Hand Grinder Showdown! Pharos - LIDO - Rosco - Page 2

Postby drgary on Tue Apr 17, 2012 9:23 am

Glorious thread, Jeremy! Anyone thinking of one of these hand grinders now knows much more for their buying decision. How did you take the beautiful close-up photos? What was your set-up for that?

For transporting Pharos grinds to the basket, I've found it easy to use a canning funnel aimed into the basket fitted as yours is with an Orphan Espresso dosing funnel. Then your catch cup grinds go right into the basket in one move.
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Postby Bak Ta Lo on Tue Apr 17, 2012 9:40 am

Thanks Dr. G! I really had fun with the testing, I setup some extra lighting in my kitchen, and the used my wife's Lumix in macro close-up mode to take the pictures of the shots with the camera right on the drip-tray to keep it steady. Pulling a lever shot, starting the timer, placing the cup, and taking a photo all before the shot runs too long requires some concentration.

I will look for a canning funnel, that is a great idea.

Several requests for some coarse grind and drip testing, I will do it and add to this thread. I have some new Guatemalan beans ready for brewing.
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Postby skittles_s on Tue Apr 17, 2012 10:19 am

I have this, available from OE, Amazon, and many other places:
http://www.orphanespresso.com/Wide-Mout..._4064.html
I use it before and after the grind: first in the measuring process, and then for transferring from my tupperware catch cup to the basket. This makes everything very easy with no spilling all over the counter.
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Postby drgary on Tue Apr 17, 2012 10:34 am

skittles_s wrote:I have this, available from OE, Amazon, and many other places:
http://www.orphanespresso.com/Wide-Mout..._4064.html
I use it before and after the grind: first in the measuring process, and then for transferring from my tupperware catch cup to the basket. This makes everything very easy with no spilling all over the counter.


This is the one I use too. With my 58mm E61 machine it's a perfect fit. For smaller groups, this funnel and the Orphan dosing funnel combine perfectly.
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Postby jbviau on Tue Apr 17, 2012 10:38 am

SimonPatrice wrote:Thanks! That's really interesting. I'd also be interested in seeing a comparison of these grinders on a coarser grind. I would also be very curious to see a comparison between the Lido and some "regular" grinders (Preciso, Vario with metal burrs, commercial bulk grinders, etc.) if anyone is interested... :D

I plan on comparing the LIDO to the Preciso more formally in the not-too-distant future and reporting the results in the LIDO owner experience thread. My first informal stab at it and subsequent experience tell me the LIDO is effectively the Preciso's equal (at least) with respect to non-espresso brewing. I haven't used (or even felt the need to use) the Preciso in weeks except to grind for a few espresso shots.

Bak Ta Lo wrote:Several requests for some coarse grind and drip testing, I will do it and add to this thread. I have some new Guatemalan beans ready for brewing.

Fantastic! Looking forward to reading part 2...
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Postby sweaner on Tue Apr 17, 2012 11:19 am

Fantastic comparison. I would bet that Jeremy is the only person in the Universe with all 3 grinders!
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Postby coffeedom on Tue Apr 17, 2012 11:28 am

I took a few photos of various grinds from the Rosco to add to the comparisons. I think Jeremy must have a nice camera, as I'm not getting the best macro shots here. But they can give an idea. The coffee is a full city roasted El Salvador COE. It looks a little lighter than it is.

I think Jeremy is spot on - the Rosco does a good espresso but it sounds (and looks) as though the Pharos really specializes in this. What I do see from the Rosco is a very clean and consistent grind, and it does a great turkish grind, maybe the most even I've seen.

Here's the turkish:

Image

It's a super fine and tight grind, the shot doesn't do it justice.

The espresso grind looks similar in this shot but it is really a lot coarser.

Image

I use this type of grind in the Aeropress with an Able disk:

Image

The next one is as coarse as the Rosco can go. Some may prefer something coarser still for Press, but this is the limit of the Rosco:

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I think this is super clean for such a coarse grind.

The trend seems to be moving towards coarser grinds for Press pot. Does this seem coarse enough? This could be an area where the Lido would be the better choice, as I assume it can be adjusted coarser than this.

Other than that the grinds look pretty good, though I'm not quite getting the level of espresso I get from flats. Maybe that is just my taste, but I tend to agree with Jeremy's take on it.

I've done a few turkish coffees and a lot of Press and Aeropress with the Rosco and it's made some amazing coffee for these. I imagine the Lido would be much the same.

Thanks for this interesting thread. Looking forward to more grind and taste comparisons.
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Postby peacecup on Tue Apr 17, 2012 4:00 pm

The Rosco and the Pharos shots look identical. To be really fair you should pull one of each, and have a second person there to hand you one to taste blind (or prepare one basket from each and randomize them). If you can ID the grinder that it came from you're doing well. If you can ID the correct grinder 95 times out of 100 you can say with confidence (i.e. statistical) that grinder wins.
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Postby Bak Ta Lo on Tue Apr 17, 2012 4:33 pm

Jack,

Yes, the Pharos and Rosco shot pulled very similarly visually, but the taste was no comparison. I will qualify that though with I liked the Pharos shot a lot better, the Rosco shot was not worse, but it was different, someone else might have like the Rosco shot better. But, both the Rosco and Pharos for sure beat the Lido. The Pharos shot had layers of flavor and brightness that the other two did not, while the Rosco shot had a more syrupy body, which was really nice.

