Many elements make a great-tasting cup of coffee, but freshly ground beans are one of the most important. Therefore, if you have a good burr grinder, you’ll be part of the way to a better-tasting beverage because you can grind your beans immediately before brewing.
However, you still need to decide which burr grinder is best for the job, and a precise home coffee grinder that grinds beans to a consistent size is essential.
If you’re not an espresso brewer, the Fellow Ode Brew grinder should be on your radar. The device began life as a December 2019 Kickstarter campaign and reached its funding target in just 90 minutes! Not only that, but the grinder remains a popular device, and it doesn’t have a direct competitor.
But why is it so popular, and what makes it different from other burr grinders? Also, is it still worth buying now? Let’s answer those questions and more.
Fellow Ode Brew Grinder Summary
- 64mm flat burrs and PID-controlled motor
- Fast and quiet grinder
- Precise grind for filtered coffee
- Stylish design with a compact footprint
- The grinds may not be fine enough for certain brewing methods
Fellow Ode Coffee Grinder Review
Design And Build Quality
The first impression of the Fellow Ode is a contemporary machine with a minimalist design. That won’t surprise you if you’re aware of other Fellow products, like the Stagg EKG kettle. Indeed, the Fellow Ode would look great alongside any of the company’s other products.
The grinder is available in matte white or black. Meanwhile, the grinder’s weight of 10lbs (4.5kg) combined with a build using high-quality materials (aluminum frame with stainless steel parts) lends it a reassuringly solid and robust feel. Elsewhere, the only food-grade plastic parts are the grounds catcher lid, hopper, and base.
The grinder is designed for ease of use. The only dial is on the front of the machine, to determine your grind setting. Meanwhile, there is an on/off button on the base.
Many burr grinders have a large hopper at the top. However, the Fellow Ode uses a single-dose design for maximum bean freshness. Indeed, the hopper’s capacity is limited to 80g, so you can’t store all the beans in it. Finally, the inside of the hopper has a cover to prevent the popcorning of beans when grinding.
Because the grounds hopper is so small, the grinder is remarkably compact. It’s just 9.5in (24cm) tall, so it should fit easily under any kitchen cabinet.
The grinder has a magnetically aligned catch bin with easy pour fins. Meanwhile, the grind knocker helps reduce grind retention.
Overall, the Fellow Ode is a grinder that benefits from robust, high-quality materials and a thoughtful design. As a result, it’s no surprise that it’s so appealing to many domestic brewers.
Burr And Motor Quality
The Fellow Ode has vertically-mounted 64mm flat stainless steel burrs that run on a PID-controlled motor. These burrs are impressive for a domestic grinder, as you’ll often find them in commercial grinders for espresso. Because burrs of this type are in the Fellow Ode – a grinder targeting the domestic market for filter brewing – it stands out from its rivals.
Nevertheless, café sized flat burrs aren’t necessarily ideal for domestic coffee grinding. That’s because a more powerful motor with a higher RPM is often needed, which creates more heat and noise while grinding. Of course, this isn’t usually a problem in a commercial setting, but it’s not ideal for the home.
Still, Fellow has found a way around the issue, and partly down to the grinder’s single-dose design. After all, if you can only grind for a single dose at a time, using such a large burr set means heat generation won’t be a problem. The only time this could become a concern is if you were grinding many back-to-back doses or using a whole bag of coffee beans for a cold brew batch.
Not only that, but the smart speed PID motor ensures the burrs spin at 1400RPM throughout. It maintains that speed by adjusting the power where necessary to ensure the same force of the burrs at every point of the grinding process.
And what of the noise problem? Well, that smart speed motor means the Fellow Ode runs consistently under 60 decibels throughout grinding. Better still, it also contributes to an increasing grind particle consistency.
The benefits of the PID feedback-controlled motor don’t stop there either. It also monitors the load on the motor to detect precisely when the last bean has gone through the burrs. Therefore, you only need to worry about turning on the grinder, and it automatically shuts off on completion.
This already impressive grinder also has a grinds declumper that spans the exit of the chute. It consists of two metal wires that prevent grinds from sticking together as they leave the burrs and reach the grinds cup.
The Fellow Ode is a stepped grinder, which is more than adequate as there’s no need for stepless settings while grinding for filter brewing. At the front of the grinder is the straightforward (and huge!) easy grind adjustment dial. This knob is large enough to alter the coffee grinds for different brewing methods easily. It also smoothly clicks when you do so, while there are clear setting markings.
The settings range from 1 to 11, and each number (apart from 11) has three steps of its own. Therefore, in total, there are 31 steps of grind settings. This number is more than enough for every filter coffee brewing method.
The Fellow Ode doesn’t have a zero setting. However, the burrs will touch around the number one setting when new. Meanwhile, it’ll take about 5kg of coffee for this to wear off.
Handily, Fellow includes a grind size chart underneath the hopper’s lid to refer to. It is reasonably accurate for darker roasts. However, if you’re using a lighter roast, you may prefer to go a few steps finer than the suggestions when grinding for specialty coffee.
