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Thread: A Dedicated Pour Over Grinder

  1. #1
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    A Dedicated Pour Over Grinder

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    I'm looking for a dedicated pour over grinder. It can be motor or hand driven. I'm just not satisfied with the grind distribution of my gino rossi workhorse once it leaves its stock-and-trade of espresso grinds - far too many fines and my smart grinder is far superior in the regard. any suggestions? I'm leaning strongly towards an OE Lido at the moment, but am giving some thought to a Baratza. I'd like to get away with it for <$200 but will stretch if it's worth it - yes, i know neither of the options i have floated meet the $$$ criteria but they do meet the "worth it" criteria IMHO.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Senior Member greenman's Avatar
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    Re: A Dedicated Pour Over Grinder

    I recently purchased the Baratza Preciso for my pourover/syphon brews. Great little grinder a step up from the Sunbeam EM480 I had been using!!!

  3. #3
    enjoy black coffee JamesM's Avatar
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    Baratza is awesome

    Will you be moving the grinder anywhere very often? How often do you brew? You mentioned the OE Lido, you like hand grinders? Get yourself a Spong hand-grinder if you have space to mount it. People swear by them, the Spong #3 has a 4" dia burr! about 30 cranks for 15gm coffee. They are around 100 years old and last forever. Almost no grind retention. Can be found on ebay.

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    I have a breville smart in the office and a gino rossi rr45 at home. I don't want to use any more bench space at home than i have to (i already have the rossi, a BFC junior and a ponte vechio lusso 2grp occupying more than my share of bench space) hence the appeal of a hand grinder. something like a baratza could be accommodated i guess if i went that way. at the same time, if i had the baratza, short of getting sick of adjusting it, it would be a hard sell to convince me to keep 2 grinders on the benchtop.

    aside from the price and quality of the lido, the other thing that had me considering a hand grinder was that i could potentially use it at work or travel with it, but in reality I'm not sure how likely that would be.

    what level of quality can be expected from a spong? what sort of price? any adjustability? i'm not familiar with them and am trapped behind work-imposed web restrictions on my lunchbreak. the idea of a dedicated pour over station with a kettle, cone, scales and grinder fixed to the bench or wall is quite appealing...

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    I'm actually tempted to just buy both the lido and the virtuoso, run them head to head and see which performs better, which suits me better and then sell the one that doesn't make the cut...

  6. #6
    enjoy black coffee JamesM's Avatar
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    Well, I've taken an interest in vintage gear since getting more and more in to traditional brew techniques. I stumbled across some interesting hand cranked grinders, one which seems not only popular (back in the day) but reliable, easy, and with good grinds output. Spong. Made in England in the 1800's and early 1900's. Eventually sold out to Salter.

    There's a great thread on another forum titled "Spong Coffee Mills: A Grinder for the 23rd Century" with excellent information and detailed photos, some of which I've attached here.

    They come in a number of sizes. 0,1,2,3,4. "0 and 4" are the hardest to find. The higher the number the larger the unit (and burr). My understanding is ultimately a "3" would be the best buy, followed by a "2".

    They can apparently grind fine enough for espresso too if you wanted...

    evilbay and local classifieds is a good place to look. Sadly they rarely come with the original grinds container/tray, but any other small tray would work fine.

    Can be had for anything from a song, up to $200. Avg price would be maybe $50
    Attached Images Attached Images

  7. #7
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    wow, thank you for the excellent write up. a quick search of the ebays shows a lot of 1s and a few 2s but the rare 3s seem to be marked up due to demand or condition. Thinking this might be one of those things that i just make a saved search for and buy one eventually...

    how does one go about adjusting the grind size? i assume their particle consistency is very good, hence why they are held in such high stead?

  8. #8
    enjoy black coffee JamesM's Avatar
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    Well I actually picked up a Spong #3 last night from a lady who said it was her grandmothers. Complete minus the grinds tray which is pretty much the usual.

    Got it home, pulled it apart (four screws), cleaned it (it was actually very clean already), re-assembled and started to grind.

    Adjustment is by a bolt in the back with a little locking lever. You just screw the bolt in tighter to push the burr closer to the housing. A few adjustments later and I had it dialed in perfectly for some filter brewing.

