Most hand grinders (like the Hario and Porlex lines) are made for weight conscious travelers or those looking for a low-cost conical burr grinder. The HG One takes the concept in a new, decidedly higher-end direction. Designers Paul and Craig set out to build the grinder they had always wanted, and the result is this precision milled beast made from machined billet aluminum and equipped with massive burrs (at 71 or 83mm, your choice).
This is a grinder geared to the home espresso enthusiast who might only make several shots a day, and won’t mind taking the time to tweak each one to perfection. Up until now if you wanted to obtain bleeding-edge cafe quality espresso at home you had to purchase a large, professional grade electric grinder designed for heavy (ab)use in a busy cafe — attached to a hefty $1500-2200 price tag. The HG One, on the other hand, promises to provide the same benefits of conical burrs, precision stepless adjustment, and limited grind retention in an attractive package designed for individual use and easy cleaning, all at roughly half the price.
The HG One’s designers liken it to furniture of heirloom quality, meant to last and be passed down through the generations. Aesthetically, the attention to detail and beefy materials are a joy to look at. The only thing that bugs me is the utilitarian squared off base. It seems like this could get a little more design attention without being gaudy. What’s more, despite the metal components, you can see the grinder jumping around a bit and shaking in the videos. It may not be much of an issue, but I’d expect something like this to be heavy enough to anchor itself. These minor quibbles aside, it looks great. I wish them luck and really look forward to seeing what else these two will come up with after this project.
Below you can see a video demonstrating how quickly a 17g dose is hand-ground.
The grinder isn’t all — a few interesting accessories are also being developed, like this portafilter holder and several different methods for dosing into the portafilter with specially designed “blind tumblers” that have removable plugs in the bottom.
If you’re sold on the idea, you can’t quite pre-order on their website yet (all that’s available is a pre-order survey), but from what I’ve read the retail price will be around $850. If you still have questions, I recommend reading through this thread on the Home-Barista forums where the designers respond to a variety of questions.