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Espresso Grinder help.  Vario or used rocky?
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DanoBrewer
Senior Member


Joined: 12 Mar 2010
Posts: 4
Location: Midwest
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: DeLonghi - old as dirt
Grinder: Kitchenaid
Drip: krups
Roaster: hot air popper
Posted Fri Mar 12, 2010, 10:03am
Subject: Espresso Grinder help.  Vario or used rocky?
 

Hi All.

Not horribly new to the espresso game, but finally getting some fair to decent equipment.  

I need a grinder that will be used primarily for espresso but needs to be able to pull french and drip duties on a somewhat regular basis.  So I had all but talked myself into the vario after reading tons of reviews stating "get the best grinder you can afford, then get an espresso machine with what you have left."  I was looking at Gaggia MDF and a doserless Rocky but eventually decided that the Vario is probably the way to go.  

Now the plot thickens.  I look for a machine and found someone selling a Simonelli Oscar for a price I can afford.  I think picking up an HX model now will keep me from upgrading, at least for a while.  Anyway, the guy is selling his DOSER rocky as well, albeit he's asking more than I want to pay and unless he comes down a little I'll stick with just the Oscar and ignore his grinder.  Sorry, digress.  

I had talked myself out of the doserless rocky looking for something with smaller steps, less wasted coffee, easier for Wifey to use, and better for drip and french as well... when a doser rocky comes available for a discount.

So I'd like some opinions, especially from anyone that uses either the Rocky (for espresso and drip) or the vario.  Would you Vario owners have gotten a doser model rocky if you could get it for, say, $200?  Anyone have a rocky that wishes, gee, I'd like to save up and spring for a vario?  Anyone have a doser rocky and say, man this doser is a pain when I want to make a pot of french?

Thanks for your help!
-Dan

PS - if anyone has any negative feedback on the Oscar, please let me know.  I was between the new gaggia baby and Miss Silvia, leaning towards the gaggia for Wifey's sake.
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TimEggers
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TimEggers
Joined: 3 Oct 2004
Posts: 2,946
Location: Tiskilwa, Illinois
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: QM Anita, Cappuccino Amore
Grinder: Baratza Vario, Mazzer SJ
Vac Pot: Antique McKee, Santos
Drip: Pour Over, Bodum Presses
Roaster: RK Drum
Posted Fri Mar 12, 2010, 10:33am
Subject: Re: Espresso Grinder help.  Vario or used rocky?
 

I've used both, and its Vario no doubt.  Don't even consider the Rocky if Vario is the cards.

 
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CraigA
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CraigA
Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 11,272
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 Fri Mar 12, 2010, 10:40am
Subject: Re: Espresso Grinder help.  Vario or used rocky?
 

TimEggers Said:

I've used both, and its Vario no doubt.  Don't even consider the Rocky if Vario is the cards.

Posted March 12, 2010 link

I have both & absolutely agree with Tim!, the Rocky since May 2001 & it was good in its day., & the Baratza Vario since Jan 20th 2010 & without a doubt or a seconds hesitation it's the Vario hands down 100%!! {;-D

 
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JasonBrandtLewis
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JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,475
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 Fri Mar 12, 2010, 11:50am
Subject: Re: Espresso Grinder help.  Vario or used rocky?
 

Vario!  Yup . . .

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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DanoBrewer
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Joined: 12 Mar 2010
Posts: 4
Location: Midwest
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: DeLonghi - old as dirt
Grinder: Kitchenaid
Drip: krups
Roaster: hot air popper
Posted Fri Mar 12, 2010, 12:09pm
Subject: Re: Espresso Grinder help.  Vario or used rocky?
 

Wow!  Great feedback guys, thanks!  I was expecting to have to sort through the responses to see which one got more "votes."

Anyone know where to get one less than $429? ;)  I'll head on over to the Vario owners lounge to see if anyone has any tips.
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tovarishch
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Joined: 21 Apr 2012
Posts: 20
Location: IL
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Wed Jul 11, 2012, 7:01pm
Subject: Re: Espresso Grinder help.  Vario or used rocky?
 

