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Thread: Rocky grief

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2004

    Rocky grief

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Need a little advice on getting the best from my Rocky.

    - Occasionally the grinder will stop grinding: no ground coffee comes out. I assume its stuck and suspecy maybe the grind is too fine.

    - The puck is spongy after being used: Ive never noticed that before. This is despite very firm tamping and measuring about the right amount (trying to get around 18g - this is whats needed to fill the double basket for the Botticelli).

    - Tendency to come out a bit watery, even if ground finer - its just a question of how long it takes to come out.

    13 on the Rocky seemed about right but in last couple of days it has come out of the portafilter increasingly quicky. Tried 12, doesnt come out at all, tried 12 with lighter tamp, comes out watery.

    FWIW, Ive noticed that 14g (supposed to be the standard amount for double-shot basket) produces utter rubbish results, even with various tamping styles. I regularly need to use nearly 20g to get the basket filled and the puck up against the shower screen.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006

    Re: Rocky grief

    Hi David,

    When I first got my Rocky, did the find "0" point and adjust back thing, put some beans in and...
    nothing came out. The residue from so called factory testing was a bit sticky :(

    It is also not unusual for the beans to stick and nothing comes out, depending a bit on how oily your beans are, lighter roasted beans probably less troublesome ;)

    So the fix is to give Rocky a belt around the midriff to dislodge the sticking beans, yeah really :) (Not on the hopper, but anywhere on the metal is OK)
    A clean down of the hopper and inlet into the grind chamber wouldnt hurt occasionally either.
    So far I havent mastered being able to firmly tap the side of Rocky and hold the switch in at the same time ;)

    Watery pucks I thought usually meant underdosing.
    Suggest try more coffee rather than firmer tamp, and yes if you need 20g to just touch the shower screen, thats probably what you should be doing. Might even need to go back one setting on Rocky.
    Also clean out any grinds left in the chute overnight, before you start again the next day, easiest way is to get a "Click-Clack" container from the supermarket, many of them have a lid that just fits into the bean hopper, and a quick firm push down will dislodge grinds sitting in the horizontal section of the chute. :)
    This of course also assumes that you are using fresh beans, and allowing Botticelli at least 30 mins to warm up thoroughly, 45-60 mins is even better.

    As far as grind setting goes, the actual grind will vary from one Rocky to another, so grind setting isnt much help for diagnosis, as long as you know what works for you.
    However I have found a couple of times that the weather can have significant affect, with rainy conditions requiring a finer grind, and if the weather is changing while youre trying to dial in, it can get a bit confusing. Also remember there is something like 5g of grinds still in the chute when you first stop grinding, unless you clean out the chute, so new setting wont take affect till that is all gone.
    For consistent grinding it also helps to make sure there is at least 4cm of beans in the hopper, if you try to put in only the amount of beans you want at any given time, they tend to get thrown around inside the chamber and the grind can get a bit varied. If you dont use a lot of beans each day then just make it the 4cm, and add daily, as long as there is a minimum amount in the hopper, another reason why you want to start with fresh beans.

    Try some different beans, make sure they are fresh.

    Im roasting nearly every week, and trying different blends,
    yet mostly the grind setting doesnt change much now, (we have a heat pump going most of the time this time of year, which moderates the affect of weather changes outside).

    Hope this is of some help.


    Great post Bullit,

    Definitely deserves the [smiley=tekst-toppie.gif] award :). And what you have said about using freshly roasted beans can not be over-emphasised, otherwise it just becomes a tail chasing exercise that ends in utter frustration. Good one [smiley=thumbsup.gif]


  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2005

    Re: Rocky grief

    Quote Originally Posted by Bullitt link=1155520399/0#1 date=1155525305
    For consistent grinding it also helps to make sure there is at least 4cm of beans in the hopper, if you try to put in only the amount of beans you want at any given time, they tend to get thrown around inside the chamber and the grind can get a bit varied.
    Did not know this, thanks for the tip!

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2004

    Re: Rocky grief

    Thanks for your help, Bullitt.

    To cut a long story short (Ive made a couple of other posts about frustration with Rocky and ECM Botticelli) I have made substantial progress. What Ive done is -

    - Had the group gasket in the Botticelli replaced. Rio did this for me FOC - went from 9mm to 8.5mm. The portafilter now slides all the way around to the 6 oclock position (previously it would only lock in to about 8 oclock, and tend to come flying off during brewing unless I held it in place).

    - Went back to overdosing (partially fill basket, bang portafilter on bench to settle coffe, add more, settle, top up, then tamp). Much improved results.

    - Switched from tap water to filtered water (with a moderate filter - just the heavy metals, bacteria and chlorine being removed).

    - Got a different and newer coffee. When the missus bought the last coffee supply, she didnt check the roast date and it was about 3 wks old when we got it.

    - Stopped weighing the coffee and disregarded "you must use 14g of coffee for a double basket" - I added enough to end up with a tamped puck which fits nicely into the group.

    - Started making notes as I went along (eg. Mountain Top Coffee - overdose - v.firm tamp - Rocky on 14 - good result, try finer grind next time).

    And I am now getting substantially improved coffees: espresso dripping out like honey.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2004

    Re: Rocky grief

    sounds like a fantastic improvement - great news, and a great result !

    Yeah, ignore that "thou shalt use 14g of coffee" bit. It really should be, thou shalt use the "14g basket" to make coffee. The nominal weight doesnt really bear much correlation to what they actually will hold, or what they should hold for optimal coffee production. I think Alan Frew once said that as little as half a gram difference in weight can have a big effect on the results, so its important when youre overdosing to have a consistent process so you get consistent results (Ill preach that, sometimes I dont really practice it, but I know my process is not too bad).

    Its all about getting consistency in process. Here are your aims: Your tamp should be the same, and your dosing should be the same, no matter what. Then you should vary the grind setting to get the desired pour. Remember that grind settings for exactly the same batch of beans will change over time, even on a daily basis as humidity and ambient temperature changes, but certainly as the beans age. (Given Rocky has stepped grinds, you may have to compromise by making small adjustments to your tamping)

  6. #6
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Warwick, QLD

    Re: Rocky grief

    Great news DavidR,

    You must be very pleased now with being able to really enjoy the fruits of your labours... well done [smiley=thumbsup.gif].

    Quote Originally Posted by poundy link=1155520399/0#4 date=1155903552
    Given Rocky has stepped grinds, you may have to compromise by making small adjustments to your tamping
    Generally, I have found it much too difficult to vary the tamp force I use..... have found it much easier to vary the dose by a smidgen one way or the other, and this seems to work great. Even tend to leave the grind setting "as-is" unless dosing adjustments are unable to cope.... were talking about step changes here of only +/- 1 step when needed,


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