Updated: July 12, 2022 by Owen Richardson
A burr grinder, preferably electric, is what you need to level up your brewing game. Why? Because even the cheapest electric burr grinder is light years ahead of a premium blade model, and this Bodum coffee grinder review confirms that and so much more.
There is a high chance you’ve heard of Bodum. They are a Danish company that produces a wide range of high-quality and affordable coffee products. True to its reputation, the burr electric grinder from Bodum is a top-notch model. But is it the right option for you? Keep reading to find out.
There’s no doubt that the Bodum Bistro is an impressive piece of equipment. This detailed review covers core features of the model, design choices, ease of use, and cost considerations. In addition, there’s a buying guide to help you make the most out of your purchase.
But first, here are factors you should consider when shopping for an electric burr grinder.
Considerations Before Buying an Electric Burr Grinder
As you know, brewing the perfect cup of coffee is wholly dependent on your coffee grinds. It’s why blade grinders are not recommended by coffee enthusiasts. Not only is controlling the grind size hard but the blades produce heat as they grind, ultimately affecting the taste of your coffee.
So what about pre-ground coffee? While it is convenient on paper, pre-ground coffee can’t compete with freshly ground beans. Pre-ground coffee has a short shelf life and goes stale rather quickly once you open the pack. It’s easy to see why purchasing an electric burr grinder is a no-brainer.
Alternatively, a manual burr grinder is perfect when you are on a tight budget. What’s more, it’s a sound investment if you aren’t comfortable spending large amounts of money on coffee equipment.
Keep these factors in mind as you search for your ideal electric burr grinder:
- Burr Size: As you know, the burrs break down your coffee beans into an ideal texture. A grinder with small burrs has to grind for longer which causes heat build-up. In turn, the excess heat ruins the flavor, making your beans bitter. The solution? Large burrs that quickly break down coffee beans.
- RPM: Grinder speed is measured in revolutions per minute (RPMs). While low-speed grinders are slower, they produce less heat. However, if you are interested in a high-speed grinder, go for one that has large flat burrs. What’s more, only settle for a model with a powerful motor.
- Grind Settings: There’s no doubt that more grind steps are necessary for control over the grinding process. However, countless settings on a grinder are a sure sign of poor design. Right off the bat, such a grinder would have a steep learning curve. As a rule of thumb, when it comes to grinding settings, always balance functionality with the price.
Other factors to keep in mind include:
- Ease of use
- Dosing style
The Bodum Bistro Coffee Grinder: An Overview
The Bodum Bistro is an entry-level electric grinder with an affordable price tag. According to the manufacturing company, the Bistro preserves whole bean intrinsic flavor and aroma thanks to its burrs.
The Bistro is a flagship model from the Bodum company. The Bistro performs surprisingly well for a first release. Of course, it’s lacking in certain sectors when compared to a top-range model like the Baratza Virtuoso or Fellow Ode Brew Grinder.
However, the Bistro is a great choice if you are looking for a functional upgrade from your blade grinder. It’s perfect for regular coffee drinkers who prefer functionality over experimentation. With that said, this model isn’t for die-hard coffee fans who expect much more from a grinder.
Our Bodum Burr Grinder Review
With a subtle and minimalist design, the Bodum Bistro will look great on any kitchen counter. To add to this, its small and sturdy build makes it easy to store away after brewing sessions.
The Bistro is surprisingly light since the body is made using lightweight materials such as durable plastic and aluminum. Despite this, the Bistro is not a fragile grinder, so it won’t easily break down.
Now, the Bodum has one feature you won’t find in other competing electric burr grinders: a friction clutch. It alerts you to the presence of stones in your coffee beans. If a stone gets into your burrs, the clutch will make a rattling noise to alert you. As you can imagine, this goes a long way in prolonging the life of your burrs.
Finally, the hopper has a 7.8 oz capacity, and it’s made of durable, transparent plastic. The grounds bin is a major selling point for the Bistro. It’s made from borosilicate glass. This material is effective in discharging the static from the ground coffee. This isn’t pure hype; most top-range grinders do not have a borosilicate hopper.
An entry-level grinder offering such a feature is no small deal.
Considering its price range, the Bodum grinder is a surprisingly durable machine. Full disclaimer: Unlike top-range grinders like the Virtuoso, the Bistro features medium-range machine parts. Needless to say, you might need to make replacements down the road.
