At this year's Specialty Coffee Association tradeshow, I met Ilan Maimon, and after a few minutes talking to him I could tell he's the grinder guru. I've always been kinda fuzzy about grinders and burr sets and RPMs, and what combination of things is best. But Ilan knows.
A while back, I was offered distributorship of a line of grinders called HeyCafe. I had their entire lineup shipped to the DoubleShot and we put them through their paces. Unfortunately I wasn't particularly satisfied with the build quality of the units, so we declined the offer. Come to find out, Ilan is the founder of this company. He built HeyCafe in China, aimed at producing a cheap alternative, mostly for the Asian market. He's also worked for Hemro Group, designing and building Ditting and Mahlkonig grinders. So we got the inside scoop on all that.
But the most exciting thing is the fact that he recently started a new grinder company in Switzerland called Pinecone, and this is their first release, the Pinion. It's an all-around grinder, meaning you can use it for anything from espresso to French press. In fact it comes with two different, easily-interchangeable forks – one that holds a cup to grind into and the other is a portafilter cradle. The switch on the back will either turn the burrs to spinning or will turn the unit on so you can activate the burrs by pushing back against a button with the cup or portafilter. Really simple, cool design, and it sounds great.
At the tradeshow, Ilan turned it on and his eyes lit up. They've insulated the inside of the body so you don't really hear the motor, only the sound of burrs spinning and coffee grinding. Which is, I admit, a Pavlovian sound.
It's a robust unit built for commercial use, but inexpensive enough that you wouldn't feel weird buying one for home. The Pinion measures 17 1/2 inches from the counter to the top of its (1.3 pound capacity) hopper. Less than 6 inches wide at the base, and 9 3/4 inches deep. A compact powerhouse with 65mm flat burrs that you can guarantee are designed to chew up coffee beans perfectly. I mean, it is Ilan Maimon after all.
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