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ROK Espresso Maker - Desmond Horsley's Review
Posted: January 29, 2008, 6:21pm
review rating: 8.6
feedback: (0) comments | read | write
ROK (formerly Presso) Manual Espresso Maker
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More About This Product
Arrow The ROK Espresso Maker has 11 Reviews
Arrow The ROK Espresso Maker has been rated 8.05 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since February 24, 2004.
Arrow ROK Espresso Maker reviews have been viewed 117,053 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Matt Saxey 8.75
Desmond Horsley 8.60
Tom O 8.50
F M 8.50
James Schulman 8.40

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 7.6
Manufacturer: Presso UK Quality: 8
Average Price: $200.00 Usability: 6
Price Paid: $140.00 Cost vs. Value 9
Where Bought: Sexie Coffie Aesthetics 8
Owned for: 1 month Overall 7
Writer's Expertise: I live coffee Would Buy Again: Yes
Similar Items Owned:
Bottom Line: Value for money unit. Great for camping or traveling. Not what i would want as my regular espresso experience.
Positive Product Points

The Presso is a bargain. I think it produces drinkable espresso at a price few machines can  match.
Very easy to use
Small footprint
Very portable, would be easy to take camping or on business trips.

Negative Product Points

Possibly not sturdy enough, I get the feel that it could break if i push too hard.
The aluminium is not treated, this has lead to some corrosion.
The little gears that keep the arms moving in sinc seem too small, this lends the the feeling that the unit might break...

Detailed Commentary

I saw the unit at Sexie Coffie and thought the idea had a lot of potential, when I noticed that it was only AUD $140 I couldnít resist putting it to the test.

What the machine came with:

1 portafilter with 1 size filter, seems like a double or a triple...
A clip on attatchment for spliting the pull to two cups
A manual milk frother
A coffee measure / Plastic tamper. The basket is not a standard size, so I've not found a 'real' tamper that fits yet.

I spend my weekends at the beach. So I donít really have the funds to buy a proper espresso machine just to be used 2 days a week. Iíve been playing with French press and mocha pots, but lets just face it, anything thatís not espresso is just not espresso.

When I first got the machine home, I noticed that there was no manual. This wasnít that much of a problem, because itís a very simple design, and the box has limited instructions printed on it along with a web address with a usage clip, but I wanted to know the manufacturers guides to cleaning. On phoning the supplier, I found out that none of the machines heís received come with a manual, very disappointingÖ

Not to worry, I started up the kettle, did a flush to heat everything up, I just filled the little reservoir and let the water slowly seep through the portafilter.  Ground my beans, freshly roasted, and pulled the shot.
I was very impressed. It had crema! I must note that I didnít quite follow the recommendations printed on the box. I decided that with a semi automatic machine, you decide when to stop the pull, this gives you the ability to stop a shot early if it starts to blonde, or to keep it going if it is just a slow shot and is looking good. On these grounds, I filled the reservoir to the brim, as high as it could, ignoring the pre marked measures in the ďpistonĒ, and giving me the ability to take the shot further if I wanted to. I think this change to the normal operation of the machine got me real crema, and not the foam Iíve read others talk about. I must admit, its not a thick blanket of crema like my sunbeam makes, but still its crema and does lastÖ

It was a great espresso, but I think this was mostly due to the fact I hadnít had coffee for 4 days, and the beans were fresh out the roaster. Over the next few days, none of the shots compared. Thatís when I came online and read what other Geekers had to say. I noticed there was a suggestion to improve the piston.
On the under side of the piston, the part that pushes the water through the coffee, there are little stiffeners, these fill up with air, which compresses as you send the plunger down. The problem is this reduces your pressure.
Iíve seen a post with an almost complex mod, that fills these veins, and while I agree that they arenít good for the cup, I didnít like the idea of drastically modifying my new machine just yet.

To fix the problem with out modding the machine I lifted the arms, and all the water drained into the piston, essentially in the pre-infusion stage, I added more boiling water, until all the air had been removed. This answers the problem with a much simpler solution. Now my presso is making great shots time and time again. Iíve very happy with it, although I would like to see stronger looking gears at the top, they seem just too flimsy for the job they are doing, but Iíve heard great things about the manufacturer, and Iím sure if they go, they will be replaced.

The one big negative, is that the aluminium that the whole machine is made from doesnít seem to be treated for corrosion. And mine has, on the base, and between the plastic piston and the unit. This doesnít affect the operation of the Presso, but it really detracts from what I think is a great looking pieces of engineering.

Buying Experience

Jasen at Sexie Coffie was great, he talked me through the product and even gave me the the good and bad feed back he'd recieved from his other customers. I thought the buying experience could not have been better!

Three Month Followup

Gee, three monthsÖ

Well, Iíve been using the Presso once or twice every weekend since Iíve bought it, and Iíve noticed a few things! Itís a real learning curve.

- The most important thing Iíve found is pre-warming the Presso. It makes such a difference to the shot and the crema, itís incredible.
- The second thing is how important grind is. I own a EM6910, and find the Presso likes a grind a little finer than my sunbeam, Iím not sure why that is, but thatís the way it goes.
- For the most part Iím drinking more French press than espresso from the Presso, the effort it takes to get a good shot out weighs the good shot on my lazy weekends, so I tend to just make a cup of French press.
- If your willing to put in the effort and pre heat the machine, keep it clean and own your own grinder, then I still think that for $200 you canít beat the Presso!

On a side note, halfway through the second month, I broke the Presso arms. Presso was great and sent me new ones that have been redesigned with in the week. No dramas since then!

I've dropped the usability down to a 6 because to make a good cup it doens need a bit of effort.

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review rating: 8.6
Posted: January 29, 2008, 6:21pm
feedback: (0) comments | read | write
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