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Silvia + Rocky purchase (is a stepped grinder good enough?)

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  • Silvia + Rocky purchase (is a stepped grinder good enough?)

    Hey,

    Ive currently got an em2300 and a sunbeam 0450. I get GREAT, cafe-quality short blacks (60ml double in about 25 seconds) from this setup... About 1/3 of the time. The other times itll gush or choke or be a bit too bitter or not bitter enough. Hassle. So Im going to bite the bullet and upgrade.

    Ive more-or-less decided on getting a Silvia. But is the Rocky, being a stepped grinder, good enough for what I want? On one hand, people say that a grinder isnt an espresso grinder unless its stepless. On the other, the Rocky is praised as a great match for the Silvia.

    That said though, I find that with the fact that I have to vary my 0450 wildly due to age of beans/voodoo factors (sometimes going from a setting of 5-6 at the start of the week, to 3 at by the end), that I dont know that having even finer adjustment possibilities is going to be a good thing.

    Id really appreciate any thoughts on the matter

    Cheers,
    James

  • #2
    Re: Silvia + Rocky purchase (is a stepped grinder good enough?)

    While I have no experience with the Rocky, Ill still offer this. If the next model up of grinder is only a small stretch for your budget go for it. As a little more money can mean a lot more satisfaction. You waste money when you buy something inadequate that means you have to repurchase. Its a very expensive way to go about things. If a stepped grinder is going to cause frustration for you then I wouldnt advise that you buy it.

    Its really tempting to skimp on the grinder, but the quality of the grinder will make or break your espresso machine. Its so true that the grinder has the larger input into your overall satisfaction with your setup. I use a hand grinder and its stepless adjustment is very useful. As often the difference between and choke or gusher is only 5 minutes (according to clock dial) difference. If you have steps you might find your sweet spot is unreachable for a given bean.

    Ive used 3 different blends on my setup and each one has a different grinder setting, some further apart than others. So the need to make fine adjustments is actually very common.  Personally I think a stepped grinder would cause you to upgrade very soon. If you have the money or can beg the money off someone, go one step further on your grinder.

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    • #3
      Re: Silvia + Rocky purchase (is a stepped grinder good enough?)

      How much detail do you put into the "process" before making the coffee? The issues you mention can come from variables such as machine temp, not cleaning grinder efficiently, or bean storage & quality. Unfortunately with the Silvia youll have to watch the process even more closely to ride the thermostat cycle.

      However I find the stepped grinder isnt the worst evil, a good stepped grinder will do better than a bad stepless one, and both will be worthless if not cleaned or the beans are old! You can usually compensate the tiny difference between the steps by grinding or dosing slightly differently. I should mention Ive never had the machines you want.

      Hope that helps!

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      • #4
        Re: Silvia + Rocky purchase (is a stepped grinder good enough?)

        Thanks for the replies. It now occurs to me that I shouldve probably posted this in the Grinders forum. Sorry.

        Im almost certainly going to PID the Silvia, which I think will make it good enough for me (Im nearly happy with a $110 machine so far..)

        As for my current deal, beans are always 4-14 days, airtight dark container, and I flush old grounds every time. I think that my current grinder is a bit inconsistent, and the machine is a bit precious. It seems to choke and fizz like crazy at the slightest push (i.e., 25 sec pour is fine, but itll choke instead of going to 30-35 seconds, whereas other machines would just overextract)

        Im mostly wondering if the Rocky would be "good enough" (or much better than the em0450?) I can always do the pokey stepless mod for the Rocky if that is the only thing standing in the way. Otherwise, Ill probably aim for a new Compak K3 Touch, or a used Mazzer. Would the Compak be *significantly* better than the Rocky, steplessness aside?

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        • #5
          Re: Silvia + Rocky purchase (is a stepped grinder good enough?)

          I think the choking is due to the narrower and deeper baskets on the cheaper machines, plus the OPV and internal design. I found this changed alot moving to a 58mm basket. However at the same time I also got a proper tamper!

          I cant comment on the rocky vs sunbeam vs compak sorry, only to say that the Compak is the minimum recommended for a decent machine so I trust the sponsors have a reason for it!

          It might be a good time to ring a sponsor that sells them all and ask for some advice!

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          • #6
            Re: Silvia + Rocky purchase (is a stepped grinder good enough?)

            Good advice on the asking for advice thing. I may well do that .

            And, interesting point about the 51mm basket. I have a properish tamper too (20 bucks off ebay). It helped a whole bunch.

            Thanks for your help!

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            • #7
              Re: Silvia + Rocky purchase (is a stepped grinder good enough?)

              Hi James,
              Ive got the Silvia/Rocky combo and find I can generally get a coffee at least as good as most average cafes around (specialty espresso bars aside of course). If money is an issue, the K3 Push grinder is around the same price as the Rocky, as long as you dont mind the all black look. I think it misses out on the timed grind option of the K3T as well but dont think that is a deal breaker from what Ive read on these fine pages.

              If I was to buy a new grinder now, one of the Compak grinders would be high on my list of ones to check out. (I think Talk Coffee have been doing a good price on the K3T recently, well worth checking out).

              Thanks,
              Paul

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              • #8
                Re: Silvia + Rocky purchase (is a stepped grinder good enough?)

                Oh I didnt see the update to this thread. I bought a K3T online yesterday!

                And just got my Silvia from Kevin W and am waiting for it to heat up

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                • #9
                  Re: Silvia + Rocky purchase (is a stepped grinder good enough?)

                  Boo.. Its not getting up to temp D:. Its got a "gronked" thermometer on it, and the thermo is turning off at 70, turning back on at 50. Seems that this is the actual temp, because I ran a shot when it said 70, and it was sour and not very hot. Other than the temp, it did come out beautifully and slowly (about 45ml double in 30 seconds).

                  Is there anything I could possibly be doing wrong? Currently I am "pressing the on button"

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                  • #10
                    Re: Silvia + Rocky purchase (is a stepped grinder good enough?)

                    Originally posted by 2D262A22342B282B470 link=1330843848/7#7 date=1331073690
                    I bought a K3T online yesterday!
                    good stuff, this will last through this machine and the next one or two!

                    Originally posted by 2D262A22342B282B470 link=1330843848/8#8 date=1331075140
                    Is there anything I could possibly be doing wrong?
                    how about asking Kevin? I recall seing his post somewhere saying the thermoprobe wasnt giving him any issues. Maybe it came loose in the post / car?

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                    • #11
                      Re: Silvia + Rocky purchase (is a stepped grinder good enough?)

                      I did ask Kevin, and he replied promptly and suggested exactly this. Ive replaced it and its now perfect! Thanks

                      P.S. The machines in great condition. Very impressed with how well-kept a 2yo machine is.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Silvia + Rocky purchase (is a stepped grinder good enough?)

                        only one thing left... PICS! (or better yet, youtube vid!)

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                        • #13
                          Re: Silvia + Rocky purchase (is a stepped grinder good enough?)

                          alas, i am no photographer. kevins photos in the forsale thread were very nice though http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1330859205

                          ill do a youtube when my tamper and k3t arrive

                          im pulling surprisingly nice shots already, even though i have to do annoying multitamping with the 51mm tamper from my old sunbeam

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