My name is Arne. Having spent years working as a barista I'm now on a mission to bring more good coffee to the people. To that end, my team and I provide you with a broad knowledge base on the subject of coffee.

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I've been putting off writing a SMEG Coffee Grinder review for quite some time. Thing is, I was avoiding setting myself up for unnecessary disappointment. I knew this was a fairly standard burr coffee grinder with a very pretty face, priced way too high.

I’ve been putting off writing a SMEG Coffee Grinder review for quite some time. Thing is, I was avoiding setting myself up for unnecessary disappointment. I knew this was a fairly standard burr coffee grinder with a very pretty face, priced way too high.

Still, I know how popular SMEG appliances are and I know you guys count on me to tell it like it is. So, I took a deep breath and hit the “Buy Now” button, instantly relieving myself of a whopping $277.16.

Listen, I’m as much of a sucker for groovy design as the next guy. And there’s no denying SMEG products are seriously dreamy in the looks department. Still, did the SMEG Coffee Grinder deliver in terms of performance as well as adding retro-cool vibes to my kitchen? All will be revealed in this review!

Overpriced for what it can do

SMEG CGF01 Coffee Grinder

Ideal for your retro-themed kitchen!

Beautiful design

Sturdy and well-built

Several colors to choose from

Consistent grind for pour-over and drip

Easy to clean

Overpriced

Doesn’t work well for espresso

SMEG Coffee Grinder Review Overview

SMEG has been in business since the 1940s, and specializes in high-end, retro-themed kitchen appliances. Chances are, the Italian manufacturer’s appliance you’re most familiar with is the stunning SMEG Refrigerator.

More recently, SMEG has started producing coffee equipment, and I’ve already taken a look at the SMEG Drip Coffee Maker as well as the SMEG Espresso Machine and the SMEG Fully Automatic Coffee Machine. While they’re all undeniably gorgeous to behold, the fact remains that I was pretty underwhelmed by their performance. Especially given that none are exactly competitive in the price department.

SMEG Grinder all Parts

And therein lies the rub – folks tend to buy SMEG products based on how they look, and they’re willing to pay for the brand name. I totally get it – a SMEG fridge is only going to elevate the aesthetics of your kitchen. However, a fridge only needs to keep things cold, whereas a coffee maker needs to do a whole lot more to justify the investment.

I’ll admit that I got quite the thrill as I unboxed the SMEG Coffee Grinder. I mean, even the packaging is outrageously stylish. The grinder itself is as sleek and beautiful as you’d expect, and I was immediately impressed by its weight and solid stainless steel build.

Still, once the novelty factor wore off, I was faced with a burr grinder that’s got a plastic bean hopper and only 30 grind settings. There’s no fancy scale, no micro-adjustments and no portafilter cradle.

Of course, SMEG touts its grinder as being suitable for all brew methods, including espresso. I’ll talk about how realistic that is a little later. I think you know what I’m going to say, though.

Ultimately, I quickly started thinking about how the SMEG Coffee Grinder compared to the Fellow Opus and Baratza Encore ESP – two actual all-rounders that cost a lot less. Again, I’ll circle back a little later.

SMEG Coffee Grinder Features

Now that we’ve established what we’re dealing with, let’s continue this SMEG Coffee Grinder review by digging into its notable features.

Size and Design

I’m not sure how many more adjectives I can conjure up to describe the SMEG grinder’s visual appeal. Suffice to say, if you’re determined on decking out your kitchen with 50s retro-themed appliances, this coffee grinder will fit in nicely.

As I already mentioned, the SMEG coffee grinder feels very substantial, although at 18 inches (45.7 centimeters) in height it’s not the most compact option out there. So, that’s definitely something to bear in mind if you’ve got overhead cabinets to deal with.

