Rocky black and white w/doser, Rocky stainless with doser
The classic, rock solid espresso grinder without doser, no advantage
Positive Product Points
Same burrs, motor etc. as the smallest commercial rancilio grinder, MD40. Rock solid, will last forever. Easy to adjust the grind. Will grind for all types of coffee brewing devices: press, espresso, drip etc. Can grind fine and consistent enough for any espresso machine, both home and commercial. Fast. Easy to clean and to change burrs.
Negative Product Points
Some static problems making grinds jump out of the portafilter and onto the counter. Varies with type of grind, coffee and humidity. Not a big problem, but noticeable. Another negative is the need to keep the grind button depressed all the time when you grind. The grind button is located to the lower left of the front. This feels awkward compared to the clever small button of the innova that is automatically depressed when the pf is placed under the spout.
Well, this espresso grinder from Rancilio in Milano has established itself as a classic already. Many people have bought it together with the espresso machine Silvia from the same manufacturer.
Background for this review During the last year I've had the possibility to use all three versions of this grinder: the black and white plastic chassis version with doser, the stainless steel with doser and the doserless stainless steel version that I am reviewing here. The oldest version in black and white is a bit slower than the newer stainless versions, but apart from that the three function and perform the same.
Technical Rancilio Rocky has the same innards as the smallest commercial grinder from Rancilio, the "MD40". This makes it very durable and powerful. The output is 2,5-3,5kg per hour. Beans are kept in a hopper which can hold 300 grams. The burrs are of the parallell type with a diameter of 50 mm.
Dimensions in mm are 120x250x350
Usage and performance Adjusting the grind is easily done by depressing a button at the base of the hopper and turning the hopper to the left or right. When you have found the correct grind for the espresso blend you're using, you'll only need to adjust one notch up or down to compensate for freshness, humidity etc. The grounds themselves are very even and produces excellent espresso. I've also been very impressed with the coarse grind needed for french press. All in all this is a fine grinder that you'll feel confident with and will last for a long, long time.
The doserless version is new on the market. Many have wanted a doserless Rocky and Rancilio has delivered. The ironic fact is that people quickly realize that the doser is useful and that the doserless doesn't improve anything except maybe making it more compact in size. Why is the doser useful? Well, it is because it enables you to do other stuff like preheating cups, chatting etc. while the grinder runs. With the doserless you are forced to stand close to the grinder keeping the button depressed while it is grinding. This also increases the time the portafilter is out of the group and cooling down, potentially affecting the brew temperature stability. Not a good thing. I have however not noticed any defects in the espresso because of this (when using the commercial version of the portafilter).
Cleaning and maintenance Keeping the grinder clean is easy. By removing a couple of screws and taking out the top burr section you get access to the grind chamber. The hopper, finger guard and lid are plastic so they can be put in the dishwasher. A small brush is nice when removing old coffee from the burrs. Cleaning really isn't necessary that often. I do it every other month.
Conclusion Buy the doser version instead. This doserless version doesn't add anything. It just removes the flexibility of grinding into a doser and adds some static problems.