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Thread: New rocky owner seeking advice...

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    New rocky owner seeking advice...

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    After purchasing a Sylvia + Rocky doserless combo just over a week ago I have been toying with various settings and finally am able to make a drinkable espresso. I have ordered some fresh beans from our hosts so look forward to refining the process later this week...

    I just have a few observations/questions that I hope other rocky owners can assist with.

    1) I do tend to get "clumping" when grinding - should I be concerned? I have read that some people use a pin or paper clip to gently break up the clumps

    2) My best results to date have come from grinding directly into the portafilter until it is 2/3 full, tapping gently to spread out the grinds and applying a light tamp before grinding directly again to just overfill the basket, spreading evenly and flattening off using my pinky, applying a gentle tamp to settle, removing the tamper, applying a firm tamp and twisting twice under medium pressure to finish. How does this all sound? too complex? or at the end of the day does it not matter so much as long as I am consistent?

    3) Do you tend to measure out exactly enough beans for the shot(s) you are making then and there or just store a small amount in the hopper? Why?

    4) The grinder always seems to keep a little coffee stuck in the chute, tilting the machine forward and applying some percussion to the side tends to shift it through, should I not worry about the little bit left behind from the day before or use some other method to clear it out?

    This is starting to get long... might stop now :)

  2. #2
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    Re: New rocky owner seeking advice...

    gday semillon,

    welcome again to cs. i dont own a rocky, but your questions are fairly generic.

    1) either way...if its not channeling then its probably ok. clumping is normal, esp if you grind a bit finer or its humid.

    2) similar to myself in terms of complexity. if it works stick with it. consistency is the key as you mentioned. my method: fill to 3/4, tap twice, fill to top, use straight edge to even and fill, rest tamper gently on top and remove, fill again, even off, tamp lightly, tap on side once, tamp hard & polish.

    3) I pour the approx amount for each double shot...I dont weigh them...just do it by sight. better for the beans not to be stored in hopper, though for short periods it wouldnt matter much.

    4) I always clean the chute at the end of the grind. I use a small paint brush.

    Sounds like youre on the right track. Good questions.

    Good luck and enjoy you new gear.

    sd

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    A_M
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    Re: New rocky owner seeking advice...

    Quote Originally Posted by 5761696D68686B6A040 link=1233527002/0#0 date=1233527002
    4) The grinder always seems to keep a little coffee stuck in the chute, tilting the machine forward and applying some percussion to the side tends to shift it through, should I not worry about the little bit left behind from the day before or use some other method to clear it out?
    It also stores quite a bit inside *by the sweeper blades. *

    I do not grind into my PF as the grinder is on the other side of the room. Thus I grind into a small SS container with a lip. Helps to manage the static as well allowing me to manage clumping..


    Unless doing a few shots, I tend to put in about the right amount of beans and then using a click clack lid ( Search for Rocky mods), pump air through the system and that clears all the grinds out. *

    This is not ideal when using a PF but is great when using the SS container.

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    Re: New rocky owner seeking advice...

    Interesting opinion on the clumping issue and distribution in general:
    http://www.home-barista.com/weiss-di...technique.html

    Cliffnotes: Tamping is less important than the initial even distribution in the basket.

    I might whip out a paper clip this evening and see if I notice any obvious differences...

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    Re: New rocky owner seeking advice...

    Hi Semillon,

    Im on my P plates too, so my advice should be viewed with that in mind. Ive also got a different grinder. The K3 does not clump much, just a little.

    1&2) To dose, I grind straight into my portafilter, gently stirring as it fills with a fine wooden kabob skewer to break up any clumps and spread the coffee around. I got this idea from another coffee site where some dude uses a dissecting needle for this purpose. There is a name for it - Weiss Distribution Technique, but my method is a bit rougher. *I dump only enough beans into my grinder to just more than fill my basket, which in my case is 20gms. I do a couple of taps on the bench to settle the coffee, then I level with the same skewer and tamp. I try to be consistent with all of this and I fuss with a brush getting any excess coffee off the portafilter while the tamper is still embedded into it. Hell, Im not a pro, I can take all the time I like *;D

    3) I have a spare double basket, which I use to measure the beans for each grind. That basket just full turns out to be the exact amount to over fill when ground. Easy. I weighed it once to find it was about 20 gms.

    4) yep, I clean out the chute, right up to the burrs starting with the skewer, (handy bit of gear that) and finish off with my food brush. That way I only get coffee that comes straight from my storage bags going immediately into my cup. No time for any oxidation to occur. I figure thats at least one variable I can get some control over! * ;)



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    Re: New rocky owner seeking advice...

    Snap!! Hahaha

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    Re: New rocky owner seeking advice...

