Fellow Ode brew grinder review - Page 42

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

#411: Post by Stavey »

The Ode is quiet and fast . As far as size it's short but that is irrelevant as most grinders fit under the cabinets. However it sticks out further on the counter than my encore did. So to me that's not a win for the Ode. The ode forced me to use wdt something I never had to do with the encore . I'm not a grinds guru but from what is available on the internet the Ode has documented issues of large particles causing fast drawdowns. If you own any other quality grinder than you already know that the Ode feels like a pop can. Not the quality of machine I would want to dump another $200 into Now you have over $500 in a chintzy fellow grinder with ssp burrs ? That has already shown issues and they've barely hit the market . In my opinion an Ode with ssp burrs . Is like a Pinto with a blower. Not worth the effort. Either way it's fun to compare opinions .


#412: Post by roxtc »

The Ode does stick out further but its so short and easy to feed beans in that I can tuck it right into the very corner without any issue, for an Encore, it's a little tougher to use when it's under a cabinet. I do accept that's not better/best for everyone but for me it is, I'm fine with you saying it's a tie.

The Ode does force you to use RDT but the Encore also works much better with RDT. The Ode does not grind super fine, but most people I know don't say that it doesn't grind fine enough, they just say they wish it did grind finer. Those are two different things. Yes draw times are faster which is making my point, that the grinds are consistent with little fine particles unlike the Encore which always comes out muddy.

I think you're too hard on the Ode or just unrealistic with what the prosumer grinder market should deliver on. I guess it sounds like you might get along with a Niche Zero. No RDT, conical burrs that lets you go from espresso to press. Other high end grinders have issues too, just do a search, I can talk about the Vario, which has grind adjustment levers that change from the vibration as you grind. Baratza had to give out shims but even then you need to change the shims every year or so. The calibration would also change after using for less than a week. I was told to put some Loctite by Baratza to combat this but it's still an issue and I've sent it in to get it completely rebuilt with Forte parts. The Forte hopper, initially had a design problem where beans would get stuck, they improved it and were gracious enough to send me a new one but it's not great for single dosing.

What I'm most surprised is that you think the Ode build quality is a "chintzy" "pop can" but you think an Encore which is primarily plastic is good. The Ode, while not perfect, and I'll be the first to admit it has a few things to improve on (ill fitting lids, badly designed catch cup lid, hopper with too shallow an angle letting beans get stuck). It's not commercial grade, but it does prosumer grade as well as any grinder I can think of really even within twice the price point, it's mostly metal and feels twice as heavy as an Encore.

Bottom line, the Ode is not perfect, I don' think anyone would say that but I'm still waiting for you to give me some proper alternatives at the price point, most would agree the Baratza's offerings below the Vario don't compare well, but if you like yours then great for your wallet.


#413: Post by jng0714 »

Another report from a satisfied customer: I received my Ode a few days ago, and overall, I have been really enjoying the results. To add to what everyone has been saying, yes, the Ode suffers from some quality-of-life issues -- unnecessary static, hopper design oversight, catch up flaws, etc. I consider myself fortunate because I haven't experienced any of the issues some of the other posters here have been. My unit has no idle electrical noise, the motor auto shuts off within 3-4 seconds of last grind, lid fits fine -- overall, no complaints. And even after taking all of that into consideration, I would consider the Ode a winner, and recommend it to anyone looking for an upgrade < $500.

Let's talk competing products, alternatives, and value-for-money.
  • 1. Encore ($140) - The Entry Level grinder. I used this for about a year when I first got started. Grind consistency is all over the place. The Ode blows this out of the water. No surprises as it has 64mm flat burrs, and costs twice as much.
  • 2. Encore + M2 ($180) / Virtuoso ($250) - I did the M2 burr upgrade to my Encore, which is the same burr in the Virtuoso. I could get a pretty good cup, but never an amazing cup. Switching to the Ode was a large improvement in clarity and sweetness. I could grinder finer without it clogging and really push the extraction of each coffee much further. I prefer the Ode without a doubt.
  • 3. Comandante ($250) - Proven track record, amazingly consistent, great cup quality. Competition grade. However, it's a hand grinder, so that has be accounted for.
  • 4. Vario (~$500) - possible upgrades to Steel Burrs and Forte-body bumps it up to $600. AFAIK This is the next jump up. Nothing really exists in between the previous grinders and this one. I personally haven't used it, but from what I gather, Vario + Steel Burrs + hyper alignment is excellent excellent
So then: Is the stock Ode $160 better than the Encore? Without a doubt. Is it $50 better than the Virtuoso ($100+ better than Encore+M2)? Yes, I would say so.
The more interesting question, then, is if the Vario is $200 better than the Ode? That's a big number, and diminishing returns start kicking in. There are reports that cup quality is on par, or just slightly worse -- as expected, just on price point alone.
Let's put it another way: Is the Ode $200 worse than the Vario? A much harder question to answer 'yes' to. But yet people seem to be measuring the Ode with the same stick as they are with the Vario.

