For those of us wanting to take our home espresso making up to the next level usually getting a high end consumer grade espresso grinder like a Rancilio or Baratza is the first step to made. It even comes before the actual espresso machine upgrade because the best espresso makers are always limited by the quality of the beans and grind they are working with.
In my opinion the Rancilio Rocky and the Baratza Sette are two of the most obvious options to choose from for home espresso brewers because they both can be purchased for a reasonable sum of money but are still far better grinders than the typically $100 unit than many users of drip coffee makers use.
Generally speaking the Sette 270 can grind beans directly into a portafilter only while the Rocky can grind into a container or a portafilter. The Sette has more grind settings and the Rocky has a large fresh bean container that can be used for storage from day to day.
That’s just the basics though so lets go more in depth over the rest of this article. Alternatively you might want to see this page where we compare the Bartaza Sette 30, 270, 270w, and 270wi because they are all slightly different.
There comes a point for many coffee lovers where the process and craft of the drink itself becomes just as or more important than getting a caffeine fix. Making fine espressos, French presses, and other methods require precision and care.
Eventually you might find it’s time to graduate from your small grinder to a bigger, more heavy duty grinder. This is an important upgrade for people who plan to make different types of espresso, as some require the finest possible grind.
There are so many products out there for grinding coffee, it can be overwhelming. Even if you settle on a brand, there are lines of products within the brand that can add more stress to your decision making.
The first step to selecting the perfect grinder is to narrow down what it is you want to do with your grinder. If your only plan is to get a medium grind for your coffee maker every day, something smaller would probably be a more cost-efficient choice for your lifestyle.
If you’re looking to take that next step into coffee making, starting with a heavy-duty grinder is a smart choice. You’ll just want to consider what it is you need out of it.
Some grinders have hundreds of grind settings, which is really useful for the connoisseur who likes to experiment with their beans. Others have fewer settings, which may suit the needs of someone who has a variety of needs, but not enough to warrant 100+ options.
We’ve broken down the main features of both grinders, to get a better idea of what is in store for each product.
Let’s start by looking at the Baratza Sette.
Main Features of the Baratza Sette
There are a few variations of Sette grinders, but the Baratza Sette 270 Conical Burr Coffee Grinder is what we will focus on for this comparison, as they are all very similar.
It comes with 270 different grind settings, allowing you to have total control over your exact grind. You have the ability to get an extremely precise grind with this product, ranging from coarse grinds for French press, and extra-fine grinds for ristretto.
The machine can grind beans at speeds of five grams per second, and is built to prevent retaining any of the powder. The Sette grinder works by driving the outer burr for a grind, while keeping the inner burr in one place. This produces a fast and consistent grind each time.
The grinder has a container for fresh beans, but you can also remove that container and grind directly into a portafilter.
You can set a desired grinding time, which is useful if you figure out the perfect setting for a desired amount of time because you can set it the same and have consistency with each grind.
The control panel has an LCD display, allowing for easy use of the different functions. It can also save previous grind settings, which makes consistency even easier. If you experiment around and figure out the perfect time and grind setting, you can have consistency every single day. The saved grind settings is useful as you can go back and see what you liked in the past if you forget.
If you think 270 settings is way too much, there is an entry-level Sette grinder which offers many of the same features, but only has 30 grind settings.
Keep your eye on listings for this grinder, as prices can fluctuate.
Main Features of the Rancilio Rocky
This machine may look smaller and less heavy duty upon first glance, but it comes in at a whopping 15 pounds. The Sette grinder is about seven pounds, for reference.
The Rancilio Rocky SD has a powerful but quiet motor which uses 166 watts. It uses 50mm plate grinding burrs, which are used in many entry-level, larger-sized grinders.
The machine does not have a container to hold the ground beans, but instead dispenses easily straight into a portafilter, held by a removable metal fork. This is convenient for someone looking to cut down the time spent preparing their espresso.
There are 40 grind settings with the Rocky. In just seconds you can grind an extremely fine or coarse batch of coffee grounds.
To change grind levels, you have to hold down a locking mechanism on the bean hopper, and give it a quick spin. The hopper can hold up half a pound of beans at a time. The machine can grind almost eight pounds of beans in a given hour.
The Rocky SS does have a container for the ground beans, and offers a dosing mechanism. You can grind a bunch of coffee into the container for fresh grounds, and then dose out your beans at a later time. All you have to do is pull the handle, and seven grams of coffee will dispense straight into the portafilter for you.
The Main Differences
A notable difference between the two grinders is their range of settings. The Sette-270 can grind, you know it, 270 different settings. Their entry-level counterpart can grind 30 different settings.
The Rocky on the other hand has 40 grind settings.
Baratza Sette grinders have a container to store the freshly ground coffee, and can also grind directly into a portafilter. The Rocky SD does not have a fresh bean container, but it does offer a holder to grind directly into your portafilter. The Rocky SS does have a container for fresh grounds, and can even go as far as dosing the fresh grounds into a permafilter from the container.
The Baratza Sette has an LCD display, which allows you to go back to your previous settings and allows for easy programming. You can go back to previous grinds and get the exact same settings from the past, allowing for consistency with your brews.
The Rancilio Rocky grinder does not have any sort of display, and the grind settings are adjusted from the lid of the bean hopper.
The Baratza Sette and Rancilio Rocky are both high quality choices for your next grinder. They all have a unique set of features that sets them apart from one another, so it’s important to do your research before making your purchase.
If your list of necessities in a grinder is small, and you are looking for convenience and affordability, the 30 Conical Baratza grinder would be the most cost-efficient choice. You can still choose between 30 different grind settings, which allows for a lot of flexibility, without having too many other features.
For someone who wants more functionality than that of the 30 conical grinder from Baratza, but isn’t ready for 270 settings, choosing a Rancilio Rocky grinder would be a good choice.
If you make a lot of espresso, and you’re looking for a way to make your brewing more convenient, the Rancilio Rocky SS may be the best choice as you can pre-grind your beans and keep up to half a pound in the container, and then use that to dose out a consistent seven grams to fill your portafilter.
For someone who really likes to experiment with their grinder, and needs precision in their life, the Baratza Sette 270 Conical Grinder would be able to suit their needs the most. With all of those grind settings, and the ability to go back on the LCD display and look at previous settings, any coffee-enthusiast would be thrilled with this machine.
Personally, I find the 30 conical Sette grinder to be enough for my own needs. I like that I still have the ability to grind very coarse and very fine grounds, without having too many settings.
Something with 270 different grind settings would make me feel overwhelmed, and bad about my inability to make use of them all. I know exactly what I want from my grind, and I can find it within those 30 settings.
I can brew directly into my portafilter with the Sette grinder as well, which is all I need to do. I don’t have any reason to grind a large amount ahead of time, so I don’t need to store and dose my beans into a portafilter.
There are quite a few aspects that set these grinders apart, but after laying them all out in plain English, it doesn’t feel so overwhelming. You’ll just need to compare your needs with the features of these grinders.
Whatever you end up choosing, be sure to consider your personal needs, as the range of abilities is large. You don’t want to end up paying for features you won’t use, and you certainly don’t want to fork out the money for a machine that doesn’t suit all of your needs.