Only a few people in the world can function without drinking a cup or two of the most popular beverage in the world, coffee.
Sadly, it is not easy to come by good coffee. This is because most good brews bought from major chains are high-priced while pre-ground coffee that is brewed at home tastes pretty bland. But the truth is, the perfect coffee is out there, you just need to know the tools to use to create it yourself. Yes, you can brew that perfect cup of coffee right in the comfort of your home!
What you need is a high-quality coffee grinder
A coffee grinder from a reputable brand can give you that professionally-brewed taste you’ve been searching for right there in your beautiful home. You don’t need to break the bank to get a high-quality coffee grinder, and you don’t even need to leave your kitchen either.
Two of the best coffee grinders on the market today – with reviews raving about their quality, durability, performance, operability, etc. – are Rancilio Rocky Espresso Coffee Grinder and Baratza Encore Coffee Grinder.
Both coffee grinders are high-quality and have been popular in the coffee-sphere for years. We will be comparing them to check out which one offers more value for the money regarding performance, durability, etc. But before we delve into the meat of the matter, its crucial that we highlight some basics.
The number one factor that determines a good cup of coffee is the crispness or freshness of the beans. Most people aren’t aware of the fact that coffee beans start going stale almost as soon as they are roasted. They are far gone after just two weeks, and that means those coffee beans you purchase at that corner store on your street aren’t only over roasted but also stale as well.
The grinding process also plays a significant role in creating that perfect coffee taste you crave for. This is why coffee grinders are essential tools that you can own to enhance the pleasure any time you drink your favorite beverage, irrespective of the brewing techniques you employ.
Without a good quality coffee grinder, you will not enjoy good espresso shots, and the seamless extraction of both flavor and aroma from your coffee beans will be flawed every time you grind fresh batches of coffee beans.
Blades and Burrs
There are two major types of coffee grinders in the market today; the blades and burrs variety.
Blade-model coffee grinders
The blade model coffee grinders are usually sold in big stores, Amazon.com, etc. They are often less expensive when compared to their counterpart, but the truth is this: blade-equipped coffee grinders cannot process coffee as ideally as you’d expect. Why is this so, you ask?
Blade-equipped units make use of spinning blades to dissect the coffee beans – and at times, crushing them – at the end of which a ragged mess comprising chunks of varying proportions and sizes are left.
The cheap blade coffee grinders which you will find in most department stores today don’t do a very good job of processing the beans. These blade-equipped tools will only shatter the beans, leaving them in uneven chunks. These irregular chunks of crushed beans will not allow for proper extraction whenever you want to brew your favorite dark beverage.
The key and most important factor to brewing good coffee is uniformity or consistency in grind size, tamping procedure, and other variables. So, how can you make a top quality coffee brew? By investing in an electric-powered burr coffee grinder of premium quality, you will be on your way to enjoying your perfectly brewed beverage, every day.
However, you may need to invest a sizable amount of money to get a good one. Hand grinders may even be cheaper, but sooner or later, you will grow tired of hand grinding your coffee beans all the time.
Burr-model coffee grinders
If you’re looking for optimal results any time you grind your coffee beans, you need to get your hands on a high-quality burr-equipped coffee grinder.
Burr-equipped models make use of a series of cones, abrasive disks or balls – otherwise referred to as “burrs” to shave or flake the coffee beans evenly, as against crushing, tearing or compressing them like the blade-quipped versions are inclined to do.
A burr-equipped coffee grinder is the perfect piece of kitchen equipment for your coffee brewing adventures. Any other grinder will end up as an utter waste of your hard-earned money.
Burr-equipped coffee grinders may be slightly expensive, but that shouldn’t be a problem since you will be getting immense value for your investment for a long time to come. Compare the price you will pay for a high-quality coffee grinder to the amount of money you will spend each day you visit Starbucks for a good cup of espresso. That’s right; you are getting a great deal.
Doser vs. Doserless
Coffee grinders employ three unique methods to collect coffee: dosers, doserless, and bins. Some units even make use of a combination of these three methods to obtain coffee. We will concentrate on the first two:
This engineering has been in existence for decades and has remained effective even today.
Coffee grinders that employ this method of collecting coffee usually feature a container or bin that the coffee falls into, and users are expected to twang the lever so that the right amount of coffee grinds are released.
Coffee grinders with the doser designs also come in different varieties: the better doser designs are usually found on overpriced coffee machines.
• More coffee grinds are prevented from spilling, unlike the doserless varieties that spill a lot of coffee grinds.
• Less clumping of coffee grinds, especially when compared to their doserless counterparts. However, this depends significantly on design.
• Usually traps more coffee grinds and requires a lot of effort to clean after every use.
