If you have been skimming a coffee forum in the last month or so, you’ve probably heard the whispers.
There’s a new single-dose espresso grinder on the market that (on paper at least) seems to have what it takes to be a rival to the Niche Zero.
This is big news since the Niche Zero is more or less permanently on backorder.
I haven’t personally tested the new grinder yet, but at the moment, I’m working on getting my hands on a test unit, so I can tell you whether it’s worth the hype. I’ll update this article as new information emerges.
The new grinder is called DF64 and is produced in China by a hitherto unknown company known as FL Coffee.
There has been some confusion about the grinder. It has already been sold under a range of different names in different parts of the world:
- Probarista G-IOTA in Belgium
- Turin 64SD ELR in the US
- The Solo in England
Basically, it’s the same grinder in all these places, although some vendors might have installed different burrs.
Why is the DF64 grinder so hyped?
It’s unusual that a grinder made by a virtually unknown Chinese company reaches this level of hype.
But it seems that this model is just at the right place at the right time. It’s a perfect storm of several coffee forum trends packed into one, affordable grinder.
- Single-dosing: One of the biggest trends in coffee at the moment is single-dosing espresso grinders.
Until this point, there haven’t been many options for budget-conscious single dosing grinders.
- Lack of competition: The direct competitor is the Niche Zero, but it’s not exactly cheap. And it’s more or less impossible to obtain with the current, limited supply.
- Upgradeable: Another trend that the DF64 capitalizes on is that it’s upgradeable with SSP burrs.
Last year, I wrote about how I upgraded my Wilfa Uniform with custom burrs from the Korean burr manufacturer SSP, and during the past year, it’s become more and more mainstream among coffee geeks to go down that pathway.
The DF64, as the name indicates, uses 64 millimeter flat burrs, which makes it relatively easy to purchase new burrs if you want to explore other options than the stock burrs.
Turin 64 vs Df64 price
Of course, the last piece of the puzzle is that the grinder seems like a good deal compared to what else it out there.
Even though most people wouldn’t consider this cheap for a coffee grinder, it’s an attractive price for a well-built flat burr espresso grinder.
If you buy the DF64 from Alibaba in China, the price is $520, including shipping, although you may face some import duty fees.
The cost from the American importer is $599.
As mentioned above, FL Coffee is pretty unknown in the world of coffee. Judging from their website, their only other product is a grinder with an uncanny similarity to the Eureka Mignon Specialita.
Based on that, it does seem like a bit more of a gamble to buy directly from China.
The DF64 bears some resemblance to other well known models; especially the Lagom P64 seems to be a source of inspiration.
However, the DF64 only costs around one-third of the price of the more famous competitor.
What are people saying?
So far, the grinder has been well-received, judging from the response on various coffee forums.
However, it’s important to state that we’re still at a very early stage. Most users have had the grinder for only 1-3 months, so it’s still a bit too early to comment on built quality and longevity.
For that reason, I’d be cautious about buying directly from Alibaba, even though you might save a few bucks. The extra warranty and support you’ll get from a local distributor might come in handy shortly.
That being said, most users seem to agree that it’s a solid piece of kit with a weight of 7 kg.
The espresso shots are supposed to taste great right out of the box with the stock 64 mm Italmill burrs. Allignment should also be more than decent from the factory.
The burrs look similar to the stock burrs on the Wilfa Uniform, so I guess that they will perform pretty well for manual brewing.
The design is simple and straightforward, and with the included bellows, you can achieve more or less zero retention.
A big difference between this grinder and the Niche Zero is, of course, that the DF64 uses flat burrs. Many espresso lovers, myself included, prefer the taste of flat burrs for increased body and sweetness.
- Plastic: The dosing cup and the portafilter holders seem to be the weakest points on the grinder. Both are made out of a more fragile-looking plastic.
- Static cling also seems to be a big issue unless RDT is employed. The distance between the spout and the dosing cup appears to be long enough that microscopic fines can escape when using the bellows to blow out the last bit of retained grounds.
- Aesthetics: A slight downside to the DF64 is that the design is nowhere as nice and polished as some of the other brands.
For instance, the numerals and font on the adjustment ring look like something straight out of a 90’s PowerPoint presentation. On the other hand, this will likely reduce the demand from IG-feed conscious coffee bros, so we don’t get into a permanent backorder situation like with the Niche Zero.
While it’s still early, the DF64 looks like it could become a new favorite all-purpose single doser.
I’ll do my best to get hold of this grinder ASAP to update the article with my own observations.
–> Check current price and availability here.
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