Grinder to replace Rocky

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Grinder to replace Rocky

Postby Sibling_Chris » Fri Aug 10, 2012 12:58 am

Been using a Rancilio Rocky grinder (with doser) for a few years now with my silvia. ihave never been convinced I can always get the grind fine enough for espresso....sometimes it's ok, sometimes not. Probably i should get new burrs and do the teflon tape fix. perhaps I don't get through my fresh beans quick enough, but I am not able to dial it down finer than it already is

So anyway I am thinking of replacing it. I grind for espresso 95% of the time

What would you guys recommend. I am tempted on a Macap M4 but am open to suggestions. This would be for light home use.

Thanks
Chris
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RE: Grinder to replace Rocky

Postby bruceb » Fri Aug 10, 2012 5:18 am

Well, I guess I have to say what I have to say. I always recommend watching e-bay or other auction sites for a good, used commercial grinder. In my opinion they are so much better than any of the "home" machines that it is worth it even if you have to replace the burrs. They are big (tall) and heavy, which is all the more reason to get one. That said, the Macap seems to be well liked by most owners.
Three Francesconi (CMA) espresso machines - Rossi, San Marco, LaCimbali, Faema and 2 Mazzer Major grinders- CoffeeTech Maggionlino, Hottop, Alpenröst and HW Precision roasters.
I decided I needed a bit of a change so I roasted some Monsooned Malabar. That was a change!
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RE: Grinder to replace Rocky

Postby frcn » Fri Aug 10, 2012 5:34 am

You should hae no trouble getting the grind fine enough with the Rocky. it should choke the machine. The problem is that one "step" is about 6 seconds of extraction time. it is also a low-tolerance piecce of machineery in a place where precision is key. The better Baratza grinders are generally considered the entry point for serious home baristas. From there, anything goes. I have a Mazzer Kony and I had to do various mods to it to make it more home friendly (see http://www.frcndigital.com/coffee/HowToKonyMod.html on my website for details). The Compak K10 fresh is very tempting but it is also VERY expensive (about 4 or 5 Rockys!). But as bruceb srtated, a used commercial grinder like a Mazzer Major or Super Jolly can be an excellent deala nd long term investment. Any example that runs quietly and hasn't been dropped off a counter just needs new burrs at the most and it will last the rest of your coffee-making days.[/url]
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Postby Sibling_Chris » Fri Aug 10, 2012 9:06 am

Thank you both for your comments

Yes, I do find that a single notch on the Rocky does have a big impact, it certainly does not allow for much in the way of fine tuning.

Usually though, the only way I get the Silvia to choke is if I cram too much coffee in and then the coffee would be touching the group head.

I think I need to spend a few hours with it and give it a good service before I finally decide to replace it.....but you know what its' like when you get the upgrade bug!

I have limited space in my coffee area...yes I could expand in the kitchen some, but don't want to upset SWMBO :)

I've got about 56cm vertical space and obvsiouly the closer to that I am I would have to keep pulling the grinder out to put the beans in. I could create unlimited vertical space for it by moving around, but then that would leave not so much room for the silvia and I think that would irritate me more.

from what I've read my Rocky, should be equal to a Baratza on the espresso grind front so I see no point in going that direction.

so if I were to look at a second hand commercial grinder what should I be looking for and what is there that is relatively compact?


thanks again
Chris
Last edited by Sibling_Chris on Fri Aug 10, 2012 11:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby jossy » Fri Aug 10, 2012 11:21 am

Given your constraints, have you considered a Vario? I have one for sale on this forum (I guess you've seen my post....) It's a very good espresso grinder that many commercial locations use for their special blends (for up to 50 doubles per day). Its size is very modest. There are posts on the web comparing the Vario to the Rocky (see a thread on HasForum) and many people judge the Vario to be superior (although Steve in that thread appears to view the Vario as a good machine for switching between espresso and filter grind daily, which I could not disagree more, see my post and many on the web who have similar complaints about the Vario.)
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Postby Sibling_Chris » Fri Aug 10, 2012 11:29 am

actually I was just looking at that on HasBean. Is it sufficient a step up from my Rocky though. I guess that is the question.

I assume the Rocky will be not too difficult to sell on...
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Postby jossy » Fri Aug 10, 2012 12:20 pm

Although Bruce would argue that a good size commercial grinder is best, we found in our taste tests that size isn't everything :D

Most large commercial grinders are built to be operated with full hoppers (full as in more than 1 kg.) For the home roaster, it's not a good idea to store large quantities of beans in a hopper. Something bad may be happening to the grind when insufficient pressure is applied to the beans as they enter the burr mechanism. If I could describe the difference observed between the Mazzer SJ and the Vario, I would say that the former yielded and espresso with less warmth and less body, whereas the latter gave a livelier, fuller, more balanced espresso. The comparison was done with SqM Red Brick 12 days post roast.