Up top there’s a large tinted bean hopper, and the grinder comes with a pretty cool grounds collection jar. You also get a weird portafilter holder that doesn’t actually hold a portafilter at all. And trust me, I tested it out with the 51mm portafilter that comes with the SMEG Espresso Maker.

Instead of keeping the portafilter in place like an espresso grinder cradle, the plastic thing simply acts as a platform upon which you have to hold the portafilter in place. Who knows, maybe the Italians imagined their customers wouldn’t have steady enough hands to simply hold a portafilter under the dispensing spout?

Colors

One thing SMEG loves to do is release appliances in a range of colors. Here are your options for the SMEG Coffee Grinder:

Personally, I just had to go with the red version – I think it looks so cool. Plus, it matches my Ferrari Testarossa. Just kidding – I own a Lamborghini and it’s black.

Jokes aside, do bear in mind that prices for these things fluctuate wildly, seemingly based on a particular color’s popularity.

Oh, and does anyone else think it’s weird that there isn’t a pink version? I mean, wouldn’t SMEG want to get a little piece of the current Barbie hysteria?

User Interface

Operating the SMEG Coffee Grinder is a piece of cake thanks to its simple user interface. This comprises a single button/dial that lights up prettily once the grinder is plugged in.

You can use the dial to select from a range of preset amounts, including two for dosing your portafilter. Oh, and you can also program a custom dose for either espresso or (as the manufacturer puts it) American coffee.

Alternatively, there’s a manual function wherein you’re responsible for stopping the grinding process.

Bean Hopper

SMEG Grinder Bean Hopper
SMEG Grinder Bean Hopper Beans

As I mentioned earlier, the SMEG Coffee Grinder’s bean hopper is tinted and quite large. In fact, it’ll hold 12.3 ounces (350 grams) of coffee beans. With that said, I always recommend using an airtight canister for storing coffee beans, tinted hopper or not.

The SMEG bean hopper is made from something called Tritan, which is a durable and BPA-free type of plastic. While the thing feels kind of lightweight, it’s actually very sturdy and won’t break if you happen to drop it.

During my testing, I found the bean hopper really easy to lock into position, thanks to little arrow markings on the grinder and the hopper itself.

My only complaint would be that it’s all too easy to accidentally move the grind adjustment knob while doing so. And as I always remind you, the burrs should only be moved when a grinder is in operation.

Stainless Steel Conical Burrs

SMEG Grinder Top Part Out

The SMEG Coffee Grinder is equipped with stainless steel conical burrs that, quite frankly, are nothing to write home about. I’ll go into more detail about the performance of the burrs a little later, suffice to say they were better than expected.

However, remember that for just a wee bit more money you can buy a grinder like the Fellow Gen 2 Ode, which is equipped with 64mm stainless steel flat burrs with two-stage grinding geometry. As you’d imagine, that puts the Fellow Ode head and shoulders above the SMEG in terms of performance and cup results.

Grind Settings

Finding your preferred grind setting on the SMEG grinder is a simple affair, thanks to the easily accessible dial beneath the bean hopper. And as I mentioned above, there’s a nice lever for making changes, as well as an easy-to-read grind size scale.

There are 30 grind size settings to choose from, which might not sound like much. However, more settings isn’t always the mark of a superior grinder. Take the aforementioned Fellow Gen 2 Ode for example; it has just 31 adjustment settings, and it’s one of my favorite grinders of all time.

Then again, the Fellow grinder isn’t marketed as suitable for espresso, whereas SMEG would have you believe its grinder will work for all brew methods.

And at this point I simply have to let the cat out of the bag: the SMEG Coffee Grinder is not suitable for espresso preparation. It just doesn’t have the requisite range at the finer end of the grind size spectrum.

Sure, you could use the SMEG in conjunction with a home espresso machine with a pressurized filter basket. However, if you want a serious grinder to pair with your Rancilio Silvia or Breville Dual Boiler espresso machine, you’d be well advised to look elsewhere.

