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.
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.
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.
Here is the lab ready for some brewing.
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.
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.
Last brew, the Rosco, the aroma this time was a little floral, the flavors where more bright and the cup had nice caramels.
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.