Trying few grinders: Fellow Ode gen 2, Opus, Wilfa Uniform+ - Page 2

Grinders are one of the keys to exceptional espresso. Discuss them here.
Sugarbeet (original poster)
Posts: 48
Joined: 4 months ago

#11: Post by Sugarbeet (original poster) »

Thank you for the replies. Sadly the third photo looks black to me. It sure looks like this is what I would call a pretty fine grind. A lot finer than what I'm getting.

I even tried brewing filter coffee on the finest setting (after shimming the burrs) and it still tasted under extracted to me after 5 minutes.
Jonk wrote:It's confusing that you're complaining about the axle slop but praise the cheap ceramic grinder, most of which have a ton of slop.
I'm not sure I'd agree I praised the conical burrs nor I complain about ode's axle slop on its own. I just said I like the taste of aeropress ground my hand grinder and I'm looking for a similar taste in pour over. My Ode 2 seems incapable of delivering it for which I blame the axle slop(as the burrs really are nice).

Also, I never got really good filter coffee from my hand grinder on its own, but for a different reason. It was either too much fines or uneven grind. On a very fine setting (for aeropress) the ceramic burrs have been really good, I just don't have time to grind by hand (and my hand grinder is not suitable for pour over).

Based on what others said (some people needing pliers to remove the movable burr carrier) and my unit being pretty loose I think it may be natural unit to unit variation with fellow ode gen 2. Either I was unlucky with my unit or the grinder is for someone looking for a different taste. Or both. Also the below.
Jonk wrote: A lot of the first (mine included) Odes had too tight tolerances / no de-burring of the axle, which caused stuck carriers. So that was a deliberate change for gen 2 so it'd never happen again.


I'd much prefer to have the problem of too tight tolerances. Mainly because one can slightly enlarge a hole in a burr carrier with some sandpaper and a suitable peg, but shrinking that hole precisely is much harder... I also have a benefit of having access to a well equipped machine shop so lapping a hole slightly larger is not a problem. Making a new burr carrier is too much hassle.
Jonk wrote:
It's not a perfect grinder, but it's leagues ahead of cheapo ceramic conicals for how most people brew pour over.
It looks like what you've been using is pretty much an espresso grind, that is where those conicals work best. The Ode is not and never claimed to be an espresso grinder.


I never said a "cheapo ceramic conical" is better in a pour over. Also I never expected espresso from it. I'm rather disappointed with this grinder because it is advertised as being suitable for aeropress and even prismo.

Perhaps the units that were manufactured with very tight tolerance (like gen 1 grinder's with gen 2 burrs), were but this unit certainly isn't, or maybe my expectations are just far removed from how "most people" use it.
Jonk wrote:
I get it. I didn't care much for pour over at first either. It's watery compared to brews with more suspended fines. It's a lot more finicky. But when you get the brew right you'll be able to discern more (and strong) flavor notes with crisp acidity. You do have to be more careful not to overextract bitters, compared to immersion. I'd stay away from the clever if you don't like weak brews, it tends to extract on the low side.


I care about the pour overs. It let's me brew a lot more coffee without having to press it manually. It's a more "relaxed" process. It is why I chose this grinder after watching and reading so many reviews. This is also why I started this thread. I don't want others to be dissapointed like me if they like similar tastes. This is why I put up a photo of my aeropress puck. If I found this thread a month ago and I saw it I would knew this is probably not a grinder for me.

I did manage a couple of good brews from the clever before I bought the ode, but it took sifting the ceramic burr ground coffee through additional stainless screens. It was very finicky so I only tried it a couple of times. I was hoping ode 2 would give me similar results without the hassle.
Jonk wrote:
Have you tried using the Mignon (at a fine grind) for your Aeropress? Perhaps that will be more up your alley. Just wanted to chime in that your grinder is likely functioning as intended and this is about preference or habit.
I haven't, mainly because my mignon is dialled in for espresso and I don't want to touch it for the fear of never finding "the ideal" setting :lol: Speaking seriously, I haven't tried it, because I although I expect it to be pretty good, I bought the mignon mainly to keep it upstairs next to my la pavoni EP lusso purely for espresso while I always brew aeropress (and I plan to brew a lot more pour overs) downstairs. So it seemed logical to get two specialised grinder's. One for espresso and one for everything else (which in my case is aeropress and pour overs).

By now I've decided to return this ode 2 and to get the opus. If anyone has comments about alternatives etc I'd love to hear them. If more people who like really light roasts show up and tell me my unit was definitely a bad one I'm not against trying another ode gen 2 if the opus proves not good enough. I realise the opes is more plasticky, bigger and cheaper made, but hey if it makes coffee I like more it'll stay.

The opus will be used mainly for aeropress and pour overs with very light roasts. Perhaps I just don't like the taste profile of large flat burrs? I don't have enough experience to be able to tell.

Also I'm giving myself 24h before I decide as there are still flat burr grinder's like the Wilfa Uniform+ that may be suitable. Somehow the idea of using a cheap conical burr grinder for pour over seems wrong, even tough I like it very fine.

Regarding the burrs getting to their peak performance after grinding a lot more coffee I heard that, and the online shop I bought my ode 2 has 365 day long "no question asked" returns, but keeping it for a year, sending 15kg of coffee through it and then returning it because "I don't like it" seems a bit... Weird :shock:

I'm really interested in finding out from jer_am about if there is any slop/looseness in the axle/movable burr carrier too.

Jonk
Posts: 2194
Joined: 4 years ago

#12: Post by Jonk »

Sugarbeet wrote:Perhaps I just don't like the taste profile of large flat burrs? I don't have enough experience to be able to tell.
This was the point I was trying to get across. Large flat burrs usually refers to 80/98mm burrs on this site, but the gen 2 burrs were designed to produce something as near as possible in the price point.
Fellow actually claimed improved overall tolerances with gen 2. The gen 1 I have rattles and shakes, but it's possible to grind for espresso with SSP burrs in it. Been happily grinding light roasts at around 6 on the dial for 2 years.

Normally it makes sense to use a different grinder for pour over, yes. In your case though, perhaps you'll be happy with the same grind setting you use for espresso.. and if you single dose it won't be a hassle to change beans.
It's a good idea to stir the grinds so that they're saturated properly, and a prismo helps, but the aeropress is flexible that way.

I'd advise against the Wilfa Uniform. It uses espresso burrs, so in that sense you're set.. but it's got poor design, QC and user experience.

Sugarbeet (original poster)
Posts: 48
Joined: 4 months ago

#13: Post by Sugarbeet (original poster) replying to Jonk »

Thanks. I haven't found much info about the Wilfa Uniform other than few "it's broken" videos online and two videos made by James Hoffman. One, an initial review and then a year later in comparison to The Niche Zero. If I haven't seen those two videos I wouldn't even consider it. Have you had a chance to use Wilfa Uniform? Personally I became a lot less optimistic about it after seeing these "failure" videos. Also there are no full teardown videos online to judge build quality. However, when I learned it uses a belt drive I thought, perhaps these online failures were just bad belts. I guess I'll find out soon.

Hoffman didn't like the Wilfa Uniform's extra scale/lid and he found static issue with fine grinds in the catch bin, but he said he's been using it for a year for his morning filter coffee and he rated the taste of filter coffee from it pretty highly(he also likes light blends). However he wasn't very enthusiastic about the espresso. He called it "a filter coffee grinder that can also do espresso". I also saw a video by someone who had a wilfa uniform with "SSP brew" burrs. Unfortunately the author didn't compare the stock burrs to SSP.

(for people that just found this post with no context). I'll not use it for espresso, but I'm keen to try a quite fine grind that came from flat low speed burrs in aeropress (and I'm hoping to get good pour over).

I ordered both the Opus and the Wilfa Uniform to give them both a go and I just finished cleaning my ode gen 2 for it's return shipping. Probably niche zero would be a fine choice for me instead, but I didn't even consider it mainly due to the fact of extra vat on top (being imported from the UK). More difficult returns due to international shipping if I decide so. And having to buy it and wait a week for it to be made(another week of shipping). I'm hoping one of these two much cheaper choices will be good. If not I may yet end up with it.

SutterMill
Posts: 345
Joined: 2 years ago

#14: Post by SutterMill »

Sugarbeet wrote: Probably niche zero would be a fine choice for me instead, but I didn't even consider it mainly due to the fact of extra vat on top (being imported from the UK).
No FOMO needed. Your not missing anything for light roast pourovers with the Niche Zero. There are plenty of great qualities with the NZ, but pourovers and light roasts are not its strong point.

Jonk
Posts: 2194
Joined: 4 years ago

#15: Post by Jonk »

Sugarbeet wrote:Have you had a chance to use Wilfa Uniform?
Yes. Not for that long mind you, as it's also broken :lol:

I think it's poorly designed and build quality is low. Keep in mind that Hoffman and Wendelboe were kind of comparing it to the old conical Wilfa "Svart" or one of the variants. It's very slow, the auto-off didn't work as intended, a hassle to calibrate and it's difficult to find alternative burrs for it, should you want to upgrade (the SSP burrs are supposedly not without issue).

I'd much rather use a hand grinder from 1zpresso, Kingrinder or even Timemore. They'd be faster too.

Some people are happy with the Niche Zero for light roast pour over. I wasn't one of them, but it can certainly grind fine to your heart's content. My favourite use for it was grinding finer than espresso for ibrik. Niche changed their VAT policy, but in the Zero's case the price didn't change a lot.

Sugarbeet (original poster)
Posts: 48
Joined: 4 months ago

#16: Post by Sugarbeet (original poster) »

SutterMill wrote:No FOMO needed. Your not missing anything for light roast pourovers with the Niche Zero. There are plenty of great qualities with the NZ, but pourovers and light roasts are not its strong point.
Thanks, good to know :D
Jonk wrote:Yes. Not for that long mind you, as it's also broken :lol:

I think it's poorly designed and build quality is low. Keep in mind that Hoffman and Wendelboe were kind of comparing it to the old conical Wilfa "Svart" or one of the variants. It's very slow, the auto-off didn't work as intended, a hassle to calibrate and it's difficult to find alternative burrs for it, should you want to upgrade (the SSP burrs are supposedly not without issue).


Ahh, these broken Wilfas sure seem to be a pattern of sorts... Not good. Do you know what broke (was it the belt?) or did you just send it back? It's interesting to know what is it that breaks in all these wilfas. Is it always the same thing, or all sorts?

I should be getting my order today hopefully. I'm not very optimistic after all I read and heard, but I'll give it a fair try. I'm also looking forward to tasting the coffee it grinds purely on the basis of trying another set of burrs spinning at fairly low speed.

I already got the Opus and that "plasticky" feel people describe is not bothering me at all. It looks nice while new. We'll see how it'll looks with fingerprints and all. One thing I can say for sure is that I wish it came with a steel bin like the Ode, but it's going for the "budget" side of the market so it's no surprise. It feels a lot lighter than the ode, but on the first impression it seems well built too, just using different materials (and the conical burrs of course).

I'm only describing mostly superficial stuff, because I had only 2 brews from it so it's way too early to judge. The second one (aeropress ground on 3) was very tasty, but I forgot about it and it ended up brewing for 10 minutes so it's not a proper test.
Jonk wrote: I'd much rather use a hand grinder from 1zpresso, Kingrinder or even Timemore. They'd be faster too.


There seems to be pretty nice selection of hand grinders available. Perhaps I'll get one of them if I need to travel more.

My hand grinder is very much different :-). A very cheap one that looks very much like hario slim. When I bought it I wasn't sure if grinding my own coffee is for me.

When I didn't have to get up early I didn't mind having to do manual grinding, but now that I do it is like an extra chore. I even used a (slow) cordless electric drill with my hand grinder. I definitely wouldn't do it with a nice unit and keeping a power tool in the kitchen is not ideal... So this is what sparked my search for an electric grinder.

Perhaps, as Jonk suggested I should just use the Eureka Mignon that I use for espresso, but it was quite a bit more expensive so buying another one for the kitchen (I have my espresso stuff elsewhere) is not ideal.

Sugarbeet (original poster)
Posts: 48
Joined: 4 months ago

#17: Post by Sugarbeet (original poster) »

So the Wilfa Uniform+ arrived too. I should probably change the title of this thread to "one man's journey to find his favourite grinder".

