Breville Razor Trimming Tool Explained & Tested

by | Coffee

The Breville Barista coffee machines come with many different accessories. One of the more mysterious ones is the Razor tool. In this article, we will take a look at whether or not the Breville Razor tool can help you make a better cup of coffee and what is the best way to use it.

The Most Important Aspect of Espresso Brewing

Before we dive into the Breville Razor tool, let’s look at the most important aspect of espresso brewing which is consistency, since this will help us understand whether the Razor tool can help us in this regard.

CONSISTENCY – How similar our dose, tamping pressure, grind size, water temperature, yield, etc., are from one shot to the next.

Consistency allows us not only to produce repeatable results but also to track changes in taste when we decide to make adjustments in the espresso extraction process.

Let’s say you want to reduce some of your espresso’s bitterness, so you decide to grind coarser (as one of the ways to achieve this). However, if your dose of coffee, tamping pressure, yield, etc., is inconsistent, then how can you tell whether the coarser grind is actually reducing the bitterness of your espresso or not? The answer is you can’t, and that’s why consistency is key.

If you want consistently tasty espresso, you need to be consistent during the espresso extraction process.

What is the Purpose of the Razor Tool?

According to Breville, the Razor tool should help you trim down the coffee puck to the correct level in order to achieve consistent extraction. While I’m glad Breville is trying to help you improve your consistency, I would argue that the Breville Razor tool is not the best way to go about it. To understand why let’s take a look at the following test.

Razor Tool Put to the Test

In my experiment, I’ve tried to trim down four doses of ground coffee with Breville’s Razor Tool. I’ve used the same grind settings for all four doses to minimize any chance of inconsistency.

For the first two doses, I’ve used different amounts of coffee and tamped with included Breville tamper. For the following two doses, I’ve used the same amount of coffee and used a palm tamper to ensure identical tamping pressure. All four doses were trimmed with the Razor tool until I could not scrape off more coffee from the puck.

You can see the results on the following image.

Dose Before and After
The inconsistency in the first pair of doses didn’t surprise me as much since they used different amounts of coffee, and I could apply different pressures when tamping by hand. However, the inconsistency in the second pair with the identical amount of coffee and the same tamping pressure surprised me. I was hoping for a difference of 0,3 grams at most. The difference of 0,6 grams was way more than I expected and proved that using the Breville Razor won’t help you achieve better consistency.

In fact, I would even go as far as to say that using the Breville Razor tool could actually make your inconsistency worse. To prove that, I decided to measure how precise is the time-based integrated grinder.

Integrated Conical Burr Grinder Put to the Test

To find out how precise in dosing is the integrated conical burr grinder, I’ve decided to grind and weigh eight consecutive doses of coffee one after another to see how much variation there is.

For all eight doses, I used the same grind settings (grind size 6, grind time 10 seconds) and made sure the hopper had enough beans to grind all eight doses in a row without having to refill it.

Here are the results:

8 Consecutive Doses of Ground Coffee
As you can see, the biggest difference in the set of 8 doses was 0,60 grams. I also calculated the average weight of all doses, and it was 15,54 grams with an average deviation of 0,19 grams. Compared to the results I achieved with the Breville Razor tool, the integrated conical burr grinder is noticeably more consistent and precise in dosing. When using the Razor tool, the biggest difference was 1,3 grams with an average deviation of 0,4 grams, which is more than double compared to the grinder.

Should You Use the Breville Razor Precision Dose Trimming Tool?

No, you shouldn’t. As demonstrated in my experiment, the Breville Razor tool will not help you achieve more consistency in your espresso brewing process. Furthermore, it will disturb the even surface of the coffee puck after tamping, which can lead to uneven extraction and problems such as channeling.

If you’re not very picky about the taste of your coffee, it is good to realize that you’ll achieve more consistent results if you simply choose to use the time-based grinder alone.

For the coffee lovers who truly care about the taste of their coffee, the best way to achieve consistency is by using a precision coffee scale (Amazon link) and the 2 in 1 distributor & tamper (Amazon link). To learn more about how these tools can help you make a better-tasting coffee and other helpful tips, check out our Ultimate Guide to Breville Barista Pro.

Alternative Way to Use the Razor Precision Dose Trimming Tool

The best way to use the Breville Razor tool is to use it as a gauge to help you set up your 2 in 1 coffee distributor and tamper correctly. The Razor Tool’s edge should be the minimal tamping depth you aim for. Otherwise, your coffee puck will come in contact with the group-head, which could scorch the coffee.

How to Set Up the 2 in 1 Distributor and Tamper Using the Razor Tool

  1. Set the distributor side slightly higher (1-2 mm) than the Breville Razor tools edge. This will ensure that you can evenly distribute the coffee.
  2. Set the tamper side slightly lower (1-2 mm) than the Breville Razor tools edge. This will ensure consistent tamping depth.

If you want to learn more about setting up your 2 in 1 palm temper and coffee distributor tool, check out our dedicated article, where we cover everything you need to know.

Set Up - Tamper Side
Set Up - Tamper Side

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