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Cheap commercial  espresso maker/milk frothing advice wanted!
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Joined: 16 Jul 2013
Posts: 2
Location: Pittsburgh
Expertise: Pro Barista

Posted Tue Jul 16, 2013, 3:21pm
Subject: Cheap commercial  espresso maker/milk frothing advice wanted!

So, first time poster here. I've been a barista at a bunch of local cafes in my area for about 6 years. I just got hired by a small time, blue collar roaster to help them manage/construct the front end of their shop to add standard espresso based drinks on their menu. So here's the issue. They have almost no money to invest and are set on using a Rok (used to be called Presso) manual espresso maker for all their drinks there. They also are currently using a bodum milk frother to steam/froth the milks for their drinks and a Bunn G2 grinder for their espresso... Being someone used to more commercial grade equipment and not much knowledge of these low end household gadgets is a little rough so i'm hoping some of you guys can help me with some advice and suggestions.

They basically have a limit of $300 they'll invest and insist on using the Rok espresso maker. I'm bringing a bunch of my own personal equipment for them to use: a Rancilio Rocky grinder, chemex, hario v60, temp controlled kettle, and scale. Because they're a blue collar style roaster i don't want to get too fancy with the drinks ( I doubt i'll be offering Chemex cups) but definitely need to find a cheap solution to milk frothing. I know with the Rok there is basically no way we'll ever make good enough quality crema or microfoam to make latte art but looking for any advice/modifcations i can make to the equipment to up the quality at the cheapest cost. I have a good bit of coffee equipment repair knowledge so looking for ways to say modify the Rok's rubber disbursement screen to something better.

Any advice/discussion would be greatly appreciated!
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Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 8,215
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Wed Jul 17, 2013, 6:05am
Subject: Re: Cheap commercial  espresso maker/milk frothing advice wanted!

I'm sorry for your situation.
First, Blue collar is not a reason to use sub par equipment, it will not take long to make up the difference in using professional grade gear VS a (in MHO) low volume, low cost, low quality work around for an espresso maker. The savings in labor alone will quickly pay for a REAL COMMERCIAL espresso machine, not to mention the vastly higher quality and vastly higher consistency you will get from commercial gear.

The G2 is a good general use, high volume grinder but it is NOT able to grind for espresso, for that you need an espresso grade commercial (if used in business) grinder.

You have properly placed the ROK as a household gadget. It is slow and very inconsistent. The older ones suffered from the arms breaking though that issue has been said to be addressed.

If this "company" is a roaster, you would tend to think that if they are serving their own coffee, they would want to show it off to it's best, that is something that is clearly not going to happen with the equipment you are talking about.

If it were me, if I could not get them to move to better quality gear, I would thank them for their interest in me to get a program going but I would have to remove myself from their employment to save my own reputation for good coffee and leave them to someone or their own devices for the failure of their company. But then, YMMV!

In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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