First shots, not doing great so far (ROK grinder, update: coming along now)

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.

Postby Elfmaze » Mar 09, 2019, 10:30 am

I just got an Expobar Office Lever Plus, these are my first impressions.

First I drained the water tank in one day... the E61 head does use a lot of water, I'm glad I got one that can be plumbed.

I bought fresh beans from a local roaster... some congo, brazilian, and two blends. Theoretically all roasted within a week or so.

Weighed out 18 grams of beans(in a not so accurate kitchen scale) and ground them in my... ehem... ROK grinder. Now I know I was advised against this grinder but good reviews online and the assurance from WLL that the design is improved and pushing the budget for the machine thinking the machine should live a long life. If I could make the ROK work that would have held us over until a new grinder comes along, but my first pulls were running through in 15-20 seconds to 2 oz. So I tightened it down as tight as it goes... It can still turn with resistance but I wouldn't say they are locked together. I got a 25 second pull tamping the crap out of it(with the plastic euro curve Expobar unit) and grinding as tight as it can go... but still not great crema production, it was there, but not silky and creamy just a thin layer up top.

Hard to get temp measurements as I don't have a way into the head yet, but in the cup it was about 160 ish with a good thermopen reading. (HX machine)Boiler pressure is around 1 bar I haven't honestly caught the brew pressure as I have been looking at the stream. I flushed each time before the shots for a few seconds, only once did it seem overheated and steamed a bit.

I can tell a difference in the two coffees I have tried, the Sumatran/Colombian blend and the Brazilian Serra Negra, But nothing really complex about them, No layers, no lemony citrus acidity. Just strong coffee and a bit bitter(she had to add some sugar to the Brazilian). The stream didn't really change much through the pull so I've been measuring to 2oz in the cup.

I am guessing I'm not getting the grind I need out of the ROK, and as its bottomed out, I don't know if I can get more out of it... No chance at choking the machine. My scale probably sucks as it seems its plus or minus 2-4 grams. the tamper is the kit one. And may need an erics style thermometer to know anything about the group head.



Postby Elfmaze » Mar 09, 2019, 7:52 pm

got a measurement off the shower head water. 198* and climbed to 202* over 10 seconds... So temp is not an issue. Grinder seems to be the blaring issue.


Postby Elfmaze » Mar 09, 2019, 8:41 pm

HAD decent results! Tried a Burundi AA. first shot almost choked it and took a bit over 40 sec to come close to a 2oz shot.. I loosened the ROK grinder another step and second 2oz took 35 seconds... The straight espresso was rich. I then latte'd it up. not too bad if I do say so! Brew pressure reads about 9.5 bar once it ramps up after 5-10 seconds or so.



Postby smite » Mar 11, 2019, 10:31 am

Hi Dan, while you probably have some limitations with the grinder, you can try updosing to help better control the speed of your shots. So since you maxed out how fine you can grind to avoid hurting your wrist, see how the shots are by increasing your coffee dose by .5 to 1.0 gram at a time. Start with increasing it by 1 full gram and then try .5 at a time until you have either maxed out your headroom or gotten better shots. If your scale is off try finding some way to determine just how off it is and calculate that into your measurements.

Also make sure you know the weight of your coffee in the portafilter before pulling shots. Also be sure to weigh the coffee that comes out. Increasing dose should help slow down and improve the quality and richness of your shots. Try to shoot for a 1:2, 1:3 ratio depending on your taste preference.

I am not that familiar with the new rok grinder but I would see if there is any way to install some kind of shim that might give you greater grind range to perhaps grind a little finer.

Also if WLL advertises this as an espresso grinder contact them and ask for some help. Maybe they know of some magic way to adjust finer as well.

Supporter ♡

Postby mivanitsky » Mar 11, 2019, 11:23 am

You will never achieve consistency or outstanding quality of your espresso with a ROK. Your machine and coffee should be more than adequate for the task. Even a Knock Aergrind will do better, though I recommend Helor 101, Knock Feldgrind, Hiku (with TiN coated burrs), Lido E, or Kinu M47, all of which will be quite good for espresso.


Postby Elfmaze » replying to mivanitsky » Mar 11, 2019, 2:11 pm

yeah, was aware of this limitation when I bought it... And still have two weeks left to evaluate. Figured I'd give it a shot. I am leaning toward the Sette grinders. but still figuring out my flow and how I would weight the dose etc.

I'm thinking the 270WI Is the best for my style grinding and weighting the dose directly that I don't hav eto keep moving the brew scale off the espresso machine and beating it with 500grams of portafilter. I'm just not a huge fan of integrated electronics and i wonder if the straight 270 will be more reliable in the long run.

The SO is sounding like shes not a fan of the manual... she even found using the ROK difficult for her. not the turning but the downforce needed to keep it all stable( not using the sticky pad so i can move it under the counter)


Postby Elfmaze » Mar 11, 2019, 2:35 pm

I'm starting to believe my tamping is the limiting factor right now. The tamper they sent with the machine is about a 1/4" or around 5-10mm too small for the basket. If I tamp dead center the grind rolls up around the edges of the tamper. So I started working the tamper around the edges before finally tamping the center and a quick polish. Anything but repeatable, But since I started that process its been running too long on most shots.

Tampers are everywhere, super available but I don't want to start a collection of them buying at random. I ha emy eye on the Joe Frex system tampers. the prices are fair, and they are modular so swap out a convex for a flat... change out the handle or make my own.... I like options. Also debating a calibrated unit as that may help the SO who is not going to be as dedicated to it get a consistent pressure.

Supporter ♡

Postby mivanitsky » Mar 11, 2019, 4:40 pm

Your tamping is not the limiting factor. Your distribution may be a contributing issue. A grinder that produces boulders and dust, relatively speaking, is the biggest issue.

Any Sette will be a good choice for you at your stage. They punch way above their weight. You need not make your SO suffer with a manual, if that is not preferred.


Postby jwCrema » Mar 11, 2019, 7:53 pm

mivanitsky wrote:Your tamping is not the limiting factor. Your distribution may be a contributing issue. A grinder that produces boulders and dust, relatively speaking, is the biggest issue.

I completely agree that tamping is not the limiting factor. I have an original plastic tamper that came with my La Pavoni. I normally use a super cool OE tamper, but I couldn't find it in the moment of need. This old tamper is ill fitted to the 49 mm basket but works just fine. I'd save money for a grinder and skip the tamper.

I was an early ROK buyer. I took it out of the box, looked at it, and put it back in the box immediately and sold it. A Lido E is a Monolith in comparison to the ROK.


Postby Elfmaze » Mar 15, 2019, 10:11 am

A week left in my return period... I think the grinder and I have reached an understanding. I have backed it off a lot and I'm now getting solid 25 second extraction times, perhaps it needed a bit of time to settle. Here is the results from today's morning shot... My tamp method is still anything but quick, working carefully around the edges and a final press in the center(domed tamper). I have been weighing the bean dose and then grinding, I doubt I'm loosing too much to the ROK but I'll measure that in a bit and adjust as needed. Still working with an 18 gram whole bean dose. I also captured my flush water today and noticed its a bit murky, I need to start back flushing more.

I'm leaning toward keeping the grinder for now and asking Santa for a nicer one in a year. that way I can really tell the difference the grinder makes in the operation.