DF64 Grinder Review

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The DF64 popped up at the beginning of 2021 and has become one of the most popular grinders on the market at present. The DF64 has filled a niche that is in trend at the moment: single-dosing, multi-purpose grinders. Before its release, the Niche Zero was one of the few grinders in this category available (or should we say unavailable). The DF64 has been nicknamed the Niche Killer due to its affordable price, availability, and quality grind delivered. This review will take a deeper look at the DF64 to see how it performs and if it is a better alternative to the Niche Zero.

DF64 burr grinder

DF64 Grinder

The DF64 is an excellent grinder that is a bit rough around the edges. The design is not as refined as the Niche Zero and does require a bit of modding to get it performing at its best. However, it offers superb grind quality at an affordable price. With 64mm flat burrs, stepless grind adjustment, and low retention, the DF64 is an excellent grinder.

DF64 Review


DF64

Specs

  • 64mm flat burrs from Italmill
  • 1400 RPM
  • Weight 15 lbs (6.8kg)
  • Dimensions (L x W x H): 10” x 5.2” x 12”
  • Single-dose
  • Stepless grind settings

About The Manufacturer

The DF64 is produced by an unknown Chinese company. To make things even more confusing, the grinder goes by different names depending on where you are in the world. The DF64 coffee grinder is also known as the Solo, G-IOTA, or the Turin 64S4. These grinders are one and the same, just sold by different distributors in different countries. While the brand is unknown, this grinder has been used by many coffee connoisseurs and is becoming a name to watch in the coffee industry. 

Design

The DF64 has a simple design that is functional but a bit rough around the edges. When comparing it to the Niche Zero, it lacks finesse. Like the Niche and the Eureka Oro, the DF64 has a sloping shape to reduce retention. It has plastic portafilter forks to hold a portafilter or the dosing cup. Unfortunately, the on/off switch is situated directly beneath this, making it a bit awkward to use. The grind dial is located at the top and is easy to turn. Given that this is a single-dose grinder, there is no hopper but a rubber bellow on the top to help push through any residual grinds. 

The grinder is wrapped in an adhesive foil which is available in a large array of colors; black, white, yellow, green, or silver to add a pop of color to the kitchen.

DF64 grinder colors

Build Quality

The DF64 is well built, with most parts being made from metal. It weighs a hefty 15 lbs and measures 10” by 5.2” by 12”. The compact footprint means it can easily slip into a spare space on the kitchen bench. 

There have been recurring complaints regarding the quality of the plastic dosing cup and portafilter forks. The portafilter forks aren’t the strongest, and we wouldn’t recommend leaving your portafilter on them unsupervised. Likewise, the dosing cup looks and feels a bit cheap, but this can easily be remedied by investing in a stainless steel one. 

While the durability of the DF64 is largely untested, so far, it seems to have been well received with few reports of issues. We would recommend buying one from a well-reputed distributor, like Amazon or Bella-Barista, which can offer you support if you strike any issues.

Burr and Motor Quality

The DF64 is packed with 64mm flat burrs (hence the name) made by Italmill. These commercial-level burrs are the reason behind all the hype. Grinders with burrs this size are not typically found at this price point. The burr size means that enthusiasts can switch the burrs out for better quality ones, which is the route most users choose. The most common upgrade is to SSP burrs, which costs an extra couple of hundred dollars. Alternatively, if you are going to stick with the stock burrs, you can choose between standard or titanium burrs, which are 4x harder. 

The burrs are powered by a 250-watt motor that rotates at a high speed of 1400 rpm. This high speed is common among flat burr grinders. The powerful motor seems capable of dealing with different burr sets; however, given its recent release, it is hard to ascertain the durability of the motor and burrs.  

DF64 burrs

Grind Quality

The grind quality of the DF64 is impressive- you will be hard put to find a grinder with burrs the same size and quality at this price point. Flat burrs are in vogue at the moment, with many enthusiasts preferring the clean and consistent flavor profiles they deliver. Flat burr grinders also have better grind consistency than their conical burr counterparts.

Most users have found that the stock burrs are excellent for espresso but not as reliable at the coarser grind settings. The grinder has an issue with regrinding, which means that there are a lot of fines produced at the coarser settings. This is one of the reasons many users are upgrading to SSP burrs. Despite this, the DF64 still outperforms other popular filter coffee grinders like the Fellow Ode or Wilfa uniform when it comes to grind quality.

The grind adjustment ring on the top of the grinder is easy to navigate. There are 90 marked grind settings, but it is a stepless adjustment system so you can precisely dial in your grind size. 

