Why is the Rancilio Rocky so unpopular here? - Page 5

Grinders are one of the keys to exceptional espresso. Discuss them here.
robca

#41: Post by robca »

One aspect I didn't see discussed here: cleaning. I own both a Vario (at home) and a Rocky (at work), and for the price difference (esp if you buy refurb directly from Baratza), I can't imagine anyone choosing the Rocky over the Vario, due to the Vario advantages: much faster grinding times, next to no clumping, basically stepless design, less grounds retention, easier cleanup.

The Rocky works well overall, but when it comes to cleaning it, it's a time consuming affair: screwdriver to remove screws, a million turns to unscrew the top burr carrier (which is hard to grip properly), hard to clean surfaces, pay attention to any tiny speck of coffee on the threads when reassembling, add back the teflon tape (without which the Rocky is just too erratic) and screw back the top burr carrier until the burrs touch, reassemble the plastic parts. If you left any ground coffee on the threads, it won't screw all the way in, and you need to repeat the process

On the Vario is a <60 seconds affair: remove the hopper by hand, untwist the top burr carrier by hand, brush/vacuum the inside, reassemble in seconds.

If you value your time at all, and clean your grinder at least once a month, the Vario pays for itself in no time

User avatar
Randy G.

#42: Post by Randy G. »

robca wrote: The Rocky works well overall, but when it comes to cleaning it, it's a time consuming affair... If you value your time at all, and clean your grinder at least once a month, the Vario pays for itself in no time
This is assuming that this sort of cleaning is desirable or even necessary. If there are areas where grinds build up in either (or any) grinder, then after two days you have two-day old coffee in your grinder. Based on that, the grinder should be cleaned at least every two days if not daily. But it shouldn't.
a million turns to unscrew the top burr carrier (which is hard to grip properly),
And I have told you a million times, don't exaggerate! :wink:

All one has to do is remove the stop screw and the entire upper assembly, hopper intact, can be removed without tools.

The Rocky is a big chuck of change for a new home barista looking for their first outfit, and it is really tough to convince them to spend that much on a grinder, but the $100 difference for the Vario doesn't help this situation.

But for espresso grinders... Mazzer. I am still hooked on the simplicity and effectiveness of the upper burr mount and adjustment system. But try to talk a new barista into an SJ... I'd love to be a fly on the wall to hear that spousal conversation...

"No, really dear.. It's worth it! We can put off having kids for just one more year, can't we?"
www.EspressoMyEspresso.com
*20th Anniversary 2000-2020*

Versalab: maker and supplier of finest espresso equipment
Sponsored by Versalab
User avatar
rpavlis

#43: Post by rpavlis »

The Rocky is a peculiar grinder. It is an example of a common modern phenomenon--a machine that has outstanding general design, but contains some bad engineering. It also has some extraordinary and some not so good parts. The drive system and motor are nearly outstanding. However, the motor should have high quality ball or roller bearings to make it fully outstanding.

I dislike dosers on any household grinder so I have some difficulty understanding why they not only put one on one of their models, but a poor one at that. The doserless model has a defective chute that is difficult to clean, and with little effort they could make this perfect. The doserless should also be wired so that one switch turns it on continuously and the other for on-off operation. As it is, it requires three hands to adjust.

The really bad design is the click system that quantises grind. This is an extraordinarily bad design. The plastic housing with the 50 or 60 clicks should be a piece of die cast aluminium with brakes similar to the ones on bicycle wheels. This would give continuously adjustable grind. Instead of the printed PAPER scale, the grind fineness indicator should be a precision metal one, preferably with a vernier.

That Rancilio would make the hopper with the three recessed screws that fill full of beans and coffee debris is beyond comprehension. Why would anyone design something like that??

I have heard some imply that the new burrs are often not perfect. This is inexcusible for the price that is charged for them. Burrs should last for hundreds of kilos of coffee. I understand those on the Rocky do not!

What is odd is that dramatic improvements in this grinder could be made by the manufacturer at practically no cost to them. Those improvements would enable them to sell a lot of Rocky grinders.

At present a Rocky grinder is the best choice for someone who likes to modify otherwise well built machines with some flawed parts and designs.

User avatar
Randy G.

#44: Post by Randy G. »

rpavlis wrote:The Rocky is a peculiar grinder. It is an example of a common modern phenomenon--a machine that has outstanding general design, but contains some bad engineering..
DOSERS: They have their place. The need for a doser is directly proportionate to the grinder's propensity to clump plus the grinder's speed [faster = less need for doser]. The dosing helps break up clumps and a slow, doserless grinder is a test of patience.

STEPLESS: Hold down Rocky's adjustment button and rock the hopper. That's a lot of slop for what is supposed to be (or at least should be) a precision device.

So, yes, it would be fairly simple for Rancilio to improve the grinder at little cost. But look at Silvia... Over the last five to seven years all improvements have been aimed at making it pretty and nothing to make it work better. If anything, they have made it worse by reportedly shipping them with the OPV set high to get the machine to work with pods. New drip tray, new portafilter handle, new steam-valve knob, but the same old, inaccurate button thermostats.

So, why? Why offer these two units which, particularly when considering their price point, without any functional improvements over the last decade? My opinion is that there are two reasons. One is that these are their only consumer-range products, and they have never been seen as placing any real importance in their consumer-oriented products (at least in comparison to their commercial lines). And the second, most important reason: They still sell plenty of them.

I think that is all part of the underlying reasons that these two units have fallen from the ranks of recommended machines. They have ignored all the information from consumers about these machines and continue to offer the same old same old. There are plenty of other choices from companies which are superior for the same, and in some cases, less. Baratza grinders get recommended far more now than the Rocky. The reasons are obvious.
www.EspressoMyEspresso.com
*20th Anniversary 2000-2020*