• Not all dosers accurately dose coffee, especially the cheaper varieties.
Let us take a more in-depth look at one of the best coffee grinders in the world today.
Important factors you need to take into consideration
Physical size and storage capacity
Knowing how often you’re going to make use of your coffee grinder is highly crucial. This is because most coffee grinders on the market today have varying bean capacities in the hopper. For instance, a café that is besieged continuously with customers asking for coffee will require the use of a large machine with a large hopper to hold more coffee beans.
Some coffee-grinding models offer large or small hoppers as well as hopper extensions that you can adjust easily according to the number of beans it can hold. But on the other hand, the larger the hopper, the harder it is for the coffee grinder to fit securely under your cabinets. Coffee grinders with large hoppers will take up more room on the kitchen counter as well.
This is a vital consideration if you’re getting the coffee grinder for use at home, but it is not much of a challenge when used in coffee bars.
What are you grinding the coffee beans for? Coffee, espresso or both?
If you’re an espresso lover, then it is safe to assume that you’re going to grind exclusively for strong dark coffee and you must, therefore, go for a dedicated espresso grinder. Such coffee grinders will produce finely-ground coffee with grains that are consistent or uniform.
Espresso coffee grinders can easily be dialed into the exact grind that is needed for the bean roast level, type of beans as well as for humidity, and temperature. But adjustable coffee units are ideal if you’re grinding for powdery Turkish, chunky French or medium drip and sometimes, espresso.
However, the negative aspect of using these multipurpose coffee machines is that you won’t find it easy to maintain the same uniformity or consistency as you could with dedicated espresso grinders. A majority of the Baratza models out there have narrowed this gap significantly in the last few years.
What you pay for is what you will get with any of these Baratza models; the more expensive units come with longer-lasting and better burrs, more adjustments, and better consistency to the coarseness of the grind.
The multiple size settings that are available on the coffee grinders, as well as the uniformity or consistency of the grinds, play a significant role – up to 50-60% – of the taste. The settings should also be modified according to the roast level, brewing method, oil levels, bean variety, as well as other variables.
If you’re looking for an easy-to-use, yet powerful espresso coffee grinder, then the best option for you at this juncture may be the Rancilio Rocky Doserless Grinder.
Rancilio is a company whose history dates as far back as 1927. It was established in Milan, Italy and has remained one of the foremost giants in the coffee-making industry for years. Rancilio has an extensive collection of premium quality coffee-making products, and this includes their most prominent coffee grinder to date: the legendary Rocky.
The newly improved and re-designed Rancilio Rocky Doserless Coffee Grinder is without a lever which was a feature that was more common with its predecessor.
The Rancilio Rocky packs one heck of a punch in terms of power and comes in a new package – and chute – for a straightforward dispensing. The quality of this coffee grinder is topnotch and carries on the tradition that all the Rancilio line of products are known for.
The Rancilio Rocky is a home coffee grinder that is approximately 14 inches tall, yet it can fit under nearly all types of kitchen cabinets. Although this high-quality coffee grinder is equipped with features that make it suitable in home kitchens, home baristas will be pleased to discover that the Rancilio Rocky also has premium features that rank it up there with some of the best commercial coffee grinders on the market today.
The Rancilio Rocky is specially crafted for lovers of espresso who are looking to draw out more satisfaction and performance from their coffee grinds. The smart addition of the chute minimizes the amount of sour coffee left behind when the unit is in use.
These unique features – along with several add-ons like programmable settings as well as an ultra quiet motor – make the Rancilio Rocky one of the leading coffee grinding machines in the world.
If you have been a coffee fan long enough, then you should know that a perfect grind is critical to the success of any coffee beverage. This innovative home coffee grinder delivers the goods in terms of specific results that impress even the most hard-to-impress baristas out there.
The Rancilio Rocky is a powerful piece of equipment that meets the needs and requirements of industry professionals. But the features are so easy to use that even first-time users will not experience any difficulty when putting the machine to work at home. Rancilio Rocky is recommended for home use only.
The Rancilio Rocky Doserless Grinder possesses the same high-quality stock that is common to all Rancilio products in the coffee-making industry. The machine boasts a modern facade with its stainless steel casing that covers its entire surface.
This piece of kitchen equipment has a robust black cast aluminum frame. The exterior of the Rancilio Rocky – which includes the base as well as the back panel – is covered with stainless steel. This inventive design makes the machine an excellent addition to your home.
These add-ons also enhance the durability of this product as it is resistant to rusting and staining. The machine’s grinding plates or burrs are made of high-quality steel. The Rancilio Rocky’s hopper is situated on top of the device and is built with high impact as well as high quality molded plastic. The plastic is colored blue because of its UV (ultraviolet) treatment.
