Rancilio HSD-ROC-SD Rocky Coffee Grinder Review

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Bottom Line

While the initial cash layout for the Rancilio Rocky may be a bit much, this "tank" of a grinder could last you for 15 years or more, say experts and owners, which averages out to the very reasonable $20 or so per year. The Rocky is a ceramic flat burr grinder that is a top performer in tests and is a particular favorite of espresso drinkers as it excels at fine grinds. This is the doserless model, which reviewers say is easier to use and clean. However, if you prefer a doser, the Rancilio HSD-ROC-SS Rocky (Est. $365) includes one but is otherwise identical; it gets very good reviews as well.

ProsPowerful, Quiet, Consistent grind, Extremely durableConsInitial learning curve, Retains grinds

Breaking it down

Performance

Consistently outstanding results. It seems there aren't enough complimentary adjectives to describe the performance of the Rancilio Rocky, according to our analysis of expert and owner reviews. Its 55 settings deliver an excellent, consistent grind that owners say is unmatched by all but the most expensive, commercial grade grinders. All agree that when it comes to coffee, especially espresso, the right grind is crucial and that buying the Rocky is money well spent. This model does not have a doser, but most experts and owners say that is preferable. If you disagree, the version of this grinder with a doser, noted above, is also available. For more information on doser versus doserless grinders, see the introduction to our coffee grinders report, where we discuss the difference in more detail. The one consistent complaint we saw about the Rancilio Rocky is that it tends to have a fairly high level of grind retention -- several owners say that they have measured the retention level at one to two grams -- which may not sound like much, but does add up over time.

Ease of use

Easy to use, easy to clean. Reviewers generally agree that the Rancilio Rocky grinder is easy to use, once you get the hang of it. There is a learning curve, owners say, although it's a fairly short one and most say this machine is fairly intuitive. There are also some complaints that the instruction manual could be clearer. As for cleaning the Rocky, users widely say that it couldn't be easier, noting that the virtual absence of static electricity means that grounds don't fly around and make a mess on the counter.

Appearance/durability

Built like a tank. Construction and durability are areas in which the Rancilio Rocky grinder truly shines. Users say it is tough, heavy and rugged. Many owners note that this may be the last grinder you will ever need to buy. We read many reviews from owners who have had this for 10 or 15 years or more and it's still going strong. One expert reviewer does the math, saying if it lasts for 15 years or more it's only about a $20 per year investment, which completely justifies the initial price. The grinder comes with a two-year warranty. Reviewers like its looks, too, with most saying it looks nice and several going so far as to call it "stylish."

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Rancilio HSD-ROC-SS Rocky Espresso Coffee Grinder with Doser Chamber
Buy from Amazon.com
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New: $544.00 $365.00   
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Our Sources

1. GearPatrol.com

Grind It Out: 10 Best Coffee Grinders, Scott Packard, Feb. 25, 2013

Scott Packard says the Rancilio Rocky is a great choice for those to whom a quiet operation is most important. However, he also notes that this is a "classic" coffee grinder with 55 settings and great durability.

2. CoffeeGeek.com

Espresso Machine Buying Guide - Don't Skimp on the Grinder, Mark Prince, Dec. 26, 2009

The Rancilio Rocky is Mark Prince's top choice for a mid-priced grinder. He says it's highly durable, when the cost is amortized over the number of years it can last it's actually a bargain. Although this is an older review, it's still relevant as most of the products covered are still widely available or offered in versions that are essentially identical.

3. Amazon.com

Rancilio HSD-ROC-SD Rocky Coffee Grinder, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of October 2015

More than 175 owners post reviews of the Rancilio Rocky, where it earns 4.3 stars out of 5 overall. It gets high praise its performance and rock-solid construction. Several say they've had theirs for years and it still works as well as it did when they purchased it. There are very few complaints, mostly targeted at grind retention.

4. Whole Latte Love

Rancilio Rocky Doserless Coffee Grinder, Contributors to WholeLatteLove.com, As of October 2015

The Rancilio Rocky earns a perfect 5-star rating from more than 70 reviewers, with owners saying it performs well, is easy to use and operates quietly. Some say it can take a bit of trial and error to determine the best settings to achieve the desired grind, but agree that it's worth the effort.

5. CoffeeGeek.com

Grinders: Rocky Doserless Grinder, Contributors to CoffeeGeek.com, As of October 2015

About 40 owners review the Rancilio Rocky at CoffeeGeek.com, giving it an overall score of 8.4 points out of 10. The model is praised for its excellent "rugged" build and consistent grind, and many say it is well worth the money.