    It only took about 25 cranks of the handle to grind out 16gm of coffee, really fast, really easy. Impressive!

    It's not as massive as I thought it would be, and has a 4" burr inside.

    I paid $40, it has the orig sticker on the hopper and 'most' of the gold lettering and trimming. a few minor rust spots here and there. I don't think I'll fully rebuild it, it's original and looks pretty good

    I might put up a vid at some stage of it in action

    some photos:
    Attached Images Attached Images

  9. #9
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    so I bit the bullet and ordered a lido. too many positive reviews and next to no bad ones along with more than a few people saying that it's on par with or better than the preciso/virtuoso for pour over and other soft methods.

    will be keeping an eye out for a spong at the right price and there may be room in the kitchen for an extra grinder once i get sick of adjusting my breville smart every day...

  10. #10
    enjoy black coffee JamesM's Avatar
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    Nice, I'm sure you'll be happy with the LIDO, I've heard good things!

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    Found a spong no.2 at a collectables fair for $35 needs a bit of tlc, copped lots of flack from the missus, I feel I scored a bargain!!!! looking forward to testing.

  12. #12
    enjoy black coffee JamesM's Avatar
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    exciting!!

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    spong: i'm on the hunt - saved as a search in fleabay so hopefully i'll have one one day...



    so just to throw some fuel on the fire, i grabbed a hario mini mill on the weekend because it was cheap and i really am struggling to survive without good filter at home. my lido hasn't shipped yet so i'm not expecting it for a few more weeks which is a lot of cups of coffee to "suffer" through (or at least to drink, knowing full well what i'm missing out on).

    upon getting it home and running a few test grinds, i discovered that the design is fundamentally flawed. poor manufacturing tolerances on the shaft bushes mean that the shaft is permitted to turn in concentric circles. also, slop in both the fixed and rotating burr retainers allow them both to move under load. basically, if something wants to push the 2 grinding surfaces apart, it can. this means the surfaces are forced closer together on the opposite side and this means lots of fines and fines, as we all know, are the mortal enemy of good pour-over brewing.

    so i followed some advice on a sister site (coffeegeek i believe) and removed most of the play in the shafts by packing out the bushes with tape. I also packed out the rotating burr carrier with some plastic successfully removing the play there and i added some more tape around the fixed burr to ensure it would remain centred under load.

    with all that done, there was a significant improvement in the cup between my first test pour and my post-modification brew, but i still ended up a notch or 2 behind what i'm getting from my breville smart at work (a fact that still astonishes me).

    now we wait. once i have the lido in my hot little hands i will do a 3 way test of smart VS lido VS modded mini-mill. it will have to be a pepsi challenge style affair because i already have a feeling i know which one will win and i don't want to be accused of bias. If anyone wants to lend me a spong "for science", i would certainly not say no...

  14. #14
    enjoy black coffee JamesM's Avatar
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    I bought a Hario Mini Mill and after a few brews it failed on me, the centre shaft just ended up stripping inside the plastic burr carrier. It's a pretty shit grinder in my opinion, mainly because those pressed 'ears' on the metal shaft just aren't 'beefy' enough for that plastic carrier. I chocked out the shaft with about 1" of cut-up milk carton, so the shaft play is pretty much none. Anyway, the replacement hario that was sent to me failed as well. I ended up buying the porlex and it's been brilliant. They're almost the same grinder but the porlex is just so much better in quality (manufacturing)

    LIDO, can't wait to read your opinion!

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    ok, so i got my Lido last night...

    first impressions: wow, the thing is huge. the build quality is seemingly amazing. it looks indestructible. not exactly constructed with swoopy, classical lines, but very nice to look at from a techno-nerd point of view.

    just enjoying my first cup from it at the moment and it's definitely not dialed in, but the difference in the cup is astounding. coming from my breville smart (which in itself is quite a capable little filter grinder) and hario mini-mill, i'm drinking a kenyan gatunya from market lane and the Lido seems to have uncovered this amazing mouthfeel and texture that i simply haven't managed to achieve with this coffee before.

    more thoughts to follow and i'll be doing some side-by-side testing when i can borrow a few more refined palates and some more v60s...

