Question: What do you get when pairing a Norwegian maker of premium kitchen appliances with a World Barista Champion?
Answer: A coffee grinder is as beautiful as it is functional.
Wilfa Uniform grinder is a collaboration between appliance maker Wilfa and Tim Wendelboe, a famed barista and roaster. The former delivers build quality and attractive Nordic design, while the latter contributes a practical workflow and unique burr set.
Learn all about this grinder, soon to be available in North America for the first time, in this hands-on review.
Summary: The Wilfa Uniform Coffee Grinder
- Single-dosing grinder with 58 mm stainless steel flat burrs.
- Easy-to-use grind adjustment with 41 grind size settings.
- Beautiful minimalist design with exceptional build quality.
I especially value its perfect build quality, very good grind size consistency, and that it’s easy to maintain.
The Full Wilfa Uniform Grinder Review
The Wilfa Uniform grinder has been one of Europe’s most popular home coffee grinders since its release in 2019. As of spring 2023, it will be available to North Americans for the first time, so I was thrilled to get my hands on one to take it for a test drive.
The Wilfa Uniform grinder is the second collaboration between Norwegian kitchen appliance maker Wilfa and professional barista Tim Wendelboe (1). It follows in the footsteps of the entry-level Wilfa Svart, but the Wilfa Uniform is a significant upgrade with a far superior burr set.
Wilfa Uniform vs Uniform+
Before I get into the meat of the review, here is a quick note on the Wilfa Uniform versus the Wilfa Uniform+. They are identical grinders, but the lid of the Uniform+ doubles as a smart scale with 0.1 g accuracy. Using built-in Bluetooth technology, you can connect to an app full of useful grinding information, pour over recipes, and get tips from Wendelboe himself.
I am reviewing the Wilfa Uniform grinder, which sports a simple plastic lid, so that I won’t go into the scale’s functionality. But I will mention both models at the end of the review in discussing value for money, as they are priced very differently.
Design – 4/5
The Wilfa Uniform has an attractive and minimalist design, exactly what the phrase “Scandinavian design principles” brings to mind. It’s a simple cylindrical tower with no protruding knobs or display screens.
Wendelboe specifically requested this simplicity, which speaks to the importance of including a real barista and engineer in the design process (2).
A couple of years ago Wilfa called me and asked what it would take to make the best possible home grinder. I replied that all I wanted was big adjustable flat burrs and an on/off button.
The Wilfa Uniform grinder is available in a matte black or brushed stainless finish, and both are gorgeous. The Uniform will easily fit with any existing decor, at least aesthetically.
You might struggle a bit more to accommodate its height. While it has a relatively small footprint, measuring just 7.6″ in diameter, it is towering 15.6″ tall. It fits under upper cupboards but doesn’t leave much room to spare to get the lid on and off and add beans to the hopper. And this is a single-dosing grinder, so adding beans to the hopper is something you’ll be doing regularly.
For an idea of its size, here it is next to my Breville Bambino Plus espresso machine:
The power cord is relatively short at only 24 inches, so keep that in mind (or buy an extension cord) when considering where the Wilfa Uniform grinder will fit in your kitchen.
Durability – 5/5
I’ve been testing this grinder for about a month, so I can’t speak to the long-term durability of my model in particular, but it feels extremely well-built. At almost 9 pounds, it’s heavier than it looks, a testament to the excellent materials. Other than the lid and hopper, which are rigid plastic, the body is entirely cast aluminum and stainless steel.
Even the ground bin is stainless steel, which makes it durable and minimizes static and mess.
The simplicity of the design also contributes to its longevity. With minimal electronics and no display screen or added features, there is very little to go wrong.
Wilfa trusts the Uniform is well-made because they offer a best-in-class 5-year warranty. While it doesn’t cover things like normal wear and tear, misuse, or poor maintenance, it does protect you from any manufacturing defects.
Ease of Use – 4/5
The Wilfa Uniform grinder is foolproof. It only has one button; that’s pretty hard to mess up. The grind size is selected by spinning the collar around the hopper at the top, and it turns smoothly, with a satisfying tactile click at each set point.
In keeping with the spare Scandinavian design style, there are no extraneous features or settings to learn. Just this four-step process:
- Weigh the dose of coffee beans.
- Ensure the grind size setting is correct.
- Add the beans to the hopper.
- Turn the grinder on.
It has an automatic off function, so it will stop grinding when the hopper is empty. This is my favorite feature because I can start grinding and go about the rest of my coffee prep without thinking about it.
Speaking of going about the rest of my coffee prep, this is where you might find cause to criticize the Wilfa Uniform grinder. It is SLOW.
I had heard rumors of its grind speed, so I was excited to get my hands on a model and put it to the test. I ground 15 grams of coffee three times – once coarse, once fine, and once medium. I will note that I used a very dense light roast in these tests, but it was the coffee that came with the grinder. Plus, light roasts are typical of the Nordic style; they’re what Wendelboe is known for (3).
Here is what I found:
|Coarse (setting 40)||Medium (setting 20)||Fine (setting 2)|
For comparison, a medium-fine grind of the same dose takes about 8 seconds on my Eureka Mignon Specialita.
