The most important piece of brewing equipment you own is your grinder. As we’ve written elsewhere, there are many great reasons to invest in a hand grinder. If, like us, your life philosophy is “if you’re going to get wet you might as well swim,” then you’re probably looking for the most hardcore hand grinder on the market. It’s hard to find a more serious piece of equipment than the Orphan Espresso Lido 2.
At $175.00 the Lido 2 isn’t cheap, but it features specs that normally are only found on a commercial grade coffee grinder. Larger burrs mean a more consistent grind size, and the Lido 2 features 48mm Italian steel burrs- far larger than almost all its competitors. Another plague of hand grinders is the inconsistent particle sizes due to wobbly axles. The Lido 2’s dual axle eliminates the inconsistencies and ensures an even grind. The Lido 2 also offers a remarkable amount of control over the grind with stepless adjustment. This is especially helpful when grinding for espresso or Turkish coffee, where a small adjustment can have a big impact on the brew.
Over the last five months we’ve used the Lido 2 almost every day. We used it for everything from espresso, Aeropress, French press, and pour-overs. We’ve taken it to work, to friends’s houses, even on an international trip. Over the course of several hundred cups of coffee we’ve developed a few opinions.
The grind size is very consistent
Quite simply, the Lido 2 has the best grind quality we’ve seen from a hand grinder. In fact, it’s even better than many electric conical burr grinders. We used a 125 micron sieve to sift the fines from a variety grind sizes. We compared the amount of fines to a Mahlkönig Guatemala and found that it was within 0.1 grams of the Mahlkönig- a remarkable feat considering the $1,800 price difference!
It’s very easy to grind
Compared to other hand grinders, cranking the Lido 2 is a breeze. The only exception is grinding for espresso or Turkish coffee, which will make you trade in your ultra-light Scandinavian roast for some old school dark roast.
The step less grinder offers a remarkable amount of control
If you’re the sort of person who likes being able to control and manipulate minute details, you’ll love the Lido 2. Although the step less adjustment makes it difficult to exactly reproduce a certain grind size, you’ll never be frustrated that your ideal grind is somewhere between two settings.
It can grind for espresso and Turkish coffee
The Lido 2 has the consistency and firepower necessary to grind for espresso. There’s a lot of home espresso grinders out there, but very few actually cut it. The Lido 2 is the only hand grinder we’ve seen do the job.
The adjustment mechanism is cumbersome
In order to change the grind, one must loosen the bottom ring and then adjust the middle ring which serves as a locking mechanism. Even after 5 months of continuos use, it can be a little arduous to change grind sizes. It’s much easier to turn the dial on a Baratza grinder. In my opinion, the Lido 2 is best suited for home brewers that normally use one method/batch size.
It’s easy to accidentally change the grind setting
More than once the bottom ring came loose while grinding which altered the grind size. This can be avoided by double checking to see if it’s locked, but that can be hard to remember before you’ve had coffee.
It’s very large and heavy
Weighing in at 1.6 kg., the Lido 2 is one heavy piece of equipment. With the bottom container attached, it’s as tall as my Baratza Virtuoso. In short, it’s not the most portable grinder around. I recently took my Lido 2 with me to Tulum, Mexico. The grinder definitely took up a large share of my messenger bag, but I was thankful for the superior quality upon arrival. (Note: OE just released the Lido 3, which manages to shave 600 g. off the weight.)
It’s messier than other grinders
I’m not sure if it’s because of the steel burrs, but the Lido 2 generates more static electricity than other hand mills. I’ve started taking the bottom canister off over the trash to avoid getting chaff and fines all over my kitchen. Even with this technique I’m using my shop vac more than ever.
If you’re interested in the best grind quality possible with a portable grinder, the OE Lido 2 is the grinder you have been looking for. Its large size and difficult adjustment might make another grinder more ideal for novice brewers. But home brewers that have been frustrated with the inconsistent grind size of their entry level grinders will be happy with the quality of the Lido 2.