Fellow Opus Grinder Review: Does It Meet Expectations?
It’s big news in the coffee world every time Fellow releases a new product. The brand’s gorgeous and functional gear often gains a cult following.
The Fellow Opus Grinder is Fellow’s second grinder but the first that claims to grind for espresso. We were impressed but not blown away. Keep reading to see what we loved and what left us wanting more.
Summary Box: The Fellow Opus Grinder
- Single-dosing conical burr grinder for espresso and drip coffee
- 40-mm stainless steel burr set
- Compact and attractive design
It runs quietly, and it keeps my kitchen cleaner while producing consistently ground beans no matter which setting I put it on.– Customer
The Full Fellow Opus Coffee Grinder Review
Coffee enthusiasts have been clamouring for the Fellow Opus. An all-purpose grinder with an affordable price tag is a lofty claim, but Fellow has an impressive track record (1).
Our ambitious goal three years ago was to design the best all-purpose grinder in the world, and we believe we’ve done just that with Opus – a true jack-of-all-trades workhorse.
We were excited to get our hands on an early model to bring you this first-look Fellow Opus review. Read on for the details, or start by watching this video with Steven from Home Grounds:
Design – 4.5/5
The Fellow Opus grinder has a spare, industrial aesthetic that immediately identifies it as a Fellow product. It features sleek curves and a matte black exterior, with a matte white version promised for later this year (2). The compact footprint won’t occupy much counter space at just 21 cm deep by 12.9 cm wide and 26.8 cm tall.
Some users complain it lacks a portafilter holder, but the dosing cup is a more practical solution.
It slots neatly into the grounds catch cup and works for 58-mm and 54-mm portafilters. The catch cup has been redesigned to pour grounds more cleanly.
The volumetric dosing lid is divided into two chambers. The smaller holds approximately 20 g of coffee, the larger holds 40 g, and the full lid holds 110 g – enough to brew a 12-cup carafe. Coffee nerds will cringe at the word “approximately,” but this is a nice solution for entry-level users. A grind guide printed on the hopper lid guides you to the best grind setting for different brew methods.
Durability – 3/5
Build quality is the first thing to take a hit when designing an affordable coffee grinder for home use. Unlike the aluminium metal casing of the Fellow Ode, the Opus is mainly plastic. This includes the catch cup, though it still has the much-loved magnetic attachment to the base. A plastic case doesn’t necessarily mean this grinder won’t last, but you must treat it respectfully.
Fellow is a reputable brand with excellent customer service. The Opus comes with a 2-year warranty, three years if registered online.
Ease of Use – 4/5
The Fellow Opus is a single-dosing grinder with a timed autostop, making it easy to use (3). Just add coffee beans to the load bin and press Start. There are four pre-timed options – press Start once for a 30-second grind, twice for 60 seconds, three times for 90 seconds, and long press for 2 minutes. You can also deactivate this feature and grind manually.
Changing grind settings is equally straightforward. Just turn the grind adjustment collar. Making finer adjustments dialling in espresso is more complicated, and we’ll talk more about that below.
The Fellow Opus is a tidy grinder. The anti-static technology at the output works well for avoiding mess, though static tends to build in the hopper. Luckily, it is easy to remove and rinse out.
Removing the hopper reveals a small metal handle to remove the upper burr for interior cleaning and maintenance – a small but thoughtful inclusion.
Grinding Capability – 3.5/5
The Fellow Opus has a stainless steel 6-blade 40-mm conical burr set, a good-quality option at this price point. There are 41 grind settings, from espresso to cold brew and French press. In our particle size tests, this ranged from 400 to 1500 microns with good uniformity throughout.
The powerful motor spins slowly – at 350 rpm – but with high torque. This is ideal for a conical burr grinder as it crushes even dense light roast beans without generating much heat. It is relatively quiet, around 80 dB in our tests.
Does it work for espresso?
We’ve come to the million-dollar question. And the answer is yes, but it’s not perfect.
The 41 grind settings from espresso to cold brew coffee necessarily have large steps between them – too large to dial in an espresso. An entry-level user might be satisfied, but a serious coffee lover needs more precision.
Fellow tackled this problem with a second adjustment mechanism under the bean hopper that adds five steps between each setting.
This renders it capable of grinding espresso, but removing the hopper to make adjustments is undeniably annoying.
The new Baratza Encore ESP, in comparison, addressed the same issue by making the steps smaller at the espresso end of the spectrum and larger in the drip region. I would argue this is a more elegant solution.
Low retention is a crucial feature of single-dosing grinders, and Fellow has done well with the direct drop-down design and anti-static technology. In our tests, retention was about 0.5 g. It would be nice to have a knocker like the Fellow Ode, but the tight-fitting lid can be used as makeshift bellows to blow out trapped grounds.
Price – 5/5
The price of this Fellow coffee grinder is right. Indeed, most of my complaints are inevitable compromises when making an all-around grinder for just over $250.
Fellow Opus vs. Baratza Encore ESP
Baratza also released an affordable all-around conical burr grinder this week, so we would be remiss not to compare them. In short, the Fellow is better for filter coffee and has a more efficient workflow. The Encore ESP is more convenient when dialling in espresso.
Steven from Home Grounds makes a much more detailed comparison in this video:
Things we liked:
- Suitable for espresso and drip coffee
- Attractive design
- Easy to use
- Affordable price
Things we didn’t like:
- Inconvenient to dial in for espresso
- No knocker
- Plastic build
Do Not Buy The Fellow Opus Grinder If…
- You only brew filter coffee: Opt for a grinder with a pour over coffee focus. The pricier Fellow Ode Gen 2 Brew Grinder has a similar aesthetic and superior burr set. Or save some cash with the perennially popular Baratza Encore conical burr grinder.
- You only brew espresso: Serious espresso enthusiasts will benefit from an espresso-specific grinder, even if you have to spend a bit more. A prosumer-grade model like the Eureka Mignon Zero is a worthwhile splurge with a similar single-dosing workflow.
- You want a grinder with a hopper: If single-dosing isn’t for you, the new Baratza Encore ESP features similar specs to the Fellow Opus but includes a 225 g hopper and manual dosing controls.
The Fellow Opus is an excellent grinder for the price. Despite some quirks, it delivers on its promise to grind for espresso and pour over coffee. And it keeps the stunning aesthetic and user-friendly design for which Fellow is known. Along with the Baratza Encore ESP, it sets a new standard for entry-level all-in-one grinders.
- Jan Kamps, H. (2022, June 16). Coffee paraphernalia co Fellow brews up a round of funding. Retrieved from https://techcrunch.com/2022/06/16/fellow-raises-funding-round/
- Bryman, H. (2023, February 7). Fellow follows Ode Gen 2 with Opus Conical Burr Grinder. Retrieved from https://dailycoffeenews.com/2023/02/07/fellow-follows-ode-gen-2-with-the-opus-conical-burr-grinder/
- Mott, J. (2022, July 21). What is single-dose coffee grinding? Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2022/07/what-is-single-dose-coffee-grinding/