Having spent the last 6 weeks with both the ROK and the Presso, I’m now well equipped to review the two machines and share my interpretation on the coffee ‘experience.’ My perspective is well and truly a ‘beginners’ perspective. I enjoy coffee, but generally I’m on the receiving end of a local brew at the nearest café. I had never made a coffee before…not even the instant version! I generally order the latte or the cappuccino and sometimes the long macchiato.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN PRESSO AND ROK
Firstly, I was interested in the differences between the ROK and the Presso.To the naked eye, the differences are subtle. They appear to be made from the same mould, with the noticeable differences really only being the logo and the fact that the Presso has water level indicators. I found this really useful for understanding the amount of water required for a double espresso or two singles.I also noted that the Presso squeaked a little when extracting slowly, but this may have just been the machine I had and not necessary reflective of the model.
USING THE MACHINE*
- Boil the jug.
- Fill portafilter with coffee and tamp to desired density. Insert and twist to lock in ROK.
- Pour boiling water in holder and lift ROK arms.
- Heat milk in microwave (60 seconds for a cup).
- Froth milk with manual frother.
- Place cup under portafilter.
- Pull arms down at ‘preferred speed.’
- Enjoy a ‘real’ coffee!
- Rinse machine with hot water and let drip dry.
Essentially, it’s a 7 step process, which is incredibly straight forward. The user determines the amount of milk and method of frothing. Apart from that, the level of water is generally fixed. Extraction techniques could vary, and as I became more familiar with the machine, I played around with different speeds at which I pulled the arms down. I found 10-20 seconds provided the best results for me.
*Process and results identical for both PRESSO and ROK
My preferred coffee was half a cup of milk in the microwave for 60 seconds frothed with a double espresso shot. I usually scooped a bit of frothed milk off the top for my boy, and these babychinos soon became a very popular way to enjoy a cuppa with the little guy. Alternatively, a short macchiato was also a great way to enjoy the real taste the freshly grounded beans had to offer.
Generally, I made the following observations:
- Coffees were reasonably consistent in appearance.
- Coffees were very consistent in taste!
- Difficult to consistently achieve the ‘crema.’
- Coffee did splatter at the very end of extraction as air was pushed through. This could be avoided by overfilling the water and only extracting the required amount. (Generally, the splatter didn’t concern me.)
- Results were best achieved with professionally ground beans.
- I tried various beans and concluded my preference was Jaspers Blend #6. Described as a ‘Deep, strong, and smooth, with a slight chocolate finish… for a Kick Start or a Fine Finale any day.’ I fell in love with this blend and will find it difficult to deviate away from it in the future.
Cleaning the ROK is simple. Just remove the portafilter by twisting it to the right and emptying the coffee cake into a bin. Rinse the portafilter and ROK with hot water and let drip-dry.
FINDING A PLACE IN THE KITCHEN
The ROK (and PRESSO) look great in any kitchen. Its raw and robust appearance blends in nicely alongside our other kitchen machinery. It’s a topic of conversation and soon found a permanent place on the bench top.
SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS
If you are chasing the perfect coffee with precisely frothed milk, don’t buy this machine. Go visit your local café or spend $3,000+ on a barista machine. However, if you are like me and are chasing a dummy proof alternative that provides delicious coffee for less than $200, look no further.The ROK comes with a manual stainless steel frother that provides a basic and limited no-frills solution. You will need to invest in a decent grinder to provide the necessary espresso grind.
The machine relies on limited moving parts and no electricity. It is completely mobile and can be taken on picnics, fishing trips, or even holidays.I’m told the machine will face the test of time due to its advanced engine-grade alloy and handcrafted assembly. If this is true, then I have no doubt that the ROK will have a place in our kitchen for many years to come.