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Thread: Manual vs electric on a budget

  1. #1
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    Manual vs electric on a budget

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Gday, first post after reading this site for a while.
    I've got myself a Little Guy when AB had them half price last year - prior to that my brewing has been with moka pot, french press and V60. However I've never been serious so either bought fresh ground coffee or sometimes used one of the 'chop'-type "grinder"s.

    Now as I aim to become an expert on The Little Guy I'll need a grinder for espresso, but I hadn't expected to spend more than $200ish. I've read posts comparing best to worst electric grinders, and also read posts comparing best to worst manual grinders. But what's lacking a bit is, at what price point do the two methods produce comparable grinds? ...or are they never comparable?

    I ask this because I actually wouldn't mind manually grinding - I get the differences in convenience, portability, cleanliness and effort - in my case I'd have probably 2 espressos a day plus pour-over. Almost never make coffee for more than myself - so it's not a lot of grinding. What matters to me is quality of the grind, so to that point is it better to get a mid-level manual grinder, or an entry-level electric e.g. the Breville Smart Grind, (purely based on quality and consistency of grind)? I mean I see even some $300+ electric ones have comments where people don't recommend them for espresso, so at what point would a manual one be a better buy?

  2. #2
    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
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    There are several hand grinders that will compete with $1000+ grinders for output quality. Orphan Espresso Lido series, Commendante... These are usually over $300 new. If you don't care about having to manually grind you will get far better coffee out of a hand grinder for the same money. Some have grinders will be better than others at switching back and forth between espresso and filter rapidly.

    This one should do what you want at your budget:
    https://coffeesnobs.com.au/coffee-ha...e-grinder.html
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Morning tilgrieog, welcome to Coffee Snobs.

    Re the grinder, have you considered second hand, there are some bargains come up every now and again in the CS for sale section, check this out, https://coffeesnobs.com.au/coffee-ha...flat-burr.html at $180 looks to be good value.

    A manual grinder is an alternative, however if your like most of use, the novelty of hand grinding two or three times a day will quickly become a chore.

    Good luck which ever way you go.

  4. #4
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    Lido E, $280, will definitely produce a consistent grind, suitable for espresso. Grind consistency is better than from my low-end, commercial grinder.
    Well built, and relatively fast compared to most hand grinders. But large - you need to be able to hold it comfortably.
    I can't compare it with an appliance grinder as I don't have one, but my guess is (and from other reports) it will produce consistent grinds for longer, and easily outlive them.
    Last edited by saeco_user; 4 Weeks Ago at 08:01 AM. Reason: Forgot I have Lido E not 3 (better for espresso)

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by saeco_user View Post
    Lido E, $280, will definitely produce a consistent grind, suitable for espresso. Grind consistency is better than from my low-end, commercial grinder.
    Well built, and relatively fast compared to most hand grinders. But large - you need to be able to hold it comfortably.
    I can't compare it with an appliance grinder as I don't have one, but my guess is (and from other reports) it will produce consistent grinds for longer, and easily outlive them.
    I used a rocky Rancilio Rocky, Paharos, sette 270w and now a monolith. I loved my Pharos and havenít sold it yet, but unless you are in a situation where you need to use the Lido traveling/camping I would say you should pursue something more along the lines of a sette or Vario. One issue that always concerned me was grind speed consistency, while probably not the weakest link in the chain itís one more variable that makes things confusing, and the overall experience will get frustrating if you donít absolutely love it (I did for a while).

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by day View Post
    concerned me was grind speed consistency
    Possibly a difference between tabletop Pharos and handheld Lido, but I don't feel I have any issue with grind speed consistency on the Lido.

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    Quote Originally Posted by level3ninja View Post
    There are several hand grinders that will compete with $1000+ grinders for output quality. Orphan Espresso Lido series, Commendante... These are usually over $300 new. If you don't care about having to manually grind you will get far better coffee out of a hand grinder for the same money.
    Awesome. Thanks for the replies, and that's exactly the point I was looking to confirm. I mean I figured so because why would people spend hundreds on a manual grinder if it couldn't beat an electric one at the same price.
    A manual one actually does present the extra option of travel, and in keeping with the Little Guy being manual [though the Little Guy is not exactly a backpacking accessory! ]


    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    A manual grinder is an alternative, however if your like most of use, the novelty of hand grinding two or three times a day will quickly become a chore.
    Ha ha yes I do wonder if I'll get sick of it by the second week.
    I dunno.... [and feel free to skip my ranting here, I tend to get philosophical and wander off topic ] ... it's a thing I've thought about a lot since starting to make coffee at home. My first foray was a moka pot, and the manual routine of it made me feel like I really was making the coffee. I'd get up hung over on a Saturday and there was nothing better than gazing into the pot, waiting for that first sniff of aroma to push out of the spout before the espresso drizzled down slowly. It was coffee at a speed where I could savour it, and one of the reasons I loved reading Craig Hiron's concept of putting the "ritual" back into coffee with the Little Guy.
    I do kinda wonder at the point where we add convenience to these steps are we wanting to make the coffee or just actually drink it. Because I guess the ultimate convenience is if there's a decent cafe next door then the many $1000's people spend could possibly pay for a couple years of takeaways. (But then, maybe if I had a fully automatic setup I'd come to realise there's also ritual and art to that process too.) Anyway that wasn't intended as criticism - just an observation of where I'm at, and I wonder if I'll think differently a year from now.

