Subject: Hedone Honne Hybrid Grinder - First Looks (August 2022)
Written for the AU CoffeeSnobs and UK CoffeeTime forums
HOW TO NAVIGATE THIS REVIEW
The is a long review because to paraphrase Mark Twain “I don’t have enough time to make it a short one”. Seriously though, I cover a lot of ground in this review, so to make it faster for you to get to the parts you want to read, I’ve divided it up into sections with SUBTITLES IN CAPS that describe the content of the corresponding section. This way you can quickly scroll to find the content that is of most interest to you and skip the rest.
Here’s a link to a video showing the grinder in use: [
Here is a list of sections:
- THE HONNE GRINDER EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
- MY QUALIFICATIONS FOR WRITING THIS REVIEW
- THE BACKGROUND AND A DISCLOSURE
- THE ELEPHANT IN THE GRINDER ROOM
- IN THE CUP / BEST ROAST DEPTH SUITED FOR
- SPECIAL FEATURES / CHARACTERISTICS
- COMPARISON TO MY OTHER GRINDERS
- WHAT I DON’T LIKE
- WHAT I LIKE MOST
- MANUFACTURERS RIGHT Of REPLY
1. THE HONNE GRINDER EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
• Premium Single Dose grinder for prosumer home use
• Price €1,500 (currently £1,350 US$1,650 AU$2,500 plus shipping/import fees)
• Built like a tank and will probably outlast the Great Wall of China
• Like its burrs, the espresso is hybrid: the best of both thick chocolate and origin flavors
• Excellent support both pre-sale and post-sale; Hedone demonstrates care
• No electronic features such timed grinding or dose by weight
• IMHO, this is the best value, premium quality espresso grinder on the market
2. MY QUALIFICATIONS FOR WRITING THIS REVIEW
I have no formal qualifications and the more I learn about grinders the more I realize how little I know. That said, I have crammed a fair bit of experience into the grinder world since I fell down the espresso rabbit hole when my beloved Breville Dual Boiler (BDB) died in January of 2021 and Breville could not get the parts to replace it and instead refunded me the purchase price. There was therefore at least one silver lining to the Covid cloud.
The following grinders have been acquired and put to service on my espresso island since then (with the exception of the first three which were acquired yonks ago):
- Sunbeam Café Series EM0480 (38mm conical)
- Porlex Tall ll (hand grinder)
- Breville Smart Pro 2x (40mm conical)
- Ascaso i2 Mini (54mm flat)
- Eureka Helios 80 (80mm flat)
- ECM V-Titan 64 (64mm flat)
- Weber EG-1 (80mm flat)
- Orphan Espresso Pharos
- Niche Zero - 3x, long story, don’t ask (63mm Mazzer conical)
- Kinu M47 Classic (47mm Italmill conical)
- Quamar Q50 2x (54mm flat)
- Fellow Ode (64mm flat)
- Mahlkonig X54 Allrounder (54mm flat)
- Malwani Livi (fitted with 83mm Mazzer Robur conical)
- Hedone Honne (DRM Hybrid 68mm)
- Helor 106 (71mm Mazzer Robur conical)
- Gevi 4-in-1 pour over (60mm flat)
- On pre-order: Olympia Moca SD (64mm flat)
- On pre-order: Knob hand grinder (47mm Italmill conical, titanium coated)
I’m far more fascinated by grinders than I am by espresso machines. The reason goes back to when I upgraded from the first grinder on the list above to a Breville Smart Pro grinder and noticing what I would have previously thought to be an unbelievable difference in the cup, using the same espresso machine and the same roaster’s beans.
I had never realized that espresso could taste so good!
I also hadn’t understood that it doesn’t matter how good an espresso machine is, if the grinder is rubbish, the espresso will never live up to it’s potential, regardless of whether your espresso machine is a BDB (a rather good machine) or a mind-blowing $20,000 Slayer.
In summary, my sole qualification for writing this review is that I’m an amateur, espresso-obsessed, grinder-focused nut job with a modicum of experience across a lot of different grinders.
3. THE BACKGROUND AND A DISCLOSURE
On May 8th 2022, I posted a question on the Australian coffee forum, Coffee Snobs.
