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ROK Espresso Maker - James Schulman's Review
Posted: June 15, 2005, 2:32am
review rating: 8.4
feedback: (1) 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 117,337 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

Previous Review Next Review
Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 6.2
Manufacturer: Presso UK Quality: 9
Average Price: $200.00 Usability: 2
Price Paid: $100.00 Cost vs. Value 5
Where Bought: Chef's Resource Aesthetics 10
Owned for: 2 weeks Overall 5
Writer's Expertise: I live coffee Would Buy Again: No
Similar Items Owned: Fe-ar La Peppina
Bottom Line: Useless unless you spend a few hours fixing the cylinder; then it's a great bargain
Positive Product Points

Very well built, life time warranty, nothing that can break. Machine can be modified to work properly

Negative Product Points

The stock machine has a fatal flaw and cannot make espresso

Detailed Commentary

A lever espresso machine for $100, and guaranteed a lifetime. Is it too good to be true? Yes and No.

Yes, if you use the machine stock:

  • Shot temperature is no problem. This is a pourover design, and flushing through about 6 ounces of boiling water will get you shots of around 90C to 92C. If you need hotter; heat the water in a saucepan and heat the PF by dipping it in the pot. You need to have the basket out, filled, and tamped, and make the shot immediately after heating the PF.
  • Pressure is no problem, 35 pounds on each arm will get the required 9 bar.
  • Dose is no problem - the machine comes with a double basket that holds 14 grams, a 7 gram scoop that's also a properly fitted tamper. All in a nice chromed brass PF that weighs about as much as those from Solis
  • But the shot, oy! Way too Guiness -- 100% perfectly white foam (not crema) that vanishes in three seconds flat. The culprit is the piston design. When all the way down, there's 2.5 ounces of airspace between it and the shower screen. The shot proceeds by pressing the levers all the way with gently rising counter-pressure as one compresses the air. Then a short wait. Then Pffffffft as the white stuff shoots out under the rapidly decreasing air pressure.

No, if you modify the machine. I ordered a teflon cylinder from McMaster Carr, whittled and filed it down to shape, and epoxied it into the bottom of the piston so it took up most of the deadspace.  Once this was done, I got very respectable shots, most as good as my Peppina. These are shots that are on par with Pavonis or Elektras, and will beat any small pump machine, including a stock Silvia. Be advised though that there's no steaming and that the effort is at the extreme pita end of the convenience scale. However, at 4 pounds weight, paired with a Turkish Zass, it makes the ulitmate travelling machine.

For those interested, I've posted a report with pictures at:
http://users.ameritech.net/jim_schulman/Presso-Report.html

Buying Experience

Internet buy. Chef's Resource processed the order and delivered without problems.

Three Month Followup

I should underline that this is hardly an everyday home machine; it's too inconvenient for that. However, as a curiousity or as a travelling light machine, it will serve.

All-Clad has stopped importing the machine into the US; for buyers here, look on ebay or for close-outs at around $40

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review rating: 8.4
Posted: June 15, 2005, 2:32am
feedback: (1) comments | read | write
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