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Espresso: Grinders - Espresso
New Vario and Comparisons to Rocky
Rancilio Silvia - How to
Step by step guide for easy brewing and steaming with the Rancilio Silvia
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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 Tue Mar 12, 2013, 7:55pm
Subject: New Vario and Comparisons to Rocky
 

Hi,

First of all, thanks to everyone for your advice and feedback the past few months. I finally pulled the trigger and upgraded to Baratza Vario from a Rancilio Rocky. So far, I am quite pleased with my choice. The Varoio addressed my primary issues with the Rocky, which were clumping and stepped design. The quality of the grind from the Vario is fluffy and consistent. I taste a distinct difference in the cup. Smoother, more "detail", more syrupy. No difference with milk based drinks. But with the Vario, I found myself drinking significantly more espresso (vs. milk based drinks). The timed grinding function is useful, and the Vario is less messy.  I ground a pound of beans (french press) for a friend of mine this past weekend and the grounds were barely warm. I did break it up into 1 min increments of grinding.

Now, the drawbacks. The Vario does seem to be more finicky than the Rocky. Perhaps this is due to the greater number of settings. The Rocky was more or less set it and forget it. For espresso, I was typically within a 3-5 step range for any medium roast bean with the Rocky.  I would optimize via dosing and tamp. With the Vario, it seems that I am always tweaking the settings. I also miss robust construction of the Rocky. It was heavy, mostly metal, and just felt more industrial. I've also encountered an odd problem with the Vario, which I will cover in a separate post.

Overall, the Vario is great home grinder that really allows one to dial-in the shot. If you're making milk based drinks, there's probably not a whole a lot of difference in the cup. With espresso, however, there is a distinct improvement. Lastly, I think the Rocky has gotten a bit of a bad wrap on these forums. I found it to be very competent and excellent grinder for beginners. It's easy to get a decent shot, although it's limitation being stepped makes it harder to get a really good shot. And with fewer variables, it's easier to learn on. The unit that I had was completely reliable and had no slop whatsoever in the burrs (I couldn't even apply the teflon mod) or the hopper. Not to mention, the resale value is quite good.

MachiatoMan (Maybe I need to change my login to EspressoMan)
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takeshi
Senior Member
takeshi
Joined: 12 Oct 2002
Posts: 976
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Alex Duetto 3.0
Grinder: Super Jolly
Roaster: Amaya Roasting
Posted Wed Mar 13, 2013, 10:24am
Subject: Re: New Vario and Comparisons to Rocky
 

MachiatoMan Said:

Overall, the Vario is great home grinder that really allows one to dial-in the shot. If you're making milk based drinks, there's probably not a whole a lot of difference in the cup. With espresso, however, there is a distinct improvement.

Posted March 12, 2013 link

Can't speak to the Vario specifically but there was a significant improvement in my lattes when upgrading from the Rocky.

MachiatoMan Said:

I also miss robust construction of the Rocky. It was heavy, mostly metal, and just felt more industrial.

Posted March 12, 2013 link

If these are must-haves a Mazzer will definitely fit the bill though that means a higher price tag.  Each person has to assess his/her needs/wants/budget/preferences and then decide where to compromise.

MachiatoMan Said:

Lastly, I think the Rocky has gotten a bit of a bad wrap on these forums. I found it to be very competent and excellent grinder for beginners. It's easy to get a decent shot, although it's limitation being stepped makes it harder to get a really good shot. And with fewer variables, it's easier to learn on. The unit that I had was completely reliable and had no slop whatsoever in the burrs (I couldn't even apply the teflon mod) or the hopper. Not to mention, the resale value is quite good.

Posted March 12, 2013 link

I'll agree that the resale is good but that's about it.  It's generally regarded as overpriced these days just like the Silvia.  Back when there were far fewer options it was a decent choice.  These days it's generally not a good recommendation.  It's getting a bit of backlash because there seem to be a lot of newbies using old data for research and concluding that the Rocky is the must-get grinder.

MachiatoMan Said:

And with fewer variables, it's easier to learn on.

Posted March 12, 2013 link

Stepped != fewer variables.  It just means fewer grind settings (or fewer values for one of the variables).  The variables are the same no matter which grinder you use.
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