    Quote Originally Posted by 7D6B64646B686F796465680A0 link=1233527002/5#5 date=1233543833
    Snap!! *Hahaha
    Too slow chicken merango!

    Thanks for the comments :)

    As far as keeping the grinder clear, the click clack lid sounds like a goer.

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    Re: New rocky owner seeking advice...

    The greatest improvement in my pours occurred when I introduced a couple of downwards thumps to the process. It added from 5 to 10 seconds before blonding.

    My process: side taps onto the grinder wings as its filling to get it spread around a bit, until theres a big conical mound. From this point, only vertical forces permitted. Thump on the tamp mat, top up, light thump, finger distribute, tamp, load. The first time, I was surprised at how much mound disappears into the air pockets

    Ive never had clumping issues mind.

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    Re: New rocky owner seeking advice...

    One other issue with the grinder:

    My "true zero" point appears to be below the 0 marker on the hopper. Right now I have it set to 6 which leads to approx 60ml of espresso after 25sec.

    Given that I am not going to inadvertently damage the grinder by having the burrs touching during use, does it matter that I am not aware of exactly where "true zero" lies?

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    Re: New rocky owner seeking advice...

    Quote Originally Posted by 40767E7A7F7F7C7D130 link=1233527002/8#8 date=1233547350
    One other issue with the grinder:

    My "true zero" point appears to be below the 0 marker on the hopper. Right now I have it set to 6 which leads to approx 60ml of espresso after 25sec.

    Given that I am not going to inadvertently damage the grinder by having the burrs touching during use, does it matter that I am not aware of exactly where "true zero" lies?
    No, not all all. True zero is where the burrs are about to touch and the dodgy bent Rocky self-tapper should ensure they dont.

    When it comes to grind, a number is just a number ;)

    Happy grinding...

    2mcm

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    Re: New rocky owner seeking advice...

    Quote Originally Posted by 2A756D7B707B777E7E7D7D757976180 link=1233527002/9#9 date=1233547512
    True zero is where the burrs are about to touch and the dodgy bent Rocky self-tapper should ensure they dont.

    When it comes to grind, a number is just a number Wink

    Happy grinding...

    2mcm
    Oh so true..

    My wife and others are under strict instructions as I do not wish to replace burrs due to miss use.

    After a service and full disassemble my was right out... From where it was previously...

    So from a setting of 10 and 0 = 1 click above true 0, with teh safety screw engaging...

    I now had a setting of 2 clicks below 0 for espresso and one could turn and lock the burrs with out engaging the safety lock... BAD... :o

    However I pulled the system down packed the top and bottom burr...

    The family have now been re edumicated ;D

    Espresso is ideal at 0 and usual one click either side is all the adjustment they need..

    5 - 7 = Other cheep coffee machines and plunger etc..

    I can get to 7 clicks past 0 and the safety screw engages (Had to bend it) and I have about 2 clicks to true 0 (burrs touching)

    So what some may call a number setting ... the real question should be - How many clicks to true 0 (burrs touching) ? Remembering that that is not the whole story.....

    You might ask... if every one was 7 clicks pas true 0 would they not grind the same ?

    Answer: NO.... Minor differences in the quality / sharpness of the burrs will effect the the final product. Further more, unless all using the same bean (same batch etc) then any number of factors will impact on the quality of the grind...

    At the end of the day it is an indicator to the local user as to if you have experienced a change... Other than that it might be a rough guide to others, as to if they have a major problem.. That is all.

    AM

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    Re: New rocky owner seeking advice...

    Quote Originally Posted by 04323A3E3B3B3839570 link=1233527002/3#3 date=1233543425
    Interesting opinion on the clumping issue and distribution in general:
    http://www.home-barista.com/weiss-di...technique.html

    Cliffnotes: Tamping is less important than the initial even distribution in the basket.

    I might whip out a paper clip this evening and see if I notice any obvious differences...
    From that page-link above near the bottom of the page in the comments area, this is the method Ive been using for the last few years... "Or a nutating motion, like a coin settling after its been flipped; this is my favorite, since its very fast."

    Simple to do, easily repeatable and doesnt require any other implements to perform it..... 8-)

    Mal.

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    Re: New rocky owner seeking advice...

