Bodum Bistro Review – The Budget Grinder
The Bistro is one of the most affordable entry-level coffee grinders you’ll find. So it’s only normal to wonder if its quality matches its affordability.
Is the Bistro a high-quality, bargain coffee grinder, or is it just another cheap grinder that will break after just a few weeks of use? Let’s find out in our Bodum Bistro review.
Bistro Grinder By Bodum Review
- Fast to grind
- Good for beginners
- Not great for espresso
- Not for super frequent use
Build Quality & Design
Exterior and Internal Material/Parts
This Bodum coffee grinder also has a pre-set timer that allows you to set the exact amount of coffee you want to grind. All you have to do is push a button to start.
Coffee begins to go stale rapidly once it’s ground. So the precise dosing allowed by the timer helps keep your beans fresh for as long as possible. It helps keep your waste to a minimum too.
The Bodum Bistro also comes with an anti-static borosilicate glass coffee catcher. Because it’s anti-static, fine grounds don’t cling to the sides of the container. The container also has a silicone band to prevent it from slipping when you’re transferring the grounds.
This burr grinder is made with plastic gears. As a result, don’t expect it to be the most durable grinder out there. But, considering how affordable this grinder is, its gears definitely serve their purpose well.
With proper grinder management, the Bodum Bistro can be of service to you for years to come!
Beware, though, because Bodum doesn’t sell operational parts individually. If a part of your grinder breaks, you’ll have to find a replacement yourself or find a new grinder altogether if you’re out of warranty.
Burr and Motor Design (Size, Speed)
The Bodum Bistro uses 35-mm stainless steel conical burrs to grind coffee. This is just a bit smaller than the 40-mm conical burrs of other burr grinders such as the Baratza Encore and the Breville Smart Grinder Pro.
Often, grinders with bigger burrs can do their job more consistently. But the Bodum Bistro is still a very efficient grinder in its own right. Despite its smaller burr size, it can produce a consistent grind for most brew methods. This makes it much better than a blade grinder at preserving the flavors and aromas from your beans.
The Bistro can do all this through its 160-watt motor. Now, that figure doesn’t make it a beast of a machine by any measure. But it is powerful enough to allow its burrs to rotate at a steady, high speed.
The Bodum Bistro’s burrs rotate at 720 RPM. For comparison, the Baratza Encore only rotates at 550 RPM. Through this advantage in speed, the Bodum is able to compensate for its smaller burr size.
One concern with high RPM grinders is that they might produce a lot of heat in a burr grinder. Heat can preemptively release subtle flavors and aromas from your coffee before they have a chance to enter your cup.
But apparently, this isn’t the case. According to Christian Klatt, a higher RPM causes less heat to build up inside a grinder’s chamber. When burrs rotate at a high RPM, the coffee passes through them more quickly. As a result, the grinder only needs to operate for a short time. And so, the grounds are exposed to the burrs’ heat for a shorter amount of time.
Nonetheless, a higher RPM is associated with a reduced level of particle consistency which isn’t usually much of a problem for beginner brewers but more so for those further down the experience funnel.
The hopper of the Bodum Bistro can hold 7.75 ounces, or up to 220 grams of beans. As a result, buying this coffee grinder for consistent use e.g or small office or cafe wouldn’t make sense. But this size is perfect for home use, and entertaining guests from time to time.
It also has a multi-function lid that will keep your beans fresh. The lid will even help you prepare your cup of joe! It has a built-in measuring guide that tells you the right amount of coffee and the best grind setting for your chosen brew method. When it comes to burr grinders, the Bodum Bistro is as beginner-friendly as it gets.
Portability and Weight
The Bodum Bistro doesn’t take up too much space, with dimensions of 7.6 x 7.1 x 12.5 inches. And weighing just four pounds, it makes for an extremely light and portable grinder.
However, I wouldn’t suggest taking it with you on the road too often. As a home burr grinder, it would be best if your Bodum Bistro stayed at home.
Even the most durable grinders have trouble withstanding bumpy car rides. Unfortunately, the Bistro is no exception. Instead, pick up a travel hand grinder for use on the go!
The Bodum Bistro burr grinder is an eye-catcher. Its sleek design would make any kitchen look homey and futuristic.
The glass grounds container also adds a very classy touch. The glass element gives the grinder a certain elegance. And as a bonus feature, it lets you get a good look at your coffee beans right as you’re grinding them. That may sound funny, but it’s oddly therapeutic!
Grind Range & Rating
The Bodum Bistro has 12 adjustable grind settings that you can choose from. To adjust the grind size, all you have to do is twist the upper bean container. This burr grinder can grind both finely for espresso and coarsely for French press. However, it’s far from the most versatile grinder you can buy.
Compared to the 60 grind settings of the Breville Smart Grinder Pro, 12 can seem quite limiting. But the truth is, you likely won’t need 60 different settings to adjust your coffee with. For most home brewers, having 12 settings is more than enough to experiment with various brewing methods: cold brew, French press, you name it.
