Fellow Ode Coffee Grinder Review: Yay or Nay?
The new Ode coffee grinder by Fellow is one of the most talked-about home coffee products this year. But does the reality compare to the hype? Is this the next evolution in coffee grinding or just a clever marketing ploy to part you from your money?
Let’s find out in this Fellow Ode Coffee Grinder review.
Summary: The Ode Brew Grinder
- Unique PID-controlled motor for ultimate grind size consistency
- Compact footprint and attractive industrial aesthetic
- Perfect for filter coffee or French Press, but not designed for espresso
First and foremost, this thing is very small, beautifully small. I think it’s very nicely designed. It’s beautiful looking.– James Hoffmann
The Fellow Ode Grinder Review
There has been plenty of hype around this home grinder since its launch in a crowdfunding site, but internet buzz doesn’t guarantee a quality coffee grinder. Let’s take a closer look at the details to determine if this burr grinder is a worthy sidekick to your coffee maker.
Design – 4.5/5
The Fellow is known for aesthetically pleasing products, and the Ode brew grinder is no exception. I love its spare, industrial design and matte black finish. It manages to scream “classy” and “functional” in equal measure.
Measuring only 4.25” wide by 9.5” deep by 9.5” tall, it’s an impressively compact burr grinder that will appeal to anyone with limited counter space at home. The trade-off for its short stature is that it lacks a bean hopper.
It holds about 80 grams of beans, perfect for single-dose grinding.
The lid sports underside a chart that suggests the best grind setting for a given brew method. This is a good idea, but some experts have pointed out that the recommendations are better suited to porous dark roasts than denser light roasts.
Durability – 4/5
It isn’t easy to establish the durability of a product that has only been on the market for a few months. We may have to check back in with the Ode in a few years.
Indeed, the stainless steel burrs are built to last. But at this price point, the longevity of the motor is an open question. That said, a charming feature of the Ode brew grinder is how easily you can open it up for maintenance or repairs.
Ease of Use – 4.5/5
Ease-of-use was a design priority for the Ode. You simply choose the grind settings using the large stepped knob on the front. And this feels pleasantly smooth and well-made. Then it’s as simple as hitting the ON button. You don’t need to turn it off; an auto-stop feature does that for you when every bean is ground.
The coffee grind cup has a magnetic base that pairs with a second magnet on the grinder to snap correctly into place.
It also has fins built into the interior, making it easier to pour your coffee grinds without spills, although these make it harder to get every last grind out.
Another nice touch is THE “KNOCKER” We use these simple devices to knock any remaining grinds out of the shute, so none of your carefully weighed single dose of coffee gets left behind. Though common on commercial grinders, we rarely see knockers on home models. And it’s a trend I would be happy to see emerge.
This grinder is a tad messier than others in its class. It seems to be prone to static, which leads to bits of chaff floating about or collecting where you don’t want them. For an easy solution, try the Ross Droplet Technique (1).
Grinding Capability – 3.5/5
The first thing you should know about the Ode is that it doesn’t grind super fine. It’s for filter coffee, not espresso or a Moka pot. This is not a flaw; it’s a design decision — and a smart one, according to Burly Coffee barista Zachary Elbourne.
Too many grinders try to do both and end up doing neither well.
That said, the Ode does an excellent job at what it is designed to do.
Its innovative feedback-controlled PID motor yields incredible grind quality, among the best at this price point (2). It grinds quickly and quietly, always useful features on a bleary morning.
The Fellow has chosen interlocking flat burrs for the Ode, which are similar to standard flat burrs but can’t grind quite as fine. The result is that some users might find this grinder skews too coarse. The coarsest settings are rarely used, even for immersion brewing like French Press or cold brew, while the finest could afford to go a little finer (3).
Replacing the burrs is an easy option but adds to the cost.
Price – 4/5
They launched the Ode on Kickstarter, a smart marketing strategy to build hype. It worked; they met their $200,000 goal in just 94 minutes.
So are you paying a premium for that hype? Maybe a little. The Ode retails for about $299, which I still consider excellent value for what you’re getting. Yes, you’re paying for a brand and an aesthetic along with a product, but this is a reliable brand, and Ode is a beautiful grinder. For comparable quality, you’d be hard-pressed to find something much cheaper.
Do Not Buy the Ode Brew Grinder If…
You want to make espresso: If your favorite home brewing method is an espresso machine, Moka pot, or the Aeropress, you’re better off with something like the Rancilio coffee grinder or the Baratza Vario.
You’re on a tight budget: The Ode isn’t as expensive as its fellow single dose grinders such as the Niche Zero and the DF64, but it’s not cheap either. If you’re really strapped for cash and not ready for a higher-end grinder, a hand-operated burr grinder is a way to go. You can get something top of the line for under $100. If manual labor isn’t your thing, the Encore by Baratza is an inexpensive electric grinder.
Your coffee maker comes with a built-in grinder: If you already have a burr grinder, there’s no reason to succumb to the hype and buy the Ode. Save that money, and treat yourself to some specialty beans instead!
If filter coffee is your brew of choice, particularly if you favor darker roasts, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the Ode coffee grinder from Fellow. It delivers remarkably consistent ground coffee in a compact and stylish package.
- James Hoffmann. (2017, May 14). Coffee Hack: No More Static [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T0Dh1W40ILY
- Avery, P. (2009, March 1). Introduction to PID Control. Retrieved from https://www.machinedesign.com/automation-iiot/sensors/article/21831887/introduction-to-pid-control
- Koh, S. (2017, December 1). A Guide to Coffee Grind Size, Consistency, & Flavor. Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2017/12/a-guide-to-coffee-grind-size-consistency-flavor/