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Discussions > Espresso > Lever Espresso > Spring Lever &...  
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coffeegrindin
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coffeegrindin
Joined: 30 Jan 2014
Posts: 10
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Sun Feb 9, 2014, 10:26am
Subject: Re: Spring Lever & Manual Grinders | Recommendations
 

Thank you all for such great feedback! I have already ordered the pharos and am excited to play around with it. I'm sure once I get a better hang of making some decent shots I'll be more apted to mod and tinker. Since these are Going to be my first "real" pieces of espresso equipment I feel I've made a good mid-price-range decision on the grinder.

I'm still scouring the internet for a used Elektra MCAL if anyone has suggestions I'd greatly appreciate it!

Thanks again,

-g
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SpaceTime
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Joined: 9 Dec 2013
Posts: 271
Location: Virgo Cluster
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: 83 & 89 Cremina, 85 Coffex
Grinder: HG One, Pharos, LIDO
Drip: Freiling 33 & 44oz FP,...
Posted Sun Feb 9, 2014, 12:35pm
Subject: Re: Spring Lever & Manual Grinders | Recommendations
 

coffeegrindin Said:

Thank you all for such great feedback! I have already ordered the pharos and am excited to play around with it. I'm sure once I get a better hang of making some decent shots I'll be more apted to mod and tinker. Since these are Going to be my first "real" pieces of espresso equipment I feel I've made a good mid-price-range decision on the grinder.

I'm still scouring the internet for a used Elektra MCAL if anyone has suggestions I'd greatly appreciate it!

Thanks again,

-g

Posted February 9, 2014 link

Perfect - congrats on your choice!  As I said I like my Pharos - and it sounds like you are the PERFECT owner for it - one who is NOT afraid to take it apart, as it is possible that may be required at some point.  I am an engineer too, have  a woodshop, love to tinker.  Not everyone is like us.  And that is why MANY who get the Pharos end up with the VDD mods, or opt for another grinder.  It is very common.  I just think it is good to give prospective Pharos owners both sides of the possibilities as some are very surprised... if you go in with the proper expectations, chances are better you will like it and not feel the need to mod it!  (like I said, once I got mine with parts in proper tolerance, etc, it worked better).

That is why I have a Cremina too - I love to be able to fix things myself, take them apart without damaging them! LOL

The MCAL - they come up for sale on CG and HB periodically - and I assume you have been checking Ebay.  I have had a search filter on Ebay for months on the Elektra - and still have not seen one that matches the criteria of condition, price, etc for my needs.  I see overpriced (higher than retail) new ones, but not many that I would pull the trigger on.  Good luck, the MCAL has less of a population of machines in the US than other levers like the Cremina, LP, etc so it may take patience.

As I say that, one could pop up tomorrow here on the Buy / Sell - they are out there.

Cheers.
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SpaceTime
Senior Member


Joined: 9 Dec 2013
Posts: 271
Location: Virgo Cluster
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: 83 & 89 Cremina, 85 Coffex
Grinder: HG One, Pharos, LIDO
Drip: Freiling 33 & 44oz FP,...
Posted Sun Feb 9, 2014, 6:55pm
Subject: Re: Spring Lever & Manual Grinders | Recommendations
 

Prof Said:

I too have had a Pharos for about a year, #696, and have kept it unmodded.  I've had to align the burrs once.  Using a rubber mallet to remove grinds is not good for alignment.  What works well for me is the method of using a small atomizer (spray bottle with very fine mist) of water before putting the beans in the hopper.  Then all that is needed is a tap on the sides to remove all the grinds.  It works very well.  

There is nothing in that price range, imho, that does as well.  Yes, there are cons with the pros, but my experience has not been anything like that of tek.  

If I thought I needed to VoodooDaddy the Pharos (68mm burrs), I would probably get the Chinese made HG1 (83mm).  I will admit that the Rosco Mini looks interesting, but 38mm burrs and $450 seems pricey.  

OE has announced a new version of the Lido that the OP might be more interested in right now.

Posted February 9, 2014 link

Anyone thinking of buying a Pharos should read this HB Pharos thread Hopefully the powers that be here on CG don't mind me posting an HB thread.