But if you are an aspiring barista, you may want to go with a grinder that gives you more precise control over the grind size of your coffee.
Especially if you’re working with espresso. This burr grinder isn’t compatible with portafilters, so it’s difficult to use alongside an espresso machine.
One great thing about the Bodum Bistro is its speed given the price point. Its burrs rotate at 720 RPM, which is much faster than many of its competitors. Depending on how much coffee you’re drinking, it only takes 5 to 20 seconds for this burr grinder to fully grind your coffee.
Your blade grinder could never compete!
But while speed is great, a more important quality in a grinder is consistency. While the Bodum Bistro isn’t as good as more expensive competitors in that regard, it is still one of the best at its price point.
Creates Grinds Good for Which Type of Coffee?
For most brewing methods, having 12 grind sizes to choose from is more than you need. But there is one type of coffee the Bodum Bistro wouldn’t be ideal to use with: espresso.
First, a grinder for espresso should have a portafilter cradle. This will allow you to grind coffee directly onto your portafilter, so you can start your extraction immediately after grinding. Having to transfer your ground coffee from the glass container to your portafilter could create a huge mess.
In addition to that, the selection of 12 grind settings is too limiting for espresso. The finest adjustments in grind size can significantly alter the flavor profile of an espresso shot. And by giving yourself only 12 settings to choose from, you’re only setting yourself up for dissatisfaction.
The stainless steel burrs of the Bodum Bistro are super durable. And there’s a friction clutch in the Bodum that prevents them from being damaged if a small stone enters the grinder (it makes a loud rattling noise instead).
This grinder isn’t exactly the model of longevity, though. Some users have reported that the plastic gears gave out after just a year of continued use. And like I said, Bodum doesn’t supply replacement parts. So don’t let the friction clutch feature fool you. Bodum obviously doesn’t want this grinder to live too long.
But, like with all things, there are ways to make the Bodum Bistro last. One is by not leaving it on for extended periods of time. Only grind for 10 to 15 seconds at a time, and don’t leave the grinder running once there’s no coffee left in the chamber.Some users have reported owning their Bodum Bistro for over seven years, so no excuses. Taking care of your grinder does come a long way, and it can be done.
Ease of Use
The Bodum Bistro was designed as an entry-level grinder, so user-friendliness is its bread and butter.
First, it has a built-in measuring guide on the hopper lid to guide first-time home brewers with their brewing process. You can pre-set the amount of coffee you want to grind, and get started with the push of a button.
It also comes with a static-free borosilicate glass coffee catcher, so your ground coffee doesn’t cling to the container. The glass container is also dishwasher-safe, so cleanup is always a breeze. Ah, music to every home brewer’s ears!
At the price point of the Bodum Bistro, it’s hard to expect premium quality from any grinder. Heck, it’s hard to expect even decent quality from a grinder at the same price. But the Bodum Bistro gives you both good quality and an almost irresistible price.
You’ll get your money’s worth from this grinder even if you only use it for a year. And as long as you don’t abuse it, it can last way longer than that.
Don’t Buy the Bodum Bistro If…
…you’re using an espresso machine at home.
Like I mentioned, the Bodum Bistro is not for users who want precise control over the grind size of their coffee. If you’re pulling espressos, you’ll want a grinder where you can experiment with making minuscule adjustments to grind size. For that, you’ll need much more than 12 different grind settings.
You’ll also want a grinder with a portafilter cradle. This will allow you to grind coffee beans directly onto your portafilter, without making a huge mess.
…you’re buying a grinder for your coffee shop.
For that, you’ll want to buy a commercial grinder. Commercial grinders have a larger hopper size, larger burrs, and faster RPMs.
They’re also much more durable than home grinders such as the Bodum Bistro. Those bad boys are built to withstand the daily grind of a coffee shop, and last for many years.
…you’re looking for the highest quality entry-level grinder available.
The Bodum Bistro is a high quality grinder considering its price point. And it’s definitely better than any blade grinder you’ve ever laid eyes on.
But if you’re looking for the best entry-level grinder available, you’re better off looking at a grinder like the Baratza Encore. It’s one of the best known entry-level grinders, and it has 40 different grind sizes for you to choose from.
The Final Verdict
The Bodum Bistro burr grinder is not the best entry-level grinder out there. It doesn’t have any extra special features, and it has a limited number of grind sizes that you can choose from.
But at its price point, you can’t do much better than the king of Bodum coffee grinders. If you stick to brewing methods like French press, drip coffee, or even pour over, this grinder can give you a quick and consistent grind with every brew.
The pre-set timer allows you to grind the same amount of coffee every time. And it prevents you from wasting beans and having stale coffee left over at the end of the day. The static-free and dishwasher-safe glass container also makes cleanup super easy and efficient.
If you’re on a tight budget and looking for the best available entry-level grinder at the lowest possible price point, the Bodum Bistro is a very solid choice.
Everything I first learned about coffee, I picked up working as a barista for my older brother. Now, I seek to expand my knowledge on my own as a coffee enthusiast who believes his best brews are still ahead of him.