The tale of the tape reads like a mirror image for the two contenders - both are 68mm. One has grown up in the luxury of electrical opulence with a large mansion to call home. Living on the penthouse floor of a gleaming chrome tower called the Compak K-10, this burr set has never worked hard in it's life. The other contender comes from the mean streets of Idaho - picked on with crude potato jokes, this burr set has scrapped and fought for everything it has ever earned. Cased in a squat metal hut it calls home, can this 68mm conical fulfill it's dream to become Titan Champion?
The answer is no. These two grinders are identical once the portafilter is locked and loaded. Same burrs, same results, no shock really but it was a lot of fun comparing the two. The Compak is a beast of a grinder - fast, easy to adjust, and deserving of the heaps of praise home baristas send it's way. The Orphan Espresso Pharos is, for the price, the best grinder pound for pound in the world too. Not nearly as convenient or easy to use as the K-10, it still isn't difficult to master. Forty turns (20 - 25 seconds) will turn 18g of light roast beans into powder and a couple whacks onto my flat and flexible plastic mouse pad gives a fluffy pile ready to pour into the filter basket.
The Compak K-10 can grind these same beans in something near 5 seconds so for speed there is no comparison. Once it comes to loading the portafilter things even out a bit. The K-10 requires a couple bumps of the motor along with the help of a stick to clear the chute - then the operator needs to work the doser to get the grounds into the basket - this takes a little bit of time but still is quicker than the same process for the Pharos, but not a whole lot faster.
In the end it comes down to use patterns for the operator - do you make a couple shots for yourself in the morning and that is it for the day? Maybe the Pharos makes more sense. Do you plan on pulling a lot of shots for company? The choice becomes clear - the Compak K-10 is the grinder for you. In the end there is no loser here - two 68mm conical Titan grinders that give up great tasting espresso.