DF64 Grinder Review: Is the Gen 2 a Niche Killer?

Hi! My name is Arne. Having spent years working as a barista I'm now on a mission to bring more good coffee to the people. To that end, my team and I provide you with a broad knowledge base on the subject of coffee.

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If you're on the hunt for an affordable espresso grinder that's actually worth buying, chances are you've already come across the DF64 grinder.

If you’re on the hunt for an affordable espresso grinder that’s actually worth buying, chances are you’ve already come across the DF64 grinder.

As it happens, this burr coffee grinder has surged in popularity recently, as more and more folks are upping their home espresso game.

In today’s DF64 grinder review I’ll be taking a first look at the Gen 2 model, which is the most recent iteration. From what I can gather, the manufacturer has added a whole bunch of improvements and upgrades, and I’m excited to see how the DF64 II grinder measures up. So without further ado, let’s get the ball rolling on this DF64 grinder review!

An outstanding single dose grinder

MiiCoffee DF64 II Single Dose Coffee Grinder

So much better than the original

Great value

Close to zero retention

Stepless grinding

Easy to use

Burrs can be upgraded

Not for everyone

DF64 Grinder Review Overview

The DF64 II Coffee Grinder first came to my attention when I was putting together my guide to the best single dose grinders.

I seem to remember mentioning that the DF64 is a good alternative to the super-hyped Niche Zero, which isn’t easy to get in North America. I guess that’s one reason the DF64 grinder has become so popular; folks want something comparable to the Niche Zero without having to pay a load of import fees and international shipping costs.

Still, I’d say that the DF64 II grinder can easily stand on its own as a direct Niche competitor. Especially given the fact that the manufacturer has obviously paid attention to the criticism leveled at the original model and stepped up its game with the second generation.

Speaking of the manufacturer, it’s kind of hard to get concrete information about who makes this coffee grinder. As far as I can tell, the DF64 is made in China and marketed under various different names around the world. Anyway, in North America, the company selling the thing is called MiiCoffee.

Confusing origin story aside, the DF64 II grinder is competitively priced at $399.00. Now, I’m fully aware that’s still a lot of money to spend on a coffee grinder. However, when you consider the DF64’s competition, its asking price seems very reasonable. And that’s before we get to the nuts and bolts of how the DF64 coffee grinder performs and the attention to detail that’s gone into its design.

For now, I’ll tell you that this is a pretty darn versatile and sophisticated grinder that’s definitely worth considering. Especially if you’re looking for a grinder to pair with your home espresso machine.

DF64 Coffee Grinder Features

Now that we’ve got a better idea of what we’re dealing with, let’s take a closer look at what makes the DF64 grinder tick.

Design and Build

Given the DF64 grinder’s competitive asking price, I was surprised by its build quality. Sure, there’s an abundance of matte black plastic on the outside. However, a rugged metal frame lurks beneath the surface, lending the grinder a truly durable and premium feel.

Plus, the thing clocks in at a whopping 15 pounds (6.8 kilograms), making it a heavy-duty proposition.

All this sets the DF64 apart from grinders like the Baratza Sette 30 and Baratza 270. Sure, those are fantastic grinders, but the manufacturer definitely cut corners in the housing material department.

In terms of aesthetics, the DF64 grinder’s angled design and sleek, modern silhouette won’t be to everyone’s taste. However, real coffee geeks will get a little hot under the collar at the prospect.

I’m particularly happy to see that the Gen 2 model sports a redesigned grounds chute, as well as a repositioned on/off button. After all, mounting the button below the grounds chute on the original always seemed like a total rookie mistake.

User Interface

DF64 Grinder User Interface

Those of you looking for a coffee grinder with bells and whistles galore might find the DF64 II a little disappointing. Remember the on/off button I mentioned earlier? That’s it for the user interface. There’s no timer function or programmable doses. Just a simple button.

You see, this has been designed as a single dose grinder with next to no grind retention in the chute. You simply weigh your coffee beans using a coffee scale, pop them in the hopper and then grind. So, there’s no need for any bells and whistles whatsoever!

Bean Hopper

The DF64 II bean hopper has also had a bit of an upgrade and now sports a snazzy wooden lid.

