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LIDO by Orphan Espresso

April 29, 2012

Orphan Espresso is a husband-and-wife team located in Troy, Idaho. They're well-known for their espresso-machine restorations, and their specialization in hand grinders--Zassenhaus, PeDe, Peugeot and the like. Over the past year or so, they've taken what they've learned from hand-grinder restoration to build their very own hand grinders from scratch. There's the OE Pharos, which can grind for any preparation but is specifically geared towards espresso, and there's the OE Lido, which likewise can grind from Turkish to French but really shines at the coarser end.

I've recently acquired a LIDO--have only brewed with it twice!--and thought I'd jot down my initial impressions.

First, this is rather large as far as hand grinders go. It sort of reminds me of a portable telescope. It's solidly constructed, and feels nice in the hand. It is supposedly a slow grinder by design, but I don't think it's much slower than the Porlex mini, which is representative of the Japanese portable mills out there. In fact, because the LIDO has metal and not ceramic burrs, as most new hand grinders do, it cuts through the beans more easily. Grinding with the LIDO goes much more smoothly than the Porlex (which is supposedly the best ceramic-burr hand grinder, for whatever that's worth), and it's a joy to use. 

I used to own the Baratza Preciso burr set, and the LIDO's grind results compare favorably. Visually, the Preciso is a bit more even: at a coarse drip, there are more larger chunks with the LIDO than with the Preciso. But I don't feel like this negatively impacted the final cup too much, and the final cup is the most important thing as far as I'm concerned. I ground up 20 grams in about a minute using a bicycle-like motion and it felt very zen. Final cup was beautiful. 

The LIDO retails for $165, which I feel is fair given that the grind results are very close to what you get from a Baratza Virtuoso ($229), which is probably the best home grinder for drip (assuming it has the Preciso burr-set). Hand-grinding isn't just about the final product but also the experience of grinding itself, and the LIDO feels so great that I don't think I would trade a LIDO for a Virtuoso (in fact, I essentially traded a Virtuoso for a LIDO!) It took a while for the LIDO to get to me, but it was certainly worth the long wait. Highest recommendation.  






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