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Rocky road...
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Discussions > Espresso > Grinders -... > Rocky road...  
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javablood45
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Aug 2012
Posts: 13
Location: ny
Expertise: I live coffee

Grinder: mr.coffe burr grinder
Drip: Mr. coffee
Roaster: sr-500
Posted Tue Sep 11, 2012, 5:57pm
Subject: Rocky road...
 

Any ROCKY fans out there that want to testify?  Wondering about the mechanics in general: noise, grind selection, speed, etc.  Doser or doserless, whichever is fine by me. Also wondering about lasting value? Can it survive the test of time and moderate use? Home use or commercial applications?  Cleaning, maintenance and the like:  How long do the burrs last, at what cost to repair, etc..  Any info would be great.  Looking deeply into saving for this one, i just want to know if i'm wasting my time is all.  Thanks
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TonyVan
Senior Member


Joined: 24 May 2010
Posts: 276
Location: Pacific Northwest
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: GS/3, La Pavoni
Grinder: Macap M7K, Rocky
Drip: Kone
Posted Tue Sep 11, 2012, 10:27pm
Subject: Re: Rocky road...
 

Many other posters here will more loudly sing the praises of Baratza, which makes terrific products at more-than-fair prices and backs them up with great - and often personal - service.

But since you asked about the Rocky, I've had a couple of them for 10 and 14 years respectively, and they've been great to use, matching especially well with small-basket levers like my La Pavoni (even the famed Mazzer Robur did no better in a careful and well-documented shootout with the Rocky/LP combo).  Speculation is that the Rocky's higher balance of fines works in its favor in this very specific instance.

The Rocky is not the greatest when it comes to clumping of grounds, but this disadvantage is largely mitigated by using the doser version, which seems to break them up pretty well before they end up in your basket. These are not really "hard" clumps in any case.

Recent production runs have brought complaints about greater than average early failures. Again, my pair would be considered "vintage" machines now, but I've always thought the build quality was very good.  It may be that there's some shipping susceptibility to internal damage, or just sloppy quality control, but if I understand correctly, if it works well when you get it, it will go on and on and on working well for years.  This is a very stable and time-tested design.  But it also suggests that if you buy new, get it from a good and reputable supplier, especially one who will test it for you before shipping.

They run with a decent reassuring sound, not a high-pitched whine, so they're not bad at all on the noise factor.  To me, they rate pretty well on the ease of cleaning and disassembly.  I'm afraid I can't tell you much about burr life - I changed a set once when I bought a used Rocky, just because it seemed like the smart thing to do at the time. But I'm guessing you'll need to grind a lot of coffee for a lot of years to really wear down a set of burrs. However, all Rocky parts, if you ever need them, are easy to get and not really overpriced (in my experience anyway).

Good luck - I hope this helps at least a little.
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NobbyR
Senior Member
NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 2,051
Location: Germany
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Poccino Opus One, Ariete
Grinder: Eureka Mignon Istantaneo
Vac Pot: N/A
Drip: Melitta Linea Unica de Luxe
Roaster: N/A
Posted Wed Sep 12, 2012, 12:41am
Subject: Re: Rocky road...
 

As far as espresso is concerned, the biggest issue about the Rancilio Rocky is its stepped grinding gear. The steps are so wide, that you sometimes get stuck in between two settings for proper extraction. That is to say one step is too coarse, but the next already too fine. This can be a highly frustrating situation, because the only way to work around that problem is to change the dose accordingly (i.e. dose slightly higher or lower), which can have an undesired effect on taste in the cup.

 
***
"This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee, when he was urged to ban the beverage)
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MachiatoMan
Senior Member


Joined: 4 Oct 2012
Posts: 10
Location: NY Metro Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Rocket Cellini Premium Plus
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Drip: Hario V60
Roaster: Bodum French Press
Posted Sat Oct 6, 2012, 10:16pm
Subject: Re: Rocky road...
 

I'm using a Rocky (doserless) with a Rocket Cellini. I chose it based my conversations with several vendors. The Rocky is very robust and does a decent job. Maybe i got lucky, but my burrs have no play in them at all (caveat:I've only had it for a few months). My biggest issues are clumping, particularly at finer dose settings, and sometimes getting stuck between steps. I compensate by adjusting my tamp pressure slightly if I'm stuck between steps and I use WDT if the clumping is bad.

If I had choose again, i probably would have gone with the Baratza Vario. At the time, I wasnt planning future upgrading up the food espresso machine chain past the Rancilio Silvia, for which i was told the Rocky would be fine.
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IMAWriter
Senior Member
IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
Posts: 5,891
Location: Brentwood, TN
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega
Grinder: Forte, OE Pharos,...
Vac Pot: Adcraft SS, Yama 8 cup
Drip: Brazen, Kalita, Chemex,...
Roaster: Behmor 1600+, CO/UFO combo
Posted Sat Oct 6, 2012, 10:49pm
Subject: Re: Rocky road...
 

NobbyR Said:

As far as espresso is concerned, the biggest issue about the Rancilio Rocky is its stepped grinding gear. The steps are so wide, that you sometimes get stuck in between two settings for proper extraction. That is to say one step is too coarse, but the next already too fine. This can be a highly frustrating situation, because the only way to work around that problem is to change the dose accordingly (i.e. dose slightly higher or lower), which can have an undesired effect on taste in the cup.

Posted September 12, 2012 link

Our OP can check this out click here

It's a link to a Rocky owner who, for $5 made his Rocky stepless. Many have done this, or similar mods.

Disclaimer...do any modification at your own risk.

