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Helor 101 hand grinder

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  • Helor 101 hand grinder

    Seems like there's some discussion & interest on the pretty-new-to-market Helor 101 hand grinder. So I just want to share my experience in using it for espresso hopefully it can help others with 'upgraditis' :

    The Helor grinder, as advertised, has a machined aluminium body in a one-piece construction. Having it in my hand, I can see how it helps ensure the alignment of the upper and lower bearings. Being CNC-machined means the tolerance can be very tight as specified in the manufacturing process. In practice, I am just happy I don't have to fiddle much with alignment even after complete disassembly. Visually, I can see the burrs are concentric and they are flawless to my eyes.

    The grind adjustment setting is stepless and is clearly marked. Grind quality seems great. In my view, it is, at the very least, on par the other high end hand grinders on the market. One of the biggest advantage is it's lightweight at just under 600g. I have used it for coffee brewing too. I am not much of a brew coffee drinker but it does switch back and forth between grind setting confidently.

    The ceramic bearings are quite interesting. In my view it should provide a longer service-life. I have a Voodoodaddy modded Pharos hand grinder purchased second hand. Loved that grinder and its big conical burrs, but I could see one of the bearing show signs of wearing (shaft can wobble to one side). That's not unexpected because the brass/bronze bearing is softer than the shaft itself, which is of stainless steel. If the Pharos had the ceramic bearing, I doubt this wear would happen.

    Grinding speed is on par with all other high end hand grinders with smaller conical burrs (the Pharos or HG-1 with big burrs are obviously faster but requires more cranking force). Takes around 45 sec for 15g really fine grind for the 15g VST basket on my favourite commercial spring lever machine. In my view, it is just ideal for espresso and can travel with no compromise in espresso quality (when used in conjunction with Portaspresso Rossa PG).

    There was some static initially when I received the grinder (which means the bottom is covered with coffee). But it seems that the burrs benefit from breaking-in as well. After using it for a bit, the static just seems to reduce significantly.

    If there's some improvements I could wish for, is that there's a better way to store the handle separately (like a Porlex Mini where the handle can be strapped to the body). Also, sometimes I wish the barrel diameter could be a bit smaller for my short fingers but it's not like I have any problem holding it. It is still pretty mini in size so these are probably just nickpicking.

    Overall, it's a fantastic hand grinder, handles the toughest duty of espresso with no sweat. The build quality is very good too I can see it as a heirloom quality - you might drop it and ruin the aesthetic but the grind mechanism is very well built. Oh, it's really quiet too so I can make my coffee in the morning without waking up the family.

    Here's some lousy phone cam pic. You can see how small it is compared to the CS DMM meter.
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Samuel, Thanks for posting such a detailed and helpful review. I've been thinking about purchasing the Helor 101 for pour over at work and overseas travel. Your experience and review confirms my decision-making. The fact that you are getting great results in a VST basket says a lot about the grinder, doesn't it.

    Thanks again.

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    • #3
      Hey Scotty. No worries! I think you will be stoked. Which burrs version did you order? Mine was obviously the espresso since that's what I use it exclusively for. It was a bit of a gamble for me to buy a yet-to-be proven grinder, but I am glad it's worth it after using it. My favourite hand grinder that I owned before was a Rosco Mini (which is also a beautiful work of art and extremely well built), but the Helor allows me to shave half the weight (~1kg on Rosco) when on travel with no compromise - just what I wanted!

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      • #4
        Samuel, I'm getting the twin burr set, although for me I'll be using the Conventional burr most often for manual brewing. I've very recently discovered how nice pour over can be.

        I had a look at the specs for the Rosco mini. I see what you mean about the heft in that thing.

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        • #5
          Hi! So the stepped adjustment allows you enough sensitivity to dial in properly for espresso, I take it?

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          • #6
            It's stepless.

            "Our stepless design can achieve theoretically the finest* adjustment.
            *The inner burr is moved 0.0417mm when the adjusting knob is turned 30 degrees. "


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            • #7
              Thanks. That's not really what "stepless" means to me, but I take your point.

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              • #8
                jbviau, I think the Helor is actually stepless in that it doesn't have "clicks" and forced positions that the grind setting is fixed to, rather, it's a smooth thread that allows an infinite number of positions between zero to however large an opening the threads allow before the burrs fall off. The markings are just indicators for reference.

                I don't own a Helor 101, but that's my assumption from the word "stepless" in the description.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by woodenteapot View Post
                  jbviau, I think the Helor is actually stepless in that it doesn't have "clicks" and forced positions that the grind setting is fixed to, rather, it's a smooth thread that allows an infinite number of positions between zero to however large an opening the threads allow before the burrs fall off. The markings are just indicators for reference.
                  That is absolutely correct. Just like the Lido-E which has a 1-mm thread and 16 graduations/notches. Moving a notch on the Lido-E drops the inner burrs by 0.0625 mm (1mm divided by 16) but of course you can set anywhere in between the notches.

                  On the Helor, the grind setting is hold by a spring. On the Lido you tighten the locking ring to secure the setting. Different mechanisms to achieve the same thing.

                  In use (for espresso), the Helor does allow very fine adjustment, and very easily.

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                  • #10
                    Any difference in flavour between the lido and helor?

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Choman View Post
                      Any difference in flavour between the lido and helor?
                      Depends whether or not placebo effect is considered to be a flavour

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Choman View Post
                        Any difference in flavour between the lido and helor?
                        Erm, I tried to chew on the Helor - the front wasn't too bad, a bit of woody note at the knob. But it then went downhill from there- metalic all way round - quite flat if I say so. The Lido starts with a a softer flavor with hints of silicone an the handle knob, some hints of metal followed. Fantastic plastic flavor notes when I bite on the hopper. When I get down to the middle part where the burrs are held, it tasted like metal again. The finish was great, the catch cup tasted like an A-grade BPA-free plastic. Overall, I think the Lido has a more complex flavour profile and is more superior.






                        on a serious note : very similar if I have to say, but I have not done side-by-side comparison. Vs the Pharos, the difference in flavor profile is more noticable.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
                          Depends whether or not placebo effect is considered to be a flavour
                          Certainly is – flavour improvement is totally dependent upon the amount of cash spent upon said item!

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                          • #14
                            Thanks Samuel for sharing this! I'm happy you are enjoying it!

                            In reply to your thoughts on storing the grinder, we are designing the carrying cases now - with some protection but not loosing the aesthetics. Looking at wool felt as the material, it's lightweight but not water proof. Any suggestions?

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