The exterior of the hopper is tinted, and this was done on purpose to inhibit damage to the coffee beans. Both the chute as well as the hopper – which are situated on the front of the coffee machine – is crafted with the same ultraviolet-treated blue plastic.
Features – User Control Features
Users will quickly locate the “User Control Features” comprising a single switch – to operate the machine – on the front panel of the Rancilio Rocky coffee grinder. You may need to set the dial to an appropriate grinder setting before you flick the switch – which you will find on the left-hand corner of the device – to start and stop the grinding process.
Ultraviolet Tinted Hopper
The hopper of this innovative product is situated on top of the machine, instead of the front (which is more common with other varieties of coffee grinders). The hopper is layered with a durable plastic that is crafted specially to make it crack-resistant. It is also covered with UV coating.
The UV coating gives the hopper a blue hue, yet remains transparent enough for user monitoring and easy viewing. The hopper of the Rancilio Rocky can hold up to 10.5 ounces of beans at once.
The Rancilio Rocky’s hopper also comes with a lid which helps in sealing in the coffee beans and maintains their freshness, especially during the storage period. You can easily remove the component for simple maintenance or cleaning.
The programming dial of this innovative coffee grinder is located beneath the hopper. This allows home baristas the leeway to sustain full control over the type of grinding performance that is delivered by the kitchen device. The programming dial has up to 55 different grinding levels, thus allowing users to fine-tune their extractions without difficulty and according to their preference.
The Rancilio Rocky was uniquely designed to perform optimally while delivering versatility at the same time. The machine is powerful enough to make any coffee drinks, whether you need a fine-powdered or coarse coffee grind. Nevertheless, the Rancilio Rocky doesn’t have adequate settings at the fine-tune end of the programming dial that will facilitate proper dial in an espresso. You may not be aware of this, but minor adjustments can make an enormous difference with espresso.
However, if you are brewing anything – from French press to automatic drip – the best coffee grinder you should buy is the Rancilio Rocky Doser Grinder.
High Power Internal Motor
The Rancilio Rocky Doser Coffee Grinder has a high powered internal motor which drives it during operation. It is a commercial-grade electrically powered motor that is also utilized by the heavyweight Commercial MD40 Coffee grinder from the same brand.
The high-powered motor spins at 1,725 revolutions per minute and is powerful enough to grind double shots within 30 seconds. The direct drive motor – which is 166 watt – is not only powerful but also incredibly quiet at the same time. The entire ensemble operates silently, yet powerfully.
The high-powered motor is insulated heavily in such a way that heat-related damages will not occur and comes with its own high-temperature overload switch. This overload switch comes in handy when, for instance, a stone gets trapped in the plates while in operation by shutting off the motor. This will also prevent any damage from occurring at such periods.
50mm Grinding Burrs
The performance of the Rancilio Rocky is enhanced by the device’s commercial-grade grinding plates or burrs. These burrs – about 50mm in diameter – are constructed with tempered steel and are machine-driven by the equipment’s high powered motor.
The burrs are uniquely designed to grind at a slow pace when in operation, thus preventing overheating. Overheating is a serious issue that can arise when the grinders are in motion, and this could lead to severe damage to some of the delicate components in the interior of the machine.
Although the original Rancilio Rocky Grinder had a dosing lever, the renewed version has a front-facing chute that is more commonly seen on commercial-grade coffee grinders.
The chute holds the retaining fork that secures the handles of the portafilters in place, thus allowing you to grind the beans directly into the portafilter. This ingenious addition of the chute to this machine helps in reducing waste that occurs during the grinding process and eradicates spills during the process of extraction.
Additional safety features
Any machine or piece of equipment that does not have any safety measures in place should not be used at all. The Rancilio Rocky Doserless Grinder is not only constructed to operate in almost utter silence but can also be used safely.
The machine was designed with the safety of the user in mind as it comes with additional multiple safety features to put a stop to issues – before they run out of hands – such as rocking and torque while the device is still in operation. Another extra safety feature that comes with the Rancilio Rocky Doserless Grinder is the machine’s thermal protection design. This thermal protection is put in place to prevent issues such as overheating.
The Rancilio Rocky can also cut short all operations and cut off the grinding mechanisms when the machine jams unexpectedly.
Noiseless motor performance
Most coffee grinders that are in the same class with the Rancilio Rocky are known for their loud performance. But the Rancilio Rocky is a unique and operates ultra quietly.
