Pharos vs Niche Zero in the cup

Grinders are one of the keys to exceptional espresso. Discuss them here.
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beer&mathematics

#1: Post by beer&mathematics »

Hi folks,

I've been a proud OE Pharos owner for over 5 years but I finally can afford an electric espresso grinder.

After not being on the HB forums for a couple of years, I have been catching up on the world of espresso and am trying to educate myself of the current good grinders out there. The Niche Zero seems like a great single-dosing grinder and I'd like to know if anyone has compared it to a Pharos.

Both are conical burrs with Niche having 63 mm vs Pharos having 68 mm.

Any differences in the cup?

I feel like there probably isn't much difference in taste since conical burrs seem to be very forgiving from experience. Has anyone written about this yet? Thanks!

PS. If this was discussed in the big Niche thread, a link is fine--I started reading it but reading mega-threads takes a while...
LMWDP #431

Jeff

#2: Post by Jeff »

Check the various "Titan Grinder" threads and reviews c. 2010-11. As I recall, the NZ uses Kony burrs, so grind-wise it is probably similar. I don't recall what the Pharos uses and it may have changed in the last decade.

Be aware that coffee has changed a lot in the last decade as well. The La Cabra I pull would have been called "unroasted #%*}" by many back then (or even today).

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beer&mathematics

#3: Post by beer&mathematics »

Thanks Jeff, I read the titan grinder project in full years ago so I guess you're right that the taste is probably imperceptible. Of course, UX is different :P
LMWDP #431

maxbmello

#4: Post by maxbmello »

I used a Pharos 1.0 as my daily grinder for close to 2 years, but then "upgraded" to a kinu m68. Taste wise, they were indistinguishable, but I found the kinu more ergonomic.

Since then, I have acquired a niche, which is currently sitting on my counter. Having done side by side comparison (not a true blind test by any means) I thought the kinu had an ever so slight edge in roundness of flavors, but if blindly tested probably wouldn't be able to pick them apart consistently.

The ease of use of the niche is just great, and would recommend it to anyone looking for a single dose conical. I do t think you'll notice a flavor improvement in your shots, but you will appreciate the workflow more!

danny31292

#5: Post by danny31292 »

I've had both but never did a rigorous comparison. Both had significant distribution learning curve but in the end are equally consistent and repeatable. Good basket prep makes far more of a difference than any difference between these two grinder. For the Pharos, I had bench dogs and ground directly into the basket. On the niche, I grinder directly into the portafilter. For both I use(d) RDT and WDT for static and distribution.

Freddofl

#6: Post by Freddofl »

Went from a pharos to a niche and I cant say theres a noticeable difference. I think the niche gives a better texture and slightly less harshness but this could be me learning to pull better shots.

Workflow, day and night. With the pharos at times pulling a shot was a chore. No question about switching up coffees since theres no set dials to record. The niche has made my espresso experience so much better that I'm more inclined to pull back to back shots and work on my consistency and palate.

I'm debating on whether to sell the pharos or not. It's a solid grinder and I can use it as with backup with just as good results if my niche ever needs fixing or replacing.

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beer&mathematics

#7: Post by beer&mathematics »

Thanks for the comments folks - I'm glad the taste will be similar if not the same.

I'm hoping I don't spend my money on a new guitar while I wait for the Niche to come back in stock.
LMWDP #431

Simong

#8: Post by Simong »

I have OE pharos 1.1 a Niche and definitely prefer the taste of the Pharos. I had a difficult relationship with the Pharos ( i know thats sounds mad). But in the cup it's fantastic, the niche is better than my Compak, its easy to use, no retention... you know this. But side by side, in the cup Pharos every single time.

chanty 77

#9: Post by chanty 77 »

Jeff, you made this comment: "Be aware that coffee has changed a lot in the last decade as well. The La Cabra I pull would have been called "unroasted #%*}" by many back then (or even today)."
I found this comment very interesting. Are you saying that since coffee is being roasted possibly differently over time, that could have an effect on how a grinder works? I just never seemed to have grinder issues as I have the last couple years. Just curious. Thanks.

Jeff

#10: Post by Jeff »

Ten years ago, "espresso" roasts were likely darker than they are now. Darker roasts tend to be easier to grind and extract. Since I don't have any well-preserved beans from a decade ago, I can only guess at how applicable the comparison would be.

The change has been gradual and, at least from the roasters I have pulled "espresso" roasts from over the last couple years (Verve, Dragonfly, Josuma, Lusso, Klatch, Dark Matter, Linea, ...) not noticeable with my Compak K10 conical. I could probably go back and find that there was a slow creep to slightly finer grind over the years, but changes weren't evident compared to batch-to-batch and even day-to-day variation.

Going to a light like George Howell or Passenger, or an ultra-light like La Cabra from an espresso roast is immediately noticeable. A finer grind is required and the grind time goes up noticeably (lighter roasts tend to be physically harder). I wouldn't have confidence that my comparison of a decade ago on medium-dark roasts applies to the light and ultra-light roasts I mainly use today.