    My observations of clumping in a doserless Rocky over the past year or so is that it seems to depend to a large extent on the variety of beans being ground. I find that I may get significant clumping in the chute with one variety of bean, but then if I grind a different variety a few minutes later there is basically none.
    A correct fitting Clic-Clac lid in place of the normal hopper lid clears out any remaining clumps in the chute with a couple of moves up and down, so that you end up with the full amount of ground coffee from the beans you put in the hopper, in the filter basket.
    I run a few grams of beans through Rocky if he has been sitting idle for more than maybe 15 minutes and discard these before grinding for a shot.
    Rocky gets a clean before any period of idleness longer than overnight. This entails removing the chute so that you can get to the passage inside and right up and into the burrs. I clean this out with a small plastic cable tie (both ends are useful) and occasionally activate the motor, before pulling out the rubber chute opening surround, and repeating the process with a teaspoon held under the chute to catch the grounds before they disappear down inside the case. Usually end up with about a tablespoon of grounds that would have remained in the grinder.
    About every month I vacuum out using a set of small generic vacuum attachments that can be bought.
    As for basic distribution of the grounds in the filter basket, I move the PF around as well as partially rotating it whilst filling to achieve an even (relatively) distribution.
    Hope this helps,

    Cheers,
    Alan

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    Re: New rocky owner seeking advice...

    Alan: Very thorough, thank you.

    I noticed today that already there is a fairly large deposit of oily grinds "stuck" at the top of the chute... need to get myself a paintbrush.

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    Re: New rocky owner seeking advice...

    Semillon
    I 2 am new rocky/ silvia owner and still learning to drive and get the most out of both machines. As i have stated in another post
    At present I am grinding 2 full scoops of beans and I have found if u remove the base from a lite sour cream container (plastic) it can be wedged into the top of the basket. I then wedge this under the spout of rocky and then I grind all my beans and push out the last using the click clak lid. I then use a Wiess distribution method (using a straightened paperclip stickytaped to a skewer) to breakup any clumps and evenly distribute the grinds in the basket. I give it 2 gentle taps on the tamp mat, remove the sour cream container, level out the coffee, do my usual tamp, clean the pf surrounds and lock in. Double basket is full and i manage to only have a small wastage of grinds.
    1. I just use the black scoop that came with silvia. I slightly overfill each scoop and 2 scoops leaves me with just a small amount of waste for a double shot.

    2. Yogurt containers seem to be the wrong shape so I use a lite sour cream container. Cut the bottom off as close to the base as possible. This will then fit your double basket. The height of the container allows u to wedge it under the spout of Rocky. This allows both hands to b free. One to operate the on off switch, the other to move the click clack lid. The result , most grinds come out of the grinder and NO MESS ON THE BENCH.

    3. You r now free to break up any clumps, evenly distribute grinds, level, tamp and load.

    4. Very easy to b consistant and my shots have improved considerable since adopting this method.

    Just a suggestion from a new rocky silvia user. Try it if u wish :)

    Cicarda.

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    Re: New rocky owner seeking advice...

    Thanks for the info Cicarda, how are your results to date?

    Where did you buy the click clack container by the way? My searches to date have failed :(

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    Re: New rocky owner seeking advice...

    Semillon,

    There are plenty of mystical techniques out there to help produce a better cup. In the end you need to find what works for you - Im not just being trite either :)

    When I was using Rocky/Silvia combo I hadnt heard of WDT, in fact Im not sure if anyone had - clumps were just normal.

    If you can taste a difference in the cup then by all means do whatever you need to, OTOH if youre adding steps to your routine and not tasting any difference then cut them. The more steps you introduce the harder it is to get consistency - and consistency is probably the most important part of preparation.

    Grant

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    Re: New rocky owner seeking advice...

    Quote Originally Posted by 34203B3C35370D3625373E3E3720520 link=1233527002/16#16 date=1233875239
    Semillon,

    A: There are plenty of mystical techniques out there to help produce a better cup. In the end you need to find what works for you - Im not just being trite either :)

    When I was using Rocky/Silvia combo I hadnt heard of WDT, in fact Im not sure if anyone had - clumps were just normal.

    B: *If you can taste a difference in the cup then by all means do whatever you need to, OTOH if youre adding steps to your routine and not tasting any difference then cut them.

    C: *The more steps you introduce the harder it is to get consistency - and consistency is probably the most important part of preparation.

    Grant
    I fully concur with FD and *am sure that TG and others will all agree that points A, B and C above are very important.....



  19. #19
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    Re: New rocky owner seeking advice...

    Quote Originally Posted by 103F3634231C303F3036343C343F25510 link=1233527002/17#17 date=1233876126
    I fully concur with FD andam sure that TG and others will all agree that points A, B and C above are very important.....
    You are correct.
    Thats how I refine my coffee processes.
    Im sure others have a better palate than me so my routine may not be optimal for them.
    They should try things for themselves and if, as FD says, they taste no difference, cut them out.

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    Re: New rocky owner seeking advice...

    Makes sense to me, there does appear to be a great deal of superstition around making an espresso :)

    Watching the barista at our local cafe, he keeps things very simple - no evidence of over dosing, distributes using one movement of the tamper, a quick settle and tamp and its away.