The subject line read: “Best burrs/grinder for medium to dark espresso” and in the post I explained that this was “relative to producing a thick, rich flavored espresso from medium and medium-dark beans”. A lot of very helpful suggestions were forthcoming, and one member, Paolo, messaged me privately and suggested that the burr set I was seeking was in the Hedone Honne which he explained, was a direct copy of the original Versalab M3 grinder.
I had previously seen the Honne on the Hedone website but because it was 40% cheaper than the Versalab and because I’d had zero experience of Romanian manufactured products, I had no idea what the quality would be like. But Paolo, who messaged me, owns some of the world’s most sought after and prestigious lever machines (and by all accounts, quite a few of them!) and I therefore considered him to be not only a discerning purveyor of quality espresso equipment, but also a fellow lover of medium/dark, gloppy, chocolate ristretto and espresso. It was Paolo’s recommendation that gave me the confidence to regard the Honne as a quality option for the solution I was seeking. So, a big shout out to Paolo: thank you from the bottom of my espresso cup.
That Honne arrived on my doorstep on June 16th. All 18kg of it!
After unboxing the Honne I seasoned the burrs and pulling after a few shots from it, I was so impressed that I reached out to Hedone and offered my congratulations on their grinder.
Hedone’s Sales Manager, Diana Nicola, emailed me in response, thanking me for my note and asking me if I would write a review. I agreed. At the time I had not written any reviews for espresso gear (I have since written one on the Helor 106) and I have no intention of becoming an “influencer”; I just want to share what I love about espresso.
Interestingly, Diana messaged me again a day or two later to insist that I write a 100% honest “warts and all” review. I think that says something about her integrity.
Please note that I did not receive any discount on either the grinder or the shipping cost. I have in no way been financially advantaged in return for writing a review and there is no commercial relationship between Hedone or any of their people or entities, and myself or any of my entities, other than I now own one of their grinders.
In the interests of full disclosure though, I am a marketing professional. But before anyone puts one plus one together and comes up with three, my specialty is the marketing of intellectual property, not physical products such as espresso gear.
I felt I needed to mention my profession, because I recently started a thread on a coffee forum that I won’t name because it’s mostly excellent, and some genius googled my name (my real name and my avatar name are the same) and found a hundred or more podcasts of me being interviewed and then jumped to the conclusion that because I was a marketer posting on a coffee forum, I must be trying to sell something. His logic went something like “all cows eat grass so anything that eats grass must be a cow”.
Of course, when Sherlock Holmes posted the “shocking discovery” of me being a marketing professional, a small minority of forum members reached for their lynching ropes and the admin jumped on their bandwagon and immediately shut the thread down without even a modicum of due diligence. I was presumed guilty until proven innocent.
So please, if anyone has decided that because I am a marketer, I must be posting this review for monetary reward, more power to you but the door is over to the right. Please exit quietly and be sure to take your pitchfork with you.
Lastly, this review features the manufacturer’s “Right of Reply” at the end. I asked Hedone to comment because I’ve always thought that a review was incomplete without the designer/maker having the opportunity to offer their two bobs worth. Note that other than to correct blatant mistakes, I have not altered any part of my review at the manufacturer’s request, so please read their reply to balance up my views.
4. THE ELEPHANT IN THE GRINDER ROOM
If you are unconcerned about the Honne being a copy of the Versalab M3, please skip this section and go straight to “UNBOXING” below. If, however you have ethical concerns about this subject, or you are up for exploring an ethical dilemma, then please read on.
I need to address the elephant in the room which is that the original Honne was a copy of the Versalab M3, the latter which stakes a claim to being “the world’s original single dose grinder” and “still the best”.
Honne have since innovated improvements which I am led to believe include adding more precise factory alignment, a safety cover over the belt drive, a worm drive to change grind settings (excellent) and a dial for locking in the dial setting (valuable), heavy duty spring-loaded portafilter forks (amazing, and also added later to the Versalab), easier to access on/off switch at the front of the grinder and possibly other features that I’m not aware of. And interestingly, the Honne comes with a two year warranty versus the Versalab’ s one year.
But none of that takes away the fact that the original Honne was a copy of the first Versalab.
If you are someone who feels that Hedone’s actions were unethical, then I salute you and I have full respect for your views. But please resist the temptation of posting judgmental comments here because the purpose of this thread is to explore the grinder as opposed to exploring ethics or morals.
And I can relate to those concerns. As the creator of proprietary online programs and the author of a few best-selling books (and even more worst sellers), my work gets literally copied and sold on pirate websites almost every week of the year.
