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Orphan Espresso & the Lido 2 Grinder - SCAA 2014 Show Report
Author: Mark Prince
Posted: May 8, 2014
Article rating: 9.2
feedback: (7) comments | read | write
Click for larger image

Orphan Espresso had a booth this year at the show, and it was mainly to show off their latest pride and joy, the Lido 2 hand grinder; though other products (including the Pharos Grinder) were also showcased, along with OE's other services. In the booth there was even a Lido 2 prototype for people to check out.

The Lido 2 is really a testament to American ingenuity and "can do" attitude that made that country as great as it is. Orphan Espresso is essentially a cottage industry business -- run by Doug and Barb Garrott out of their home in Troy, Idaho -- and a business started as a love for old espresso machines and restoring them. Mr. Garrott is an active participant in the Home Barista and CoffeeGeek forums, and recognized a long time ago there was a demand for a quality home hand grinder for coffee and espresso, so he designed and built the Pharos - a monster of a hand grinder that was rock steady, industrial strength, and rigid as all out in the grind arm spindle (the achilles heel of most hand grinders - the Pharos did not "wobble").

Next up came the Lido, which followed a lot of the form and function of the Pharos, but in a slimmer design with a glass grinds hopper. Both grinders were well received (and loved) by the home hobbyist community for coffee and espresso. But there were problems with both grinders, and those problems were scalability, cost, and labour. The Garrotts simply couldn't build the grinders fast enough; they had priced them too low (so low, they couldn't offer a wholesale price on the Lido) and at full building capacity, they didn't have time for the rest of their company.

The Lido 2 was the Garrotts next big project, and one he took to an entirely different level with a much wiser business strategy. Mr. Garrott worked with an industrial designer on the project. He enlisted the aid of Kyle Anderson, co-owner and chief engineer of Baratza, on development and getting parts manufactured. And he went all out on the cost and development -- in fact, Mr. Garrott said the first prototype of the Lido 2 was "the most expensive thing I've ever held in my hand" -- it was that expensive.

We talked to Mr. Anderson about Orphan Espresso, the Garrotts and the Lido 2 development.

Q: How did you get to know the Garrotts?

Kyle Anderson (KA): Doug and Barb's business, Orphan Espresso, was a reseller of Baratza grinders and possibly more importantly, they created some of the most elegant and simple devices that made our grinders even more user friendly, such as the OE dosing funnels. They also designed a simple tool for removing the upper burr in a Vario.

They freely offered these ideas to us to use as is or further refine and they wanted nothing in return. I got to know them a bit more personally three and a half years ago when I stopped in to visit them at their home/business outside of Troy, Idaho. At that time I got to see just how clever they were with other products and with their hand grinders.

Q: Even though they could be considered competitors of yours, you've gone all out to help these folks move onto the next level of product manufacturing - why?

KA: Because Doug and Barb are the salt of the earth and they generously shared their clever ideas to make Baratza grinders even better and asked for nothing in return. Though their product grinds coffee, I feel theirs is a special niche market that doesn't really compete with Baratza, and even if someone were to buy a Lido 2 over our grinder, it couldn't benefit two nicer people.

Q: What help did you provide to the company specific to the Lido 2?

KA: I simply introduced them to the industrial design company we use for Baratza products and then connected them with our Taiwan supplier for all their tooling and production needs.

Q: Do you have any tips for other cottage industry folks who want to move their business of manufacturing to the next level?

KA: If your design is not refined enough to go to production tooling, then find a designer who really understands the production nuances involved to bring your product to life, such as injection molding, die casting, stampings, etc. I see many prototypes that are not compatible with molding or casting rules. A designer with the right experience knows these rules and can ensure your product can be produced.

Next is to find a supplier -- or suppliers -- you can trust, who has a proven track record of delivering products made with similar methods such as injection molding, metal fabrication, CNC machining, die casting, plating, painting, etc etc. and deliver them on time and on budget. A good supplier will willingly show you other products they have produced, so you can see their abilities and quality control.

Q: What's your own personal take on the Lido 2? Do you own one?

KA: As  I say, the hand grinder market is very niche. I'm a lazy guy, I like electricity. Though the Lido 2 is of the highest design and build quality, I continue to opt to press a button to smash my beans, so no, I do not own one.

Q: What do you think could be next for the Garrotts in their business?

KA: Doug and Barb stopped by the day after SCAA (2014) on their drive back to Idaho. Suffice to say Doug is full of great ideas. They already have some VERY interesting stuff in the pipeline. If you like the Lido 2, then what's coming next will be even more unique, functional, practical and classic Doug and Barb!!

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Doug Garrott demonstrating, not for the first time, the Lido 2 at SCAA 2014.
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Mr. Garrott demonstrating the locking collar of the Lido 2
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Mr. Garrott demonstrates the Lido 2's features
The Pharos grinder (foreground) and the original Lido grinder behind it.

More on the Lido 2

The Lido 2 is a monster, but still svelte and definitely portable (as in, throw it in your suitcase portable). Orphan Espresso even has a custom (optional) case you can buy for it. It's made up of a lot of zinc, a lot of glass, some bronze, and other metals. Mr. Garrott made a point of saying it's entirely metal from the burrs on down and the only plastic is in the bean hopper and the handle winder. It features 40mm conical burrs (made in Italy), a BPA-free plastic bean hopper that holds around 75 grams of coffee, and a glass 240ml (8oz) capacity grinds hopper.

The heart of the grinder -- the bearing system and shaft that keeps the burrs rock steady -- is made from bronze (!!) and other materials. It stands 33cm (13") tall and weighs a whopping 1.6kg (3.5lbs). This thing is serious, and as Mr. Garrott said at the show, is something you'll hand down to your kids, it's that well built.

The entire grinder comes apart by just unscrewing various bits by hand and using one custom hex tool -- which is thoughtfully included in the box -- and the package is finished out with a thick plastic grinder stand and a specially sourced grinder brush. The finish is a light "champagne" colour (and glass / plastic) and overall, it looks absolutely serious and elegant, with some good hints of beautiful product design. This grinder ain't your grandma's Zassenhaus, that's for sure.

CoffeeGeek will have a Quickshot Review on the Lido 2 soon; in the meantime, here's what it looks like, up close.

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Lido 2 Box as it will ship. Lots of information on the outside of the box.
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Everything in the box - grinder, brush, Lido tool, glass hopper, stand.
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Lido 2 branding - the only real plastic on this thing is the whole bean chamber
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Orphan Espresso brand proudly displayed on the handle.
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Massive 40mm conical burrs inside this monster.
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The adjustment and locking collars for the Lido 2. The Garrotts' mark the "zero" mark themselves in black ink.
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The Lido 2 Grinder in its stand with glass hopper removed.

Article rating: 9.2
Author: Mark Prince
Posted: May 8, 2014
feedback: (7) comments | read | write
Reports From the Road Column Archives  
Column Description
One of the more popular pieces of content on the CoffeeGeek website are the reports from major trade shows. We cover shows like no other media source does - giving first hand intimate and frank reports that give you the real scoop on what's going on, from a consumer and a coffee lover's true perspective.

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