OXO Brew Conical Burr Coffee Grinder Review
If you’re a coffee aficionado then you surely must understand the importance of a good burr grinder to an excellent-grade cup of coffee. Even if you have the best brewing skills in the world and the aid of the most premium brewing machine, you wouldn’t be able to do much with badly-processed coffee grounds at hand.
After doing some market research, I’ve found the OXO Conical Burr Grinder to meet all of the requirements of a quality coffee grinder. That explains today’s OXO Brew Conical Burr Coffee Grinder review, which I hope will be able to give you a concise, but in-depth view into this machine.
OXO Conical Burr Coffee Grinder Review
It’s best that we get this out of the way immediately: this burr grinder is, by no means, affordable. The OXO Brew Conical Burr Grinder costs as much as some starter coffee brewing machines.
However, the well-thought-out design and all of the capabilities that the machine offers in return are worth the asking price for a lot of people.
At the heart of the OXO burr grinder are 40mm stainless steel conical burrs that promise consistent, uniform grounds. And according to many OXO Conical Burr Coffee Grinder reviews from consumers and professional coffee-makers alike, the machine is able to fulfill this promise.
The machine has a large hopper capable of holding around 0.75 pounds of whole coffee beans. Once they have been processed by the burrs, the final coffee grounds are deposited into a container that can hold around 0.25 pounds of fresh grounds (good for about 12 cups).
One of the things that the OXO grinder is most appreciated for is the numerous grind settings that it comes with. All in all, 15 settings are available. Depending on your taste and how you usually prepare your coffee, you can adjust the OXO grinder to produce fine grinds (espresso), medium grinds (drip coffee), or coarser grinds for French press.
In addition to the 15 major settings, the machine also comes with several micro settings for you to fine-tune the grounds production.
The one-touch start timer dial on the front of the machine can save the last setting that you used. While it’s nothing special in reality (the dial just stays wherever you leave it), it’s an appreciable feature that contributes to the machine’s overall ease of use.
Last but not least, the outward design of the OXO burr grinder is excellent. The whole machine is cast mostly from palish stainless steel, giving it a very premium, luxurious feel. It’s attractive enough, in fact, that I’m certain that the burr grinder will become a decent decorative piece in your kitchen space.
With all of the basics addressed, let’s go a bit deeper into this machine.
Grinding performance is regarded by most users—both amateurs and professionals—as excellent for the price. When it’s spurred to produce balanced grinds like medium-fine, true medium, or medium-coarse grinds, the OXO burr grinder can do a very good job.
It’s able to keep a good portion (about half) of the grinds in just the correct size. People are happy with the dose sizes of this machine, too, which is quite consistent. Plus, if you’re a stickler for coarse grinds and French presses, I’m glad to inform you that the machine has been noted to produce very little sediment (coffee dust).
Compared to many in-class coffee grinders, the OXO is among those with higher chances of bringing out your coffee beans’ innate flavors. Surely, it’s not the best and I can think of a few that can do a tad bit better, but for the price, this level of performance is commendable.
Nevertheless, the OXO burr grinder doesn’t do well with extremes. Specifically, it will immediately show its deficiency when you crank the grind setting collar all the way down to the finest setting or all the way up to the coarsest.
The finest grounds this machine can produce will not be able to satisfy the requirements of high-end espresso brewers on the market. At the coarsest settings, the resulting grounds have been observed to be relatively inconsistent, so it won’t be able to do justice to premium French presses, either.
Like I mentioned earlier, the strength of this burr grinder lies wholly in the middle where, fortunately, most people’s tastes are at. If you personally prefer a more specialty-oriented brew, you must instead look to higher-tier grinders.
40mm Stainless Steel Conical Burrs
The 40mm conical burrs inside of this OXO grinder can maintain a highly consistent grind speed, which translates to a more even ground down the line. The stable grind speed can help with preventing heat build-up, which can drastically alter the properties (and final taste) of the coffee grounds.
In their OXO Brew conical burr coffee grinder reviews, some people have expressed discontent at the machine’s stainless steel blades, in favor of ceramic blades. However, the stainless steel burrs are the reason why the grinder can achieve such great prestige in the first place.
While stainless steel blades don’t last or stay sharp for nearly as long as their ceramic counterparts, they have excellent precision. This is chiefly how the OXO grinder can grind so uniformly despite its low sticker price.
