Coffee Appreciation

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  • Does anyone on here have the rok coffee manual? Or anything that can make espresso but almost impossible to break?

  • Few people have Cafelat robots (similar lever espresso machine) IIRC.

    Tbh, most espresso machines are super basic internally, and any machine recommended by this thread is likely to be a lot more serviceable than the one you took apart.

  • ^This. You would have got a machine like a Silvia or Gaggia Classic fixed no problem by now, it’s admirable trying to mend that one but it looks like it was meant to be disposed of as soon as a fault developed. Well known machines’ circuit boards (which don’t tend to go wrong as they’re in the top away from water) and all the other components are readily available.

  • I have owned a Rok and now have a Robot. Absolutely love it. Super easy and quick to use and makes fantastic espresso. Can’t really recommend the Rok due to its pre hearing requirement. Gets very boring very quickly.

  • If I wanted to use a robot to make a two shot drink, how fiddly would that be? Just rinse the basket after first shot and reload?

    Probably a very silly question for all I know, have never pulled a shot of espresso in my life.

  • That seems to be working for me. Espresso nerds would probably tell you to dry the basket but with a pressurised basket I think you’ve got plenty of leeway for not doing everything 100% perfectly.

    The novelty of having a machine means I'm drinking so much coffee I feel like I can see through walls.

  • I have a Robot too and also love it.

    Had the inlaws over on Sunday and made 6 shots back to back on it. As you say it's just rinse and reload. No problem for two shots back to back, not ideal for more but once one get into a rythym it's fine. Having a kettle that holds at 100°c defo helped.

    I had a Silvia before that and doing six shots back to back on that would have been impossible. The temp would have been all over the place after two shots, temperature surfing would have been a nightmare and I'd be getting gushers by shot three.

  • As far as serviceability goes I've had it about a year and have used an Allen key once to tighten everything up. That's it! No descaling, messing with pumps, nada.

  • Thanks peeps. Food for thought.

  • If it weren't for my wife wanting milk-based coffees I'd be happy to own just a Robot (though I do stand by the fact that the La Pavoni looks much nicer in a kitchen). After having worked with regular pump-driven machines and owned a Classic, there's just too much potential for faffing around with plumbing & electrics in pump driven machines for me to consider using one again.

  • I think I’m going to go for a manual espresso machine next. I can’t be doing with bits breaking like this one.

    I don’t particularly like the look of the robot, plus it’s pricey.

    The rok looks great, it has the portafilter so would sit well with my grinder.

    I like the flair but only because it would sit nicely in the space where my previous machine was.

  • There are definitely some folks here much more knowledgeable about the manual, non-electric lever machines than I am. But if I was going to be buying one, top things for me to look for would be:

    • Whether thermal losses are going to be an issue when adding water to the coffee
    • Stability of the machine when pressing on the lever
    • Availability of spares (likely just gaskets really)

    Would be nice to have a standard portafilter/basket but I wouldn't be surprised if this wasn't really an option due to baskets frequently being quite large to also hold water in this machines.

  • My preference is the rok. It seems like it’s been around for a long time so I’d expect parts to be available.

    Thermal losses are always going to be an issue without a heat source. But add a heat cup and portafilter you’ve covered the bases well.

    The only thing I don’t like about the robot is the arms.

    I love the lever design of the flair but it seems really fiddley

  • Thermal losses are always going to be an issue without a heat source

    True, but you'll probably see a split between those that claim to have so little thermal mass that losses aren't an issue, or those who claim that they have better temperature stability due to more thermal mass (which would likely require pre-heating).

    I've not used any of the popular offerings (Robot/Rok/Flair), but with my La Pavoni I need to hold down on the portafilter when using the lever to prevent it tipping forward. The base of the Flair does look a bit longer so probably more stable, but probably worth checking that it's not an issue (I mean, you'd hope that would get addressed at the design stage, but you never know!)

  • The robot definitely makes much nicer espresso, more consistently than the Rok. Due to absolutely needing to preheat, it used to take me about ten minutes to make an espresso with the Rok. Takes two mins with the Robot. Easier to clean. Better made. Better spares available.

    But it is pricey and if you don’t like it aesthetically then that’s fair enough. I personally adore it.

  • Home-Barista.com has some useful threads built around the Robot, some stuff on the Rok as well.

  • My la Pavoni is from 1965 and still going strong. Spares readily available. It is a little charmer and extremely simple once you get the knack.

    Looking forward to trying the Faemina once it eventually gets here. Though from the state of it, it’s going to require a more serious overhaul.

  • Have you considered a la Pavoni?

  • Not sure if this is the best place to post but I have a couple of spare seals and screen for a 3/4 cup Bialetti moka pot

    Free to a good home if anybody wants them

  • Yeah the availability of spares is a big plus point for the La Pavonis, they've basically got two models in the pre/post-millenium versions (well except for the two boiler sizes), and even then a load of the parts are shared between the new and old machines.

    Is the Faemina just a nice to have machine or is it replacing the La Pavoni in regular use? Or is it more just a restoration project?

  • Yeah mine is the pre-pre Millennium, no p-stat and you need a pin wrench to get the group out. All good solid brass.

    The Faemina needs total restoration. No idea how well they work when fixed up so I’ll have a bit of fun trying both once it’s done. I wanted to try a spring lever and it came up cheap online….

  • Oh cool I had no idea they were a sprung lever. Out of all the machines I've worked on the one that made the best coffee consistently was a sprung lever (one of these: https://www.shopcoffee.co.uk/product/mac­hines/espresso-coffee-machines/fracino-c­offee-machines/fracino-retro-lever-1-gro­up/) Probably not economically viable to have in coffee shops due to the speed of operation though

  • La Pavoni would be perfect. I thought they would be out of my price range tbf.

    Which models are better to go for?

  • Cool - that looks nice! Oddly enough I was up in Ferndale, a tiny little village in remote Northern California last week and they had an old two group Gaggia lever machine bubbling away. They’re not common at all here.

    The Faemina is spring and two part piston - not unlike the commercial ones of the same period (Urania, president etc.) Hopefully it shouldn’t be too hard to blast apart…fingers crossed.

  • Even cooler is what it was mounted on, a rear-wheel steering trike with a pedal-powered grinder:

    https://www.velopresso.cc/

    Was surprised at how good the coffee was from that thing, especially when compared to a standard commercial setup.

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Coffee Appreciation

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