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Rocky Doserless Grinder - Rick Waits's Review
Posted: September 22, 2003, 3:21pm
review rating: 8.6
feedback: (4) comments | read | write
Rocky Doserless Grinder
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More About This Product
Arrow The Rocky Doserless Grinder has 38 Reviews
Arrow The Rocky Doserless Grinder has been rated 8.42 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since January 25, 2003.
Arrow Rocky Doserless Grinder reviews have been viewed 225,375 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Michael Smith 9.50
Donnie W 9.00
Derek Fong 8.78
Rick Waits 8.61
Sandy Andina 8.57

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 8.0
Manufacturer: Rancilio Quality: 9
Average Price: $339.00 Usability: 7
Price Paid: $260.00 Cost vs. Value 8
Where Bought: Whole Latte Love Aesthetics 8
Owned for: 1 month Overall 8
Writer's Expertise: I live coffee Would Buy Again: Yes
Similar Items Owned: Solis Mulino 177
Bottom Line: "Rocky" is a good name for it.  It well describes this tough, durable grinder.
Positive Product Points

Strong motor with a heavy-duty design and doserless.  Quiet operation (not noiseless), but very quiet compared to any grinder I've owned.  Consistent and even grind (a must for espresso), but I also enjoy using it for drip grinding.  No problems at all switching between espresso and drip settings each day.  Physically heavy, so it holds still and doesn't slide around your countertop.

Negative Product Points

This grinder suffers from what most grinders do...trapped grounds (I measured 3 grams) in the exit chute that need to be coaxed out.  Physically heavy, so coaxing the beans (for me) has required that I move the grinder onto a cutting board (explained later) where I can tilt the grinder forward and gently swat the grinder to get the stuck grounds to exit.  I have to place the grinder on a cutting board because tilting it forward would allow the stainless steel front edges to dig into the countertop.

Would like to have seen ability to store the extra power cord inside the unit.  As it is, you've got nowhere to hide the cord and it exits the side rather than rear as others have noted.  Beans lodge in the screw holes of the finger guard, and if you remove the finger guard, they still lodge in the tops of the screw holes for the hopper.  This is not a big issue, but it would be nice if I didn't have to manually flick the beans out of the holes each time I use the product.

Detailed Commentary

I bought this particular grinder for two reasons.  First, because I needed an espresso-class capable grinder and second because I had no interest in a doser.  Quality and long product life is important to me, so the Rocky fills that need too.

If you really want to get an appreciation for this grinder and also find the "zero point" of the burrs, I'd highly recommend doing a little easy-to-do disassemby.  3 screws removes the hopper finger guard and allows the hopper to be lifted straight up.  Then you're looking at the upper burr.  That's one heavy duty piece of threaded brass that can be removed by simply turning it counter-clockwise.  As I recall, it took about 10-12 complete revolutions to unscrew the upper burr.  Once off, you're looking inside the area where the beans are ground and can inspect those beautiful upper and lower burr assemblies.  One look and you'll see that this baby will handle your grinding tasks with precision and muscle.

When you replace (screw back in) that upper burr, this is where you can find that "zero setting" (zero being the point where the two burrs would start touching each other).  This can be done without applying power to the unit and I think it's better/safer for the burrs.  Thread the upper burr back on and when you get them fairly close together, listen for the first sounds of metal to metal contact.  That's your zero point.  I took a Sharpie marker and made a small mark on the brass upper burr that aligned with the setting pointer on the front of the grinder.  Then, I placed the bean hopper back onto the upper burr, aligned the screw holes and noted that my zero point was "7" on the dial.  I cut a piece of clear scotch tape and stuck it there with a zero point note (meaning never have it setting on "7" and operate the grinder)!  I've been grinding espresso (for my Solis SL90) at 6 notches up from that zero point (or "13" on the dial).  Works beautifully at that setting to contribute to 2-2.5oz, 25 second espresso extractions on my SL90.

If you're not anal about having a few grams of stale coffee, then skip reading this next paragraph.  The only thing I really dislike about using this grinder is getting it to cough up the stuck grounds.  These grounds (3 grams worth) collect in-between the internal burr area and along the horizontal chute that leads to the opening where the plastic L-shaped discharge is mounted.  The only way I've found to get them "all" out is to tilt the grinder forward and give it a several swats on the backside.  Then I run the grinder and more will become available for the tilted-swat manuever.  I've also noted that there's a couple of beans that typically don't grind and you can hear them ratlling around when you run the grinder.  This tilting-swat manuever encourages all the beans to be ground.  Sounds worse than it is and takes less than a minute to perform.

Let's see...I found the metal portafilter holder to be useless for my SL90 filter, but it comes in handy in another way.  When I need to move the Rocky, that metal holder makes a great grab handle for lifting the front of the grinder.  The holder also makes a nice place to hang my portafilter tamper.

All said, I like this grinder very much because the resulting grind is very good.  You can tell that it's built like a tank and that's something I appreciate in most any product.

Buying Experience

Bought from Whole Latte Love (first purchase) and was a pleasant experience...they appear to be good folks.  The box was pretty banged up (shipped via UPS) which isn't such a good idea with a heavy item like the Rocky.

Three Month Followup

Well, I've used the product for about 5 months now and here's a few updated impressions.

Stuck grounds issue:
I found a better way of evacuating the 2-3 grams of coffee that lodges in the horizontal exit chute between the burrs and the discharge downspout.  Rather than my previous tilt/swat manuever, I simply pulse the grind switch on the front several times while the motor is spinning.  This causes the motor (which is very forceful) to jolt the grinds loose and then they are blown out by the forced-air that comes from the spinning burrs.  Now, I don't have to physically do anything with the unit and this method works very well.  Only time will tell if my pulsing action will harm the motor, but so far I have not been able to see any problem or change in it's behavior.

Hopper thoughts:
I'd initially removed the finger guard because of lodged beans, but then reinstalled it because of same.  The problem is with the larger beans like a Maragogype that are 19 to 21+ in screen size.  I purchase and roast a fair amount of these large beans and they really don't move well into this grinder with or without the finger guard.  To grind all of these larger beans requires multiple attempts to dislodge the stuck beans in a single session.  You can hear the motor turning, but no grinding is taking place because the larger bean size causes the beans to stack up and not move into the burrs.  I took some electrical tape, cut 3 small pieces and taped over the holes in the finger guard where the mounting screwss are recessed.  This prevents beans from lodging in those holes.  A better solution would be to have a plastic plug that fits snugly in those holes.

Grind collection:
I've removed and set aside the porta-filter holder on the grinder since it doesn't fit the SL90 PF anyway.  Now I collect the grinds into an old plastic Tupperware tall cup that stands 5 1/2" and is roughly 3" wide at the top.  This allows me to catch enough grind for drip-brewing and also for espresso grinds.  It would have been nice if Rancilio had designed a container for this purpose that would also hold in place while grinding.  I don't think they anticipated that people would use this grinder for both espresso and drip-brew.

Bottom-line, I'm still very satisfied with the overall performance of the Rocky DL grinder for the way that I use it.

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review rating: 8.6
Posted: September 22, 2003, 3:21pm
feedback: (4) comments | read | write
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