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Japanese Ceramic-Burr Hand Mills
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SlowRain
Senior Member
SlowRain
Joined: 31 Jul 2008
Posts: 174
Location: a Canadian expat in Taiwan
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Pavoni PRH
Grinder: Sözen Turkish & Porlex...
Vac Pot: *$-Bodum French press
Drip: AeroPress
Posted Tue Aug 11, 2009, 10:52pm
Subject: Japanese Ceramic-Burr Hand Mills
 

There have been a few ceramic-burr hand grinders from Japan that are starting to become popular in other parts of the world.  A couple that I can think of are:

Kyocera CM-45CF

http://www.kyocera.co.jp/

Click Here (www.kyocera.co.jp)

Porlex

http://www.porlex.co.jp/

http://www.porlex.co.jp/1-coffee1.htm

http://www.porlex.co.jp/1-coffee2.htm

IWAKI JPCM

http://www.igc.co.jp/

Click Here (db2.entaniya.co.jp)

Hario Skerton

http://www.hario.com/

http://www.hario.com/seihin/coffeemill.html (I think the MSS-1B is the Skerton, the MSCS-2TB is its big brother)

The Kyocera, Porlex, and IWAKI all seem to be a very similar design.  They are similar to a Turkish grinder, but also slightly different.  The Hario Skerton is more similar to a box-shaped grinder.

I received my Porlex today, and I'm starting to play with it a bit.  Initially I was surprised at how light it is: 262.5g compared to my over-500g Sözen Turkish mill (my scale only goes to 500g).  It seems to be very precisely constructed, with everything fitting tightly and very little play in the movement.  The downside is, with the chamber empty of beans, it is not easy to turn the crank; my Turkish mill spins freely and is much easier to crank.  It also doesn't have as aggressive of burrs as my Turkish mill, so I end up cranking longer but, surprisingly, with similar resistance.

However, the grind, at an AeroPress single-cup setting, is much, much more even than my Turkish mill.  For this comparison, I just examine the AeroPress pucks after they have been pressed.  The fine grounds settle under the coarse grinds, forming two, distinct layers.  The Turkish mill has a larger percentage of coarse grounds on the top.  If I go any finer on the Turkish mill, it becomes too difficult to press the AeroPress plunger.  The Porlex has much better control in this regard, and the puck looks a lot more even.

I've heard different accounts of the Porlex at a French press setting.  One person saying it's good, another saying it's not.  I haven't tried it yet, but I hope to in the next couple of days (it's summer here and too hot for hot coffee, but I'll crank the A/C one day and give it a go).  I'd like to know what others think of it at a French press setting.  I haven't tried it for espresso, yet.
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IMAWriter
Senior Member
IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
Posts: 5,891
Location: Brentwood, TN
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega
Grinder: Forte, OE Pharos,...
Vac Pot: Adcraft SS, Yama 8 cup
Drip: Brazen, Kalita, Chemex,...
Roaster: Behmor 1600+, CO/UFO combo
Posted Tue Aug 11, 2009, 11:15pm
Subject: Re: Japanese Ceramic-bladed Hand Mills
 

Doug @ Orphan Espresso (is that where you got your Porlex?) sent me one for evaluation, as comparison with the KYM I purchased from him last year.
I think it does a nice job. Espresso (14 grams) in 190 turns, and Press pot about 90-100, I believe.
As you said, the fit and finish are fine, though mine has a wee bit of play, but doesn't seem to affect anything.

Only thing, like others of this style, the handle can fly off if not held securely!
Once it did, I kept my eye (and hand) on it. No further trouble.
I have not tried the Kyocera as comparison. The Porlex looks good, as well. It's a nice grinder, and well built.

I will, most likely "auction" this, as Doug has suggested, with the proceeds going to Coffee Kids.
I'll check with Mark and the Moderators to see if I can do this, with a PayPal link to Coffee Kids for the winner.

BTW
I would use the word "burr" or burr set, as opposed to "blade" which connotes the infamous whirl blade grinders.

