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ROK Presso Manual Espresso Maker
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- Polished metal frame built to last
- No electricity needed
- Base has four rubber, slip-resistant legs to protect your countertop and prevent the espresso maker from sliding
- Comes with 10-year warranty certificate
- No Electricity Needed to Brew
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From the manufacturer
Born from a vision to go back to the routes of espresso making; creating the best espresso using the power of your hands. Originally hitting the market in 2004 as the Presso, it became the ROK in 2012. Now 50,000 users later it's completely re-tooled and better than ever.
Manual Espresso Maker
The ROK is a manual espresso maker that puts you in control of every step of the brewing process. Made from durable metal parts that are backed by a 10-Year warranty, the ROK uses no electricity and includes a rugged tin for portability. Ships with a 49mm portafilter, splitter spout, scoop/tamper, and manual milk frother.
- Hands-on manual brewing
- Uses no electricity
- Storage tin for easy transport
Spotlighted by GQ magazine as one of the "Best Stuff of 2012," the Presso ROK is an environmentally friendly manual espresso maker created with durable engine-grade metal guaranteed to last at least 10 years. Going above and beyond simple espresso, the innovative ROK comes with a stainless steel frothier to produce rich milk for lattes, cappuccinos and macchiato -- all without using one bit of electricity. Created with traditionalists and espresso enthusiasts in mind, this London-designed espresso maker lets you exact complete control over brewing pressure using the two levers located on the sides of the ROK. Since this espresso maker brews with ground coffee, so you're not limited by capsule and pod selection. The ROK comes packaged in a modern reusable storage tin, complete with accessories including a tamper/measuring spoon and detachable double-shot spout. Should any of the metal parts fail within a decade of your original purchase, Presso will replace the components gratis.
Top customer reviews
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With practice and the help of a good grinder, this machine is capable of consistently making excellent espresso that will rival some of the best you can find in the US. Here is what I've learned so far.
If you don't have the patience or the interest to suffer minute details to achieve a tiny result, or if you have derisively called anyone a "snob" or "hipster" this week, do not read the rest of this review. You probably do not need to buy this machine.
This is easy. Don't buy beans from a grocery store, national coffee chain, or a coffee shop that has open-mic performances in the evening. Buy fresh, high-quality whole beans and use them within about two weeks of their roast date. Unfortunately, a lot of bad coffee is disguised as good coffee. If you don't know where to find good coffee, look for a coffee shop where the baristas are thorough and careful in making espresso (i.e., they use a scale and a timer instead of eyeballing it) and ask them what beans they recommend for espresso.
A good burr grinder is the biggest hump to overcome in making good espresso. You need to spend quite a lot of money (probably $200 at the very least) to get a consistent and fine enough grind for making good espresso. My $90 Capresso Infinity, though perfectly good for brewed coffee and French press coffee, cannot grind finely or consistently enough. When you pull a shot of espresso (with any machine) and there are little "rocks" of ground coffee sitting on top of the more finely ground coffee in your portafilter, your grinder is not consistent enough, and your espresso will not taste good.
Very good espresso requires very fine and consistent ground coffee. Excellent espresso requires extremely small adjustments to the grind size.
Because the ROK is such a cheap machine compared to other machines that will provide similar results, buying a good grinder is the real financial commitment you'll have to make. You can try to scrape by with a cheaper one, but your shots won't taste good and your experimentation will be a headache.
You can boil water any way you want (a kettle is easiest), but get a kitchen thermometer to ensure that the water you use is around 200°F. You'll need a timer, which can be your watch, your phone, or a regular kitchen timer. You'll need a small kitchen scale that can fit on the base of the ROK (under the spout) and can measure in at least half-gram increments.
You should get a real coffee tamper. Cheap ones are about $15; good ones are at least $40. The ROK requires a 49mm tamper. Throw away the cheap plastic "tamper/scooper" that comes with the ROK. Without a real coffee tamper, the ground coffee in your portafilter will be unevenly dense, causing water to "channel" straight through air tunnels in the grinds and into your cup.
The included portafilter is nice and solid with a single spout on the bottom. This can dent the surface you're tamping on and it can be difficult to hold level while tamping. My solution was to buy a 1''-long section of 1.5''-wide pipe from the local hardware store. To tamp, I set the piece of pipe on the counter and set the portafilter on top of it, which keeps the portafilter level and prevents damage to the counter.
First, heat about a liter of water to just over 200°F. Put the ROK portafilter in a wide coffee mug and fill that mug with hot water. This will warm the metal part of your portafilter. Fill the ROK's tank and your espresso cup with hot water also. Without this step, your espresso will come out sickeningly cold.
Let everything sit and warm up for a minute. Remove the portafilter from the mug and attach it (empty) to the ROK, then dump out the mug and place it under the portafilter spout. Lift the ROK's levers up and then press them down to empty the ROK's tank into the mug. Now the ROK and portafilter are warmed up. Dump the mug and set it aside.
