There was a lot of hype surrounding the release of the Fellow Ode Brew Grinder in 2020. The idea was first launched on Kickstarter, and they met their goal of $200 000 in just 94 minutes!
The Fellow Ode Brew Grinder was a coffee grinder that the coffee world had been waiting for 64mm stainless steel flat burrs, single-dosing, an auto-stop function, and a stunning design! When the Fellow Ode finally hit the market, while it was a popular grinder, many experts criticized the narrow grind range.
In response, Fellow promised the release of an upgraded grinder to address these issues. Now, two years later, the Fellow Ode Gen 2 has finally been released. In this Fellow Ode grinder review, we will compare the Original model to the Gen 2 and help you decide whether the Fellow Ode is the right coffee grinder for you.
Fellow Ode Gen 2
The Fellow Ode Gen 2 is a stunning burr grinder that is aimed at manual brewing methods. It is packed full of features including 64mm flat burrs, single-dose loading, an auto-stop function, a tiny footprint, and quick and quiet grinding. The Fellow Ode brew grinder is one of the best value grinders for manual brewing on the market today.
The Fellow Ode Brew Grinder is simply a stunning grinder with the typical Fellow aesthetics. It is impressively compact, measuring only 239 mm x 105 mm x 248.3 mm. You will have no problem fitting this grinder on your bench. The bean hopper, being designed for single-dosing holds 100g of coffee beans, which is a step up from the original model with an 80g capacity, to cater to batch brews.
Fellow has included several thoughtful features in its design. These include a magnetically aligned catch bin that easily snaps into place and a knocker to knock excess grinds from the shoot. The Fellow Ode really is a beautifully designed grinder.
They have also included a grind size guide on the inside of the lid with recommended settings for the various brew methods. While some users have complained that these recommendations aren’t all that accurate, particularly if you are using lightly roasted coffee, they are a good starting point.
Ease of Use
The Fellow Ode is remarkably easy to use. It has an on/off switch and a large stepped dial on the front with 31 settings ranging from fine to coarse. Grinding is as simple as weighing out your beans, selecting your desired grind size on the dial, and pushing the start button.
One of the features we love about the Fellow Ode Brew Grinder is that it has an auto-stop function. This is where it detects when there is no more resistance in the burrs and automatically turns the grinder off. Once you have finished grinding, you can use the knocker to knock any remaining grounds out of the chute. We should also mention that this grinder is very fast due to the large 64mm burrs. It is relatively quiet when in use, especially when compared to other grinders in the same price range- so you won’t wake the whole household with your morning brew.
One of the issues many users complained about with the original model was that it was very messy to use. Like most grinders at this price point, it was prone to static, meaning you got chaff stuck in the catch bin and falling out of the chute. Using RDT (Ross Droplet Technique) where you spray a droplet of water onto the beans helped reduce the static, but didn’t eliminate it completely. The other frustrating thing was the catch bin had fins, that were supposed to aid in pouring the ground coffee, but ended up retaining a lot of grinds.
This is one of the key issues Fellow addressed in the Fellow Ode Gen 2. The updated grinder has a redesigned grind chute that eliminates static build-up, through the clever use of an ionizer to neutralize static. They also redesigned the catch cup to make it easier to pour coffee grounds from. These two updates, in addition to the grind knocker, have reduced the retention from around 1 gram to as low as 0.1 grams.
As we stated earlier, the Fellow Ode brew grinder was designed for manual brewing methods- and it does an excellent job at what it is intended to do. It is not designed for espresso and so does not grind fine enough for that.
It is equipped with 64mm flat burrs, so grinds coffee both uniformly and quickly (as a reference, 64mm burrs are commonly found in entry-level commercial grinders).
It also has a feedback-controlled PID motor that ensures the grinder runs at a consistent 1400 RPM, with no fluctuations, to produce a consistent grind. This yields an excellent grind quality (especially at this price point) with not a lot of fines or boulders.
