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Thread: Upgrade from Rocky grinder - anything to be gained?

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    Upgrade from Rocky grinder - anything to be gained?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Well its been 4 years since my Rancilio Rocky/Silvia combo - both which have served me well. However, its time for an upgrade on the expresso machine I'm currently looking at replacing the Silvia with a Diadema Junior HX machine but would like to leave the Rocky as is. Would i be 'bottlenecking' my Diadema machine by doing this - and should (If I could) upgrade the Rocky as well and what would i gain out of upgrading it.

    I basically use the machine once a day, twice on weekends. (To make 2 cups on average)

  2. #2
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Shortly after I bought the Bezzera I sold my 10 year old Rocky and upgraded to a Mazzer Mini.

    There was an improvement, however not exactly a game changer.

    The Rocky is/was a very good little grinder, it served me well.

    PS, I'm more than happy with the Mazzer, don't see any further upgrades on the horizon.

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    What did you notice in the improvement? *as i can't really fault anything about the Rocky, its compartment is the perfect size for me as well (fits 250grams in perfectly)

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    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by su888 View Post
    What did you notice in the improvement? *as i can't really fault anything about the Rocky, its compartment is the perfect size for me as well (fits 250grams in perfectly)
    That was three years ago, as I said, I recall an improvement, however, the Rocky was a very good little grinder so the improvement was not enormous.

    If Rocky is doing the job why change?

    Of course if you have the spare cash and the desire why not?

    Just reread your last post, (fits 250grams in perfectly) do you store your beans in the hopper? definitely not recommended, beans go stale very quickly stored in this manner.

    Suggest, storing in one way valve bags and adding to the grinder as required, this may improve your coffee more than upgrading the grinder.

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    Coffee Newbie okitoki's Avatar
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    i recently had a Rocky with doser that I bought used... it had a few mods done to it at the time... one was the clear tube mod around the hopper to stop it vibrating, and the other was the stepless mod... (also had the sweeper mod for the doser if thats the same as yours)

    to me, it worked really well for me to be able to make the fine adjustments... I guess most people say that once you have a better machine, you will need the stepless adjustment to get the best out of it... since then, I have used a Macap and now a Mazzer super jolly... and going by memory, I didnt think I would have noticed the difference with my taste... I would say the rocky is noisier and slower than the Macap (after I changed the burr) and the Mazzer...

    Since you already have it, I would suggest modding it to see if it can cope with you new machine, and the good thing is that these mods are fully reversible...

    Overall, I liked the rocky, but only got rid of it because I wanted a Mazzer, and had too many grinders in the house

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    That was three years ago, as I said, I recall an improvement, however, the Rocky was a very good little grinder so the improvement was not enormous.

    If Rocky is doing the job why change?

    Of course if you have the spare cash and the desire why not?

    Just reread your last post, (fits 250grams in perfectly) do you store your beans in the hopper? definitely not recommended, beans go stale very quickly stored in this manner.

    Suggest, storing in one way valve bags and adding to the grinder as required, this may improve your coffee more than upgrading the grinder.
    No i have no desire to upgrade something that is fit for purpose, my question was more if it would be a hinderance using a Rocky on a Diadema Junior since its a pretty reasonable upgrade from a Silvia.

    Point taken about avoid storing the beans in the hopper (they proably last a week or so on average before i get a new bag). I will proably leave my Rocky alone as upgrading it seems to be one of little benefit.

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    When I upgraded from a Silvia to a Giotto I got a Compak K3 to run alongside my rocky, which has a stepless mod.

    The Compak is slightly quicker, but not significantly, grinding 18g in about 17 seconds, compared to about 20 in the rocky.

    It's really hard to say that the k3 is better. I prefer it, it feels more precise than the modded rocky, but I haven't really tested it properly.

    Bottom line, make your rocky stepless for a huge improvement.

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    Quote Originally Posted by su888 View Post
    No i have no desire to upgrade something that is fit for purpose, my question was more if it would be a hinderance using a Rocky on a Diadema Junior since its a pretty reasonable upgrade from a Silvia.

    Point taken about avoid storing the beans in the hopper (they proably last a week or so on average before i get a new bag). I will proably leave my Rocky alone as upgrading it seems to be one of little benefit.
    A week in the hopper they will be well and truly stale. Any excess in my hopper goes back in the bag when I'm finished with the grinder.

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    I upgraded the old Sunbeam EM6910 to a Giotto Rocket about 12 months ago and used my old em0480 (which was well out of it's depth) to start with - was hard to justify (to my wife!!!) the purchase of a new grinder too. Shortly after I managed to get a free Rocky grinder through a points program at work and this made a world of difference. The difference in shot quality was huge and would probably be as good as, if not better than most cafes. Depending on the beans I have to grind at dial settings 9 or 10 and get continually good results on my shots. I'm guessing a better quality grinder will probably produce better results again but I don't think it would be like the huge difference I saw on my original upgrade to the Rocky. I would say if your Rocky is in good condition it may be worth sticking with it for now rather than just upgrading for the sake of it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MrJack View Post
    A week in the hopper they will be well and truly stale. Any excess in my hopper goes back in the bag when I'm finished with the grinder.
    Silly question but how do you get the excess beans into a bag? Do you flip the unit upside down and get it out through the doser?

