The first thing that you might think of when you hear ‘espresso making’ is a big espresso maker that takes a lot of space – well, once you read this ROK espresso review guide, you might end up with a different perception.
The usual Espresso makers include different dials and milk frothers. This can take up a lot of kitchen counter space and with the modern ‘minimalistic’ living styles, people prefer to own small and cozy houses and subsequently the kitchens are also less spacious.
Furthermore, buying espresso machines doesn’t come cheap. They can put a big dent in your pocket costing you hundred of dollars. This is where ROK comes in, attempting to provide solutions to the dilemmas faced by many.
The manual espresso machine technology is quickly developing. If you are looking for compact and travel friendly espresso maker, then ROK espresso maker is a stellar option at your disposal. It is loved by home espresso aficionados.
ROK Manual Espresso Maker
The ROK manual espresso maker is well in line with the mission of the company. It is an improved version of many manual espresso makers already introduced in the market.
Contingent on the excellence of grinder, technique along with some experimentation in the mix, you can sometimes make even better and rich espresso with a manual maker than with a traditional espresso machine.
The body is made of high grade aluminium which is shiny and durable. The device is essentially a BPA –Free plastic water compartment that is connected to two arms, which when pushed down create 50 to 10 bars of pressure to make an espresso shot via the attached portafilter.
Some users say that their shot is very much like strong black coffee than actual espresso. This is because they are unable to grind their coffee finely. It should be ground like flour powder.
A Brief Company Overview
Started around 1997, ROK has more than 20 years of experience in coffee making business. Originally a crowdfunded company, ROK has tried to resolve the issues by introducing a no-frills, manual espresso machine.
The people at ROK are all about helping coffee aficionados on their journey to decent and delicious cup of coffee. They believe that anyone can learn how to make an extraordinary cup of Joe provided they have the right tools and are keen.
ROK believes that durability is significant. This is the reason that their products are built with sustainable materials and methods. They care for the people and want them to experience only the best coffee every time.
Introducing Prototypes and Espresso Makers
The prototype of ROK espresso was developed in 1999. With further tweaks and amendments, the first ROK manual espresso maker was introduced by ROK in 2004. It was introduced as a Presso but later rereleased as the ROK Press Manual Espresso Maker in 2012 with further modifications.
It is committed to providing less complex and easier machines in order to produce high quality cups of coffee.
A new version was launched in 2019 called the ROK GC, which promises to make the machine more durable.
Responsive Customer Service
As ROK is a still small player compared to the bigger names, their customer service is very responsive and efficient. The instructions and replacement parts are readily and easily available. The reason being that the company expects some routine maintenance of their machines.
What We Like About This Product
Let’s have a look at some of the positive aspects of this espresso maker.
No Electricity Required Means Espresso.. Anywhere Anytime!
Some of the factors that make it a favorite amongst many are because it is functional, well made, does not require electricity to run, it is designed nicely and works effectively and comes with a 10-year warranty. It does not make any noise while operating.
Solid & Compact Design
It has all metal construction (except for the water recipient). It has a rubber base that prevents it from sliding and protects the counter top. Now if you are away from home, you can still very much drink your morning coffee with this espresso machine.
Easy to Operate
There is no doubt a small learning curve, but it is simple and easy to understand and operate it, as it does most of the heavy lifting itself.
What We Don’t like
Here some negative elements of this epsresso maker:
Inconsistency in Espresso Taste
The unpredictability of a manual espresso machine is more than that of an old-fashioned machine since human error comes into the equation.
One needs to control the variables such as temperature of water and pressure as opposed to an electrical espresso machine. This requires practice to obtain desired results.
Insufficient Pressure for Espresso
The ROK manual espresso maker produces from 5 to 10 bars of pressure. In order to produce the rich and intense classic espresso, 9 bars are necessary. This requires the user some time to get used to the machine and experimenting with other factors affecting the ultimate product.
This machine is originally designed for a regular and double shot of espresso. If one wishes to make lungo double shot for their latte, this is not really possible unless the tank is refilled and another extraction is carried out.
What Does the Box Contain?
The ROK espresso contains the following:
- ROK Espresso Maker
- Splitter (Splits a double shot in two separate cups)
- Coffee Scoop and Tamper
- Stainless Steel Manual Milk Frother
- Spare Seals (2)
- Storage Tin
Making an Espresso Shot with ROK Manual Espresso Maker
Let us have a detailed look at how you can make an espresso shot with manual espresso makers.
It is suggested to find a method and experiment with what goes with your taste. You can experiment with a few variables: the grind size, their quantity, (they can be fine or coarse) and how you tamper it. The pressure applied on the ROK arms also plays a vital role in the type of espresso you make.
Here is a step by step guide on making your espresso shot:
- Use the manual grinder (available seamlessly on Amazon.com) to grind enough coffee in order to fill the Portafiler at an espresso setting.
- Fill the Portafiler and tamper the grounded coffee.
- The water recipient on top of the ROK should be filled with boiling water. Few seconds later, water should be put back in the kettle. This is to pre-heat the machine. The pre-heating is done in order to ensure that the brew temperature is suitable.
- Now the Portafiler should be placed on the ROK machine.
- Make sure that the arms of the espresso machine are lowered. When they are lowered, fill the water recipient on top with boiling water.
- Now bring the arms fully up.
- Then push downward so that pressure is created and pull the shot. (The normal extraction time for any espresso is about 20-25 seconds. If the time is less than that, the espresso will taste under extracted. If it’s more than that, it might taste bitter and sharp.)
- Now it’s time to discard the coffee residue, rinse the portafilter thoroughly and clean the ROK Presso with a moist cloth.