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
My Music Production web site:
www.robertjason.com
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CraigA
Moderator
CraigA
Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 11,255
Location: Rexdale, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: PID/PressureMod 2001...
Grinder: BUNN FPG-2 DBC, Baratza...
Vac Pot: Bodum Santos manual, Yama 5...
Drip: Behmor BraZen, BUNN VPR-APS,...
Roaster: Refurb Behmor 1600, BBQ...
Posted Sun Oct 7, 2012, 12:10pm
Subject: Re: Rocky road...
 

Mod note: moved from Espresso: Blends to Espresso: Grinders - Espresso.

 
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Excellent coffee doesn't just happen!
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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,416
Location: Berkeley, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -...
Grinder: Mahlkönig K30 Vario -...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: CCD, Chemex
Roaster: No, no, not another...
Posted Sun Oct 7, 2012, 5:03pm
Subject: Re: Rocky road...
 

javablood45 Said:

Any ROCKY fans out there that want to testify?

Posted September 11, 2012 link

Probably not.

javablood45 Said:

Wondering about the mechanics in general: noise, grind selection, speed, etc.

Posted September 11, 2012 link

It's moderately noisy, the grind selection and speed are average.

javablood45 Said:

Doser or doserless, whichever is fine by me.

Posted September 11, 2012 link

That's irrelevant.  It's all up to you, and what you prefer.  I've used both and prefer doserless, but that's my preference.  YMMV.

javablood45 Said:

Also wondering about lasting value?

Posted September 11, 2012 link

There is some resale value in a Rocky, I suppose.

javablood45 Said:

Can it survive the test of time and moderate use?

Posted September 11, 2012 link

Yes.

javablood45 Said:

Home use or commercial applications?

Posted September 11, 2012 link

It is most definitely a HOME grinder only.

javablood45 Said:

Cleaning, maintenance and the like:  How long do the burrs last, at what cost to repair, etc.

Posted September 11, 2012 link

Routine maintenance is necessary with any grinder.  A quick search on Google shows burrs cost <$40.

javablood45 Said:

Looking deeply into saving for this one.

Posted September 11, 2012 link

Why?

javablood45 Said:

I just want to know if i'm wasting my time is all.  Thanks

Posted September 11, 2012 link

Well, I wouldn't be looking to buy a Rocky, if I were you.  Years ago, the Rocky was considered one of the best grinders were you looking for a home espresso-only grinder.  Three things changed all that:  1) Rancilio raised their prices, reducing the QPR of a Rocky; 2) other manufacturers introduced better grinders into the market; and 3) more and more consumers have been opting for (entry level) commercial grinders.

The Rancilio Rocky is approx. $339-349.  For $449, you could get a Baratza Vario, that is often compared to a Mazzer Super Jolly ($675) in grind quality.  And for only $299, you could get a Baratza Preciso . . .

But I'd pass on the Rocky.

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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qualin
Senior Member
qualin
Joined: 30 Jun 2012
Posts: 662
Location: Calgary, AB
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Izzo Alex Duetto 3
Grinder: Mazzer Mini Elect. Type A
Vac Pot: Looking to buy
Drip: Manual
Roaster: Considering?
Posted Mon Oct 8, 2012, 2:27am
Subject: Re: Rocky road...
 

I think there are other grinders which are out there on the market which provide better value for the money. Then
again, if you want to pay for quality over features, what can I say.. It's built like a tank.

The Rocky is good if you want to grind a huge variety of different kinds of grinds with no fuss, no muss. Anything from
French Press straight through to Espresso, no problem with this grinder.

However, like the other posters have said, it's finicky with espresso because espresso grind requires such precise settings.

I found that while I was using my Rocky, about three steps was what I had to play with to grind espresso, anything outside
of that and I either had a gusher or a choker. I think the Stepless mod is an awesome hack. Unless you already own one,
I don't see the point of buying a Rocky and modifying it like this afterwards.

Other grinders, Like the Baratza Vario, have a timed grind feature which is a huge time saver once you have the grinder
dialed in correctly and don't mind a little bit of variation on your doses. It's especially handy for those early morning drinks
when people like me grab a hot steam wand without thinking about it and end up waking up faster as a result. :-)

The Portafilter holder on the doserless version works well, but it kind of pointless since I had to grind straight in the basket
so I could weigh all of my doses anyway. I'm not skilled enough to grind a perfect 16 gram dose into a portafilter yet.

Personally speaking, I prefer doserless over dosered grinders, only because I really don't do a lot of drink volume and I
prefer not having to clean a doser after I'm finished, but again, that's just personal opinion.

Good luck on your search.

 
Garbage In, Garbage Out, for every step of the process. From Beans to grinder, grounds to machine, coffee to cup.
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takeshi
Senior Member
takeshi
Joined: 12 Oct 2002
Posts: 989
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Alex Duetto 3.0
Grinder: Super Jolly
Roaster: Amaya Roasting
Posted Mon Oct 8, 2012, 10:38am
Subject: Re: Rocky road...
 

There are certainly plenty of recent threads on the Rocky and they'll basically echo what you've seen above.

tl;dr version: skip the Rocky and save up.  Aim for the Preciso or Vario and similar.

MachiatoMan Said:

At the time, I wasnt planning future upgrading up the food espresso machine chain past the Rancilio Silvia, for which i was told the Rocky would be fine.

Posted October 6, 2012 link

Not sure I'd agree with that.  You'd have the same problems using the Rocky with the Silvia just as with any other machine.  Switching from the Rocky to the SJ was a major improvement for me.
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