ROK Manual Espresso Machine Review

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rok-manual-espresso-machine

ROK Manual Espresso Maker was invented by a British product designer named Patrick. It was hailed as the “Best Stuff of 2012” by GQ magazine and has been well received by coffee lovers around the world. Contrary to the sophistication and automation of many espresso machines on the market, the ROK gives you all the freedom and power to make the espresso just the way you like it. This machine takes the manual to the extreme as there is no pump, no motor and no electricity is required. Best of all, it can make delicious espresso within a minute using your own arm muscle.

If you have a graveyard of fancy espresso machines that quit working after a few short years with burnt-out motors and pumps, maybe this ROK espresso maker deserves a test run or two to see how it’s compared to those that cost you hundreds to thousands of dollars.

  Table of Contents
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1. Introduction
2. Features & Benefits
3. Brewing
4. Steaming
5. Display & Control
6. Additional Features
7. How to Clean
8. Accessories
9. Power & Cord
10. Dimensions & Weight
11. Warranty
12. Pros & Cons
13. Consumer Reviews
14. Price
15. Summary

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Features & Benefits

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  • Made of Polished Aluminum: Aluminum is known for one of the best heat conductive materials in household appliances. The ROK espresso maker takes full advantage of the properties in aluminum in heat transfer as well as not so heavy to transport.
  • 5-10 Bar Pressure:  As it’s dependent on the arm strength of the “operator”, the pressure varies from 5 to 10 bar. If you manage to pull a shot under 9-10 bar, it’ll be ideal.
  • Water Chamber: It’s made of heavy plastic and has the capacity for two for a double espresso shots (2 fluid ounces).
  • Double-Shot Portafilter: Since many favor a double-shot espresso, the ROK takes the guesswork out for you. With a double sprout attachment, you can still make two single shot espresso as long as you place two cups under the sprout.
  • Two Levers: Instead of a single-lever as seen in other manual espresso machines, the ROK has two levers that balance the weight equally and made it easier to pull a shot. It’s designed with ergonomic consideration that the levers are tampered down on the outer “wings” easy on the hands.
  • Four Rubber Feet: This helps the unit from sliding while pulling a shot.
  • No Electricity Required: Of course, you’ll need electricity or other heat source to heat the water to a boiling point. But making a cup of espresso will not require electricity at all.
  • Stainless Steel Frother: It’s nothing more than a hand-pump to inject air into the heated milk. The air bubbles are visually bigger. If you prefer microfoam, then getting a real frother might be the way to go.

Brewing

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Grind coffee for espresso, which is finer than for drip coffee but not as fine as Turkish coffee. The granule size should feel like table salt. Load the portafilter basket with the ground coffee and tamp with 20-30 pounds of pressure. By the way, the attached double-duty plastic tamper won’t do the job right and you might want to look for a metal tamper of 49mm in size. Attached the basket to the brew spout in clockwise direction and lock it into place. This is opposite to the general direction of many espresso makers (counter clockwise).

Next warm the cup with hot water to retain the consistency of the water temperature from brewing to displensing. Add boiling water to the water chamber according to the two cup marker. Pull the levers up evenly and press them down just slightly to be leveled with the top of the unit for infusion for about 10 seconds. Then press down the levers gently all the way to the bottom. You may repeat the process one more time to extract more coffee.

Steaming

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Heat the milk in a microwave or in a pot on the stovetop. Pump the heated milk until you are satisfied with the froth. Add the espresso to the milk to make a cappuccino or latte and top the drink with your favorite spice such as cinnamon.

Display & Control

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N/A

Additional Features

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N/A

How to Clean

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Discard the coffee puck in a trash can or a knock box and rinse it in warm water. From time to time, you may have to do a more thorough cleaning of the unit. Follow the directions provided at the ROK’s website.

Accessories

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Included Accessories

A stainless steel frother, a coffee scoop/tamper and a storage tin to transport the unit/accessories.

Optional Accessories

A good quality stainless steel tamper is highly recommended. If you want to do it right, a burr coffee grinder would be much better than a blade type. Try the attached frother first to see how you’d like it. If you have the money, invest in a decent frother that’ll up your game in creating a frothy and creamy milk-based drink.

Power & Cord

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  • Input Power (W): N/A
  • Voltage/Frequency (V-Hz): N/A

Dimensions & Weight

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  • Dimensions (W x D x H inches): 12.2 x 8 x 10.5
  • Weight (lbs): 7

Warranty

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ROK is so confident about their product that a 10-year warranty is provided for the metal parts of the machine. By the way, labor cost is not included in the warranty.

Pros & Cons

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Pros

  • ROK grants all the power to you in making a great espresso, the size of the ground coffee, tamping pressure, water temperature and extraction time and pressure.
  • No electricity is necessary which means you can take it to your camping and ski trips. A camp stove will be able to heat up the water to make espresso.
  • The two-lever design makes it so easy to pull up or down for even extraction.
  • A fraction of the cost vs. La Pavoni.
  • It’s compact in a tin and easily transportable to anywhere in a RV or onto a boat.
  • It’s capable of producing good espresso if all the ingredients are dialed in.
  • Exceptional 10-year warranty

Cons

  • The extraction screen is made of plastic, it’s not as optimal as it would be in metal for temperature consistency and retention.
  • The water chamber is only for two-cups so you’ll have to repeat the entire process if making more than a double-shot.
  • It takes some practice to brew espresso with a decent amount of crema.
  • It’s only designed for a double-shot portafilter basket but you can overcome this with attaching a dual-spout to split the shot into two.

Consumer Reviews

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4.7 out of 5.0

The high ratings speak louder than any praises. What they like about this espresso maker is ease of use and cleaning. Best of all, it makes good espresso.

Price

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It was just shy of $200, about ¼ of the cost as La Pavoni.

Summary

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The ROK espresso maker is made for those who’d like to be involved in the process of espresso making. Like the adage, the joy is more in the journey than the destination. But in this case, the destination of a great shot is equally as important. Simplicity comes with many benefits such as fewer things could go wrong and fewer parts are to be cleaned with less maintenance. All this affects the bottom line of money and time investment.

It’s not for people who are so obsessed with every nuance in coffee making as the extraction pressure can vary from one person to another.

Overall it’s very easy to use and with very little learning curve. If you just like a good cup of coffee or espresso, it’s more adequate to get the job done.

 

For current price information, click on the button below.

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