Today, we’re going to look at one of the biggest names in the world of home and commercial grinders: the Rancilio Rocky.
The Rocky has been around for quite some time (just like it’s espresso machine companion, the Rancilio Silvia M), and it has as strong reputation among home and professional baristas alike. Let’s go dive right in and go over everything you need to know about the Rancilio Rocky Coffee Grinder.
strong reputation among home and professional baristas
the price fairly matches its reputation in the industry
our rating, based on our sound and impartial assessment
Rancilio Rocky: A Quick Overview
One of the first things you’ll notice about this coffee grinder is its large chamber at the top. The outer shell is made of stainless steel, with a classy finish that makes it an attractive addition to any kitchen countertop.
At 15.4 lbs., the Rocky is a more heavy-duty grinder, weighing more than twice the weight of the Baratza Encore or the Breville Smart Grinder Pro.
The controls are pretty straightforward, quite typical of most coffee grinders these days. Another thing that makes it stand out is that it’s available in either the doser or doserless model.
A lot of espresso drinkers have expressed their delight when using the Rancilio Rocky due to its flexibility when it comes to grind consistency. Let’s take a look at some of the other features of the Rocky.
Ease of Use
From just looking at the appearance of this grinder, you’ll notice it has the same mechanism as other popular grinders, so operating this machine should be a walk in the park.
The base of the bean hopper is a labeled grind settings wheel that goes from 0 to 40, with 0 being the finest setting, and 40 the coarsest.
It also has a locking mechanism that keeps the grind settings in place. It does take a bit of extra effort to turn it because, for one, the bean hopper is larger and heavier that other models.
With its 40 steps and a total of 55 grind settings, one would think you’d be able to get exactly what you want, right? Well, with the Rocky, the answer to that question is ‘mostly, yes’.
While I find the output for the settings for espresso (between 0 and 10) is top-notch, I can’t say I’m overly impressed with its coarse settings.
As with most stepped grinders, one problem is that the finest setting is seldom fine enough, and the coarsest setting isn’t coarse enough. For espresso settings, it seems to already be nearly the finest the machine is capable of. This is something you might not find appealing if you are especially fond of Turkish coffee, where you need the coffee grounds to be powder-like.
Having said that, don’t be discouraged about this issue. You are still given commercial-grade coffee grounds, this is just a fairly common drawback among stepped grinders. They offer versatility, yes, and while they may not provide the absolute perfect result, it still beats having to buy a separate coffee grinder for each specific type of brewing method.
Sturdy and Stylish Build
Compared to other home grinders, the Rocky is very heavy duty. It’s around 15-18 pounds, much heavier than its counterparts that are usually around 6-10 pounds in weight. The casing is made of stainless steel, so it’s an extremely durable grinder. Also, there are no breakable glass parts or easily detachable knobs.
The simplistic design of the Rocky deserves praise. I especially like the blue tinted hopper and dispenser. The stainless steel finish complements this color really well.
If you’re looking for a high-performance grinder with the added bonus of a modern and minimalistic aesthetics, then you should strongly consider getting a Rancilio Rocky.
How does it compare?
Rancilio Rocky vs Breville Smart Grinder Pro
Here we have two equally competitive grinders. The Breville Smart Grinder Pro is also among the top-selling burr grinders and for good reasons, too. Both machines have a stainless steel finish and big hoppers. However, the Breville Smart Grinder Pro comes in three colors: black, brushed stainless steel, and red. If color options are important to you, then that might be a deal-breaker for the Rocky.
Despite having big hoppers, the Smart Grinder Pro has a noticeably bigger one at 16oz capacity, which is 6oz more than the Rocky. If you want to store more beans in your hopper or if you’re making bigger batches of coffee, the Smart Grinder Pro definitely wins this round.
As for power, the Smart Grinder Pro runs at 165 watts, while the Rocky runs at 140 watts. The Smart Grinder Pro’s burrs are 40mm, smaller than the Rocky’s 50mm. It might not be that big of a difference, but the Rocky’s burrs are closer to what is being used in coffee shops. That’s something to take into consideration if you’re really looking for commercial-grade consistency.
As for the interface, the Smart Grinder Pro has a digital display that shows the timer, grind setting, and the number of shots that you want for your batch. The Rocky has all manual switches.
Another thing I’d like to point out about the controls is that with the Rocky, you need to adjust the hopper in order to get to the grind settings that you want, whereas you need only to turn a knob on the side of the Smart Grinder Pro in order to change your grind settings.
I’d say the Smart Grinder Pro is more ideal for beginners who need little to no guesswork when grinding coffee beans, while the Rocky is preferred by users who prefer to have a bit more customizability with their coffee grinding experience. That and the Rocky still has more ‘true settings’ compared to the Smart Grinder Pro.
Overall, to me, the Smart Grinder Pro is flashier than the Rocky, with its knobs and digital display. However, the Rocky overpowers the Smart Grinder when it comes to performance and grind consistency.
If you’re a beginner just learning the ropes of coffee-making, I suggest you go with the Smart Grinder Pro. Otherwise, you’ll get more customizability and overall better quality grounds with the Rancilio Rocky.
Rancilio Rocky vs Gaggia MDF
The Gaggia MDF and the Rocky both have large bean hoppers, which makes them ideal if you’re thinking of storing more beans or making bigger batches. However, the Rocky has UV tinted hoppers that provide added protection to the coffee beans.
Both grinders use 50mm steel burrs, which is a burr type you’ll find in many coffee shops. When it comes to power, the Gaggia only runs at 120 watts, giving the Rocky the upper hand. Moreover, the Gaggia MDF only comes in a doser model, while the Rocky comes in either a doser or doserless version.
The Gaggia MDF’s casing is made purely of plastic parts, while the Rocky is a combination of mostly stainless steel and plastic components. This translates to the Rocky being far sturdier.
While both are commercial-grade burr grinders, and on the surface they make look similar, the Rocky has been made with additional features that definitely set it a few levels higher than the Gaggia MDF. The MDF is a great grinder and it is ideal for those who are interested in a more simplistic and straightforward grinder. However, if you value power and performance, you’re better off with the Rancilio Rocky.
I had a great time reviewing this grinder. There’s no denying that the Rancilio Rocky has the power, durability, and performance to produce grounds that are on par with coffee shops.
If you’re looking for a coffee grinder that’s built to last and has tremendous features, then I’d highly recommend the Rancilio Rocky.