“ Brand: Cole & Mason / Product Type: Mill „
A couple of years ago I read a review on dooyoo for a product which instantly appealed to me. The ingenuity of the idea stuck in my mind and it was one of those rare occasions when I read a review of a product and vowed to buy one myself.
The product in question was the Cole & Mason Duo salt and pepper mill and the simple - but to my mind anyway - quite brilliant idea is that instead of requiring two pepper mills on your dining table you can make do with one.
Understandably perhaps, the Cole & Mason Duo mill is visibily wider than a standard salt or pepper mill. It's available in a wide range of colours and when I first encountered these online I was particularly taken by the stainless steel version, which is particularly sleek and sexy. Well, as sleek and sexy as a salt and pepper mill can get I guess.
It has two separate compartments to hold the salt and pepper in and to use you turn the mill to the right for salt and to the left for pepper.
~~Opinion & Experience~~
Amazon sells the Cole & Mason Duo and for some time I had been eyeing the stainless steel version up but at up to £35 I was loathe to part with my cash. Fate intervened several months later when I was in good old TK Maxx and I encountered a blue Cole & Mason Duo for just £9.99. Ah, I thought - aesthetics be damned - and I bought it there and then.
So my Cole & Mason Duo isn't anything like as sleek and sexy as the stainless steel version but at the end of the day it serves the same purpose. It is, however, noticeably made of plastic, removing the "wow" factor of its stainless steel cousin. The blue version is blue at the top and has a white plastic middle part which is where the openings for the clear visible sections housing the salt crystals and pepper corns are located. The grinders are at the bottom in a second white plastic section.
I have used several unbranded and rather cheap salt and pepper mills over the years and what I have always struggled with is filling them up again when they become empty, with the grinders invariably failing to work properly due to me somehow mishandling replacing the top and the metal strip that links to the grinder. There's no such problem with the Cole & Mason Duo - you simply lift the top part of the mill off - in my case the blue part - and this reveals two compartments marked "S" and "P" which house the salt and pepper. To refill, you simply flip up the plastic lid to each compartment and then replace the blue top section which slots back in effortlessly.
Any worries you might have of the salt contaminating the pepper or vice versa are unfounded - I have owned this now for two years and it's never happened thanks to a an inner "wall" which stretches from top to bottom of the salt and pepper cavities making cross contamination impossible. You do have to take care when filling the Cole & Mason Duo up however because the cavities are rather small, as is the space in each cavity to do so. I find just being slow and steady does the job and minimises any potential for waste.
You can't forget which way to turn the mill either as the top of the mill clearly has an S beside an arrow pointing right and a P beside an arrow pointing left. I must admit that even after all this time I still have to look to check before I use this however!
The end result is very finely grinded salt and pepper and I have to say it's the best mill I have ever owned for this job. You can also adjust the grinders at the bottom of the unit allowing you to choose how coarse - or how fine - you want your salt and pepper to be.
The grinders at the bottom of the mill do collect some excess milled salt and pepper and while this only tends to leak a little product on to your table you do need to wipe around them periodically to keep them clean.
The only real disadvantage I can find with the Cole & Mason Duo salt and pepper mill is the fact it's expensive. However it's also incredibly well designed and also incredibly well made and is by far the most durable salt and - or - pepper mill I have ever owned.
What I love most about it is the simplicity of the idea and how it enables me to do two jobs with one product.
Lakeland sell the sexy stainless steel version for £34.99 but it can be bought for less on Amazon and they do sell white and green versions for under £20. Sadly I haven't seen any in TK Maxx for some time now but it might be worth a look.
Having owned my blue one for a couple of years now I would recommend paying more to buy this - purely because it's so durable, never mind the innovative design. Sometimes it's worth paying a little more for a product that will stand the test of time and I can wholeheartedly say the Cole & Mason Duo salt and pepper mill is one of those products.
Salt and pepper are staple seasoning ingredients of any kitchen or dining table and they deserve a decent receptacle that will unleash their flavour over your food without any fuss.
So please step forward the Cole & Mason Duo Salt and Pepper Mill. This funky looking mill holds salt in one side of the mill and pepper on the other. So to use it, all you have to do is twist it anti-clockwise to grind salt and clockwise to grind pepper.
Having both the salt and pepper in one mill saves space, but it's also handy for al fresco dining when you have so many other things to carry outdoors.
I have always been a fan of Cole & Mason as they make mills that actually do work. There is nothing more annoying and frustrating than a mill that just won't grind, no matter how much you turn it! That is definitely not the case with Cole & Mason and I have tried a few different designs, not because they have broken, but because I just can't stop collecting them!
The turning motion is very smooth because the diamond-sharp ceramic grind mechanism makes very short work of grinding whole peppercorns (the only kind of pepper for me!) and sea salt crystals. The Cole & Mason website advises you to only use sea salt crystals in their mills, because rock salt can wear down the mechanism very quickly.
We have had our Duo mill for well over a year now and it has shown no sign of fatigue, even though we use it everyday. I think it's because the ceramic grind mechanism is so effective at grinding, so you only need to give it one or two turns to get plenty of salt or pepper. With other cheaper, inferior mills, you have to act like you're listening to The Byrds and turn, turn, turn!
It is made from acrylic and ABS hardwearing plastic with a textured white band, so it is very easy to hold and turn the mechanism. The salt and pepper comes out at a very uniform size and shape and there is a separate grind selector for each mechanism, so you can select a coarser or finer grind.
The containers for the salt and pepper are of a decent size, so you're not filling them up every 5 minutes. However, refilling it is not a problem at all and is perhaps the easiest one I've had to refill. Most mills have a fiddly screw at the top, which you have to undo to release the top part of the mill. With the Duo you simply pull the top part of the mill off and then you have access to the salt and pepper containers. You then just lift the lid of the container and refill. The opening of the container is a crescent shape and whilst the opening isn't massive, it is adequate and allows you to pour in your peppercorns without them going everywhere. Then you simply push the top part of the mill back onto the bottom part - the parts are labelled with an 'S' for salt and a 'P' for pepper, so you shouldn't get it the wrong way round!
I think the Duo Mill not only works brilliantly, but it also looks great too. It comes in a variety of colours: blue, olive green, red and white. They have just introduced a stainless steel version which looks amazing!
I think the RRP of around £20 is a bargain price for something that works so well and which should last a lifetime.
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* Height: 17.5cm
* Lifetime guarantee (25 years) on the grinding mechanism.
- House of Fraser £10.00 or £18.00 (reduced from £20.00)
- John Lewis £19.50
- Lakeland £19.56
- Amazon £26.01 (Stainless Steel version)
Just twist the lid clockwise for pepper and anti-clockwise for salt.