- Your delicious espresso shot is ready to be sipped on! Enjoy.
The ROK manual espresso maker does not have a heating element. Due to this, it is probable for the device to be cool. If it is too cool, it can take heat from the water which will make an under extracted shot in return.
So, in order to avoid this, you can run a ‘clean shot’ of hot water first which will pre-heat the brewer.
Manual Milk Frother
You can also use manual milk frother included with the ROK Presso Manual Espresso Maker. It is great and does its job well. The milk is to be heated in a clean casserole and the milk temperature must be monitored prudently.
However, it can be hard to clean because of its small size, the interior is not easy to reach.
The ROK Espresso Maker Review
The ROK espresso maker has a great build. The body is made up of a high-quality metal alloy with a modern and ergonomic design. This metal alloy gives it 35% higher tensile strength as compared to the earlier models.
The arms are more durable now, compared to the original Presso that had the issue of its arms being snapped sometimes. But now, with the new ROK Espresso Maker, this problem has been resolved.
The machine’s base has a rubber foundation which has a good grip and it prevents the slippage.
A Quick, Simple & Easy Espresso Cup
This machine is simple and easy to use. You mainly have to push down hard on its arms in order to create enough pressure required to make your espresso.
However, each use will require pre-heating process of both the chamber as well as the portafilter. This might seem to be a hassle for some but with due time it becomes part of the process for most.
Because of its small size, it is convenient to store after every use. The new body solves the previous issues with the machine being fragile, now you can push down the arms and get flavorful espresso shots.
This espresso maker makes rich and intense espresso, however there is a proclivity to under extract the espresso if the machine is not pre-heated.
The crema (brownish foam that forms on top of the espresso) is average to medium. It can fall apart quickly sometimes depending on your grind.
You should also note that it will not make outstanding and divine espresso shots that are produced by machines that cost ten times as much as this one.
Things to Lookout For
One caution that people need to be aware of before using the ROK espresso maker is that it needs to be preheated. This process can take some time to get accustomed to but this is mandatory in order to get a good and flavorful espresso shot. This is done by pouring hot or boiling water over main chamber and portafilter.
If the process is not done before making espresso, then you will get an under extracted espresso which will taste bitter and will make your experience unpleasant.
You need to experiment with the quantity of water that you fill the chamber with. If you under fill the chamber, it will result in lower overall pressure.
Cleaning the ROK Espresso Machine
You can clean the ROK by simply removing the portafilter. You can remove the portafilter by turning it to the right, throwing the coffee cake in a waste bin and rinsing off any remains of coffee grounds left on the body.
You can wash it occasionally with soapy water but it is prohibited to put it through a dishwasher as the salts can destroy the high-quality finish of the machine.
Latest Version: The ROK EspressoGC
Another variant of ROK espresso machine is the ROK EspressoGC. The ROK EspressoGC comes with a distinctive look. The design of this machine can fit aptly with any décor. It has a polished metal finish. The metal components have a guarantee of 10 years.
Compact Design for Tight Spaces
It is a small, compact and good to look at machine. It is less than 12 inches in height. It has four rubber legs under its base. It is very stable to use as long as it’s on a level surface.
It has a single and spout stainless steel portafilter, a detachable plastic double spout that has an attachment and a measuring cup. The reservoir for water is of plastic.
Improved Pressure Mechanism for Better Taste
The mechanism of the machine is such that the pressure is much better on it than the original ROK machine. The pressure chamber has enhanced insulation. It requires less force to extract as compared to the older versions.
It is a manual brewing machine which means it does not require electricity to operate. You will need to apply force on the arms but keep in mind to not overdo it.
It is easy to transport due to a storage tin, however it is advised to not take it along with you during flight unless it is the only item in the hand carry.
Good for Outdoor Activities and Traveling
Due to the portability, it is ideal for trekking, camping and road traveling. It can also be a part of your kitchen kit in an RV.
Once you know how to use it properly, you will find that it is incredibly easy to operate.
Alternatives of ROK Espresso Maker
Manual espresso machines have a comparatively short history. In the past few years, some competitors of ROK have appeared on the scene. Let us have a look at the alternate products in this category.
The Cafflano Kompresso is a manual espresso maker. It is smaller and cheaper (for a mere $72) than the ROK. Due to its smaller size, it is portable which means you can carry it with you on a trip or camping.
Even though it is small and modest, it can brew some delicious shots once you know how to use it properly. People with limited budget might prefer this machine.
Flair Espresso Maker
The Flair Espresso Maker is another alternative to the ROK espresso maker.. It was first released in the year 2016 and has garnered a lot of attention since then.
It is portable, a bit more than the Cafflano Kompresso, which can be a deciding factor for some of the users. However, if you want an espresso maker for everyday use then ROK espresso maker should be your first choice because it has an authentic portafilter.
The Flair also has quite a bit of accessories, upgrades and is durable as well. Although it does not have the same coolness as that of ROK espresso machine, it can also brew rich and delicious espresso.
Wrapping Up Our ROK Espresso Maker Review
The ROK espresso maker is a wonderful choice for a coffee lover who loves drinking their espresso in routine but would rather not spend an entire pay check as well as their kitchen space on a fancy espresso machine with all the bells and whistles.
It is easy to store, can be used for traveling and is perfect for the individual of today who prefers a minimalistic lifestyle. It is also great for those who love experimenting with different methods and want to feel the difference themselves.
At the least, ROK espresso maker makes average espresso compared to the traditional machines and comes in at a much lesser price. It has a classic, head turning design. It can even be a source of initiating conversation between coffee lovers.
We hope our ROK espresso maker review did give you all the necessary information that you needed to know this product inside out before spending your hard-earned bucks.