The DF64 made waves as the first of many “Niche Killer” grinders for the home with 64mm flat burrs, a relatively smooth albeit messy workflow, great performance, and an attractive price tag.
But it still couldn’t hold a candle to the clean workflow of the Niche Zero and definitely lacked in the overall build quality department. Following the DF64 we’ve seen a plethora of grinders with new ones dropping seemingly every week, all trying to achieve this “race to the bottom” with the best price to performance ratio.
With the Gen 2 release of the DF64, Turin has truly struck that sweet spot in the price to performance ratio while improving upon the build quality with workflow improvements and is easily my new go-to recommendation for an all-rounder grinder capable of both espresso and filter in a $400 package.
This unit was sent to me by Espresso Outlet for review although no money exchanged hands and I am not being compensated by them in any way. Review my ethics statement here.
So first comparing the original DF64 to the new DF64 Gen 2, the build differences are minimal on the exterior. Although I don’t have the black version of the Gen 1 to compare to, the exterior finishes are quite different.
The new DF64 Gen 2 has a much more premium feeling exterior with a smooth matte black powder coated finish. They’ve simplified the exterior components with this almost unibody-like design.
All the tolerances feel a little tighter, the spout now has a more integrated look similar to the DF83, the rotating collar is more premium now with an all metal build that doesn’t feel flimsy, and the button placement has been moved to the side.
In fact, as I’m going through the new features, this feels a lot like a shrunken DF83 which is a really good thing because that was one of my favorite grinders that I have tested.
You still have this metal adjustable ring that acts as an indicator for your grind size, and you still have a bellows system which has improved seals around the edges resulting in some serious air movement out the funnel.
Opening up the grind chamber you can now really see some improvements (in the video). A lot less wasted space, more premium feeling machining work, and an easily swappable set of burrs.
My grinder did come with some alignment issues although this was easily fixable with some aluminum shims. And the mostly tool-less disassembly process is quite nice for cleaning the grind chamber. The only thing you really need is a screwdriver to remove the burrs and that’s only if you need to align it, swap it out, or want to go in for a super deep clean.
Workflow here has improved so much. The addition of a deionizer helps minimize chaff and static to a minimum, and retention here is seriously good - nearly zero. In fact, the bellows can sometimes cause a bit more of a mess than it's worth using. But, you should still use them in between shots or doses.
I use the DF64 bellows system after getting my dosage out just a little bit, to clear the chute and chaff.
I’ve noticed that bellowing hard into a cup full of grinds does push so much air that it can blow some of the grinds out of the cup (and cause a mess).
And speaking of the cup, I am glad that they have made it metal instead of plastic and even added this little ring on top for a cleaner workflow. Although that does lead me into a few nitpicks I have with this grinder.
This grinder is LOUD. Unfortunately, this grinder is still not the quiet grind experience you might be seeking.
Like, you know how at concerts sometimes it's so loud that your ears physically start to cringe almost, blocking out some sound?
That’s what this grinder sounds like up close. It’s a very high pitched sound that does pierce the ears, especially when grinding for espresso.
Another thing that doesn’t contribute to a pleasant sound profile at all is using the ring on top of the dosing cup, as the vibrations from the grinder also cause the ring to vibrate against the cup, and the metal on metal contact leads to even more unpleasant noise.
Despite supposedly having a deionizer built in, the grounds coming out were still on the chaffier side, especially with lighter roasts, but nothing a little RDT didn’t help with.
Retention with the little plastic chute was annoying, so I removed it altogether and found better results that way, though I did notice that removing it has caused my grounds to unevenly come out on the right side of the chute now instead of centered, but not a big deal as long as it makes it into the dosing cup.
My preferred method of using this grinder has been to RDT and gently use the bellows afterwards, followed by bellowing in between doses to clear out the fines/chaff in the chute or grind chamber.
The DF64 hits the sweet spot, literally. I’ve been brewing beans from Tiny Arms lately, a roaster local to Massachusetts, and the lighter roasts have had a great amount of clarity and an almost juice-like texture.
Sweetness is really pulled through in the cup with very minimal muddiness. The texture is rich and velvety which I really like.
You won’t get a level of clarity of something like the DF83 or Niche Duo, at least not with these stock burrs, and generally I would steer you towards larger flat burrs if you want something with a more tea-like body and a lighter mouthfeel and higher clarity.
In the espresso realm, shots were similarly a great middle ground. Generally, I’ve found that a lot of 64mm flat burr grinders have become the norm of a burr set that strikes a balance of something that’s different from conical while not being too far away on the huge grinder end with ultra high clarity profile shots and brews.
It was more challenging to dial in shots due to the burrs still not being super perfectly aligned, which honestly is just a skill issue on my part.
This grinder is my current choice for a price to performance ratio. At $400, you’re not going to break the bank quite yet while still receiving a very capable grinder that pulls both yummy espresso and brews fruity bean juice.
The Gen 2, with the cleaner workflow, new materials, and better build - really makes this grinder a no brainer decision in the sub $500 price range.
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