Good for french press through espresso; less expensive models (I'm told) are not well-suited for espresso.
Seems built to last
Most importantly, my regular automatic drip coffee tasted much better once I began properly grinding beans. Even if I never make espresso, the Rocky will prove to be a good investment.
Negative Product Points
Some minor inconveniences, detailed below.
I mainly make automatic drip coffee, manual pour-over, and french press. I bought this grinder (non-dosser version) because I will likely begin making espresso at home in the next year or so and wanted to be sure that I had a grinder that was appropriate. My reading of reviews of less-expensive grinders is that many are not well-suited to espresso.
A second reason I chose the Rocky was that reviews indicated it was relatively well-built and likely to last a long time. Since this grinder costs 10 times more than my whirly-blade, this was an important feature for me.
Out of the box, the grinder was amazing. My coffee tasted noticeably better, especially the french press. I haven't bought an espresso machine, but so far I am incredibly impressed with how important properly ground beans are in making good coffee.
Some negative points:
You turn the top part of the grinder to adjust how fine the grind is. Sometimes this part slips on its own, changing the grind setting during a grind.
The switch to grind the beans has to be held down, and it takes a modicum of force. It would be easier - especially when I'm half-asleep - to just flip a switch to start grinding, and then flip it off once the beans have all been ground.
Ground coffee comes down a chute and a small amount accumulates on the grinder itself, while some finds it way onto the counter. So after grinding I have to clean up the area a little bit.
The area of the grinder that is cut in a semi-circle to hold the hopper looks rather, well, amateurish. It looks like it was cut with a pocket knife. This clearly isn't a big deal and doesn't affect performance, but it also looks a little strange and I can't imagine why it was cut in this manner.
I've cleaned the inside of the grinder once, following the instructions on this website. Doing so was quite straightforward, though I can't help but worry about losing or damaging a part one day. I presume replacement parts are available, but wonder how the warranty is affected if I've opened the grinder. It is strange that the instruction manual says not to open the grinder, while others says to clean the inside monthly.
It should be clear that my negative points are relatively minor. The bottom line is that I love this grinder and I can't believe how much coffee I've made without a quality grinder. Less expensive grinders don't seem well suited for espresso, while more expensive grinders are, well, much more expensive. I can always move up market if I need to, but I think I'll be using this grinder for years to come.
I bought the grinder from a local Intelligentsia store on Broadway st. in Chicago. The price was $285, which seemed to be the price everywhere I looked. I asked the person behind the counter at Intelligentsia a few questions, and she decided to ask a manager (or someone clearly higher up in the organization) to help me. This woman was incredibly knowledgeable about the grinder, gave me some tips about grind settings for different brews, filled out the warranty registration form with me, and gave me contact information in case I have follow-up questions. Intelligentsia is also an authorized repair center for the grinder.