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    Sorry, I use a different grinder. I just remove the hopper and pour them out.

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    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Probably the most common criticism I've heard with the Rocky, is that the step changes between stops is excessive for fine-tuning espresso shots. Other than that, it is basically a domesticated Rancilio MD-40...

    There are a couple of very simple and fully reversible mod's that can be applied to the Rocky, that will overcome the step-change issue and if you're happy with everything else your Rocky does for you, I can't really see the need to go any further than this. You can do a search in the Grinder thread to find that Mod, and it will probably cost you less than a dollar to complete...

    All the best,
    Mal.

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    Senior Member Rocky's Avatar
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    I have been using my Rocky with my Diadema Perfetta for several years and anything lacking in my shots is due to my skills not the Rocky.
    I have never felt that the step-changes were too 'gross' to fine tune the grinder, I frankly don't think my best shots could be much better on this machine.
    I think past a certain point with the grind it is more about the other variables than the grind.
    When Rocky (the grinder, not me) has had his day I will probably go to a MM but that is a few years in the future.

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    If someone in your local area has a different grinder maybe you could invite them over for a grind off and a coffee or two..

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    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rocky View Post
    I have never felt that the step-changes were too 'gross' to fine tune the grinder
    G'day Rocky...

    I wasn't ascribing to that statement particularly but for some people it has been something that caused them a problem. It is of course easily overcome via the adjustment of dose size but this can be a difficult skill to acquire for some. I owned and used a Rocky D/L for several years and found it to be an excellent little grinder...

    Mal.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Rocky's Avatar
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    Hi Mal, yes - I find with the Perfetta that dose and tamp are critical factors and probably less important than grind (unless several stops off the pace)
    I can see however that less competent espresso machines might demand a finer control over the grind to optimise the final result.

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    Coffee Newbie okitoki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rocky View Post
    I can see however that less competent espresso machines might demand a finer control over the grind to optimise the final result.
    What do you mean "less competent" espresso machine? I would have thought a higher grade machine would require a finer control of the grind to get the best out of it?

  18. #18
    Senior Member Dragunov21's Avatar
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    Certain machines are more or less sensitive to grind (ie you don't have to be as precise to get a good extraction).

    I think E61 groupheads are supposedly quite forgiving, as are levers, so I don't think it's necessarily that there's a relationship between the cost of a machine and how important grind is to getting a good shot out of it. Of course, when you're talking about intentionally, subtley altering elements of the extraction to tailor the extraction to suit a particular taste (which would fall under getting the best out of it, I suppose), then higher-end machines are likely to be able to do that and therefore you may be able to get the most out of the ability to alter your grind in very small increments.

    It's important not to confuse the two concepts. You can have a machine that's very sensitive to grind but still not refined enough to make use of the ability to alter grind minutely.

  19. #19
    Senior Member GregWormald's Avatar
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    IMO you might notice slight improvement with a better grinder, but it will be minor and I wouldn't consider Rocky to be a 'hindrance'.

    Do the mods--stepless and teflon tape--and you will get some improvement there.

    Greg

  20. #20
    Senior Member ozscott's Avatar
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    Mal as normal is spot on.

    Rocky is a great little grinder, but in stock form you will end up finding that you need finer adjustment than it offers in stepped form. I noticed this was particularly so when I moved from a domestic to a commercial machine. I solved ths by taking off the hopper and installing small diameter black tubing of the size found in home aquarium onto the pressed metal case. ..ie you split the tube lengthwise and install it on the sharp edge. Put the hopper back on. Then hold down the step button and stick a coffee bean under it and walla you have a stepless grinder. Now I did notice a significant improvement going from the modded Rocky to a Masser SJ but I think the commercial machines do well with commercial grinder.

    As for only noticing the steps or lack of stepless in inferior machines that is quite wrong. On a good machine with good beans and attention to detail the stock Rocky will.frustrate at times...you know there is a point between steps that will get the most out of the bean but you CANT QUITE get there

    Cheers

  21. #21
    Senior Member Rocky's Avatar
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    I hope I never get to the point with my coffee where I am worrying about the difference between two consecutive steps on the grinder.
    For me, the combination of the 'unholy trinity' - grind. dose, and tamp - would all have to be perfect before I would be too worried about half a step on the grinder....
    and that's without even getting into perfect temp at point of pour.
    All a bit academic to me I'm afraid.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Dragunov21's Avatar
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    If your grinder is a half step out, then your grind is imperfect, no?

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    Coffee Newbie okitoki's Avatar
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    haha... never know... this morning I made 2 shots... first was very dark, with little crema and tasted burnt but pour was at good time... turn the SJ by one small line notch corser..... and came out nice and dark brown red with thick crema and tasted great...
    but then it becomes less noticeable as a milk drink though (GF did ask if hers was made stronger )

  24. #24
    Senior Member ozscott's Avatar
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by okitoki View Post
    haha... never know... this morning I made 2 shots... first was very dark, with little crema and tasted burnt but pour was at good time... turn the SJ by one small line notch corser..... and came out nice and dark brown red with thick crema and tasted great...
    but then it becomes less noticeable as a milk drink though (GF did ask if hers was made stronger )
    Yep - and that one line notch is smaller than a Rocky step, and of course you can go less than one line notch with the SJ.http://coffeesnobs.com.au/images/icons/icon6.png

    Cheers



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