Tampers for the ROK Espresso Maker

Espresso Tamper for ROK

I had trouble finding this info when I first got the ROK Espresso Maker, so I’m posting this here for others to find.

The tamper size you want for the ROK Espresso Maker is 49mm.

Why not just use the little plastic one that came in the box?
The one that came with the ROK is significantly smaller than the portafilter, so it pushes grounds up the sides when you push down on it. It has no heft, so it is left up to you to push evenly. This leads to uneven pressure, which can lead to channeling. Plus, regular tampers are just plain cool. Unnecessary, sure, but cool.

Here are a few options for all price ranges and styles:

RSVP Stainless Steel Espresso Tamper 49mm

RSVP Stainless Steel Espresso Tamper, 49mm. $14.95 at time of writing.

 

Zoie + Chloe Stainless Steel Espresso, 49mm

Zoie + Chloe Stainless Steel Tamper, 49mm. $17.99 at time of writing. (This is the one I’m currently using. See photo above.)

49mm Stainless Steel Tamper

49mm Stainless Steel Tamper. $21.79 at time of writing.

Jimei Calibrated Coffee Tamper,49mm

Jimei Calibrated Coffee Tamper, 49mm. $37.00 at time of writing. Clicks when you reach 30lbs of force.

 

Espro Calibrated Convex Tamper, 49mm

Espro Calibrated Convex Tamper, 49mm. $113.67 at time of writing. This cool but expensive contraption clicks after you reach 30lbs of force.

 

Soylent Coffiest Review

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Soylent (Rosa Labs) released a new product last week: Coffiest. I bought a case a few hours after the announcement and I made it my breakfast the past few mornings.

This is the fourth, and best, type of Soylent I’ve tried. Here are my notes on the other ones I’ve tried:

  • 1.4 (powder, no longer available) was thick, clumpy, and tasted like pancake batter. I added a lot of cocoa powder to it.
  • 1.5 (also powder, different formula, no longer available) was thinner and had a more neutral taste. Not bad, but I thought the carb-to-fat content was a little too high.
  • 2.0 (original pre-mixed version, still available) is pretty good. I really liked the convenience of not having to mix powder with water and let it sit in the fridge for a few hours before I drank it. My main use-case for Soylent is a quick breakfast or lunch when I have a lot going on and no time to make something. Drinking a bottle of 2.0 keeps me going until dinner time. It is thinner and even more neutrally flavored than 1.5. It has a slight cereal milk taste. I didn’t dislike the flavor, but I found it to be a whole lot better when I added in some of my iced coffee.

Coffiest is the latest addition to their line. It contains the nutrients of one meal and some caffeine to get you going. I’ll admit that I was a little nervous about what the flavor of Coffiest would be. I’m happy to say that Rosa Labs nailed it. Coffiest has a good balanced coffee flavor and just a little bit of the cereal milk base flavor peaking through. In fact, it tastes pretty close to what I mixed together myself with Soylent 2.0 and my iced coffee. Some people say there are chocolately overtones in there, but they don’t really come through for me. It isn’t too sweet and doesn’t leave a weird film in your mouth like coffee+milk. It tastes just like a balanced coffee drink should.

It is easy to forget that this is a meal replacement drink because it is so thin. Remember that this is packed with the nutrition of a full meal, so consume it wisely!

Be aware of the amount of caffeine you usually drink and how it compares to Coffiest. 150mg is roughly 1 large strong cup of coffee or 2 cups of weaker office coffee. I’m a caffeine addict, so Coffiest doesn’t replace my caffeine intake for the day. I usually follow it up 2-3 hours later with a cup of coffee or shot of espresso. If you arent a coffee drinker though, 150mg might be a lot for you.

You might feel a little different after drinking Coffiest. It has 150mg of caffeine and 75mg of l-theanine, an amino acid in green tea that has been found to smooth out the effects of caffeine. In short, it helps keep you from getting jittery. I’ve taken l-theanine before and gives me a somewhat dazed feeling, even when combined with caffeine. If you aren’t used to it, it can be a little strange.

I’ve had no problems so far consuming it on an empty stomach, unlike some of the early powdered versions. I’ve been taking it with me on my morning walks (see the photo at the top of this article), so by the time I get back home, I’ve had a walk, something to “eat”, and coffee. I’m pretty pleased with this version and I think it will become a regular breakfast item for me.

Rethinking Cheese on Tacos

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Cheese on tacos is usually boring and bland, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Cheese has some pretty cool properties: It can be melted and crisped.

