...our new (old and used) Ditting coffee grinder.

Ta da!

As part of our ongoing effort to make Joel's coffee taste as good as possible, we purchased the above Ditting grinder back in late September. It was an Ebay purchase, one of those experiences that adds validity to the statement "you get what you pay for." The grinder was shipped from a small town in Texas, via a seller that had zero customer ratings. Hmmmm. This might give someone pause. But that someone wasn't me: like I already mentioned, the price was right.

Originally a DHL driver attempted to drop the grinder off at our house, but we weren't home at the time. Second try, same story. Such it was that it became my duty to retrieve the package at the DHL shipping facility near the Portland airport. It was a cold rainy day when I made my way north to the airport, and upon my arrival to pick up the grinder I was less than overwhelmed once I first set eyes upon the cafe's newest toy...

The grinder had been haphazardly shipped in what appeared to be two broken down cardboard boxes that had been taped together.

I immediately began snapping photos of the package with the thought that I would have to use them during what I expected to be the long and arduous process of trying to get our money back. From the looks of the box I could only imagine what the grinder looked like. Upon further inspection the situation only worsened. I "opened" (more like broke-down) the package to find that the grinder had been shipped with a thin coffee bean bag as its only protection. Lovely.

Immediately I saw that the on/off switch had broken off, as well as one of the feet. There was also a very large dent on the backside of the machine.

Grumbling, I drove the grinder to Courier Coffee HQ where I hoped Joel would be able to tell me whether or not I had just thrown away a couple hundred dollars. Just my luck, it was also "one of those days" for our coffee roaster. He had a lot on his plate that day, meaning that he had a lot of coffee to roast, bag, and deliver.

There was too much work at hand for him to be able to dedicate much of his attention toward our new arrival. Nonetheless, in between calculating his delivery route, bagging coffee, and sending Matt Sperry down to the storage room to get green coffee, Joel was able to help me determine that yes, despite our new grinder's battle scars, the motor did in fact work. This was a good sign. Additionally, Joel talked me through a process in which I manufactured/Macgyvered a Bottom- Burr-Rotation Tester out of torn-up pieces of a business card (super fancy) which enabled me to determine whether or not the grinder might need a new part. The grinder passed this second test. Sigh (relief).

Next it was time to check the burrs for wear. Sure enough they were dull as a doorknob and would need to be replaced. Not too big of a deal if you have a Bunn grinder, however Ditting blades, due to the fact that they are of much higher quality are pretty expensive. We're talking more than we paid for the grinder itself expensive. Sure enough the cafe was on a tight budget at the time, and so the Ditting found a new home in the basement. And there it sat for weeks.

As time went by the grinder became more and more of a sore spot between Ali and myself. Why had we purchased this thing to sit in our basement? When we could afford it, we finally had Joel order us some new burrs, as well as a new on/off handle and foot. Even after all the new parts arrived in the mail, getting the grinder up and running proved no easy task. The old burrs were stuck in the machine from years of use and probable abuse. For a few days we tried to get them out so that we could install the new ones. No progress.

One night, upon returning from the cafe Ali and I began to quarrel over the state of the grinder. I assured her that with enough time, I could and would get the grinder working. She didn't believe me. In a huff I returned to the cafe to prove her wrong. After a few hours, multiple phone calls to Joel, and a trip to the grocery store to pick up some oversized screwdrivers, the new (old and used) Ditting was ready to go.

Until now I have held off trying to sell our old grinder, as well as blog about the new one, because given how tumultuously this new machine came into our lives, I have remained fearful that the motor might crap out or something else would go wrong. But after weeks of tearing through coffee like it's nobody's business, I feel that the time is right to christen our new baby.

Everyone, meet Jan (pronounced "Yawn") Did I fail to mention that Ditting is a Swiss brand? May he outlive us all and grind countless coffees from the world over.

Oh, and as far as the coffee is concerned, I am now a true believer in Ditting mythology. Courier Coffee never tasted so good.

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