Knock Hausgrind vs. Orphan Espresso (BETA) LIDO 2 - Double Blind Test

Grinders are one of the keys to exceptional espresso. Discuss them here.
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TomC
Team HB

Postby TomC » Feb 09, 2014, 3:09 am

Look at these beauties!

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Henry and I got together this afternoon after my coffee class at Ritual to do a heads up with the Hausgrind and the Beta version of the Lido 2 (henceforth just referred to as Lido 2 for simplicity). The results were surprising in many ways, and I'll do my best to separate opinion from objective points. We used 3 person, double blind methods for each cupping evaluation and in our attempts to grind for espresso. I'll declare my bias right up front in that I've been using a Knock Hausgrind for a month now and am new to the Lido 2. So I think right from the get go, I think I'll start with the objective positives of the Lido 2 that were discovered via double blind testing so as to allay any fears of cheering for the Hausgrind over the Lido 2.

The Lido 2 in nearly every single visual comparison of grind particle size in terms of consistency, was visibly more even and narrow. Only in about one out of a dozen tests did the grind look too close to determine one from the other.

The Lido 2 won 3 out of 4 very unscientific, very simple, but double blind cupping competitions. The results were unanimous, and the tests revealed that Henry and my palates are clearly matched and sensitive enough to detect subtle differences, including a ringer, (mentioned later).

In the 4 cupping tests, both the Lido 2 and the Hausgrind were very close. Differences were subtle, yet consistent. The Lido 2 in the 3 out of 4 tests gave slightly cleaner, slightly sweeter, or slightly clearer flavor separation in the testing. To keep the judging simple, I proposed that he and I choose whichever cup tasted best and rank that as a "10" and then judge the other cup accordingly. The gap in flavor descriptors was about a point behind for the Hausgrind.

That's a major feather in the cap for the Lido 2 and I wanted to state that right out the gate. Seeing for the first time was quite an impression. It's like the rock of Gibraltar. It is a massive, beautiful thing. I weighed both on my simple scale. The Hausgrind is stout, the Lido 2, even more so.

The Hausgrind is heavy for a portable grinder.
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The Lido 2 is extremely heavy for a portable grinder.
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The subjective opinions of the two grinders seemed consistent all the way thru as well. If you are sensitive to criticism, skip over this part. Neither Henry or I could deem the Lido 2 in its current iteration an espresso capable grinder. It is just much too hard to use for espresso prep. In 7 of the 9 separate grinding tests during dialing in, both for espresso and for drip, the Lido 2 slipped and lost its place. It took a great deal more time figuring out the settings of the Lido 2, whereas the Hausgrind was a simple twist of a knob and off we went. The Hausgrind never slipped either. Henry found on several of his grinding efforts that the Lido 2 slipped halfway thru and would lock up. At one point, it locked up so tight that he was considering tapping it loose with a rubber mallet, but I was able to get them unstuck. The marking method is difficult to assess, and within an hour or so of testing, the black Sharpie Marker line that is drawn down one of the indicator lines had all but worn off. We're hoping this won't be an issue with the production version. And to clarify slipping, I mean when you grind and find the dial has moved two or more full indicator lines in one direction.

I had on hand 3 different coffees for testing, Henry had probably close to 5, 2 home roasts and 3 commercial 2nd wave soft Italian (robusta containing) espresso blends. I brought with me 5 day old Heart Colombia Pedregal Agua Blanca for cupping and their Stereo Espresso Blend to pull shots, which was 6 days old, as well as a one day old bag of Ritual coffee that we didn't open. The Heart Espresso Blend at 6 days rest could only be pulled with the Hausgrind. Fatigue set in before any further attempts at anything other than soft Italian espresso blends being ran thru the Lido 2.

