We do love ourselves a grudge match over here at SCG, and today’s contest is between the Rancilio Rocky and Baratza Preciso grinders. While they’re both stepped grinders — meaning that they have a notch configuration on the burrs so you have referential numbers vs. an infinite grind (like you find on the Mazzer grinders, for example) — they each have different cases to make. The Rocky has commercial-grade components and a reputation as a solid, well-built machine, while the Preciso gives you more control over the grind (offering both macro and micro settings) as well as the ability to retrofit with the Esatto if you’re looking for simple, weight-based grinding.
Watch as Gail shows us the features between these two grinder — including a tour of their burr sets, functionality and grind quality.
Specifically, a double ristretto is a double shot that has been calibrated to use the same dosage of coffee, extract in the same 20 – 30 second window and produce a powerful, condensed shot with a total volume of 1 – 1.5 oz (depending on your tastes). If you have an espresso-grade grinder, you can do this with any non-pressurized espresso machine by altering your grind and tamp.
Professor Bunny in the house! We have often been asked about how grind, dose and tamp affect each other, so we posed a few questions to learn more about it. First, how does coffee dosage affect coffee grind? As you dose more, do you need to make the grind coarser or finer? How about when you dose less? Then we turned to tamping: When you tamp more lightly, how do you have to adjust your grind to still extract within the 20 – 30 second timeframe?
In these two videos, Bunny takes on these questions and a whole lot more! Watch her experiment with the Crossland CC1 and Baratza Vario-W and learn how to change your grind in order to meet your dose amount or tamp pressure.
When Baratza released their new Encore grinder, they made a point of talking about how the re-engineering of the burr set resulted in a lower cost burr grinder that could still go fine enough for traditional espresso machines. While the consistency isn’t quite as good as its Virtuoso, Preciso or Vario counterparts, it does do a fairly solid job grinding for espresso — as long as the 0-point is set accurately.
The first demo model we tested worked just fine from the factory and we were able to use it with the Rancilio Silvia without issue; however, subsequent models — and a few customer reports — led us down the path of re-calibration. In this video, Gail shows how to take apart, re-calibrate and then put back together the Encore, including a demonstration of the grind quality before and after the adjustment.
LCD screen lets you set grind (coarse to fine) volume (in cups and shots depending on fineness of grind) and dosage (weak to strong)
Timer or on/off switch
Timer and manual
Timer and manual setting
Time to grind double shot
Only with timer, not by weight/volume
Automatically adjusts with grind; from coarser (dose in cups) to fine (dose in shots)
Doser avail for +$10, otherwise chute only
Grind consistency (1-5 scale, 5=most consistent)
40 individual step settingsFinest setting: 3
Coarsest setting: 1
25 settingsFinest setting: 4
Coarsest setting: 2
55 settingsFinest setting: 5, like talc
Coarsest setting: 3
Shot performance (scale of 1-5, 5=strongest)
3: Overall, a solid shot, with the depth you’d expect from a fresh grind and proper dial-in.
4: A solid shot with great flavor and slightly more complex notes using the 2nd finest setting.
5: Shot has a great mouth feel, and you can taste more complexity and richness to the shot.
No frills, no fuss, easy to use, it’s a strong performer for espresso and other coffee applications. No electric panel makes trouble shooting a breeze as your grinder ages.
The lightest of the pack, this grinder is extremely versatile and a great value. It’s all about the features and accessories: portafilter holders, ground coffee canister, removable hopper to switch out beans.
Commercial quality for home use and it shows. Largest footprint of all grinders, a big commitment to your counter top, but with definite benefits in shot quality.
The Rocky is a literal heavyweight coming in at 18 pounds and a hundred dollar heftier price tag, but there’s no doubt that the commercial quality burrs make a difference when it comes to tasting the complexity of your shot. I love the Virtuoso’s ease of use and inherent versatility, so it’s often my go-to for testing espresso, pour overs and french press. But like an ostrich, I am drawn to shiny objects and I wish it had more stainless in the casing. The Smart Grinder fulfills this need, and weighing in under six pounds means it doesn’t need to be a permanent fixture on your countertop – but it could be because it’s great for households with multiple coffee drinkers with different bean preferences. What would you choose?
One of the darlings of both the home and commercial espresso communities, Baratza produces several different types of coffee grinders designed to suit pretty much any coffee need. With the majority of them clocking in at under $500, they provide excellent functionality for the price.
To break down the differences between their offerings, Gail lines them up and knocks them down! Okay, she doesn’t really knock them down … but she does show off their burr sets, compare functionality and demonstrates grind consistency on the Encore, Virtuoso, Preciso and Vario.
You know how serious we are about coffee grinders! If you haven’t heard us rant before about how they’re really the most important element of your coffee setup, remind us to break it down for you sometime.
Today’s video addresses a different aspect of coffee grinders: If you’re not planning to ever make espresso at home, how do the entry level grinders compare? Even if you’re just budget-conscious and aren’t making espresso right now, picking up one of these grinders in the short term isn’t a bad idea.