on November 10, 2009
The Rocky grinder is so incredible. Tons of horse power and a consistent grind. I grind for espresso and I can increment the grind size in slight increments according to how well the espresso is making it through the porta-filter on my espresso machine. Awesome way to fine tune and adjust according to the quality and age of the beans.
Built like a pro grinder - heavy duty!
Regarding the decision of dosser vs. doserless: If you are going to us this as a COMMERCIAL grinder and pour shot after shot - go with a dosser for measuring convenience. But you will always have some of your ground coffee sitting in the hopper.
If you're making your espresso's one at a time - go doserless. Then you're getting your coffee freshly grounded just before you use it.
UPDATE 9/2011: Still running great and creating a perfectly even, fine grind for espresso.
UPDATE TO UPDATE: 11/2012: Still running great and creating a perfectly even, fine grind for espresso. Definitely getting my monies worth out of this one.
on December 31, 2008
I won't rate this product 5 stars because I don't believe it is a good value. At almost [...], this thing should be flawless, and its not. If my only criteria were grading the ground coffee it produces, it would be a 5 though. Let me say though that it does a fantastic job making espresso grounds.
The path I took before I purchased this grinder started with a Black Friday sale at Starbucks where I picked up a Sirena espresso machine for $315. I had been coveting this machine since I had been introduced to espresso a year earlier but couldn't stomach the [...] gut wrenching price for that machine. Box in hand, I headed home to make my first espresso.
Long story short, I spent a few days using my [...] blade grinder to grind the coffee and came to the conclusion that I couldn't get the grounds consistent, even or fine enough. So I spent some time reading the thread on c[...] about my machine and found that most people on there recommended the Rocky. I thought [...]for a coffee grinder was ridiculous (I typically use stronger language but....) so I shopped around and settled on the still expensive (seriously, we're grinding coffee here) but reasonable Breville BCG450XL Conical Burr Grinder. I liked the Breville as it was fast, quiet, clean, small and light. However, its finest setting ("Turkish") wasn't really all that fine. Even on the finest setting, I was pulling triple shots in 8-10 seconds (which is about 2 seconds longer than when not using any coffee!). At that rate the espresso is thin and there is no crema.
Not being the type to give up on anything, I did some more research on the coffee grinders out there and was disappointed to find there was nothing in the $100-200 price range that people had good things to say about. Thus the Rocky was my cheapest "sure thing". I bit the bullet and bought it. To my satisfaction, it arrived later that week.
From the first shot I knew I made the right choice; the coffee was thick and rich, with a frothy and yummy crema. It wasn't perfect, but damn, it was better than anything that had come out of the machine before that! It took a few more adjustments to the grind setting and tamping pressure to pull a 25-30 seconds shot, but I got there pretty quickly. The Rocky has the adjustability to grind so fine that it can completely choke the espresso machine. That's awesome! I've now got the grinder dialed in just perfectly for my beans. The shots pull consistently good with about 2-3mm of silky smooth crema every time.
Now for the bad...
1.) The doser - Inside the doser there is a 6 bladed sweeper that rotates when you pull the lever. However, the sweeper blades aren't quite long enough to reach the rim of the doser and thus don't sweep all of the grounds out. It leaves a substantial amount. I've learned to not use the doser lever anymore, but rather use a brush to sweep and move the doser blades around manually. That cleans it out very well.
(As a side note, I think that the doser is necessary to break up the clumps of ground coffee coming out of the machine.)
2.) The speed - 21 grams of coffee takes about 45 seconds to grind. The beans get stuck in the hopper too so I have to use my brush to sweep them! The Breville processed this much cofee in about 1/3 the time (granted it wasn't as fine, but still).
3.) The weight - At something like 17lbs, it's a beast. With as much coffee as the doser slops out, I need to move it frequently to clean the coffee grounds off the counter. On the flipside though, I am glad I got a lot of metal for my money though as I know this unit is sturdy enough to last a lifetime.
4.) Ergonomics - It's hard to get a grip on this thing to move it. I wish there were small handles on the side of it.
5.) Cleaning - Everything is screwed together and nothing snaps apart. It's sturdy, but it's a pain to clean because you have to get the screw gun out to disassemble it.