Grounds Bin

As previously mentioned, the SMEG grinder comes with a ground coffee container with a maximum capacity of around 4.5 ounces (128 grams). Although the container is made of plastic, I appreciated the metal screw on lid as well as the little rubber stopper.

Still, I wouldn’t ever recommend storing ground coffeein there – I mean, there’s a reason you bought a grinder!

The grounds bin has handy volumetric level markers for 2-12 cups, although I wouldn’t rely on them for complete accuracy. They function as more of a rough guide than anything.

The SMEG Coffee Grinder in Operation

Before I get too deep into the results of my testing, let me tell you the good news. The SMEG coffee grinder is actually really consistent at the finer end of the grind size spectrum. In fact, it maintains an accurate and precise grind all the way up to the middle of its range.

SMEG Grinder Portafilter

To that end, the SMEG grinder works really well for Chemex, pour-over and drip coffee makers. Still, Once you’re trying to grind for French press or cold brew, things are a little different. At settings above 20, the grinding results were noticeably less consistent, with plenty of pebbles in evidence among a coarse grind.

Anyway, having established that this wouldn’t be a suitable grinder for espresso, I focussed on pour-over preparation during my testing.

Although the results were perfectly adequate, I felt like the burrs didn’t really highlight all the delicate notes of the single-origin Guatemala coffee beans I was using. Sure, the cup quality was decent, but I missed a lot of the depth and sweetness I love about this natural process Pacamara.

While I didn’t experience unbearable levels of static charge, the main issue with this grinder is its retention problems. For example, when I added a single dose of 20 grams to the bean hopper, the grinder produced just 18 grams of ground coffee.

I had to really knock the thing around to get the remaining ground coffee from the chute.

The inaccuracies of the timed dosing function were exposed as I switched between dark roast beans and light roast beans. With a grind setting of 15, the dark roast dosage for 2 cups was 19 grams, whereas the light roast dosage ended up as just 13 grams.

How Loud Is the SMEG Coffee Grinder?

SMEG Grinder Volume

No one buys an electric burr coffee grinder with the expectation that it’ll provide a whisper-quiet experience. Still, as I’ve said elsewhere, it’s the quality of the sound produced that’s more important than actual noise levels.

So, while the SMEG grinder registered around 80-84 decibels while in operation, it didn’t actually seem that loud to me.

That’s because there was no unpleasant screeching or squealing as the burrs did their thing. Instead, the grinder produced a sustained low tone that was actually quite pleasant to my ears!

SMEG Coffee Grinder Cleaning

It’s a sad fact that coffee grinders often don’t receive the care and attention they deserve. However, coffee oils and excess coffee grounds can quickly build up on a grinder’s burrs, resulting in a dramatic dip in performance.

With that in mind, I’d recommend removing the SMEG’s upper burr once a week and giving it a good brush. While you’re at it, do your best to brush out the lower burr and motor assembly.

Heck, I’d even go so far as to bust out your vacuum for this job. Trust me, that’ll keep the SMEG coffee grinder in tip-top condition.

As for the bean hopper and grounds bin, feel free to wipe them out on a regular basis. After all, coffee oils will build up in the hopper and turn rancid. You can use warm water and a mild detergent if you want, but I’d avoid putting anything in the dishwasher.

SMEG Coffee Grinder Specifications

SMEG Coffee Grinder
ManufacturerSMEG
NameCGF01 Coffee Grinder
TypeElectric coffee grinder
GrinderStainless steel conical burrs
Grind levels30
Power150 watt
Voltage120 volt
Weight7.0 lb / 3.2 kg
Dimensions18.0 x 6.5 x 5.5 in / 45.7 x 16.5 x 14.0 cm
Suitable forMoka pot, AeroPress, pour over, drip machines, French press
AccessoriesUser manual, grounds container with lid, cleaning brush
Current price on Amazon$277.16

SMEG Coffee Grinder vs Baratza Encore

Baratza Encore Uebersicht mit Arne

I already mentioned the Baratza Encore ESP as a viable alternative to the SMEG. However, I think a fairer comparison would be with the original Baratza Encore, which is one of my favorite coffee grinders of all time.

