The Bodum Bistro Grinder Review: Fine Grinding at a Fine Price
Oily beans often mean the death of inexpensive home grinders.
They’re tough, sticky little trolls that create a lot of static and clog up the burrs.
Enter the Bodum Bistro grinder.
This little dandy was created specifically to prevent this tragedy and keep you grinding up fresh coffee no matter which beans you prefer.
Take a stroll through my Bodum Bistro Grinder review, and find out if this is the grinder for you.
The Bodum Bistro 'In A Nutshell'
The Bodum Bistro grinder is meant for the budget homebrewer who is just getting started.
Its 14 different grind settings are more accurate than most grinders for the same price, and you can expect a consistent grind each time.
The Bistro is made from special materials to keep it free from static. This unique feature allows the Bistro to avoid getting clogged with old grounds and seriously reduces cleaning time.
Its fluid, modern design and small footprint make it a welcome addition to even the smallest kitchen, and its affordable price tag allows it to fit within even the smallest budgets.
Check out this quick video for a brief introduction to the Bistro burr grinder.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Beginner’s Grinder
The Bistro is an entry-level home grinder, and there are a couple of things you should know before diving in headfirst.
Budget grinders aren’t going to give you a huge range of grinding options, and some may be as good as grinding by hand.
You shouldn’t expect to find a ton (if any) of convenient features, because these grinders are designed to be simple.
This is not me trying to squash all your dreams of becoming the greatest home brewer, adored by family and friends; this is me setting the stage.
These grinders have limited features because they are inexpensive and approachable.
They are best in the hands of a beginner or someone still learning the ropes. A few of the things you should keep an eye out for when browsing:
- Price (of course).
- Grind consistency.
- Product durability.
The Bodum Bistro Grinder Review
The Bistro is Bodum’s latest entry into home grinding and is meant to accompany the Bistro Automatic Pour-Over. Its claim to fame is its non-static-ness (inventing words here).
The static-free materials keep grounds from becoming lodged between the burrs and causing jams.
An attractive side effect is that you rarely have to disassemble and clean this machine.
It offers relatively few grind settings compared to high-quality grinders, but its quality of grind is on par with the best.
What you select is what you get, a feature hard to find among inexpensive burr grinders.
Additionally, it looks less like a dull kitchen appliance and more like a fancy restaurant gizmo.
Its appearance alone may convince you to place it front and center on your counter top.
This grinder is great for the beginner on a budget, looking for an intro to the world of manual coffee.
For the quality you get, the Bistro is a steal.
A Price that’s Hard to Beat
Among beginner grinders, a low price isn’t the most unique quality, but the Bodum Bistro sits at a price point usually reserved for the grinders-to-avoid.
You can easily bring one of these machines home without breaking into the triple digits.
For the quality you get (which we will dive into soon), the price will make you do a double take. Any newcomer will find the Bistro one hell of a deal, even after a year of extended use.
No Static, Nowhere
The most unique, and best, aspect of the Bodum Bistro is that it is virtually static free.
This may seem trivial, but I assure you that it is not something to be taken lightly.
Oily beans are one of the worst enemies of burr grinders.
Like kryptonite to Superman, oily beans can throw your grinder into a messy shutdown. These grounds will take up residence within your burrs, which can create a jam over time.
This is why many grinders require constant, painstaking cleaning. Some models only need cleaning about once a month, while others need it just about every other grind.
The Bistro, on the other hand, hardly ever needs to be cleaned at all, and this is because it is designed to be static free.
Many experienced home brewers would find this hard to believe (and so did I), but grounds just fall right throw.
Use the Bistro for three months straight and its burrs will be just as clean as they were in the first week.
This static-proof cleanliness also serves another important purpose: a clean grinder is a long-lasting grinder.
Grounds and oils that build up within the moving parts will gradually wear it down. The Bodum Bistro will outlive most other grinders because it prevents this buildup from even happening.
A set of plastic spokes gives a nice little pull to keep your grounds flowing smoothly through the burrs and into the catcher below, which is (surprise) also static proof.
The grounds container is made from borosilicate glass, which, besides sounding like something from space, is anti-static.
Have you ever seen a sci-fi where the characters go into a static-free lab that requires that they wear those puffy, white, full-body suits?
All the funky, glass, science stuff adorning the lab table in that room is made from borosilicate glass. That fact alone should make you feel like you’re about to craft up an extraordinary brew.
In addition to the non-mess inside, there will also be a non-mess outside your grinder.
Static is what causes grounds to “hop” when you’re trying to pour. In the language of coffee, “no static” means “no sponge,” because your grounds will flow freely into your brewer.
An *ahem* Interesting Design
One thing Bodum is known for is its clever design.
All of their products are both funky and chic, but not overdone. They are modern with a playfully minimalist flair.
When the eggheads at Bodum got together to whip together the Bistro grinder, they didn’t forget their roots.
