If you are familiar with grinder brands, you’ve probably heard about the grinders by Baratza and the Rocky grinder by Rancilio. Since the Baratza Vario is compared to the Rancilio Rocky the most, we decided to give our touch to that comparison in this Baratza Vario vs Rancilio Rocky article. The Baratza Vario is the programmable grinder out of the two, while the Rancilio Rocky is known for its nice consistency and durability. Are the Vario and its 230 settings serious competition to the Rocky or not?
- A motor with a slow rotation
- 230 grind settings (macro and micro)
- 3 preset doses
- Start/stop option
- Operation with timer or manually
- 8-ounce bean hopper
- 54mm ceramic burrs
- Portafilter holder
With 230 grind settings, the Baratza Vario is incredibly versatile and can fine-tune the coffee grinds on a micro scale
The grind settings are easy to adjust and there’s no fuss with the overall use of the grinder—it’s very easy to use
The three preset doses let you use the doses you already know work best for your coffee at a simple touch of a button
It grinds with ceramic burrs operated by a motor with a slow rotation—the perfect combination for aroma preservation
Might make a bit of a mess when grinding directly into a portafilter
The sliders for the settings are easy to displace by accident
- Available with a doser or as doserlesss
- 55 grind settings
- 8-ounce bean hopper
- A motor that rotates slowly
- Portafilter holder
- Removable drip tray
- 50mm steel burrs
- Hopper protects the beans from the UV light
Trusted by customers because of its durability and proven consistency
Grinds with a pair of commercial 50mm stainless steel burrs that process the beans beautifully, even for espresso
The slow speed motor doesn’t let the burrs heat the beans and destroy their oils that give them their authentic natural aroma
Protects the beans from exposure to UV light, but it also makes cleaning easier for the customer with the removable drip tray
It could jam if you use oily beans on it
Our pick: The Rancilio Rocky
Durable and highly-consistent, the Rancilio Rocky was an easy pick. This beautiful grinder should last you for a long time after the purchase and keep you happy with consistent grounds at all of its 55 settings. The grinder is quiet and preserves the aroma of the beans in the hopper and the aroma of the grinds in your portafilter or in the coffee collector. Even though it’s not as versatile and programmable as the Baratza Vario, we couldn’t choose the Vario as our winner because of many complaints about its overall durability. The Rancilio Rocky, on the other hand, is as durable as its espresso machine buddy, the Rancilio Silvia, and together they’re perfect for espresso.
The Baratza Vario is a simple-looking grinder that, frankly, doesn’t really impress us with its looks, but it does impress us with its features; the stainless steel front is a nice touch, however, and it does give the grinder a more durable feel.
With 230 grind settings and a removable portafilter holder, the Vario truly takes after its name. The grinder is versatile, grinding coffee for every brew method from French press to espresso and Turkish coffee and for different coffee makers.
Of all the grind settings that the Vario has, 10 are macro and 23 are micro, which is similar to the setting scales on other Baratza grinders as well. What this means is that you can pick a micro setting with the slider and then fine-tune it with a micro one from the micro scale.
The difference between the grind settings is visible even for the micro adjustments and the grinder is really consistent throughout its entire setting range. Still, the good consistency is but one of its good sides, with the Vario also being designed for aroma and flavor preservation of your coffee. That said, the grinder has a dark 8-ounce bean hopper and a dark coffee collector as well, to protect the beans and the coffee grounds from the hazardous effects that sunlight can have on them.
The dark hopper and collector wouldn’t really serve without the Vario’s slow motor, however. Because the motor makes the 54mm ceramic burrs of the grinder turn slowly, the grinder doesn’t heat the beans and it doesn’t ruin their aroma and flavor. Also, ceramic burrs are less likely to heat up in comparison to steel burrs, so that’s one point more for aroma preservation for the Baratza Vario.
The Baratza Vario grinds by time and comes with three programmable ground doses.
If you are like us and enjoy elegant grinders, the Rancilio Rocky will truly surprise you. This is a very nice-looking, sleek grinder with a sturdy stainless steel finish and a bit of plastic on the front.
