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Hands-on Gear Review

Bodum Bistro Review

Bodum Bistro
Price:   $100 List | $69.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Makes a mean French press, affordable
Cons:  Noisy, chintzy controls
Bottom line:  An affordable grinder that definitely gets the job done. Comparable to the Capresso Infinity—makes a better french press, but the controls are less smooth and it's a little louder
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   Bodum

Our Verdict

The Bodum Bistro is a compact, affordable, quality burr grinder. It makes a good drip coffee, but it makes an even better French press. If you're looking to save a few bucks and you've got a thing for Frenching your coffee, this grinder could be a sweet deal. It doesn't have the smoothest controls and it may be a little noisy. It's decent when compared to shinier, quieter, more intuitive grinders, but it comes at a lower price so it's a good deal for what it offers. It gets the job done for half the cost of some machines and is likely to find a special place in the hearts of French press drinkers.


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Score Product Price Our Take
90
$200
Editors' Choice Award
The OXO made the best coffee we tasted, literally with the push of a button. We recommend this item hands down, unless your situation calls for a quieter machine
86
$149
Top Pick Award
Oh so quiet and super easy to use. A close second to the Editor's Choice Award winer, the OXO On Barista Brain
76
$249
A simple and attractive design. Provides great taste but lacks ease of use features and creates consistent small messes
76
$100
Best Buy Award
An all around satisfactory grinder with a great price
75
$230
Fancy! And has a price tag to match. Super quiet and produces a great cup with hefty taste. However, the precision control features are overkill and make simple operation elusive
68
$145
A simple and attractive design. Provides good taste but lacks ease of use features and creates consistent small messes
68
$100
An affordable grinder that definitely gets the job done. Comparable to the Capresso Infinity—makes a better french press, but the controls are less smooth and it's a little louder
56
$50
Best Buy Award
Affordable, compact, really easy to use and keep clean. A great blade style option. However, the resulting cup is... meh
46
$20
Most affordable grinder that we tested. Compact but produces a low quality cup. We recommend the Epica instead because this grinder is quite difficult to use efficiently or keep clean
34
$50
Creates deal-breaking static mess. A bargain price for a burr grinder, but delivers a quality of grind inferior to a blade grinder that's much cheaper and easier to use
29
$300
A beautiful machine that is engineered poorly for grinding coffee in every regard

Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Jared Marquez

Last Updated:
Tuesday
October 25, 2016

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The Bodum Bistro made an awesome French press that outshined similar scoring competitors.
The Bodum Bistro made an awesome French press that outshined similar scoring competitors.

The Bodum Bistro has a unique look. With a shorter profile than its more expensive competitors, the Bodum has a countertop companion vibe to it. It offers just about everything you would want from a coffee grinder. It's not the quietest grinder, and the dosing controls feel a little clunky, but what stood out about this product was the kind of coffee it brews. As we taste tested cup after cup, sample after sample, we noticed a trend of grinders whose French press brew scored one point lower than their drip style coffee. The Bodum, on the other hand, brewed a delicious French press that ranked a full point better than its drip cup—full, thick, deep, and nuanced—pretty much what French press people would define as the "best part of waking up." We recognized the Bodum brand name from their best selling French press designs, like the legendary Chambord. It seems that Bodum is pretty serious about Frenching their coffee. If you're serious about Frenching your coffee as well, this could be a great product for you. Check our Buying Advice article to see the differences between French press vs. drip coffee.

You can see that the Bodum &#40;5th from left&#41; and the Capresso &#40;7th from left&#41; have a smaller profile than most of the competition. The only grinders that are more compact are blade style models.
You can see that the Bodum (5th from left) and the Capresso (7th from left) have a smaller profile than most of the competition. The only grinders that are more compact are blade style models.

Performance Comparison



Quality of Taste


The Bodum's French press is what got our attention with this grinder. The overall score for the Bodum's quality of taste is a 7, which lands this product in the "good cup" but not "great cup" category. However, while most grinders we tested produced a French press brew that was one point poorer than their drip coffee, and only three produced equal results for both brew methods, the Bodum Bistro was the only grinder that demonstrated better brew game in the French press category. The Bodum's French press brew stands out as a great cup, giving you all the flavor you could hope for from your coffee with some extra body as well. It's similar in both quality and flavor profile to the hefty, deep, sweet cup that the Breville Smart Grinder Pro produced, an 8.

Bodum is not only the manufacturer of the Bistro Burr grinder but is also the name behind the classic Chambord French press &#40;pictured&#41;. The quality of the Bodum's French press brew is comparable to that of the Breville  a much more expensive unit.
Bodum is not only the manufacturer of the Bistro Burr grinder but is also the name behind the classic Chambord French press (pictured). The quality of the Bodum's French press brew is comparable to that of the Breville, a much more expensive unit.

