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Rancilio Rocky - Laurence Yeung's Review
Posted: December 15, 2004, 3:12am
review rating: 7.0
feedback: (0) 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 469,687 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: 7.8
Manufacturer: Rancilio Quality: 8
Average Price: $350.00 Usability: 9
Price Paid: $220.00 Cost vs. Value 7
Where Bought: Whole Latte Love Aesthetics 7
Owned for: 3 months Overall 8
Writer's Expertise: I love coffee Would Buy Again: Yes
Similar Items Owned: Cheap Target "burr" grinder
Bottom Line: If you're ready to take the plunge into the world of specialty coffee, this should be on your short list.
Positive Product Points

Heavy duty construction
Even, predictable, and consistent grinds
Easy grind adjustment
Quieter than my previous "burr" grinder (which was actually a blade grinder posing as a burr grinder)

Negative Product Points

A bit loud in a quiet house
Doser leaves a lot of grinds behind
Moving between extremely different grind sizes (e.g. espresso to french press) is labor-intensive

Detailed Commentary

I use this grinder mainly for two brewing methods: espresso and french press. In my opinion, it does a wonderful job for both. However, moving from one to the other is a hassle because you end up having to manually clean out the doser (as it doesn't sweep very cleanly), and grinds end up being wedged in the threads of the grinder, making it harder and harder to make that ~40 "click" adjustment.  Consequently, you'll have to factor in a more frequent cleaning regimine if you intend on using the grinder for more than one type of brewing method. In terms of day-to-day use, that is the only usability issue I have encountered that is worrisome enough to mention here. However, I would imagine that this grinder is better suited to switching between brewing types than say, the Mazzer Mini, which uses a stepless grind adjustment system -- requiring an endless number of dial turns to make your espresso grind into an FP grind. In contrast, you can adjust the grind on the Rocky simply by unlocking the hopper and rotating it to the desired grind setting -- a very fast process.

The second thing I want to mention is that while the grinder is quiet when there are no beans ("quiet" meaning that I sometimes forget that it's on),  the volume quickly rises when you put some beans in to grind.  So, this means that I can't carry on a conversation with my girlfriend when we're getting ready to make up a press pot or something -- it's been an issue on several occasions. It's loud enough to sometimes drown out the TV in the other room, too. I'm not sure how quiet other professional-quality grinders are, but I hear they're even louder. On the bright side, however, it's much softer than my previous high-speed grinder that prevented _anything_ else from going on in the house when it was on.

On the whole, I love this grinder.  The price is right for someone like myself (a graduate student), and the build quality is top-notch. I keep hearing about this teflon-tape mod that can actually make the grinds more even, too. Combined with the easy availability of spare parts, I'm confident that this one will last for years to come.

Buying Experience

WLL was great in general, though they didn't give me what I wanted on the phone -- it was a choice between this and the Gaggia MDF, and they wouldn't tell me which one they thought was better.  However, they shipped it quickly and it arrived safely.

Three Month Followup

I actually ignored this notice, so read the one year followup for my comments.

One Year Followup

Well, a year later and Rocky's still going strong. Since I initially wrote the review I have acquired a vacuum pot (one more brewing method for which to grind), and consequently I've developed a pretty good method for cleaning the doser out between uses. Consequently, my previous note about the hassles of cleaning out the doser is less important. It still grinds like it did the first day, and it is something I can completely rely on -- french press at +38, vac pot at +29, and espresso at +8 to +10.

The one thing I would recommend is to wrap a layer of teflon tape (PTFE, easily found at Home Depot or something) around the threads of the top burrs. This has gotten rid of what little "wiggle" there was at each grind setting, and strangely enough, I've also noticed that it's easier to make huge grind adjustments -- maybe the teflon tape also fills in give in the threads so fewer grinds can actually get stuck there now? Anyway, it's a fast and simple modification that will do wonders for you.

I feel the urge to upgrade, but realistically I don't think a new grinder would make enough of a difference to justify the price.

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review rating: 7.0
Posted: December 15, 2004, 3:12am
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