The Bodum Bistro range of electric burr grinders culminates in this model, the Premium Burr Grinder where Bodum have pulled out all the stops. They don’t make many outlandish claims (besides that it’s quieter than competitor burr grinders) so instead they rely on a list of impressive features to lure you in.
At the time of writing, it’s solidly in the middle of the market where price is concerned. As for customer feedback, it’s not all 5-star reviews on Amazon (hey, we all know most of those are fake anyway, right?) and a considerable number of people have had problems with this model.
With that in mind, we tested out the Bodum Bistro Premium Burr Grinder to see if it’s still worth your money.
Bodum Bistro Features & Functionality
- 75oz capacity bean hopper
- Bean hopper lid with grind guide
- Stainless-steel conical blades
- Push-button to start
- Programmable timer
- 12 adjustable grind settings
- Friction clutch
- Borosilicate glass coffee catcher (dishwasher safe)
Bodum have 3 key electric burr grinders in their Bistro range. The Blade Grinder is the most compact, the Standard Burr Grinder is the basic model, and then there’s this one. The Premium Burr Grinder with all the features it’s possible to have.
We particularly liked that there are some guide instructions on the type of grind you need printed onto the lid of the bean hopper – it doesn’t matter if you’re the kind of person who always loses the manual. Another feature that we don’t see too often is the ‘friction clutch’ which is designed to protect the grinding gear from wear and small stones. More on whether it’s effective or not below.
The general consensus between Coffee Dorks and consumers is that when this grinder is working, it truly is great. The performance is just what you need it to be – quieter than most models and very consistent grind size. You can adjust how much you want to grind by changing how long the grinder will work for, in seconds. There are 12 grind settings to choose from, starting at espresso and going through to French press. We found the finest grind to be ideal of espresso and one of the finest settings on all the burr grinders we’ve tested. Using it is simple and the detachable parts are dishwasher safe. Hallelujah.
That Borosilicate glass coffee catcher can be replaced with any old cup you want that will fit the rubber lid top or you could dispense directly into your coffee basket for espresso.
Unfortunately, that great performance doesn’t last forever, as we found out when taking a closer look at the design of the Bodum Bistro Premium Burr Grinder.
Bodum Bistro Design
The coffee bean grinder is made of stainless-steel, non-static borosilicate glass, plastic, rubber and silicone. Pretty standard, to be honest. It certainly looks good though, with that matte black exterior and sleek silicone grip around the coffee collection cup.
It’s 12.5 inches tall and 7 to 8 inches wide/deep – so not massive but still quite tall. If space is an issue, there are definitely a lot of more compact coffee bean grinders on the market.
The blades are, of course, stainless-steel but the little cogs and components that get those blades moving are unfortunately made of plastic. And that’s a real problem. These plastic components just aren’t built to last as long as the stainless-steel and there are many reports online of the grinder breaking or not working because of them. It turns out that the friction clutch is pretty ineffective.
The life of the grinder really depends on how often you use it. Many people are reporting breakdowns between 1 and 2 years from the purchase date when using it 5 to 7 times per week. Bodum customer service can be a bit hit and miss – they offer a 2-year warranty that DOESN’T cover damage from ‘natural wear and tear’.
A good way to keep your coffee grinder in the best shape is to clean it properly. During our testing, we found it to perform excellently but felt that cleaning it quickly became a chore. Your usual toolkit of brushes might not be enough, especially if you’re enjoying the very fine grind that Bodum offers.
The Bodum Do’s and Don’t’s sheet gives you some good tips to follow. Namely, don’t fill the hopper before you turn on the grinder, or you’ll just be begging for it to jam up. As for cleaning, they recommend cleaning it after every use by simply tapping out the grinds.
As many have noted, just tapping or even brushing the blades doesn’t dislodge all the coffee. This video shows a more thorough way of cleaning the grinder that you may want to try.
Skip to 3:08 to see what we mean about lingering coffee being caught around the lower burr grinder. Compressed air blowers can get those grinds out too, but using instant rice is a great method if you use darker, oily coffee beans as those oils are tough to get out. The very dry, absorbent properties of rice make it great for sucking up those lingering oils from your Bodum.
- Good range of settings
- Clear instructions included
- Very consistent grind
- Finest setting is impressively fine
- No long-term reliability
- Poor customer support from Bodum
- Proper cleaning isn’t a simple process
Our overall verdict is that this is a good burr grinder, particularly for espresso lovers who need a very fine, consistent grind. We do, however, believe that it is a little overpriced, especially when you consider the short lifetime.
We would recommend purchasing this grinder if the features draw you in but would leave you with a warning.
You need to take the cleaning process seriously. If you get lazy and leave your coffee to sit in the grinder without cleaning it, it will deteriorate much more quickly and is more likely to break. Bodum are slow to respond and oftentimes reluctant to help you with replacement parts and repair services, so be prepared to buy a whole new grinder when this one fails on you.
Anthony is a professional barista in the city of Chicago. He has written for many online publications on various topics related to coffee.