Despite the grind quality, many experts have criticized the narrow range of grind settings found in the original grinder. With only 31 grind settings (and a large proportion of those being for more coarse grinds), the original grinder struggled to grind fine enough for lighter roasted coffees. This limited number of grind settings came down to the choice of burrs- Fellow had opted for interlocking flat burrs, which meant there was a limit on how fine the burrs could grind before they touched. The advantage of these burrs is that they produced very few fines.
We are happy to report that this issue has been fixed with the latest rendition; the Fellow Ode Gen 2. The Gen 2 has a new set of 64mm flat burrs, designed by Fellow. These burrs are able to grind finer, with a grind range of 250-300 microns and up. In comparison, the original burrs could only manage 550 microns and up. The grind range covers brew methods such as Aeropress, Pour Over, Drip Coffee, French Press, and Cold Brew.
The Gen 2 burrs seem to deal well with a range of roast levels, producing a balanced flavor profile. The cups are sweet and balanced with a heavier body and medium clarity.
If you are familiar with the Fellow Ode, you will be aware that many users opted to switch out the original burrs with SSP flat burrs. While this cost an extra $185, the SSP burrs are the gold standard, offering superb grind quality and high clarity and sweetness in a cup. This is still an option with the Gen 2, and a route most filter coffee fans will choose to take.
The Fellow Ode is well made, and although it hasn’t yet stood the test of time, Fellow has a reputation for producing high-quality products. The stainless steel burrs are good quality burrs, built to last. The grinder is also very easy to open up for cleaning, mods, and repairs.
While some may balk at paying $345 for an entry-level grinder, we think that the Fellow Ode offers excellent value. Given the quality and design of the grinder, the features, and high-quality burrs, you would be hard-pressed to find something of comparable quality for cheaper. This is one of the best grinders on the market for manual brewing.
The fact that it has 64mm flat burrs is also a huge advantage, opening up the option of upgrading to SSP burrs in the future.
Fellow Ode vs Fellow Ode Gen 2
So in summary, the Fellow Ode Gen 2 has several key updates to its design to address issues found in the original model.
So is it worth upgrading from the original to the Gen 2? We would say not really. The updated model offers finer grinding and improved workflow but if you were wanting to upgrade you would be better to spend the money upgrading the burrs to SSP burrs, rather than switching grinders. However, if you are looking at buying a new Fellow Ode grinder it is definitely worth getting the Gen 2 model.
What are the Alternatives?
The Baratza Encore is another grinder that is excellent for manual brewing methods. For the price point, it really cannot be beaten at present. It comes with 40 grind settings covering fine to coarse, has superb grind consistency, and is known to be a packhorse that deals well with heavy use. While it is a lot more affordable, it lacks the features and refinement of the Ode.
The DF64 is another popular coffee grinder that offers superb grind quality at an affordable price. The DF64 is slightly more expensive than the Ode but is able to grind for both espresso and filter coffee. Its features include 64mm flat burrs, stepless grind adjustment, and low retention. The downsides of the DF64 are that it is not as polished as the Ode and requires modding to perform at its best. But overall, this is a great value all-round grinder.
Who is the Fellow Ode for?
There is a lot to love about the Fellow Ode Gen 2. It is beautifully designed, and compact, and can produce delicious brewer coffee. It has a wide array of impressive features from professional-grade 64mm flat burrs, single-dose loading, an auto-stop function, and quick and quiet grinding.
The updates to the grinder have addressed the issues of the original grinder; namely the narrow grind range and issues with static retention. The Fellow Ode also offers the option of upgrading to SSP burrs. Overall, the Fellow Ode Gen 2 is a superb grinder and, in our opinion, the go-to grinder for manual brewing methods.
The Final Verdict
The Fellow Ode was probably the most anticipated grinder of 2020, so does it live up to the hype? We would say yes (in fact, it even won an SCA best new product award)! The new updates have ironed out the issues in the original model. The Fellow Ode Gen 2 is a beautifully designed grinder that should definitely be a contender if you are looking for a grinder for manual brewing methods.