This machine’s grinders and motors work together without a glitch, thus delivering an ultra quiet operation. The silent performance of this inventive coffee grinder makes it the ideal choice for any home. The Rancilio Rocky can also be used in small office settings without distracting the attention of the employees when it is in operation.
Rancilio Rocky: Pros
• The hopper is ultraviolet filtered for adequate protection of your coffee beans, yet allows for an excellent view
• The unit can hold more than a half pound of coffee beans all at once, thus making it more convenient for households or shops that need a more considerable amount of the beverage.
• The burrs, which are made of tempered steel, are incredibly powerful but remain extremely cool at slower speeds.
• Constructed to last for several years of coffee bean grinding.
• Come with multiple grinding settings for different consistency grounds.
Rancilio Rocky: Cons
• The size of this grinder is a little too big for a household utensil
• The positioning of the power button is – to a certain extent – inconvenient.
• Slightly too expensive to fit many budgets.
The Baratza Encore Grinder is designed for people who are on a budget, yet want to step away from the use of blade-type coffee grinders. It is also perfect for people who need a budget-friendly coffee grinder that is powerful enough to grind coffee beans for espresso.
This coffee grinder may be budget-friendly, that does not, in any way, imply that it is of low quality. On the contrary, the Baratza Encore Coffee Grinder is one of the most versatile and innovative coffee grinding machines in the market today.
The Encore – which is one of the products from Baratza, a company that was founded in 1999 and has become a household name and highly respected in the coffee grinding industry – has dramatically improved from a previous version known as the Baratza Maestro Plus. This newer version has an upgraded motor, a second-generation gearbox as well as enhanced conical burrs.
The Baratza Encore is 14 inches tall, thereby making it suitable to fit under the majority of kitchen cabinets out there. It passed the Spousal Approval Factor (SAF) test as a result of its diminutiveness in scale than most of the other burr coffee grinders. The Baratza Encore is easy to operate and designed for beginners.
The Baratza Encore has a high-strength plastic resin build that is designed to hide unattractive fingerprints. This is unlike the more expensive coffee grinders out there that come with stainless steel structures.
The durability and strength of the drive transmission have been significantly improved as the motor mounting plate and bushings as well as the drive shaft have been re-designed. The new drive gear is composed of at least 15% glass-filled thermoplastic, thus resulting in an inaudible operation and better durability.
Features – User Controls
The Baratza Encore features a new on-and-off switch which is a change from the timer dial sported by the old model. The Baratza Encore also comes with a pulse button that allows you to grind the coffee beans directly into a portafilter for espresso devices.
40mm Grinding Burrs
The Encore features 40mm grinding burrs, and each one is made from hardened steel. These steel burrs perform exceptionally well when it comes to producing different coffee grounds from vacuum press coarse to espresso fine.
Large Hopper and Bin
The Baratza Encore comes with a sizeable 8-ounce bean hopper as well as a removable 5-ounce anti-static ground coffee bin. This ensemble is compatible with the Esatto Scale Grinder Attachment for grinding by weight as well as the Baratza Bean Hopper extension for extra bean capacity.
The Encore was designed for beginners and people who don’t like complicated coffee grinders. The machine is easy to operate and comes along with an easy-to-understand calibration system that is analogous to that of commercial coffee grinders.
All coffee grinders are calibrated at the manufacturing plant; however, recalibration may be required after an extended period of use. The Baratza Encore is the only coffee grinder at this particular price point that can be adjusted according to the preference of the user.
2x Powerful DC Motor and Gear Reduction
The Encore comes with a 2x powerful DC motor which, when used in combination with gear reduction as well as the speed reducing circuitry, makes allowances for a slower motor speed while ensuring it keeps a fast grinding time.
This leads to the overall reduction of heat buildup and noise, thus allowing for extended grinding cycles without overheating.
Baratza Encore: Pros
• Baratza replaces faulty parts
• Smaller in size, thus facilitating better storage
• Quiet and minimizes heat exceptionally well
• Dual electric, as well as gear speed reducer, helps in cutting down jamming occurrences
• One of the best models for making espressos
• An affordable option for budget-conscious individuals
Baratza Encore: Cons
• It can produce some static
• The overall grind range is somewhat limited when compared to other Baratza products
• Can be slightly messy during the coffee grinding process
• Doesn’t come with state-of-the-art features that many individuals are interested in
Rancilio Rocky vs. Baratza Encore
Both coffee grinders have their unique strengths and weaknesses. But they do have one thing in common; they come with burrs which make better espressos. So if you are tech-savvy and a lot of money to spare, the Rancilio Rocky Coffee Grinder is right up your alley.
But for the more budget-conscious individuals out there who desire professional-grade coffee grinding without the professional-level price, the Baratza Encore is the best option for you!
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