The Portaspresso Specialty Coffee System is designed to deliver the ultimate espresso experience. The espresso quality is as good as or better than “any” machine on the market, including the most expensive commercial machines. On the surface, this would appear to be a big claim, but once you understand how the Portaspresso System provides total control over the fundamental principles of espresso, it should become clear that this claim is no exaggeration. However, before explaining the Portaspresso System, I would like to give you a brief understanding of why it was designed.
Like most people who have quality home espresso machines, I became accustomed to high quality coffee and found it difficult to access similar quality when away from home. So the obvious question was raised as to whether or not a quality portable device existed. However, after reviewing the few available options, it became apparent that none of them were capable of producing the espresso quality I desired. So to cut a long story short, I designed and built my own. Its superior quality espresso was not revealed until it was completed, and once this was discovered, it was decided to take it to market. It was originally launched as the Portaspresso but has since been renamed as the Rossa Hand Espresso.
The Rossa Hand Espresso
The Rossa was originally designed purely as a portable device and it was not envisaged that it would be so good. I have not tasted an espresso from any machine that is better than what I can produce with the Rossa, and I now view portability as just a bonus. The Rossa truly is a device for those who want the best.
The high quality espresso produced with the Rossa Hand Espresso is a result of precise control over the three fundamental variables of espresso: Temperature, Pressure and Flow.
Much attention has been given in the design of the Rossa to ensure water temperature stability. A simple preheating method using boiling water obtained from any suitable source ensures accurate and repeatable water temperature, and small variations are easily made by adjusting the preheating procedure.
Pressure and Flow are fundamentally linked such that one affects the other. Pressure is a result of coffee grind size and crank arm turning speed, and in general, flow should be at a rate that produces approximately 30 ml of espresso with a similar consistency of warm honey in 25 seconds. Furthermore, the Rossa is capable of generating more than double the pressure required for espresso.
On the surface, control of these variables does not differ dramatically from conventional machines. However, the key to the superior espresso quality produced by the Rossa is a result of four factors:
The first is how water contacts the coffee puck. Conventional machines pump water through a series of holes which can produce uneven channelling through the puck. Water in the Rossa is evenly distributed over the top of the puck which produces even pressure resulting in less chances of channelling.
The second is how water pressure is obtained. Conventional machines use various types of pumps that all produce some degree of vibration frequency and pressure fluctuation through the water. In general, the smoother the pressure, the better the shot. The Rossa delivers pressure via a screw piston design, which is both smooth and consistent.
The third is the ability to vary pre-infusion time and the pressure build-up profile. Experience has shown that finding the perfect balance of these two variables is crucial in getting the most from different coffee blends and roasts. Until you experiment with these variables for yourself, you will not realise the significance that they have on espresso quality.
The fourth is the ability to adjust pressure during the shot in response to feedback felt through the device during extraction. This ensures a smooth and steady espresso flow, and enables the more adventurous to experiment with various pressure profiles.
These four factors separate the Rossa from conventional espresso machines and are why I can make such a bold claim about its quality. However, being a manual device, it does take some care to control the variables well enough to rival a high end commercial machine. That said, it is not difficult, and I do it every day. The only limitation to perfection is the coffee beans!
Nonetheless, for those who are just looking for a portable device to produce great espresso, the Rossa will produce espresso better than any domestic machine with very little effort or understanding of espresso, but you will need to read the instruction manual. For those who want the best, and understand or are willing to learn the finer art of espresso, there is no machine that provides as much control as the Rossa Hand Espresso.
The Rosco Hand Grinder
In addition to the fundamental variables of espresso described above, you also need quality coffee beans ground in a quality grinder. With the rise in popularity of specialty coffee, it is not too difficult to locate quality coffee beans, but grinding them when away from home can be a challenge. So the next dilemma was trying to locate a quality hand grinder. Again, a search of available options did not reveal anything with suitable quality or grind speed. So it was off to the design table, and to cut an even longer story short, the Rosco Hand Grinder was developed.
The Rosco is an exceptionally high quality hand coffee grinder designed not only for portability, but also as a real alternative for regular home use. It uses a 38mm conical burr set, which seems to be a good balance between weight, grind speed and usability. It can take as little as 30 seconds to grind 20 grams (suitable for the Rossa standard double shot filter basket), and the conical cutter produces consistency that rivals any quality grinder.
Note to fellow coffee aficionados: The slower cutting action of the Rosco produces significantly less fines than conventional conical grinders (or flat cutter type) which enables a broader and finer range of usable grind sizes.
The Rosco Hand Grinder is specifically designed for use with the Rossa Hand Espresso. The Rossa filter head fits into the Rosco and you grind directly into the basket. No mess, and it even pre-tamps as you grind. (Also comes with a screw in cup to collect ground coffee for use in other machines or brewing apparatus).
The quality of the Rossa and Rosco is unparalleled and very few products are manufactured to the same standard. They are not mass produced. I control every aspect of design, manufacturing, assembly and testing. When it comes to coffee, I have particularly high standards, and the Portaspresso Specialty Coffee System exceeds my highest expectations, which is why I have proudly put my name on both.
Designer of the Portaspresso System