the best pepper mill ever made
I’m up every morning at 5:15am either scrambling eggs, squeezing juice or baking a loaf of bread. It can be hard at times but I want to start my kids day off with a proper meal. We cook to feed and sustain our families, to celebrate, to comfort and sometimes to mourn. Cooking is what brings us together and what keeps us together. A daily act of necessity and more importantly–a daily act of love.
This same passion for food and family extends to the products we make.
I’ve owned many pepper grinders in my life. They’ve ranged from cheap plastic mills screwed to bottles of supermarket peppercorns all the way up to expensive French wooden imports with fancy cast iron burrs. From the bottom to the top all were disappointments. This is what we set out to change.
And this is what makes our mill, the LWW Moulin (pr. moo-lahn), so amazing.
The first and foremost feature in the LWW Moulin is consistent grind quality. At a fine grind setting when a powder like output for a delicate sauce is desired, the mill must produce in entirety, uniform granules. All of the grains should be of the same shape and size, without boulders or coarse chunks. With both cheap and expensively priced mills, the grind quality at finer settings can be unpredictable. Some mills produce a hodge-podge of different sized grinds while other can not even grind fine at all.
On the other hand, when grinding at a coarser setting for a dish such as steak au poivre, many mills also have problems performing as well. A coarse grind should have a mix of both small and large granules, with the large granules being the same shape and size. When burrs jump or wobble, it results in some pepper corns being ground and others emerging from the mill unscathed. The resulting output is a jumble of different sized chunks of pepper.
The LWW Moulin performs exceedingly well in the middle and at both ends of the spectrum. At the fine end, the LWW Moulin can be dialed in to produce a completely uniform powder, free from clumps and boulders. Utilizing the same design and engineering as our HG-1 and EG-1 coffee grinders which produce an excellent Turkish coffee, the LWW Moulin can be dialed down fine enough to produce a grind that is akin to dust.
At the other end of the scale when grinding coarse, the LWW Moulin produces a bi-modal output with a portion of small grounds and a portion of large grounds which are of an even or uniform size. Every peppercorn emerging from the mill is cracked evenly, releasing all of the essential oils.
Superior grind consistency for pepper is achieved in the same way as we do for coffee which is through solid design and engineering. The burrs and shaft must be concentric and not be allowed to wobble or move vertically. Standard mills have a tremendous amount of play where the burrs are free to move in all directions. The spindle or shaft is often held in place either with a cheap plastic bushing or simply dropped in place into a roughly drilled hole.
The LWW Moulin uses a rigid stainless steel shaft mounted to a pair of radial ball bearings which guarantees a smooth friction free turn. Installed on the end of the shaft is our hardened 420 stainless steel burr set. The tolerances required to maintain concentricity, which ensures that the bearings, shaft and burr set all share the exact same axial center are critical. Concentricity is one of the primary reasons why the entire mill is CNC machined. At first glance it might appear that our mill is over engineered, but after you hold it for the first time, you’ll understand why we made the effort.
Some mills require an eternity of turning in order to produce even a minuscule amount of ground pepper. Poor quality burrs are the root cause of slow grinding. The majority of pepper mills use cheap plastic or cast iron burrs, neither are known to be either sharp or precise. Burrs are mounted onto a spindly shaft centered in a coarsely drilled wooden hole. With every turn of the grinder the shaft and burrs wobble, which in turn results in literally a mess of grounds erupting from the bottom of the mill.
When designing our grinder, we chose to pay close attention to the heart of the mill—the burrs. The LWW Moulin uses a CNC machined hardened 420 stainless steel burr set normally used in coffee applications where grind quality is paramount. Our precision custom crafted burr set provides both consistency of grind as well as an extremely fast grind speed. A quarter turn of the mill provides an ample portion size, more than enough to season an omelette or salad.
To note, the cost of increased grind speed is paid for by slightly more user effort. The LWW Moulin uses an aggressive burr set which provides a voluminous output and might require slightly more effort than what may be experienced with other mills.
Most pepper grinders use an awkward thumbscrew attached to the top of the mill to change the grind setting. Adjustments are made by either loosening or tightening the screw. The user has no idea how fine or coarse the grounds might be and changing settings is a hit or miss process. In addition the grind setting will drift after a modicum of use or be completely lost after the mill is re-filled. Overall it’s a terrible user experience and all of these shortcomings are what people have come to accept as passable.
The LWW Moulin uses a 20 step locking ring which lets the chef quickly see and change the grind setting in a matter of seconds. The mill can be adjusted by lifting the locking ring and turning it to a different number. The clearly marked numerical dial lets the user know exactly what the grind is set to. Changing back and forth between coarse and fine settings is as simple as choosing a number on the dial. Once released, the locking ring clicks back into place on top of a set of stainless steel registration pins, preventing the grind setting from changing.
The LWW Moulin is both quick and easy to fill. The top cap of the mill is held fast to the shaft of the grinder with a set of strong neodymium magnets. With a sharp pull, the cap pops off and the user can add peppercorns through a large 45mm (1 3/4″) opening. Unlike traditional pepper mills, the grind setting remains the same before and after filling.
A waiter stretching over a crowded tabletop to pepper a salad might need a baton sized wooden mill, but in a crowded kitchen where space is at a premium that same size can be detrimental. Those same bulky mills also suffer from the same shortcoming which contrary to their size only hold a limited amount of pepper corns.
Designed to fit comfortably in the palm of one hand, the LWW Moulin is a compact 165mm (6.5”) long. But don’t let the small size fool you, the LWW Moulin can store a whopping 85g (3oz) or 150ml (0.63 cups) worth of pepper corns. Comparably sized mills store on average 25g, less than a third of the LWW Moulin’s total capacity. And with it’s sensible size and proportions, the LWW Moulin can be stored comfortably in the spice cabinet or on the countertop with room to spare.
Walk into any cooking store and have a look at the pepper mills on offer. More often than not, you’ll find a piece of turned wood or plastic with a poor quality grinding mechanism stuffed inside. Manufacturers showcase superficial features such as fashion colors or unique shapes, none of which contribute to the overall performance, longevity or quality of a mill.
Like all of our products, the LWW Moulin is built to last. We’d like to believe that we’re building tools that will be handed down to the next generation. In order for that to happen, the tool has to be cleverly designed and well made. We’ve taken the same knowledge and experience that we’ve used to create our other precision grinders and applied it to the LWW Moulin.
Over time, everything wears down. For a grinding tool, this especially means the burrs. The burrs of the LWW Moulin are designed to be user replaceable. In under 5 minutes and equipped with only a 5mm hex key, you can replace the burrs on the mill. You will be hard pressed to find this feature on any other pepper mill.
The body of the LWW Moulin is CNC machined from solid billet aircraft grade aluminum which enables us to hold high tolerances on all of our parts. After polishing and blasting, the parts are anodized to provide both an easy to clean and hard wearing surface.
The main axle which supports the burr set is a CNC lathed stainless steel shaft and at the most narrow point is still over 6mm in diameter. The LWW Moulin hard carbon steel burr set is mounted to the rigid shaft on two precision radial ball bearings which guarantees stability and concentricity.
Unequivocally speaking, you will not find this level of craftsmanship and attention to detail on any other pepper mill. The LWW Moulin initially is being produced in very limited quantities.
We will have a few shipments of incoming stock up to Christmas and the New Year. If you would like one for yourself or as a gift for a loved one, we recommend ordering as soon as they are available as we expect them to sell out quickly. If the store is showing that it is out of stock, please be sure to sign up for the waitlist as it will alert you immediately when stock is replenished.