I’ve had mixed success with my antique PeDe wall-mounted hand cranked coffee grinder since I purchased it from Orphan Espresso at the end of last year. It started off great, but somewhere along the way it just stopped grinding fine enough for good espresso. Orphan gave me a bunch of ideas to address, but nothing worked. They also offered for me to send it back so they could take a look and/or refund my money, but I love the grinder so much I didn’t want to do that. Instead, I decided to get a new Kyocera hand mill grinder for espresso and use the PeDe for coarsely grinding coffee for French press.
I received my Bodum Young Press (see left) and the Kyocera (below) last week. I am no expert with French press, and my regular coffee beans are some OLD mass-produced stuff, so I wasn’t expecting much from my first experience using the pot. I wanted to get the grind settings correct and experiment with the coffee/water ratios, etc. The Young Press is nice looking and has a great form factor. The glass pot is double-walled and with the lid on retains heat pretty nicely. The handle and plastic bits around the glass are rubbery in texture and it’s just a well-designed, well made item. Orphan sells it for $20, which is a good deal.
Unlike my rehab’d PeDe, the Kyocera grinder is new and includes some high-tech elements. It lacks the charm of the PeDe, but it seems to work well and be designed for the long haul. This grinder is only sold in Japan and according to what I’ve been able to find Orphan Espresso is about the only company selling it in the USA. The grinder is fairly compact, holding enough beans in the “hopper” for a double basket. The burrs are easily adjustable and made from ceramic. I guess-timated the settings and had it dialed in really close, then messed with the adjustment too much and have been choking the heck out of my Gaggia machine! I’m very close to having it dialed in perfectly again. For my machine and Broadway Cafe’s beans, it looks like aiming for around 170 turns of the crank for a full dose is about where I need to be.
Yes, I said 170 turns! The good news is that the crank has plenty of leverage and because of it’s design you really use both hands to grind the coffee, but the bad news is it’s still quite a workout! So far the grinder has been working great, if I can only get the adjustment dialed in just right. It seems to produce a very consistent grind, it’s quiet, and it has plenty of adjustment settings. About the only thing I’m worried about with it is the handle, which is designed to be removed when not in use. The head is essentially just a thin piece of metal cut to fit the top of the burr assembly, and it already has developed a lot of play for me. This may not be an issue, but I could see it getting pretty worn out with use. Time will tell! So far, so good, though. This grinder is sold for about $70 or so on Orphan’s website. Perfect for the traveling espresso brewer, too, since it’s small and compact.