  16. #16
    enjoy black coffee JamesM's Avatar
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    nice one! I like the OE stuff, the engineering is pretty cool. It's bigger than you expected? Almost 12" long right? It's a monster I've heard great things from owners of Pharos and LIDO. There's something about hand-grinding!

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    as we are talking about hand grinders - i now have a case of upgradeitis!! i have a Hario for my aeropress and i drink long blacks - any upgrade suggestions that wont break the bank - a lido still is too expensive at this time?

  18. #18
    enjoy black coffee JamesM's Avatar
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    There's not much between hario/porlex and OE LIDO.

    I consider the porlex an upgrade of a hario, from my own hands-on experiences the porlex is a far better made unit. Not to mention, it fits right inside your aeropress

  19. #19
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    I've got a Hario 'Skerton' and Porlex Mini, which get used for Aeropress or Baachi when away from home. Agree that the Porlex seems to be a more solid unit, but couldn't say that it produces more in the cup (for me). As well as fitting inside the Aeropress, the radius of the Porlex collection chamber is narrower than that of the Hario Skerton, which makes it easier to dose the Aeropress should you not have the funnel with you (or are really silly and didn't realise that the piece in question *was* a funnel).
    Last edited by Barry O'Speedwagon; 10th January 2013 at 07:08 PM. Reason: typo

  20. #20
    enjoy black coffee JamesM's Avatar
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    nice call. I should also mention when I say "theres not much between the hario/porlex and the LIDO". I mean there's not many alternative products. I certainly do not mean "not much differences in grind quality". I hear the LIDO is really quite excellent. It would be like owning a hand-cranked sunbeam or breville.

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    ok is there someone in Aus that sells the Lido, or do i go direct to OE

  22. #22
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    direct to OE

  23. #23
    enjoy black coffee JamesM's Avatar
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    buy some Inker cups while you are shopping so nice

  24. #24
    Senior Member timmyc's Avatar
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    I upgraded from the porlex to the LIDO a couple of months ago now, and I can say - it is miles above in terms of grind consistency & end result in filter coffees. Love it - also grinds a hell of a lot quicker
    JamesM and Tom93 like this.

  25. #25
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    Reviving an old thread. Just curious as to what people recommend nowadays? (Lido/Porlex/Baratza Sette or Encore)

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    Interested to hear about the new baratza brew grinder

  27. #27
    Senior Member Magic_Matt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom93 View Post
    Reviving an old thread. Just curious as to what people recommend nowadays? (Lido/Porlex/Baratza Sette or Encore)
    Comandante
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  28. #28
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    A Helor 101 is another hand grinder option. Up there with Lido and Comandante for grind quality and, like the Comandante, a good component for a pour-over travel kit.
    Magic_Matt and Tom93 like this.

  29. #29
    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    Obviously something that grinds into a container. If you don't specifically need a hand grinder I'd actually get a Breville Smart Grinder Pro or Baratza Encore. Ive found small conical burr grinders are more suited to filter brew grinding than flat burr grinders like a Compak K3 or similar.
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  30. #30
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    Thanks for all your inputs! I hear a lot of praise with those some conicals, especially the Encore amongst baristas. However, I'm actually gravitating to a lido 3. I've been taking my setup on my travels lately, and I like the idea of the metal/plastic combo for durability rather than the commandante's glass/wood. Also, it's got the dual bearing system for grind consistency. Anyone used one?



    Quote Originally Posted by K_Bean_Coffee View Post
    Don't forget the Handground grinder. Great value, ergonomic and great for manual brew.
    Cheers, Paul
    www.kbean.com.au
    What's it like compared to the lido?

  31. #31
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    Just an update, I ended up going with the comandante! I'm so happy with it! My porlex can't even compare. I knew it wasn't my technique that was causing inconsistent results with my v60. The action of the comandante won me over the LIDO, it's super smooth. Shout out to Chris from Talk Coffee for the demo and hookup. I'm just glad that I don't have to waste beans due to uneven extraction to get a good cup now

    Btw, it looks so good too! Just tossing up whether to bring it with me when I fly off to PNG for work.

  32. #32
    Senior Member Magic_Matt's Avatar
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    Good Choice
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