Rancilio Rocky burr coffee grinder

rancilio-rocky.jpgThe Rancilio Rocky grinder weighs in at 8kgs (17lbs) and has a height off 40cm (15″) which can be quite over powering in a small kitchen.
The grinder is unusually quite due to a direct drive. While other grinders spin at a higher rate and use gears to convert down to a slower grinding speed, the Rocky is powerful enough to drive the grinder directly.
When you switch the Rocky on there is just a humming noise. Of course, with beans in you get the usual grinding noise but overall it is quieter than other grinders.
You have a choice between two similar models; one with a dosing unit and the other without.
Ground beans lying in the dosing unit get stale after a while so the model with the dosing unit is recommended for when the grinder is used constantly. If you are only going to grind for one or two cups a day, the doser less grinder may serve you better.
Personally I opted for the dosing unit as I get a nice coffee shop feeling from tapping the leveller and dropping the freshly ground coffee straight into the portafilter.
Get a small brush to brush out old ground beans prior to each new grind to be a real coffee aficionado.
Without the dosing unit, the ground coffee simply shoots out of the grinder and you’d better catch it with a suitable container (not your portafilter).
The level of grinding can be set in a whopping 30 steps. This will produce ground coffee for a full range of coffee style: filter coffee, plunger, espressos full of crema and all the way to the thickest of ristrettos.
The first thing you’ll want to do with your new Rocky is to find out which level produces the best espresso shots in your set up. Start with level 15 and go down in steps of two. Remember that if you change the type of coffee beans, you may have to readjust the grinding level.
Level 10 works best for me as it produces shots with a wonderful amount of crema. For stronger shots with less crema I go for level 8.
Setting 10 is actually 14 steps above the point where the grinding surfaces touch each other. I am not sure whether -4 is a standard closest point with Rocky grinders but it is something to keep in mind when comparing settings with other Rocky owners online.
There are some reports that oily beans, eg French roast, can occasionally get stuck in the grinder and have to be removed manually. Since I mainly use Brazilian coffee beans I have not experienced this myself.
The price of (home) burr coffee grinders ranges from $10 to $500. The Rocky is around $300 and you really get what you pay for. It is our first grinder that is able to grind fine enough (and more!) for the Rancilio Sylvia espresso machine.