A great espresso or a great cup of coffee starts with a great grind.
As the number of popular at-home brewing methods grows to include pump-driven espresso machines, aeropress, chemex and drip, grinders are beginning to hop on the bandwagon of high-level gear for home.
Both the Baratza Preciso and Rancilio Rocky are top range grinders that are pitched for ‘prosumers’ – coffee lovers with a level of know-how and experience that might rival their local barista.
Remind you a bit of someone you know?
If this sounds like you, then you’re searching in the right place.
So what is a “pro-sumer” grinder? Basically, it means that in terms of grind quality, you wouldn’t be surprised to find something similar at your local coffee house.
This can make choosing between machines that offer a range of pro features a tough call.
As most prosumers are data-driven when looking for the optimum coffee grind, we’ve compared the Baratza Preciso and the Rancilio Rocky to give you a breakdown on which machine has the edge.
|Name||Rancilio Rocky||Baratza Preciso|
|9.8 x 4.7 x 13.8 in||5.3 x 5.1 x 13.8 in|
|15.4 pounds||7.9 pounds|
|10.4 oz||8 oz|
|Flat Burr||Conical Burr|
Burr grinders employ two abrasive surfaces rubbing against one another to chop your beans (rather than slicing them) as they pass through the grinder.
There are two types of burr grinders: flat and conical. The conical burrs working in the Rancilio Rocky and the Baratza Precisio are cone-shaped (as the name suggests) using gravity to help drive the beans at an even pace through the burrs.
Conical burrs can be found in domestic and commercial grade grinders alike, which give you an indication that this is a quality method of grinding your coffee. If you see a grinder with blades instead of burrs – run the other direction. You’re not going to like the result.
The Baratza Precisio and the Rancilio Rocky both boast a clean looking design that will seamlessly integrate in any kitchen. The cool tint to the bean hopper and grind chute on the Rocky is a great aesthetic touch, that contrasts well with the slate grey finish on the rest of the machine. The Baratza Precisio comes in sleek black and steel combination, that aligns with most other appliance color palettes.
Both of these grinders come with a porta-filter holder. What’s this? A cradle to support your espresso handle that gives you the option for hands-free grinding, right into the filter basket.
This is ideal when you want to keep an eye on your grind if you’re trying a new bean, or even if you’re the multi-tasking type.
On the Rancilio there’s a small platform that snaps on and off the base of the machine where you can also rest your cafetiere when you’re brewing a pot of French Press.
Where the Rancilio Rocky comes with a cool-tinted bean hopper that cannot be removed, the Preciso’s hopper comes off easily.
This is a nice convenience feature when it comes to cleaning and maintaining your grinder, making all the pieces are much easier to get at.
The Rancilio Rocky does offer a slightly larger hopper capacity (10 ounces) in comparison to the more compact Preciso (8 ounces). This means less refilling if you’re a frequent brewer. I really like this feature because I tend to drink multiple cups every day and so I go through beans fairly quickly.
The Rancilio Rocky offers 15 more grind options in comparison to the Baratza Preciso (55 total compared to the Preciso’s 40).
As coffee aficionados will tell you, the taste of your final cup of coffee relies heavily on the grind, so having a wide array of options is important since it will allow you to pinpoint exactly the right grind for you.
This is also a plus if you like to brew a selection of different types of coffee – giving you the very coarse coffee needed for French Press, and the finer coffee needed for a great-tasting espresso.
The Rancilio Rocky comes with 50mm burrs in comparison to the 40mm burrs you can find inside the Baratza Preciso. What’s in those 10mm? Let’s talk about it.
We know already that the conical burr method brings a more even stream of beans through the grinder for an all-over uniform grind that produces a better espresso or cup of coffee. Bigger burrs generally allow for a greater number of grind increments, which give you more grind options (see above). But that’s not the whole story.
Larger burrs also mean that the grinder will have greater power, in the case of the Rancilio Rocky, we’re talking 166 Watts, which in turn means the grinder makes less noise. If you’re an early morning brewer, this is a god-send because the last thing you want to hear is a harsh noisy grinder before you’ve even had a latte.
Another plus that comes with a bigger burr size is easier machine maintenance.
This might seem an obvious point, but when it comes to cleaning your burrs, which is necessary for good grinder maintenance, larger pieces are much easier to get at. Think of it like large print versus small print when reading, if you like.
As with a number of Baratza grinders, an Esatto can be purchased as an extra accessory to the Precisio. This nifty gadget will transform your Precisio into a grind by weight grinder. That means that you can set the weight you prefer, and the Esatto will weigh the coffee within 0.2g, stopping automatically when your grinds are ready to go.
The Rocky doesn’t offer a similar product to the Esatto and is a doserless grinder. That means you aren’t getting the same level of precision from the machine, which is more important to espresso brewers than coffee drinkers.
Baratza also offer a hopper extender that you can add to the Preciso, extending its 8 ounce capacity by a further 9 ounces. If this was a sticking point when you were reading the hopper section, then this might tip you in favor of Baratza ownership.
The bigger motor inside the Rancilio Rocky accounts for 11 of the 18 pounds that it weighs.
This makes the machine twice as hefty as the Baratza Preciso, weighing in at 7.9 pounds. I don’t consider this a significant factor, but it is worth noting.
Both these conical burr grinders are designed for the same discerning prosumer market. This means the coffee grind quality they offer aims to be as close as possible to a professional standard. And it really is.
While both machines offer a great selection of grind options, the Rancilio Rocky has the edge in terms of grind selection, noise-reduction and speed. However, the lack of dosing capability makes it a less desirable pick for espresso drinkers and a better fit for coffee fans.
The Preciso is a more precise machine for fine grinds that espresso machines demand, rather than the coarser grinds prefered by aeropress, chemex and drip systems. If you’re a ristretto or cappuccino drinker, this machine will be a better fit.
Chatting about coffee is my passion! Leave me a question in the comments, I answer each and every one and would love to get to know you better.
I am a die-hard espresso fan. I love every form of the drink from straight espresso shots to lattes and cappuccinos. I currently use a Breville BES870XL Barista, it is an awesome machine. BUT, my dream machine is definitely an Italian Quickmill Andreja. Those bad boys make badass espresso. I love answering your questions, leave a comment or question below!