The body is made from matte plastic that is smooth to the touch. Despite this, it can withstand a knock or two. Unfortunately, the hopper lid is rather flimsy since it doesn’t lock in place. While it isn’t a deal-breaker, it can be rather annoying.
The borosilicate glass bin is the weakest link. Despite being dishwasher-safe, you should be careful when handling it. Dropping it or banging it on the counter might not be such a good idea.
Ease of Use
Here, the Bodum coffee grinder takes the cake, thanks to its simple and intuitive grinding system. Even a total newbie can’t get it wrong. You start by adding your whole bean coffee into the hopper. Next, twist the hopper to select your preferred grind size ( pretty neat, right?). Switch on the grinder using the power button on the side.
Finally, choose a grinding period between 1-20 seconds using the timer. That’s it. Press the on/off button next to the timer and grind away. A word of caution. You can only grind for 20 seconds at one time. This limit is in place to prevent overheating the grinder.
Under the hood, the Bistro has a powerful 160-watt motor that gets the job done. It drives the burrs at an impressive 720 RPM, producing a consistent grind with no surprises.
When it comes to grinder capability, the Bodum grinder can hold its own. The 12 grind settings ranging from espresso fine to French press coarse. To be honest, top-range competitors offer more consistent results. However, the grinder offers impressive results as well given its price tag.
Though it does have an espresso setting, the truth is the Bodum grinder struggles with grinding down beans to the texture necessary for the perfect espresso shot. You are better off investing in the Baratza Virtuoso which performs much better with espresso.
But then again, while the grinder doesn’t do well with espresso grinds, it can do perfect grinds for drip coffee, French press, and Aeropress.
What We Like
Right off the bat, the Bodum Bistro coffee grinder excels at grind consistency. The powerful motor drives the burrs at a consistent rate of 720 RPM. Why is this important?
You can produce a consistent grind for different kinds of coffee within 20 seconds. There’s no doubt that a hand grinder can’t keep up with such a pace. Using Bodum, you get better results faster, using less effort. And once you lock down a grind setting for a recipe, you’ll never have to tweak it.
In addition to this, the grinder looks great on your counter. Instead of playing safe by sticking to a boring aesthetic, Bodum goes for a chic and trendy look. Nearly every positive Bodum grinder review on e-commerce websites mentions that.
The borosilicate glass is a nifty feature that sets this grinder apart. Nasty coffee dust accidents become a thing of the past since the glass discharges static build-up in your coffee grounds.
Lastly, considering how feature-packed it is, the Borum Bistro is awesomely priced. In fact, most entry-level electric burr grinders can’t compete with its affordable price tag. While the Bodum is much more expensive when compared to a hand grinder, the functionality it offers is worth every penny.
What We Don’t Like
This Bodum Bistro coffee grinder review brings to light some glaring issues. For starters, while the burrs are high quality, other machine parts lag behind. Because of this, you will have to replace them at some point.
What’s more, the color on the adjustment dial fades over time, ruining the aesthetic of the grinder.
In addition to this, the Bistro has a limiting grind period peaking at 20 seconds per session. The five-minute break period does not help matters either.
Finally, while the borosilicate glass is a great addition, it’s fragile, so you have to be extra careful with it. Some users have reported the bin broke after placing it on the counter with too much force.
About the Brand
Bodum is a Danish company that has been producing coffee and tea solutions since the 1950s. As a 100% family-owned business, they focus on product quality and integrity over profit margins. Their first product, a vacuum coffee maker called the MOCCA, was a runaway success.
Since then, its in-house design unit has produced affordable and functional coffee products which have received international acclaim. For example, the company’s first French press, the Bistro, was internationally recognized as the most environmentally friendly model on the market.
The company is known for producing innovative products with an affordable price range. True to its storied tradition, Bodum products always deliver and rarely disappoint. I highly recommend their products, and I use a Bodum French press pretty often myself.
Bodum Coffee Grinder Review Summary
- The Bodum Bistro coffee grinder has an affordable price tag.
- The powerful 160-watt motor makes the Bodum a relatively fast grinder.
- The grinder is perfect for beginners.
- It can’t produce the ultra-fine grinds necessary for making espresso.
- The Bodum has a limited timer and can only run for 20 seconds at a time.
There is no doubt that the Bodum Bistro coffee grinder is a sleek yet capable machine. With a wealth of features, it’s perfect for anyone looking for a reliable grinder for daily use. It also checks all the boxes for an affordable and functional grinder.