Refill the ROK tank all the way with hot water. (If you fill it less than all the way, you won't get enough pressure when pulling your shot.) Leave the levers down. Never lift the levers when there is water in the tank without the portafilter attached, as it will spray hot water everywhere.
Remove the portafilter from the ROK. Dry it out with a towel and tap it on the counter to get the water out of the bottom of it. (Remember: the metal part is hot!) Tare it on your scale so that you can grind your coffee into it. 14g of coffee is a good starting point. The best grind setting for you will vary and it is one of the major things you'll have to experiment with while keeping everything else as constant as possible. Level the ground coffee in the portafilter and tamp.
Attach the portafilter full of tamped ground coffee back to the ROK. Dump the hot water from your espresso cup. Place your scale and empty espresso cup on the base of the ROK and tare the scale.
PULLING THE SHOT:
Start your timer and lift the ROK levers in a single swift motion to preinfuse ground coffee with hot water. Aim for 8 seconds of preinfusion.
After 8 seconds, swiftly press the levers all the way down with significant force to begin pulling the shot. Do not gradually press them down. Use your fingers to grip the sides of the machine for stability. Nothing will happen for a few seconds, and then espresso will begin to flow from the spout. The machine will make some creaking noises, which is normal. Continue to apply a significant amount of pressure as consistently as possible. Watch your scale and stop pressing when it hits 21g. When you release the pressure from the levers, the shot will stop flowing, but another 1g or so will make it into your cup, yielding 22g of espresso. I aim for this part of the process to take 22 seconds, meaning the timer should read about :30 when the shot is done.
Enjoy your espresso. Give it a tiny stir with a spoon and drink it.
Now, there is still a lot of water inside your ROK, which was necessary to get enough pressure. Without removing the portafilter, place your mug under the spout to clear this water out. Don't drink it. You will have to lift and press the levers several more times to get all the water out, so keep doing it until air comes out of the portafilter's spout. Dump the mug. Remove the portafilter and knock the used puck out. Rinse the coffee residue from the "underside" of the ROK (where the portafilter was).
If your total shot time is too fast, adjust your grind down to a finer setting in tiny intervals.
If your total shot time is too slow, or you simply can't get any espresso to come out, adjust your grind up to a coarser setting in tiny intervals.
If hot water is leaking out of the ROK while you're trying to pull a shot, be more careful with your tamp so that the portafilter can correctly seal when attached to the ROK. Ensure that there is no stray coffee around the edges of your portafilter, including the inside ridge. The portafilter has two different widths: it is 49mm in the bottom half, but wider in the top half. Accordingly, a 49mm tamper will not fit flush into the top half of the basket, but it will fit flush in the bottom half (where all of your ground coffee should be after you've tamped), so some ground coffee will try to stick around the inside edges of the upper half.
If you're not getting any crema or getting weak crema, adjust your technique so as to increase the resistance the water meets while passing through the ground coffee. Often, weak or no crema indicates that your shot time is too short: the water is passing too easily through the ground coffee. Adjust your grind down to a finer setting in tiny intervals.
SUMMARY OF RECIPE:
14g ground coffee
22g espresso yield
8 sec preinfuse
22 sec pull time
30 sec total shot time
This recipe gives me good results. Other people will recommend different "ratios" of ground coffee and yielded espresso, so this recipe should just be a starting point. The ROK's portafilter (basket) is relatively small, so I have found that it can't really handle much more than 14g of ground coffee, even though some espresso recipes will call for as much as 20g. The "standard" total shot time range (including a preinfusion of approximately 8 seconds) is 25 to 35 seconds. Experimenting with espresso recipes involves juggling many variables, and the ROK is up to the task.
Once you master the technique, this machine can and does produce nice shots with proper extraction and good crema. It took us about a week or two to learn the technique.
Here's my issue: it's made with cheap parts.
After two months, I noticed some corrosion around the hole on the portafilter. We only ever use filtered water and we don't let wet grounds sit in the machine. I didn't notice any cracks or other signs of wear, so we just kept on using it.
After only 5 months, the portafilter literally snapped (see attached photos) and broke into pieces as my husband was pulling a shot. The force of it knocked the machine over. Water and grounds flew all over the kitchen and he got a few minor burns from the hot water splatter. He wasn't using excessive pressure, so there was no indication that this shot would be the straw to break the portafilter's back. The way that the portafilter cracked, I have to wonder what exactly it is made of. Does steel or an aluminum alloy crack, like pottery?
When I looked at the machine, I noticed more corrosion around where the portafilter locks in (above the rubber/silicone disc).
I emailed customer service and they put a replacement portafilter in the mail promptly. Something tells me this may not be the last part to be replaced under the 10 years all metal parts guarantee.
Which brings me to this: a 10 year replacement policy is not the same thing as just making parts well enough to last for 10 years.
Update October 10th - I have used this at least twice a day since I bought it and it still works like a charm. I've been very pleased with the unit overall and would buy it again.