Once a month my Business Manager gets his big digital stick out and sends threatening emails to the pirates and demands they remove my products from their websites. Most pirates don’t even bother changing my logos or name, they simply copy my stuff and sell it.
That used to make me angry. Nowadays I accept that it goes with the “gee-I-made-something-people-want” territory. Frankly I wouldn’t mind if they did what some copy-cats do which is to change a few things or add some extra features, put a different logo on it and sell it as their own.
Which is pretty much what Hedone ended up doing with the Honne.
And of course, copies of original ideas abound in the coffee world: the E61 group head, the La San Marco dual spring for lever machines, the DRM hybrid burrs, these have all been copied and some almost exactly, and sometimes even passed off as the original. Almost all of us own some machine that has its origins in a copy of an original.
In short, the Honne divides people: some have significant and understandable ethical concerns and others can live with it. After some soul searching, I decided that I’m the latter category.
The Honne came with an EU power plug which was a little disappointing but that was an easy fix because I keep a small pile of adaptors on hand. Other than making a note of it for this review, it’s long forgotten because I rarely see it. But if you order a Honne, make sure you have a local power plug adaptor if needed.
The packing was professionally designed, and the machine arrive here Australia in the same condition that it left the factory in Romania. But I’d still only rate the packing as adequate. Packing technology and standards have improved a lot in recent years and to me at least, it doesn’t look like Hedone have kept up to speed. Compared to other premium equipment that I’ve ordered direct from overseas manufacturers such as the Weber EG-1 grinder (Taiwan) and Decent Espresso machine (Hong Kong), Hedone can improve the protection of the Honne by using custom cut medium density foam and double boxing. (The gold standard for packing has been set by Decent; John Buckman not only snuggles the machines into custom cut foam, but he also then pops it into a robust and yet relatively lightweight airline check-in style bag complete with wheels, and wraps all of that into a thick cardboard box.)
Even though my grinder arrived in one piece, I was left to wonder if I got lucky. My guess is that if the box had been dropped on one of its top front corners, there would have been damage to the belt drive cover. Fortunately, the handlers at DHL treated the box with care because there was zero sign of it having been dropped. Kudos to DHL: every machine I’ve had delivered internationally by them arrived unscathed.
The base or “foot” of the grinder is black but has a separate, high-quality stainless-steel plate that slides over it a bit like an upside-down slipper. I’m not sure why Hedone didn’t simply cover the base in stainless steel. When I slid the stainless-steel cover on to the base, it shaved some of the paint off from the side of the base. The steel cover therefore has sharp edges and that’s something Hedone can improve on. But because the steel cover completely covers the black base, I’ll never see the scratch again other that when I take the cover off for cleaning.
I gave the black base/foot a rub with a cleaning cloth and some black “gunk” came off onto the cloth. Again, not biggie but rather a “finishing touch” that most other manufacturers would have taken care off.
When I was cleaning the base, I saw coffee grinds in the 90o corner between the black base that I’ve just described, and the tower that houses the grinding chamber. This is presumably from testing in the factory prior to boxing and shipping. I confess to liking that particular bit of “messiness”. I felt reassured that Hedone had quality tested the grinder before carefully placing it in the box and sticking my address on it. But if I were Hedone, I’d pop a note on the grinder as to why finding some coffee grinds on the grinder is a good thing, and not something to complain about.
Whilst these little things take nothing away from the overall quality of the grinder, if Hedone are serious about being perceived as being a supplier of high quality espresso equipment and if they want to go toe to toe with high end European, North American and Asian manufacturers, they are going to need to pay attention to the little things. We shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but we do.
To balance up my gripes as per above, I have to say that from the moment I opened the box and saw the Honne sitting there, I was impressed. The grinder looked stunning, the 18kg of mostly solid steel and aluminum was reassuring and for the most part the machine had been polished so well that it would not be out of place on a pedestal at the Guggenheim.
Visually and physically, as I strained to heft the Honne onto my espresso island, I was smitten. I literally could not have wiped the smile of my face; it would have kept coming back.
But I was also very nervous about being disappointed when I flicked the switch. Would I hear clanging and clunking, or the smooth whir of a well-designed, well-engineered and well-constructed premium end grinder?
