If you follow any coffee channels or websites (which I assume you do), you’re well aware that there’s been one grinder brand dominating the conversation in 2023… or perhaps it would be more fitting to say in the Year of the Rabbit.
Because that brand is none other than Timemore.
Timemore is releasing not just one, but four new grinders via Kickstarter, and they all look rather promising.
I’m lucky enough to have two of them; the 064s and the 078.
If you’re thinking about backing the smaller one of them, this review is for you.
(Since this review was published, I have also released a video where I compare the two grinders👇)
About the brand
You might think Timemore has been around for ages, but it is just shy of three years ago that I reviewed the Timemore C2.
I remember that distinctly because it was one of the first reviews over on my YouTube channel.
Back then, it was somewhat of a recurring theme in my Timemore reviews to compare them to Xiaomi, and to mention that they were quite impressive “for a budget-friendly Chinese brand.“
However, with the release of the Sculptor coffee grinders, it might be time to acknowledge that their products are just impressive – period.
And if we’re going to discuss the “made in China” aspect, we might as well flip that narrative and view it as a positive. It seems that’s precisely what Timemore themselves are doing when you look under the catch cup.
Disclaimer: My Relationship with Timemore
Over the past few years, I have reviewed quite a few products from the brand: Timemore C2, Timemore Slim Plus, and Timemore C3. As well as the Black Mirror scale and the Black Mirror Nano. I also own Timemore’s electric kettle, and most recently acquired the Timemore B75 dripper.
I have given most of these gadgets overall favorable reviews, but it’s essential for me to mention that I have purchased all of them with my own money.
The Sculptor grinder is the first product I have received from the brand, and that’s somewhat of a necessity due to its nature as a Kickstarter product.
So yes, this grinder was given to me for free, and if you think that might influence my review, consider yourself warned.
However, if anything it’s probably the opposite: When I reviewed earlier Timemore products, I didn’t have any special bias, neither positive nor negative.
Now, after going through the arduous process of obtaining the grinders with several annoying delays and unusual review terms, I have a more nuanced view.
But enough preamble, let’s get into the review.
Design and features
At first glance, the grinder looks like something we’ve seen before, just better.
It blends that Fuji Royal/Xeoleo look that is common among Asian entry-level grinders and adds a few dashes of Fellow Ode to the mix.
Overall, I think they’ve managed to pull off a clean design that looks better than the sum of its parts.
When I first unboxed this model, I was pleasantly surprised. It seemed more elegant compared to the 078 version featured in several YouTube videos over the last six months.
The hopper of the 078 has a somewhat shiny and gaudy look, while the one on the 064s appears more refined, and dare I say: sculpted.
The 078 also has a slightly different design of the main body evoking a sort of Kenwood Kitchen Appliance aesthetic, whereas the 064, especially in the black colorway, looks very modern and minimalist.
The standout design features of the Timemore 064 include:
- A magnetic catch cup
- A rotational fines knocker
- A magnetic lid
- A magnetic dial indicator that can easily be removed for recalibration
Let’s talk a bit more about these things one by one.
The catch cup
Some might consider the catch cup a bit light and flimsy, but it has probably been designed this way in order to make it easier for the magnet to pull it in place. The magnet has a rather strong pull, so you rest assured that the cup will slide into the correct position. It doesn’t have a perfect fit on a 58 mm basket, but my guess is that many people use a funnel for their portafilter nowadays so this shouldn’t be seen as a big drawback.
It does fit perfectly on a 51 mm portafilter, however, so owners of La Pavonis, Delonghis, and Leverpressos can at least enjoy a smooth workflow.
There’s no lid on the catch cup, unlike the Fellow Ode, which is nice. One thing less to worry about. At the same time, it is a very clean grinder; virtually all grounds fly into the cup. This makes it quite unique.
The Rotary knocker
The fines knocker is a new innovation as far as I can tell. I haven’t seen it on any other grinders. It works really well. The rotary ring has pleasant tactile feedback with its clicks and is easy to grip. An obvious comparison here is the knocker on the Fellow Ode, which is not nearly as effective and satisfying to use.