Using the soft Italian blends, problems persisted with getting a proper flow. Sometimes the Lido 2 choked, so we'd try to coarsen the grind, but also continually found the settings had changed at some point during the grinding effort. This could be user error in some degree. The Lido 2 must be braced against the hip, and it felt natural to hold it there as your ground, for leverage. More than half the time when the glass catch cup was detached, it caused the burr setting to slip with it, when the torque required to unmount it moved the burr setting. Henry opined that maybe something as simple as a gasket between the glass and the mating surface would eliminate this problem. I personally don't have the answer so I can't be of any help. It goes from loose to immediately locked on. He felt if there was a thin polymer ring of sorts, it might help mitigate that. But he could feel it moving and tightening or changing during the grinding and have to stop and try to reset it again, several times.

I made videos of the Lido 2 and the Hausgrind in use, for drip only. I'll share them after I get them uploaded properly, I'm not very tech savvy and have only done this once before about 2 years ago, so you'll have to bear with me, this might have to wait until tomorrow night after I get off work.

It was a good learning experience for me to pit the Hausgrind against the Lido 2. I have nothing other than a vague and uncertain opinion that the Lido 2 helps the grinds shine flavor wise maybe do to materials choice? Not sure, but I know it can't hurt having only glass and metal. I know I'd much rather have everything below the burr on the Hausgrind be metal. Clyde looks clean visually and RDT keeps it very clean looking, but I wonder if coffee oils over time can mute what I'm sensing in the cup? I know that the Hausgrind will be sold soon enough with a metal catch cup and I think that will be a big plus. The Lido 2 had slightly clearer, cleaner, sweeter flavors in all but one of the four double blind tests and offhandedly I attributed it to this, since a difference in burr size of 2mm would need many, many more tests than what we did to objectively prove better or even an identifiably different.

Our subjective thoughts on where the Lido 2 could improve was the knob. The Pharos knob should be on the grinder and it will likely help grinding efforts a lot. The problems with the settings method is tedious and frustrating. At one point Henry mentioned that he's been using a leather welding glove at times because the effort required to use the Lido 2 made his hands hurt.

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Back and forth opinions of the pluses and minuses of both:

On the upside, the Lido 2's funnel is a dream come true. It's so nice to use. And its wide mouth didn't make the rotation "feeling" any more difficult or awkward and it rotated like two panes of lubricated glass, it was so smooth. But, then the Hausgrind sprints from behind once the grinding is done. Not only was it clearly easier to grind at all grind settings it's also much, much faster. Once you had your resulting grinds in it's respective container, it was far faster and easier to transfer the grinds from the Hausgrind directly into a portafilter than it was with the Lido 2, due to the design of the Hausgrind's smaller easier to pour from catch cup that went right into a basket. The Lido 2 also had a lot more retained grinds that needed to be knocked loose. A firm smack agains the palm of your hand does most of the work. I wouldn't tap it against anything being that it's a glass catch cup.

In terms of usability, the Hausgrind was the clear and obvious favorite. In terms of pure grind analysis, the Lido 2 was a slight, but objectively favored grinder. Due to the limitations of the Lido 2 for espresso use, we felt the Lido 2 would best be considered a drip grinder only at this point.

Henry and I are polar opposites size wise. He's a foot shorter and I outweigh him by over a hundred pounds. The Lido 2 felt just the right size to ever so slightly large in my big mitts. Henry felt it was very large and heavy for him to use.

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I'm 6'3" in comparison. I couldn't wrap my hands completely around the waist of the Lido 2 either, but I felt that I could hold it well. I wouldn't want it any larger, but it was manageable for my size.

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I used my girlfriend for the videos of the grinding efforts to be shown later. They both were dialed in to visibly similar grind sizes that both drained from Clever Drippers at the same rate of flow, when she did the grinding demo. The video shows the first time she's ever used the Hausgrind and she actually starts by grinding backwards initially :) We also had to re-shoot the Lido 2 take, because either something slipped or it got too hard for her to use and she stopped and griped about it. I wanted the videos to be without bias commentary, just a visual of the grinding efforts.

Henry will jump in on this thread and share his thoughts or correct me if I'm wrong in any of the notes I took or comments he made.