Rancilio was mindful when designing the tray of the Rocky and making it removable. That said, you can easily clean the tray and there will also be less grounds on your kitchen counter after grinding.
Still, the removable tray cannot compare with the rest of the features on the Rancilio Rocky that guarantee the consistency of the grinder and the freshness of the grounds. One feature that helps here are the 50mm steel burrs of the Rocky that are commercial-grade and make for consistent grounds on all of the 55 grind settings available, even on the coarsest of them, which is phenomenal for French press. The grinder’s motor, on the other hand, truly helps the release and preservation of the coffee aroma by not causing excessive heat that can burn the beans.
The Rancilio Rocky is a manual grinder that grinds inside a coffee collector or directly into a portafilter. It comes in two versions, doser and doserless, perfect for a Keurig brewer or a good espresso machine.
The doserless Rocky has a grounds collector with a portafilter holder that sits at the front of the grinder. To get a dose of coffee in the portafilter with this model of the Rocky, you need to use the lever that is attached to the coffee collector of the grinder, hence the name ‘doser.’ In the case of the doserless Rocky, there is a portafilter holder at the front of the grinder where you can place the portafilter and get coffee.
The Rancilio Rocky uses a button for manual grinding and it has no timer.
Similarities between the Baratza Vario and the Rancilio Rocky
The Baratza Vario and the Rancilio Rocky are both versatile grinders, each of them having a lot of grind settings that go from coarsest to finest, making the grinders suitable for different brew methods—drip brewers like the Ninja Coffee Bar or espresso machines. Both of these grinders are pro-consistency and have motors that rotate slowly to guarantee the freshness of the ground coffee. The grinders also have manual grind functions, with that being the only function available on the Rocky. Their bean hoppers are the same size and protect the beans from the sunlight. Both grinders have removable filter holders which makes grinding directly into your portafilter easy. Finally, they are both easy to clean because of their removable upper burrs.
Differences between the Baratza Vario and the Rancilio Rocky
Durability is the thing that introduces a big difference between the Baratza Vario and the Rancilio Rocky, with many complaints about Vario’s serious durability issues. Frankly, this is too sad because this is such a versatile grinder with 230 grind settings, which is more than the 55 of the Rocky. The Rancilio Rocky, on the other hand, is admired for its sturdy construction that begins with its internal components and ends with its partially stainless steel housing.
These two electric grinders are also different when it comes to programmability, with the Vario having three programmable dose settings— a handy feature once you figure out how much it takes the grinder to grind a specific amount of coffee. This is because the Baratza Vario uses time as a measurement to give you the accurate coffee dose, which is different from the Rancilio Rocky that only has the option for manual grinding.
The manual option is available on the Vario as well in case you feel you need to fine-tune the coffee amount by eye. With the Rancilio Rocky, however, grinding is always done by you pressing a button and holding it until you get the perfect coffee quantity.
The Rancilio Rocky has good looks on its side for both its doserless and doser version. While the doser version is good if you need to have a nice amount of pre-ground coffee always ready, the doserless one is good for precise grinding and fresh coffee in your cup.
The Baratza Vario comes in one version only, but this version can use 54mm ceramic or steel burrs, with the ceramic burrs producing less heat and the steel ones having a reputation for being more durable. Rancilio’s Rocky, on the other hand, comes with 50mm commercial-grade burrs for great consistency over time.
Which one should you go with?
It’s going to be the Rancilio Rocky that we’ll recommend for you. This is a very durable, long-lasting grinder that has proved its abilities to grind consistently over and over again. Its button for manual grinding lets you choose the perfect coffee quantity for you, which is something that even the most accurate time-based grinders cannot top. Again, consistency on all of the 55 settings is this grinder’s motto and so is durability.
Unfortunately, we cannot recommend the Baratza Vario right now, but we will wait and see if Baratza improves the design of the grinder, and if so, we’ll gladly recommend it in the future.
In case you’re looking for a manual coffee grinder, stay on our webpage and check the best manual grinders here.