Review from our Friends at Sweet Marias - USA
As home coffee brewing continues to be met with innovation, competition is heating up in the manual espresso maker space. There are two manual espresso makers we’re going to focus on in this article: the ROK Espresso Maker and the up-and-coming Flair Espresso Maker.
It may go without saying, but neither of these devices relies on electricity. All it takes is some good old fashioned arm strength to pull great shots. This means there are no wires to fry, batteries to charge, and electrical boards to break.
It also means they can be taken across town or the country - they travel well!
Let’s take a good look at these rival devices so you can determine which one will more suit your lifestyle and brewing habits.
Launched in 2012 by ROK Kitchen Tools, this espresso maker has been subject to years of scrutiny - and yet, it doesn’t seem to be losing steam. The consensus among testers and consumers is that this manual espresso maker is powerful, simple to use, and can pull a great shot.
To brew your espresso, preheat the portafilter, fill it with grounds, attach it to the main body, and add hot water to the reservoir. Now, lift the arms completely and allow the water to pre infuse the grounds for about 5 seconds. When this phase is complete, press down on the arms forcefully to generate 5-10 bars of pressure. Watch as golden streams of rich espresso fall into your cup. This pressurized stage should take 20-30 seconds and may require a second lift and press.
The ROK’s portafilter has room for about 7-8 grams of coffee grounds - only enough to pull single shots. Commercial espresso machines typically pull shots at 8-10 bars of pressure, so 5-10 bars with the ROK. This means you can pull true espresso shots - not just really concentrated coffee.
The brewer is created primarily out of engine-grade aluminum that comes with a 10-year warranty by ROK. The few plastic parts are BPA-Free. The bundle includes a carrying tin and a milk frother as well.
Read the complete ROK Espresso Maker description.
This manual espresso maker doesn’t have as much of a track record behind it, but the $50,000 it raised via Kickstarter quickly established it as a power player and key rival to the ROK.
The Flair Espresso Maker brewing process is very similar to the ROK’s, but with a few key differences. Firstly, instead of two side arms, the Flair has one long arm that you press down towards you. For some, this may be a little more comfortable.
Secondly, this process is designed to generate up to 16 bars of pressure. It’s more pressure than you need to pull a true espresso shot, so you won’t have any doubts about whether you’re reaching the right level of pressure or not.
This brewer can use 16-22g of coffee to produce up to 50 ml of espresso - up to two shots. That’s twice the input and yield of the ROK. The Flair also packs down a little smaller than the ROK into an included carrying case. The detachable brewing head makes cleaning up a breeze.
Built with premium grade aluminum and stainless steel, this brewer will pull shots for years to come.
While both of these manual espresso makers have earned the affection of home espresso lovers around the world, one may be more suited for your unique lifestyle than the other. It’s up to you to decide which.
Does the double-armed, single-shot pulling ROK seem right for your kitchen; or does the single-armed, double-shot pulling Flair sound like a better fit?
See both in Action below: