Clog free and static free. Outperforms it's price range by far. Good job, Bodum!
Positive Product Points
Very solid grinder for the price range. Avoids two very common problems with cheaper burr grinders: it doesn't clog up with oily beans, and has no static problems. It's also quiet, fast, and produces a decently consistent grind for it's price range.
Negative Product Points
Operates on a timer, and the same setting can produce varying amounts of grounds (+/- 1 tbsp).
This past year I went through two conical burr grinders. The first was a Hario Mini-Mill. It was okay, but needed modification to produce a consistant grind. Plus, my wife and I brew our coffee strong (two tablespoons per 6 oz of water), so it was a chore grinding all that coffee each day. Next, I bought a Cuisinart CBM-18C (a model down from the "Supreme") off eBay. What a disappointment! We drink dark roast, which means the beans are oily, and the Cuisinart clogged up on any setting finer than coarse. And it's coarse grind was terrible- typical cheap ginder inconsistency. Not to mention that the plastic container that caught the grinds had the typical static problems, leaving a big area to clean up each time we used it.
I didn't think I'd find anything better in the price range, so attempted to modify the Cusinart, thinking if I could slow the motor down, the beans wouldn't get so hot and might not clog as bad. Suffice it to say that experiment didn't go so well, putting us back in the market for a new grinder. After a few months of being stuck with flat-tasting French Press coffee, I was ready.
I did tons of review reading online, and everything I read told me that if I wanted to get past the two big problems I had with the Cuisinart (clogging with oily beans, and static), I'd need to shell out a fair bit more money than I was prepared for. Then I chanced across the Bodum Bistro. I read some positive reviews, and the one thing that perked my ears was that it's supposed to be good with oily beans. And the price was just about right.
It didn't take long to fall in love with this thing. It's relatively quiet, and fast. It does great with oily beans, thanks to a set of plastic spokes mounted beneath the burr that keep the grounds moving into the container below. That container happens to be made of glass, which is static free. If you make a mess with the Bistro, it's because you spilled grounds, not because static was throwing them all around the kitchen. The grounds themselves are really consistent, especially for a grinder in this price range.
The only negative is probably unavoidable. The grinder runs on a timer, and I wish that it produced the same amount of grounds each time. It doesn't. There's a variation of a tablespoon or so in the amount of grounds that come out. That's okay, it just means I need to measure it out into the pot instead of dumping the whole container in. Not a big deal.
Bought it from a department store (Home Outfitters), so not much to comment on. I think they were charging a bit too much, but we had a gift card.
Three Month Followup
One Year Followup
Okay, one year in, here are some additional thoughts:
1) This machine continues to perform solidly. We purchased a second unit for use at my workplace, where it grinds for about 24 cups of coffee every day. Both machines have continued to be solid performers without any hiccups. Were one of them to break, I would go get another one without any hesitation.
2) I am lazy and very rarely clean the machine out properly. I also grind French/Espresso roast every single day. In any other machine, this would be a recipe for continual clogging, but I love how the Bistro has not clogged up on me once in the whole year.
3) The glass container that catches the grinds is static free, as previously mentioned. However, there are two hiccups I've noticed. First, the plastic lid on the container (which the beans pass through) is not necessarily anti-static, and the few bits of grinds that cling to this plastic lid can tend to scatter if you're not careful.
Second, the glass container itself is not oleophobic, and that means that some grinds do stick to the side as a result (esp. when grinding oily beans). I think some other reviewers of this product have confused this with static cling, but it's definitely a result of the oil making the grinds sticky.
The only negatives I've noticed is that neither the lid on the hopper nor the lid on the glass container fit incredibly well. The lid on the hopper has a seal, but it doesn't look or feel very air-tight, and so I don't store beans in the hopper. I only put enough beans in at a time for what I want to grind. The lid on the glass container is less of an issue; the body of the grinder keeps the lid pressed down when it's in use, so it's not a functional problem.
Still, after a year, I'm still a huge fan and would definitely purchase this grinder again.