Thursday, June 8, 2023

Bodum Bistro Electric Burr Coffee Grinder Review – 2018 Update

Another week, another grinder to review. The Bodum is on the higher end of my style of coffee grinder, burr based and inexpensive, but I felt the need to point it out as an option for those with a little more disposable income. Most of the grinders I review have a forte, an area where they excel, to the detriment of others. It is nice to review a product where the grinds on both ends was so good.

The wonderful thing about electric coffee grinders is the ease of use. I think it’s easy to see that the added options muddies it a little, but in terms of plug and play, electric is the way to go. Manual grinders make visual sense, but the work involved in getting enough grinds for a larger drip or french press coffee machine is arduous, and you run the risk of ending up with spoiled beans.

My usual point comes next, I do not drink coffee. I have someone to do that for me. Seriously though, I spent a number of years working as a Barista, but seen as I didn’t drink the coffee I bought my own stove top machine to test out the drinks. My partner will be reaping the benefits of my coffee making skills, and it is she that will give me the info on the quality of the drink. I will be making both moka pot coffee, with a fine grind, and french press coffee, with a coarse grind.

So let’s stat with the build quality.

Bodum Bistro Electric Burr Coffee Grinder Design and Build Quality

Long time readers will know that I dislike the standard hopper design used by most firms. It ruins the shape of the build, and just look a bit naff. Here it looks fine, nothing to write home about, but the great thing about the Bodum is that it comes in a variety of finishes. Look at the top, see the black? Well we don’t want that, it’s common, look below, see the copper? How amazing does that look? If it didn’t cost almost twice as much it would be easy to recommend you buy it. As it stands,. go for it if you’re flush with cash and building a copper plated kitchen. The build quality of the Bodum i quite high, considering the number of parts here it is a minor surprise to find the fit so flush. The burr mill here is top quality, and 14 settings is more than enough for most kinds of coffee.

Look how pretty that is.

Using it is a breeze, set the burr width, which has a handy couple of decals letting you know which brewing method each grain size works well in, and hit the auto timer. I would have preferred to see a per cup timer, but 5, 10, 15 etc seconds is fine too. I love how streamlined this is, there are a number of grinders on the market that try to complicate matters with too many settings, beyond the whole time and grain size. You do not need any other options than what are presented here.

So let’s talk a bit about grinder tech. There are two kinds of core grinder on the market vying for your attention. The bladed grinder and the burr grinder. When it comes to brewing coffee Burr is always better. There is a good reason for that too. When you brew coffee the quality of the drink is dependant on when the grind releases its flavor and chemicals. That is dependant on the size of the grain. So when the grind is all randomly sized you get a muddled drink, either too weak or bitter. When the grind is uniform you get a full bodied cup of coffee. Bladed coffee grinders cannot do a coarse grain uniformly, but if you hold the button in you can get a passable fine grind. Burr grinders can do a uniform grain of any size, for the most part, making them the go to choice. The Bodum is a burr grinder, giving it a leg up on the competition.

In terms of aesthetics the Bodum is a winner, the quality of the parts is fantastic, and the options available are just right too. In terms of ease of use you cannot find easier on the market. If only the pretty versions of this grinder weren’t prohibitively expensive.

Bodum Bistro Electric Burr Coffee Grinder Testing

Now we come to the brew itself. I have been making espresso derived coffee for a fair number of years now. I worked behind the counter making coffee for a living for a while too. My brewing method of choice is the moka pot, a great low cost alternative a full on espresso machine. Combined with a milk foamer and you can make all kinds of espresso based drinks. I recently added the french press to my coffee making arsenal, to really test out the quality of the coarse grinds. The Bodum is a high capacity grinder, and I tend to make only a cup or two at a time. This makes getting the right quantity a bit of a chore, but for those who need to make a full on pot of coffee it’s perfect.

I made the three grind gradients and brewed immediately after the grind was ready. Remember to pay attention to the time when grinding coffee for brewing, you do not want the grind to go bitter, or lose flavor. So the coarse grind was done first. I brewed with the french press, and served. The aromas that came off where amazing, for while I do not drink coffee I do at least adore the pageantry of making it, the moves and the smells. It was delicious, a well rounded, and above all strong, morning coffee. Not the fancy espresso, but the to the point drink that wakes you up and readies you for the day. The Moka pot coffee was the fine grind, my go to drink is a low calorie latte, using stevia and vanilla extract with skimmed foam. The drink was strong, and layered. the crema layer formed immediately too, not easy to do with bad grains on the moka pot. Overall the two brewing methods came out well. The grains were nicely uniform, for the most part.

I am more of a cook these days than a barista, so I like a grinder that can do my spices and sauces as well as the coffee. Seeing as my primary brewing method is the moka pot, then the bladed grinder is my preference. I do not recommend you try making spice rubs in the Bodum. It will work, after a fashion, but the clean up is a grind, haha, and the smells will linger. To clean the Bodum you are best off using specialty soap, then grinding a round a bread to clear out the smells.

Now we get to the price. The black model is usually in the $75 price range, which isn’t bad for an all around grinder. “All Around” in this context means it can make a variety of coffee drinks well. The other models, like the chrome and the wonderful copper finish versions cost about twice as much.  That said you can usually find a pretty good deal on by clicking here to see all the current discounts available. It usually doesn’t go below $70 so if you can get it under that I would say it’s a good time to make the move on it.

Bodum Bistro Electric Burr Coffee Grinder Conclusion

At the end of the day what we are looking for is quality coffee. The Bodum makes a fine coarse and a fine fine grind. I do not own a drip pot, but I can only assume by inference that the medium grind is pretty fine too. So i answer to the question does the Bodum allow us to make good coffee, I have to say very much indeed does it help us make good coffee. In terms of aesthetics it might be my favorite of the space hopper burr grinders, especially in the copper which I will now shut up about, and the design overall is simple and easy to understand.

The only issue is the price. I know there are cheaper grinders out there, though finding one that can give us a good grind across the board is rare enough to as well not exist. If you find yourself in need of a good sized grinder that can grind up, across the board, a quality bean then you owe it to yourself to try out the Bodum.

To check out the price with the discounts automatically applied click here.

Barry W Stanton
Irish born writer who drinks too much caffeine and reads too much Terry Pratchett. I enjoy long walks on the server and Korean cuisine.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Read