To close with this simple glimpse at the two, I'll add that we chose to toss in one ringer at the end. We lined up the Lido 2 and the Hausgrind against a Hario Slim with the rubber band modification and did one last cupping. For that test, we chose a wonderful roast of Henry's home roast batch of Guatemala Acetenango Geisha. We double blindly assessed these three hoping that we'd not end up with egg on our face and find out that a $30 grinder was able to meet or beat one of these beautiful hand made creations. Fortunately, our palates were clearly able to discern, even in a double blind test, that the Hario was a far distant third, with muddy, flat, and indistinct flavors with less sweetness.

We both scored this three way double blind cupping identically. For this Geisha, the Hausgrind took first place, followed by the Lido 2, with the Hario a very, very distant third.

More to follow when I can figure out the video stuff.

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TomC
Team HB

Postby TomC » Feb 09, 2014, 3:15 am

I used a different macro on my other camera to take a close up of the grinds for each.

You can clearly see that the Lido 2 is ever so slightly more even.


Lido 2
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Hausgrind
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TomC
Team HB

Postby TomC » Feb 09, 2014, 3:43 am

Here's the Hausgrind video.


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TomC
Team HB

Postby TomC » Feb 09, 2014, 3:56 am

I've opted to add Barb's video right alongside my own. I want transparency, so deleting my own would raise even more speculation then it would help by removing it. So let me be clear, I've said it several times in this thread, and it bears repeating. Henry's/Carmen's and my experience was with one Beta unit in one 5 hour encounter. It was in the hands of three people who haven't used it before. There might just as easily be an explaination that is isolated to the one grinder we encountered, or more likely our lack of experience with it. That too, has been stated by me here.

I wanted transparent, simple, objective evidence that is clearly apparent to anyone what each grinder felt like. I didn't think much beyond dumping in some pre-measured beans and handing them to her.

Barb, with her experience with her version of the Lido 2 makes it look like childs play. And she looks to be about the same build as my girlfriend. So take it all with a grain of salt and know that each grinder will make great coffee grinding portable again. But note, she's using a soft, well developed Italian espresso type roast, RedBird, not a typical lighter brewing roast most would likely use.




Same coffee as used in the Hausgrind, same dose, as close as visibly possible in grind size (not very scientific, but the drawdown times were very close). This is our (BETA) Lido 2 video.


sonnyhad

Postby sonnyhad » Feb 09, 2014, 4:11 am

Well done! Having ordered both of them, I'll too have a chance to choose a favorite or find one works better for a certain roast of one type or another.
LMWDP 437

sonnyhad

Postby sonnyhad » Feb 09, 2014, 4:15 am

Lol! I would have loved to hear her comments, but I know that will never happen! She was a good sport for giving it a go!

Her comments were probably kind of like "that dog won't hunt!"

Many thanks!
LMWDP 437

chang00

Postby chang00 » Feb 09, 2014, 4:19 am

Tom, thanks for the excellent report! It sure was fun this afternoon. Too bad we did not have more time.

Both the Lido2 and Hausgrind shine in the non-espresso department, but the Hausgrind has an edge likely in the espresso and ergonomics departments in my small hands. Nevertheless, it appears even with Tom's larger hands, Lido2 requires more effort to turn. Another area the Lido2 can improve on will be the grind drift especially in the finer grind setting. Many times during our session, if the lock ring on the Lido2 is not tightened, loosening the glass jar will change the grind setting. If the lock ring is tightened too much, grind setting adjustment will be difficult. Sometimes due to the weight, if the Lido2 is used a la Zass knee style, the grind setting can also drift.

Out coffee session today was significant for the double blind setting when we evaluated the coffee. The containers and cups were identical with labels on the bottom. Tom and I did not know which coffee was made with which grinder. Tom's significant other was our blinder and randomizer. Thank you Carmen! This was possible with the brewed coffee, but not possible with espresso, so we gave up. For espresso, I have baskets from the same manufacturing batch, and used an Espro tamper to standardize tamping. Originally we ground the coffee and prepared the baskets, and Carmen will give me the baskets without me knowing which grinder ground the coffee. However with both grinders it was difficult to dial in the shots with the ultra-fresh coffee. It was either too fast or choking. After fiddling with fresh 3rd wave coffee without success, we eventually opened a can of Illy. It was well into the early evening so we decided to move onto the brewed coffee and beer and pizza. If time allowed, we might have tried with the Illy coffee further, or wait until the lighter roast ages more.

