Many beginning coffee enthusiasts are attracted to electric blade coffee grinders because of their low price and ease of use. At less than $20, the Bodum Bistro blade coffee grinder is an inexpensive way to enjoy the benefits of freshly ground coffee. It’s also beautifully designed and compact. As we’ll see in this review, however, there are a few things you should keep in mind before buying it.
The Bodum Bistro Blade and Burr Grinder Series
To make my point, know that there are two versions of the Bodum Bistro coffee grinder: this blade model and a more expensive burr grinder. Blade grinders are roughly chop coffee grounds into uneven pieces. Burr grinders precisely grind coffee beans to exact specifications, and produce better results.
The Bodum blade grinder is a good choice if you’re looking for an affordable way to grind coffee for the French press or other brew methods that require coarse grounds. In fact, this is what Bodum advertises– it can grind enough coffee for an 8-cup French press in 60 seconds. It’s a great companion to the Bodum Brazil or Bodum Chambord French presses.
If you’re looking to grind coffee for a pourover, Aeropress, or espresso machine, however, you’ll want to keep in mind that drawbacks of a blade coffee grinder. We’ll explain later in the review (you can also check out our best coffee grinder guide).
Bodum Bistro Blade Grinder: Design & Specifications
Bodum advertises the following advantages of the Bistro:
- 150W motor that spins at a consistent RPM
- Durable stainless steel blades
- One-touch operation that lets you grind for as little or as long as you want
- Clear plastic lid for viewing the fineness of the coffee as you grind
- Compact design perfect for small kitchens, dorm rooms, or travel
- Size: 4.5 x 4.5 x 8.5 in
The grinder is available in black, red (you have to see it), white, chrome, and copper. The model we’re reviewing today is the black version.
One thing that immediately struck me about the Bodum Bistro is the beautiful design. The cylindrical shape, grippable rubber sides, and sleek styling make the Bistro both beautiful to look at and a pleasure to use. I also like that I can store it in any cabinet or small space when not in use.
In terms of durability, I have owned the Bistro for more than a year and have not had any issues. No parts have broken and the motor works just as well as the day I bought it. I have also dropped the plastic lid a few times but since this is made from a very sturdy plastic, there was no risk of it breaking. Replacement parts are not available for this model.
You can also use blade grinders for grinding spices. I don’t recommend this– no one wants to taste coffee with turmeric.
How to use the Bodum Blade Coffee Grinder
The Bodum Bistro has a single button on the top that controls grinding. All you have to do is pull off the transparent lid, add your beans, and push the button. Hold for as long as you want to grind the coffee. After 60 seconds of grinding, the beans should be ground well enough to make French press coffee. Hold the button longer to increase the fineness for pour over and other types of coffee.
When you’re done, remove the lid again, lift the grinder, and dump the contents into your coffee maker. I love the Bistro because it’s so easy and simple to use.
The Bistro electric blade grinder grinds enough coffee for one, two or perhaps three people. It’s perfect for a single-person French press or morning coffee for two. If you need to make more coffee than that, you should upgrade to a Burr grinder.
Daily use and test results
I’ve used this grinder off-and-on for the last year. As mentioned, it’s perfect for French press coffee, which requires very low grind precision. This is what I primarily use the grinder for.
I was disappointed with how the Bistro grinder performed for pour-over and drip coffee. The grounds would look evenly fine on top. Then when I would pour the them into the coffee maker, I would see much larger pieces of coffee beans. Unevenly ground coffee results in uneven extraction and should be avoided if at all possible. I only use the Bodum for French press coffee.
The above is of course a characteristic of all blade grinders and does not mean there is anything wrong with the Bistro grinder. You just need to know what you’re buying.
Here are a few other notes:
- Since the Bistro requires you to press and hold a button to use, you can’t do anything else while coffee grinds except look at the window and watch the birds. This is fine if you have to grind coffee for just one person. I would not use this grinder for a family of four or a large group of people.
- The interior of the grinder seems to be made of a Teflon-like material that prevents grounds from getting stuck to the surface. Some grounds will need to be wiped away after grinding, but overall this a nice touch.
- All coffee grinders are loud, and this one is no exception. I find it to be a bit louder than burr grinders I have tried, and would imagine it is a bit quieter than competing blade grinders. It would be nice if Bodum could do more to dampen noise in the next version.
- The Bistro generates a fair amount of heat if left on for too long. This heat will warm up the grounds, which is undesirable. Bodum does not recommend running the grinder for longer than 60 seconds. Again, this isn’t a problem if you’re using the grinder for its intended use (French press coffee). It will be an issue if you try a very-fine grind– in which case a blade grinder really isn’t a good choice.
I would much rather someone on a budget choose a low-priced blade grinder and grind their own beans rather than buy pre-ground coffee. You will almost always be better off with a fresh, inconsistent grind than buying stale pre-ground coffee. And the Bodum Bistro is one of the best blade grinders I have tried. It’s well designed, durable, and affordable. You just need to make sure you stick its intended use: French press coffee.
The Bodum Bistro electric blade grinder is beautifully designed and easy to use. It’s a great companion for French press coffee, but since it’s a blade grinder, it’s really not suitable for finer grinds.