DF64 grind adjustment ring

Regrinding Issue

The DF64, like most espresso grinders, has a declumping screen installed in the chute to break up clumps and reduce static. However, this screen also hinders the flow of coffee down the chute, resulting in some of the coffee being reground and producing fines. The fines are more noticeable at coarser settings resulting in muddiness and lack of clarity. Some users have modded the screen by cutting off part of the flap to reduce retention. Others have installed declumping units from grinders like the Mythos to mitigate this issue.

Popcorning Issue

The other issue the DF64 struggles with is popcorning. This is when the last few beans in the bellow bounce around and struggle to go down, leading to a reduction in grind consistency. This issue is common with single-dose grinders as they don’t have the weight of beans in the hopper to facilitate the movement of beans through the burrs. There have been mods developed to combat this issue. 

Upgrading to SSP Burrs

As we mentioned above, many users are choosing to upgrade to SSP burrs which drastically enhances the grind quality. While this does require an additional few hundred dollars, it still comes in cheaper than the Niche Zero. SSP offers two different burr models:

  • Multipurpose: as the name would suggest, these are suitable for all brewing methods; filter or espresso. 
  • High Uniformity: these burrs are optimized for espresso, producing shots with high clarity

If you choose to go down this route, you will have to ensure the burrs are aligned correctly, which can be a frustrating and time-consuming process… but worth it! It also pays to note that the noise level increases substantially if you change out the burrs. 

Retention

Grind retention is a crucial consideration for a single dosing grinder. Leftover grinds quickly go stale and sully your brew; additionally, grind retention can prevent you from getting an accurate dose for your brew. The DF64 has low retention, especially if you use the bellows to blow out any residual grinds. 

Ease of Use

The DF64 is straightforward to use; you simply weigh your dose and grind. While you can grind directly into a portafilter, most users opt to grind into the dosing cup and transfer, as the portafilter fork isn’t very sturdy. 

Unfortunately, the DF64 has some issues with static. This is caused by the large gap between the spout and dosing cup, allowing particles to escape. It makes the grinder very messy to use and is particularly a problem at the coarser grind settings. While this issue can be mitigated slightly by spraying the beans with water, it is still a problem to be aware of. 

DF64 grind catcher

Maintenance

The DF64 is very simple to maintain. As mentioned above, the main issue to contend with is the static cling, so you will have to do a bit of cleaning after each use. It is easy to access the burrs for a deep clean or to change them out. You simply remove the bellow and twist the grind setting dial as coarse as it goes. The upper burr then easily lifts off. 

Value for Money

This is one area where the DF64 stands heads and shoulders above its competitors. There simply is no other grinder in this price range that can compete with the premium grind quality offered by the DF64. You do need to factor in the additional costs this grinder may require to keep it performing at its best, such as a new dosing cup, SSP burrs, and any mods you want to do. However, even with these updates it is still remarkably affordable. This website is an excellent resource for DF64 owners, with guides to the different mods you can do to improve grind quality and workflow.

DF64 vs. Niche Zero

The DF64 is considered to be the main rival for the Niche Zero. So how does the DF64 stack up?

Niche Zero

The Niche Zero is packed with 63mm conical burrs by Mazzer. Some users prefer conical burrs, which they say yields a deeper, richer brew. Conical burrs also have lower grind retention and run slower, making them quiet when in use. The Niche Zero is a stunning grinder that is the whole package. There will be no need to mod this grinder; it is simple to use and offers superb grind consistency. The downsides of the Niche are that it costs a fair bit more and is hard to get your hands on one.

DF64

The DF64 is packed with 64mm flat burrs. This is an excellent grinder if you want a grinder that delivers quality coffee in the cup. However, where it falls down is with user experience. The DF64 has several issues like the regrinding caused by the declumping screen and static retention that are frustrating. The DF64s greatest weakness is also its greatest strength- this grinder will require modding and upgrading to perform at its best. It is an excellent buy if this is up your alley; however, if that is a bit over your head, you might be best to hold off and see if later versions of this grinder fix these issues. 

Pros:

  • 64mm flat burrs
  • Stepless grind adjustment
  • Low retention
  • Superb grind quality for espresso
  • Excellent price
  • Able to be modded or upgraded

Cons:

  • Issues with static
  • Issues with popcorning
  • Issue with regrinding

The Verdict

The DF64 is an excellent grinder offering 64mm flat burrs, stepless adjustment, and low retention, all at an unbeatable price point. However, this grinder does come with a few caveats; and that is that it will require modding and ideally a burr upgrade. If that sounds like you, the DF64 is a superb option. Alternatively, you could consider its rival the Niche Zero or the newly released Eureka Oro, both of which are excellent quality single-dosing grinders.

DF64

1 thought on “DF64 Grinder Review”

  1. I just placed my order for a new DF64, v3. This is the latest version and will be delivered in September 2022. It will be here soon. In the meantime I’m ordering some of the available mods that are 3D printed.

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