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orphanespresso

Postby orphanespresso » Feb 09, 2014, 4:23 am

Great write up Tom, and nice pictures too. Yes, you are figuring it out.... The Lido 2 is designed primarily as a brew grinder (after all we make the Pharos which is so universally seen as an espresso grinder that it would not be a lot of internal logic for us to double down on that niche). But yes, it CAN grind for espresso...it is not easy but it can.

This whole thing centers around the different burrs, and it is not just size. I know the burr in the Knock, same as Lido 1. It tends to nibble rather than directly engage and attack, right? You can tell by the sound and the speed. Lido 2 is very full throated and strong while Lido 1 is a bit thin and tinny sounding. The top of the inner burr on the 1 rides about 5 mm higher than the top of the outer burr so the larger breaking parts of the burr are not fully used and the beans are being cracked and rolled on the lower part of the inner burr and not between the actual inner point to outer flat area. That, and the outer tips of the outer burr openings are obstructed on the Lido 1 due to the cylinder (same on the Knock from what I can tell), making the opening even smaller and exaggerating the already small burr opening. We made a big point to expose 100% of the burr opening on the Lido 2, just look down the hopper, and we changed burrs to increase speed, which is a consumer preference, from all we read.

I jammed the rings once or twice (I whack the rings with a big wood dowel and they free up) but learned how to use it with no issues over time. Anyway, I'll stop here but to add that there is a learning curve on the use of any grinder, even electric, and the 2 is no different.

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TomC
Team HB

Postby TomC » Feb 09, 2014, 4:42 am

orphanespresso wrote: I know the burr in the Knock, same as Lido 1. It tends to nibble rather than directly engage and attack, right? You can tell by the sound and the speed.



I think so. At least in this quick testing, that's what seemed to be revealed. The Lido 2 was able to grind thru a sample of coffee in only 28 revolutions, half of what the Hausgrind required (58 revolutions), but it took over a minute to do so ( 1 min, 8 seconds if I recall from the video). But the Hausgrind had the task done in under 30 seconds.

What I wish we had more time for was to have the same espresso dialing in exercise, but using the rubber mat. I reckon that the rubber mat being that it's completely stationary, would both allow us to keep the Lido 2 braced properly, but not induce any torque of it's own. I wondered if having the Lido 2 braced against ones own slightly flexing and shifting inner hip area, is putting any torque of it's own onto the catch cup (?) There's a chance the changes in grind settings were occurring when braced against the hip, but it's only a guess.

We had switched to a can of Illy Espresso that Henry just opened specifically for this test. Subjectively, grinding it with the Lido 2 was the equivalent of grinding the lightest roast on the Hausgrind, albeit the Lido 2 had more stop-starts.

Also, I think grinding on a counter where the rubber mat can be utilized will negate the weight disadvantage the Lido 2 carries with it. I gripe about the weight of the Hausgrind in my gig bag that I carry to work, but I gladly suffer thru. I'm not sure I'd do the same with the Lido 2 due to it's greater weight.

But seeing how both of these grinders (for me at least) would only be used 95% of the time for pour over style brewing, I think it's nearly a dead heat neck and neck comparison since the Lido 2's materials inspire so much confidence and strength, I'd be less worried about it jostling around. But on the flip side, the Hausgrind is so much easier and quicker to use, I put it slightly ahead.


I forgot to add, there was no pop corning on either grinder, using 4 or 5 different roast levels.

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Boldjava

Postby Boldjava » Feb 09, 2014, 8:42 am

Good testing gents -- an excellent report and service to HB members.
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LMWDP #339