This grinder’s body is made from a special plastic that is both scratch resistant and smooth to the touch without being glossy.
The body itself has a slim profile with a slightly organic shape.
The hopper is scratch-proof clear plastic and extends like a transparent cone from the top of the body.
Like I said earlier, the grounds catcher is made from borosilicate glass, but it has a silicon band wrapped around its waist that proudly displays the Bodum brand.
It fits so neatly underneath the grounds’ spout that it looks like a part of the whole machine.
On the side and on the face are bright red controls that stand out like a statement piece on a trendster’s monochromatic wardrobe.
You can choose matte black for the body or you (ever the eccentric) can decide between lime green or pale red.
The Bodum Bistro is also smaller than many other grinders and will easily fit on most countertops, no matter how cluttered.
Though it is small, it is a fun addition that will liven up any kitchen.
A Grind to Challenge the Best
This grinder may not have as many grind settings as others, but it does the best with what it has.
Many consumer grinders offer a large range of settings but drop the ball on grind consistency.
You are just as likely to get small particles in your coarse, French-press grind as you are to get some serious clumps in your espresso dose.
Having a consistent grind is just as important as choosing the right grind size.
An inconsistent grind creates an unknown variable, which means you could end with a great cup in the morning and a stanky cup that same night, never knowing why.
The Bodum Bistro offers only 14 grinds but handles each masterfully.
Your French-press grind won’t slip through the fine metal screen. Your pour-over grind won’t throw off your flow rate. Your espresso grind won’t clump up and mess up your timing.
When you turn the grind dial, you can expect to get exactly what you select, time after time.
Who Should NOT Buy the Bodum Bistro
The Bodum Bistro is a great entry-level grinder with a few unique features (especially the static-free construction), and it does a good job at its price point.
However, there are some things to consider before you buy. Do not buy the Bistro if:
- You value the precision and uniformity of steel burrs. Steel burrs tend to grind beans to a more uniform particle size. This can be important in high-end espresso machines, where the short water contact makes uniform extraction a big deal. But really, every brewing process benefits from uniform grind size.
- You use a range of grinds on a regular basis. The limited range of grinds (14, compared to 40 or more for high-end grinders) can put a crimp in your caffeinated adventures. Do you crave hand-pulled espresso shots on Friday, then break out the French press on Saturday? You'll need something a little better - read more here.
- You like the hands-on approach. For the maximum in full-contact brewing, a hand grinder gives you a fine control. Plus, grinding by hand gives you a connection to the finished product that goes above and beyond pushing a button.
Don’t Love the Bistro? Here Are a Few Alternatives...
When I go shopping, I like to look at all the options before making my final decision. I am a shop clerk’s worst nightmare because I will put my favorites on hold while I scour the other stores for better buys.
You may not be this way, but there are a few other grinders worth looking at before taking the plunge.
The three grinders you may want to consider are the Capresso Infinity, the Baratza Encore, and the Hario Skerton.
The Capresso Infinity
First up, the Capresso Infinity is another great budget buy.
Its hopper holds 8.8 oz., and the motor spins the burrs at a low 500 RPM to keep your beans cool.
It has only two more grind settings than the Bistro, and a comparable grind quality.
The low RPM also helps to prevent static buildup, but it is not as effective as the Bodum Bistro. It is a little more expensive, and looks a little plain.
The Baratza Encore
Next we have the Encore, which comes from Baratza, a well trusted name among home brewers.
With an appearance similar to the Capresso Infinity, this grinder isn’t going to take first place in any beauty contests.
It is more expensive than the Infinity, but it has more than double the grind settings and an even lower RPM.
Across all of its 40 settings, the Encore is a precise and reliable grinder.
Like the Bodum Bistro, you can expect a consistent grind each time, but with more allowance for fine tuning. Read our full review of the Encore here.
The Hario Skerton
Finally, the Hario Skerton may be an odd alternative to include since it is a manual, not an electric grinder.
Yet, because of this, it is much cheaper than the others.
It uses ceramic burrs, which are naturally static proof, and much more heat resistant than steel burrs.
For a hand grinder, its as precise as many high-quality electric grinders, and offers just as many settings as the Infinity.
The main drawback, of course, is that it takes actual work to use, but it’s great if you’re looking for a way to show off your sweet biceps.
For the sake of your grinder’s longevity, cleanliness is key.
The Bistro is a machine that attacks that problem at the source, and doesn’t resort to wishful thinking by tossing in cleaning tips in the manual.
The static-free materials used in the Bistro will keep it free from waste buildup, and grounds will flow freely through, reducing the need to clean and extending the grinder’s lifespan.
The anti-static materials will also ensure that grounds go nowhere but your brewer.
I hope my Bodum Bistro Grinder review helped settle some of your questions, and you can click here if you are ready to check it out.