How much this grind speed annoys you will depend on your coffee preparation workflow. Personally, thanks to the auto-off function, it didn’t bother me. I can boil my kettle, weigh my coffee, and start grinding. While the grinder goes on, I can prepare my pour-over dripper, mug, and filter paper. In every test, the grinder was ready before the kettle anyway.
Grinding Capability – 3.5/5
The heart of the Wilfa Uniform grinder is its 58 mm stainless steel flat burr set, which delivers very consistent – some might even say uniform – grinds at a wide range of sizes (4). Consistent grind size is crucial for an even extraction. It has 41 grind settings so it can grind coarse for cold brew or French press to very fine for espresso. It is awe-inspiring through the filter coffee range of the grind spectrum.
Wilfa Uniform outperforms more expensive grinders in consistency and grind quality from medium-fine to medium-coarse.
The Wilfa Uniform grinder is single dosing. You weigh out just as much coffee as you intend to brew and add it to the hopper, which can hold up to 75 g of coffee beans. There are a few advantages to single dosing. It’s easy to switch coffees daily, the dose consistency is better than a timer, and you never have to worry about coffee going stale in the hopper. It also usually means a more compact grinder, though I wouldn’t say that is the case here.
Remember how I mentioned that this grinder is slow? To some extent, that is by design. Wilfa and Wendelboe decided to err on the side of a slower motor to avoid heating the beans, and this avoids any off or burnt tasting notes as a result of the grind.
What about espresso?
Yes, the Wilfa Uniform grinder can grind fine enough for espresso, but I wouldn’t recommend this as a dedicated espresso grinder. And I’m willing to bet Tim Wendelboe wouldn’t, either. It was designed for filter coffee, and that is where it excels.
Grinding for espresso isn’t just about finely ground coffee; You also need to precisely dial in the grind size for each new coffee to optimize extraction. The gap between the 41 grind settings on the Wilfa Uniform is too large, and you won’t be able to nail the perfect grind on every coffee. Then there is the slow grind speed, which is significantly more frustrating at finer grinds.
If you make espresso only rarely, or if you use a pressurized portafilter, this grinder is more than capable – better than other filter coffee-focused options. But if you’re a serious espresso enthusiast, opt for a specialized espresso grinder.
Value for Money – 3/5
The Wilfa Uniform grinder is far from the cheapest on the market, but it is competitively priced given its quality, especially if you skip the smart scale.
When the Wilfa Uniform was released in 2019, it was only available with the smart scale, retailing for around $430. Wilfa faced much backlash for adding this expensive component to an otherwise minimalist design, and the higher price put it in competition with some superior models.
The value isn’t wrong if you don’t own a scale.
In response to complaints, a version with a simple plastic lid was released, priced at a far more reasonable $350. This is much better value for your dollars, competitive with similar grinders like the Fellow Ode.
Things we liked:
- Beautiful minimalist Nordic design
- Excellent grind consistency for filter coffee
- Auto-off feature so you can “set it and forget it”
- High-quality build accompanied by best-in-class warranty
Things we didn’t like:
- Slow compared to other electric grinders
- Relatively tall for having no hopper
- Not suitable for espresso
Don’t Buy the Wilfa Uniform Grinder If…
- You make espresso regularly: If you only rarely make espresso or you use a pressurized filter basket, the Wilfa Uniform is suitable as an all-around grinder. But serious espresso enthusiasts should choose something more specialized. The Niche Zero is a great alternative. It’s single dosing and has a conical burr set, which produces a more traditional chocolatey flavor profile. If you prefer a cleaner cup of flat burrs, the Eureka Mignon Facile is an attractive choice.
- You’re on a budget: If you’re new to brewing coffee at home and can’t wrap your head around dropping big bucks to grind the coffee, that’s understandable. There are many excellent burr coffee grinders on the market that are more affordable. For instance, consider Wilfa Svart, the brand’s entry-level model, or the Oxo Brew coffee grinder. Both are about a third of the cost of the Wilfa Uniform.
- You’re short on space: Don’t have the height to accommodate the Wilfa Uniform? No problem. Check out the Fellow Ode. Like the Wilfa, it’s a single-dosing grinder targeted for filter coffee, with impressive flat burrs and a minimalist aesthetic, but it’s much more compact, measuring under 10” tall.
Is the Wilfa Uniform coffee grinder for you? If you’re a lover of pour-over coffee who appreciates the clean and consistent cup afforded by flat burrs, absolutely. The Wilfa Uniform is one of the best coffee grinders of that style, and its price tag is very reasonable, given its performance and build quality.
If you prefer espresso, I’d recommend a dedicated espresso grinder instead. Look for one designed specifically for dialing in the finer grind settings.
CHECK IT OUT
- Cadwalader, Z. (2018, December 14). Introducing The Uniform: A Brand New Grinder From Wilfa & Tim Wendelboe. Retrieved from https://sprudge.com/introducing-the-uniform-a-brand-new-grinder-from-wilfa-tim-wendelboe-138940.html
- Tim Wendelboe. (n.d.). Official Website. Retrieved from https://timwendelboe.no/
- Clayton, L. (2018, August 9). All About Scandinavian Coffee. Retrieved from https://www.seriouseats.com/scandinavian-coffee-primer-all-about-nordic-coffee
- Guerrero, X. (2021, January 21). Flat Burrs vs Conical Burrs. That Is The Question. Retrieved from https://baratza.com/flat-burrs-vs-conical-burrs/