Let me start by admitting that I'm wildly excited to be adding a Fellow Opus review to my burr coffee grinder guide 2023. To say that the Fellow Opus was eagerly anticipated would be the understatement of the century. And since its release earlier this year, the thing has garnered rave reviews across the board.
Let me start by admitting that I’m wildly excited to be adding a Fellow Opus review to my burr coffee grinder guide 2023. To say that the Fellow Opus was eagerly anticipated would be the understatement of the century. And since its release earlier this year, the thing has garnered rave reviews across the board.
That’s pretty unsurprising; the San Francisco-based manufacturer is known for producing drool-worthy equipment that’s adored by coffee aficionados.
Personally, I’m a huge fan of Fellow, and I had high hopes for the Opus grinder. Especially seeing as it’s being marketed as an all-round grinder that’ll even work for espresso.
With that in mind, I ordered the Fellow Opus to test out. In this review I’ll tell you all about what I did and didn’t like. To get the ball rolling, let’s take a first look at this much-hyped conical burr grinder.
Versatile and affordable
A game-changing burr grinder
Suitable for all brewing methods
Easy to use
Fellow Opus Review Overview
Having already reviewed a handful of Fellow products, I kind of knew what to expect from the Fellow Opus Conical Burr Grinder. In saying that, I’m referring to the sleek, stylish design aesthetic that’s earned the manufacturer such a devoted following. What’s more, Fellow doesn’t hold back when it comes to using high quality materials and components in its coffee equipment.
So, it came as somewhat of a shock to learn that the Opus grinder costs just $195.00.
Sure, that’s a decent chunk of money, but it’s small potatoes in the burr coffee grinder world. To give you an example, the manufacturer’s Gen 2 Ode grinder costs an eye-watering $345.00. And that particular model is a lot less versatile than the Opus.
So, what’s the catch? Well, it turns out Fellow has abandoned its policy of using only high-grade metal housing in favor of plastic. Furthermore, the Opus is equipped with conical burrs rather than the pricier flat burrs used in its predecessor. Both of those factors help keep manufacturing costs down, which is how Fellow can offer the Opus at such a low price point.
Heck, I’m not complaining. Sure, I prefer steel construction every time, but given the Opus grinder’s versatility and performance, I’m willing to overlook the plastic chassis.
Incidentally, the main reason the new Fellow Opus grinder has hearts aflutter is that it’s being marketed as an all-round grinder. Finally, we have a Fellow grinder that’ll work for espresso as well as AeroPress, French press and cold brew! While that might sound too good to be true, I can assure you this thing is the real deal. I’ll discuss my first hand experiences later in this Fellow Opus review.
Fellow Opus Grinder Features
There’s loads to talk about in this Fellow Opus review. So, let’s keep the ball rolling by looking at the grinder’s most notable features.
Size and Design
You have to hand it to the Fellow design department – these guys have been really successful in creating a consistent vibe for the brand. Whether it’s the Stagg EKG kettle or the Clara French press, everything Fellow produces has the same design language.
Featuring the familiar clean, modern lines and a matte black finish, the Opus is guaranteed to make Fellow fans weak in the knees. I have to admit that I’m a sucker for this kind of industrial design, and I’d fill my kitchen with Fellow stuff if I could.
Speaking of, the Fellow Opus won’t take up much space, thanks to its compact footprint. Plus, seeing as there’s only a small hopper up top, fitting the grinder beneath overhanging cabinets won’t be a problem.
As with the Ode Brew grinder, the Fellow Opus does away with the idea of a huge bean hopper. Instead, you’re encouraged to use the 100 gram load bin as a single dose hopper. That’s A-OK with me – I like to experiment with different coffee beans on a regular basis, and I prefer to keep my beans in dedicated coffee storage containers.
Incidentally, the hopper lid doesn’t just protect against dust and debris. To make life easier, the lid doubles as a volumetric doser, allowing you to measure up to 100 grams of coffee. Plus, there’s a handy grind size guide in there.
