Cold brewing is nice.
Just thought I'd follow up on the grinder thing now that I'm back from travel and have had some time to play with the new toys.
SJ burrs in the Mini-E:
Recommended. However, when I started installing the new burr plates, I discovered that the previous owner had already done the swap, so I've been using this upgrade for years already! The old burr set looked like it had plenty of use left in it, but it had a few nicks, so I put in the new set anyway. The difference was negligible, but after recently comparing to a Mini-E with the standard burrs, it's definitely faster, fluffier and less clump-prone. Looks like I'm set for a few decades now as far as burrs go.
As the swap is easy and cheap, and I've never had a single issue with the motor stalling or seeming overworked, I can't see any reason not to do it.
Lame-o. Slow, high-effort, tedious, and the grind quality is nothing special. Compared to a real grinder, you can instantly notice the difference in fines by the increased resistance and sludgier puck on Aeropress, but it lets some pretty gnarly chunks pass through at the same time. As is typical for a made-in-China piece of shit, the plastic retainer fitting on the handle broke on the second grind. It doesn't really affect the function, at least, since the pentagonal drive slot and and the nut it engages are both stainless steel and seem adequate.
The adapter to grind directly into Aeropress is a waste of plastic; it's far easier to just grind into the normal metal catcher and then transfer. It fits neatly into the AP, and though it's better than nothing, there's no way I'd want to use it regularly since it's fairly sucky at actually grinding stuff. As a small backpacking grinder, it'll do, but I'd rather have the similar Japanese-made Porlex Mini for about the same price.
A perfected grinder. The speed, quality and usability are fantastic. I took this in my carry-on to Italy and it didn't even raise an eyebrow, either. It's so smooth and quiet that I'd even say it's pleasant
to use, and would have no problem having it as a daily grinder — which I've been doing for the past three weeks, in fact. It puts out a dose of medium-fine brew grind in about the same time as the suped-up Mini-E produces the same weight of espresso grounds, so I'm impressed.
What's remarkable is that it not only takes about half the effort of the Rhino to crank, but also gets the job done in about quarter of the time. The grind quality kicks ass all over the place, too. Definitely worth the money.
Regardless of grinder, I continue to be amazed at how much difference a bit of water makes in killing static. What works best at home is to give them a little shot of steam from the wand, which makes the difference between having to use a funnel to make sure the grounds don't leap out of the basket, to having them settle in directly without any overshoot. No clumps, either; I love it. This is especially noticeable on dry days.
Similarly, a bit of steam, a tiny spritz from a spray bottle, or even just a few drops directly on the beans makes the Lido into a super-clean grinder with nearly no retention or even much chaff clinging.