And costing just $149.93, it’s going to be a whole lot kinder to your bank balance.

Just like SMEG, Baratza would have you believe the Encore works for espresso. But this is another grinder that won’t deliver the goods in that regard. Still, what makes the Baratza Encore so successful is its performance across the rest of the grind size spectrum.

Seriously, the Encore is as consistent and precise for French press as it is for pour-over. Plus, the grinder’s simple, straightforward design makes it a joy to use.

Best of all, I experienced next to no static issues during my Encore testing. Ultimately, everything I put in at the top came out at the bottom, with no nudging or knocking required.

Check Out: Baratza Encore Review 2024

SMEG Coffee Grinder vs Baratza Encore Comparison Chart

SMEG Coffee GrinderBaratza Encore
ManufacturerSMEGBaratza
NameCGF01 Coffee GrinderEncore
TypeElectric coffee grinderElectric coffee grinder
GrinderStainless steel conical burrs40 mm stainless steel conical burrs
Grind levels3040
Power150 watt240 watt
Voltage120 volt110 volt
Weight7.0 lb / 3.2 kg6.8 lb / 3.1 kg
Dimensions18.0 x 6.5 x 5.5 in / 45.7 x 16.5 x 14.0 cm13.8 x 4.7 x 6.3 in / 35.0 x 12.0 x 16.0 cm
Suitable forMoka pot, AeroPress, pour over, drip machines, French pressFrench press, AeroPress, Chemex, cold brew
AccessoriesUser manual, grounds container with lid, cleaning brushUser manual, grounds cup
Current price on Amazon$277.16$149.93

Verdict: SMEG Coffee Grinder

Overpriced for what it can do

SMEG CGF01 Coffee Grinder

Ideal for your retro-themed kitchen!

Beautiful design

Sturdy and well-built

Several colors to choose from

Consistent grind for pour-over and drip

Easy to clean

Overpriced

Doesn’t work well for espresso

There’s not much left for me to say about the SMEG Coffee Grinder. Still, I feel like I can express my relief about the fact that it performed better than I’d expected. Seriously, I didn’t want to have to come down too hard on this thing, so I’m glad it’s a good option for manual brewing and automatic drip coffee machines.

At the end of the day, though, the SMEG Coffee Grinder costs too much for what it is. There’s just no getting around the fact that we’ve got a classic case of style over substance on our hands.

But I’m pretty sure that won’t stop people from buying this thing. After all, it does look fantastic and it’s very sturdy and well made. Plus, it has “SMEG” pasted across the front for everyone to see!

What’s your take? Is the SMEG Coffee Grinder worth the investment? I look forward to reading your opinions in the comments section!

SMEG Coffee Grinder FAQs

The SMEG Coffee Grinder is equipped with stainless steel conical burrs.

Selecting the best coffee grinder really comes down to how you’ll be making coffee. For example, if you want something affordable that’ll shine for espresso preparation, consider a manual grinder like the 1Zpresso J-Max. Alternatively, if pour-over is your focus, the Fellow Gen 2 Ode is hard to beat.

The SMEG grinder really isn’t capable of the micro-adjustments necessary for use with espresso machines.

DeLonghi and SMEG are completely separate entities.

Your coffee expert
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Arne Preuss

Hi! My name is Arne. Having spent years working as a barista I'm now on a mission to bring more good coffee to the people. To that end, my team and I provide you with a broad knowledge base on the subject of coffee.

More about Arne Preuss

Hi! My name is Arne. Having spent years working as a barista I'm now on a mission to bring more good coffee to the people. To that end, my team and I provide you with a broad knowledge base on the subject of coffee.

More about Arne Preuss

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