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Upgrade Rancilio Rocky to Mahlkoenig / Baratza Vario-W

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  • Upgrade Rancilio Rocky to Mahlkoenig / Baratza Vario-W

    Hi All

    Trying to come up with a decent alternative to Rocky

    The things I don't like about Rocky:

    - too few grind steps - not enough precision to adjust the pour

    - does not have a timer or a scale to maintain constant weight of the ground beans
    (I want to be consistent in the dose without wasting too much coffee)

    Thinking to address those issues with the Vario-W, mostly based on this article from coffeegeek

    Does the upgrade make sense? Are there any other alternative to Vario-W to address the issues above?

    I'd probably prefer something that does not look as plastic as Vario-W
    something in chrome that goes well with Rocket Giotto machine


  • #2
    So there is no other decent grinder in chrome with low ground beans retention, fine adjustments of the grind that grinds beans by weight?


    • #3
      I dont think any grind by weight do they? My understanding is its done by timer. So if you adjust the grind, the quantity of ground coffee will differ slightly, as coarser grind setting will produce more grinds in the same amount of time as a finer setting. That is what I have found with the smart grinder anyway.



      • #4
        why not look into doing the stepless mod on your rocky if you havn't already?

        the timer and weight though is another thing altogether, weighing out your beans before grinding might help with consistency but there will always be some retention of grinds unless you do the lid mod for that...


        • #5
          Originally posted by artman View Post
          I dont think any grind by weight do they?Cheers
          Vario-W does grind by weight - please have a look at videos on YouTube

          Reading neighboring thread about Mazzer KonyE and looking at the picture, I can see the scale as well, although maybe it's a mod.


          • #6
            Originally posted by phrostyboi View Post
            why not look into doing the stepless mod on your rocky if you havn't already?

            the timer and weight though is another thing altogether, weighing out your beans before grinding might help with consistency but there will always be some retention of grinds unless you do the lid mod for that...
            Did not know about the stepless mod for the Rocky, thanks

            Although there is also grinding by weight

            and Vario claims the least retention - 0.5 grams compared with other grinders:

            The High End Models
            By the time you get up to the $400-$1,500 price range for grinders, in most cases you're moving into the commercial world; I don't just mean commercial parts in a consumer product - I'm talking full-blown commercial grinders designed for light to medium (and even high volume) café duty. Most of these grinders are dedicated for espresso, but one, introduced in 2009, is a bit of a game breaker because of how well it does a multipurpose job of grinding for a variety of needs.

            That grinder is the Baratza Vario. It finally hit the market in 2009 after almost 18 months of development. This grinder has impressed the socks off many of our forum participants, including those who have done blind taste tests pitting the Baratza Vario against $1,500, $2,000 commercial grinders. One of the more famous claims is that the Vario bested a Mazzer Robur, a nearly $2,000 grinder!

            We like the Vario because of its versatility. It is extremely capable as an espresso grinder, but you can quickly switch grind settings using the macro/micro adjustment feature, grinding for press. Then just as quickly, you can switch back to your espresso setting. We also like the near zero grinds-retention feature. Pretty much every doser equipped grinder we talk about in this guide retains up to 10 grams of ground coffee in their chutes between uses. The Vario retains less than 0.5 grams. Its highly recommended as a do-it-all home grinder.


            • #7
              Here is an interesting thread on the Vario-W


              • #8
                just FYI, Mark Prince was paid by Baratza to review their grinders (in detail) and this is stated in the reviews. While I find his reviews good, still, don't run with a single review.

                The Vario seems to be a great unit, it's not as aesthetically pleasing as others, but it's specs and performance are quite good. Baratza customer service is also absolutely excellent.


                • #9
                  James, I am glad you've received great service from "Baratza" and that is as it should be.....But it seems your location is the same as the HQ of the importer, so its not too much of an inconvenience presumably if you need to have something minor done and they can help you out on the spot. What of people that buy mail order and are "out of area"? As an individual I always have reservations about buying technical stuff that could need to be sent away in the event of a problem, because that for me represents a real inconvenience.... It would be helpful to know if they have a network of approved service agents around the country and of course in that case will they all be as accommodating across the board?

                  And of course anyone that instead buys a "conventional" cafe design and build grinder (other brand / model machines eg the KonyE mentioned above by Siberian) will probably never need any service anyway unless the client does something drastic like dropping the grinder. So there is always more to a comment than meets the eye...

                  Re quote from Siberian "...Reading neighboring thread about Mazzer KonyE and looking at the picture, I can see the scale as well, although maybe it's a mod...." End of quote.

                  The scale is not part of the grinder, it has been placed there by the operator and the OP states that in the post. You could do something similar to that with almost any doserless / "grind on demand" grinder as long as there is enough room to fit or hold the scale in place.

                  While I will be the first to admit that if a client wants to weigh the grinds then so he or she should, it still needs to be said that it is certainly not necessary to do that in order to get excellent quality or for that matter "best possible" brew (also meaning good "consistency"). By far the greatest majority of operators, and I also include the good ones such as those that win barista comps just as much as good home baristas, make excellent coffee by using a volumetric or timed dose, and you are limiting the range of really good grinders that you could update to, by specifying a grinder that weighs out the dose where there is a very limited choice especially where you also specify the type of finish that you would like on the body of the grinder.



                  • #10
                    Yes- be it stated or not, I suspect we are talking cash for comments. For mine, you're then talking a zero value review.

                    I have zero experience with their product but I'd place my longevity bucks on the commercials in the same price bracket. It's a simple comparison of appliance v real, commercial grinder.

                    That's my opinion and I require no payment for it! :P
                    Last edited by TC; 16 January 2013, 08:42 PM. Reason: typo


                    • #11
                      Well said...

                      For what it's worth, I did have a problem with my new grinder. I emailed the supplier (in my locale), and they couriered me a replacement, before I even returned them the original purchased unit. I had two sitting on my bench. I managed to solve the issue I was having with my original unit, so sent the replacement back to them.

                      If that's not service, I'm not sure what is. Sure, perhaps it was a one-off scenario. I have no relations with the supplier of any kind. It was a nice gesture. I was even told "just return the other unit to us sometime after xmas".

                      Note, this has nothing to do with Baratza, and everything to do with the distributor (retailer as it seems).

                      My previous post talks about the excellent customer service from Baratza, not the supplier I bought it from. Their social media presence and quick response times for queries is exceptional. I suppose the same goes for the AU retailer/distributor in this case. This particular retailer also has a location in Melbourne as far as I know.

                      In my opinion, any electrical device can fail. "conventional cafe design" or not.

                      Personally, if I'm going to invest money in such a machine, I'd like to go and try it out first.

                      At the end of the day, in most cases, you get what you pay for. There's a good reason why grinders (and other machines) cost as much as they do.