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    Re: New rocky owner seeking advice...

    Well, here I am on a day off from work and have far too much time on my hands!

    Im going to open up my technique to criticism, amazement or just plain dumfoundedness.

    Ive attached a picture of my day-to-day workings (excuse the bench if it looks a bit messy - too darn hot today to get the energy up to start my housework yet!)

    Ive cut off the bottom and top of one of my son, Williams, tippee cups (cheap ones from Big W that come in a 3 pack with straws that poke into a lid). *It was a perfect fit!

    I pop this into the PF basket, pop my measured beans into the hopper, grind into the PF with the adapted cup till theres none left, tap the PF a couple of times on the tamp mat that came with the SB0480 to settle, get my milk thermometre and stir through the grinds to get rid of any clumps, take the cup out, flatten the grind and very gently press down with the flat of my index finger (spanning the basket) to even out in the basket and ensure there are no highs & lows, then scrape my finger over the basket from one side to the other over the white plastic dish I adapted for the bottom of my grinder. *I then pop my tamper in and tamp hard (for my girly arms, anyway!) directly on the tamp mat.

    I find this then:-

    • keeps the stray grinds at bay because theyre all captured in the cup walls;
    • allows me to stir the grinds without them tipping all over the bench; and
    • What better thing to use to stir than the thermometre probe (and handy too!) I, of course, give this a quick wipe over with my damp coffee cloth before putting it back into the milk jug.


    Ive found this is the best way for me personally to get a very consistent tamp and level in basket and the only time now I ever pull a bad shot is when I forget to adjust the grinder a little bit for the bean aging process.

    What are your thoughts?

    Cheers
    Di


  22. #22
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    Re: New rocky owner seeking advice...

    Sounds good.

    But whats with all those splotches of colour on the tippee cup?
    It looks more like you made it out of a painters cleaning bucket.

  23. #23
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    Re: New rocky owner seeking advice...

    Hey, it was a kiddies sipper cup!

    Actually, if I remember correctly, it was Emilys rather than Williams and it had the Disney Princess on it...you probably would have recognised it if it had Thomas the Tank Engine on the side, being a man.

    Probably the most appropriate thing that could have happened to it and I quite enjoyed hacking it up... (oh, hang on, now I sound like a cat with a furball!!!)

    :D

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    Re: New rocky owner seeking advice...

    The only comment I would make is that the 480 doesnt particularly like the "just enough beans per shot" technique. It popcorns the beans terribly and makes it difficult to get a consistent grind size.

    The 480 leaves a lot in the grind chamber / chute also, so you are very unlikely to "get out what you put in", again making the consistency of the dose difficult to control.

    But, then again, if you have it working for you, then great.

    I grind direct into the PF (have the spout extension which reduces the mess), tap a few times, grind again, tap a few more then grind again until there is a small pile above the level of the basket. I tap to level then tamp, this leaves (usually) about 1/2 of the SB tamper metal above the rim.

    As for the "stale grinds" in the chute / chamber, I normally make the Mrs coffee first before mine, that takes care of any stale grinds, to date, there hasnt been any withdrawl of "priviliges" due to bad coffee....

    Sen


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    Re: New rocky owner seeking advice...

    Semillon
    I found my click clack lid at Woolworths Variety store not in the grocery Woolies. (dont normally shop at Woolies so may find it their 2.) Cost me for a small container about $6.00 on special usually about $7 or 8. Lid will be a great addition for the Rocky. :D

    Cicarda

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    Re: New rocky owner seeking advice...

    Quote Originally Posted by 5872787A697F7A1B0 link=1233527002/24#24 date=1233900707
    Semillon
    I found my click clack lid at Woolworths Variety store not in the grocery Woolies. (dont normally shop at Woolies so may find it their 2.) Cost me for a small container about $6.00 on special usually about $7 or 8. Lid will be a great addition for the Rocky. :D

    Cicarda
    Note: The lid from the rocky will fit the container, thus it is not waisted...

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    Re: New rocky owner seeking advice...

    Just picked up a click clack lid from kmart - very effective :)

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    Re: New rocky owner seeking advice...

    Quote Originally Posted by 15232B2F2A2A2928460 link=1233527002/6#6 date=1233544646
    Quote Originally Posted by 7D6B64646B686F796465680A0 link=1233527002/5#5 date=1233543833
    Snap!! *Hahaha
    Too slow chicken merango!
    Thanks for the comments :)

    As far as keeping the grinder clear, the click clack lid sounds like a goer.
    Am I the only one to recognise a Red Dwarf quote?

    Im such a closet nerd
    :D



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