It’s been noted by some users that while the top burr is removable and can be easily cleaned, the bottom burr is not. Cleaning the bottom burr is still entirely possible, but it’s a little bit inconvenient.
This OXO burr grinder doesn’t earn a very good score when it comes to noise. All the reviews seem to universally agree that it’s very noisy.
In actuality, the sound volume of the machine isn’t all that high. However, because the motor makes a grating high-pitched noise, I can see how it might spark a migraine in some people.
The machine only has two interactive controls: the grind setting collar and the timer dial.
The grind setting collar, like its name suggests, will allow you to change the machine’s grind power. Twist and align the arrow on the machine with the preferred setting written on the collar and that’s about all you have to do.
All of the settings are written and portrayed very clearly on the collar and are also sectioned into clear-cut categories (Fine, Medium, and Coarse.) It shouldn’t take you long to become accustomed to the machine’s operation.
Aside from the collar, there is also a timer dial. I’ve discussed bits and pieces about it in the review and fortunately there isn't much more to it. Set the grinding time that you want, press the button, and the machine will get to work immediately. Since the button doesn’t reset itself, it can “remember” your last setting and you don’t have to readjust it next time around.
These two buttons are all there is to the interface of the OXO conical burr grinder. It will be the perfect starter coffee grinder for those who are new to coffee-making and for lovers of minimalism.
High-Capacity Bean Hopper
The bean hopper, as mentioned in the overview, can hold 0.75 pounds of whole coffee beans. This is a fairly decent volume that will be able to appease most users, even those with high demands.
An interesting feature of this machine’s bean hopper is that its transparent cover has a UV-blocking tint. UV light can expedite the oxidation process of the beans and ruin the flavors. However, because there shouldn’t be any significant UV light sources in the average household, I find this addition quite perplexing.
The only way for this feature to be useful is if you leave the grinder next to the window in direct sunlight. This feature is not a “Go-Ahead” signal for you to go and put the machine right in the face of the sun. You should still make sure that the machine is in a sunless place at all times.
Once the coffee beans have been processed, the ready-for-brewing grounds will be deposited into a stainless steel cup. This cup can hold around 0.25 pounds of fresh grounds, or around 12 cups of coffee.
Other than the high capacity, the grind container has received some flak due to the messiness and its shaky design.
The first issue reported is that the cup seems to be statically charged, which causes some of the finer coffee granules to stick to the cup. When you try to pour the grounds into your brewing machine, some of it will be left behind in the cup. You will either have to leave them or manually scrape them off, which is a huge bother. It’ll also be problematic when it comes time to clean the cup, too.
The second issue isn’t wholly the fault of the cup, but it’s related. Coffee grounds typically accumulate in the chute of the machine and when you remove the cup, a lot of the grounds are spilled. It’s both wasteful and messy.
Third, and most serious, is that some machines come with very loose cups that may shake themselves out of the machine while the grinder is working. This is regarded as a manufacturing defect since a good majority of users said that their ground cups have a solid lock onto the machine. Still, with a small (but still significant) minority reporting the problem, I must give you a heads-up just in case.
Make sure to test your grounds container carefully and if the issue is present in your machine, call customer service and use your warranty.
Customer Reviews Of the OXO Brew Conical Burr Coffee Grinder
This is one of the most popular models on the market and as such, it’s been reviewed by quite a lot of users who have had hands-on experience with it. Reading the numerous OXO coffee grinder reviews can shed light onto how good this coffee grinder truly is. You may even be able to learn some interesting tidbits about the machine, as well!
Some Alternatives Worth Considering
If you feel like the entry-level OXO Conical Burr Grinder above isn’t the right one for you, I have some alternatives lined up here for consideration.
Just like OXO, Baratza is a celebrated brand among coffee lovers and professional brewers. Their grinders are generally known to have high performance, are reliable, and can deliver greater value than their price tag seems to indicate.
Among the various popular Baratza grinders, the entry-level Baratza Encore conical burr coffee grinder is definitely the most notable of the lot. Virtually all of the reviews—professionally-written or otherwise—spoke highly of its extraordinary balance both in terms of performance and design.
Baratza Encore conical burr coffee grinder Via: Amazon
The Baratza Encore is capable of producing quite consistent grounds, with many of the tests indicating that its burrs are able to maintain a nice sizing for as much as 70% of its grinds. This is a great ratio for such an affordable machine.
It has 40mm conical stainless steel burrs to thank for its high performance. The rotation speed of the burrs (around 550 RPM) is low enough that it doesn’t produce a lot of harmful heat during the grinding process. It also effectively reduces the noise level and static, as well.
