Cue Eye Of The Tiger! We’re matching up the Baratza Sette series with the Rancilio Rocky.
This is a face off for the ages, and as we’ve discussed the Baratza Sette series, many times, we’re happy to see this new contender enter the ring. Let’s discuss some of the finer points between both and see which comes out on top.
The Rancilio Rocky Grinder
Our underdog in this comparison, The Rocky by Rancilio, is an eighteen pound entry level grinder that packs a punch, just like a certain boxer. Built with commercial-grade materials, this is a professional machine that’s made for the home brewer and can handle an intense coffee quota.
If you’re tired of living with the disadvantages of a blade grinder, then pay close attention!
This beauty is one of the more popular grinders out there. Built with all the options and extras that one might find in Rancilio’s commercials grinders, the Rocky is a courageous grinder that takes on a vast task list.
It’s equipped with tempered steel burrs, stepped grinder adjustments, and comes in a Doser model, the Rocky SS, or Doser-less model to fit into any home barista’s lifestyle. The benefits of dosing includes:
- Saves coffee beans with its accuracy (Grind only what you use!).
- The Dosing mechanism stops grinds from clumping together in the system and in the final results.
- The dose settings allows users to step back and grind unattended, which is helpful if you’re grinding large doses, say for a week ahead of time.
- The fact that the dosing mechanism prevents clumping and even distributes particles also aids to the lessening of static.
The Doser-less version, called the Rocky SD, saves the user time, with less cubic inches to clean. Though many will find the benefits of dosing to be quite convincing, and worth the extra investment. On the doser-less model, which is still useful for home application, the user is in control over the amount of grinds that fill a porta-filter, and there’s no attachable chamber to fill with grinds. So this version is obviously suited toward very small batches, like espresso shots.
The Rocky is interesting in the sense that it’s got forty settings inscribed into its dial but the ultra-fine threading of the burrs make for roughly ten extra settings that lets you go from French press to espresso particles. The Rocky’s grinder settings are quite applicable to those searching for wide variety of grind options, while higher end grinders often specialize in one or the other, coarse or fine.
The Rancilio Rocky’s grinding settings are tuned for home baristas to dial-in grinds for a variety of brew methods.
Adjusting the grinder setting requires that you to turn the Rocky’s hopper while holding down a locking mechanism, which keeps the grind setting in place.
The Rocky has a built in screw at the zero grind mark. This is called the ‘zero point‘ and though it seems like a minuscule addition it is what prevents the burrs from grinding against each other when the grind setting is pushed to its smallest particle size.
This is quite an important addition, basically it ensures the burrs won’t clash and their sharpness is maintained. It’s also likely to help prevent the grinder from getting choked with grounds.
The Rocky SS is a manual dosing grinder, which means it only grinds when you manually push the button located in the bottom left-hand corner. With a manual dosing grinder, you might have to employ a little extra leg work by weighing out your beans prior to grinding to ensure that you end up with the correct amount for your brewing method. This model also includes a portafilter holder, except it has a grounds catcher with a lever to dispense coffee after the grind is complete.
The Rancilio Rocky SD, the doserless model, features a chute and removable portafilter holder. This is a worthwhile addition so one can simply grind and then add to a container or pour into your French press.
Cons of The Rancilio Rocky
Every underdog has flaws, and the rocky is a grinder no exception to the rule.
- Many users report that the burrs don’t last as long as some people seem to think. Some say burrs should be changed as often as every two years.
- Additionally the coarse grind settings are very much on the coarse side of things, some say that you have to hone in the french press on the many steps of it’s adjustments to get a proper grind.
- Other users complain about the looseness of the upper burr carrier while it sits in place. We couldn’t determine if this lends itself to anything in the quality of the grind overall.
The Rocky can be modded to become a stepless grinder as well as firming up the upper burr carrier, but many users on the coffee forums either warn against or mention that even with the modification it won’t keep up with the commercial grinders.
That’s why it’s important to understand what you want to get out of your grinder.
What will you mainly be using it for? Like buying a truck (a similar price-tag in some cases) you need to know what your objective use is first.
Mechanics of the Rancilio Rocky
So getting under the hood, let’s see what kind of engine this thing has.
The Rocky has a heavy duty 166-watt direct drive motor which brings about some major power. This mainly accountable for the eighteen pounds that makeup the grinder itself, though the rugged body does help. In addition to providing more power to the grinding process, the motor is surprisingly quiet and cool. That’s a major plus when it comes to savoring the oils and freshness of your beans.
In this case, a more powerful motor means the job is done with efficiency and doesn’t have to make much noise to get through the beans. That is certainly easy with the 1725 RPM’s it boasts.
In addition, the same principle applies to the level of heat it created. The grinder uses less effort to grind and therefore builds up less heat. Rancillio is known for thier intense testing and this grinder is of no exception. Reportedly, it is capable of grinding nearly eight pounds of beans per hour. For your home needs it’s likely that the Rocky SD will be able to perform up to your standards.