Regarding the Wilfa, my first impressions are a bit mixed... First the good:
1. I actually really like the scale it comes with. They must have upgraded it, because I remember Hoffman complaining about inability to measure time without an app. This scale does measure time with no app. It is fast enough too, but 0.2g precision under 200g seems a bit low. I'd prefer 0.1g, but it's a minor thing.
2. The unit looks good and feels fairly high quality - not as much as the ode gen 2, but not that far off either.
3. It's pretty quiet when it grinds.

Now the not so good:
1. The scale requires charging via USB c and a separate cable. What an opportunity wasted to have some pogo pins and have the grinder charge the scale. Also I'd prefer a normal lid was included. I like the scale, but I also would like a lid - I'll 3d print one if I keep it
2. Jeez, this was seriously laborious burr alignment. Every single time I had to unscrew that entire top section of the grinder to see the contact pattern. It took me 2h and the results are just so-so (the bottom - rotating burr has full contact, the top one about 50%, but it's symmetric and I just couldn't get it better so I called it "good enough". . (it took 5 layers of paper and 2 layers of aluminum foil to get to this from factory settings - after this alignment procedure the setting when they start to contact moved from 4 to 1).
3. Why on earth did they pour lots of liquid oil into the threads leading to the grind chamber(photo below) ? Same question about loads of silicone grease for the device that clicks when you change the setting. All these areas are exposed to coffee. I had to disassemble and clean after the first test grind.
4. The burrs look OK (despite few chips in the teeth), but they seem to be very prone to clogging. Something like this happened only once to me before on my Eureka Mignon, when I was trying to grind half a numeral from burrs touching. Here (1 to 5 is supposed to be espresso range - with burrs starting to touch on 1). One can comfortably grind my very light dense coffee on 6. On 5, one absolutely has to start the grinder and only then pour the coffee in. Any attempt to grind more than few beans on 4 results in this:(the motor still turns, but nothing goes into the bin)..


No 5 is a very fine grind, but definitely not flour fine like Eureka Mignon is capable of grinding. On this basis I would definitely say the grinder is not espresso capable. Or maybe I'm doing something wrong? IDK. I did get a fairly good aeropress on that setting. I have to taste it side by side with one made by the Opus to decide which one is better.

I thought I'll not be happy about the weak motor, but It's not stalling, so I guess it's OK.

It's way too early to judge on a taste front but so far the Opus is leading by a lot.

EDIT: Wilfa Svart WTF, why is your app not available for android 12? We're on android 13 now and the app is too old to work on android 12 :shock: what's the point of a smart scale you can't connect to...

Edit 2: 2 days later, the pourover appears to be significantly better from Wilfa on setting 15. Aeropress seems to be a little better with the Opus. No way I'm going to keep both in my tiny kitchen...

Sugarbeet (original poster)
Posts: 48
Joined: 4 months ago

#18: Post by Sugarbeet (original poster) »

Final verdict:
- Opus stays
- Wilfa goes back

However, it definitely wasn't an easy decision. In the end I decided I prefer the grind profile produced by the Opus by taste (I might have a preference for conical burrs). Wilfa produces a cleaner cup I don't prefer.

I definitely have quite a few good things to say about Wilfa Universal . I suspect this grinder (and the scale it comes with) have changed fairly recently, because I definitely didn't think it was badly designed. I really liked many things about it. For example :
- Cleanliness - after a week of use my Opus has lots of grounds around it (I purposely didn't clean around the grinders to see which one generates more coffee dust), the Wilfa is a really clean grinder in comparison. I think this is the advantage of the metal bin that is kind of built in.
- Ease of getting to the burrs - comparable for both opus and wilfa. Much better than the Ode as there are no fasteners to undo. One tip for wilfa owners - get rid of the lubricant they put on the threads and the clicker. It is not needed and ground coffee and grease/oil mixed together are the worst thing.
- General build quality and materials choice - very good in Wilfa Ultimate. Steel sheet chassis feels good to the touch, fingerprints are not that visible on it, the hopper is built from nice strong plastic (the one in the Opus is scratched already). I just wish they supplied an extra lid - so one has both a lid and a scale, I suspect they don't because the grinder is a lot quieter with the heavy scale used as a lid.
- Grind size adjustment and setting zero - Really nice.
- Motor, Opus wins on this front for sure, but I haven't managed to stall Wilfas motor even once. It "sounds" weaker (and is weaker on paper), but it is definitely adequate for the grinder. When I clogged the grinder by adjusting it too fine the burrs were still spinning while clogged.
- retention - is OK, nothing to write home about, but not bad either. About 0.5g without having to slap the grinder etc.
- Warranty, Wilfa Ultimate comes with 5 years of warranty(at least here in Europe...) Opus comes with just the standard 2 (3 if you register). I think the manufacturer giving 5 years of warranty mean they do have quite a bit of trust in their product. We heard about these grinders breaking. I'd be very interested in learning if the manufacturer changed the internals recently, because for me it seemed robust enough.

