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Bodum Antigua Grinder - Alexandre Enkerli's Review
Posted: January 21, 2006, 11:35am
review rating: 0.0
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Bodum Antigua Grinder
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Arrow The Bodum Antigua Grinder has 37 Reviews
Arrow The Bodum Antigua Grinder has been rated 6.64 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since November 30, 2001.
Arrow Bodum Antigua Grinder reviews have been viewed 173,987 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Joel Schulz 9.50
Jeff Greenberg 9.00
Thomas Bafia 9.00
Vic Lam 8.00
Brian Browder 8.00

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 7.4
Product Reviewed: Antigua
Manufacturer: Bodum Quality: 7
Average Price: Varies Usability: 7
Price Paid: $75.00 Cost vs. Value 8
Where Bought: Danesco Aesthetics 7
Owned for: 1 month Overall 8
Writer's Expertise: I love coffee Would Buy Again: Yes
Similar Items Owned:
Bottom Line: Great entry-level grinder!
Positive Product Points

Decent grind at decent price. Little to no static. Can be used directly with portafilter.

Negative Product Points

Hard to measure amount of grounds (quantity control). Grind setting somewhat cumbersome. Bit flimsy

Detailed Commentary

Had been using blade grinders for a long time. (Sorry!)
This made all the difference. It really enhanced my espresso making experience. Using this grinder, started pulling about the best shots with my espresso machine (Saeco Via Veneto). In fact, it made me perceive the limits of this espresso machine. There's probably room for improvement with this setup, but not much.
Obviously, this is an entry-level grinder. As such, it does a very good job.
The grind itself at espresso level seems to be quite decent. Been pouring these 25s shots with normal tamping, getting decent dark crema.
It doesn't seem to generate any static and there doesn't seem to be a signficant amount of grounds kept in the grinder after grinding.
Contrary to some other entry-level grinders, it's possible to use it directly with a portafilter. That is, instead of using the ground coffee container, you can put a portafilter (or filter basket/funnel for a moka pot) directly under the spout. At least, it works with a domestic portafilter.

Quantity control is somewhat tricky for those not used to these grinders. The knob's course spans a long empty space, meaning that when you turn the knob almost a quarter of the way through, the grinder still doesn't turn on. The grinder doesn't have a way to stop the grind so if you turn the knob too far, you should "simply turn the rotary knob back to the left until the appliance switches off." Problem is, that turn can take a lot of time meaning that you grind much more than you wanted.
Eventually decided that the best way to control quantity was to bypass the quantity control timer. Been doing this by turning the knob to the position where it just starts the motor running and holding the knob in that position until the portafilter is full. It's a bit hard to assess when the grind is done if you don't see the portafilter's basket while grinding. Been doing a kind of double dosing and double tamping by grinding enough to have the basket about two thirds of the way full, tamping lightly, finishing the grind with a short dose, tamping normally. With the Via Veneto, this seems to produce the best results. Overdosing is pretty hard on the Via Veneto. The machine basically stalls for a while, complaining loudly, and will take 35 to 40s for a short double. This has less to do with the grinder but it seems necessary to adapt grinding method to other factors.

Setting the level of grind ("setting the grinding control") is a bit cumbersome in that "the grinding control  must only be operated when the motor is running" if the hopper is full. Not sure this really applies when the hopper is less than full but given the way this setup is done, chances are that it's still an issue then. (The bean container serves as the grind level control and it does so by adjusting the distance between the burrs where beans are in contact with the burrs.) Have been adjusting the grind with beans in the container and the motor running. Which means that you may get a small amount of grounds at the other grind setting and that the grind procedure is somewhat more complex. Turn the quantity control knob, rotate the bean container to the desired level, assess the quantity of grounds, turn the knob back. For a single espresso, that's a lot of steps for a short amount of time. And if you're holding the portafilter and holding the quantity control knob while doing those other steps, you need an extra hand!
On the other hand, the grind level itself doesn't seem to be that much of an issue to this somewhat inexperienced user. The grind seems relatively consistent at espresso level and although a finer grind might improve the espresso, it seems quite decent for the rest of my setup. Same for moka pot grind.
Didn't really try coarser grinds. Been using homeroasted and commercially roasted beans of different bean sizes. Haven't tried decaf beans. Results seem rather consistent across bean types and roast levels.
The instruction manual is useful and the translation is quite good in both French and English. It doesn't go into any detail about what the quantity control should be set to when doing a double, for instance.

Overall, the grinder seems to be made for coarser grind levels (drip, Bodum-type French press...) but does a decent job at moka and even espresso levels. Of course, for those who can afford it, a more expensive grinder would do a better job with expensive espresso machines.

Buying Experience

Received as a gift. Buyer was at a Danesco store here in the Montreal region and noticed it on display there at $180 (Cdn.). But it was also found in another aisle at $90(Cdn.), which is about the price for which it should sell, IMHO.
Haven't had a need for customer service.
Chances are that this grinder is among the easiest ones to find offline (along with Braun, of course).

Three Month Followup

Forgot to post one, it's now been a year. I don't remember anything specific at that time.

One Year Followup

Been using the grinder continuously since that time. It does perform as expected. Lent it to a friend recently and he wasn't able to get the grind fine enough for his espresso machine (Gaggia Classic, IIRC) so he opened the grinder and adjusted the finest grind level. It can now grind much finer and seems to be doing good enough a job for Turkish coffee.
Another thing is that the opening in the grinder from which the coffee drops into the container may get clogged with coffee grounds, on occasion. This happens because I tend to get the coffee to drop directly in a portafilter or moka pot basket and coffee grounds accumulate in that opening if I'm not careful. I just use a cotton swab to clean up the opening.
It seems like a good idea to get rid of residues in the grinder, once in a while. I heard on DoubleShot's AA Café podcast that they use rice to clean grinders and I've been running some rice through the grinder, on occasion, especially after grinding some quantities of Charbucks-style oily over-roast. It does seem to prevent off-flavours from residual oils and such.
All in all, I still enjoy this grinder and would still recommend it as a very decent entry-level grinder which can, in fact, make good espresso.
(In case it isn't clear, the grinder is perfect for moka pot and Brikka coffee.)

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Posted: January 21, 2006, 11:35am
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