Our Fellow Ode Brew Coffee Grinder review comes without any sugarcoating because this product isn’t begging for mercy.
Product marketing campaigns can set expectations too high. And product design can be too ambitious.
That said, the Fellow Ode is:
- A dream for pour-over coffee brewing enthusiasts
- A nightmare for budget-conscious beginners
- A useless piece of decor for the espresso-focused
Read below to find out why this isn’t bad at all and why we think the Fellow Ode is worth the hype, but not the hate.
Overview: Fellow Ode Grinder
Product design for home coffee brewing has advanced dramatically in the past few years. And Fellow has played a significant role in this transformation.
The interest for home coffee brewing has increased year after year, and Fellow has grown a strong community around them. After setting a new standard for gooseneck kettles with their Electric Stagg EKG, we have very high expectations before launching a product.
Some were disappointed to learn that the Fellow Ode wasn’t fit for grinding coffee for espresso. Many were frustrated with a price tag for a grinder that can “only” grind for pour-over coffee and the French press.
Comparing a home coffee grinder with these mean machines illustrates a simple point: being good at grinding coffee for espresso AND the French press is possible but extremely expensive.
For this reason, the Fellow design team devised a unique product, thinking of brewing coffee with drip and immersion coffeemakers.
On their site, they answer explicitly that the Fellow Ode isn’t suitable for grinding espresso because:
- The grind range isn’t fine enough
- Doesn’t have anything to hold a portafilter
- The burrs are geared towards drip and immersion brewing
Is this bad? I don’t think so. But it speaks clearly about a product design decision that is hard to grasp if you’re starting to learn about the art of coffee grinding and brewing.
Who shouldn’t buy the Fellow Ode Grinder?
It boils down to two different kinds of coffee enthusiasts:
Espresso enthusiasts looking for an affordable piece of gear
Sorry, but you’ll have to save a bit more or compromise some style and features by getting the Eureka Mignon Notte Espresso Grinder. It’s the only decent grinder for espresso in this price range. Even the Baratza Sette 270 is considerably pricier. Still, if you’re curious about affordable espresso grinders, you can read our Sette 270 review.
The Fellow Ode grinder isn’t meant for espresso. It requires some serious gear to get consistent grind size distribution and a precise degree of calibration for espresso.
How can anyone say that a single piece of gear above $ 100$ is affordable?
Well, my friend. Home coffee brewing can become an expensive obsession, but I comfort myself repeating that it’s an affordable luxury.
If you’re serious about exploring high-quality coffee beans, the Fellow Ode is an excellent option for you. But, if you prefer to save your hard-earned money, I recommend you not to go for less than a Baratza Encore. If you aren’t sure about it, you can read our Baratza Encore review for further details.
Main Features: Pros and Cons
Fellow Ode Grinder is for coffee lovers who want to upgrade from a more basic home grinder or take a first solid step into the home coffee brewing game. This grinder has an excellent grind consistency, beautiful design, and high-quality build.
It also comes with thoughtful details that set it apart from its competitors.
Below you’ll find further information about the Fellow Ode’s main features, its pros, and cons.
I have a weak spot for minimalistic design, so I can’t be objective about the Fellow Ode aesthetics.
It’s just beautiful.
Now, in terms of space use and convenience, this grinder doesn’t fall short either. It’s compact, without compromising on capacity. It measures a bit more than 9 inches in height and depth and is almost 5 inches wide. With such dimensions, it fits perfectly in even the smallest coffee bar.
The magnetically aligned catch bin and the grinds knocker are thoughtful details. Still, they fall short on their respective goals. The catch bin doesn’t stop the Fellow from being messy, and the knocker reduces grind retention, but not as much as expected.
In terms of noise, it’s pretty decent and works smoothly. Additionally, it stops automatically after finishing, which is very advanced for a home grinder.
The purported guidelines aren’t as helpful as they should be. The grind size reference on the lid isn’t accurate. Following those guidelines, you would get coarser grounds than expected.