Personally, I’d always recommend using a coffee scale when brewing. However, the lid’s dosing function is definitely going to appeal to a lot of folks.
As it happens, I found the 20 gram dosing side of the hopper lid to be scarily consistent. I even tried to prove that it wouldn’t always work by measuring both light roasts and less dense darker roasts. More fool me – my scale showed precisely 20 grams every time!
Stainless Steel Conical Burrs
Funnily enough, some folks got a little bent out of shape when Fellow released the Ode Brew grinder. While Fellow was quite clear about the fact that its grinder wasn’t meant for espresso, plenty of people just weren’t satisfied with a superb, precision grinder for pour-over.
Instead, they wanted a superb, precision grinder for every preparation method there is.
Well, it looks like dreams really can come true, because Fellow has equipped its Opus grinder with 6 blade 40 millimeter stainless steel conical burrs. That means this grinder can handle anything, supposedly producing consistent results for everything from Turkish coffee to cold brew.
As you might imagine, I put the Fellow Opus through its paces during my testing. I’ll share my observations a little later in this review!
Here’s where this Fellow Opus review gets really exciting! The aforementioned conical burr set has 41 grind adjustment settings, which is 10 more than the Fellow Ode. What’s that I hear you say? Forty-one grind settings – big deal? Well, I’m not finished!
There’s an additional inner adjustment ring, which is integral to the Opus’ success as an espresso grinder. Located under the bean hopper, the inner ring allows you to make super fine micro-adjustments to the grind size.
I don’t want to get too technical, but each click of the inner ring is equivalent to a third of a click on the outer adjustment ring. This level of control over your grind means you’ll be able to really dial in your espresso shots with precision.
The last thing you want when you’re using a coffee grinder is significant grind retention. This happens when static builds up in the chute, and it can get really annoying. Fortunately, Fellow has devoted a lot of time to its anti-static technology, as evidenced by the improvements made to the Gen 2 Ode grinder.
Unfortunately, I experienced quite a bit more static buildup and grind retention than I’d been hoping for. This was an issue both in the bean hopper and the grinder chute.
After a while, I got used to giving the body of the Fellow Opus a good whack after grinding to release the excess grounds. Still, this is far from the ideal situation, and I ended up with quite the mess on my kitchen counter.
I’m happy to report that the Fellow Opus comes with a similar catch cup to the one included with the Ode. That is, the simple grounds collection container attaches to the grinder with a nifty magnet, which is both satisfying and convenient.
What’s new here is the addition of a portafilter dosing cup that sits in the main container. Once you’ve ground coffee for espresso, you simply place a 54 millimeter or 58 millimeter portafilter on top, then flip the whole thing.
Sure, this is a pretty nifty solution for getting grounds into a portafilter. Still, I wonder why Fellow didn’t include some kind of portafilter cradle. I mean, it’s not like they didn’t know that most folks would be excited to use the Opus as an espresso grinder.
Anyway, during my testing the dosing cup worked pretty well and didn’t make a mess. However, it left me with an awkward mini mountain of ground coffee that was hard to settle and distribute without spilling.
While I’m not sure if you’ll ever need it, the timed autostop feature is a thoughtful addition to the Fellow Opus. Depending on how you press the start button, the Opus will automatically shut off after 30, 60, 90 or 120 seconds.
To be honest, I found the timer function to be kinda redundant, especially when grinding coffee for espresso. After all, the Fellow Opus only needs around 20 seconds to grind 20 grams of coffee.
The Fellow Opus Conical Burr Grinder comes with a one-year warranty that’ll cover you in case of any manufacturer defects.
Honestly, I wouldn’t worry too much – Fellow has a reputation for its well-made products. Still, it’s nice to have a warranty, just in case, so make sure to keep your sales receipt. Alternatively, you can access the receipt from your Amazon purchase history.
