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Coming soon: Orphan Espresso’s LIDO--a coffee geek’s dream travel grinder?

February 12, 2012

In my very first blog post here last May, I focused on Orphan Espresso’s PHAROS as an example of the “pursuit of perfection” in manual coffee grinding. As well-built as the PHAROS appears to be, it was not designed for portability or to crank out more than 21 grams at once. However, OE’s soon-to-be-released LIDO addresses both of these limitations using a smaller but capable burr set, and I think it deserves a wider audience than fora such as Home-Barista.com and CoffeeGeek.com can provide.

Speaking of, details on the LIDO began to emerge following an offhand comment made by an HB member back in November, 2011. At the time, I was hankering for a hand mill that would do a *good* (as opposed to passable or bad) coarse grind since my brewing preferences lean in that direction. Back then, that left me with only a few choices, none of which were appealing for various reasons (summarized below):

> 1. A home-modified Hario or Kyocera mill—too much hassle and so-so build quality, in my opinion.

> 2. A professionally-modified Kyocera mill like the OE-PFP—ditto on the build quality, despite the nice upgraded bits and fine-tuning, and I’m not thrilled with the Skerton-esque stepped grind adjustment mechanism on this sort of mill.

> 3. A vintage Peugeot hand mill—didn’t feel like rolling the dice on a used one and/or taking on a restoration project.

So when the fog surrounding the LIDO project started to lift, I immediately initiated a penny-saving campaign and fished for info. Now, two months later, much more is known. If you’re curious about the backstory and the research that’s gone into developing the LIDO (including an extensive sieve analysis), you might consider reading through this thread and looking for Doug Garrott’s [aka orphanespresso’s] comments. Otherwise, feel free to visit the grinder’s pre-order page and/or its associated design study.

Here’s a photo and a representative quote from the official description:

“Growing outward from the 38mm conical grinding burr, the LIDO is designed as an all-purpose coffee grinder. It will grind from Turkish fine to French press coarse. The lockable stepless bottom adjustment system allows fine incremental adjustments to be made and maintained with no wandering of the adjustment setting. The two position handle allows the user the choice of a long handle for a two handed bicycle grinding motion or a shorter hold-in-one-hand-and-turn-the-other motion. In either case the turning is very easy throughout the grind range. The grinding speed is average, and some would consider it slow, but the burr set used in the LIDO does not lend itself to aggressive attack. The slow turning of this burr leads to a very consistent coarse grinding range with minimal production of sub-target size particles (fines are an unfortunate by-product of any grinding burr), but the combination of slow speed and extreme burr stability make the LIDO an outstanding grinder for use in coarse extraction brewing methods and particularly well-suited as a portable cupping grinder. The espresso grind on the LIDO is competent and on par with any small burr hand grinder on the market.”

Personally, I’m already in for one, and I won a second in a sort of raffle (story for another day)—score! Come mid-March, I’ll be sure to test out the LIDO (or should I say LIDI?) thoroughly and report back here and elsewhere. Frankly, my expectations are on the high side given OE’s reputation and the price ($165); if the LIDO gets me in the vicinity of the Baratza Preciso’s coarse grind, which I consider great, I’ll be a happy camper.

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In my cup right now: Fratello's Rwanda COOPAC Fair Trade (pod)
Working through: Brown Coffee’s Finca Las Delicias Reserva (El Salvador)
Arriving later this week: Klatch’s Kenya Ichamara Peaberry
Atop the wish list for what’s become my weekly Sun. night order: something from MadCap (suggestions welcome)






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