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Portaspresso Rossa HC-P vs. Rossa PG

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  • Portaspresso Rossa HC-P vs. Rossa PG

    I've been reading a lot within the forums and have contacted Ross to get more details about the two devices to try and make a decision. Both obviously produce a beautiful espresso but both have their own little quirks. What I'm trying to find out are the little details that people find when you use a machine over time, things that you wouldn't consider prior to a purchase.

    I'm conflicted between the two for the reasons:

    - Rossa HC offers good control for pressure profiling which is something that I've been wanting to play with. Compared to the Rossa PG, which one has the better ability to control an extraction.

    -Ross in an interview said that he preferred the Rossa PG for the reason that all the effort is performed before making an espresso. The Rossa HC obviously needs effort to be placed whilst extracting but it made me realise that the resting the crank may be be slightly annoying. Whilst visiting Merlo in the Valley (BNE) I was able to have a closer look at the HC and had noticed this. Is it that much of an issue?

    I've watched the videos of Ross and read the forum hundreds of times and this is what I've boiled my main concerns to be. If there are any other details, please let me know!

    Thanks in advance!
    Last edited by pdmeyer; 20 May 2015, 09:56 PM. Reason: editing out html

  • #2
    Sounds like you've already done your research and yes, both of them have their own quirks. If your primary goal is excellent shots, you'll be satisfied with either (I was). I have had both and with HC now.

    Re pressure profiling:
    HC is much more flexible and capable of executing those odd profiles for your experiments. In fact, probably more flexible than needed for everyday use. It takes a more conscious mind/effort for every shot, in order to control the pressure(not that it's difficult but human tends to be lazy or go the easy route). Gauge is a neccesity in my opinion, but going by feel is possible.You'll (I was) be surprised how subtle the force is needed to change the brew pressure. Note that HC can't ramp up as fast as the PG, but can have a way more delicate control in the preinfusion stage (<1.0bar range).

    PG can do a declining/constant pressure profile easily and that's practically what you need most of the time. It can do fast ramp up, but you can't ramp down suddenly and the preinfusion stage pressure control is coarser than the HC. It is more limited in that sense.

    Conclusion: For the ability to pull off a wide array of pressure profiles, HC wins. For ease of use & practicality, PG is the one.

    Re resting the crank:

    Not sure if I get what you mean there. Do you mean the protruding crank handle can be in the way? In my experience, no, it doesn't bother me. The only moment that it is annoying is taking it in and out of the tripod stand. To that, I modified the tripod stand and love it ever since. [see attached pic & videos, Modified Original

    Conclusion: None issue (unless I misinterpret your question)

    Re other concerns that you'll only notice post-purchase
    i) Cleaning:
    With HC, you will always end up with coffee soup/slurry. A sink access is a must. PG is way superior in that sense. Dry puck knocks out cleanly and cleaning the plastic base can be done casually (which doesn't have to be dried unlike the Rossa metal body).

    Conclusion: PG wins by far.

    ii) Durability
    HC should be longer lasting as compared to PG, provided you take care of the thread cleanliness and lube the thread before use. I haven't seen/experienced any mechanical problem with the HC. On the other hand, I have seen some reports of air cylinder leaking (aluminium especially) on the PG version. I'm not sure if brass PG would have the problem, only time will tell.

    Conclusion: HC wins. Uncertain for the brass PG.

    iii) Pumping or hand crank?
    Both are easy but may be bothersome in the long run. The beauty of hand crank is that you have less parts and less work (compared to using a hand shock pump). The pumping can be made easy if you have a floor pump/electric pump (noisy), worth it if you value the ease of use over HC.

    Conclusion: Ties, depends on preference.

    iv) Learning curve/shot-to-shot consistency
    PG is way easier to master than the HC, which needs coordination and muscle memory. 5 shots or so with the PG(may vary for individual) and you're close to mastery. For HC, I spent almost a few weeks(lots of practices in between) without gauge to get decent shots 70% of the time, but it wasn't consistent due to not knowing the pressure. Finally I broke down and bought the gauge. Even then, I can only get shots as predicted in 90-95% of the time, whereas with the PG I'd have the confidence of 99%. 90-95% is good for most people(and me) but doesn't change the fact that PG is easier to master/predict.