    I may get a Lido since it seems to be highly regarded - and then if I do decide to add an electric one I've still got it for travelling. Now just to decide which one. The 2 is recommended here but the E or ET (maybe T=travel?) seems to be made more with espresso in mind. .. but then that's getting up to $300. hmm
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  8. #8
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    I had the Lido 3 and, although it can easily grind for espresso, the thread on the grind adjustment ring is quite coarse, making it difficult to make small adjustments.
    I swapped it for a Lido E which has a much finer thread giving you more control in the espresso grind range.
    The E and ET are really the same except for a fold-able handle.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tilgrieog View Post
    I may get a Lido since it seems to be highly regarded - and then if I do decide to add an electric one I've still got it for travelling. Now just to decide which one. The 2 is recommended here but the E or ET (maybe T=travel?) seems to be made more with espresso in mind. .. but then that's getting up to $300. hmm
    I use my ET for months at a time when overseas (two or three cups each morning). Absolutely no issues with grind quality or effort required in turning the handle. I'd rate the quality in the cup superior to my Macap M4, and to my taste similar to my Niche Zero (both the ET and Niche are conical burr grinders). The only slightly annoying thing is the tendency of grinds to stick to the burrs for a little while after grinding (and hence the need to brush them off). I use an aeropress funnel to assist in making sure that the grinds I brush off land in the grinds container.

    EDIT: Yes, the 'T' = travel. The ET has a folding handle, and doesn't come with a dosing funnel (or didn't)
    Last edited by Barry O'Speedwagon; 4 Weeks Ago at 05:03 PM.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Guess its very much a matter of what suits you when it comes to manual V electric, we use a Rosco manual grinder when away in the motor home, even after a couple of weeks its a pleasure to get back to the Mazzer.

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    I have the Lido 3 at home - paired with the Flair Espresso. I make 4 or 5 a day. I love it. Only takes about 30 seconds per coffee and I still enjoy the sound and feel of grinding... It's part of the whole pleasant ritual!

    I occasionally use it for cold drip or pour over. If I was only making espresso, I would go for the lido Eb or ET because, as noted above, the lido 3 makes fine adjustment difficult at the espresso end of its range.

    But for cheaper options and for portability...

    I travel for work extensively. I need to travel light and the Lido is a bit big to squeeze in to my hand luggage. So I pack an Aergrind by Knock. It's great... very easy to use and to adjust. Very solid. Coffee tastes great.

    But we also have a Precision Hand Grinder. My wife has arthritis and finds it easier to hold - it's much smaller than the Lido. It only cost about $100. She makes a great coffee on the Flair.

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    I have been using a Comandante as my full time grinder fir about 3 months now. I sold my old electric grinder and am waiting for a new one.

    Previously the Comandante was used every day, but only for pour over. For a course grind it is almost effortless. I am now switching between pour over and espresso grind daily, making 5 to 6 coffees in total.

    Iíve found it to be a very good espresso grinder, and not as hard as I had anticipated. Switching is pretty easy, just count the clicks.

    The only time Iíve found it a chore is due to having a sore shoulder (not related to grinding), but now itís fixed Iím good to go.

    When my new grinder arrives it will become the espresso grinder, but if my budget only permitted one, I would be very happy with the Conandsnte.

  13. #13
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    And to answer your question, the commandants is about $300, my my old electric grinder was a $1k grinder I paid about $300 for second hand. The Comandante makes better tasting coffee by a significant margin.
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  14. #14
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    If you’re looking for a manual grinder there’s a few good options in this thread...

    https://coffeesnobs.com.au/grinders/...recommend.html

  15. #15
    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
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    These two videos also give quite a good overview of what's possible on a hand grinder for what money, and give a good comparison.

    Cheap
    https://youtu.be/QLEBfom0mhM

    Expensive
    https://youtu.be/dn9OuRl1F3k
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  16. #16
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    These videos are useful, but I think you need to bare in mind that none of these grinders are seasoned.

    My experience is they they will improve greatly and become far easier to grind after about 5kg.

    To use this many new hand grinders at once would have been a chore, and it shows in the video, but hang in there because things get better.
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  17. #17
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    ^^^^ This!

    I’ve noticed a massive improvement in my Kinu M47 Simplicity around the 4kg mark.

  18. #18
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    Yes I'd seen those very well done videos, and admittedly didn't sit through all 40 minutes but never really could find someone confirming how they compare with a similar priced electric grinder.

    Seems like everything in this thread is good news for me, so thanks all for the advice and I've been convinced now the Lido ET is worth the money - just ordered one.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bushtocup View Post
    I have the Lido 3 at home - paired with the Flair Espresso. I make 4 or 5 a day. I love it. Only takes about 30 seconds per coffee and I still enjoy the sound and feel of grinding... It's part of the whole pleasant ritual!
    Here's a man who thinks like me. ... I was moments from buying a Rok last year to pair with a Bellman steamer when the great deal on the Little Guy came up -- both tasks in one machine then. Anyway looking forward to making espresso - cheers!
    Dimal and ANewbie like this.

  19. #19
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    If you use pour-over brewing methods and don't mind working for your coffee a bit, then a hand grinder can be amazing. Also for espresso, there are hand grinders that can deliver excellent results. Those are on the expensive side, but still cheap compared to many commercial burr grinders.
    My story is like this: I really didn't mind using a hand grinder for my coffee, but RSI issues started to develop (which might not have happened with other grinders). Also, the rest of my family will never get used to using a hand grinder. Therefore, I decided to get an electrical grinder.



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