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
My Music Production web site:
www.robertjason.com
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SlowRain
Senior Member
SlowRain
Joined: 31 Jul 2008
Posts: 174
Location: a Canadian expat in Taiwan
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Pavoni PRH
Grinder: Sözen Turkish & Porlex...
Vac Pot: *$-Bodum French press
Drip: AeroPress
Posted Tue Aug 11, 2009, 11:22pm
Subject: Re: Japanese Ceramic-Burr Hand Mills
 

Noted.  I've changed the thread title to 'burr'.

I had a friend who went to Japan for a visit, so I had him pick one up for me.

Perhaps mine will develop a little more play after it's been used a bit more.  The handle on my Turkish mill is a looser fit, and sometimes flies off if I get going too fast.  My Porlex handle is a very tight fit, but I also think it's impossible to go too fast with it.
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okawari
Senior Member


Joined: 5 Aug 2009
Posts: 27
Location: Japan
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Wed Aug 12, 2009, 11:15pm
Subject: Re: Japanese Ceramic-Burr Hand Mills
 

SlowRain Said:

I've heard different accounts of the Porlex at a French press setting.  One person saying it's good, another saying it's not.

Posted August 11, 2009 link

That may have been my post you're referring to, so I'd better clarify. I haven't owned a French press for a few years now, so I can't say from direct experience what the brewed result from a Porlex is like. My comment was based on the visual appearance of coarser grind settings, which to me was noticably uneven. It's not even an issue in my case as I only need to use settings appropriate to the range from pour-over to Turkish. I think it's a very good grinder, the more so if you paid the Japanese price for it.
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SlowRain
Senior Member
SlowRain
Joined: 31 Jul 2008
Posts: 174
Location: a Canadian expat in Taiwan
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Pavoni PRH
Grinder: Sözen Turkish & Porlex...
Vac Pot: *$-Bodum French press
Drip: AeroPress
Posted Thu Aug 13, 2009, 12:13am
Subject: Re: Japanese Ceramic-Burr Hand Mills
 

Your comment was in my mind when I posted that, but that was more of a general for-every-one-that-says-it's-good-someone-says-it-isn't kind of statement.  I talked to another Porlex owner who said I should consider the Hario Skerton for French press.

okawari Said:

...the more so if you paid the Japanese price for it.

Posted August 12, 2009 link

That's what I'm thinking, too.
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wideasleep1
Senior Member
wideasleep1
Joined: 19 Feb 2005
Posts: 1,458
Location: Tiburon,Ca
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: VBMDoubleDomo
Grinder: Mahlkoenig K30 Vario
Vac Pot: nope
Drip: Bodum Press
Roaster: IR1 and 2,SC/TO,Behmor
Posted Tue Aug 18, 2009, 9:53am
Subject: Re: Japanese Ceramic-Burr Hand Mills
 

I'm purchasing the Porlex for it's design and 'packability', (sorry, Robert..I couldn't wait!) and now await the MyPressi Twist...hopefully before the holidays, when I'll get a ton of use from both! What is/was the going street price in Japan for these things, and is Doug the only distrubutor thus far?
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Abdullah_R
Senior Member


Joined: 13 Aug 2009
Posts: 8
Location: Toronto
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Tue Aug 18, 2009, 12:20pm
Subject: Re: Japanese Ceramic-Burr Hand Mills
 

Which of these would be best suited for Espresso (Baby Gaggia)?

I have a friend currently visiting Japan, so I might have him pick one up.
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SlowRain
Senior Member
SlowRain
Joined: 31 Jul 2008
Posts: 174
Location: a Canadian expat in Taiwan
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Pavoni PRH
Grinder: Sözen Turkish & Porlex...
Vac Pot: *$-Bodum French press
Drip: AeroPress
Posted Tue Aug 18, 2009, 8:59pm
Subject: Re: Japanese Ceramic-Burr Hand Mills
 

In another thread regarding the Kyocera and AeroPress, one member mentioned this: "Re: Kyocera hand grinder - aeropress"

You may want to read the whole thread since you're considering one.

