I’m sure there are plenty of other people out there lamenting the absence of their favourite coffee shop. Caffeine lightweights may laugh, but for many of us, a cup of coffee is a treasured part of our morning routines. And whilst a decent Americano is certainly achievable at home through pretty simple means, there remains an elusive creature that is harder to perfect: the espresso shot.
If you don’t want to shell out for a bulky, loud and complex espresso machine that could break after two or three years, your at-home espresso options are both limited and kind of sub-par. That is, until we bring the ROK EspressoGC into the equation.
Coffee wizards ROK have been around since 2002, and with their first fully manual espresso maker they revolutionised what’s possible without the use of electricity. Now on their second, tougher model, this innovative machine has developed something of a cult following. Why? Because it’s unique, it’s fun to use, and above all - it makes outstanding cups of espresso.
We love the EspressoGC because it’s highly robust - it’s made from an ultra-strong metal alloy which is guaranteed for 10 years - and manual products tend to be much more long-lasting than their electrical counterparts. But it has other benefits too: it’s compact for one, with a small countertop footprint, and comes with a useful set of accessories including a storage tin, tamp and measuring spoon.
It’s also relatively inexpensive compared to other espresso machines making shots of comparable quality. It generates minimal waste - goodbye plastic pods! And because it doesn’t require electricity to work (compared to 1.91 kilowatts of energy per day for other coffee makers), this is a low-tech coffee maker that's kinder to the environment.
We also can’t overlook outstanding product design credentials - ROK won the ‘Best Product’ award at the London Coffee Festival in 2014.
If you’re unfamiliar with how the EspressoGC works, this video gives you a quick rundown:
It’s a simple process, but the fact that you’re fully in control of your espresso means that you can experiment with different variables, such as the grind size and infusion time, to perfect your espresso to your own taste. But, you shouldn’t have to figure it ALL out yourself, so here are our top tips for getting great results with this fantastic piece of kit:
- Always preheat the machine by pulling an ‘empty’ shot of boiled water before you make your coffee.
- Want beautiful crema on your espresso? The secret lies in freshly-ground beans!
- Speaking of, invest in a good grinder that creates a fine, even espresso grind with ease.
- Perfect your tamp - if you compact the coffee too much, pulling your shot will be too difficult and you could damage the machine.
- Play around, and be patient! It may take some experimenting before you get the perfect espresso, but half the joy is really getting to know and understand your coffee.
On that note, there’s something special about hand pulling shots with the ROK espresso maker that’s kind of intangible. It’s smooth and quiet, unlike the loud buzz of an electrical coffee maker.
It’s a hands-on, physical process that somehow lends itself to something we already love about coffee: ritual. Having a moment with yourself. And in the absence of our usual routines and haunts, there’s comfort to be found there.
Check out the ROK manual espresso maker here.
Or you can browse our entire fantastic Coffee and Tea section.