Vario, hands down. Vario-W gives great control of the amount you grind. One variable less to worry about.
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IMAWriter
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IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
Posts: 5,965
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 Wed Jul 11, 2012, 7:12pm
Subject: Re: Espresso Grinder help.  Vario or used rocky?
 

I owned a Rocky, and have a Vario for a long time now.
The Vario has a great company behind it, and it is terrific at switching back and forth, basically instantaneously, and back to the exact place you were.
A quick flush of a few grams of the previous grinds (out with the coarse grind, etc) and you're good to go.
Perhaps check with Baratza.com on the availability of a refurb.

If the Oscar has been well maintained, and fin the owner can demonstrate it...even with a home video, you'll be happy.

 
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russel
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russel
Joined: 12 Mar 2010
Posts: 464
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Conti Princess 2grp, GS/3...
Grinder: Super Caimanos x2, Forte BG,...
Drip: V60, Kalita Wave, Clever,...
Posted Wed Jul 11, 2012, 7:16pm
Subject: Re: Espresso Grinder help.  Vario or used rocky?
 

I will vote for Vario W.  I have owned a lot of grinders of all sorts including 2 Varios, and I'm thinking of adding a W to the starting line up as a control grinder to test others against.
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Stretch002
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Joined: 7 Jul 2011
Posts: 48
Location: Southern California
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Mini Vivaldi II
Grinder: Mazzer Mini Electronic
Vac Pot: N/A
Drip: Bodum French Press/Kuerig
Roaster: N/A
Posted Thu Jul 12, 2012, 10:33am
Subject: Re: Espresso Grinder help.  Vario or used rocky?
 

I used Rocky for six months and a Vario W for about a week. Here's my vote:

Taste in the cup: Vario without a doubt. The Rocky imparts a harsher tasting shot which is not as robust in flavor. I doubted the grinder would have such an impact but it was VERY noticeable. The Varios shots were much better.

Build Quality: Rocky wins and it's not even close. The Vario while a good grinder does not look or feel as solid a Rocky. If you read the threads you will find they sometimes lose calibration, get jammed or have other small problems. The good news  is most people find Baratza support to be excellent. That was not the case for me but I am the exception that proves the rule. If you read the forums, you will find lots of  posts about Vario troubles (usually resolved) and very few posts about Rocky.

Value: Vario wins as it is better in the cup and easier to use.

Final word: If I was choosing something to use for a couple of years, I would pick Vario knowing it might have some troubles but it will deliver better results in the short term. If I was choosing something to keep ten years or more I'd either save up more money or pick Rocky for it's build quality.
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naimnut
Senior Member


Joined: 13 Jul 2011
Posts: 68
Location: Seattle area
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Expobar Brewtus II
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Drip: Braun Aeromaster
Posted Thu Jul 12, 2012, 12:05pm
Subject: Re: Espresso Grinder help.  Vario or used rocky?
 

I used to own a Rocky. It's a good grinder, but a Cunill El Tranquilo, which can be found NEW for around $270 is a better grinder (IMHO). I switched from the Rocky to the Cunill and from the Cunill to the Vario. The Vario is definately the best of these three grinders.

BTW, every piece of equipment is a compromise and a balancing act between cost, ease of use, size, noise, suitability for home use, convenience, etc. The Vario gets high marks from me because:

  1. It is a very good espresso grinder, offering near-stepless performance
  2. Small, compact, kitchen-friendly
  3. Quiet. (Relatively) This was a bigger deal to my wife, but I appreciate it to, compared to both the Rocky and the Cunill
  4. Attractive
  5. Great customer support from Baratza, from everything I've read.
  6. It has greatly improved my ability to extract great flavors from beans I would have otherwise thought had gone past their prime. This has saved me money.
  7. Ultimately, the flavor in the cup.
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