The ROK Espresso Maker is a nicely crafted piece of hardware, with tidy packaging to match. Upon first examination I found little to be disappointed in, and with a bit more use my only comments to the negative relate to the non-metal pieces of the construction, namely the plastic spout and the tamping spoon. While these are both adequate components, I can see where I'll find myself replacing either, if not for functional reasons, for aesthetic ones. I think I would have appreciated a similar base material to what ROK puts on their manual grinder over the four rubber feet, but I cannot consider this to be a negative for the maker.
As to the operation, the ROK Espresso Maker is elegantly simple, and almost as pleasurable to use as it is to enjoy the fruit of those labors. The marketing wasn't kidding when they called the experience visceral. It took me a couple of cup before I felt comfortable with the pouring and leveling of the water into the unit's reservoir, but the capacity and lack of specific markings allow me to feel comfortable making my espresso the way that I want it, with some general suggestions rather than mechanically prescribed precision.
Cleanup is fairly easy, although getting the last of the water from the portafilter can take some time.
One last note not related to the ROK Espresso Maker itself, but to one of the included accessories: the milk frother. This little device does manage to froth milk, albeit with some degree of messiness. The metal housing easily transfer the heat of the milk to your hand as the rubber grip near the top of the cylinder isn't quite large enough for my hand to grip it firmly while frothing. The pumping action also seems to send milk spilling through the upper opening for the piston, so the whole affair can get a little messy.
Overall, I am quite pleased with the ROK Espresso Maker and look forward to many years of continued consistency and experimentation as I refine the process to my own ideal espresso.
|From left to right: ROK Manual coffee grinder, ROK Espresso Maker storage tin, ROK milk frother, scoop & tamper, ROK Espresso maker.|