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Rancilio Rocky - Michael Nelson's Review
Posted: March 16, 2002, 5:58am
review rating: 6.7
feedback: (2) comments | read | write
Rancilio Rocky
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More About This Product
Arrow The Rancilio Rocky has 71 Reviews
Arrow The Rancilio Rocky has been rated 8.44 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since November 30, 2001.
Arrow Rancilio Rocky reviews have been viewed 471,269 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Berhouz Abedian 9.00
John Roche 8.48
Sean Strugnell 8.44
Toto Di Torretta 8.14
Mark Prince 8.05

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 2.8
Manufacturer: Rancilio Quality: 1
Average Price: $350.00 Usability: 3
Price Paid: $245.00 Cost vs. Value 3
Where Bought: Whole Latte Love Aesthetics 4
Owned for: 1 month Overall 3
Writer's Expertise: Beginner Would Buy Again: No
Similar Items Owned: Pasquini Moka 90
Bottom Line: Good basic construction, with several design defects and poor Q.A. at the factory
Positive Product Points

The stainless model looks good with a Silvia, and the overall mechanical construction quality appears to be quite good.  The unit is very heavy duty, but quiet too.

Negative Product Points

The doser is cheap plastic, and the doser blades don't do a good job of clearing coffee out of the doser chamber.  Mine didn't feed beans well at all, I was constantly having to reach into the hopper and agitate the beans in order to get them to drop down into the grinding mechanism.  The doser wants to throw coffee to the left of where the PF sits, so much coffee ends up on the counter instead of the PF.

Detailed Commentary

First I'd like to say that I believe the particular Rocky I had was defective, so at least the grind quality portions of this review are probably not representative of a properly functioning Rocky.  

I carefully zeroed the machine with the hopper off so that the burrs were just barely touching.  At even one click above that, the grind was not fine enough to even get a 20 second pull, let alone fine enough to choke Miss Silvia.  I tried a variety of beans... Lavazza Pienaroma ($17/lb... ouch!), freshly roasted espresso blend beans from a local shop, and Sweet Maria's "Monkey" blend roasted in my Hearthware Precision, all with the same results.  The Rocky simply could not grind any of them fine enough for Silvia.

I worked with Tech support at Whole Latte Love on the phone.  They walked me through the setup and they could hear the sound of the burrs touching at the zero point.  We ground at a variety of settings, including right at the zero point, and every pull was crap... 10-15 seconds and watery. Finally, WLL decided they believed this grinder to be defective too, and had me ship it back to them.

My Rocky also had no instruction manual or warranty card in the package.  

In the meantime, WLL overnighted me some of their Java Joe espresso blend that they had pre-ground for the Silvia.  My very first pull with that coffee (which was FAR finer than the finest I could get out of my Rocky) showed that my technique and my Silvia were not the problem.  25 seconds on the money, full of crema, delicious.  The best I'd gotten out of Silvia with stuff from the Rocky was gushing, watery drek.

Since my experience with the Rocky I have read of another person with the exact same symptoms on alt.coffee, so it appears as if mine was not the only Rocky out there with this problem.

I know that the vast majority of people love their Rocky grinders, and I bought mine based heavily on all the positive reviews, but after owning it for only a couple days I became convinced that this was not the grinder for me.  Even if I had one that was not defective, some of the design deficiencies would have bothered me:  The poor feeding of beans from the hopper, the poor doser design, and the loose fitting lids on the hopper and doser were all things that bothered me.

I shipped mine back to WLL and they upgraded me to a Pasquini Moka 90 at a great price, and I've been completely delighted with the Moka.  It has none of the problems my particular Rocky had and grinds perfectly for my Silvia.


I screwed up the numeric ratings, and have emailed Mark to get them corrected, as the site's software doesn't give any way that I can find to edit the numeric ratings.
Here are what I would like the ratings to be:

       Quality:        4
       Usability:      5
       Cost/Value:     6
       Aesthetics:     7
       Overall rating: 6

Sorry about that!

Buying Experience

I know the Rocky is widely regarded as the best in class, but be aware that there are some defective ones.  Make sure you buy from someone who has a good return / exchange policy in case you're as disappointed in it as I was. Whole Latte Love was very good about letting me trade up to the Pasquini Moka, and their tech support was superb.

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review rating: 6.7
Posted: March 16, 2002, 5:58am
feedback: (2) comments | read | write
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