The grinder makes the espresso, and the Rocky does it with style.
Positive Product Points
-Very uniform grind, fine enough to choke a good espresso machine -Super solid construction, metal casing, brass burr supports, big fat motor -Quiet operation, smooth grinding sound, uniform motor speed -Looks great!
Negative Product Points
-Button that you press to adjust grind coarseness is loose and rattles around -portafilter holder on doserless model doesn't fit my 53 mm portafilter -Second on/off switch that you have to hold down is stupid (doserless model)
This grinder makes wonderful espresso. I've tried a Kitchenaide ProLine, which didn't come close to fine enough for espresso, and a Solis Maestro Plus, which was cheaply made, burr supports were plastic, and didn't grind fine enough. The upgrade to a Rocky solved all this. This machine proves to me that good espresso comes from the grinder, not the espresso machine. I use a Solis SL70 with non-pressurized basket: a rather minimalist machine, but with this grinder I get as good a shots as anything I've had from better-quality espresso machines, and far better shots than expensive superautomatics.
Examining the grind fineness and uniformity under a hand lens shows that the Rocky produces a very uniform, consistent grind with little dust, comparable to the commercial grinder samples I've taken from professional coffee shops. This is in stark contrast to the inconsistent particle size and high dust content from the Maestro Plus, and particularly the Kitchenaide. I'm very impressed. It's easy to dial in the grinder to pull consistent 25-second shots with TONS of crema.
I like that you can pull off the portafilter holder and put a tall recepticle under the spout to catch grinds. You can grind enough for several shots, or for a large pot of drip if that's what company calls for. There's also less mess this way, grinds don't fall randomly out of the portafilter while grinding.
Problems I've encountered:
Dial increments seem a little on the coarse side to me, one notch at a time makes quite a difference in pull times and crema.
The button you hold down to rotate the bean hopper for grind adjustment is loose and rattles around. I don't know if something's broken inside or if it was made that way. It does hold the hopper in place while grinding though.
The portafilter holder doesn't hold the 53 mm SL70 portafilter at all. Luckily, it pulls right out, and I hold the portafilter by hand, or put a plastic tub under the spout.
The discharge chute retains a LOT of ground coffee, about 2 grams, and it's very awkward to fish this out. If you don't, you get a lot of old coffee in your first shot of the day.
The two-switch on/off system on the doserless model is just plain dumb. You have to stand there and hold down the switch while its grinding (why?). For grinding enough for multiple shots, or a big pot of drip, it would be nice to turn the grinder on and do other things while it purrs away. Even worse, when adusting the grind from drip (about #30) to espresso (around #11 for me), the machine has to be grinding so that the coarse grounds don't hold the burrs apart. So, you have to hold down the grinder adustment button with one hand, rotate the hopper with another hand, and then get your wife to hold that dang on-button. It takes two people to run this grinder! I will probably end up modifying the grinder to bypass that hold-down switch.
Fine-- I ordered, it arrived. Grean Beanery did not ship the day of ordering, as claimed, but 3 days later. Canada Post did not take 5 business days as claimed, but 7. So I waited almost two full weeks from ordering to receiving the grinder, an eternity!!