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Thread: Rancilio Rocky vs. MD40 vs. Rossi RR45 vs. Mazzer Super Jolly

  1. #1
    npf
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    Post Rancilio Rocky vs. MD40 vs. Rossi RR45 vs. Mazzer Super Jolly

    Hello everyone,

    Iíve thought long and hard about whether to post this in the grinder forum, because I donít want anyone to feel like Iím condemning or inciting. Iím taking this opportunity to summarize my extremely basic, non scientific taste test, because as a hobbyist, I often forget that itís supposed to be pleasurable.

    Before I begin, a little about myself, and then you can decide whether this op-ed warrants your time.

    Deep down, DNA and cultural background notwithstanding, Iím an espresso guy. I can understand why many appreciate a good latte or cappuccino, but itís not for me. I have a rudimentary Silvia V3, which despite my past desire to upgrade, has provided me with several years of uninterrupted service, so Iím OK.

    Iím also a firm believer in the four Italian principles of good espresso, but I have a slightly different opinion about their order Ė first to last:

    1. Coffee Beans
    2. Barista
    3. Grinder
    4. Espresso Machine

    With that, being a fellow hobbyist, apart from the value I place in a proper grind, I see grinders as beautiful pieces of simple engineering. I know Iím in the minority here, but I actually like the way they look. Like most, I started my espresso life with a Silvia and a Rocky, and like most forum lurkers, I found myself yearning for the next best thing, until now.

    One of the many benefits of reading through coffee forums, is that Iíve been able to save a significant amount of money, while still addressing the ubiquitous upgraditis because of my relaxed fear of purchasing used. My total acquisition costs, with shipping, but excluding replacement burrs, for the aforementioned grinders, has been (US $$ for reference):

    1. Rancilio Rocky (full MSRP: $350)
    2. Rancilio MD40 ($200)
    3. Rossi RR45 ($120)
    4. Mazzer Super Jolly ($200)

    Having a spouse who enjoys cappuccino, and good friend who parallels my interest in espresso, we decided to line the four grinders up for a taste test. For the mathematicians/engineers/scientists, hereís my public service announcement, PLEASE STOP READING NOW. The test has so many statistical procedural flaws, that youíll be sure to find countless inaccuracies in my results. No my scientific friends, I left this test up to unbiased taste buds, my daily espresso preparation technique (no bean weighing for me), and a grading scale that rivals a kindergarten colouring book. Why? Because thatís the way I prepare my coffee, and I likely wonít alter it any time soon. Thereís no point in eliminating all variables, or adapting to preparation methods Iíll never replicate/use, because I believe good coffee is more about art, than it is science.

    Here is the preferred order, after counting up the twelve votes (3 people, 4 separate cups of coffee/cappuccino). Keep in mind, this was not a slam dunk, and the totals were closer than they ďshouldĒ have been. For instance, one of the testers preferred the Rocky over all others:

    1. Rossi RR45
    2. Mazzer Super Jolly
    3. Rancilio Rocky
    4. Rancilio MD40

    So what is the outcome of all of this, beyond me having some fun on a Saturday afternoon? My desire to go after the next best thing is on a prolonged hiatus. From a pure MSRP standpoint, the Mazzer should have won hands down, but it didnít, and the MD40, should never have finished last, but it did. All this to say, be happy with what you have; chances are that beyond a certain price point, with proper coffee beans, and some good technique, Iíll never be able to tell the difference in a blind taste test. The only thing Iím certain of, is that I like what I like, and after spending some money and time to prove things out, Iím happy with what I have.

    Being somewhat of a fan of the underdog, Iím really happy that the Rossi came out on top.

    PS. The Rocky and MD40 have been gifted to family members, and theyíre very happy with the quality of their grinders
    PPS. To the forum administrators, I know itís frowned upon to cross post between several competing forums, but Iíve been a happy reader of several, and want to offer my opinion to each, as Iíve benefited so much from all

  2. #2
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Strange outcome re: the Rocky vs. the MD40...
    Under the skin they are identical grinders so maybe the real difference was the condition of the burr-set.

    This may also apply to the difference between the Rossi and the Mazzer.

    Mal.

  3. #3
    npf
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    Hi Mal, agreed, and many other variables that I deliberately didnít eliminate from the test. It was simply my way of proving that beyond the features one may appreciate in a grinder, the end result is just a user taste test.

    Donít get me wrong, I love all of the tested grinders, and they served a purpose in my home at one point or another, but the pre-biased nirvana I assumed with ďbigger and betterĒ, is now questionable (for me). I suspect that if I ran the test again today, with the same studio audience, I would have different results.

    Thanks for taking the time to reply, Iíve appreciated your forum input for a long time.
    Dimal likes this.

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