Fellow can’t be the most UX-focused company in California, but the Fellow Ode is very intuitive. That’s a relief because coffee brewing can get pretty snobby.
The grind size dial is large and easy to handle. Additionally, the knocking mechanism is pretty decent. On the other hand, the catch bin helps reduce the messy coffee grinding experience.
The Fellow Ode comes with an auto-stop feature. I like this feature because you don’t need to pay attention to the sound of the grinder. It simply shuts off when it’s done.
Finally, transferring the coffee grounds from the catch bin can be tricky if you don’t deal with static in advance. James Hoffmann made popular a trick to minimize static when grinding at home, and you’ll need it. For avoiding a messy experience with the Fellow or any grinder for home, for that matters.
In other words, the Fellow Ode has a common issue that most home grinders have, and although they tried to prevent it from happening, they fell short. I wouldn’t say that they miserably failed, though.
This little grinder is powerful, quiet, and precise. Sometimes, it takes longer than expected to stop after finishing. Still, for the most of it, the Fellow Ode makes it a delightful grinding experience.
The grind range for this coffee grinder is from coarse to medium-fine, which allows it to brew decent coffee with many devices, from the Aeropress to the French press.
The most remarkable aspect of the Ode’s performance is coffee grind size distribution. In this regard, the Fellow Ode Brew Coffee Grinder is superior to most competitors in this price range.
Fellow designed their Ode Grinder to be sturdy and compact. It features commercial-grade stainless steel flat burrs that endure heavy use. Additionally, it’s easy to clean and fix.
One of the biggest questions that come into mind is how durable this product will be. It has barely been in the market for a year, but it isn’t an issue so far. After a year, Brian Renshaw from Freshly Brewed shared his experience. Brian sounds like the Fellow Ode is pretty durable.
Fellow Ode Grinder is an excellent burr grinder for its price, considering all its advanced features. In terms of performance, usability, and aesthetics, it’s unbeatable for that price.
Can you get a decent grinder for half the price? Yes.
Can you get something better for the same price? I don’t think so.
What are the alternatives?
Are you still thinking about the best grinder for filter coffee that you can have? I have some alternatives here so that you can make an informed decision.
If I assume that you want to test the water before obsessing over coffee gear, the Baratza Encore is a great option. And I recommend going for it as a minimum.
It’s reliable, durable, and great for brewing coffee at home. Baratza didn’t design it for espresso grinding but drip and immersion brewing methods like the Fellow Ode.
The Baratza Encore is affordable because it doesn’t have any fancy features, and it’s a sturdy motor with solid burrs. If you’re interested in this grinder, you can check our Baratza Encore review too.
The Virtuoso+ was the best home grinder for drip coffee before the arrival of the Fellow Ode. It tends to be less expensive than the latter, and you can find refurbs from Baratza from time to time.
Although the Virtuoso+ doesn’t feature an appealing design, it’s sturdy, powerful, and reliable. This grinder has more than a decade in the market, proving itself as a top-quality product.
The major turn-off of the Virtuoso+ is its looks, but having Baratza backing up with a reliable stock of spare parts and awesome customer service is a great asset. Still, if you like this grinder, you can check our Baratza Virtuoso+ review too.
That said, it isn’t as good-looking as the Fellow Ode, but it offers solid performance for a home grinder.
If you aren’t into Baratza’s aesthetics -or lack of it- Eureka has a pretty neat appearance. The Eureka Mignon Filtro looks good, has an excellent performance, and it’s robust.
Unlike more conventional home coffee grinders, the Eureka Mignon Filtro has a professional-looking design, it’s designed, and made in Italy.
Eureka is used to design and build grinders for espresso. So, it doesn’t surprise me that the Eureka Mignon Filtro has such a solid performance. Lack of features and convenience stop it from being the best home grinder, but it’s robust, durable, and a true workhorse.
The Fellow Ode Grinder is beautiful, convenient, and has a great performance. I recommend it for home baristas focusing on drip and immersion brewing methods who want to upgrade from a simpler grinder, or that want to start strong.