The cult favourite Niche Zero met it’s match in 2021 with the inception of the now-famed DF64 Grinder. Offering comparable quality at a fraction of the cost, it is no wonder the Chinese-manufactured grinder has been making waves in the global coffee-making community in the past few years.
Keeping up with the high-turnover market of prosumer coffee gadgets, FL Coffee has just released a reinvigorated version of their flagship product in the third quarter of 2023. The new version builds upon a substantial database of feedback to make up for the inadequacies in the Original model.
The Original DF64 has been re-released in multiple minor updates (which users have named DF64 V1, DF64 V2 etc.) since it was first released and we were introduced to a few of its cousins (DF64E, DF64P, DF83 and DF64V) throughout the years. But the DF64 Gen 2 is the first time the signature model experienced a 360 degree makeover.
This grinder has already been rebranded and sold by vendors who value add to the product with improved after-sales service and warranties eg Turin and Solo.
It is surprising that a coffee grinder made by a company that is almost unheard of, and manufactured in China, has picked up speed the way the DF64 had done in the past 3+ years. This is to say that the DF64 has given the community good reasons to love it:
1) To cater to the preferences of the modern coffee community, Single dosers are one of the most highly sought after brewing gear at the moment. And most models that offer a comparable performance are nowhere near as affordable as the DF64 Original.
2) The DF64’s price range puts it in a league of its own in terms of competition in the global market. It was also released before the era of “a-new-coffee-thing-coming-out-every-week”. It was pretty much the pioneer of affordable, flat burr, single dose grinders.
3) It gave the consumer much room for mods and upgrades, like with 64mm SSP Burrs. Being fitted with one of the most common burr sizes on the market meant the flexibility of switching burrs.
4) It was released when everyone was desperate for a new hobby and spent more time at home than they ever had (ie. Covid)
Weighing in at 7kg, with a footprint of about 20cm x 10cm, the DF64 Gen 2 is built robustly, giving it relative dependabilty and stability in useage.
The 250W Motor has had no issues with running with the various burrs, even at some of the finest useable grind sizes (ie. Turkish Coffee)
If you spared yourself the trouble of scrutinizing the Gen 2 and the Original DF64 side by side, you’ll notice little difference. But you’ll just find it a much better looking machine. Here’s why:
- Elimination of vinyl wrapping for a cleaner and more elegant finish.
- Repositioning of the Power button to a more sensible, ergonomic location.
- Accessories wise, similar to the DF83, the DF64 Gen 2 comes with an aluminium catch cup, steel dosing ring and wooden lid. All contributing to a more high-end looking design.
- Antipopcorn Disc: Prevents beans bouncing out of the chute during the grinding process and can improve grinding time
- Speed: Antipopcorn Disc and a redesigned burr chamber massively increases the feeding rate of the burrs. At 1400 RPM, the Gen 2 can manage a typical double espresso dose in 7 - 11 Seconds.
- The adjustment collar is now flushed with the rest of the machine
- A redesigned Clump-crusher coupled with a plasma generator not only eliminates a good amount of the static mess experienced with the Original, it also reduces retention.
Taste (Subjective and not solely dependent on grinder)
In comparison to the original DF64, the new burrs provided brighter acidity and a taste profile more in line with the tastes of modern coffee enthusiasts. The improvements are most significant in filter application, and for light to medium roasts.
For espresso, the Gen 2 Burrs provide a more well rounded expression of flavours with a stronger emphasis on the primary stage of extraction, showcasing acidity over a more cohesive overall flavour. But of course, with the manipulation of other factors in extraction, we can also get a shot with identifiable flavour layering and good body.
We would highly recommend considering the SSP Burr Upgrade.
SSP Burr Upgrades
Multipurpose Burrs: Suited for pourover and fast flowing shots that provide a modern taste profile
Sweet Lab (Cast) Burrs: Suited for Pourover and Capable of traditional espresso with good body.
High Uniformity: Espresso-Focused for consistency and Clean shots.
SSP burrs are a major game changer in your daily routine.
Some Limitations of the DF64 Gen 2
Unfortunately, this grinder is still a little noisier than the DF64V.
The DF64 Gen 2 inherited the incredible bang-for-buck offered by the Original DF64 with marked improvement.
For the price, it is a very serviceable grinder and is capable of satisfying much more than elementary needs of the hobbyists and serious home baristas.