In today's Rancilio Rocky review I'll be taking an in-depth look at one of the most highly rated coffee grinders around. As you probably already know, using freshly ground beans is essential to achieving consistent cup results.
In today’s Rancilio Rocky review I’ll be taking an in-depth look at one of the most highly rated coffee grinders around. As you probably already know, using freshly ground beans is essential to achieving consistent cup results.
With that said, you can forget about using a cheap little blade grinder – that’ll just humiliate your favorite beans!
While there are tons of great options in my burr coffee grinder guide 2023, the Rancilio Rocky has somehow slipped through the cracks. Until now, that is.
I have to say I’m really excited to add the Rancilio Rocky to my growing list of grinder reviews. Who knows – it might even topple a familiar favorite from the “Best Espresso Grinder” throne! So, let’s get straight into this Rancilio Rocky review and take a look at what we’re dealing with.
Worth the investment
Rancilio Rocky SD
A really well-built grinder!
Versatile coffee grinder
Ideal for espresso
Easy to clean
Rancilio Rocky Review Overview
Rancilio is a respected Italian manufacturer known for producing some of the best coffee making equipment around. Seriously, check out my review of the Rancilio Silvia espresso machine if you don’t believe me.
With that in mind, you can be assured the Rancilio Rocky Coffee Grinder has been built to last, using high-quality commercial-grade components.
Incidentally, before I go any further I should point out there are two Rocky models – the doserless SD and the Rocky SS, which has a doser. I’ll be reviewing the Rancilio Rocky SD, seeing as it’s way more suitable for home use. After all, the large doser only works properly if it’s full of ground coffee, which will quickly go stale unless it’s all used up.
One look at the Rancilio Rocky is all it takes to know this thing means business. I happen to love the minimalist, industrial vibe that’s going on here – the Rocky definitely looks like something you’d see in a third wave cafe. Oh, and as I mentioned earlier, this coffee grinder has the muscle to back up its design aesthetic.
Equipped with a powerful motor and 50 millimeter tempered steel flat burrs, the Rocky is capable of grinding consistently at high volumes. Add in the fact that there are 55 grinder settings to choose from, and you’re looking at an extremely versatile grinder for home use.
Still, seeing as the Rancilio Rocky SD is considered an entry-level coffee grinder, is it worth the $440.00 you’ll have to pay? I aim to find out in this Rancilio Rocky review!
Rancilio Rocky SD Features
This burr grinder might look fairly straightforward, but there’s lots more to discuss. Let’s continue this Rancilio Rocky review by examining its standout features.
Size and Design
I know it’s kind of a cliche to describe something as “built like a tank,” but I just have to go there. I mean, the Rancilio Rocky is a big brute of a thing, and feels almost indestructible. Featuring an abundance of stainless steel in its construction and clocking in at 15.4 pounds (7 kilograms), the Rocky is substantial to say the least.
In combination with its industrial design and utilitarian vibe, the grinder’s weight makes it feel reassuringly well made. With that said, the Rancilio Rocky isn’t particularly large, so you shouldn’t have any problems finding a place for it in your kitchen.
As I mentioned earlier, the Rancilio Rocky SD doesn’t have a doser or grounds bin. Instead, there’s a simple chute with a portafilter cradle beneath. While the Rocky has obviously been designed primarily as an espresso grinder, the portafilter cradle can easily be removed.
Up top there’s a 10.5 ounce (300 gram) bean hopper that’s made of blue-tinted plastic. While that might look a little weird, the colored plastic actually prevents beans from harmful UV rays.
That’s all very well, but the hopper lid doesn’t create an airtight seal, so it’s best not to keep coffee beans in here for long. Instead, I’d recommend getting hold of a decent coffee canister.
Flat Tempered Steel Burrs
Earlier in this Rancilio rocky review I referenced the grinder’s high-quality commercial-grade components. I was talking about the 50 millimeter flat tempered steel burrs. What’s more, the Rocky’s powerful 140-watt motor rotates the burrs at 1725 RPM, which is truly impressive for a home grinder.
Thanks to their superior design, the flat burrs stay nice and cool during operation. Best of all, the Rancilio Rocky is capable of producing extremely consistent grinds, especially at the finer end of the spectrum.
Incidentally, the Rancilio Rocky is equipped with a thermal overload shut off feature. This turns off the motor when it gets too hot, which is important if a small stone happens to get into the burrs during operation. While coffee roasters always use a destoner after roasting, small particles get through from time to time, and can seriously mess with your grinder.
