The Review Smiths
ROK EspressoGC- Explorer Edition ROK EspressoGC- Explorer Edition
ROK EspressoGC- Explorer Edition 4

Espresso makers come in all shapes and sizes and although the ROK EspressoGC Explore Edition might look like a giant bottle opener, it has a real charm about it and deserves pride of place in the kitchen, made from a robust, high-strength metal alloy that is guaranteed for ten years. The tamper and splitter are made from plastic which doesn’t hold the same quality as the rest of the machine so you might want to hide them in the drawer. The ROK is 100% manual, this means it can travel with you, but you will need a flat surface to operate, it can come camping as long as there is a little table to use, hot water will also need to be available.

It is easy to use, simply add the coffee grounds to the stainless-steel filter, lock it into the main body and add hot water before hand-pulling your shot by pressing down on the two handles. This is a two-handed job and requires a degree of pressure, it isn’t too taxing but might put some people off especially first thing in the morning, on the plus side it counts towards your daily exercise. Once the shot is pulled you can then add foamed milk, steamed milk, hot water or simply drink it as a single shot like a hardcore Italian. The re-engineered pressure chamber now delivers twice the performance using BPA-free glass composites and results in a good extraction with crema with minimal effort, free from electricity, pods, capsules and filters it saves on energy and single use waste.

The two handles can easily provide enough pressure to pull the espresso, it will need preheating, this should take just a few minutes and it is worth doing to avoid losing too much temperature during the process. The Explorer Edition comes with three portafilters, milk frother and dosing funnel, the dosing funnel helps to prevent spilling coffee when filling the portafilter. The milk frother is a plastic tube with two whisking disks inside, this also requires some manual effort either fast or slow, short or long bursts, this controls the density of foam, if you chose to go hard and fast the splatter free design keeps all the mess inside the cylinder. The milk will lose its density quicker than your barista machine milk frothing nozzle but for a portable and manual frother it is effective at adding some texture. Along with the standard portafilter the Naked Portafilter and Crema-Plus Portafilter are also included, the Naked filter basket is suitable for a double espresso dose ranging from 16 to 20 grams of coffee grounds. The Crema-Plus, this allows coarser coffee grounds to be used whilst retaining good extraction pressure thanks to the Pressurised Steel filter basket. The ROK EspressoGC Explorer Edition is going to appeal to those who are happy to put in a bit of time to find the best combination of methods to get that perfect espresso, there is certainly a learning curve with this machine but once you have the technique down the espresso produced is well worth the effort. RRP £199.99

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This machine requires a degree of dedication in the beginning, but coffee fans will be rewarded for their efforts.
  • Excellent espresso with crema
  • Stylish design
  • Sturdy and durable
  • Includes two extra portafilters, a milk frother and dosing funnel
  • Portable
  • Eco friendly
  • All in a plastic-free gift box
  • There is a learning curve
  • Preheating is essential
  • Requires physical pressure