More importantly, the manufacturer has included an anti-popcorn disc, which sits between the hopper and the burr chamber. This invaluable addition pretty much eliminates “popcorning” during grinding, in which stray coffee beans bounce around all over the place. The end result is quicker and more efficient grinding, which is a huge win.

The bellows-style hopper has a capacity of 70 grams, and allows you to pump air through the burrs after grinding. This, along with a couple of other factors, really helps the DF64 II achieve almost zero retention, which is a truly impressive feat.

Stainless Steel Flat Burrs

DF64 Grinder Steel Flat Burrs
DF64 Grinder Stainless Steel Flat Burrs

It’s not for me to say whether flat burrs are superior to the conical variety. However, there are plenty of coffee experts who’ll tell you that flat burrs are superior in that they produce more uniform grinds.

Either way, the custom 64mm stainless steel flat burrs mounted in the DF64 II are pretty darn impressive. And from what I can gather, the new burr set is really going to appeal to lovers of light and medium roast coffee beans.

One of the things people love about the DF64 is that you’re able to easily switch out the included burrs for fancier SSP burrs. This allows you to tailor the burrs to your taste and preferred preparation method, which is super cool.

As it happens, MiiCoffee offers a range of different SSP options, including Multi-Purpose Burrs for pour over and espresso, and High-Uniformity Burrs tailored just for espresso. True aficionados will relish the prospect of all this versatility. Still, the SSP burr rabbit hole is only for the bravest souls!

Grind Settings

DF64 Grinder Grind Settings

One of the best and most noticeable upgrades given to the DF64 Gen 2 is its smart grind adjustment collar. Wrapped in shiny chrome, the adjustment collar includes a handy metal dial indicator to help you keep track of where you are.

Below that, the dial has clearly labeled settings as well as brew method suggestions at different ranges. While the DF64 II offers 90 grind settings on the dial, this is actually a fully stepless grinder.

That’s really good news for espresso lovers, seeing as you’ll be able to make the smallest of tweaks to your grind size as you’re dialing in your shots.

Plasma Generator

I won’t even pretend to know exactly what a plasma generator is or how it works. Still, I do know why it’s included in the DF64 grinder and what it does.

Essentially, the aim of a single dose grinder like this is to produce exactly the same weight of ground coffee in the dosing cup as coffee beans put in at the top. However, that’s no easy task, especially given the fact that static charge can build up at multiple points along the way.

Enter the plasma generator, which is also called an ionizer. Mounted in the grinder’s exit chute, this mysterious device seriously reduces static charge, helping the DF64 maintain almost zero retention.

What’s more, a reduction in static will help keep your work space much tidier, seeing as all the coffee grounds are ending up where they’re supposed to go. So, let’s call the plasma generator a double-win, shall we!

Dosing Cup

DF64 Grinder Dosing Cup
DF64 Grinder Dosing Cup 02

The included aluminum dosing cup includes an additional ring for dosing a 58mm portafilter. The ring fits snugly on top of the catch cup, allowing you to put your portafilter on top and flip the whole thing over to dose.

Alternatively, you can put the ring directly onto your portafilter, set the thing on the cradle and grind direct. Either way, it’s good to have options, right!

How to Use the DF64 Grinder

As you’ve probably already gathered, using the DF64 grinder is a piece of cake. It’s simply a case of weighing your coffee beans, putting them in the hopper then attaching the lid.

Once that’s done, attach either the dosing cup or your portafilter (with the dosing ring attached) to the cradle and press the on/off button. When the grind cycle is complete, make sure to blow air through the grinder using the bellows. That’ll flush out any stray coffee grounds from dead space inside the DF64.

DF64 Grinder How to Use

Incidentally, I should make special mention of the fact that you must only make grind adjustments when the grinder is empty or when the motor is running. That way, you’ll avoid throwing the flat burrs out of whack.

Finally, be aware that the burrs will require a little “seasoning” time before they truly settle in. With that said, I’d expect you to start seeing good results almost immediately.

DF64 Grinder Cleaning

Seeing as the DF64 II grinder has almost no grind retention issues, you shouldn’t have to worry about coffee grounds getting stuck in the dead space inside. And thanks to the bellows hopper, you’re able to blow out any residual powder after each use.