How To Use the Fellow Opus
Seeing as the Fellow Opus is such a straightforward coffee grinder, getting to grips with using it is easy. Before using the Opus for the first time I’d recommend rinsing the catch cup for good measure. And make sure it’s fully dry before using it!
If you’re making non-espresso coffee, start by selecting your grind size by turning the outer ring. Oh, and don’t forget that handy grind size guide inside the hopper lid – it’ll help you get in the right zone.
Measure out your coffee beans then add them to the hopper. Once that’s done, it’s simply a case of sliding the catch cup under the dispensing chute and pressing the power button.
If you plan on using the Opus with your home espresso machine, make sure to insert the dosing cup into the catch cup before sliding it into place. Once the grind cycle is complete, place your portafilter on top of the cup, flip the whole shebang and tap the bottom of the cup before removing.
Fellow Opus Observations
As I mentioned earlier in this Fellow Opus review, I focused on the grinder’s supposed versatility throughout my testing. I’m happy to report that the Opus produces consistently superb results across the grind spectrum.
Sure, at the coarsest setting I did experience a decline in the uniformity of the grind size, but nothing major. Anyway, at the finest setting, the Opus produced powder that will please the pickiest of Turkish coffee aficionados.
The Fellow Opus really shines when grinding for pour over coffee. Seriously, I was able to produce stellar results with my Hario V60 with the suggested setting of 6. Moreover, a couple of notches coarser resulted in clean, complex coffee when I brewed with a Chemex.
Naturally, I was most excited to test the Opus out with an espresso machine, namely my beloved Rancilio Silvia. Listen, I’ll cut right to the chase: the Fellow Opus works great for espresso. You can really dial it in for ultra-precision results. And once I’d figured it out, I was able to pull some really tasty shots.
However, the inner adjustment ring can quickly get confusing and it’s easy to lose track of where you are. This is because when you move the inner ring one way, the outer ring moves in the opposite direction.
As you can imagine, this is counterintuitive and frustrating. The solution? Write down any changes you’ve made so you don’t get lost!
By the way, I was more than pleasantly surprised by the grinder’s noise levels. And by that I mean there was no screeching or painful high pitched harmonics. I won’t say the Fellow Opus is whisper-quiet, but it’s certainly pretty low-key in the noise department.
Fellow Opus Cleaning
In my cleaning and descaling guide I devote a whole section to grinder maintenance. Sure, we all know how important it is to clean drip coffee makers and super automatic espresso machines. However, I feel like grinders often get overlooked, which is a real shame. After all, it doesn’t take much to keep a coffee grinder in good working order, but you do have to put in a little work. Just a little.
With that in mind, make sure to wipe down the Fellow Opus’ exterior with a damp cloth to keep it looking great. While you’re at it, give the catch cup a quick rinse every so often.
The most important thing to take care of is the grinder’s conical burrs.
You’ll find comprehensive instructions on how to remove the burrs in the user manual. I’d recommend doing this once a month and brushing them off to remove any buildup. Oh, and remember to never use water to clean the burrs!
Every once in a while you should go a little deeper by using Urnex Grindz to clean the whole burr set. This will take care of any stubborn buildup that brushing can’t fix.
Fellow Opus Specifications
|Fellow Opus Grinder|
|Name||Opus Conical Burr Grinder|
|Type||Electric coffee grinder|
|Grinder||40 mm stainless steel conical burrs|
|Weight||4.0 lb / 1.8 kg|
|Dimensions||10.6 x 5.1 x 8.3 in / 27.0 x 13.0 x 21.0 cm|
|Suitable for||All brewing methods|
|Accessories||User manual, catch cup, cleaning brush, portafilter dosing funnel|
|Current price on Amazon||$195.00|
Fellow Opus vs Other Grinders
Let’s continue this Fellow Opus review by seeing how it fares in comparison to a couple of other coffee grinders.
