Grinder recommendation? (Looking at the Rancilio Rocky or the Breville Smart Pro)

Speedy77

New member
Feb 14, 2018
2
0
Hey guys!

I just bought my first espresso machine (the Crossland CC1) and am looking to purchase a new grinder as well. I'd like to spend no more than $350 if I can avoid it, and so far two options have made their way into my line of sight. I'm looking for a grinder that can:
  • Grind for French press to espresso
  • Can accommodate containers as well as portafilters (for when I grind my coffee for the week at work).
  • Is relatively easy to switch out the beans (I often swap between regular and decaf for members of the family or for a late night latte).
  • Is relatively versatile and can produce a customizable grind.
  • Is generally a great grinder for espresso.

I'm looking at both the Rancilio Rocky and the Breville Smart Pro. I love the Rancilio for its sturdiness, grind quality, diversity of grind, and ability to be more easily fine-tuned. I like the Breville Smart Pro for it's ease of use, it's lower price point, the sealing hopper on the top, the fact that the hopper is removable, the one-handed operation with a portafilter, as well as its ability to grind the coffee quicker than the Rocky. Really the thing that prevents me from instantly buying the Breville is that according to many of the videos I've seen online, the grind quality isn't particularly fantastic compared to higher dollar machines.

The reason I'm posting is to see if any of you have had any experience with both of these machines, or if you have any other recommendations that might better fit what I'm looking for. Any help would be appreciated!
 

shadow745

Active member
Aug 15, 2005
1,592
4
Central North Carolina
Never had a Breville grinder, but what I've read is that they're generally decent on grind quality, but the durability/longevity leaves a lot to be desired. I've watched quite a few vids on them and the gearbox whine/struggle would get annoying. Rocky is direct drive and never struggles under load. Also is about 95% metal, mine has a stainless frame, brass burr carrier, heavy aluminum motor casing/grind chamber and even the doser is aluminum to absorb heat/add heft. Yes coffee can become quite warm if grinding back/back and all the metal in a good grinder minimizes that heat.

I do own/use a Rocky daily for espresso and have no desire for anything more. I've had a Vario, a NS MDX, various other good grinders including some high quality stepless hand mills. The grind quality, build quality, grind range, etc. of the Rocky is really good and will outlast something like the SGP many times over. Especially for the price range of the Rocky...

Don't really agree with the grind speed as the Rocky is far from slow. Not lightning fast, but I grind 19 grams in about 15 seconds, coarser grind range is quite a bit faster.

Mine has a doser, which I really like and dosers are often misunderstood. Most think they're wasteful, etc., but not if used efficiently.

The only negative based on your list is switching out coffees easily, but things like that don't deter me.

I will add that your taste preference should help determine your choice. Flat burr vs. conical can definitely change the taste that comes out of a coffee, especially for espresso. I've experimented with this many times in the past as have others on various forums. Conical burrs tend to highlight bright notes (citrus, berry, acidity) and flat burrs tend to bring out the more bold notes (chocolate, caramel, nutty). Based on the grinders/coffees I've used I just like flat burrs better as they offer more complexity/boldness in the cup. There is no right/wrong, just what you prefer and can afford.
 
Last edited:

paul.williams.9279

New member
Feb 22, 2018
2
0
Never had a Breville grinder, but what I've read is that they're generally decent on grind quality, but the durability/longevity leaves a lot to be desired. I've watched quite a few vids on them and the gearbox whine/struggle would get annoying. Rocky is direct drive and never struggles under load. Also is about 95% metal, mine has a stainless frame, brass burr carrier, heavy aluminum motor casing/grind chamber and even the doser is aluminum to absorb heat/add heft. Yes coffee can become quite warm if grinding back/back and all the metal in a good grinder minimizes that heat.

I do own/use a Rocky daily for espresso and have no desire for anything more. I've had a Vario, a NS MDX, various other good grinders including some high quality stepless hand mills. The grind quality, build quality, grind range, etc. of the Rocky is really good and will outlast something like the SGP many times over. Especially for the price range of the Rocky...

Don't really agree with the grind speed as the Rocky is far from slow. Not lightning fast, but I grind 19 grams in about 15 seconds, coarser grind range is quite a bit faster.

Mine has a doser, which I really like and dosers are often misunderstood. Most think they're wasteful, etc., but not if used efficiently.

The only negative based on your list is switching out coffees easily, but things like that don't deter me.

I will add that your taste preference should help determine your choice. Flat burr vs. conical can definitely change the taste that comes out of a coffee, especially for espresso. I've experimented with this many times in the past as have others on various forums. Conical burrs tend to highlight bright notes (citrus, berry, acidity) and flat burrs tend to bring out the more bold notes (chocolate, caramel, nutty). Based on the grinders/coffees I've used I just like flat burrs better as they offer more complexity/boldness in the cup. There is no right/wrong, just what you prefer and can afford.

Shadow brings up some good points. I have owned everything from a hand grinder to a mazzer super jolly. There is an element of “you get what you pay for”. I personally am not a big fan of Rancillio but they put out a good product.


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Morris

New member
Feb 11, 2018
1
0
I don’t have personal experience, but I am on the same quest. Based on reviews from Home Barista, and people I’ve spoken with, I’m leaving towards the Baratza Sette. Ideally, the 270. I’m hearing that even the “base” model, 30 is a great machine! I’ll follow this thread tho, and see what others think...


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