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Starting espresso setting for Rancilio Rocky

Postby Gabe on Mon Dec 04, 2006 12:33 pm

Hi all:

This is my first post here. I posted a question on coffeegeek a month or so ago about getting into espresso for under $500. I was enlightened by the responses there that my Cuisinart quasi-burr grinder wasn't going to cut it, so I increased my budget (read: sold my Fine Woodworking collection and a bunch of tools), and finally pulled the trigger on a new Silvia w/PID and a Rocky Doserless. Actually, I received the Rocky last week, but it was the doser model, so it's going back.

There seems to be a plethora of information on the pair, but I haven't been able to find one thing that I'm wondering about. That is, what are some starting points for grinding with the Rocky. I'll use it almost exclusively for espresso, but occasionally for drip and press.

I understand that I'll have to fine tune the grind to account for grinder irregularities, blend, humidity, celestial alignment, etc., but if someone could get me started, I'd appreciate it.

Thanks,

Gabe
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Postby JimG on Mon Dec 04, 2006 1:07 pm

Congrats, Gabe. Hope you enjoy the new hardware.

Probably the "right" way to dial in Rocky is to find the zero point and go up a specified number of clicks from there. I recall doing this some time ago using helpful information I found online.

But for quick and dirty, I'd say try 10 as a starting point.

Jim
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Postby HB on Mon Dec 04, 2006 2:23 pm

Gabe wrote:There seems to be a plethora of information on the pair, but I haven't been able to find one thing that I'm wondering about. That is, what are some starting points for grinding with the Rocky.

A little background on the "zero point" of a grinder.

That's when the burrs just begin to touch. Rocky's burr faces are flat and parallel; you won't damage them by allowing them to touch lightly. If you are concerned, turn off the grinder and find the zero point by moving the adjustment finer until it stops. Assuming there's nothing in the chamber, this will yield an accurate zero point. Or, turn on the grinder, let it come up to speed, then turn it off and move down one notch (i.e., let the burrs touch, but not while being driven by the motor).

This is necessary because the "0" indicated on the dial frequently doesn't match the true point at which the burrs touch. For an espresso, I recall the Rocky setting being in the 5-8 range, depending on the bean and their freshness. Decafs are a notch or two finer.

To confirm you're in the ballpark, grind a sample and pinch it between your fingers. It should feel much coarser than flour, but less coarse than salt. The grinds should stick together slightly; if the beans are fresh and the grinds don't adhere together, it's too coarse. If the grinds hold a fingerprint impression, it's too fine.
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Postby Gabe on Mon Dec 04, 2006 3:10 pm

Thanks.

What about drip and press?
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Postby HB on Mon Dec 04, 2006 3:16 pm

I'll have to defer to a Rocky owner on that one, I never used Rocky to make drip, and rarely made French press. As a guess, I would turn the dial 1/3rd rotation coarser than the espresso setting. Note that I'm assuming Tom's French press brewing instructions, which advocate a finer setting and shorter extraction time.

BTW, that reference and buckets more are linked from the Resources page and the forum FAQs. This thread may well be added to the list. :-)
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Postby Wrightangle on Tue Dec 12, 2006 12:04 am

I have a Rancilio Rocky Doserless grinder (5 days old now, yay). I think I see the zero-point at around the 4 mark (can hear a clicking noise like something is touching that wasn't when I had it set at 5. Is that common to have a zero point so far away from the one marked on the grinder?

Assuming I am correct, would you guess that I should still be looking at grinding espresso (Black Cat Intelligentsia beans) around the 5-10 range, or would I need to add 4 to any numbers you guys throw out?

I'd like to be able to speak the same language as I search to figure out what grind setting works for my machines/beans, so wondering if folks generally refer to an adjusted grind setting or just whatever it says on their machine...

So, I'm very much new at all of this, like it wasn't obvious =)
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Postby jesawdy on Tue Dec 12, 2006 12:24 am

Wrightangle wrote:Assuming I am correct, would you guess that I should still be looking at grinding espresso (Black Cat Intelligentsia beans) around the 5-10 range, or would I need to add 4 to any numbers you guys throw out?


If 4 really is your zero, you would add 4 to what you have read.... I am going to PM you some instructions to help you verify your zero.

On my Rocky, zero is right at zero on the dial and I work in the 5-10 range... mostly 7-9.
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Postby opc on Wed Apr 16, 2008 12:59 pm

Hi Guys,

This thread has been dead for while, but I have a question related to the zero setting and my new Rancilio Rocky grinder.

In order to not have the burrs touch, I have to back my machine all the way off to a setting of 17, anything lower and I can hears the burrs hitting one another. I have noticed that if I hold the little clip down and push the hopper flat down, I can get to a setting of about 12 without any touching. The little spring loaded clip puts uneven pressure on the hopper and causes the burrs to touch.

I decided to investigate further and took the entire assembly apart. Everything looks to be in good order, but I noticed the upper brass section that holds the upper burr has a lot of play within the threaded housing. I can wiggle it a noticeable amount with my hand even when it's threaded most of the way down (burrs almost touching).

I have also noticed that I can't get a fine enough grind without the burrs touching. At 17, the grind has the consistency of salt, and I get full (watery) 2oz shots in about 17 seconds with a 15g dose and 30 lbs of tamp pressure.

Should I be returning this grinder, or is this considered normal operation? Can I run the grinder with the burrs touching one another (I would assume not)? I have attached a picture of the finest grind I can run without the burrs touching, if it'll do any good. Any help with this would be very much appreciated!

Cheers,
Owen
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Postby HB on Thu Apr 17, 2008 8:20 am

opc wrote:I decided to investigate further and took the entire assembly apart. Everything looks to be in good order, but I noticed the upper brass section that holds the upper burr has a lot of play within the threaded housing. I can wiggle it a noticeable amount with my hand even when it's threaded most of the way down (burrs almost touching).

Have you tried the teflon tape fix?

jesawdy wrote:If 4 really is your zero, you would add 4 to what you have read.... I am going to PM you some instructions to help you verify your zero.

UPDATE: Jeff later posted How to find the Rocky true zero point.
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Postby opc on Thu Apr 17, 2008 4:41 pm

Hi Dan,

Thanks for the reply. I did a little more reading yesterday, then I pulled the grinder back apart and did the Teflon tape mod. Although it made an enormous difference, my zero point is still at a rather high 11, and I'm just on the edge of acceptable espresso grind. It seems to be alright for the beans I have now, but I would imagine a slightly finer grind would be better for the beans I usually use.

I would strongly suggest that all Rancilio Rocky owners take the time to do the Teflon taping, as it really did make a huge improvement with my grinder. I fear that the loose fitting threads were resulting in an uneven grind since the burrs were basically free to move around during grinding. With a few layers of tape in place, the upper brass ring no longer wiggles, and the grind setting lock tab doesn't shift the hopper backwards, causing early burr rubbing.

I still need to decide if the grinder is going to be alright in the long term, but at least I can run good shots for now. I've attached a picture of the burrs, can anyone tell me if they're badly worn, or if the flat spots on the top are normal?

Cheers,
Owen
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