And speaking of noise level, Baritza mentioned that the gears in the grinding mechanism are made from 15% glass-filled thermoplastic. Compared to traditional gears, these are supposedly more quiet and made to last longer. Now, I don’t know how the sciences actually hold up, but the consensus among all users and tests is that the machine is indeed very quiet while it’s working, as well as being very reliable.
Just like the OXO conical burr grinder above, the Baratza Encore seems to have a knack for mid-size grinds. It performs best when the size setting is set somewhere in the middle. The closer you push the machine to either extremes (very fine or very coarse,) the less consistent its performance. Nonetheless, if you wish for medium-fine or medium-coarse grinds for your espresso machines or French press, the Encore will still do the job satisfactorily.
Much like the OXO conical burr grinder, you can control the size of the grind via an adjustment collar with 40 markings. Compared to the OXO, which has very clear markings on the collar, the Encore is a bit less user-friendly. Since the collar only shows the grind-size numbering, you’ll need to read the manual and do some research before you can use this one if you’re new to the coffee-grinding business.
Other than the adjustment collar, you have an ON/OFF switch and a pulse grinding button on the front. There is no timer function.
The bean hopper of the Encore can hold about 0.5 pounds of raw coffee beans. Once processed, the grinds are dropped down into the grind container (capable of holding 0.3 pounds).
In terms of cleanliness, the Baratza Encore is a definite upgrade from the OXO grinder. While it’s working, the machine doesn’t spit out any coffee dust. Most of its parts aren’t prone to being statically charged, so it’s markedly easier to clean this grinder than the OXO and less messy to use, too. The chute of the machine also doesn’t spill any excess grinds.
I have nothing to complain about regarding the machine’s overall aesthetics, either. In spite of its entry-level price tag, the vacuum has an undoubtedly premium design encased in a sleek, black-finished shell.
While the machine does look good, the all-plastic body has made a lot of people concerned about its durability. Fortunately, the Encore is made from high-quality plastic and is capable of standing up to quite a lot of abuse. Baratza has also been known to be very receptive to customers. Thus, if there’s a broken part or anything wrong with the machine at all, just contact their customer service and they’ll sort it out for you.
A bit more expensive than the OXO burr grinder, it’s a good alternative burr grinder to consider if you’re willing to splurge a little bit more.
The Virtuoso+ is Baratza’s mid-level machine. It distinguishes itself among other Baratza grinders by having a decent mix between a consumer-friendly pricing and professional performance and design.
Virtuoso+ is the updated version to the original Virtuoso that was released all the way back in 2005. In this newer version, Baratza took out the analog timer switch and put a digital control panel in its place.
Baratza Virtuoso+ Via: Amazon
Other than this small change, there aren’t many other differences between either version. If you’re a veteran coffee brewer and have had the opportunity to own the original Virtuoso and liked your experience, then you won’t be liking the Virtuoso+ any less now.
All of the Baratza Virtuoso reviews indicated that the grind consistency of the machine is great. With over 40 different grind settings, you’re given a lot of control here and can produce grinds of decent quality for any type of brew. However, I still find the Virtuoso+ to be best at the mid-size grinds and consistency still deteriorates the closer you get to the extremes.
You will still be able to find some larger, inconsistent chunks in the grinds when you crank the grinder up to the coarsest settings. I’m glad to report that in spite of this, the resulting grinds will still be of good enough grade for French pressed-coffee or cold brews.
Finer grinds done by the Virtuoso+ are generally regarded as consistent. Although it’s not of the best quality, you can still feed the grinds into espresso machines and fully expect a delicious cup thereafter.
All of the physical components of the Virtuoso+ are similar to the Encore. You have 40mm conical steel burrs, 0.5-pound bean hopper, and 0.3-pound grind container. But like I said earlier, the electronic control panel is a significant departure from earlier analog models. Via the screen, you can control the grind setting and the timer, along with other important functions.
The machine runs quiet like the less expensive Encore and has just as good durability and reliability. Add in the premium design with many luxurious metal details and the excellent customer service from the company and you have a fairly well-rounded package for the price.
With this OXO Brew Conical Burr Coffee Grinder review, I hope that you have found the best coffee grinder, perfect for your home and yourself. Though not as well-appreciated as brewing machines, your new grinder will definitely be able to make a significant, positive difference in your morning coffee.