With that said, I’d recommend brushing off the burrs on a regular basis. To access the burrs, simply turn the adjustment disc anti-clockwise until you can lift out the upper burr holder. Once that’s done, you’ll be able to brush off both burrs and vacuum out the burr chamber if needed.

DF64 Coffee Grinder Technical Specifications

DF64 II Grinder
ManufacturerMiiCoffee
NameDF64 II Single Dose Coffee Grinder
TypeElectric coffee grinder
Grinder64mm stainless steel flat burrs
Grind levelsStepless
Power250 watt
Voltage120 volt
Weight14.3 lb / 6.5 kg
Dimensions12.0 x 5.2 x 10.0 in / 30.5 x 13.2 x 25.4 cm
Suitable forEspresso, moka pot, AeroPress, pour over, drip machines
AccessoriesUser manual, 58mm aluminum dosing cup
Current price on Amazon$399.00

DF64 Grinder vs Niche Zero

Niche Zero Grinder White
Niche Zero Grinder Black

As I mentioned earlier, the DF64 II can more than hold its own when set against the infamous Niche Zero. Especially seeing as the manufacturer has eliminated all the issues that plagued the original model.

Still, plenty of folks are still in love with the Niche Zero and will happily pay well over $500 to get hold of one. Incidentally, the Niche Zero isn’t available for purchase in North America. However, you can get a US version from the manufacturer’s website.

So, what’s all the fuss about? Well, the Niche Zero has garnered a reputation as one of the best single dose grinders out there. Equipped with 63mm conical burrs made from hardened steel, the Niche grinder is known for its super low static and almost no grind retention.

Plus, the way the thing looks doesn’t hurt; the manufacturer has obviously put a lot of time and effort into creating something very beautiful.

I guess that if money is no object, choosing between these grinders will come down to whether you prefer flat or conical burrs. In my experience, you’ll get better results from the flat burrs when you’re preparing espresso. On the other hand, I’d say the Niche Zero will produce better results for pour over.

DF64 vs Niche Zero Comparison Chart

DF64 II GrinderNiche Zero
ManufacturerMiiCoffeeNiche
NameDF64 II Single Dose Coffee GrinderZero Coffee Grinder
TypeElectric coffee grinderElectric coffee grinder
Grinder64mm stainless steel flat burrs63mm stainless steel conical burrs
Grind levelsSteplessStepless
Power250 watt170 watt
Voltage120 volt110 volt
Weight14.3 lb / 6.5 kg9.0 lb / 4.1 kg
Dimensions12.0 x 5.2 x 10.0 in / 30.5 x 13.2 x 25.4 cm12.2 x 4.8 x 8.3 in / 31.1 x 12.2 x 21.1 cm
Suitable forEspresso, moka pot, AeroPress, pour over, drip machinesEspresso, moka pot, AeroPress, pour over, drip machines
AccessoriesUser manual, 58mm aluminum dosing cupUser manual, 58mm dosing cup, cleaning brush, socket wrench
Current price on Amazon$399.00N/A

Verdict: DF64 II Coffee Grinder

When the original DF64 grinder was released, I pretty much dismissed it as a cheap Niche knockoff. Especially after reading some of the initial reviews. However, it’s clear that the manufacturer has seriously stepped up its game with the Gen 2 DF64.

I have to say I’m really impressed by this grinder’s performance as well as its very reasonable asking price. Sure, the DF64 II isn’t perfect, but those looking for an affordable and versatile single dose grinder should definitely take it into consideration.

I’m definitely looking forward to testing the DF64 grinder out. I’ll update this initial review as soon as I’ve put it through its paces in the Coffeeness kitchen!

Do you own the DF64 Gen 2 grinder? Do you love it or wish you’d bought a Niche Zero instead? I look forward to your comments!

Your coffee expert
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Arne Preuss

Hi! My name is Arne. Having spent years working as a barista I'm now on a mission to bring more good coffee to the people. To that end, my team and I provide you with a broad knowledge base on the subject of coffee.

More about Arne Preuss

Hi! My name is Arne. Having spent years working as a barista I'm now on a mission to bring more good coffee to the people. To that end, my team and I provide you with a broad knowledge base on the subject of coffee.

More about Arne Preuss

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