Fellow Opus vs Gen 2 Ode Grinder
While the manufacturer’s original Ode Brew grinder missed the mark slightly, the Fellow Gen 2 Ode grinder really delivers. Featuring durable metal housing and commercial-grade 64-millimeter flat burrs, the Gen 2 Ode is an absolutely marvelous grinder. That is, as long as you don’t expect to make espresso with the thing.
Seriously, Fellow has been very clear that the Ode is designed for manual brewing methods only. For $345.00, you might feel like the Fellow Ode is too expensive, given its limitations. However, pour-over enthusiasts can’t say enough good things about how well the grinder performs.
See Also: Fellow Gen 2 Ode Review 2023
Fellow Opus vs Baratza Encore
Again, the Baratza Encore will struggle to maintain consistency and precision at the finer end of the grind spectrum. Still, this baby is one of my favorite grinders of all time.
The Baratza Encore is a simple, minimalist burr grinder with 40 adjustment settings. Like the Fellow Opus, the Encore has a simple start/stop button and that’s it. What’s more, the Baratza Encore costs just $119.95, making it even more affordable than the Fellow Opus coffee grinder.
At the end of the day, the Encore is a great choice if you don’t want to make espresso. Otherwise, spend a little more and go with the Fellow Opus.
See Also: Baratza Encore Hands-On Review 2023
Fellow Opus vs Other Grinders Comparison Chart
|Fellow Opus Grinder||Fellow Gen 2 Ode Grinder||Baratza Encore|
|Name||Opus Conical Burr Grinder||Gen 2 Ode Brew Grinder||Encore|
|Type||Electric coffee grinder||Electric coffee grinder||Electric coffee grinder|
|Grinder||40 mm stainless steel conical burrs||64 mm stainless steel flat burrs||40 mm stainless steel conical burrs|
|Power||140 watt||140 watt||240 watt|
|Voltage||120 volt||120 volt||110 volt|
|Weight||4.0 lb / 1.8 kg||10.1 lb / 4.6 kg||6.8 lb / 3.1 kg|
|Dimensions||10.6 x 5.1 x 8.3 in / 27.0 x 13.0 x 21.0 cm||9.4 x 9.5 x 5.7 in / 24.8 x 24.0 x 10.5 cm||13.8 x 4.7 x 6.3 in / 35.0 x 12.0 x 16.0 cm|
|Suitable for||All brewing methods||Pour-over, Chemex, drip machines, French press, cold brew||French press, AeroPress, Chemex, cold brew|
|Accessories||User manual, catch cup, cleaning brush, portafilter dosing funnel||User manual, catch cup, cleaning brush||User manual, grounds cup|
|Current price on Amazon||$195.00||$345.00||$119.95|
Verdict: Fellow Opus Review
Versatile and affordable
A game-changing burr grinder
Suitable for all brewing methods
Easy to use
Having reached the end of my Fellow Opus review, I can confidently say this is one of the most versatile grinders I’ve ever used. For a lot of coffee enthusiasts, the Opus grinder really could be a game changer.
I mean, coffee drinkers are always on the lookout for a grinder that can perform for both espresso and for French press. And the Fellow Opus can deliver that dream scenario for under $200.
The Fellow Opus isn’t without its flaws, but it certainly lives up to expectations. That said, I wonder how effective it’d be as a grinder for those who drink espresso first thing, pour-over mid-morning and French press in the afternoon. While undeniably versatile, using it for both espresso and other preparation methods might get frustrating.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my Fellow Opus grinder review. Have any of you guys used this hot new grinder yet? Tell me about your experiences in the comments section!
Fellow Opus Review FAQ
While the Fellow Opus has a substantial price tag, the grinder more than makes up for it through high performance and ease of use.
Compared to other grinders, the Fellow Opus is very quiet and produces no high-pitched noise.
Thanks to its inner adjustment ring, the Fellow Opus is capable of the micro-adjustments necessary for dialing in espresso.
The Fellow Opus has been designed to grind for all brew methods, from espresso to cold brew. However, the Ode 2 isn’t suitable for use as an espresso grinder.