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replacing Rocky doser grinder with something much better - but what exactly?

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  • replacing Rocky doser grinder with something much better - but what exactly?

    greetings all

    I have Rancilio Silvia V3 and Rocky doser grinder (both bought both in ~2010).

    Would it improve my espresso and ristretto if I upgraded my Rocky grinder and kept Silvia machine?

    By upgrading I mean getting something a *whole lot better* than Rocky, i.e. not 10-20% better, more like >50%-100% better.

    For example, if I were to upgrade Silvia machine to something like Rocket Giotto ~$3000 machine, then clearly I would also need to get a much better grinder to match it and get the best from the better machine. What sort of grinder would be a match to Rocket Giotto $3000 machine?

    But what about upgrading grinder but keeping same machine?

    Thoughts? Waste of money?

    So, if I wanted to buy a *much* better grinder than Rocky - could you suggest the top-3 or top-5 choices, assume budget of up to $1000 for new grinder.

    thanks!

  • #2
    Getting a great grinder is never a waste of money and it is also the first thing that I would be upgrading if I was in your position...

    Lots of terrific grinders to choose from but I reckon if I was coming from a Rocky, I'd be looking very closely at the Macap M4D. There are others around too for similar money but I just like the M4D...
    Best bet though, would be to head into one of our Site Sponsors' premises (if possible) and get some hands on experience with a variety of grinders and taste the results. Always the best arbiter in the end...

    Mal.

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    • #3
      Getting a better grinder will definitely improve your product but you will, more often than not end up wanting to get a better espresso machine as well. I believe they call this a common CS symptom of "Upgraditis". Fatten up the wallet before venturing on this path.

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      • #4
        Hi,

        Definitely not a waste, I think from a Silvia / rocky starting point, the grinder will mostly increase quality, while the machine will mostly increase ease of use and consistency.

        I once went from a gaggia classic & grinder similar to a rocky, to a mazzer/ giotto. The grinder came a week before the machine, and the difference in coffee quality was dramatic. I also tried the old grinder with the Giotto after it came, and the impact was there, but to much lesser extent (but results did come much more consistently, and with less effort)

        Brett

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        • #5
          My starting point "decent" kit 13 years back was a Silvia and a M5 (stepped). Great combo. I eventually upgraded the Silvia after a fairly extensive rebuild and also eventually moved grinders up to an M7. I think this has been the best investment of my kit so far. Grind consistency and the ability to make average branded beans taste great in the cup - in fast time. I never missed a beat with the M5, replaced the burrs (probably unnecessarily) and that was it. So very much a thumbs up on the Macap grinders.

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          • #6
            I have a k3 and would like an m4d for your budget or if money was no issue maybe a k10 selenzio. A faster grinder would be nice but a quieter grinder would be great.
            The k3 isn't noisier than the others in the price range

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            • #7
              thank you everyone.

              Should I get M4D with doser or doserless?

              I have read some reports on internet that there is an issue with M4D retaining grounds.
              It requires to somehow purge the grinder from stale grounds, from the previous grind, which may have been several hours ago.
              As you know even 3 grams of stale grounds will ruin espresso.
              So, how do I effectively deal with the issue of retaining grounds?
              I read that some folks use a thin flat stick or a thin end of the teaspoon to flick all grounds from the grinder.
              Is that possible on M4D with doser or doserless models?

              I have Rocky Doser, so the hole where the grounds enter the doser is exposed, it is very easy for me to use thin flat piece of plastic stick or thin end of teaspoon to collect all fresh grounds into the doser and then into the basket.
              How do I deal with this on M4D ?

              thank you once again!

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              • #8
                How about....just program the 1st button on the M4D to run for 2 seconds, and hit that before the first coffee of the day?

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Barry O'Speedwagon View Post
                  How about....just program the 1st button on the M4D to run for 2 seconds, and hit that before the first coffee of the day?
                  thanks!
                  Keep them coming folks!

                  For Rocky, I weigh the beans first and put the exact amount into the grinder and grind 100% into the filter basket.
                  Because Rocky doser grind retention is near zero, given that I flick out all grounds from the hole using a thin flat plastic stick, this technique works 100% of the time and delivers very good results, repeatedly. You might call is @n@l retentive but it work! 8^)

                  My coffee scales accuracy is 0.01 gram, so everything is micromanaged! 8^) LOL

                  Would M4D permit the same technique, given there is a small coffee grounds retention issue?

                  My aim is to the absolutely precise amount of ground beans into the basket with near zero waste (because even 0.5 grams makes a very big difference to the quality of espresso shot).

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                  • #10
                    Holy crap, I could have written this exact post..

                    I'm in a similar situation. I've got a Rocky Doserless w/ Silva V3 (2010-2011).

                    Is there going to be much difference between upgrading to a M4D and spending an extra $1k on a top of the line grinder (eg Mazzer/Compak)? The idea being to keep the grinder forever with whatever machine comes in the next 5-10yr...

