Coffee aficionados everywhere swear by fresh ground coffee as part of their morning routine, and the Niche Zero grinder made me a believer as well. There’s nothing like the smell of coffee in the morning, but it’s so much better when you get to smell the beans freshly prepared for the brew. The Niche Zero makes this an incredibly easy process for single-dose specialty coffee, and I can definitely recommend the machine. But is it worth the price?
Overview of the Niche Zero
From first glance, the Niche Zero sets itself apart from other coffee grinders. Available in both light and dark coloring, the aesthetic is leagues ahead of most coffee grinders out there. From glossy metal body to the real wood legs and dosing cup perch, the Niche Zero easily fits into a wide variety of kitchen styles.
On the right side of the machine is the ON switch, a tactile metal nub that only works when the lid of the grinder is closed. While running, Niche Zero noise levels are comparatively low, and while it might not be easy to have a conversation next to the machine while it’s on, the whirring of the burrs is a pleasantly low rumble.
The dosing cup provided with the Niche Zero is a fantastic stainless steel cup capable of holding roughly 50 grams of coffee. If you’re considering the Niche Zero to grind beans for espresso, the dosing cup opening fits perfectly inside many portafilters, making it ideal for transferring the ground coffee without spillage.
Using the Niche Zero
The process of grinding coffee beans in this machine is fairly quick, taking roughly 30 seconds to grind 30 grams of coffee beans. Some popcorning of the beans extends this time from what it could be, but only by one or two seconds, and all the contents feed into the burrs without much effort. The entire hopper can hold more than 30 grams, but not too much more. Since I use 15 grams per dose of coffee, I might could squeeze three doses out of a single grind, but that would be the upper limit.
My morning of choice right now is pour over using medium roasted Puerto Rico beans, and the Chemex would struggle to handle brewing more than three doses at a time, so it’s a perfect situation for my home use. If you’re brewing larger batches of coffee at a time, the Niche Zero might require more than one grind to get it done, and while this is certainly doable for more rare occasions, you might consider another grinder if you use more than 45 grams of coffee per brew.
Adjusting the grind size is as simple as turning the silver hopper that hold the beans for grinding. On the coarser side, the machine will go to 50 and beyond and all the way below 10 for a really fine grind. Dialing in the Niche Zero will be a matter of personal preference based on your specific machine, the type of brew you’re making, and your preference of coffee taste. After several brews, I settled on 43 for my pour over setting of choice, and I’ve been enjoying delicious coffee ever since.
It’s called the Niche Zero because of there being zero grounds left inside the machine, and for that reason there is no knock mechanism to dislodge any grounds caught up inside the spout. I have found that grounds will occasionally remain inside the machine, but this seems to correlate to more oily coffee beans that stick to the dosing cup and every other surface. With a drier bean, which is the typical scenario for most coffee drinkers, myself included, there’s no noticeable grounds left inside the machine to knock out.
Is the Niche Zero worth the price?
While it’s difficult to find an automatic burr grinder for a budget price, the Niche Zero is pricier than some of its peers at £499, with the US price being roughly $625 at time of writing. Production is also fairly limited, with some users having to reserve the machine in batches and waiting a few months for the order to ship.
That said, it’s an incredibly well-built coffee grinder that produces excellent results. This was the single best addition to my coffee counter to date, pairing well with the Ember Mug² we reviewed, and I think specialty coffee lovers with the budget to accommodate this addition will feel the same way. From the coarser pour over grind setting to the finer espresso setting, the Niche Zero covers them all, and does a great job of it.