As to price:

http://www.google.com/search?q=kyocera+cm-45cf

Now those are Internet vendors.  Stores are a little higher, maybe ¥400 or ¥500 more.  But, you have to pay shipping from the Internet vendors, which is also about ¥400 or ¥500.

A member from coffeegeek.com is tentatively coming to Taiwan at the end of August.  If things work out, we're planning on meeting up at a local coffee shop that has agreed to let us test our grinders there--the Kyocera and the Porlex.  We're going to try espresso, vacpot, drip, AeroPress, and French press.  If your friend will be in Japan for an extended period: 1. Get him to ask around regarding what the Japanese think of both the Porlex and the Kyocera (that would be really useful information); 2. Or, maybe wait until we've had a chance to compare the two (although, I'm secretly expecting the Kyocera to come out on top).

By the way, does anyone have any suggestions for testing two hand grinders side-by-side?
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IMAWriter
Senior Member
IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
Posts: 5,891
Location: Brentwood, TN
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega
Grinder: Forte, OE Pharos,...
Vac Pot: Adcraft SS, Yama 8 cup
Drip: Brazen, Kalita, Chemex,...
Roaster: Behmor 1600+, CO/UFO combo
Posted Tue Aug 18, 2009, 11:32pm
Subject: Re: Japanese Ceramic-Burr Hand Mills
 

wideasleep1 Said:

I'm purchasing the Porlex for it's design and 'packability', (sorry, Robert..I couldn't wait!) and now await the MyPressi Twist...hopefully before the holidays, when I'll get a ton of use from both! What is/was the going street price in Japan for these things, and is Doug the only distrubutor thus far?

Posted August 18, 2009 link

haha...let us know what you think of the Porlex.

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
My Music Production web site:
www.robertjason.com
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SlowRain
Senior Member
SlowRain
Joined: 31 Jul 2008
Posts: 174
Location: a Canadian expat in Taiwan
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Pavoni PRH
Grinder: Sözen Turkish & Porlex...
Vac Pot: *$-Bodum French press
Drip: AeroPress
Posted Mon Aug 31, 2009, 8:35pm
Subject: Re: Japanese Ceramic-Burr Hand Mills
 

Well, Epic76 and I got together at a local coffee shop (Café Lulu here in Taichung) and compared the Kyocera and Porlex a little bit.  It was more of a social occasion as opposed to a scientific one.  The one thing that surprised both of us is that the internal parts seem identical.  I wouldn't be a bit surprised if they both came from the same manufacturer.  The Kyocera had a bit of a flattened base on the inner burr, but that may have just been coincidence.  The parts seem to be 100% interchangable.  So, the only real difference is the outside.

Everyone who looked at them, myself included, thought the Kyocera looked nicer, but that'll all depend on each individual's taste.  The Kyocera was easier to hold when cranking, probably because the top part is roughened a bit, but also tapers in and then out where you are grabbing.  It just fits the hand better.  The straight-sided stainless steel of the Porlex is slipperier, so you have to grip it tighter when cranking, which I think may play your arm out if you're doing a lot of grinding.  Also, on the Porlex the top cylinder simply slides into the bottom cylinder; on the Kyocera, the top and bottom are threaded.  This means that the Porlex isn't fastened as well and wiggles a bit when grinding.  However, the stainless steel of the Porlex isn't  breakable.

With what seem to be identical internals, it looks as if the decision comes down to what features you need from the external pieces.

Regarding French press grinding: I've only done it twice so far, so I can't say too much.  The Porlex, and I'm assuming the Kyocera as they seem to be internally identical, creates a lot of dust.  After only two tries, I haven't found a perfect grind setting, so I can't comment too much on grind evenness or the coffee's taste.

Hope this helps when people come to make their choice.



*EDIT: I forgot to mention the noise.  The Kyocera sounds more like a traditional hand grinder with the cracking sound of the beans.  The Porlex sounds kind of funky--a little like little steel balls bouncing around inside a tire tube.  The Porlex is quieter, but weird.
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