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  • Rosca Portaspresso HC

    Looking at buying one of these for camping and also as my main espresso home machine. Will sell my old Bezerra BZ99 to fund my purchase. Has anyone here had any experience with one of these that they can share. I demoed one at Merlo in Brisbane and it was one of the best short blacks I have had in a long time. The Barista at Merlo also pulled a shot from the commercial machine and you could not tell the difference between the two in taste.

  • #2
    I use a Rosco Mini + Rossa PG Air Espresso. After reading/viewing every review I could find I never really considered the HC - the ease of controlling the pressure with the PG was just too big an advantage over the HC. I too started out looking for something that I could easily take camping, but very quickly found that the Rossa more than fills my daily needs at home also (I am generally only making one coffee at a time). I have now been using this daily for about 6 months, taken it camping with me 3 times, and am still absolutely delighted with the purchase.

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    • #3
      It's best suited with a sink handy. I use mine daily at home, work, and when camping.

      The word camping means many things to many people. I personally wouldn't leave mine at home: I find it being hard to provide for in the cleaning department (needs some water, and generates some waste water when cleaning). This is from a bush camping perspective (ie bring your own water) if there's a fancy camp kitchen, I'd use it there.

      And the belman stove top steamer goes nicely if you require milk.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by thegoner View Post
        I find it being hard to provide for in the cleaning department (needs some water, and generates some waste water when cleaning). This is from a bush camping perspective (ie bring your own water)
        This is probably more the domain of the AeroPress - Very little water is needed for cleanup...

        Mal.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by thegoner View Post
          needs some water, and generates some waste water when cleaning
          Minimal waste for me with the PG Air. I empty the water used to heat the chamber into a bowl to be used for washing my cup etc. The inside of the chamber just gets wiped out once the pressure has pushed all the water out, the stand gets emptied and it and the basket also only wiped out.

          Maybe the HC requires more cleaning, but with the PG Air the pressure remaining in the chamber once the valve is turned off forces all the water through the puck - the puck is left dry and easily removed, and the inside of the chamber clean.

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          • #6
            Definitely the way to go, for camping and for other use.

            I am currently on my ship, on my way back to Australia from Japan, using my Portaspresso PG alloy for coffee.

            I use it motorcycle camping all the time, here it is at the Spaghetti rally in Victoria.


            And at Bentley plains hut east of Ensay.


            I have a couple of HC's scattered around the country, and one set in London for my return to Europe.

            Here is the HC in use on my ship, before being replaced with the PG alloy.


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            • #7
              Andy-Gadget, do you get a better result from the PG? I tried the HC and the results were phenomenal. I was looking at getting the HC with the gauge and I particularly like that I won't have to cart a pump around with me. I also think that if I had to do two shots in a row every morning that it would be quicker with the HC. I would have a second basket prepared and ready to go and then just quickly change it over, refill and pour another shot without having to recharge the chamber. Do you think the results on the PG are that much better that you would recommend it over the HC? Ross seems to have good control of pressure profiling with the HC in his videos. Is this the main reason for going with a PG, better pressure control?

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              • #8
                Hi Johnydee, My preferred coffee at sea is a short black, as the milk is exclusively UHT, and texturing milk on the ships Seaco machine is a PITA.
                So I take green beans away with me, 4.5 kG of Colombian for this trip, two months, and roast on board (in the engine room welding bay, Gas ship, and I am 1st Eng) in a Gene Caffe 100 volt roaster that is as slow as a wet week, but gets the job done, eventually.

                I prefer the taste of a "restretto" shot, and so tamp hard and charge the air receiver of the PG to 14 bar, and it produces a nice tiger striped shot that tickes all my boxes :-)

                To do the same shot on a HC is doable, but harder as the crank is stiff at these pressures, but as I only have a screw on pressure gauge adapter, and that not with me, I don't know what pressure I am producing on the HC. I will be home in about a week or so, and will play with the HC and pressure gauge adapter and let you know.

                I have the luxury of having a brass TC and the alloy PG on board at the moment, as the brass unit is staying on board, and the alloy PG is coming home with me as it suits motorcycle camping better than the brass one, and so if I am having a bad day, I can get a coffee out of the other unit if I haven't "reset" the TC.
                I leave the TC to "air purge" and as you have noted, it is hard to do a quick turn around of either the TC or the PG, as they need to come to zero pressure (gauge) before opening up, and a watched pot...
                Having said this, the wet puck from the HC, in comparison to the dry puck from the TC, means a rinse of the body is needed between PF's.

                You have made me think, and after the initial experimentation with the PG, I tend to not play with pressure profiling, as the gauge lags behind the chamber pressure, and just pull the shot.
                The receiver goes from 14 bar to about 6 bar with the valve being shut at about 4/5 of shot pull.

                I have been on the lookout for a good potable coffee machine for some time, this is a photo of the collection so far.


                Hope this helps.

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                • #9
                  I use an original Portaspresso (with naked filter head) set up both at home and travelling (both in the campervan in Oz, and flying to the US - where I visit offspring and travel around a lot, by car mostly). Works great once you get the muscle memory.

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                  • #10
                    I have the hand crank portaspresso with pressure gauge (HC-P), and it is just what I was after, something that I can take away with me camping and produces the same quality coffee I get from my Ms Silvia. And it does. I have played around with it a bit since I got it a month or so ago, watched the video clips, and today I made my first decent flat white, and it was as awesome as Ms Silvia made an hour earlier.