The Rancilio Rocky is equipped with 55 grind adjustment settings, making it suitable for a range of brew methods. From what I can gather, you won’t need to get anywhere near the coarsest setting to get a consistent grind size for French press.
At the finer end of things, the Rocky really shines. Essentially, this is a coffee grinder that’s ideal for use with any home espresso machine. Still, if you’re a Turkish coffee aficionado, you might be better off looking elsewhere. Check out my guide to the best manual coffee grinders for a start!
Incidentally, the Rancilio rocky has stepped grind settings, which may or may not be a dealbreaker for some folks. As I said earlier, this is a pretty fantastic espresso grinder. However, you aren’t going to be able to make infinite micro-adjustments like you would with a stepless grinder.
To be honest, I think there’s plenty of room to maneuver among the finest 10 settings. Still, I could see how some baristas might find the stepped system rather limiting.
Seeing as the Rancilio Rocky is hardly a budget coffee grinder, you might feel like it’s a little too bare bones in terms of features. Still, the lack of any bells and whistles makes this grinder extremely easy to use.
As far as controls go, there’s a power button on one side and a pulse grinding button on the other. Personally, I always use a coffee scale when I’m grinding coffee, so that sounds good to me. Still, those who prefer a timed dosing function might be disappointed.
One aspect of the Rancilio Rocky that rubs some folks the wrong way is changing the grind setting. In order to do so, you have to turn the grinder on, hold down the locking mechanism and twist the hopper. It really isn’t a big deal at all, but some people just seem to need things to complain about!
How to Use the Rancilio Rocky Doserless Coffee Grinder
At this point in my Rancilio rocky review, you will have realized that using the thing is about as easy as it gets. Sure, making grind adjustments involves a minor inconvenience. Still, operating the Rocky SD won’t tax your brain at all. Anyway, here’s how to use this grinder for espresso:
Start by adding coffee beans to the hopper. Don’t fill it all the way unless you plan on using all the beans within a day or two.
Turn the grinder on using the power switch on the right hand side.
Pull out your trusty coffee scale, set it to measure grams and tare your espresso machine portafilter.
Place the portafilter in the cradle and hold down the pulse button on the lower left side of the grinder.
Once you’re satisfied with the amount of grounds dispensed, place the portafilter back on the scale to check. Feel free to add more coffee if needed, depending on your desired dose.
How Loud Is the Rancilio Rocky SD?
Anyone who buys a coffee grinder expecting it to be whisper quiet is living in cloud cuckoo land. With that said, manufacturers have made great strides in lowering grinder noise to impressively low levels. In fact, the noise-reducing insulation on some super automatic espresso machine grinders has blown my mind!
Anyway, for as meaty as the Rancilio Rocky’s motor might be, the grinder is surprisingly quiet in operation; much more so than some budget models.
Ultimately, it’s obvious that the manufacturer has spent a good amount of time perfecting the Rocky’s design. Sure, I can’t guarantee this thing won’t wake the baby, but it’s definitely not going to give you a headache!
How to Clean the Rancilio Rocky Espresso Grinder
Thanks to its straightforward, utilitarian design, the Rancilio Rocky Coffee Grinder is a breeze to clean and maintain. Of course, how much cleaning you’ll have to do really comes down to the type of beans you’re using and how often you use the grinder.
For example, if you’re using dark roasted coffee beans on a daily basis, oils will quickly build up in the hopper and on the burrs. I recommend using Urnex Grindz for cleaning the burrs of coffee oil buildup.
While you’re at it, remove the upper burr and brush off any excess grounds and coffee dust. If you really want to go to town, consider using a small vacuum cleaner on the lower burr. I’m a fan of the Brigii Mini Vacuum.
Finally, don’t forget to keep the bean hopper clean. I find that wiping it out with a paper towel once a week takes care of any oils that might be hanging out in there.
Rancilio Rocky Specifications
|Rancilio Rocky SD|
|Type||Electric coffee grinder|
|Grinder||Stainless steel flat burrs|
|Weight||15.5 lb / 7.0 kg|
|Dimensions||14.0 x 4.7 x 9.8 in / 35.6 x 12.0 x 25.0 cm|
|Suitable for||Espresso, moka pot, AeroPress, pour over, drip machines|
|Current price on Amazon||$440.00|
Rancilio Rocky vs Other Grinders
My Rancilio Rocky review wouldn’t be complete without pitting it against a couple of other grinders. So, let’s see how the Rocky SD fares in comparison with two of my all-time favorites.