I regularly tweak my taco meat recipe, so last week I was searching for inspiration while I probably should have been working. I stumbled across an article from Serious Eats where Josh Bousel argues that we are going about cheese on our tacos all wrong. Instead of  just sprinkling cheese on our tacos like n00bs, we ought to melt our cheese directly to the tortilla. You should read his article.

I tried it and I don’t think I can ever go back.🌮🎉🌮🎉🌮

Breifly, you melt the cheese in a non-stick pan and then throw down a tortilla (corn works best) over half of it. Once the cheese starts to crisp and the tortilla is warm, remove the pan from heat and carefully slide a spatula under the tortilla and cheese to remove your new creation.

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It works on breakfast tacos and regular tacos alike, as well as with a variety of cheeses. The cheese is crispy and crunchy around the edges, still a little gooey on the tortilla, and has a deep, rich flavor.

Read Josh’s recipe on Serious Eats, then run to the nearest kitchen and give it a try!


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Mango Ice Cream with Honey Mango Compote

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We were at Stew Leonard’s this week and they had a few bags of ultraripe mangos on the discount rack. Perfect for summer ice cream.

Ice Cream Ingredients

  • 2 ripe mangos
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • If you want to make it extra yellow, drop in some yellow food coloring. (Completely optional)

Ice Cream Instructions

  1. Cut the mangos in half, remove the pit, and scoop out the flesh. Discard the skin and pit.
  2. Puree the flesh. You want it at least the consistency of apple sauce, preferably smoother.
  3. Combine the mango puree, sweetened condensed milk, and heavy cream in a bowl. Mix it for 5 minutes with a hand mixer until it starts to thicken.
  4. Freeze in your ice cream maker according to its instructions, or freeze it in a covered cake pan overnight.

 

 

I like some light toppings on my ice cream, I bought A TON of mangos, and I love the combination of mango and honey. So, I made this compote and it was a winner. (By the way, a compote is fruit stewed in sugar or syrup, in case you were wondering.)

Honey Mango Compote Ingredients

  • 3 ripe mangos
  • 4 tablespoons of honey

Compote Instructions

  1. Cut the mangos in half, remove the pit, and scoop out the flesh. Discard the skin and pit.
  2. Puree the flesh of two of the mangos. You want it at least the consistency of apple sauce, preferably smoother.
  3. Dice up the third mango.
  4. Combine the mango puree, diced mango, and honey in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens into a syrupy texture.
  5. Let cool to room temperature before serving on top of the ice cream. Refrigerate what you don’t use.

 

 

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Tipple Tuesday: Paper Plane

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Chuck’s note: This is a guest post from my friend Tyler Machovina. We have very similar tastes and he recommended this drink to me. The only drink-related thing we disagree on is whether the Negroni or Boulevardier is superior. 

To continue on theme of potable bitters for hot summer days I present the Paper Plane: A deliciously dry pre-dinner aperitivo for when it is too hot to contemplate eating. Have one and it will probably have cooled off a bit. Still a bit balmy? Have another, or two. Who needs dinner anyway when there is Campari to be enjoyed?

I had some trouble tracking down a solid history for this drink but it seems it was invented by Sammy J Ross of Milk & Honey and originally calls for Buffalo Trace bourbon. Well, I had already spent $50 on Amaro Nonino on this trip so I decided on the still delicious and sweet Old Grand Dad. Don’t feel bad about buying cheap bourbon! Though Chuck may disagree with the State setting standards, anything labeled as bourbon in the US is held to a very high standard so you’ll probably never find anything too terrible for mixing. Of course, it all depends on the drink—I might not use OGD for an Old Fashioned, but a shaken cocktail with strong flavors like Campari, Nonino, and lemon juice I think the Grand Dad will work just fine.

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As a shaken cocktail I recommend making the Paper Plane with a boston shaker and a Hawthorne strainer as those shakers with a built in strainer just make a mess and are a pain to clean. I would also advise double straining to keep the tiny ice shards out of the final drink – this gives a cleaner presentation and a smoother mouth feel.

Add equal parts (3/4 oz for one drink) of lemon juice, Amaro Nonino, Campari, and bourbon into a shaker filled with ice and shake vigorously for about twenty seconds. Double strain into a chilled coupe glass (or small wine glass). No garnish needed.

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It’s possible the original recipe called for Aperol rather than Campari. The history of cocktails can be a bit… hazy. The Aperol variation is a bit sweeter and has a beautiful bright salmon color but lacks the refreshing grapefruit dryness that the Campari brings. 

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Can’t find Amaro Nonino? This recipe appears to be often misprinted with Ramazzotti rather than Nonino and apparently still yields tasty results.