buyer's guide for bodum bistro

Nailing down the science to brewing a perfect cup of coffee is a journey that often feels more like a maze. Striking the balance between a dozen different choices that seem equally important but ultimately nebulous is downright exhausting. 

The more technical the specs are, the harder it can be to tell the difference between a quality product and questionable components, especially when it comes to the sensitive calibrations of a burr grinder.

Which is why we do what we love best by digging into the details of every accessory or piece of equipment we can find so that you can buy with confidence and brew with ease. 

In this Bodum Bistro burr grinder review, we'll cover everything from its basic details and presentation to how well it performs and compares to other grinders that share the same market space. Read on to see what we love, and what we don't, for this at-home grinder. 


Across the wide range of choices for burr coffee grinders, the Bodum Bistro seems like an unassuming member of the scene.

Its petite size suits the affordable price tag, as does the manual adjustments that lack a little of the modern flair that LED and smart screen models boast.

However, as one of the few brands that offer a choice in colorways, the Bodum Bistro isn't lacking in a certain cafe-friendly panache.

Neither is the brand's name a stranger to coffee aficionados and has long been associated with good quality, especially where it sits on the low to mid-range price spectrum. 


Equipment Specs  

  • Internal components: 110V compatible, stainless steel conical burrs 
  • External components: aluminum or plastic body, plastic hopper, static-free borosilicate glass canister 
  • Capacity: 7.4L 
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    Countertop dimensions: 7.6 x 7.1 x 12.5 inches 
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    Total weight: 4.7 pounds 

Important Details

This burr coffee grinder serves all the basic needs for anyone who needs freshly ground coffee with a range of choices for grind size. With 12 adjustment settings for coarseness and four timing options, you can get a consistent grind to deliver enough coffee to brew one or several cups at once, wholly dependent on your preferences.

The push button on top of the machine that starts the grinding process works separately from an on/off switch on the base, which helps you stay safe while filling and adjusting the hopper or wiping down the machine between uses.

We love the thoughtful touches like this that show Bodum's mapped out more than just how the machine operates, but how the consumer behaves in the kitchen.

That kind of planning surely led them to include a silicon grip for the glass catcher and scratch-resistant, smudge-proof plastic of the burr grinder's body.

While we're certainly not easy to please, we do love small details like that because they go a long way towards longevity for a kitchen accessory that's destined to get a daily workout. Read on to see what else really impressed us about this compact grinder.


Our Favorite Features 

We don't need a lot of bells and whistles to charm us into choosing favorites. Sure, they can help catch our eye, but sometimes a lot of extras and moving parts can actually get in the way of the basic functionality that a burr grinder providers. It's not that hard to keep it simple but stay effective, and the Bodum Bistro coffee grinder proves it.

  • Small but sturdy build.
    The trim body and stout dimensions make it an easy fit for any kind of counter space. If your kitchen is so small that you need to tuck your coffee appliances away between brews, you won't be pulling any muscles with this model. 

    The hopper is made of a durable plastic and the body is made of either aluminum or strong plastic depending on the model you purchase, so both can stand up to a bump or three. 
  • Professional details for the casual user.
    Most burr grinders suitable for professional use are set up to batch grind on a timer, so this compact model is definitely designed with the big boys in mind. It even looks like a scaled-down version of industrial behemoths found in many upscale bistros and cafes serious about their coffee and espresso service. 

    It's an accessible piece of coffee-making machinery that's bound to improve your at-home brews without over-complicating the process. 
  • Basic, yet powerful, components.
    Once you've met one stainless steel conical burr, you've pretty much met them all. It's hard to reinvent that toothy wheel and improve on its design, but Bodum still has some tricks up its proverbial sleeve. 

    Bodum's burr assembly includes a friction clutch that's sensitive enough to know when to shut down rather than seize up if it catches stone in its teeth. We'll talk more about this awesome feature and what to do if you wind up with a stone in the burr assembly when we go over cleaning steps later on. 
  • Delightfully stylish color choices.
    For most grinders, you're lucky if you can find much beyond a basic black or chrome finish. Bodum has you covered for a few difference schemes, including the usual black and chrome. 

    There's also shiny copper, bold tomato red, and we've seen also seen a neon lime and a true blue finish in the line-up. 

What type of coffee is best suited for the Bodum Bistro?

best suited coffee

For certain brewing methods, such a French press or an espresso machine, the standard dark roasts also mean slick beans with a lot of oily residues.

Bodum knows this, and their Bistro burr grinder stands up to some heavy-duty dark roasts without clumping or clogging on the finer grind settings.

This puts the Bistro in rare company at this price point since many grinders that share the same space on the market tend to miss the mark here.

Turkish coffee, which requires an ultra-fine grind, is an easy match for the Bistro. This means it's a good fit for espresso lovers, too, as the espresso grind is similarly fine and powdery.

The Bodum Bistro manages to produce the consistent grind either of these needs in a way that's pretty impressive for what we expect in this range.

As it moves towards the coarser end that French press pots, pour-overs and drip brews work best with, it maintains a similar dependability.


Making The Most Of Bodum's Best Features 

There's nothing complicated or difficult about the Bistro burr grinder's design, so you won't face a steep learning curve, especially if this is your first experience with a burr grinder.


The adjustable dial even shows you where on the scale from coarse to fine you might want to set it before grinding.

Of the 12 available adjustments, three are marked with symbols that signify the standard grind for French brew, drip brew and espresso.


