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About your Lido 2 Manual Coffee Grinder
|As an introduction to what will become a FAQ section on the LIDO 2 coffee grinder, just a bit of background: Orphan Espresso is a company established by Barb and Doug Garrott in Idaho USA which grew from our interest and subsequent immersion in first, vintage lever espresso machines and later, all things coffee. Part of our experience in the world of coffee was the restoration, renovation, and evaluation of manual coffee grinders of all kinds from all over the world and from every time period...this was a business venture that turned into a passion which left us with a very large amount of information and intuition about manual coffee grinders. After restoring over 500 grinders (and sourcing new grinders from all over the world) we became enchanted with the idea of designing our own coffee grinder to meet our developing standards and prejudices in grinders....consistent grinding, quality build, well reasoned engineering and design. We designed the Pharos hand coffee grinder and extended the engineering principles from the Pharos into the LIDO 1....dual bearings on a long axle for maximum burr stability with the grinder basically built outward from the conical grinding burr...both of these grinders gained wide acceptance among coffee enthusiasts but the day to day hand building of both the Pharos and the LIDO 1 exacted a toll on the OE (as it was and remains just Barb and Doug to do it all). In the spring 2013 we took the large step to go from a build it ourselves in the workshop to full scale manufacturing, were able to overcome many obstacles and debut the LIDO 2 manual coffee grinder at the SCAA show in Seattle in the spring of the following year. For us, the LIDO 2 represents the culmination of nearly a decade of blood sweat and tears but we still enjoy manual coffee grinding and do so every day!
Barb and Doug
So does this mean the Lido 2 is made in China?
We source the conical grinding burr from Europe and the glass jar from the US. The rest of the grinder is made and (now) assembled in Taiwan to our specifications. We assembled the first 1000 units here in Idaho and have worked with our people in Taiwan to build the grinders as good (or better) than we did here. It has been a enriching experience to work with our team in Taiwan as they are exemplary workers and individuals.
What about that weird colored tote bag?
Barb likes green.
Can I wash the grinder in water?
From what we have observed, you won't hurt the grinder to wash it in soap and water but if you wash the burr in water make sure you get it really dry before you put it all back together. We are advocates of minimal cleaning of the burr in the grinder...occasional brushing off of the underside should do it. The burr is made of steel and has no rust protection but for the presence of coffee oils on the surface so over cleaning may do more harm than good. Before we do a coffee show I take the grinder apart and clean the hopper and jar with a soft cloth and some glass cleaner but that's about it besides a good brushing out.
I see some spots on the burr. Is it rusty?
The grinding burrs are made of steel. The way they make them is that they "cut" the burrs on a special milling machine or lathe when the steel is "soft" and then they put the burr through a heat process that hardens the steel. At any point in this process some contaminant or oil etc can get baked a make what looks like a spot. Rust is obvious but these brown or dark spots on the burr are not avoidable, at least by us...that is the way the burrs come from the factory. If you think you have rust on the burr you can take it out and wire brush it to verify that it is not rust, but really it is generally best to just run some beans through and get those oils on the burrs to protect them. The cosmetic aspects of the inner parts of the grinder are one of the difficult areas that we have to face every day. As our design for the grinder is so transparent, everything can, and will be seen (unlike any other grinders we can think of) so even the working areas (grind chamber) is there for inspection. Rust is different from spots, but some of these types of things fall into the extreme fastidious range of critique.
I bought this grinder for a consistent coarse grind and get a lot of fines....what gives?
Usually, barring any gross misalignment issue or shipping induced damage, the production of a certain amount of fines is unavoidable. You see, this is a conical grinding burr and the inherent grind profile of a conical burr tends toward espresso...a bimodal grind distribution with one portion of the grind tiny fine particles and the rest in the espresso desired range. This is the tradeoff with a conical burr...we have yet to come up with a good solution for feeding the beans through a flat grinding burr at these slow hand grinding speeds. The conical burr uses gravity and bean fragment inertial movement to feed through the burr and from our experiments about 10% of the particles by weight will be fines at almost every setting. Many of these observed fines will be chaff and bean hulls and therefore inert in an extraction but they are there and always will be. Our goal is to produce the most consistent particle size of the target particle and in a way overwhelm the fines. Some of the observed fines are due to the burr being new and not broken in yet....the burr gets better with time, trust us.
So how do I break the burr in? Grind rice?
We do not promote the grinding of anything besides coffee in our hand grinders. Some people swear by grinding minute rice to "season" the burr but we would rather you just grind coffee. We have observed that it takes about 3-4 weeks for the burr and grinder to break in. It gets quieter, smoother, and more consistent the longer you use it but there is an AHA moment at about a month of constant use when you realize that there is just something different about the grinder. It is wearing in. Grinding rice risks overloading the motor (your arms and hands), really gumming up the parts, and could make you dislike hand grinding from day one and rob you of the overall pleasure of manual coffee grinding. Relax, it will only get better over time.
You said it could be out of alignment. What do I do?
We would recommend that you remove the adjustment ring and turn the empty grinder upside down. Turn the handle and look at the burr. If it is not wobbling back and forth it is not out of alignment. The inner burr should turn without moving up and down in relation to the outer burr. If the inner burr bobs up and down like a carousel horse then it is time to check the burr alignment. The only burr that can be changed is the outer burr placement in relation to the inner and we have a video that covers that procedure:
I am afraid that I'm going to break the glass jar.