Overall I am happy with it as it makes delicious espresso. I would recommend it to anyone who is serious about good espresso.
on November 23, 2013
I would not buy the doser unit if I could do it over again. You have to grind a lot of beans in order to get the doser to work consisently. It is just difficult to get the correct amount of grounds in the portafilter. The other problem is that if you want to adjust the grind, you have to grind a lot of beans before you can judge because you have to fill the Doser to get it to dispense consistently. I would recomend the nondoser version.
on April 8, 2007
I recently bought this great burr grinder along with the Rancilio Silvia espresso machine. Getting a great home espresso is all about the grind. I didn't know this until just recently. I'd been a dope, using a cheap blade grinder not knowing what a HUGE difference a burr grinder would make.
Now, I have my grind and my tamp dialed in, along with a great espresso machine (The Miss Silvia). I must say my espresso and cappuccinos are as good or better than our local coffee shops. If you are really into your espresso or cappuccinos, you MUST have a burr grinder. This is well made and easy to use. I highly recommend it.
on November 10, 2014
Waited for a while before posting a review, as I wanted to be sure that we had worked out all of the kinks that is inherent in new acquisitions.
I lived in Italy for a couple years in the 70s, and introduced my husband to the goodness that is a properly crafted espresso, which was reinforced through subsequent holiday trips to Italy. We owned a coffee shop for 12 years, so we are very versed in how to make proper espresso, as well as brewed coffee. We closed our coffee shop 5 years ago (for personal reasons) and sold off our equipment, except for the grinder that we used for the espresso. We promptly purchased a Rancilio Epoca S1 espresso machine for personal use in our remaining business, as we are quite picky about our espresso and it is close to impossible to find a coffee shop that encourages/trains baristas in the proper steps to making great product. Sad to say, our poor old espresso grinder became unusable for our exacting requirements, so we examined options to replace the old grinder. After a lot of consideration, we decided that putting money out at the beginning for a quality product was much more preferable than trying/testing a number of less expensive grinders.
The product was shipped VERY quickly; no complaints regarding the shipping itself.
As noted in other comments, there was a residue of grounds in the box when unpacked ... which we totally expected, as we knew that this was for mechanism tests ... rather it be tested at the factory than us have to do it! It is impossible to get every little bit of coffee out of the grinder without doing a dismantle for cleaning ... which could in itself lead to later problems. Instead of complaining about the grounds, we cleaned up the outside & loose parts before installing it on the counter ... quite an easy job.
As we now live in an area that does have major shifts in humidity, we are eternally grateful for the ability to easily adjust the grind to accommodate the change in humidity from day to day. We use only filtered water in our espresso machine, tamp the grinds appropriately to get the correct draw timing for a perfect crema. Works like a charm. If we still had our coffee shop, we would use this grinder for decaf espresso, as we did not use that grinder as much as for regular espresso (we had an industry-appropriate work horse -- a Rancilio MD-50 -- for regular espresso). I was hesitant to spend so much on a grinder, but having purchased espresso equipment in the past (and buying an Epoca espresso machine for our personal use), it was far wiser to purchase something that would properly do the job and last a long while. If these machines can stand up to coffee shop abuse, they should last a long time in the personal environment.