The Timemore 064s has very low retention, and when you use the knocker it gets even closer to zero.
Usually, the retention has been within +/- 0.1-02 grams, which is very solid – especially without the use of bellows. A few times it was higher during my testing, but usually that was explained by beans that were still stuck in the grinding chamber or shrapnels that had been popcorned back into the hopper.
The lid has two magnets to keep it in place. This also means it can be placed in two positions; closed and half-closed.
I find the lid comparable to the Fellow Ode in terms of fit and finish, but due to the magnets its just a bit easier to slide in place. Overall, it gets the job done.
The Dial indicator
The dial indicator is nice and intuitive to use in daily life. Again, this is an area where the Fellow Ode inspiration can be seen. However, while the Ode has a stepped adjustment, the 064s is stepless, which should give you some more options when it comes to espresso. There is a special indication line from 1-4 where you find the espresso range. I have mostly been grinding espresso between 1-2. It might not sound like a lot of space to dial in, but actually, there are 10 subdivisions between each number, giving you something more accurate to go for when dialing in.
For filter coffee, my grind setting was mostly between 8-10.
With a total range of 16, that means you’re mostly stuck using half of the dial indicator. So while it gets the job done in daily use, perhaps the indicator and calibration could have been designed in a way that would have given even more granularity at the espresso level.
As mentioned the dial indicator is magnetic. So it’s easy to pop off, and recalibrate the zero point. Again, this calibration system is one I haven’t encountered before, but it’s quite intuitive and straightforward to use.
The last feature I want to highlight is the detachable power cord. It’s not something you see on all coffee grinders, but it’s surprisingly convenient when you want to move it around. And I imagine that it’s also useful when it comes to repairs or using the grinder in countries with different electrical sockets.
Adjustable RPM is another interesting feature on the Timemore 064s. However, the range only goes from 800-1200, so it’s not a huge variation compared to some other grinders on the market.
At the moment there is some debate in the coffee industry as to whether this has a significant impact or not. One school of thought says that a lower RPM equals a lower level of fines. I still need to do more testing before I will have a firm opinion on this, but just to be on the safe side, I brewed most of my filter coffee closer to the low RPM and the espresso at the faster setting.
There’s also the possibility that RPM might affect different grinders and burr sets differently, so even if it doesn’t reduce fines per se, it might allow the grinder to operate optimally.
For instance, Hansung from SSP has alluded that the cast burrs might work better with lower RPM. With the DF64 and Fellow Ode, you don’t have the option to adjust RPM, so this might be another scenario where the 064s could potentially outshine its main rivals.
By the way, I didn’t experience any stalling even at lower RPMs and lighter roasts. The motor appears to have enough power to chew through beans at any setting.
The overall user experience with the Timemore 064s is simply phenomenal. It’s a clean and tidy grinder, and most parts feel robust and well-crafted.
Admittedly, the lid and catch cup are lightweight, but their magnetic features make them functional and easy to use.
The grinder is both very silent and clean in daily use. At the same time, the workflow is straightforward and pleasurable. I can’t think of a grinder that nails all these three things so well at the same time.
For instance, the Eureka grinders are silent but more convoluted when it comes to a single-dose workflow. The Baratza Sette is very tidy but extremely noisy.
The 064 is one of the quietest grinders I’ve ever tried. Its brushless motor is truly impressive in that regard. You’ll hardly notice it’s on. Naturally, it will make some noise when grinding beans, but the sound is not jarring.
No grinder is perfect, and there are a few drawbacks when it comes to the 064s.
The hopper design suffers from some of the same issues as Fellow Ode, so that means that some beans don’t slide down to the burrs as intended. In daily use, I made it a habit to open up the lid to check if there were any stray beans that need an extra prod. Quite often there were. At the same time, I wouldn’t suggest running the grinder with the lid half open, even though that would make it easier to monitor potential feeding issues. This is due to popcorning.
So in daily use, the best option is to just open and check manually when you can hear that the grinding chamber is nearly empty.
