Fellow Ode brew grinder review - Page 24

Grinders are one of the keys to exceptional espresso. Discuss them here.

#231: Post by precip »

Well I finally received my replacement Ode from Crate & Barrel today. The upshot is that the SSP burrs fit in the replacement and the humming/buzzing, while still present, isn't nearly as annoying as the first Ode.

The auger in the new Ode came out quite easily with a quick push (like in Fellow's video) whereas the old one did not. Maybe this suggests the old Ode was a tiny bit smaller than the new Ode?

The metal looked pitted, not machined. Surprisingly the stationary burr was a tighter fit than the older Ode. It took a bit of effort and wiggling to get out.

The top burr is in the stationary mount. It was a very tight fit but no excess force required to get the burr into place.

The bottom burr is mounted to the auger. This one was a tighter fit. I had to put a decent (but not excessive) amount of force on the bottom burr to "snap" it into place. It scratched the side of the SSP burr, so you might want to sand some key parts before installing if you care about that kind of thing.

Once properly in their mounts, there was very little play in either burr before they were screwed in.

I calibrated the Ode at 1 click coarser than burr chirp and ground a quick test batch at 6.0. I'll play more with this tomorrow morning when I'll actually drink the coffee.

Regarding the humming/buzzing noise: in the first grinder, there's much more of a high pitched whiny element and in the second grinder, it's a lower pitched buzzing sound. In a quiet kitchen, you can hear both ~3 feet away, but 6 feet away it's much harder to hear the lower pitched sound. In my opinion the high pitched humming is unpleasantly annoying while the lower pitched hum is tolerable. It would be nice if the Ode didn't make any noise while not in operation but for me the replacement is good enough to keep.


#232: Post by violin_geek123 »

I'm not as frustrated with the Ode grinding coarse as I am for its apparent low EY% before slipping into astringency. At the finest setting they recommend for pourover (4), the drawdown is very fast, the cup is wildly underextracted, with no depth of flavor, tea-like body, and acidity that isn't balanced with sweetness.

At setting 3, which still visibly looks coarse (far coarser than I would grind for pourover usually), the V60 clogs. I have no idea why, but it's probably a large amount of fines clogging the filter. The cup is more extracted, but is quite bitter, and highlights chocolate notes which are not characteristic of the coffee I'm brewing (a light roast Panama Gesha). For reference, I've been grinding between #40-#45 on my Niche for pourovers and getting 4:30-5:00 brew times that are rich and sweet with lovely sweetness and acidity.

This coupled with the fact that my Ode has arrived with a broken motor that won't turn off when plugged in - I need to operate it on a power switch - indicates a pretty failed attempt at a brew grinder with enormous QC issues. I'm not even attempting to put my SSP burrs in until they can get me a new unit with a working motor and verify that it will fit SSP burrs.

I love Fellow, and I wanted to love this grinder. But it's a hassle. Too much retention, beans don't load into the grind chamber, too many parts, a grinds knocker that 1) doesn't work and 2) is ergonomically a mess, and stock grind consistency that is no better than an Encore to my palate.
Brian Hong

User avatar

#233: Post by Balthazar_B »

zero610 wrote:Is that a Bunnzilla with 3rd party burrs (SSP, etc) or stock Bunn burrs on something like a G1? If it's any of the Bunn commercial grinders, I'm quite surprised you think Ode produces more fines.
By lower fines than the Bunn, I think Shife meant fewer. I.e., the Ode is more uniform, and better at preventing fines.
- John

LMWDP # 577


#234: Post by Shife »

zero610 wrote:Is that a Bunnzilla with 3rd party burrs (SSP, etc) or stock Bunn burrs on something like a G1? If it's any of the Bunn commercial grinders, I'm quite surprised you think Ode produces more fines.

I'm most frustrated with the Ode being too course.
I wrote that the Ode produces fewer fines. Current burr set is replacement OEM with approx 200 lbs through it. I did have a Mill City set in it for a while. The Bunn FPG is the same as the G series with just a different body and a less convenient adjustment method. Functionally the same as the G1/G2/G3

The adjustment range on my Ode seems to match the ranges listed in the owners manual. I'll have a better feel after I have some time with it, but a pourover at "4" was acceptable. It did need to go finer, but I'm starting at the mid points of listed range and will adjust my workflow as I become accustomed to the grinder.