If you’re grinding for AeroPress or Moka pot, we recommend using the finest setting (number one). Meanwhile, you can also use Fellow’s Prismo attachment on the AeroPress to brew an espresso-style shot with crema.
However, it’ll still be too coarse for many people. Indeed, the limited scope for finer grinds is the biggest drawback of the Fellow Ode. Therefore, if you predominantly grind for espresso, it may be worth considering an alternative.
For pour-overs like the Hario V60 and Chemex, we recommend using settings #2 through #4. Anything over #4 and the grinds will be too coarse, in our opinion. This is backed up by many regular Fellow Ode users, who state that they don’t go over number four for pour-over.
Meanwhile, if you’re grinding for an electric drip coffee maker, settings #4 through #6 are ideal.
Once you get over number #6, you’ll get the quality grind for French press and cold brew. Use whichever number you prefer according to your brewing style.
Too many grinders try to cater to every brewing method. However, achieving the precise particle size for brew methods that require finer grounds, like espresso, and coarser grounds like pour-over, is challenging because of the design of the burr set and motor. Fellow is clearly aware of this predicament and made a sensible choice to concentrate on a consistent grind quality for the perfect cup of filter coffee.
The Fellow Ode coffee grinder makes consistent grinds for beautiful cups of coffee. The main challenge is paying attention to the grind size and being prepared to try different settings than the grind size chart suggests if necessary. That’s because its recommendations may be too coarse for pour-over. However, if you’re willing to experiment a little, you will soon find your perfect setting.
Nevertheless, if you mainly brew espresso, or other coffee using a fine grind size, the grinder may not be suitable. There is the option of the upgraded SSP burr set for grinding 200 microns finer than the original burrs, which allows for more dialing in for the finer range. However, it’s quite an expensive option.
Ease Of Use
With its one-touch operation, auto-stop feature, and noise reduction features, the Fellow Ode offers an enjoyable coffee-making experience for your coffee-making routine.
You just need to weigh your beans and pour them into the hopper, place the grounds bin in the base and touch the start button. Then, the Fellow Ode takes care of the rest.
The 64mm stainless steel flat burrs have a larger surface area for grinding beans. This ensures that the grinder does its job at a truly impressive pace. For example, it takes only four to five seconds to grind for a regular filter brew using 15-20g of beans.
Meanwhile, if you utilize the full 80g bean capacity, the Fellow Ode grinds them in just 20 seconds. Of course, this means you can enjoy your daily brewed coffee far more quickly than if you’re using a slower grinder.
The build-up of static is a problem that afflicts many coffee grinders. However, the Fellow Ode has a partial solution for this in the grinds knocker on the side. You can use the grinds knocker before or after grinding to remove any excess grinds from the chute. This is a particularly thoughtful design and is useful if you’re using the grinder in humid conditions or would like to wait before removing the grounds bin.
Unfortunately, the grinds knocker doesn’t eliminate the issue of static and the subsequent countertop mess. Most of the time, you’ll still have around 1g retention per 15g of coffee.
Many users have complained about the static in the Fellow Ode. We have previously shared our solutions to the coffee static problem. However, a drop of water works better than most other fixes.
Cleaning And Maintenance
As with any coffee grinder, it’s highly recommended that you regularly clean the Fellow Pro to keep it performing at its best.
First, make sure the grinder is unplugged, then take out the grind setting plate, unscrew the four screws and take off the large dial. Now you can get to the burrs. Remove the small metal plate, then press the outer rotate burr. Doing this will allow it to slide out and expose the stationary burr. Next, remove the spring. At this point, you can use a vacuum cleaner or brush to clean out any oil build-up or dust. Finally, put everything back together.
For detailed instructions, check out this video tutorial.
Value For Money
As we have explained, the Fellow Ode is an excellent grinder with plenty of carefully engineered features, large stainless steel burrs, and a premium build quality. However, it’s not cheap.
There are plenty of less expensive electric burr grinders on the market, but they won’t offer the superb features of the Fellow Ode, including rapid grinding, auto-stop feature, and those 64mm large flat burrs.
The grinder is perfect for anyone with the budget who requires a compact, stylish grinder that performs well for most brewing methods. Frankly, the stunning design is all some people need to convince them to part with their money. Meanwhile, the Fellow Ode will look great next to any other Fellow products you may have.
However, if you’re looking for a grinder to produce finer grinds but are still set on the Fellow Ode, you’ll need to upgrade to SSP burrs, which will significantly increase the cost.
Now that the Fellow Ode Brew grinder has been on the market for several years, it’s natural to wonder if there are newer alternatives that look and perform better. However, despite its relative maturity, this is one grinder that still packs a punch in all the right places.
It looks and feels sturdy and has a premium-quality build. Also, it has some thoughtful and useful touches, such as auto-stop and the smart speed PID motor. Not only that, but it is incredibly quick and easy to use and produces consistent grinds for anyone grinding for filter coffee brewing methods.
The biggest issue is it’s not designed for finer grounds for espresso. However, if this isn’t a concern for you, the Fellow Ode Brew grinder is one of the best grinders on the market in this price category.