I did market research and found that companies supplying wooden mills to the hospitality industry were extremely limited. There were a handful of companies supplying PVC mills, but none produced an elegant wooden mill suitable for the food service industry.
I searched for a suitable grinding mechanism, decided to stay with trusted old teak and downloaded Vector Engineer, a CAD program. The rest is, as they say, history.
The main advantages of this mechanism is:
1. Fourteen different settings, ranging from coarse to fine and everything in between, that locks into place.
2. Each turn of the mill generates an enormous yield of pepper.
3. It is made of ceramic, so it won't rust - meaning you can grind salt, pepper, coffee and almost any other spice.
4. No screws or fasteners are used to secure it to the body.
A pepper mill, or grinder consists basically of two components: the body and the mechanism. Since the mechanism was sorted, I concentrated on the body. And I wanted to mate the queen of mechanism with the king of wood - teak, of course. Teak is an absolute superior wood. It is one of the most expensive woods on the market, and it looks and smells beautiful. It has properties no other material has: It repells moist, mould and fungus, and unlike most other woods, you can put it in the dishwasher! Another plus is that the ceramic mechanism won't rust or corrode.
Teak wood has natural oil, which means it can go maintainance free for many years. It mills well and its coarse grain ensures a you have a solid grip on your mill, even when you have oil on your hands!
First of all, ease of use. I wanted it to be non-slip, with a positive grip at the top and bottom. It had to be easy of refill and had to hold at least a cup of pepper. I would experiment with different heights. It had to be easy to clean and perhaps dishwasher safe with a ceramic mechanism that wouldn't rust or corrode.
What about appearance and style?
Teak has a lovely grain and I wanted to stick to a simple, yet elegant design. It's quite tricky to marry a mill that looks good on your dining room table with one that is highly functional, but I was not going to copy the same old tired styles.
One often wonders how much pepper is left in the mill?
It would be nice to have a window at the bottom of the mill to see what's inside or how much is left, especially when you have a busy restaurant. But I had to trade this off against maintance free and a lifetime guarantee. Perhaps next time.
And what did I come up with?
A mill fitted with an outstanding mechanism, made from a the King of Wood - Teak. One with a big mouth that makes filling easy and a big belly to ensure you don't have to refill it often. A mill that's practical to use, yet looks elegant on the table. A salt or pepper mill that is virtually maintenance-free and would last a lifetime: our mechanisms comes with a 25 year guarantee from CrushGrind and there's nothing suggesting that the bodies won't stand up to the challenge.