Rancilio Rocky vs Breville Smart Grinder Pro
I’m a huge fan of the Breville Smart Grinder Pro, which is why I named it “Best Budget Espresso Grinder” in my coffee grinder guide. Costing just $199.95, the Smart Grinder Pro represents seriously good value for money, especially considering its grinding capabilities.
Though not the best for coarse grinds, the Breville performs like a champ for espresso and drip coffee. Plus, it has a cool LCD display and can dose by time. To top it all off, the Smart Grinder Pro has a whopping 60 grind adjustment settings.
While it’s certainly not as high-end as the Rancilio Rocky grinder, the Breville grinder is a solid choice if you’re looking for an inexpensive and versatile burr grinder.
See Also: Breville Smart Grinder Pro Hands-On Review 2023
Rancilio Rocky vs Baratza Sette 270Wi
If you’re serious about making espresso at home and you’re willing to spend a little more, the Baratza Sette 270Wi is where it’s at. To be honest, I’ve yet to find another espresso grinder that comes close.
For starters, the Baratza offers 270 grind adjustment settings. That’s right: 270 settings! Further, the Sette 270Wi’s unique design means the motor is kept far away from the burrs. That equals super low-heat grinding. And the cherry on top? The 270Wi has an intelligent built-in scale, so you can grind by weight.
Although I’m very impressed by the Rancilio Rocky, I’d always recommend saving up $599.95 for the Baratza Sette 270Wi. Seriously, it’ll completely change your life.
See Also: Baratza Sette 270Wi Hands-On Review 2023
Rancilio Rocky vs Others Comparison Chart
|Rancilio Rocky SD||Breville Smart Grinder Pro||Barata Sette 270Wi|
|Name||Rocky SD||The Smart Grinder Pro||Sette 270Wi|
|Type||Electric coffee grinder||Electric coffee grinder||Electric coffee grinder|
|Grinder||Stainless steel flat burrs||Stainless steel conical burrs||Stainless steel conical burrs|
|Power||140 watt||165 watt||240 watt|
|Voltage||120 volt||110 volt||220-240 volt|
|Weight||15.5 lb / 7.0 kg||6.4 lb / 2.9 kg||7.0 lb / 3.2 kg|
|Dimensions||14.0 x 4.7 x 9.8 in / 35.6 x 12.0 x 25.0 cm||15.5 x 6.0 x 8.5 in / 39.4 x 15.2 x 21.6 cm||15.7 x 5.1 x 9.4 in / 40.0 x 13.0 x 24.0 cm|
|Suitable for||Espresso, moka pot, AeroPress, pour over, drip machines||Espresso, moka pot, AeroPress, pour over, drip machines||Espresso, French press, pour-over, Chemex, AeroPress, cold brew|
|Accessories||User manual||User manual, grounds container with lid, 2 x portafilter cradles, cleaning brush||User manual|
|Current price on Amazon||$440.00||$199.95||$599.95|
Verdict: Rancilio Rocky Grinder
Worth the investment
Rancilio Rocky SD
A really well-built grinder!
Versatile coffee grinder
Ideal for espresso
Easy to clean
Having reached the end of my Rancilio Rocky review, I can confidently say this is a truly fantastic grinder. Given its stainless steel construction, ease of use and impressive versatility, I’d say this burr grinder could thrive in any number of different venues. I’m thinking the Rocky SD would work as well in a semi-commercial setting like an office as a home kitchen.
Still, if you’re looking for a grinder with more functionality, there are better options out there. And if you want to take your espresso game up a few levels, the Rancilio Rocky might feel limiting after a while.
What’s your experience with the Rancilio Rocky? Is it the ultimate espresso grinder? I look forward to reading all about it in the comments section!
Rancilio Rocky Espresso Grinder FAQ
Seeing as the Rancilio Rocky features commercial-grade components and functions so well, I’d say it represents very good value for money.
If you’re using the Rancilio Rocky for espresso, start at the finer end of the ground spectrum. I’d recommend staying between #1 and #10 on the grinder scale.
The Rancilio Rocky Coffee Grinder is equipped with commercial-grade flat tempered steel burrs.