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ROK GC Explorer's edition espresso maker bundle

ROK Espresso GC Explorer’s Edition

For an experiential espresso-making experience, the ROK is a no-brainer. Read our full review

Our rating 
4.5 out of 5 star rating 4.5
£199
Pros: 10-year guarantee on metal parts, plastic-free packaging, experiential process
Cons: cheap-feel portafilter handle, needs anti-slip feet

ROK Espresso GC Explorer’s Edition review summary

The latest iteration of the ROK classic manual espresso machine features an upgraded glass-composite (GC) brewing chamber for forcing hot water through compacted grinds with greater efficiency.

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Everything about this manual machine demands your investment in the process. You’re responsible for the dosing, tamping, pre-heating and pulling of each espresso and there’s theatre in the design, with its wing-like handles, which you press to control the coffee extraction. The Explorer’s Edition kit is an additional £40 on top of the base price of the espresso maker and provides you with three portafilters to experiment with; ‘naked’, ‘standard’ and ‘crema plus’. Also included are:

  • A manual milk frother (this is excellent)
  • Dosing funnel
  • Clip-on adapter

Available from:
ROK (£199)

What was the ROK Espresso GC machine like to use?

The body of the machine is impressively robust and surprisingly lightweight, made from cast aluminium. Some non-slip feet would help offer more counter-resistance, but it’s movability makes it an easy one to reposition on the counter-top or for storage. It’s also stable thanks to a rounded base.

Being metal, water heat retention is an issue, so preheating the machine with just hot water before every use was essential. Once warmed, we added new boiled water into the brewing chamber and tampered the fine-ground coffee in the filter basket before loading it and lifting the handles for pre-infusion.

The ‘naked’ filter offered us the best results, also providing a flat base for evenly tamping the grounds, which is essential for the even brewing and splitting of espresso. 30 seconds of even pressure on the handles produced a dark, flavour-rich espresso topped with crema.

The handle of the portafilter along with the clip-on adapter are both plastic, which stuck out as feeling noticeably cheap compared to the rest of the high-quality elements.

olive’s take: should you buy the ROK Espresso GC machine?

Once you’ve nailed the process with a bit of practice, making espresso with the ROK Espresso GC machine is incredibly rewarding. There’s a 10-year guarantee on its metal parts and its cordless credentials means you can easily take it away with you. It would make a great gift for anyone who enjoys the process behind crafting espresso and is looking for a sustainable solution.

Available from:
ROK (£199)

ROK GC espresso machine specifications

Wattage: manual
Product weight: 2.35kg
Ground capacity: standard portafilter 16-19g, naked portafilter 16-18g
Average pressure: 5-10 bars
Dimensions: 18cm x 18cm x 32cm
Material: cast aluminium
Warranty: 10-year warranty on metal parts

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This review was last updated in May 2021. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability, please get in touch at oliveweb@immediate.co.uk.