This is just one of many threads supporting the theory the Pharos is a grinder that you should plan on adjusting..  Most folks I know who own the Pharos have experiences different than yours - if you buy a Pharos, IMHO you SHOULD plan on learning how to align it, tinker with it, take it apart. YMMV.

For grounds extraction, even when I mist the beans, you still have to do something to get the grounds out - just pulling the plug without shaking, banging or agitating in some way will only yield a few drops.  Instead of using my hand, I use a mallet - did you realize that OE originally sold the grinders WITH a rubber mallet - you guessed it, for the sole purpose of banging the grounds out.  If you are not overly harsh, and your alignment is tight, you shouldn't harm alignment.  Plus it is all relative - soft taps with a mallet could do less harm than hard bangs with your hand...

Just out of curiousity - how do you check your grinder to assure alignment?  Many Pharos owners who think their grinder is aligned are quite surprised when they check it an 1/8th of a turn from zero... my guess is you probably are well aware of the procedure, but just asking!

Also, aren't the Pharos / LIDO parts made in China also, just like the HG One, and assembled in the US?

Cheers!
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Prof
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Prof
Joined: 10 Sep 2004
Posts: 718
Location: Seattle
Expertise: Pro Roaster

Espresso: PV Lusso
Grinder: Pharos 696
Drip: Aeropress
Roaster: Behmor 1600+
Posted Sun Feb 9, 2014, 8:01pm
Subject: Re: Spring Lever & Manual Grinders | Recommendations
 

SpaceTime Said:

...
Most folks I know who own the Pharos have experiences different than yours - if you buy a Pharos, IMHO you SHOULD plan on learning how to align it, tinker with it, take it apart. YMMV.

For grounds extraction, even when I mist the beans, you still have to do something to get the grounds out - just pulling the plug without shaking, banging or agitating in some way will only yield a few drops.  Instead of using my hand, I use a mallet - did you realize that OE originally sold the grinders WITH a rubber mallet - you guessed it, for the sole purpose of banging the grounds out.  If you are not overly harsh, and your alignment is tight, you shouldn't harm alignment.  Plus it is all relative - soft taps with a mallet could do less harm than hard bangs with your hand...

Just out of curiousity - how do you check your grinder to assure alignment?  Many Pharos owners who think their grinder is aligned are quite surprised when they check it an 1/8th of a turn from zero... my guess is you probably are well aware of the procedure, but just asking!

Also, aren't the Pharos / LIDO parts made in China also, just like the HG One, and assembled in the US?

Cheers!

Posted February 9, 2014 link

The Pharos alignment issues are known, and I have tinkered with mine so I have it where I want it.  It will be the last hand grinder I own, maybe for a long time.  

Most of the parts for the Pharos are sourced here in the USA.  Some come from China, as would be expected.  My beef with the HG1 is the $900 price for a machine that is almost all China sourced and manufactured.  The HG1 is a fabulous grinder.  I have used it.  But for that money I'll get a Baratza Forte and never look back.

 
LMWDP # 010
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SpaceTime
Senior Member


Joined: 9 Dec 2013
Posts: 271
Location: Virgo Cluster
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: 83 & 89 Cremina, 85 Coffex
Grinder: HG One, Pharos, LIDO
Drip: Freiling 33 & 44oz FP,...
Posted Mon Feb 10, 2014, 6:54am
Subject: Re: Spring Lever & Manual Grinders | Recommendations
 

Cheers Norm.  

The last piece for me is whether I lock the four screws down tight that hold the outer burr.  (that was discussed in the link I included above).  Many state that Doug's leaving them loose was a choice, and made the initial alignment easier during construction - but that taking the time to lock them down will result in alignment almost never shifting again.  I hear it is difficult to get right, but once you do, you won't get alignment drift any more...

Is that what you did?  I am still not sold on this one way or another, looking for the pro / con.  I will say fixing the tolerance issues for me made a big difference, but I am still getting drift over time, no matter how perfectly I tighten the outer frame bolts.