                    I am impressed with the quality of the build, pure brass, top quality machining, no bits sticking out to rip the skin off your hand, used according to instructions, preheat, set the grind and tamp into the basket, tip out the warming water then add the hot water again and bingo.

                    The little stand is just right too. I initially thought it was crappy, but it is sturdy, at the perfect height for the portaspresso whether preheating upside down or pouring the espresso. It unscrews quickly to be put back in its box, it reassembles in seconds and the screw thread is not going to cross thread ever. The basket's tamper is also perfect, just the right size, obviously made to the specifications of the basket, a little fellow that does the job with no fuss. I really can't find fault with any of the components.

                    It must be noted that the grind of your coffee is just as important in the portaspresso as it is with a domestic/commercial machine. Setting the grind with my Hario Skelton hand grinder took a while since I had never used it before, but once set it was good to go. I did find that the puck was wet and a dribble of water remained, but I expect that with more and more practice this will be less of a problem. I don't believe that this detracts from the product at all and it is more an operator issue. With a slightly finer grind this will be less of an issue.

                    The hand crank works fine, I got it up to 9 bar right at the end of the thread and it then slowly finished the pour as a dribble as the pressure dropped. I was a little deflated I didn't get to 9 bar earlier but as its only my third attempt I can see that I just need more practice. Also a finer grind will produce more back pressure, and it should produce a drier puck.

                    For the price I paid new, I am very impressed, it cost less than a new Silvia, but it is tiny, portable and doesn't need an electric generator or power point. It packs up in a small box or bag and can be taken anywhere there is hot water. Its components are quality brass and expertly machined to produce a real work of art. Congratulations goes to Ross for his hard work in producing a quality product in a niche of the coffee market.

                    Disclaimer: I don't know Ross from a bar of soap but I do like what he has done to make my camping holidays more enjoyable
                    Last edited by smokey; 9 August 2014, 11:33 AM.

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                    • #11
                      Apologies for a thread dig but thought I would comment this in here. I'm seriously looking into one of these but wanted to know if anyone has advice for making 2 coffees from one extraction ie. is there a mod for a double spout splitter similar to the Rok?

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                      • #12
                        I have been using the PG since December as my sole espresso maker and love it, I like a double shot myself I have been using 21g basket with about 23g coffee.

                        To my knowledge there is no double spout available, I prefer to use the "Naked head" though if you are fast I am sure if you use the "Triple Filter Head" and quickly slide a 2nd glass under the stand after the first shot has poured.

                        Great well built piece of equipment & Ross's back up service is second to none.

                        I doubt you will have any regrets if you decide on the Portaspresso.

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                        • #13
                          Thanks Corker. The support that Ross gives me great confidence in getting one of these. I know that if I was to purchase one of these it would be something that I would keep for ever, or even pass on to the next generation!

                          I had seen this - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQMh8apNQn0 - and had though I could do something similar with a DIY stand.

                          Getting a larger basket would be a great idea but wouldn't sliding a second glass under catch a different section of the espresso extraction? I can't remember where I read this but sliding a different glass at certain intervals (it new glass every 2-3 seconds) you can catch/taste different extraction flavours. (sorry if this doesn't make sense, have no idea how to explain this).

                          Before I forget, how is would it be to make another coffee after an expresso was extracted?

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                          • #14
                            Definitely would be a different tasting coffee if you were to slide a glass under the spout, though it is the only way I can think of.

                            My girlfriend likes her coffee with milk and uses an Otto, I can make at least two double espressos while she makes one coffee (noting that the otto is very manual).

                            The only drawback is that the unit gets hot, so you need to disassemble the Portaspresso with a cloth if making espresso one after the other.

                            I can usually make a coffee in a few minutes, you can do them quite quick once you get the hang of it, I just do a few things at the same time such as pump the chamber while the water is boiling and preheat while I grind.

                            I really enjoy the manual process, so I only recommend getting one if you enjoy experimenting.

                            I Highly recommend the stand & pressure Gauge, I find my taste suits 6 bar while the stand lets you focus on the pressure.

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                            • #15
                              I'd just like to add praise for Ross and his excellent products. I can be sipping my espresso shot 4m 30sec after walking into the kitchen. I flip on the kettle, then moisten the thread and open the chamber on the HC. Then start grinding in the Rosco mini. Initial preheat when the kettle boils. When the grind is done, I pour the water into a jug or bowl (no sink necessary) and do a second stage preheat, then transfer coffee into the basket. Then fill the chamber again for the shot.

                              After a few goes and a bit of tinkering with grind fineness I find I can tell from the back pressure while cranking the shot and the from the flow rate and appearance whether I need to go faster or slower to get beautiful creamy liquid gold from the machine. There is infinite control over extraction pressure profile, and not knowing the exact numbers means you are guided only by taste aroma and crema settling time of the resulting shot. It all adds to the romance and mystery of the whole experience. I use it every day

                              If I need to make 2 or more shots, I use a pair of leather welding gloves to take the unit apart, and get guests to grind their own beans. Having another Basket would speed things up, but its not essential.

                              When camping I use the water from the preheat to either make hot chocolates for the kids, or for washing up of breakfast dishes. I use a plastic cup to ladle water from and MSR pot into the machine. We use about 10-15 L of water a day for our family of 5.

                              Anyway the combination of fresh roasted at home beans and this machine makes my daily coffee about as good as any other coffee I have had IMHO. Always happy to spread the word about my Rosca

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