                    Cheers!

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by noddy167 View Post
                      Holy crap, I could have written this exact post..

                      I'm in a similar situation. I've got a Rocky Doserless w/ Silva V3 (2010-2011).

                      Is there going to be much difference between upgrading to a M4D and spending an extra $1k on a top of the line grinder (eg Mazzer/Compak)? The idea being to keep the grinder forever with whatever machine comes in the next 5-10yr...

                      Cheers!
                      The key difference will be that the top of the line options will most likely have conical rather than flat burrs - so they'll grind a bit faster, maybe quieter and have lower burr speed so generate less heat; all factors in a cafe environment but not so much in a domestic kitchen.

                      So really it comes down to whether you prefer the taste from a conical or flat burr grinder... there are whole threads on that topic

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Magic_Matt View Post
                        The key difference will be that the top of the line options will most likely have conical rather than flat burrs - so they'll grind a bit faster, maybe quieter and have lower burr speed so generate less heat; all factors in a cafe environment but not so much in a domestic kitchen.

                        So really it comes down to whether you prefer the taste from a conical or flat burr grinder... there are whole threads on that topic
                        Thanks so much for the advice!

                        I'm not sure I'd notice the difference in taste to be honest. My Silvia is rather temperamental when it comes to grind quality though. She hates clumping and she hates the wrong size dose, and I hate stiring the grounds with a toothpick and making sure I start/stop grinding on time. I'm assuming a $1-1.5k grinder would take care of this?

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by noddy167 View Post
                          Thanks so much for the advice!

                          I'm not sure I'd notice the difference in taste to be honest. My Silvia is rather temperamental when it comes to grind quality though. She hates clumping and she hates the wrong size dose, and I hate stiring the grounds with a toothpick and making sure I start/stop grinding on time. I'm assuming a $1-1.5k grinder would take care of this?
                          IMHO and somewhat off-topic.

                          Buy a Rancilio bottomless portafiler for Silvia (and any other machine too). This is best $85 you can spend for Silvia.
                          I would not own a coffee machine without bottomless portafiler, it is that good.
                          There is nothing like a naked portafilter to tell you what you are doing wrong - and immediately. But an industrial quality tamper, of course.
                          I tried stirring grounds with a wooden toothpick, it made no difference.
                          Just gently bang the portafiler down a couple of times, it will loosen up any clumps enough.
                          Just FYI - I use a grind level 5 on Rocky and I recommend you buy scales with 0.01 gram ($60?) accuracy, even 0.5 gram counts big time for Silvia.
                          The standard double basket of Rancilio Silvia needs range of 16.0-17.0 grams of dry beans (min-max range), assuming zero grounds retention in the grinder.
                          This will produce 38-42 ml/gr (yes, I weigh it!!) of very good double expresso/double ristretto in ~30-35 seconds (even 38-40 sec often produces good results!).
                          Any more than ~42 ml/gr from 16-17 grams of beans will make for a thin tasking double shot.
                          Any less than 30 seconds will likewise produce very ordinary brew.
                          If you have a bigger basket (I have Synesso and also triple Rancilio) will allow for a larger volume (45-50 ml/gr) if you use 19-21 gr of beans.
                          IME the best is for 1 grams of grounds beans = 2.5 grams of extracted espresso.
                          Some will say this is closer to ristretto - fine, I dont really care what you call it.

                          Also, ease up on tamping strength, the advice of 10-15 kg is way over the top.
                          I use light tamp ranges 1-3kg, depending on batch of beans and sometimes even less, like 0.5 kg.
                          The key is to make sure the tamp is 100% flat horizontal.


                          The problem I have with Rocky is that it does not have enough grind finer levels for espresso/ristretto.
                          i.e. I need something in the middle between a level 5 and level 6 i.e. level 5.5, level 4.5, level 6.5 and so on.
                          I am hoping something like Macap M4D will provide more fine grind levels for espresso compared to Rocky but the grounds retention inside the grinder seems to be a problem.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by acid_rider View Post
                            Would M4D permit the same technique...
                            G'day a_r & noddy,

                            No value whatsoever and in fact completely counterintuitive to pay $$$ for an accurate digital timer if you have no intention of using it...

                            It's also 100% clear that that the answer must therefore be EK43

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by acid_rider View Post
                              The problem I have with Rocky is that it does not have enough grind finer levels for espresso/ristretto.
                              i.e. I need something in the middle between a level 5 and level 6 i.e. level 5.5, level 4.5, level 6.5 and so on.
                              I am hoping something like Macap M4D will provide more fine grind levels for espresso compared to Rocky but the grounds retention inside the grinder seems to be a problem.
                              How long since you replaced the burrs? A well cared for Rocky with burrs in good condition will grind fine enough to choke any machine.

                              I'm surprised you have to ask this question, after reading your last post it's obvious you are quite knowledgeable about things espresso.

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