It is a given that hard beans, rough treatment, hard bangs with a mallet, etc don't help alignment either - but it is also a given that you could treat it like a baby and still have issues, for the reasons already mentioned.  Every Pharos has its own personality, and needs its own special treatment... IMHO.

Tim


EDIT / UPDATE:  Today, I took the Pharos apart (again) to finally attempt the lower / outer burr lockdown project.  This has been discussed in many places, mostly on Home Barista, a place that has a lot of Pharos threads. The purpose of this lockdown is an "advanced option" some users take if they don't wish to spend $$$ on the VDD mods to make the Pharos hold its alignment.  From most who take the time to do it, it seems to have decent results... but others think it only buys you time before your plastic stabilitizing / bolt cover posts finally fail and you have do spend more $$ anyways.

I resorted to this lockdown attempt after my Pharos lost alignment (again) due to some harder beans I am grinding currently for my espresso.  The Pharos losing alignment is frankly getting old, this is a common issue - again go read Home Barista.  I am far from alone in this experience or assertion.
.
Once you finally realize your stock Pharos needs some sort of attention to sustain alignment - whether you spend $300 for the VDD mods, or you buy the parts and do it yourself, or you try different things like I am with the stock (and some say unworkable) hardware.  There are many who think the plastic bolt covers / stabilizing posts are a big factor in why the stock Pharos will always have issues holding alignment.

Long story short - it took multiple attempts, and about three hours today to find the magic combination of locking the lower burr and getting correct alignment with the upper burr.  I made three shots since then, and it felt solid.  I figure this is my last shot at getting the Pharos to hold alignment - I refuse to drop $300 on the VDD mods.  

I am already close to buying a different manual grinder to supplement the Pharos, and compare and contrast.  My patience is wearing thin with the Pharos... I started out liking it, started realizing it needed frequent realigning in the stock configuration, to finally (and mostly recently due to heavy use with it) realizing there are some fundamental design / execution shortcomings that hamper its sustainability.  Couple that with the "technical bulletins" that only tell part of the story, and there you have the Pharos.

I realize some may disagree, but don't take my word, there are hundreds / thousands of posts over on HB that will give you similar data on the Pharos - it CAN be a great grinder if you don't mind either spending $$$ to make it better, or lots of time to assure it stays aligned.  Or trying things like I just did - then again that falls into the "lots of time to assure it stays aligned" category.

--------------->>>> YMMV <<<<<-------------------
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SpaceTime
Senior Member


Joined: 9 Dec 2013
Posts: 271
Location: Virgo Cluster
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: 83 & 89 Cremina, 85 Coffex
Grinder: HG One, Pharos, LIDO
Drip: Freiling 33 & 44oz FP,...
Posted Wed Feb 12, 2014, 6:29pm
Subject: Re: Spring Lever & Manual Grinders | Recommendations
 

crazy4espresso Said:

Orphan Espresso just released the Lido 2 and is currently taking pre-orders.  You can consider that grinder for espresso as well as the Pharos.
.

Posted January 31, 2014 link

Anybody who is considering the LIDO2 for espresso should read / watch this first:  LIDO 2 Thread   In the thread , even the designer / manufacturer of the grinder - Orphan Espresso - states that although it CAN (though not easily) make espresso, the LIDO 2 (like the LIDO 1) is best suited and intended as a drip/press grinder.

I own the LIDO 1, and it is DEFINITELY a drip/press grinder - it is why I bought it and all I would recommend using it for.  it can make passable (in the words of the designer) espresso, but it is not intended, and I would never use it for a full time espresso grinder.  I tried it for espresso - no way I would ever think about it being a full time espresso grinder.  It does a great job at press pot though.