I will do a blind comparison, I bought two of those 14g HQ baskets and a set of matching measured shot glasses just so I could do such a test. You are right, I think I would have to do just 2 grinders, and repeat the test several times to get a good comparison.

I have been cupping tonight between the three grinders, it is interesting, but I am really getting a sense of appreciation for the patience and skill needed for cupping really similar coffees and trying to pull out the nuances, and then be able to describe them in way that makes sense to someone else. I am for sure going to take an upcoming workshop I have available, I want to get better at this.

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Postby Bak Ta Lo on Tue Apr 17, 2012 6:48 pm

Hand Grinder Showdown! Pharos - Lido - Rosco
Part II - Clever Dripper

You asked for, here it is, round two with the three hand grinders. The questions about the Rosco are best answered with some pics of it in the disassembled state, so before I get to the coffee, here are some pics of the Rosco grinder. Notice how the Rosco is different from the Lido. The Lido moves the inner burr up and down inside a fixed outer burr. The Rosco has the inner burr set in place on the grinders central axle, while the adjustment collar screws up and down to move the outer burr for grind adjustment. The Rosco grind setting can be be adjusted very easily, with nice engraved markers on the outside of the outer burr carrier, then the setting is locked in place with a brass locking ring. Very smooth and very slick. Once the burrs are not touching, there is never any rub, as the lower axle is supported right above the lower burr, just before it connects to the inner burr, so the inner burr stays in perfect alignment with the grinder body, which is one solid part.
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For some brew comparison testing I picked up some Guatemala beans roasted this weekend at Fong Da, a very nice bean, smooth, nutty, with some apple and floral notes.
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I worked at finding a grind that all three grinders could match, and that would would work in my Clever Dripper. I set it kind of coarse, I like this coarse grind in the Clever. (Had a hard time taking photos of the grinds, turned off the flash and just the "natural light" light bulbs in my lamps, so they are a little yellow.) The Pharos grind setting should say 7/8, not 5/8, turns from zero, I wrote that down wrong.
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Here is the lab ready for some brewing.
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I used 18 g of beans in each grinder, brewed in my Clever Dripper with 267g of 200 degree water. I have a kettle that keeps water at a set temperature, so it is easy to keep all the brews at exactly the same temperature. I washed each filter before brewing each cup. I used my "Bloom" iPad brew app that has preset times for when to bloom, fill, drop the brew.
1. 60g water, 30 second bloom.
2. Add remaining water, infuse one minute, stir top of the clever, infuse for another minute. Keep lid on the Clever when infusing.
3. At 2.5 minutes in, start to drop, drop takes about 1.5 minutes, for a 4 minute brew time.

First brew was the Pharos, the aroma during the stir was nutty with caramel very nice. First taste of the cup was a little astringent or acidic, as it cooled off a little it had some nice apple.
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Second Clever, was the Lido, I picked up on roasted nuts in the aroma and brown sugar. I tasted no bitterness in the cup, very smooth, and green apple skin and caramel flavors where pleasant.
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Last brew, the Rosco, the aroma this time was a little floral, the flavors where more bright and the cup had nice caramels.
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Once all three cups where ready and cooled to similar temps I had my wife taste them without any guidance.
1. Lido - "Good coffee taste" "creamy and clean" "roasted nuts" "good aftertaste"
2. Rosco - "Rich full taste" "tiny bit sour" "flavors really linger"
3. Pharos - "Not as nice a coffee taste" "more weak" "flavors fade away faster"

I had her swap the cups around, I had labels on the bottoms for identification, and then I tasted each cup with a cupping spoon, rinsing between cups.
1. Lido - I liked the bright flavors, the green apple skin with some caramel was like eating a caramel apple. No bitterness.
2. Rosco - I knew I recognized the taste, after racking my brain it hit me, Nutella! Some notes struck me as a little too sour.
3. Pharos - Got a little too bitter, astringent. As the cups cooled this one faded the fastest.

I liked the Rosco and Lido cups about equal, my wife gave the Rosco a slight edge over the Lido, she did not like the Pharos cup. I let the cups go totally cold for one more test, they Lido and Rosco were nice and when cool the caramels where more prominent, as well as the roasted nuts.

As far as the ease of use the Rosco wins, the covered bean chamber, ease of grind setting, easily readable precise grind level markings are nice. It has almost zero retention and at the coarse grind it grinds so easily it almost seems like the grinder has no beans in it. And to top it off the Rosco is just nice to hold in your hand while looking like a cross between a brass telescope and laboratory instrument. One issue with the Lido is after you take off the cup, you cannot set it down on the end, it has to lay down flat. The Pharos has it well covered issues with grind removal, but at the coarse grind the grinds do slide out much more easily, no banging or tapping needed.

After all the tests over the past two days I am really impressed with the Rosco, pulling good espresso shots, grinding coarse for the clever, looking really sharp, no retention, easy grind removal, built like a tank, it really has a lot going for it, minus one thing. The Rosco is not cheap! You can buy a Lido and Pharos for Rosco money, and then have a specialized grinder for drip and a grinder for espresso, that can stay dialed in for each. For Rosco money, you could also alternatively get a very nice Baratza, I have never used any of the Baratza grinders, so I cannot compare the outputs. If I could only have one grinder, and it had to be a hand grinder, and it needed to be portable, I would get the Rosco. If I could have two grinders, had to be hand grinders, and they did not need to travel, I would go Pharos/Lido. If I had to pick Pharos or Lido, it would be Pharos, just as I do mainly espresso, and there is no contest between those two for espresso.
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