You may find that a step or two in either direction, coarse to fine, suits your particular brewing equipment better than the factory-suggested setting, so feel free to play around.

If you make sure to use a pastry brush to dust out the burr assembly between batches, it will greatly reduce any inconsistently sized grounds making it through when you've adjusted from one setting to the next. 


What This Burr Grinder Lacks 

  • It packs a powerful enough punch for the at-home coffee lover who needs to use it casually, but excessive grinding sessions can lead to overheating the motor, which warms up the burrs and risks burning the oils in your coffee beans. Even a hint of that can lead to bitterness in the brew. 
  • Like many burr coffee grinders meant for use in the home, you shouldn't be keeping beans in the hopper longer than necessary to grind them all. Air and light are the enemies of whole bean coffee. 
  • Their quality begins to degrade almost immediately once exposed, and the Bodum Bistro just isn't equipped to give them the kind of care they need to prevent it. 
  • The lid fits well for use when grinding, but it's not airtight. As well, the plastic has zero tint, so there's no filter against any ambient or direct light. 

Cleaning Your Bodum Bistro Burr Grinder 

how to clean bodom grinder

Because it has a simple design, cleaning the Bistro burr grinder is fairly straightforward. While we know it's an extra step that not everyone has time for, we think it's still important to consider brushing out the burr assembly after every grinding session, especially for grinders this small.

  • Start with the plastic hopper, glass canister and their lids. 
    These can be washed with warm, soapy water or put into the dishwasher for cleaning. 

    Given how much contact these pieces have with the beans and coffee grounds, and how easy the hopper is to take off and put back on, it's best to clean these after every use. Just make sure they're both completely dry before putting them back in place. 
  • Lift out the upper burr from its assembly seat. 
    This burr assembly is probably one of the easier pieces of equipment to clean compared to others in the same market. 

    You can just lift it out by its plastic casing in order to clean it thoroughly and access the inner component. Because moisture can become trapped between the plastic and stainless steel, it's best to just wipe down the burr than wash it in water. 
  • Brush out the inner burr assembly and chute. 
    The deeper recesses of the inner burr benefit from a narrow brush head, but pipe cleaners with firm bristles or old toothbrushes could work very well to dig in there and get the last of the coffee grounds out. 

    Keep these on hand in the event the friction clutch stops on a stone if you can't find it between the teeth of the upper burr first. 
  • Insert the upper burr back into the inner assembly. 
    Two tabs on either side of the plastic casing line up with holes in the inner housing for the burr assembly. 

    If these aren't matched properly, the upper burr will turn freely and won't grind. Once it clicks in place, it will still wriggle a little, but that's normal. 

How Bodum Compares To Other Burr Grinders 

At this price range, Bodum's Bistro burr coffee grinder is pretty hard to beat in terms of straightforward functionality and stylish choices. However, we've taken a hard look at its most direct competitors to see where the lines are drawn and what you need to know to make the perfect choice.

Capresso Infinity 560.04 
The Capresso Infinity holds more in its hopper and catcher, which is great for those who need a machine that can stand up to volume. It's also manufactured with noise-reduction in mind, so that means lower RPMs and less risk of heat transferring to the gear assembly. 

Cuisinart CBM-18N
With this being at a similar price point to the Bodum Bistro, it's an attractive alternative given that it's likewise compact and from a brand known for excellent kitchen offerings. You get more grind settings with the Cuisinart and a digital screen, which is pretty hard for those who want more help with programming settings. 


Bodum Bistro VS Baratza Encore 

comparison with encore

Both grinders are a good fit for the entry-level coffee crowd, but they're also both robust enough that more experienced at-home brewers won't be embarrassed by the results. Some of their defining manufacturing characteristics set them apart, though, so let's dive into those important distinctions.

1. Build quality and durability.
The Bistro has a flair for style, as we've pointed out favorably already. By contrast, the Encore is a pretty plain-looking piece of equipment for the modern kitchen counter.

Both still have solid bodies and are known for being able to stand up to frequent use, though. One small point in the Encore's favor is the tinted plastic hopper and catcher since light can degrade whole bean and ground coffee quickly.

2. Consistency and dependability of the grind.
Here's where the two grinders start to separate themselves by a wider margin. It can't be denied that in a side-by-side comparison the Encore's 40 adjustable settings outstrips the Bistro's 12 options for grind sizes.

It's almost unfair to try and compare their consistency with such a big gap between what they offer. It's not that the Bistro doesn't deliver a dependable grind, it's just that the Encore allows you to a better ability to fine-tune for the best result possible.

3. Bells and whistles, or lack thereof.
We're not afraid to praise the Bodum Bistro for its simplicity, but the Baratza Encore takes those same basic functions and turns each one up a notch. This also justifies why the Baratza Encore hovers just above the Bodum Bistro's price range.

You can also control the RPMs. Depending on how much you're grinding, how long you need it to grind, and how fine the grind is, being able to slow down the RPMs reduces heat, noise and static. 


The Verdict On Bodum Bistro 

There's nothing fancy to the Bodum Bistro burr coffee grinder, but that's just fine. We can love this grinder just for its simple functionality--although Bodum makes that an easier choice given the variety of colorways there is to choose from.

The Bistro grinder is a great introductory accessory for coffee lovers who want an easy start with freshly ground coffee or for more experienced brewers looking for an affordable way to have a variety of grind settings at home.