Frugal Review: Bodum BISTRO blade Coffee Grinder

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By Ed

What would compel a Frugal Blog to review a (supposed) high-end coffee grinder?  Can you even call it a review when you mostly rave about it?  Well, I have expressed my love of coffee before and also suggested that the best way to get your coffee to taste good  is to grind it fresh.  (You can read my post, "Starbuck for Less Bucks" here).   I have had 4-5 different grinders over the years, but this one was the first that I said, "Holy Cow, this thing is great!  I don't hate the process of grinding coffee anymore."

Yes.  All the years I ground my own coffee, I mostly resented it.  Any product that can turn resentment into unabashed adoration is probably worth a shout out/review.  Here's what I like and what I don't.

Before I get into it, here are our Frugal Review parameters.  First off, anything we review, we will actually own and will have tried for ourselves.  We will only recommend things that we believe are worth the money.  Frugal isn't about the cheapest thing - it is about getting the best value for your money.

So here goes:

Bodum BISTRO electric blade coffee grinder

Priced at $35 (give or take) the BISTRO blade grinder is fully twice the price of this cheapo from Canadian Tire.  But when you consider that most name brand coffee grinders come in around $20, this one isn't that expensive.

When you hold it in your hand and use it, the difference in price totally evaporates.  Compared to every coffee grinder I have owned, this one feels heavy, well engineered and looks just dead sexy.  Using it for the first time reminded me of when a friend of mine had a Honda Prelude and took me for a drive in it.  As I closed the door and it made that perfectly engineered closing sound - like it was the space shuttle - I realized that it was practically a different species of car from the Ford Escort we drove.  This coffee maker?  Like that only a lot less expensive than all those things I just said.

Everything fits together nicely, with the clear cover overlapping the sides by nearly an inch.  It keeps all the mess on the inside where there is easily room for beans for a 12 cup coffee maker.  I venture you could grind enough to make 16 cups, if you owned a 16 cup brewer.

  • Very attractive, modern design. You can leave it out on your counter with impunity.
  • Well made, solid construction.  Everything fits together well and keeps grounds from escaping.
  • Quiet (at least when compared to others I have used).
  • Safe - you can't turn it on without completely putting the lid on.
  • Actually circulates the Beans when grinding.  This is what blew me away.  You can watch the beans through the top window and really see that they are moving around uniformly and all getting ground evenly.  Other coffee grinders I have owned either leave you guessing or don't circulate things nicely, resulting in some ground to fine powder and others still almost whole.  The Bodum is a rock star of even, consistent grinding; better even than a burr (hopper style) grinder I once owned.  See action shots below.

The camera doesn't really do this justice, but you can see things are moving around.

  • You do have to pay attention to the grinding (as you would with any blade grinder).  A burr grinder can be left to churn away unattended.
  • Bodum could have included a small brush or scraper to clean it out with.  If your coffee is really oily, you will be going through a bit of paper towel keeping this thing clean.
  • Really, not much else.  

The Frugal Verdict:
While not the cheapest blade grinder out there, the Bodum BISTRO grinder would have saved me nearly $100 in other misguided coffee grinder purchases, had I found it sooner.  It is actually enjoyable to use and I look forward to grinding fresh beans and making the house smell like Starbucks whenever I can.

If you are serious about making the best cup of coffee on a daily or even weekly basis, it is a purchase you will not regret.  

Any coffee paraphernalia you want to give props to?


  1. Nice review Ed. A note to your frugal readers: don't throw out your old coffee grinder. Used coffee grinders make great spice grinders (provided they still grind, of course).

  2. Our old grinder is just getting a retirement package. It belonged to Robin's grandparents and came from Belgium. It has earned some time off. But yeah, re-purposing to spice grinder is a great idea for other old grinders - the less frequent uses would likely mean years more of additional service.


  3. Thanks! I just started drinking coffee again, after @35 yrs of not. I have a french press so was looking for something that does a descent course grind, on a tight budget. After reading numerous reviews and opinions, and remaining undecided, your review synched it! Bodum Bistro electric blade grinder it is.

    1. To add to the above review - I am well over a year and a half in of pretty much daily use and I can still attest to sharp blades, even grind and virtual maintenance free operation. I hope yours serves you as well as mine does.
      Thanks for reading,

  4. Works great, nice and small and perfect for one k-cup


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