More than looks? Bodum Bistro coffee grinder review

Bodum BISTRO Burr Coffee...
The Bodum Bistro grinder is a capable entry-level burr grinder.

The main strength is grinding coarse, which isn’t a surprise given Bodum’s background as a legendary French press brand.

If you like the design, and are able to snatch it at the right price, this is an option worth considering.

Bodum has long been known in the coffee game for its French presses, but this grinder is a relatively recent addition to the company’s line of coffee-related products.

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?

Bodum BISTRO Burr Coffee...

While this grinder is considered cheap compared to other electric burr grinders, it is by no means cheaper than a random blade grinder or even a disk burr grinder. That begs the question; is it really worth it?

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 helps you achieve a more even extraction.

Best for Coarse grounds

This grinder is an entry-level burr grinder, which is a sensible place to start your career as a home barista.

This model obviously does not grind with the same level of uniformity as something double the price, but it is surprisingly consistent as compared to other entry-level models.

This is particularly important if you already forked out the dough to get specialty grade beans.

In Consumer Reports big grinder comparison, the Bodum Bistro is currently the top ranking model. It even beats a model such as the Baratza Encore, which has been praised as the golden standard for ages.  In the comparison, the Bistro is specifically singled out as a grinder, which excels when it comes to grinding coarse. They mention that this makes it suitable for French press and coldbrew. 
Bodum BISTRO Burr Coffee...
Bodum BISTRO Burr Coffee...

a few things we like:

Price: This grinder is a budget-friendly option, coming in significantly cheaper than something like the Baratza Encore.
The design: On top of a wide range of colors, the actual shape of this grinder is pretty unique and is definitely a conversation piece.
Bodum boasts that this grinder is made of a material that is naturally static-free, which means grounds are more easily transferred out of it.

BUILD QUALITY

The build quality of the Bodum Bistro is pretty decent, 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.

GRIND CONSISTENCY

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.

In Consumer Reports’ big grinder comparison, the Bodum Bistro earns the highest praise ‘excellent’, when it comes to consistency in the coarser spectrum of grinding.

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?

Baratza Encore Conical Burr...

Baratza Encore

The Encore from Baratza is often lauded as possibly the best entry-level burr grinder on the market.

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

If you are just starting out in coffee and want to get the best bang for your buck, there’s really no way around hand grinders. Yes, they require some work, but the grind consistency is great and the price is often very low.

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.
Hario Ceramic Coffee Mill...

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.

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