When the ODE was first announced, it could not have done a better job of seemingly checking every box perspective buyers were looking for. Large 64 mm flat burrs, single dosing, quiet operation, PID controlled grinding speed, an auto-stop sensor, and most importantly, a price tag FAR below any other grinder offering anywhere near similar specs.
Appearance / Build Quality
And when you first unpack the grinder, it certainly doesn’t disappoint. The simple, modern, matte black appearance is beautiful, and of course, fits in perfectly when sat out next to Fellows range of other matte black products. If appearance is all you’re after, then you might as well stop looking now….
But of course, appearance is not the only thing you’re looking for… you came searching for build quality, workflow improvements, and PERFORMANCE!
Built quality throughout the machine is very solid, with almost every external surface being made from metal. The grinding hopper and lid are a notable exception to the stellar quality, the flimsy plastic lid never actually snaps in, but instead just sits loosely over the hopper opening. For me this really detracted from the otherwise bombproof construction.
The bean hopper on the ODE was kept consciously minimal as they intend for you to single dose, but it can hold up to 80 grams.
The lid also conveniently shows their suggested grind settings for some typical brewing methods. Notice, that this does not include espresso. The ODE is a Brew Grinder, not an espresso grinder. But within the range it does have, 31 grind steps provide plenty of adjustment resolution.
The included dosing cup centers itself under the grinder outlet with a satisfying tug thanks to a built-in magnet in the base, and I really appreciated the internal pouring fins when in use. Like most of Fellows products it also includes some subtle dosing markings if you happen to not have a scale near by.
Once your beans are loaded in, a single button starts the grind and the whole machine jolts a little as the large 64mm burrs accelerate. This grinder is FAST! It can grind 18gr in just 5 seconds, making it easily one of the fastest grinders we’ve tested in this price range.
Once all the beans are ground, the ODE intelligently senses and stops grinding. This automatic system is fairly reliable, but it did run for an extra 5 second or so on occasion. You can always shut it off manually either way.
Another thing I noticed was that this grinder can make a bit of a mess, even with RDT. The way the grinds exit and the distance between the outlet and dosing cup seems to let a fair number of grinds escape onto your countertop.
Moving on to retention, the ODE didn’t fair quite as well as I expected. Despite having a grinds knocker, it really seemed that no-matter how many times you knocked, there were always more grinds stuck somewhere up in the mechanism. For brew methods such as pour-over or drip, this isn’t the end of the world, but based on their “single dosing” advertising I was expecting a little better.
The ODE very clearly produced a superior cup of coffee over cheaper options like the Breville Smart Grinder Pro, having a noticeably more balanced flavour with less bitterness.
Comparing to the Niche Zero, I’d be lying if I said I tasted a significant difference in the cupping and pour-over tests I performed. If pressured, I might say that the ODE had a slightly more heavy flavour profile, while the Niche had a hint more clarity and lighter notes, but even that may just be my preconceptions about flat vs conical burr sets. The takeaway should be, that within the same grind range, the ODE and the Niche produce very comparable brews.
Overall the ODE is a quite compelling package at the price point it comes in at, with some small quirks that take getting used to. It has strikingly unique, and in my opinion good looks… It’s lighting fast at grinding thanks to those large 64 mm burrs, and it makes a bit of a mess. But the coffee it produces is well worth it, and for that reason alone, I’m excited to see how fellow improves in future versions of the product.
Need more? Watch the video!