And if it was the latter, would the espresso be divine or a sinker? Would I be letting out a “yippee” or would I experience the painful realization after 101 frustrating grinds and pours, that I’d done my dough?
These are probably the thoughts that go through most of our heads when we unpack and set up a new piece of espresso kit: a mix of guarded optimism and defensive pessimism in case our hopes and dreams are dashed.
On reflection, I now realize that this mini roller coaster of hope and fear is actually all a part of the rush of getting new gear. It’s probably why I’ve morphed into a grinder-acquiring addict. Freud and company would have a field day with whatever it is that is going on in my espresso-addled brain. God knows what’s going on up there, I certainly don’t.
6. WORK FLOW
As it is designed, the workflow is excellent. The Honne comes with a 3D printed plastic chute which was created after the original Honne was launched and in response to feedback from early Romanian users.
The problem that the chute solves is that if you throw coffee beans into an open conical burr and those burrs are spinning at 500RPM, you are going to get some chards of beans splintering off and heading into space.
The 3D plastic chute works incredibly well, and I don’t like it.
To me, it’s incongruous to crown 18kg of steel and aluminum with a 3D printed piece of plastic. But hey, other’s I’ve messaged see any problem with it, so I guess it’s up to you.
I bought two aftermarket solutions to try, both from “Vice Coffee Crafted” in Australia. These are both lids that sit on top of the burr chamber and straddle the grinder’s shaft. They are elegant solutions. One is Wenge Timber and the other is solid Brass. I’ll upload photos.
The long and short of it is that if you use the 3D printed plastic chute then the workflow is as good as it gets. But if you value aesthetics over function, like I do in this case, then you’ll want to use one of the aftermarket solutions and that makes the pouring of the beans into grind chamber a little clunkier. Your call.
I’ve tried doing retention tests in the past and it’s not as easy I thought and so I’m not going to put myself through the rigors of producing bullet proof retention results.
Suffice to say that I have clumps regularly dropping out of other grinders but after six weeks of almost daily use, that has not happened with the Honne. And at time of writing, I’ve ground over 13 kilos of beans (I put 10kg of cheap beans through it to season the burrs), so I think if the Honne was going to drop a clump or two, it would have done it by now. I’ve even used a powerful handheld vacuum blower to see if I could get any retained grinds to blow out and sure, I get a tiny bit, but very little.
There is a caveat required here. Ross Droplet Technique (RDT) is where you mist/spray the beans with a small atomizer bottle, prior to them being ground. Without RDT the static in the exit chute is nuts and you’ll have a thick coating of grinds all over the inside of the exit chute including the lip. But with RDT the Honne beats the other benchtop grinders that I have for retention, including the Weber EG-1 and the Niche Zero. I know that is a big claim and that it might invoke howls of protest from some because both of those grinders are genuinely low retention. All I can say is that from personal observation over more than 12 months with both grinders, that they most definitely drop clumps every now and then, with or without RDT.
With RDT, the Honne seems to be unbeatable on the retention front. It really is quite extraordinary.
The Honne features what Hedone call a “Zero retention module” which is a feature whereby when you turn the grinder off, it stops and then starts up again for one second but in the reverse direction. They claim 0.02 grams retention over 20 grinds. It seems a bit far-fetched to me but then again, many of the grinders that I’ve bought came with similar claims, but the Honne is the only one that doesn’t periodically drop big clumps out of the chute from time to time. So, who knows? Maybe Hedone are accurate with their claims. But I’ll leave it to someone with more scientific testing acumen than me to figure that out.
The Honne also features a gold-colored aluminium wiper blade that sweeps around the inside of the exit chute to make grind particles fall into the basket. It’s rather clever and probably quite effective but to be honest, I don’t see a lot of benefit in either the reverse direction feature or the wiper blades. It seems to me that the addition of RDT to your grinding routine makes both of these features suddenly appear to be the proverbial “solution looking for a problem”. In other words, RDT seems to make these two otherwise clever features, redundant. But hey, they are a good talking point with espresso guests and maybe the difference they make is small but still worthwhile after all.
8. IN THE CUP / BEST ROAST DEPTH SUITED FOR
Roast depth definitions have shifted a lot over the last 20 years. What many regarded as a Light Roast 20 years ago, most people would call a Medium Roast today. Also, there are regional differences. The beans that someone is Norway might call a light roast, are so light that to me it’s like my someone waved the beans quickly over a barely warm frying pan. Joking, but you get the point: what I might describe as light, someone else might describe as medium.