Be at ease, very few people have broken the jar...it is pretty stout as glass jars go. We have replacements and plastic ones as well, or you can get extras that you may never need.
Why did you use a glass jar anyway? Seems like asking for trouble.
Glass has some pretty positive qualities. Sanitary, easy to clean, relatively inexpensive, good optical clarity, fairly good static dissipation, very eco positive material. Ancient material actually and can last forever.
How can it be good for static? I have grounds clinging inside of mine.
I should have called this "frequently made arguments" geez....ok. There is this thing called the tribo electric table which gives relative values for static dissipation or lack thereof of various materials and glass is actually pretty good. Plastics are horrible by and large although ABS plastic is not real bad. This is not for the CREATION of static but the dissipation of static electricity. Static is always going to be a problem in material handling, especially with powders and the static that gets talked about so much comes about when there is an electrical imbalance in a system and that imbalance will show as static cling. Good static dissipative material allows that imbalance to resolve itself to equilibrium in a short time (the best is when one does not even notice it). It is always there, it is just to noticeable sometimes. Give the jar a bonk on the counter and it will knock most of the static cling down or just be patient and it will equilibrate all by itself.
What about squirting the beans with water?
You have been reading too many coffee forums! OK, the water droplet technique. We won't sign on or off that one either way. Some people swear by it but we never use it. We just finished a plastic jar that has a material called Permastat in the ABS that is pretty good at dissipating static...not real cheap stuff but seems to work. Patience works or timing out whatever brewing you are doing to grind first and let the static dissipate. Materials have a lot to do with it and we are metal through the burr to take advantage of conductivity. We have yet to see how some water drops on the beans can hurt but as I said, we don't do it, even in the dry months.
What is the grinder made of? Lead? Seems pretty heavy.
The handle, adjustment ring, and locking ring are made of die cast zinc. The burr carrier, top bearing plate, and outer burr lock ring insert are aluminum. All of these parts are nickel plated. The hopper is a plastic called Tritan (Eastman) which is an industry standard for optical clarity. The axle and inner burr carrier are stainless steel. The burr is steel. Knob is nylon. Jar is glass. Hold it horizontally at about the midpoint. Pretty well balanced, though yes, a bit heavy....does not keep us from traveling with it.
What do I do if the adjusting rings get stuck?
The adjustment "locks" by the locking ring pushing down against the adjustment ring and the equal and opposite force causing the locking ring to be pushed upward into the threads of the burr carrier. What is happening is that the "set" is held by the adjusting and locking ring threads being forced against the faces of the carrier threads. The two faces of the rings against each other is not the point of locking but the threads of all the parts "jamming" into each other. If you turn it too hard it can be hard to unjam but not impossible. I usually feel the locking ring and find the area that seems a little farther out in relation to the adjustment ring and give it a little whack with a wooden spoon handle as a start. What works best for me is to put a towel on the counter and grab both rings like a jar lid, grab the hopper in the other hand and give it a twist. We are working on a little plastic breaker washer to go between the rings to help avoid this getting stuck thing. It rarely happens after a while, once you get used to just how to work the mechanism. Barb unsticks the rings by handing it to me...it is good to still be needed.
But isn't this ring thing a design flaw or something?
We designed the grinder to have unimpeded flow of beans into the burr, therefore did not want to put the second axle bearing above the burr but below. This open throat design allowed us to work out the external ring adjustment system but as you can see, there are tradeoffs. As I said, we are constantly working on this and other grinders...we use the Lido 2 every day (5 or 6 times depending) and so are aware of all these things.
How long will the burrs last?
As far as we know, and from seeing some hand grinders well over 100 years old and still grinding well, you will likely never have to change the burr due to wear in a normal pattern of usage.
I heard a squeak. Do the bearings need some WD40 or what?
The bronze bearings are permanently oiled (they are the Oilite type which have lubricant impregnated in the bronze). I have heard a knob squeak, and I pulled off the nylon knob and greased the metal shaft. You can also put a little drop of oil in there. I have heard some noise from the lower washer (below the burr inside the adjustment ring) but this turned out to be some coffee stuck in there. When the burr is brand new (no coffee yet) it can make a little rub/squeak at the zero setting but this goes away after getting some coffee oil on the burrs. The only actual squeek squeak we have noticed is the knob and it is an easy fix.
What if something breaks? Can I get parts?
So far we have had to replace one broken plastic hopper (a large dog made off with the grinder to a bad end) and 3 adjustment rings (dropped grinder on floor with no jar in place). We have reached stable production at this point and finally have spare parts available. We will have them listed on our website soon. We have been able to supply this small number of needed parts so all is well, but open sale on the website will be better for all. Coming soon, we promise.
Why doesn't it come with a lid to prevent beans from popping out?
The design of the hopper is long enough that under normal useage (not jumping around etc) very few bean fragments pop out. From our standpoint, this is not enough of an issue to warrant a cover, but there are some good ideas put forward on coffee forums about lids if you wish to make one yourself.
I like the old black tote bag. Can I custom order one?
OK, OK, right now the tote bag is green. When these are gone Barb will decide the new color and then, wait and see, everyone will want green!
I hope this helps answer some questions.
Barb and Doug