Dec 18, 2023

Review: Fellow’s Newest Grinder, the Opus, Is Espresso

Fellow's coffee appliances and accessories are as highly regarded as it gets. The Stagg EKG is arguably the best electric kettle on the market, and the Atmos is one of the most advanced vacuum-sealed coffee canisters in the game. When it comes to grinders, Fellow's Ode Brew Grinder is a legendary device. Not only is it one of the sickest looking coffee grinders out there, but it's also just a dependable, high quality machine that lets people work with pro-level precision to make delicious third-wave coffee at home, from Aeropress and pour over to cold brew. It seemingly has it all: stainless steel 64-millimeter flat burrs, 31 grind settings, and a sexy, aluminum body that looks like it belongs in 2001: A Space Odyssey. People simply love this award-winning grinder. So why would Fellow even consider designing a completely new model? Seems dumb, right?

There's one detail that I didn't mention in the previous paragraph: I didn't say that the Ode is great for espresso. That's because it's not. By Fellow's own admission (on the Ode product page), it felt like a successful, all-encompassing grinder wasn't entirely possible: "When grinders try to tackle both brewed coffee and espresso, they become a master of none. In stark contrast, Ode was designed to perfect your daily brewed coffee—AeroPress, pour-over, French press, cold brew, and more," the brand stated. Obviously, I have to wonder when that was written. I’m sure I could track down the answer pretty easily if I really wanted to, but that's not the point here. The point is that Fellow has changed its mind.

The respected company's new creation, the Opus, is a six-blade, 40-millimeter conical burr grinder that has "41+ precision settings." That versatility lets the Opus grind for everything from super fine espresso to mad coarse cold brew. [Vin Diesel voice] This sucker tops out at 350 RPMs of good, old, American coffee-making power. It holds up to 110 grams of beans, and you only have to load what you’re going to drink in one brew, letting you keep your beans fresh elsewhere. (I guess the 110-gram capacity is for when you’re having the Chicago Bulls over for brunch.)

One big change is that the Opus, unlike the Ode, is made out of plastic. I’d imagine some people will have an issue with that, but, frankly, I don't mind it at all. Sure, it's missing the heft and to-the-touch gravitas of metal, but it's still a beautiful, sleek machine with a horny matte black finish that looks handsome on any countertop. I mean, yes—when you’re changing the grind setting, you need to hold the base with your other hand so it doesn't slide; but if you’re out here on a beautiful morning, listening to Bach, about to brew some amazing, fresh Colombian beans from Onyx, and you’re thinking, I’m so fuckin’ mad about having to move my other hand over here, then maybe you should instead be thinking about your priorities in life.

So far, I’ve tried grinds from the Opus for AeroPress, Chemex, and the Moccamaster, and it's been very solid for all three; I’ll try some V60 brews over the weekend, but I predict it’ll be great. (For more on brewing methods and techniques, check out my VICE guide to making damn fine coffee.) I hadn't used the Chemex in a long time, but I ground some absolutely delicious beans on a medium-coarse setting during a weekday morning, and honestly, it was pretty excellent—resulting in a very clean, pointed taste. I think the Opus is actually very amenable to being used for a number of different kinds of brewing; the range is real. The fact that I can confidently do a great pour over for myself and a carafe of drip for the house in just a couple minutes is the signifier of a solid home coffee grinder. (Not to mention the fact that if I felt like breaking out the ol’ manual espresso machine after lunch, I could.)

Is it a perfect coffee grinder? No, but what is? (I wanted to say, "Oh, my older-model Baratza Encore was perfect," but then I remembered that it could get a little messy, and also the knob broke off once and I had to glue it back on. Regarding beans, though, very high score from me.) In fairness, there are two design aspects of the Opus that are slightly annoying—and I’m being really nitpicky here. First, the grind button is on the front and at the bottom, just off the counter, and it's very easy to accidentally bump it. I was showing my girlfriend how to use the Opus the other day and knocked the button while reaching for something, causing it to start grinding beans all over the place, because I was holding the catch cup; I looked like an absolute fool and will probably never get laid again. Thanks, Fellow.

The second (small) issue is that when you replace the lid, the pressure it creates can push residual grounds out the bottom, and you’ll have to clean them up if the cup doesn't get ‘em all; but this is a problem a lot of grinders have some version of, so it's hard to fault the Opus. Actually, now that I think about it, basically every grinder I’ve ever owned found some way to let some grounds slip through. It's almost like creating minuscule, nearly weightless shards of coffee is an inherently messy task! Thus, no points deducted.

TL;DR: The Opus is a seriously beautiful, versatile ~*instrument*~ aimed at the home barista that likes to have a breadth of super precise, high quality options available. This might not be the first pick for the third-wave coffee shop down the street, but if you’re striving towards domestic java perfection (and especially if you like to use multiple devices or enjoy making espresso), it's a spectacular choice.

Pick up the Opus on Fellow's website or on Amazon.

The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. Want more reviews, recommendations, and red-hot deals? Sign up for our newsletter.

By signing up, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy & to receive electronic communications from Vice Media Group, which may include marketing promotions, advertisements and sponsored content.

TL;DR: Pick up the Opus on Fellow's website or on Amazon.