To add to this shifting of definitions over the last couple of decades, there are also different internationally agreed benchmarks that define roast depth differently.
So to help you understand what I mean in this review, I’ve put together a brief definition of each roast depth. I’m not saying that this is some sort of international standard, it’s just to give you a point of reference.
Dark: oil is visible on the bean and is dark brown in color but not deep brown/almost black
Full City: sits between a Medium and a Dark
Medium: no oil is visible on the bean and the bean is a mid-brown color
City: sits between a Light and a Medium
Light: the bean is light brown or dark beige in color
Some grinders are better suited for dark roasts and can give you a gloppy, chocolate caramel flavored espresso – think Niche Zero with its 63mm Mazzer Kony conical burrs.
Other grinders are better for lighter roasted beans and reveal those beans’ origin flavors – for example the Weber EG-1 with its array of three types of 80mm flat burrs.
And that’s often the big trade-off between grinders: if you want more chocolate gloop, you need to sacrifice those origin flavors, and visa-versa.
And this is where the Honne shines: it gives me enough of the chocolate, enough of the thickness, and enough of those nutty origin flavors that I now enjoy and even crave. Since the Honne came along, I no longer feel that I have to choose between chocolate gloop and origin flavors. I can now get some of both in the same cup.
My guess is that this minor miracle is due to the Honne’s hybrid burrs: a 68mm conical that smashes the beans into relatively chunky fragments and then 68mm flat burrs that finely grind those fragments into a close to perfect blend of uniform grinds and fines.
If you like dark roasted chocolate goop and you have a Niche Zero, keep it.
If you like light roasted third wave espresso or brew and you have an EG-1 keep it.
But if you want the best of both worlds: thick viscous, full-bodied, full-flavored espresso as well as those nutty origin notes shining through, then the Honne delivers in spades, and you should create space for it on your espresso bench.
9. SPECIAL FEATURES / CHARACTERISTICS
Alignment out of the box: My Honne arrived 100% perfectly aligned, certainly as best I can tell. You can see a video of a Honne being aligned and tested in their factory by clicking this link: . Hedone certainly takes a lot of pride in ensuring that their grinders all leave the factory perfectly aligned. Stories abound of other well-known high-end grinders not being aligned well aligned on arrival at the new owners premises and being a pain in the butt to align. By contrast, it’s rare to hear of a Honne not arriving perfectly aligned.
The weight: I’m not a manufacturing engineer so I don’t know enough to report on the quality of the Honne any more than I could report on the quality of the Weber EG-1 or Strietman CT2 that sit on my espresso island. But at 18kg, Hedone have certainly packed some heavy metals into what is not an especially large grinder. By way of contrast, the EG-1 dwarfs the Honne for both height and footprint and yet is 5kg lighter. My guess is that Weber used more modern materials but the extra weight in the Honne doesn’t bother me one bit. It’s not like I’m taking it camping trips too often. And I find the heft of it quite reassuring.
To help those metallurgists amongst you, Hedone gave me a chart showing which materials are used in the various parts of the Honne. They told me that this chart has never been released outside of Hedone before so I guess this makes it a world first. I’ve uploaded a screenshot of the chart. Kudos to them for their transparency. From my amateurish observations and experience, it seems to me that they have used the right materials in the right places. For example, I would not have wanted metal for the portafilter basket forks, the hardened and nicely patterned POM plastic is perfect because it doesn’t seem to scratch but yet it seems indestructible.
RPM: 500RPM. There is great debate about RPM, some industry experts say faster is better and certainly in a café, speed is considered a virtue. Other’s whom opinions I respect tell me that any more than a 100RPM in a certain grinder for a Medium Roast is a disaster and yet other well-respected authorities swear on their parent’s graves that 300RPM is perfect for Dark Roasts or that 749.31RPM is great for Nordic Light Roast Pour Overs but only between 11:45 and 11:55 am on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Yes, I am making the last one up but sometimes I do feel that the RPM debate is like arguing about how many Angels can stand on a pin head. I’m going to leave both debates to wiser heads and more finely tuned taste buds than mine. In other words, I can’t make sense of any of the RPM debate, so simple soul that I am, I’m left to decide by my experience of the texture and taste in the cup.
