The 50th post! Whoop! Pity it's taken me so long to get it out, but I've been really very busy recently. However I do have a lot of very good news. Firstly, I received a very big order from Hasbean. It includes the Christmas espresso blend, the Christmas filter blend, the COE espresso blend, four different Hasbean loose leaf teas, and the Christmas roast selection pack. All of these coffees will be tasted before Christmas, and posted up here. I'll also be tasting the teas, as something a little bit different. Never played with loose leaf tea before, so it could be very interesting.
In other news, I have a new toy, which is also part of the Wish List. It's the Reg Barber Radical Pro. This is specifically aimed at anybody with larger hands. The Pro fits perfectly into the hand and eases the strain on the palm that shorter handles sometimes cause. Beautifully made it looks fantastic as well, and is a must have for the barista with big hands.
Now for an equipment review. Well, actually more like a first look. The Starbucks Barista Grinder. Coming in at £60 this grinder is one of the cheapest burr grinders I've seen on the market. The first time I really heard about it (apart from seeing it every now and again when I went in for a coffee...I was desperate) was when Ace (a co-worker) bought one for home use. He seems to have had no problems with it so far, and needing a new grinder I bought one up.
To look at, it's great. It's sturdy, the hopper is easily large enough for a 250g bag of beans and it grinds directly into a small box at the base of the grinder. My only gripe is that it doesn't have an on-off button, only a timer on the side which is set in six second intervals. More about this later though.
So, first use. I got out some old beans (the Kenya Gethumbwini, actually, from the last batch of Hasbean coffees I got...in October), and tested the grind. The grind is easily changed, with a series of steps, with the three major grind settings marked on. These are espresso, percolator and french press. The french press grind was even, and more course than the Union pre-ground coffee I had lying around. The espresso grind was very fine, possibly even moving towards a Turkish coffee grind, and had a small amount of clumping. The percolator grind is half way between these two grinds, and there are plenty of smaller settings between the two extremes to ensure the perfect grind for your coffee.
As for the actual grinding itself, it's quieter than any grinder I've used before, and so won't be too much of a pain when trying to get through a hangover. The static is acceptable, and much more so than the Mahlkonig K30 Vario I used recently. Not bad for a grinder £740 cheaper. The timer problem also isn't that bad, so long as you don't mind standing around. If you turn the timer dial a little it grinds, but doesn't engage the timer, allowing you to stop grinding when you want.
Now, downsides. Well, on my first use of the grinder my only real problem with it is that the hopper lid rattles about a bit while grinding. Even this isn't much of a problem if you're standing around holding the timer anyway; just put your hand on the lid to make sure it stays in place. But, like I say, I've only used the grinder once, and will put up another, more detailed review, later on.
So, till then, I'll say my goodbyes.
Till next time,