on December 10, 2011
I'm really bummed based on the other reviews, because I must have got a lemon. I bought this grinder new about 3-4 years ago as part of a package deal with a Rancilio Silvia espresso machine. I did not buy it from Amazon, but from another retailer. I started out by setting the grind as fine as possible per the instructions by adjusting the wheels until they barely touched and then backing off one notch. Then, for about 2-3 years I struggled with getting much more than about 10 seconds shot time, no matter how hard I tamped the shot, or how much coffee I put in the portafilter. First I bought a nice new heavy tamper, and then a rimless portafilter. Then I thought it was too high shot pressure from the Silvia, so I researched online and found out how to adjust the pressure - I dropped the pressure and got longer shot times, but lost most of the crema. Also, taste was never good with either the higher or lower pressure. I eventually gave up, and started going back to Starbucks. Then I read online that the grinder wheels on the Rocky can get dull and need to be replaced. So I spent about $50 and ordered new replacement grinder wheels. Everything was going good on replacing the wheels until the last screw holding on one of the existing wheels stripped -- I found out online that this is a common problem when replacing the Rocky grinder wheels and the only suggested solution was drilling out the old screw. So I looked into a tap for drilling out the screw, and then just gave up fearing that I would damage the grinder and growing tired of the time and effort I was spending on it. I put the Rocky in the pantry (where it is still sitting with the new unused grinder wheels). I had an old Krups electric hand grinder that I found will grind coffee as fine (or finer than you want) -- all depending on how long you grind it. So, I decided to try this and for the first time got the appropriate shot times (I can easily get 20-25 seconds or more) from my Silvia, even with the Silvia pressure set back up high. Espresso and Americanos now taste great when I get the grind right. The only problem is that the hand grinder is not very precise and I have to re-grind and pull another shot. So, has anyone else had this experience or had success drilling out the Rocky grinder wheel screws? I wonder if mine was misaligned or something from the beginning? Can anyone suggest another good grinder that is reliable and precise?
UPDATE: Based on some very helpful advice from one of the posted comments, I pulled this grinder out of the pantry and put it back together with the old grinder wheels, and adjusted the wheels closer PAST the point where they started making noise (contrary to the Rancilio instructions which say to back-off the wheels from each other a notch after you hear the noise). The grinder is working great now. So I increased my ranking to 3 stars for the time being. Assuming the grinder wheels don't wear out quickly, I will post another update in the future to five stars. But it does make me frustrated that the Rancilio instructions are basically incorrect for getting espresso grade grind.
SECOND UPDATE: Since the grinder is still working well several months after I adjusted the wheels closer than you are supposed to, I'm upping my review to 5 stars. This is despite the poor instructions and trouble I endured getting the wheels set correctly. I now get consistently ground coffee and easily achieve 25 second shot times with good crema in the Rancilio Silvia. Any inconsistency in my shot times are due to variations in my tamping technique. The only other (minor) problem I have had with this grinder is that the spring on the doser lever broke after a few years of use. I think the spring can be easily replaced, but I actually like using it without the spring (I just move the lever back and forth with my hand rather than letting it spring back on its own). BTW -- I can't say enough about the Silvia, given its price range. It is a real trooper and built like a tank. I think the quality of espresso you can make with it is only limited by your own technique.
on June 13, 2008
I can say that it has really improved my morning espressos. Having the ability to grind the coffee myself right before I pull a shot has improved the quality and consistency of my lattes. The Rocky does a great job with the grinding and with the doser, I haven't had too much problem with "dust". It's build is of a fairly high quality- plastic could be a bit heftier, but with a little care it should last me many many years, and it turns out great coffee grounds. Well worth the money even though it is not cheap. I use a La Pavoni hand pump machine, and it has never turned out as good a shot as I can now obtain with the combination of it with the Rocky.
on September 14, 2006
I am a contractor and when I recently remodeled Doug and Susans basement I was eventually shown how to use the grinder to make espresso while on breaks. Unfortunately, I started taking lots of breaks... good espresso! The grinder is quiet, precise,and efficient, like an excellent sub contractor, or a good table saw! The grinder was great. I use a burr grinder at my house but you can't even talk over the thing. This one whirs below a conversation level, then stores the suberbly consistant ground coffee. I then pull the lever a couple times to dispense premeasured amounts into the doser that is resting in its holder on the machine, and there it is break is on!! Thanks for the good times and good espresso. On my way to hawk some of my tools to buy one of these things, it's worth it!
on October 30, 2014
My first burr grinder. I kept upgrading what I wanted before my purchase by reading Amazin reviews. I may have overbought but this thing, crazy at seems, has VASTLY improved our coffee experience at home. Same stove top Bialetti, same beans, but oh my. Bitterness gone. Subtle chocolate notes. Complexity in my cup. WTF? Is it the consistency of the grind? Nothing burning? No sludge in the cup? Anyways, this expensive grinder was ... Worth it.
on February 24, 2014
We purchased the Rancilio Silva espresso machine a couple weeks before purchasing the grinder. WOW, what a difference. We are making coffee shop quality lattes at home, so nice!! Worth every penny!!!!!