I personally favor 300 – 500RPM but I don’t profess to be able to explain why and I’d be the first to admit that I’d likely fail a double-blind test between my EG-1 grinder set on 1200RPM and 500RPM.
My guess is that there is not a lot of extra flavor to be gained by going slower than 300-500RPM and it would lengthen the grind time, and that going faster may increase the danger of losing some aromatics that contribute to flavor.
But whatever the reason, the Honne’s 500RPM works fine for me. I’m addicted to the Honne’s espresso.
Dimensions: please refer to Hedone Honne website for specific details but I can tell you that it significantly shorter than the Weber EG-1 and quite a bit taller than the Niche Zero.
Noise: The noise from the Honne is mid-range when turned on but sounds like a Bean Tin Banshee when beans are loaded. It’s probably not much noisier than a Breville Smart Pro but it is significantly noisier than an EG-1 and Niche Zero. It’s personally not a biggie for me but if your loved ones are sleeping on the other side of the wall from your grinder, they won’t stay sleeping for long once you crank up the Honne.
Belt drive: I’ve read claims that a belt drive transfers less heat to the burrs and provides more torque. I don’t know enough to comment. But Honne’s belt drive sits on top of the grinder and so it’s a long way away from the burrs and this alone should help in eliminating heat transfer to the burrs and beans.
The motor and belt drive was upgraded after the original version was launched so that it would cope easily with light roasted beans which it certainly does. I’ve never had a problem with the belt slipping or the burrs seizing but note that I always “hot start” when loading beans, meaning I start the motor before loading beans. Belt drives seem to be considered as being easy to change and maintain and quiet to run, albeit in the Honne’s case the latter advantage disappears once beans are rattling through the grind chamber.
The portafilter forks: I love these. I mentioned the POM plastic above but the other part of what makes these forks great is the strength of the springs which are ideally weighted so that they are easy to push down and yet firmly hold the portafilter vertically in place. Also, the design means that I don’t have to adjust the height of the forks for a different type of basket. In my case, I can use the forks with the 58mm basket from my Decent or the tumbler that I use to load the Strietman’s 49mm basket. On the EG-1 (which BTW I am still very much in love with), I have to move the forks up and down with an awkward action the requires me to both push a button in that’s located on the forks and simultaneously push the forks up or down. The pushing-in action fights against the moving up or down action. It’s not a biggie, but the Honne gets rid of this issue completely and I prefer that.
The aluminium grind adjustment knob and locking knob: Consistently, predictable grind variastions when changing grind size and those changes locked via the aluminum locking knob.
Retrofittable upgrades: I my emails with Diana from Hedone she wrote that it was their intention to ensure that all improvements were able to be retrofitted and to date that’s what they’ve done. It’s one of the things I like about the Decent Espresso machine too. Hopefully they can stick to their track record.
Warranty: Two years for home use. One year for commercial. Impressive officially stamper and personally signed warranty document …. in Romanian. It looks like a deed to Count Dracula’s Castle. But this will be printed in English in the very near future.
Bolts that stick out: The belt drive cover was a valuable addition to the Honne but it’s clearly not a part of the original design because the bolts that hold it in place stick out like the ones in Frankenstein’s neck. OK, they are small by comparison and maybe recessing would have looked better and to be honest, I really like the “industrial” look of the Honne. It would not be out of place in a funky New York converted-warehouse apartment.
Support: Hedone wrote to me to say they give each request the type of support that it merits. They will normally ask for a video of the problem so that their engineers can diagnose the problem and decide on a solution. If the solution is something that the client can manage then Hedone will send any parts needs and if necessary, they will hop on a WhatsApp or Zoom call and walk the client through the repair. If the grinder needs to be returned to the factory, Hedone will send a shipping label and pay for the transportation of the grinder both ways. If the fault is from abuse (please don’t clean your grinder by pouring water through it like my son did ☹) then the client foots the bill for transportation and repair.
Parts supply: Hedone tell me that they have ample parts in stock. I can’t verify this of course but I can say that I’ve not seen any issue with supply chains impacting on Hedone like I have with many other manufacturers.
The exit chute: The Honne produces the fluffiest grinds of all the grinders I have. That may not be a contributor to better espresso; I have no idea. And I don’t know for sure how it does that but the exit chute may have a part to play. The external diameter of the chute is 85mm which is wider than the burrs and carrier. That means that the grinds are not forced to exit into the basket through a narrow tube-like chute which the do on many other grinders. The external diameter at the bottom is 57mm, a fraction more narrow than a 58mm basket. The result is that the grinds exit the burrs and drop into the basket with only a minority of the grinds being forced to change the direction of their vertical descent.