Then the scale. It has both weight and time. It's an ok scale with a rechargeable battery that lasts a long time, but it's not precise enough for single cups.

Areas for improvement :
- lubrication - if anyone from Wilfa reads this - just stop with the oil and grease where coffee goes. If you must lubricate put some dry graphite on the threads and blow off the excess.
- update the app to work with latest version of Android - I couldn't try the app because of it.
- the scale accuracy of 0.5g is not good enough, it has to be 0.1g for single cup brewing.

So is there anyone I'd recommend this grinder for to try? (in a market where Ode gen 2 is available for the same price) Yes, I'd say for someone who likes cleaner brews, but ode gen 2 doesn't go quite fine enough, and that person also wants a scale, this may be a nice grinder.

There are also two types of a coffee drinker I'd definitely discourage from buying it. If you like "conical burr taste" and If you plan on making espresso with it. I don't think the grind size adjustment is granular enough for espresso.

Jonk
Posts: 2194
Joined: 4 years ago

#19: Post by Jonk »

Sugarbeet wrote:Wilfa produces a cleaner cup
This is surprising. I don't think Uniform is very clean at all, would've hoped for Opus to be better in that regard because Fellow actually have custom burrs for it.
Sugarbeet wrote:- Grind size adjustment and setting zero - Really nice.
The stupid trial and error zero adjustment for the Uniform is how mine broke. The fine, fragile threads were poorly finished and jagged to begin with. Finding the zero point required repeated disassembly (changing the position of screws that screw directly into the plastic hopper, not pretty).

After a few tries, it cross-threaded. Could I have been partly at fault? Perhaps. If I had the know-how, I might've been able to correct the threads to begin with. On the other hand, I have owned 40 grinders by now and I'm pretty careful. This is the only one I have cross-threaded.
Sugarbeet wrote:I don't think the grind size adjustment is granular enough for espresso.
Agreed.

Sugarbeet (original poster)
Posts: 48
Joined: 4 months ago

#20: Post by Sugarbeet (original poster) »

Jonk wrote:This is surprising. I don't think Uniform is very clean at all, would've hoped for Opus to be better in that regard because Fellow actually have custom burrs for it.


It's a matter of taste, so no surprise our conclusions differ. I tasted coffee from a total of 5 grinders only so I'm not an expert by any means.

IMO Opus makes the light, washed coffees I drink now taste sweeter and more balanced - same as my hand grinder(on very fine setting).

The difference I speak of with Wilfa Uniform is also on the fine end. It made each taste component a lot more pronounced to me which made my coffees taste too acidic, bitter (and quite hollow) all at the same time. Not as much as the Ode gen 2, but in the same direction. I'm guessing that's what people mean when they talk about it being "cleaner" as tastes are a lot easier to discern.
Jonk wrote: The stupid trial and error zero adjustment for the Uniform is how mine broke. The fine, fragile threads were poorly finished and jagged to begin with. Finding the zero point required repeated disassembly (changing the position of screws that screw directly into the plastic hopper, not pretty).

After a few tries, it cross-threaded.
For me finding zero point was very easy, but my grinder came very close from the factory. The 3 screws one removes to change it are self tapping in plastic. But then, I only changed zero point 3 times and I'm quite used to being very gentle with such things. Metal inserts would be much better. I'd advise anyone changing zero point on this grinder to start screws by hand when threading in previously used spot. Then it is easy to feel if it's going in right.

I might take some pictures inside when I'm cleaning the grinder for it's trip back tomorrow if anyones interested.