The overall flavor score for the Bodum comes in at 7 because of its score for drip coffee, which is weighted as 60 percent of quality of taste. The drip brew came out a bit muddled. It's still good though. Although some of the coffee's flavor was hazy, the flavor that came through was well pronounced—sharper or more distinct than the results of the Capresso Infinity, yet not overly intense.

Ease of Use



The Bodum Bistro's controls. The timer dial must be turned to a minimum of 5 seconds before it can be turned on. Lacking a pulse feature  the user must press the on/off button in succession to start and stop grinding.
The Bodum Bistro's controls. The timer dial must be turned to a minimum of 5 seconds before it can be turned on. Lacking a pulse feature, the user must press the on/off button in succession to start and stop grinding.

The controls on the Bodum Bistro are helpful but they're not perfect, producing a 7 for ease of use. It covers all bases for sufficient controls, allowing you to select how much coffee to grind with a timer dial, but it scores the same as the Baratza Encore, which only has a pulse button and an on/off switch. That's because the dosing feature on the Bodum is a little clunky. To choose how much coffee to grind, you turn a plastic dial to select how many seconds you would like to grind, then press a start/stop button. However, the start/stop button doesn't work unless the timer dial is turned to a minimum of about 5 seconds and a main power switch is also turned on. Without a pulse button, this makes it awkward to work around the dosing feature.

The main power button &#40;which seems superfluous&#41; is located on the side of the unit and must be turned on to use the start/stop button.
The main power button (which seems superfluous) is located on the side of the unit and must be turned on to use the start/stop button.
Another helpful feature of the Bodum is its cord storage underneath the unit.
Another helpful feature of the Bodum is its cord storage underneath the unit.

Quietness


If you care a lot about grinder noise then the Bodum might slip out of your favor. It scores a 5 here, edging into the "noticeably noisy" category. That's still much better than the low scorers in this category, the KitchenAid and the Cuisinart Supreme, which both scored 2s, and a tad better than the blade grinders we tested, the Krups Fast Touch and Epica Electric, which were 4 for quietness. The Bodum ties with the Editors' Choice award winner, the OXO On Barista Brain, which crushed the competition in other categories yet might present an inconvenience in noise-sensitive living situations.

Mess-Free Operation


When you run the Bodum Bistro, coffee goes exactly where it's supposed to go—into the grind chamber. The chamber is glass, easy to wash, and has an easy slip-off lid. And while the glass chamber doesn't catalyze much static activity, the lid does get some chaff stuck on it and can drop a little mess onto your countertops when it's removed. The Bodum may give you a little something to clean up, but it's not a great annoyance and the mess can be avoided with a little effort, so it yields a decent score of 7 for mess-free operation.

Some chaff and coffee powder collects on the Bodum's lid of the grinding bin but does not create a significant inconvenience.
Some chaff and coffee powder collects on the Bodum's lid of the grinding bin but does not create a significant inconvenience.

Best Applications


The Bodum is a good grinder for the most part. It's not perfect but it's a compact and affordable machine that can get the job done and it makes a mean French press. It most likely finds a happy home with someone who wants to save a few bucks, is willing to adapt to the imperfect controls, and loves their French press coffee.

Value


With the same list price as the Best Buy Award winner, the Capresso Infinity, the Bodum Bistro gives you a good price for a quality burr grinder. It makes a good cup of coffee, but in comparison to the Capresso it doesn't have the smooth intuitive controls and doesn't get close to the Capresso's wonderful sound quality. The Capresso is a steal while the Bodum is a nice deal. Listing at $100, you totally get what you pay for. You get the quality brew that a burr grinder should offer but you get it a little cheaper by sacrificing the perks that other products boast. The Bodum is a good deal—every grinder we tested with a lower list price showed a significant decline in all criteria.

The Bodum is comparable to the Capresso in both price and quality of taste. It differs in that its controls are not as smooth  but the French press brew it makes is fantastic.
The Bodum is comparable to the Capresso in both price and quality of taste. It differs in that its controls are not as smooth, but the French press brew it makes is fantastic.

Conclusion


The Bodum is a little noisy and the controls aren't quite as intuitive as those on other grinders, but it gets the job done and shows quality in the cup–a more affordable option for a burr. Its list price and score for quality of taste ties with the Capresso Infinity, yet the Capresso shows more quality in other criteria and could be a better deal overall. Keep in mind that the Bodum's French press brew is 2 points better than the Capresso's, giving it serious bragging rights for those French press people out there.
Jared Marquez

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