Single dosing explained
Single-dose grinders have become increasingly popular among home users in the last 3-5 years, thanks to their emphasis on freshness and flexibility. On the other hand, hopper-based grinders are still the go-to choice in cafes, where speed and ease of use are crucial for baristas.
The Timemore 064s is a single-dose grinder, so to fully understand what that means here’s a quick explanation of the pros and cons:
Single dose grinders:
Low Capacity: Single-dose grinders are equipped with smaller hoppers and focus on grinding the exact amount of beans needed for each brew. This guarantees that every cup is made using freshly ground coffee, reducing waste and enhancing flavor.
Workflow: Single-dose grinders do require you to measure and add beans for each batch. While this might not be the most convenient option, it allows you to effortlessly switch between different beans or brewing methods without having to purge old grounds.
Retention: With lower retention, single-dose grinders ensure that there’s minimal stale coffee left inside the machine after each use. This means that you’ll only have fresh grounds for every brew.
Capacity: Featuring a larger hopper that can hold anywhere from one bag of beans to several, these grinders don’t need to be filled that often. This allows for grinding several doses in a row without the need to measure or load anything. This is convenient for commercial use.
Workflow: Hopper-based grinders are generally user-friendly, with minimal hands-on involvement. However, this is only the case when you’re using a single kind of bean or blend. If you want to switch bean type, it’s cumbersome with hopper-based grinders.
Retention: Due to their design, hopper-based grinders tend to have higher retention rates, which may result in a mix of old and fresh grounds, potentially impacting the taste and quality of your coffee.
But all the details about design and features don’t matter if the coffee tastes awful. So let’s dive into the tasting.
Over the last week, I’ve enjoyed multiple espressos made with the Timemore 64s grinder.
They have been genuinely delightful. However, I brewed them using a manual espresso maker (the Leverpresso Pro), so that might not represent the most accurate assessment.
One of the reasons, I was so annoyed with Timemore’s delay in sending the grinder to me was that it coincided with some travel plans. This meant I couldn’t test the grinder in my regular setup against other flat burr grinders.
Fortunately, I discovered a charming coffee shop near my Airbnb. I decided to take the grinder there one afternoon, and luckily the owner, Shane, didn’t mind spending some time dialing the Timemore in on his Victoria Arduino Black Eagle. We then brewed several espressos to compare it to his house grinder; the Anfim Scody II.
We started out testing the grinders with a medium roast
- Anfim Scody II: With its 75mm burrs, the Anfim produced a shot with slightly more acidity and a more textured body.
- Timemore 064s: it delivered a well-rounded shot with good balance and an enhanced sweetness.
While the Anfim shot had a bit more of everything, the sweetness and smoother texture of the 064s shots were also very enjoyable. Some people would probably even prefer the Timemore due to its more subdued acidity.
With the house blend, a dark roast, the differences became less apparent:
- Anfim Scody II: Offered a wider “taste stage” for lack of better words. The flavors appeared in a wider area of the mouth but with a slightly more bitter and gritty texture lurking just at the edges.
- Timemore 64s: Again it showed a bit more sweetness and integration of the main notes, acidity, and aftertaste.
The owner and I concluded that it was hard to pick a clear winner and that the Timemore 064s was punching well above its weight class, comparing quite favorably to a commercial grinder retailing for over $2,000.
Filter Coffee Tasting
Although the Timemore 064s is primarily an espresso grinder, it’s always interesting to see how these grinders perform for pour-over coffee.
Many people wish to only have one unit that can do everything, so this is a feature that is appreciated widely.
Since getting the grinder, I have used it daily for pour over
I have run it on the lower RPM settings around 800-900. While I am uncertain if the reduced RPM affects the outcome, my cups have consistently been sweet and relatively clean.
I did several comparisons against the 1Zpresso K Max via both side-by-side brewing and cupping.
- 1ZPresso K Max: Has more acidity and a bit more interesting aftertaste.
- Timemore 064s: Sweet, juicy body with that flat burr fullness, and a balanced representation.