    Conclusion: PG wins.

    So it really boils down to what's your usage and which quirks you can put up with. Or even better, don't decide and buy both. :P
    Attached Files
    Last edited by samuellaw178; 21 May 2015, 12:18 PM.


    • #3
      samuellaw178 your response is amazing! Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions. I'm leaning more towards the HC mainly because I like the the ability to have the finer control. I know that this will basically allow for inconsistencies but it's through these mistakes you'll learn more about the process.

      Due to being tired when I wrote the post I actually meant resetting not resting the hand crank. For example if I was two make a second shot for my wife, is it a tedious procedure to wind the handle back or have you become nonchalant?

      Through my error though, you have highlighted an issue which I had considered and was prepared to just accept. The modification you've proposed is an excellent solution! Would you mind me asked how you did this? Did you just use a dermel drill or something similar?

      Finally in regards to the HC and preparing a second shot, is it a messy procedure? Obviously this will be more so than the PG as it runs dry but is it something that you get use to when you figure out your own methods and procedures?

      Before I forget, I know you mentioned you have both but do you have a favourite? Or do you use each one of them for different occasions?

      Again thanks for your help and for the videos too!


      • #4
        Thanks for the kind words! I was in your position once so I'm more than happy to help.

        As for the mod, just a serrrated pipe cutter and about 30 minute of your time. No tools involved and the plastic is not difficult to cut.

        Reseting hand crank may be a bit bothersome when doing back-to-back shots, but not too bad. Technically, doing a second shot is no different from doing the first shot, you're starting everything all over again. Compared to reseting the crank, I find cleaning in between shots more annoying. Still find it(cleaning) annoying after months and don't think it can improve with time. But the shots it makes is good, so I just have to put up with it.

        I like PG because it's easy to clean and easy to pull shots, but didn't like the pumping aspect and the many individual parts. I like the HC's compact form factor, but didn't like the cleaning and the fact that you have to get 'wet' when making shots. As you and I said, both with its quirks, so I have no favourite. If I had to choose, I may give a *very* slight favor towards PG but only because I don't have PG now (the mentality of grass is always greener on the other side). Haha.

        All in all, nothing that is a deal breaker. You'll always wish it's easier, but most probably will forget it after tasting the shot.


        • #5
          Sorry for the late reply, but wanted to say a massive thanks samuellaw178 . I'm pretty set on my mind on which one I would prefer - the HC. Just a matter now to get the funds and make an order! Thanks again.


          • #6
            Back again. Still haven't made a purchase but wanted to see if anyone knows where I could view a PG or HC in action in Brisbane. I know that there was one at Merlo in the valley but unfortunately no-one knew how to use it. Would be also be keen to see Rosco Grinder in action too if possible.

            Thanks in advance!


            • #7
              I can't help you with a viewing as I live in Tassie but a few months go I was in the same position as you - which to buy.

              So we were travelling through Queensland recently and we asked Ross if he would do a demo for us. This he very kindly did - what a genuinely good guy Ross is. I went to the demo expecting to buy the HC and ended up placing an order for the Brass PG. Why? Well I want to try different pressure profiles and I believed I could do these better using the air control rather than the winding method.

              I have had the PG matched with a Rosco for a couple of weeks now and am coming to grips with it. I bought a shock pump to charge the cylinder but (being of a mature age and growing arthritis) I find this needs more effort than expected so I am now looking for a 12v battery and a cheap electric pump handling up to 15 bar to use instead. (There is a difficulty over where to keep battery and pump as it will not be allowed in the kitchen. SWMBO is very happy to sup the results but the kitchen must not resemble my shed!!)

              Anyway, we have not regretted the purchase. I love the way I can grind straight into the filter, tamp and attach to the PG. The resulting shots are much better than those I can pull from our Breville Infuser and, I believe, match almost anything we have found commercially in Tasmania to date. The straight espresso is just so tasty I am getting sidetracked from lattes.

              As to pressure profiling. I am not very good at the control as yet. Sometimes it almost works and other times the grind is wrong and I have little control. It will come with time (I tell myself) and the odd one that works really well shows the control is there. However, current results are good even if 'profiling' only gives an initial infusion stage followed by a quick ramp up to 8 bars! I am finding that the grind is so important and can see I will need a few more months to get this totally sorted to enable repeatable results!