The LIDO 2 is a LIDO 1 with some design tweaks, but it is essentially the same class / type of grinder.  I have seen a few different threads now where folks are recommending the LIDO 2 for espresso, when it simply is not an espresso grinder.  I am not sure where the LIDO 2 / espresso correlation came from (definitely not OE) but just trying to give so more data for those considering the purchase.
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coffeegrindin
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coffeegrindin
Joined: 30 Jan 2014
Posts: 10
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Wed Feb 12, 2014, 7:40pm
Subject: Re: Spring Lever & Manual Grinders | Recommendations
 

After reading all of these posts I'm very surprised OE gets such praise. Do they offer any feedback on these issues or alter their product to better suit their customers complaints? If not OE, then who makes a decent hand Grinder for espresso?? 1st-line.com has a bunch of old school looking ones that are definitely cheaper... But how do they compare?
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hankua
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hankua
Joined: 29 Aug 2009
Posts: 294
Location: Jacksonville, Florida
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Salvatore One Black
Grinder: Major, Rossi, Tanzenia,...
Drip: Behmor Brazen, CCD
Roaster: Feima 800n, Huky, Sirocco
Posted Wed Feb 12, 2014, 9:12pm
Subject: Re: Spring Lever & Manual Grinders | Recommendations
 

Yes, OE does make improvements on a continuous basis, but does not announce every one. Pharos by design is hard to turn, but you get Titan conical results for cheap. Some people are just better off using an electric grinder. The good part is their grinders have very good resale value in case your not happy.
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SpaceTime
Senior Member


Joined: 9 Dec 2013
Posts: 271
Location: Virgo Cluster
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: 83 & 89 Cremina, 85 Coffex
Grinder: HG One, Pharos, LIDO
Drip: Freiling 33 & 44oz FP,...
Posted Thu Feb 13, 2014, 5:48am
Subject: Re: Spring Lever & Manual Grinders | Recommendations
 

hankua Said:

Yes, OE does make improvements on a continuous basis, but does not announce every one. Pharos by design is hard to turn, but you get Titan conical results for cheap. Some people are just better off using an electric grinder. The good part is their grinders have very good resale value in case your not happy.

Posted February 12, 2014 link

That is a good way to put it.  Nothing out there is perfect, every grinder has its +'s and -'s.  For $250, compared to other grinders, and the grind you can get with the Pharos - some will make the point "so what, you have to align it every now and then"

It all depends on the user, your tolerance, etc.  For example - you could spend $2000 for a electric Titan, then find out you don't like the 15-20g grind retention, or the fact it weighs 1700 lbs LOL.

Nothing is perfect.  It is good the user has the entire story though... sometimes you don't always get that.
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SpaceTime
Senior Member


Joined: 9 Dec 2013
Posts: 271
Location: Virgo Cluster
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: 83 & 89 Cremina, 85 Coffex
Grinder: HG One, Pharos, LIDO
Drip: Freiling 33 & 44oz FP,...
Posted Thu Feb 13, 2014, 7:51am
Subject: Re: Spring Lever & Manual Grinders | Recommendations
 

coffeegrindin Said:

After reading all of these posts I'm very surprised OE gets such praise. Do they offer any feedback on these issues or alter their product to better suit their customers complaints? If not OE, then who makes a decent hand Grinder for espresso?? 1st-line.com has a bunch of old school looking ones that are definitely cheaper... But how do they compare?

Posted February 12, 2014 link

They get such praise because they are two people, out in the sticks of Idaho, that have devoted their recent years to providing the coffee community new options for hand grinding, and have offered coffee accessories at a fair price.

That kind of operation does come at a price - being a two man operation - they are very slow (if at all) to respond to your support queries, they don't have a contact by phone option to contact them for help (they used to but abandoned it).  I have sent them five separate emails / topics over the last 18 mos, and got one topic that was responded to.

Also, it means they cannot be agile and "turn on a dime" for product updates, new releases, bug fixes, etc. like a big corp with infinite resources can.  What you see is what you get, and what you get is what you got pretty much.  However, they are open about their products - telling the user "go ahead and mod it - we gave it to you cheap and bare bones so the decorations are your choice."

Finally - more features, higher quality materials (ie - aluminum vs plastic bolt covers) cost money.  And that means higher prices.  I am sure they could provide aluminum bolt covers to the Pharos, give it an adjustment scale, spend the time to lock the lower burr on initial alignment (a debatable topic if that is the best method), etc = but then your Pharos would be $500 and not $250.

Anyway, all this is just my humble opinion, based on what I have observed in dealing with OE.  I own two of their hand grinders, and numerous accessories for my Cremina, so I have had a few dealings with them to make my assertions.
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