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portaspresso - Rossa Hand Espresso

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  • portaspresso - Rossa Hand Espresso

    I recently took delivery of some very unique coffee tools designed and hand crafted by Ross Spencer in Australia.
    Like most great inventions were born from necessity when Ross couldn’t find a device to produce as good a coffee as he wanted.

    While not a scientific test, or a formal review I will attempt to show just how great these items are via some pictures and some comments.

    In the interests of disclosure (and to appease the cyberspace spooky la-la’s) portaspresso are site sponsors of CoffeeSnobs but anyone that knows me will also know that I would never talk something up unless it deserved it and besides, we don’t sell equipment so I have no personal gain in any sales this thread might generate.

    This thread is about the portaspresso - Rossa Hand Espresso and the Rossa Support Stand

    The portaspresso - Rosco Hand Grinder is in another thread:

  • #2
    Re: portaspresso - Rossa Hand Espresso

    This is what the Rosco looks like.

    First impressions out of the box are:
    Heavy, solid, nice to hold and built to last.


    • #3
      Re: portaspresso - Rossa Hand Espresso

      The support stand is simple but also well built, the threads are all clean and the legs screw-on with the ease and fit of a well engineered device.

      No Ikea frustrations here!


      • #4
        Re: portaspresso - Rossa Hand Espresso

        In the box you get (from left to right in the below picture)

        A Tamper
        The Press Unit
        The Standard Filter Head
        14g Basket (standard double)

        Additional accesories are also available... 7g & 21g baskets and triple and naked filter heads.  Ive not tried any of those yet but expect usage is just a good.


        • #5
          Re: portaspresso - Rossa Hand Espresso

          The whole lot tips the scales at 1.1kg

          This really is a solid bit of kit.


          • #6
            Re: portaspresso - Rossa Hand Espresso

            The double basket came in at 55mm across.

            I later queried why it wasnt a 58mm and Ross told me that he had tried a 58mm in early prototypes but this one had better proportions and worked better.


            • #7
              Re: portaspresso - Rossa Hand Espresso

              Every espresso machine comes with a "plastic tamp thingy".

              The tamp in with the Rossa has been machine turned and is well made.

              It came in at 54mm and on the basket above was a little too much gap for my liking. After seeing the rest of the build quality I know Ross could have got a tighter fit but I expect the variable might be the basket manufacturer.

              Far from a "show stopper" but it was also the only thing I could whinge about... so I have!

              The tamp works fine, but there is a opening for Ross or someone else to make some more interesting tamps to partner with this beautiful machine.


              • #8
                Re: portaspresso - Rossa Hand Espresso

                The view inside the brew chamber.

                The seal is countersunk into the head and easy to replace (if needed).


                • #9
                  Re: portaspresso - Rossa Hand Espresso

                  Using the stand, invert the Rossa and fill with hot water. This will allow the large thermal mass of brass to heat up.

                  I was surprised at how fast the brass soaked-up the temperature.


                  • #10
                    Re: portaspresso - Rossa Hand Espresso

                    Next grab your filter head with the basket in it ready for dosing.

                    Like all coffee gear, I found it worthwhile to rinse these with hot water to get some heat into them too.


                    • #11
                      Re: portaspresso - Rossa Hand Espresso

                      Dose it up!

                      I found the Rossa very forgiving on dosage height.  You can up-dose easily and its surprising just how fine a grind it will take.

                      Tamp and polish like you would on any other espresso machine.


                      • #12
                        Re: portaspresso - Rossa Hand Espresso

                        Now you have the basket dosed, tip out the warming water in the Press Unit and refill with water just off the boil.

                        Its really easy to get constant water temperature if you let the kettle boil, wait a couple of seconds and pour it in. Like all espresso making, try and keep your variables as few as you can.

                        Screw the dosed filter head to the unit, place in the stand and start turning the handle.


                        • #13
                          Re: portaspresso - Rossa Hand Espresso

                          Turning the handle you can "feel" the pressure.

                          Turn too fast and its hard to turn (high pressure), turn too slow and its a low pressure shot. Simple!

                          A closer look at that shot...


                          • #14
                            Re: portaspresso - Rossa Hand Espresso

                            Its as simple as that.

                            After you have finished open it up and wash it down.  Sometimes I got a good solid puck out of the basket, sometimes it was mushy.  I think it mostly comes down to if you pushed all the water through or not.  Shots from both puck styles tasted good though.


                            • #15
                              Re: portaspresso - Rossa Hand Espresso

                              So there you have it.
                              Stunning espresso without a pump.

                              Now for the fun part. Being a variable pressure machine you can fiddle with pressure profiling.

                              The first 20 odd turns are only really wetting the coffee, a pause then acts as a long, low pressure, pre-infusion and you should see the first drip hit the bottom of the cup.

                              Slow and steady turns from that point for the next 10ml and then ramp it up to higher pressure for the next 10ml before tapering off at the end. (Slayer style)

                              You might get a shot you like more by turning like crazy at the start and gradually slowing down till the end (Lever style)

                              You can dose up or down, espresso grind or finer and have full control over the time, pressure and volume of the shot.

                              I like the stand, its an optional extra well worth getting as it makes the whole process easier to control and you can focus on the pressure feedback via the handle better.

                              In summary: Loads of fun to play with and the results are excellent. The build quality is amazing, easy to use, easy to clean and great value for money.

                              Ill buy the naked head for it one day to have a play and I expect then Ill want to do all my pours over a mirror.