#235: Post by Madman13 »

ira wrote:I would suggest adding a tiny spray of water to the coffee in a separate container and shake it to spread the water evenly. I got no retention at the moment. 28.6 in and 28.6 out.

Same here, with RDT I get close to zero retention and no mess. With no RDT there is a bit of static retention and a small amount of ground in the counter; not unlike my experience with every other grinder I have ever used, perhaps with the exception of hand grinders for obvious reasons.


#236: Post by precip »

@Shenrei - how are your SSP burrs doing so far? I'm noticing a ton of fines and very muddy beds brewing a couple test cups with the Origami+Kalita filter at grind sizes 4-5. I'll probably play around with marker and foil this weekend and try to get a better alignment.

However, I'm not having the same retention problems others are. Grinding ~50g beans with RDT, giving the Ode a few taps, then spinning the burrs briefly for ~1 sec to get the last grinds out.




#237: Post by Pinem »

I am still getting fully familiar with my production unit from C&B (shipped about a week after the kickstarter orders shipped). Going to wait to fully review it until I do get it figured out.

That said, I can vouch for the RDT method sufficiently solving the static and retention issues. Without RDT, I might get say 0.2 grams of retention in the chute on the wires that run across, that will come out with a knocker strike a few minutes after grinder is used and the static dissipates. With RDT, no significant static and less than 0.1g retention. It probably helps to use the knocker after the beans have been ground, but before the grinder stops running. With as fast as it grinds, no reason not to stand there and watch it while it grinds to make sure all the beans make it out of the hopper also.

If you think you are getting a Niche/Vario for half the price, or a Forte BG for a third, you will likely be dissapointed. I see this as being a direct competitor to Virtuoso+, or higher grade ghost burr model, which I think offers enough perks to make it good buy in that regard.

It does have some production bugs to work out, but such is the modern state of new product offerings. Early adopters have to be ok with being guinea pigs. None of the common bugs (humming, coarse grid, etc) are a deal breakers in my opinion. The biggest issue I see is the very low fines production combined with a coarser minimum grind setting leading to overly fast brew times for some pourover techniques. The seasoning/dulling of the burrs might solve that issue on its own though. If not, it sounds like Fellow will make finer burrs available.


#238: Post by nicholasnumbers »

1) I'm getting up to a gram and a half worth of retention without RDT. The knocker doesn't do much at all right after grinding.

2) Some beans get stuck in the hopper, on top of the center post with the Fellow logo in the logo mold indentation.

3) I've gotten some decent brews with it but nothing mind blowing.

I know that I got a bit of flack for expecting a bit more for $300; but the honest truth is that I enjoyed my old Breville Smartgrinder over this any day. My grinder came missing a part. Others are humming. Motors are spinning backward. One user has their grinder on as soon as it's plugged in. There is no end of line QC going on at all here, and that's just not acceptable.

I plan on letting go of the Ode. It's more of a hassle than it's worth for me.



#239: Post by violin_geek123 »

Just a quick update. Someone from Fellow got in touch via email - I will bite my own previous words, because this was very fast response time, really only a day and a half. After verifying by sending them pictures of the QR code and my serial number (along with a video of the Ode grinding away as soon as it is plugged in), they immediately replied a few minutes later by saying they are shipping me a new one next week, along with a return label for the current one.

I asked them to verify that the new one they are sending will accommodate SSP burrs, and am waiting to hear back. But really fast and good customer service. So far not a huge fan of the product, but still left with a good feeling that Fellow is trying to do right.

EDIT - They replied about SSP burrs just as I was writing this. Quote: "I will bring this up to our Product Team when they are back online tomorrow. I believe SOME SSP burrs will fit, but I will verify this with the team."
Brian Hong


#240: Post by coffeeOnTheBrain »

I believe it was John from Decent who said lately that chinese factories struggle to fullfill all their orders due to halted production caused by corona and that QC is the first thing that was stopped to save time. So maybe Fellow is not really to blame for this.