More than looks? Bodum Bistro coffee grinder review
While Bodum has a reputation for making fantastic French presses, this reputation does not necessarily extend to grinders. It may look modern, but does it live up to its name?
While this grind is considered cheap compared to other electric burr grinders, it is by no means cheaper than a random blade grinder you can get at any big box store. So why is it worth upgrading to something slightly more expensive?
The mechanism employed by a burr grinder is fundamentally different from that of a blade grinder, and that makes all the difference in the quality of your final cup of coffee.
A burr grinder differs from a blade primarily by using abrasive surfaces to crush coffee beans evenly instead of whacking at them with dull metal blades. This produces a more consistent grind, which produces a more easily controlled brew. Coffee beans release different flavors depending on how long they are extracted in water. Inconsistent grinds lead to inconsistent extraction.
A BURR GRINDER IS SUPERIOR
This grinder is, again, an entry-level grinder at about $100, which is about half of what most coffee gurus recommend you spend on a first grinder. This grinder obviously does not grind as consistently as something in the $200 range, but is surprisingly consistent as compared to others at the same price point. The Bodum Bistro can more than hold its own for someone just getting started in coffee.
The additional advantage of switching to a genuine burr grinder is that they generally generate less heat when grinding coffee beans, retaining the original aroma of the beans. This is particularly important if you already forked out the dough to get specialty grade beans.
a few things we like
The build quality of the Bodum Bistro is excellent, and it uses a unique plastic that is similar to the one used in its French press. The body of the grinder is sturdy due to the unique plastic material and seems to be made of a single piece, built to last. It might seem like an oxymoron to talk about ‘high-quality plastic’, but this really is the case here. This plastic is scratch proof and offers enough friction to be gripped tightly.
The borosilicate glass bean hopper and grind chamber feel premium and look like they will last a while. This appears to be the same material as the one used in Bodum’s French presses. The overall design is modern without being impractical and as an added bonus the Bistro is available in 7 different colors.
EASE OF USE
The Bodum Bistro is extremely easy to use as it only offers one-touch grinding and 14 grind settings. Because of its antistatic material, getting grounds of the grinder itself is also extremely easy and frustration-free. This same property makes cleaning the grinder a snap. The grinder disassembles easily if needed for a more thorough clean, but this honestly will not be necessary, since coffee grounds seriously fall right off due to the borosilicate glass.
Although it only offers 14 grind settings, the Bodum Bistro offers surprisingly good grind consistency for each of those settings. There is not that much coffee “dust” (aka fines) that is common with cheaper and lower end grinders. Even on coarse settings, like ones used for the French press, which other cheaper grinders struggle with, the Bodum Bistro seems to come up fairly consistent.
A FEW THINGS WE DON’T LIKE
This grinder limits grinding to 20 seconds at a time to prevent overheating, which can be annoying if you are grinding a large amount of coffee at a time. For the everyday user, this is most likely acceptable.
While the overall build of the grinder is top notch, its machine parts are not of the highest quality. There is a built-in mechanism that limits the grinding time in order to prevent the motor from overheating, but this does not seem to be enough to prevent this grinder from breaking down over time. However, Bodum is a large company with a long history and offers decent customer service that can replace any parts that begin to malfunction.
Are there any alternatives?
Of course it’s more expensive than the Bistro, but the difference isn’t huge.
If you are serious about coffee and your equipment (which you should be) this is hands down a better grinder.
Another popular option that’s even cheaper is the Capresso Infinity. If you’re on a budget, you should definitely check out my review of that one.
Hario Skerton Pro
The Hario Skerton Pro is a new and upgraded model of a classic manual grinder. If you ask me this is one of the best beginner grinders out there.
The final verdict
The Bodum Bistro coffee grinder is a capable first electric burr grinder for someone starting out in coffee gear, especially if they are unsure whether they want to jump in immediately. It should last a decent amount of time and produce consistent enough grounds for any brewing method from French press to Aeropress.
The grinder offers a limited range of grind settings, the quality of each grind more than makes up for it since this is far more important in brewing an excellent cup of coffee. This consistency also makes experimentation with one or two brewing methods possible, as you can meticulously track the different flavors you get from the same beans. This grinder combines being cheap enough to not be a serious investment with actual quality that may be enough for some users to not ever upgrade it.