Now the Sette Series enters the ring. Let’s see how it holds up next to the Rocky.
The Baratza Sette 30AP, 270, and 270W
Baratza know how to make grinder, we’ve reviewed their Sette and Forté series before too. Let’s discuss the product line of the Sette here, as it lines up price-wise pretty consistently with the Rocky.
The Sette series has started a revolution with it’s unique innovations. What once started as a fluke of a grinder, the Sette 30, evolved into the 30AP through rigorous user testing, feedback from expert coffee grinders everywhere weighed in and Baratza heard them loud and clear.
The Baratza Sette series was thus developed to take on grinding challenges that the average user found important and thus are equipped with 40mm conical steel burrs across the series, which produce consistent grinds. The conical burrs aren’t where the innovation ends though.
It’s called the Etzinger Mechanism, and it’s already proved to be well worth it’s weight in gold. It’s like throwing some ripe coffee beans into a jet engine (trust us, they won’t let you do that at the airport) because the inventor Christian Etzinger, is actually an aeronautical engineer.
The jet-like properties of this mechanism basically translate to the beans are pulled through the grinding process rather than being fed simply by gravity. This is consistency unlike anything else you’ll find.
Allowing the beans to be pulled into the mechanism and thus feeding the grinder, eliminates static and poor particle distribution, and in turn allows for weight based dosing that is at once accurate and quickly on demand.
So at the top of this series, the Sette 270W is able to offer real-time grind-by-weight functionality: also a game changer in the coffee grinding practice.
The Sette 30 grinds 3.5 to 5.5 grams per second, depending on roast and grind setting. The burrs are durable, and will remain sharp for exceptionally long periods of time. This means you won’t be investing extra money into the grinder to replace them every couple of years.
The clever design of the Sette series burr assembly offers you, the user, the ability to exchange the cone burr in less than a minute. No tools required, and unlike most any other grinder on the marker, no need to recalibrate. Chances are though, you won’t be worrying about removing the burr set to replace them thanks to their durability, they’re still easily removable for cleaning.
The motor is high speed and quick, probably providing just as much footwork as the Rocky, but is especially useful for low retention of grounds, so cleaning becomes less of an issue itself.
If we’re discussing single dosing then this is a worthy contender.
Additionally, timed dosing lets you skip the setup and get right to your morning grind. Unless you’re willing to spend the extra money to get picky, then thirty different grind settings should give you plenty of shots to choose from.
Not to mention, with the future of coffee brewing moving ever-forward, the 270W will be able to do espresso dosing via an app on your phone. Espresso dosing via bluetooth?Welcome to the future!
With over 270 steps in your grind, the Baratza Sette 270 has earned its name. The Sette 270 features 31 stepped adjustments from fine to coarse with an infinite stepless adjustment system, for reaching those sweet spots in between steps.
Baratza is well aware that coffee lovers like to work with a slew of different beverage styles so it’s been the mission of the 270s to gear up and offer varying grinds that can be honed in by preference with the infinite step adjustments. The Baratza Sette 270’s are aiming for the ultimate in quality over a broad spectrum of grind styles.
For coffee lovers looking to brew for espresso, the Baratza Sette Series has the tools to get the job done right. The home brewer has never been more equipped than with these simple two lever adjusters.
Major Differences Between the Baratza Sette and Rancilio Rocky
To truly pair them up we should lay out all the nuances, good and bad, so picking the perfect grinder is a slightly easier task. We’ve heard a lot of talk from the experts on these two, so here’s the gossip all in one place:
Burr Material: The Sette series, feature 40 mm conical burrs made from steel. The Rocky features 50 mm steel burrs in both it’s doser and doserless versions.
Motor Setup: Touching on speed and performance, the Sette series is comprised of a powerful DC motor, and like The Rocky grinder, features direct drive to further optimize the process. However, the winning detail here is sound, and The Rocky has a sturdy, heavy metal housing that lends itself to a quieter operation. With the Rocky it’s possible to grind for your coffee, whenever you choose to drink it.
Grind Settings: Oriented more for espresso, the Sette 270 and 270W win with it’s 30 steps and seemingly infinite number of steps in between with micro-adjustments, but the Rocky has forty settings of it’s own, yet is capable of more as it approaches the zero point.
Interface: The Rocky is quite simple in this regard. Simply adjust the ring around the hopper to hone in your grind. However, hats off to the Sette series, as the 270 and 270W, are very programable with a touch screen and additionally, Bluetooth technology is becoming widely available so one can program and start a grind from anywhere on their smart phone.
Regardless of what aspect of these devices is most important to you, it’s likely that you’ll soon understand why many coffee lovers ditch the blade grinder and get serious about their coffee with a burr grinder. Hopefully we’ve helped you hone in on the grinder of your dreams, but if you’re still on the fence, check out more of the gear we like over here.