Would you upgrade from Rancilio Rocky to Niche Zero

Recommendations for espresso equipment buyers and upgraders.
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Tetra

#1: Post by Tetra » Dec 01, 2019, 5:30 pm

Hopefully this is not a direct duplicate or easily answered question had I done 3 minutes of research.

For the last 15+ years I have been roasting coffee, grinding with a Rocky Rancilio grinder, and pulling shots with a La Pavoni Europiccola. I've been super satisfied with everything; I make two (okay fine, let's not prevaricate, three) straight shots every morning. Recently, I added a Strietman CT2 to the lineup and ended up spending time looking through lots of posts on this forum. A trend became apparent to me. Using a highly scientific and mathematically advanced technique, I've ascertained that 2.61 out of every 7.4 users on this forum own a Niche Zero grinder (just kidding about the math of course - but it does seem that a metric ton of people of HB users have that appliance).

I've subsequently read the review of the Niche Zero that DaveC wrote, and I have gone through several of the various (very long) threads about it. It is quite obvious to me that if I was getting a new grinder right now, that is the definitely the one I would get. I sounds perfect in terms of usage, size, quality, etc. So it really gets to a subjective question: I'm wondering if I can be talked off the ledge or given a nudge off the ledge. Would you upgrade to the Niche Zero grinder from a very solid 50mm flat burr grinder for 2 (well fine, 3) espressos each morning?

I'm not one to upgrade equipment every little bit. My Europiccola is 20 years old, I will use the Strietman CT2 until I am dead (many years in the future), the Rocky grinder is just shy of its 15th bday with me, my Gene Cafe roaster is on its 3rd heating element and is thinking about heading for that great roaster in the sky. But I can't help but wonder. Would my coffee each morning be 8.7% better if I had the Niche Zero?

I guess the question is: Has anyone done a similar upgrade and found it worthwhile?

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sweaner
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#2: Post by sweaner » Dec 01, 2019, 6:15 pm

Yes...I would upgrade.
Scott
LMWDP #248

LObin

#3: Post by LObin » Dec 01, 2019, 6:31 pm

I never owned a Rocky but I upgraded from a Fiorenzato F64e, which is similar if not better than a Mazzer Super Jolly.

I am not looking back. For me, the Niche is better in every possible way. I prefer the workflow. I prefer the consistency, the ease, the results in the cup.
Single dosing allows me to have 2 different beans/roasts at the same time... 1 for straight espresso and 1 for milk based drinks.

I'm positive this would be quite a step up from a Rocky. My only question is this: If you tend to like layers and clarity more than smoothness. If you mostly do light roasts and prefer fruity and florals taste notes, maybe consider upgrading for a single dosing grinder with flat burrs instead of conicals. Atom speciality 75 and Lagom P64 are "cheaper" options. Kafatek Monolith if your budget allows it.

It's obviously more than what a NZ would cost but if you're not one to upgrade your equipment often, make sure that conical burrs match your espresso preferences before getting a NZ.
LMWDP #592

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Tetra

#4: Post by Tetra » Dec 01, 2019, 7:28 pm

LObin wrote: I'm positive this would be quite a step up from a Rocky. My only question is this: If you tend to like layers and clarity more than smoothness. If you mostly do light roasts and prefer fruity and florals taste notes, maybe consider upgrading for a single dosing grinder with flat burrs instead of conicals. Atom speciality 75 and Lagom P64 are "cheaper" options. Kafatek Monolith if your budget allows it.
Thanks for the response. This is really good information ... and new to me. I have been pulling thousands of shots over the years and love what I make, but I have not been paying attention to the community like a should. So the flat vs conical for different roasts is new to me. Shows how little I know. I am not much into light roasts. For nearly every bean/blend, I almost always prefer roasts that stop just at the very start of second crack. I suspect a lack of sophistication on my part. Right now I have a couple of different Yemen coffees from Sweet Marias that I am really enjoying each morning. It is probably a travesty to roast them up to second crack, but the chocolatey flavors keep calling my name.

I will investigate those other grinders you mention. Thank you.

LObin

#5: Post by LObin » replying to Tetra » Dec 01, 2019, 7:52 pm

No problem!
Seems like the Niche Zero would be a wonderful match. It does pretty good on light roasts as well IMO, but again, I don't have a large flat burr grinder sitting next to it in order to compare. I'm ok with that. It seems like a lot of NZ owners are as well!

Cheers!
LMWDP #592

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Tetra

#6: Post by Tetra » Dec 01, 2019, 8:21 pm

LObin wrote: Kafatek Monolith if your budget allows it.
... sharp intake of breath ... oooohhhh :shock: ...checks ledger in banking software. That is a desirable piece of equipment. May need to have some discussions with the budget.

LObin

#7: Post by LObin » replying to Tetra » Dec 01, 2019, 8:36 pm

Oh oh... you have taken a step I have never dared to take.
I have desired a Monolith from the first time I have seen one... But I never went as far as checking my bank account right after.

You sir, might be in trouble...

Sorry! :mrgreen:
LMWDP #592

BaristaBob

#8: Post by BaristaBob » Dec 01, 2019, 9:11 pm

Tetra wrote:... sharp intake of breath ... oooohhhh :shock: ...checks ledger in banking software. That is a desirable piece of equipment. May need to have some discussions with the budget.
Mark,

Indeed...you might be in trouble!

I owned a Rocky and it was my best friend for around 5 years. Then I purchased a much better espresso machine and started to wonder if my shots (flatwhites) could taste better if I upgraded my grinder too. That my friend is where it all begins. To make a long story short, I entered the Monolith lotto and came up a winner over a year ago. Mr. Rocky sits in the basement, while my MonoCon does all the work. Happy and quite content. There are less expensive grinders on the market that will do a fine job, much better than the 50mm flat burr Rocky, so it's up to you. However, since you are like me and plan to keep your equipment nearly forever, I'd recommend to get the best and live contented for a long, long time.

Bob
Bob "hello darkness my old friend..I've come to drink you once again"

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Tetra

#9: Post by Tetra » Dec 01, 2019, 10:25 pm

Heh - this is great information. Yes I may well be in trouble :) This really shows me how long I have been out of the market. While looking up information about these grinders I also stumbled across the HG-1 hand grinder. That also seems super interesting to me and would appear to fit my "style", as it were (whatever that means). That grinder combined with the Strietman lever machine has a certain aesthetic appeal to me. All that being said, I am definitely in the camp of: buy rarely, buy well, and enjoy for a long time. It took me at least 2 years to pull the trigger on the Strietman lever machine (so long that my plan of buying a CT1 turned into a CT2). I have a hard time imagining I will ever buy another espresso machine. I am thinking that finding the matching grinder will be a fun obsession for a while.

I think my original post should have been titled: "Would you upgrade from a Rocky to a ... WHOA! Look at all the options! Squirrel!"

belegnole

#10: Post by belegnole » Dec 02, 2019, 12:38 am

Tetra wrote:snip... WHOA! Look at all the options! Squirrel!"
lol, and I was just going to say yes...

But if you have the depth of pocket, get what you can afford.