This review is for the 2009 version of the Rocky Doserless.
Full disclosure here, I have only had the Rocky for a few days. I am a proud owner of a Rancilio Silvia v3 (2009) and was looking for a better grinder than what I had. Truth be told, my current grinder simply couldn't grind fine enough for espresso. So my decision to spend 350 bucks was not out of desire, rather necessity. I tried everything possible to get my existing burr grinders to make a fine enough grind Ė no luck. I could not get the Silvia to pull a shot over 15 seconds. Out of frustration I went to my local coffee shop and had them grind some beans to their espresso standard. The finer grind allowed the Silvia to finally produce an *okay* shot. This validated my need for another grinder. Truth be told, the Silvia commands a proper grind, it isnít too forgiving.
Despite the natural inclination to look at the Rocky as a pair to the Silvia, I entered the grinder market with no bias. Perhaps I had a limit on price, but no bias towards grinder manufacturer. After visiting a few stores and seeing many doser grinders up close, it was my impression that these offered no advantage to me and perhaps were more of a hindrance. I settled on looking for a doser-less grinder first and foremost. If the grinder I chose didnít meet my needs, I would open up my choices to doser versions.
After reading countless reviews and watching You Tube vids of people grinding away, I settled on trying the Rocky first. True, it is the natural match (on paper) for the Silvia, but it fit my requirements.
First observations: Itís solid. Feels like it should be worth over 300 bucks based on appliances Iíve bought in the past. Itís not very pretty. In fact the blue tint (I assume this is partially an Ultra Violet coating to protect the beans) makes this thing look somewhat dated. I suppose a smoky color would look even more dated, but nonetheless, itís not my first choice of color. The removable portafilter holder is GREAT. I can now grind directly into a basket for brew coffee or into my French Press pot. The portafilter does not need to be held as it hooks in place, so this is a one-hand operation.
Setup: Many have stated that this grinder has a misleading scale, that is, the ď0Ē (zero point) is not accurate. This means that when at ď0Ē, the burrs may be completely touching (this is bad and can kill the burrs and/or motor in no time), or it could mean the burrs arenít actually close enough. In my case, I started the unit up at zero to see what it did. OUCH! Donít do that! I was met with a loud scary grinding noise, signifying the burrs were indeed touching. In order to avoid that again, I dialed it out to 20 and began working my way down. Despite what some have said, it is VERY easy to hear when the burrs are touching. There is no guesswork. In short, my zero-point was around +10. This is the point at which the burrs first stop touching. Other than plugging it in and establishing the zero-point, there isnít much to getting this thing going.
Use: I filled the hopped with some cheap beans in order to dial in the correct grind. It was immediately obvious that this grinder can indeed grind VERY fine. I was able to grind to the consistency of cocoa powder. I moved the grinder setting up in steps of 1 until I got to a grind that (at least by eye) appeared to be a good espresso grind. Turns out that my first guess on a suitable grind was perfect. I loaded the portafilter directly from the chute. This is where I made two observations. First, there is a slight amount of clumping, not much, but it did clump. Jiggling the portafilter around in between the holder allowed most of the lumps to break up. The second observation is that the chute is too close to the portafilter holder, which makes it difficult to create a little Ďmountainí in your portafilter. If you grind the coffee too high, it will start to extend up into the chute. Itís a trivial complaint, but it does cause some of the coffee to knock off when you remove the portafilter. Not a big deal with the removable drop tray, but an observation nonetheless. This is a non-issue if you remove the portafilter holder.
The grinder dishes out grinds at a decent pace, not fast and not too slow. Personally I wish it dumped it out a little quicker, but itís certainly not annoying.
As far as wastage is concerned, there does appear to be about a gram or so that gets hung up in the chute, but far less than what Iíd expect from a doser (one of my main reasons for a doser-less). A lot of folks suggest using a ClickClack jar lid in place of the stock lid, which allows you to sort of Ďpumpí the hopped with air and thus push out the leftover grinds. Having a spare lid I decided to try this. Itís no joke, it absolutely works! In fact the ClickClack lid is a far superior replacement for the stock lid. The stock lid is too loose to accomplish this. I tend to think the nice ClickClack lids also help keep air from entering the top.
The first few espressos I made since dialing in the grinder setting were excellent. I havenít tried different grinder settings, nor have I tried different espresso blends. I will update my review as I spend more time with this grinder.
Overall Impression: This grinder is very well built and will produce a wide range of grinds that in my opinion will accommodate every type of coffee. At this early stage it appears to be consistent, thus it is more than capable of producing grinds for the most discerning espresso lover.