In my view, the Vario delivers a top level espresso for the home user, which is difficult to achieve with a commercial grinder. I originally upgraded to the Vario from a Gaggia MDF and the difference was enormous (I am aware that the Rancilio Rocky is far superior to the MDF.)

In the end, there is no accounting for individual tastes and one person may prefer what the other person dislikes, or sometimes even the same person may like one thing better in the morning and another in the afternoon, particularly when it comes to coffee. The only thing to do when choosing a new grinder is to test and taste as much as possible....
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Postby Sibling_Chris » Fri Aug 10, 2012 6:15 pm

forgive me Jossy, who is the "we" in "we found in our taste tests"?
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Postby bruceb » Fri Aug 10, 2012 7:08 pm

I have no problem with any of my 6 commercial grinders pouring just a cup of beans in the hopper. I don't let them run out, however. I add beans as the hopper gets empty.
Three Francesconi (CMA) espresso machines - Rossi, San Marco, LaCimbali, Faema and 2 Mazzer Major grinders- CoffeeTech Maggionlino, Hottop, Alpenröst and HW Precision roasters.
I decided I needed a bit of a change so I roasted some Monsooned Malabar. That was a change!
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Postby lsjms » Sat Aug 11, 2012 6:33 am

who is the "we" in "we found in our taste tests


Easy, this is not homebarista.com. Probably the wife
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Re: RE: Grinder to replace Rocky

Postby GreenBean » Sat Aug 11, 2012 9:06 am

bruceb wrote:.... I always recommend watching e-bay or other auction sites for a good, used commercial grinder. In my opinion they are so much better than any of the "home" machines that it is worth it even if you have to replace the burrs.....

frcn wrote:... But as bruceb stated, a used commercial grinder like a Mazzer Major or Super Jolly can be an excellent deal and long term investment. Any example that runs quietly and hasn't been dropped off a counter just needs new burrs at the most and it will last the rest of your coffee-making days.

Wise words from two wise guys. If you follow this advice you will not regret it. Something like a Super Jolly is not too big for the height you have mentioned. Mine stands 36.5 cm tall without a hopper and 48.5 cm with a small 500 g hopper with the lid in place. I refill mine when the hopper gets down to about 150 g.
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RE: Re: RE: Grinder to replace Rocky

Postby Sibling_Chris » Sat Aug 11, 2012 12:53 pm

Well as easy as it is to get carried away with upgraditis, I've been doing a bit more careful testing with the grinder yesterday and today

I also ordered some fresh roasted from hasbean yesterday which arrived this morning - as fresh as I can get without home roasting

I had been finishing off some beans roasted 20th July before this


So the old beans.....I ha d gone back to zero point on the rocky, in fact, slightly below that so touching burrs rather than barely touching. I know that's not great, but at this with 16g in my happy donkey bpf I was pulling around 3 1/2 oz

Having got all the old stuff out the grinder, The fresh yirgacheffe this morning, well....I put the rocky at zero point because I was pretty sure this would not choke the silvia....21g overdosed!...stil ok and not touching the group head filter gave me 2 1/2 going on 3oz

So I'm going to do the sensible thing and replace the burrs, use some Teflon tape at the same time before I start looking for other grinders. Like many say, there may be vriance between one rocky and the next and it may not be finely adjustable, but it should be able to grind fine enough to choke my silvia so....

One last question from me then. Are the non-OEM burrs from happydonkey any good? They are almost half the price of the OEM ones from steve at hasbean

Cheers
Chris
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RE: Re: RE: Grinder to replace Rocky

Postby frcn » Sat Aug 11, 2012 3:44 pm

When I had my Rocky, in a 6½-year period I changed the burrs twice and it was about ready for it once again. I could immediately tell the difference when they were changed. The friend I sold it to only made drip and press, so they were still fine for that. The burrsets I bought were all "R" marked as genuine. Point being that the stock burrsets were not all that great. half-price after market? They were not available back then but suspicion looms large regarding such a low price. Appears they sell for around $35-50 in the states now. +/- $130 burrs for my Kony doesn't look like such a bad deal. I wonder what they will cost in ten or fifteen years when they (might) need to be changed for the first time? :wink:

But new burrs and the teflon tape mod are definitely recommended for the Rocky.
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Postby jossy » Mon Aug 13, 2012 2:26 pm

lsjms wrote:
who is the "we" in "we found in our taste tests


Easy, this is not homebarista.com. Probably the wife


I wish.... sadly the wife doesn't drink coffee.
We is a friend and I (a fellow TMCer who shall not be named since he chose not to wave the flag himself :wink: )

Not sure I understand the reference to HB, care to elaborate?
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Postby Sibling_Chris » Mon Aug 13, 2012 10:15 pm

Just for info I contacted happydonkey about the rocky burrs they sell, which are not OEM

They said in their experience that rancilio burrs were marginally better for about the first 6kg and then the non-OEM were comparable

You pays your money and you takes your choice....
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