For light roast aficionados, a high-end hand grinder such as the K Max might still be a better choice, but the Timemore 064s certainly produces more than decent brews.
The aftertaste and acidity is less pronounced with the Timemore 064s, but the overall cup is still enjoyable.
I rate this grinder higher for filter coffee than most other espresso grinders in the same price range such as the DF64 and Eureka. So even though the Timemore 064s technically has espresso burrs, they are pretty good all-rounders.
While we’re at it, let’s dive a bit deeper into the burrs themselves. I opened the grinder up and found a well-engineered burr chamber with some innovative ideas I haven’t seen before.
The calibration system is neat and intuitive to use.
Some of my coffee YouTuber colleagues have tried the grinder with various SSP burrs.
It might be the case that SSP burrs were a smidge wider pre-2022 and that can explain the difference in results.
I also checked a few other burr models. Mazzer 233M is also slightly too big. However, Ode Gen 1 burrs fit. So there will likely be a good selection of burrs to choose from, but if you have some older burrs from Mazzer and SSP lying around at home, I wouldn’t count on it.
Timemore’s burrs for the 064s are made in collaboration with Grindinglabs, and have a geometry that looks rather classic; perhaps like a mix of 33M and Mythos burrs.
The overall, conclusion is that they do their job well, but if you wish to change them for some SSP’s that should be rather simple due to the neat burr chamber and its easy access.
Who Is the Timemore 064s For?
The Timemore 064s is an easy recommendation for a wide range of coffee enthusiasts, particularly those looking for a single-dose grinder that excels in multiple brewing methods and offers future-proof capabilities.
If you already backed the Kickstarter campaign, I see no reason for backers to reconsider their pledges.
Comparing to Competitors
I’ve already mentioned that the Timemore 064s has a superior workflow compared to the DF64 and Fellow Ode. These grinders previously disrupted the market, but now the Timemore 064s may go on to disrupt the disruptors.
You might wonder if the biggest competitors to the Timemore 064s are its siblings, the other Sculptor grinders.
- Sculptor 064: This grinder is similar, but cannot grind for espresso.
- Sculptor 078 and 078s: The 078s is still a very unknown quantity, and it might be fantastic. There is already quite a bit of knowledge about 078 since it’s been available in parts of Asia for more than a half year.
I think there are several compelling reasons to go for the smaller version unless you run a coffee shop where the bigger motor and faster burrs might come into play.
Here’s some quick math on the backside of a napkin to illustrate why:
- The Sculptor 064 currently retails for $349 on Kickstarter.
- For an additional $200 USD, you can add SSP MP or Cast burrs, making it a beast of a grinder for $549.
We don’t have any SSP burrs available for the 078s yet, but they will likely become available at some point.
However, a burr set for the 78 mm platform should cost around $400. That brings the total to $959 for an upgraded 078.
So for the price of a 078 with SSPs, you could buy two 064s and equip one of them with new burrs and still have some cash in your hand.
There’s currently a lot of hype surrounding “big burrs” among coffee forum bros.
However, it’s essential to remember that 64mm burrs are not exactly small. In fact, they’re the same size as those in the Mazzer Super Jolly, which has been one of the most popular commercial grinders for around 50 years. If you’re just making coffee at home, they can surely do the job.
While I personally haven’t had a frictionless experience with Timemore in the process leading up to this review, I still have to acknowledge the quality and innovativeness of their grinder.
The 064s is a versatile and high-performing product that offers excellent value for the price.
Its ability to perform well in various brewing methods and its potential for future-proofing via third-party burrs make it a safe bet for most coffee aficionados.
The Timemore 064s not only holds its own against much more expensive competitors but also challenges its siblings in the Sculptor lineup as the most attractive option.
Normally, I don’t recommend backing Kickstarter products as there are just too many horror stories, but in this case, I think it’s a rather safe bet. The worst thing that can happen is probably that the grinder will be delayed some months, but in the end, I’m pretty sure you’ll get a nice grinder shipped to your door.
Unless, you just need a grinder here and now, this is one of the best deals in coffee at the moment for only $349.