I've been grinding my own beans at home for years now, thanks to a few coffee nerds I lived with in college. Nerd isn't a pejorative here, they made damn good coffee. Slowly I began finding an interest in coffee nerdery myself, leading to an obsession with brew methods, water temperatures, the nuances of finely ground beans vs. coarsely ground beans — the list goes on. While every aspect of coffee brewing matters, from the roast of the beans to the final pour, I've learned that the most widely ignored aspect is the grind.
When making coffee at home, there is no one-size-fits-all grind that works for every method, making it difficult to get the best flavor out of your beans unless you have a grinder of your own. Thanks to Fellow, one of our favorite brands in the coffee world, getting a café-quality grind is now achievable at home with its superlative Ode grinder. While it is expensive, it punches well above its weight, both in terms of design and function. Is it worth $299, though?
Design: While most coffee grinders are best kept in a cupboard when they're not being used, the Ode's clean lines, oversized coarseness dial and black aluminum body make it more of a design piece than an appliance.
Sound (or lack thereof): If you have a coffee grinder at home already, you're probably accustomed to waking up the entire neighborhood each morning when you fire it up. This makes sense, seeing that it is a machine with metal blades pulverizing beans into dust. The Ode, however, utilizes its café-grade stainless steel burs and a number of noise-dampening technologies`in the body to grind the beans quietly — or at least as quiet as you can hope for.
Thoughtful Details: The Ode is full of little details that make it a step up from your standard grinder. It is immensely simple to use, with just one button to turn it on, it automatically knows when there are no beans left to grind so there is no need to fuss with a timer. The hopper is the perfect size for home brewing and takes up no extra space — perfect for a kitchen with minimal counter space. The dial on the front not only looks great, but it is easy to read and takes a no-nonsense approach to the coarseness of the grind (somehow it still has 31 settings to dial in the perfect grind). The grind catch is magnetic, so it slips into the perfect spot every time, ensuring that you don't spill grinds everywhere when you turn it on. Finally, if you're not sure how coarse to grind your beans, the underside of the hopper lid has seven different brew methods outlined, each next to the corresponding number you'll want to set the dial to.
What's not as good?
It weighs a lot: While this is a positive in a lot of ways, it is a fairly heavy machine, which makes it difficult to move around the kitchen, meaning you'll need a dedicated space for it.
Spillage: The Ode has added a spring on the side that you can push to clear out the remaining grounds that haven't dropped into the catch after a grind. This works, kind of, but you still need to smack the top of the machine a couple of times to get every grind into the catch. If you forget this step, you may end up with the excess grinds all over the place.
It is expensive: $299 is a lot for a coffee grinder — for reference, our pick for the best is only $139. If you've got a strict budget for your coffee setup, this probably will not fit into it. It will go on sale somewhat frequently; usually 15 to 30 percent off, if Fellow's past sales are any indication.
There are many capable coffee grinders available these days. The most comparable grinders to the Ode are made by Baratza, including the brand's popular Encore ($139) and Virtuoso+ ($249). Otherwise, there are options in all price ranges, with some as low as $20 and as high as $1,000.
Winner of the Specialty Coffee Association's best product of 2021 award, the Ode is honestly the ultimate home coffee grinder. If you can stomach the price tag, you should absolutely buy it. It's combination of good looks and thoughtful details mean that you won't spend any time thinking about where it is and how it works. The Ode is a classy addition to any kitchen.