OE Pharos hand grinder from Orphan Espresso -Part 3: Impression & Summary

November 12, 2011


Continued from OE Pharos hand grinder from Orphan Espresso -Part 2: First Impression



Here's Part 1: OE Pharos hand grinder from Orphan Espresso -Part 1:Introductory



 



Retention:

Titan conical grinders tend to have a bad name for their
ground retention. To enjoy the grind quality from these grinder at home,
you have do a sacrificial ‘ritual’ to purge out the stale coffee early in the morning, which sometimes amounts up to 10g. With Pharos, there is no need to! What you
put in is normally what you get in the basket
. One small thing that I
should mention is that the Pharos sometimes gets a bit of the ground
(<0.2g) trapped between the funnel and ABS cylinder. The good news
is, other than losing that 0.2g of coffee, the coffee cannot actually
get back into the funnel and thus no stale coffee.



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Above picture: (Bottom part of Pharos disassembled) This is what I mean between the funnel and ABS cylinder, after many rounds of grinding



 



Grind quality:

Well,
what can I say? Definitely, the grind quality seems like it lives up to
its expectation. It gives a very fluffy espresso grind, with no clump
at all
. Definitely looks like a titan grade quality. However, what I am
more concerned about is the grind quality in the press range. Many
reported that Pharos yielded a better and sweeter cup for French press. I
am hoping it to live up to expectation in that aspect. Unfortunately,
due to my lack of experience in French press tasting, I cannot say for
sure that it does give a better cup. To my eye, the press grind does not
seem to be consistent at all.
There are fines and there is variation in
size. However, it’s probably comforting to know that there is no single
grinder on the market today that can produce uniformly sized press
grind (Ditting included).  What I hope though, is that I will have a
chance to compare it to Baratza Preciso and see if there’s a difference.
Unfortunately for now, that’s all I’ve got. It is still a decent
grinder for press due to low retention and ease to switch between
grinds.



/files/u16346/10168_img_0182.jpg" height="500" width="375" />



Above picture: 2 turn from zero for Press grind.



/files/u16346/10168_img_0194.jpg" height="300" width="400" />



Above Picture: Press grind after being sifted with 0.6mm(600 micron) mesh filter. 12 g sifted, 9.7g remaining in the pitcure.



 



 



Cup impression:

If possible, I don't want to dwell
too much into this topic. This is because I am also a beginner learning my way of
espresso. I am not a professional coffee taster who can taste the leather in the coffee, but just a normal person
who enjoys making espresso and drinking them. But I know most of you are curious and I can't get away without it. From my very
experience, the shots from the Pharos are creamier with richer
body. It has a brighter taste with an edgy upfront as compared to my
Major which is more mellow in the first sip. The Pharos shots do really
remind me of the shots I’ve tasted from the 3rd wave café in my town. In
short, I would say that in the cup, you wouldn’t be disappointed. However, I want to emphasize that, the difference in cup between Mazzer Major and Pharos, is very minor and only it's amplified whe described in words. I am not saying Major has weak body but in the barely detectable comparison, the Pharos seems to have slightly more.



 



Maintenance:

This
grinder is made from almost 5 lbs. of aluminum. In another word, it
should be durable enough to survive with no maintenance. With such
caliber of commercial titan burrs in a hand grinder, I suspect the burrs
of Pharos will only need to be replaced in the next 10 years.  For
those of you who would like to clean the grinder, it takes a hex key and
a wrench to take it down
to its bare bone. No proprietary parts.


However,
the only issue I have, is the alignment issue of the burrs. Because of
how Pharos is designed, there is no allowed slop or play in the burrs,
which is a good thing for the best quality grind. The downside is that,
you need to align the burrs properly to get the best performance and
that the burrs don’t rub. For me, I am struggling quite a bit in getting
a good alignment. I finally managed to get a pretty good alignment
after many attempts. So, the moral of the story is that it’s probably
better not to take down the grinder if there is no need to. Note though,
this could be an isolated case as I shoot a message to Doug at OE and
he said others don’t seem to have this problem.  He offers his help to
check this out and even willing to split the shipping. Great company!



Summary

Here’s
a summary of pros and cons for a Pharos hand grinder. It might not be
the perfect one, but it sure is a damn good grinder for less than $300!

Pros:

i)    Quality burrs for quality grind

ii)    Cheap for the quality that you get

iii)    Grinds very fast (almost too fast)

iv)    Easy switching and high repeatability

v)    Low retention

vi)    Semi-portable


Cons:

i)    No proper hand holder on the grinder

ii)    Getting the ground from the funnel takes about 10-20 seconds effort

iii)    Difficult burrs alignment issue, for me.



Conclusion:


As
a Pharos owner #161, I would recommend Pharos to anyone that are
willing to spend a bit of effort and only makes 2-4 shots at a time
with
no hesitation. It’s a really good grinder and for the quality in the
cup, it’s a no brainer especially at that price.



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