The Ode fills that gap as the mid-budget prosumer grinder. For me personally, the hype around the Ode was the fact that it was a 64mm flat burr grinder, at $300. Period. I didn't care so much about usability and workflow as I did about absolute performance and cup quality (filter coffee only, no interest in espresso). And to my knowledge, nothing had existed in the ~$300 range. Certainly not electric anyways. The fact that Fellow was designing this, with clear workflow benefits in mind, was a nice big fat cherry on top. Again, these are my personal priorities, and I know very well that the majority consumer market won't evaluate it the same way as me.

Best feature of all, is the option of a $200 upgrade path to add in SSP burrs (fingers crossed still...), for those looking to find an absolute bang-for-buck performance machine. At $500, I would venture a guess that the cup quality and grind performance would at least be on par as the Vario, with half the effort of the Vario's burr swap / hyper-alignment.


#414: Post by jdrobison »

So it seems that there are some Ode users who might not be seeing as many large particles and, therefore, very happy with their grinder (Along with the full immersion or slow drip brewers). It most definitely has a nice quality of grind.

However, for many people (myself included) the quantity of large particles makes the Ode virtually useless for pour over methods. It doesn't really matter that I'm getting a quality grind when the flow rate consistently results in 2:30 drawdown times for a 22/375 brew and a weak, under extracted cup. Unless you know you're going to get an Ode that doesn't seem to do this, I would advise anyone to spend less money on a cheaper grinder.

Note: I continue to mention large particles rather than fine because, as I said earlier and as you can see from the data I posted earlier, the Ode produces about the same number of smaller particles (<600-800 um) as my Vario but considerably more large (>1000 um) particles. And with the same results, the drawdown time from the Vario is a full minute or more longer.
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#415: Post by Steveberco »

I see a lot of posts comparing the Ode grind quality to grinders with similar price points, such as the Vario. I'm just curious - which components OTHER than the burrs play a key role in ultimate cup quality? Based on grind quality and taste alone, wouldn't the Ode with 64mm burrs outperform grinders such as a Forte with 54mm burrs, especially if the Ode is outfitted with the SSP burrs? Why would the Ode+SSP combo produce inferior grind quality than the substantially more expensive brew grinders that these burrs are typically outfitted in?


#416: Post by Stavey »

Because it is a cheaply made underpowered fellows grinder. Burr size isn't everything far from it . The Ode isnt in the same league as the encore let alone the vario. The stock ode even with larger poorly designed burrs . Doesn't compare to a aligned Vario let alone Forte. If cup quality and build quality are not important to you but a large set of poorly designed burrs is important to you. Then the Ode is your grinder for sure. Basically the Ode does poorly at everything it's designed to do . Seems like a lot of people on here are trying to justify buying the Ode . My advice . Don't put lipstick on a pig. Send it back .

Quality of build or lack there of effects grind consistency.


#417: Post by Steveberco »

Interesting - makes sense now. Thanks!


#418: Post by roxtc »

Steve, there's other factors, for example, what makes the Vario so good even though it only has 54mm burrs is the fact that the burr carrier has world class runout. You can get as consistent a grind with the Vario as almost anything you can buy.

Stavey you haven't brought up any comparable grinders so I think I'll take the win here, clearly there is none. You may not like the Ode and that's fine, like I suggested, save up for a Niche or a Vario. Or lie to yourself about the Encore, that's cool too but nobody would objectively say the Encore is better. If you put your Encore up on the market for a 1 to 1 swap for an Ode you're going to get crickets.

All your claims are baseless, how are you measuring power? Too much power isn't even a good thing, in the Vario thread, people are actually taking a controller to lower the power of the Vario/Forte for more consistency. The Ode is PID controlled so it's always delivering a consistent grind speed and it's also how it knows that it's done grinding.

You're right about one thing, the Ode is not in the same class as the Baratza Encore, it's a couple classes better at the least.

Edit: missed the "right" in the last sentence. Thank-you HB!


#419: Post by jdrobison »

roxtc wrote:nobody would objectively say the Encore is better. If you put your Encore up on the market for a 1 to 1 swap for an Ode you're going to get crickets.
There are potentially some objective metrics to say that an Encore is better but it will also depend on your brew method and how good your Ode is (it's becoming clear that they're not all the same). If you're brewing V60 pour overs and aren't able to produce a grind size that allows a long enough contact time to extract well, the Encore might be objectively better. The first Ode I received resulted in a grind particle distribution where 60% of it was >1000 um at the finest grind setting. The cup was weak and under extracted with a drawdown time near 2:00 for a 22/375 brew. I can make a subjectively better (tasting) cup of coffee with a $100 grinder.
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#420: Post by yakster »

I'm reading the tale of two grinders here, both of them being the Ode. It's still early days, time will tell but I wonder about the consistency of the grinder, some people seem to be receiving a grinder that performs well for pour-over at its price range and some are receiving a grinder with boulder issues that doesn't perform well for pour-over.

I'm enjoying reading the fact based objective posts that are comparing grinder experiences, less so the fanboy and basher posts that don't use objective measures, these posts do little for this thread.

I don't really understand the expectation to buy a grinder in this class to add SSP burrs and come up with Titan quality pour-over grinds. SSP burrs may fit and may improve the performance of this grinder, time will tell if this upgrade is worth it. I think some people who already have much better grinders are trying this out of curiosity, but others may be buying this as an upgrade path which hasn't really proven itself yet.

LMWDP # 272
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