10. COMPARISON TO MY OTHER GRINDERS
Fluffiest grinds, zero observable clumping, the most broad distribution of grinds across the basket
Still benefits from WDT if you want consistency. I know, I’ve read them too: the forum members who write that their grinder is special and doesn’t benefit from WDT. Personally, I’ve yet to see a grind that isn’t likely to consistently produce a more even extraction without WDT. Thank you John Weiss.
11. WHAT I DON’T LIKE
The dial uses a sticker label with numbers and markings: There are two things I don’t like about this. Firstly, it’s a sticker. I’d prefer the numbers and dots to be embedded into the rim like the EG-1 or Niche, not simply stuck on as a label. Secondly, the dots for each number are not intuitive to follow. Rather than try and explain, I’ll upload a close-up photo of the grind setting label. From a functionality point of view, I’m being really picky but my objection to a sticker for the dial is for the same reason as I object to the plastic chute: Hedone have created 18kg of steel grinding muscle and capped it off with plastic. Plastic chutes and sticky labels just don’t fit with the rest of the grinder.
In my opinion the Honne is a premium quality grinder and functions superbly and to cap it off with plastic chute and plastic dial labels doesn’t reflect the premium quality of the grinder. I’d really like to see the sort of laser etching used on virtually all other high end grinders.
The plastic stick on label arrow: The arrow indicates the dial setting and is also a plastic sticker.
The 3D printed plastic bean chute: I’ve covered this above.
12. WHAT I LIKE MOST
The Espresso – this is where the Honne Shines. My God, the espresso! Did I mention the espresso? The DRM Hybrid burrs produce the perfect blend, for me at least, of body and flavor.
Other than the espresso, the following features are the top three things I like most about the Honne:
a. Low retention (see above for more details)
b. The engineering/quality of all 18kg (ditto)
c. The spring loaded portafilter forks (they are very strong and appear to be scratch proof)
For my medium to medium/dark espresso taste buds, the Hedone Honne is the perfect grinder and if it were made in the USA or Germany, it would probably fetch the equivalent of EU€3,000 not the current asking price of EU€1,500.
To my knowledge, it is the best value, premium prosumer espresso-orientated grinder on the market today.
And before you ask, which I know some will, if I had to choose between keeping my EG-1 or the Honne it would be a very close call. However today, for my style of espresso, it would be the Honne by a nose.
14. MANUFACTURERS RIGHT Of REPLY
I sent the above review to Diana Nicola at Hedone, and she asked me to use the burr manufacturers technical description of the burrs (DRM Hybrid) instead of the term that I originally used in the review. Other than that, I have made no change to the review in response to her comments.
Here are the notes that Diana sent me to add as the manufacturer’s reply.
Like with all of our products, upon designing the Honne, our first goal was to ensure sublime in-cup quality above all else. We achieve that through the effort put in aligning the burrs perfectly from a single machining round (if the alignment is not obtained in the first machining, the part is swapped and the new one is machined). We aimed to build a robust, high-quality grinder that is functionally above anything else on the market, and to sell it for a price that we deem fair towards the home-barista. We are very happy to see that our customers experience this.
We also deeply appreciate your mention of the grinder’s points of improvement, as this gives us further insight into what customers seek. Our engineers are working on finding solutions to all of these small issues (eliminating the 3D-printed funnel without having excessive popcorning, engraving the grind numbers, and improving the packaging) in such a way that they will not affect the grinder functionally. It is important to us that all customers fully enjoy the grinder from the moment it is delivered to their doorway.
We would also like to insist on the importance of the patent-pending zero-retention mechanism. We discovered in the grinder’s previous versions that a small amount of grounds would gather behind the cleaning blade in the chute. So we decided to spin the motor backwards for a second upon turning it off to ensure that those grounds fall into the portafilter, reducing retention by a further 0.2-0.4g. As nobody has thought of this before, we are in the process of patenting this simple technology. These are the details that most matter to us.
Thank you once again for your honest feedback and insight, and we are looking forward to hearing your opinions down the road, after years of using our beloved Honne.
Kind regards, Diana Nicola