              All the best with your decision making and I hope this helped a little.


              • #8
                Thanks for the advice AntC1946. Now i'm really torn because I've gone and had another look at the PG through Ross' videos and it seems like it's a device with greater control. I really need to see Ross and see these two in action. I just don't like the idea of having to bring a pump no matter where I go, but if it definitely enables good coffee compared to the HC I might make an exception.


                • #9
                  I see that you still haven't decided. To make it even more complicated, I'm throwing one more option into the mix. There's a new device called EspressoForge just came into the market recently. I have one (V1) it performs fairly admirably. It looks ugly compared to Rossa, but is easier to use than both the Rossa. Look up youtube to have an idea.

                  Shot quality wise - it's brewing at a lower temp and thus the shot is softer (not good or bad, just different and it is pretty decent cup). The body I reckon is slightly lesser than Rossa, but not by much. Construction-wise it is a tiny bit more bomb-proof than Rossa and uses 58mm basket accesories. Though, it requires hot water filling via a narrow opening. Not sure if that's your thing.

                  Bombora is the distributor in Oz but not sure if they're going through any dealer.

                  But I don't mean to retract from the Rossas - either one of them is a solid performer and an amazing work of art. But as with all beauties(and even uglies), they do have their own little quirks.
                  Last edited by samuellaw178; 8 September 2015, 09:46 AM.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by AntC1946 View Post

                    I have had the PG matched with a Rosco for a couple of weeks now and am coming to grips with it. I bought a shock pump to charge the cylinder but (being of a mature age and growing arthritis) I find this needs more effort than expected so I am now looking for a 12v battery and a cheap electric pump handling up to 15 bar to use instead. (There is a difficulty over where to keep battery and pump as it will not be allowed in the kitchen. SWMBO is very happy to sup the results but the kitchen must not resemble my shed!!)
                    Initially I used a small hand shock pump which works well but requires quite a few pumps to achieve the required pressure but I recently purchased an Ultra High Pressure Floor mounted shock pump made by Airtool. It is much easier to use and only requires about 10 pumps to fill an empty cylinder to 15 Bar, it is capable of going to 24 Bar. They are made by Specialized and are available in a number of bike shops. You might find it a better option than a battery and electric pump. Mine fits under a bench so it may fit in your kitchen somewhere.
                    You will find in time you will have total control of the profile to the point where you will easily control the profile even when the roast or the grind varies. if you are using a double basket and finding it difficult go to a smaller basket. I use a 9g basket and typically load it with around 16g and get a great shot every time. San Marco baskets fit and are available from Coffee Parts


                    • #11
                      Thanks Beanz. I have been looking for a small electric pump but the ones I found only go to 150psi. I will now go on a mission to find an Ultra HP floor pump.


                      • #12
                        I might correct my terminology in the previous post, the manufacturer is Specialized and their product name is Air Tool

                        When I started looking most bike shops indicated there were no Floor shock pumps available and why would I want one anyway, they will try to sell you a high pressure floor pump for tyres, they do not go to the same pressure so be sure to check

                        Once I identified the correct product I found them in stock in Melbourne

                        The Tasmanian Specialized distributors are listed on the Specialized Australian web site. Good luck


                        • #13
                          See PM with additional info


                          • #14
                            I have been using my lezyne travel floor pump with my PG since I got it. This pump is small enough to hide in the space beside the fridge in my kitchen or throw in the car or camper if travelling. It has no problem getting to pressure (the pump is rated to 160psi/15 bar) with generally only 4-5 pumps to recharge the pressure cylinder from last use and maybe twice that from empty. I will soon have to replace the o ring on the pump shaft, but that is to be expected after daily use for the last 18+ months.

                            There is an art to using a floor pump (body weight rather than just arm strength) but if I can manage it (160cm/58kg) anyone can.


                            • #15
                              Further information.

                              I am now using a foot pump which is much easier - thanks Beanz and Jellybean.

                              I have also determined with Ross that I managed to damage the seal in the PG (over-tightening) and have installed an Acetal version of the seal. While this gives a softer feel I find it very usable and I can now control a double filter basket fully loaded getting infusion followed by a ramp up in pressure as I require. The results continue to be very good!!