Category Archives: Rocket

Crew Comparison: Rocket Espresso Appartamento vs Breville Dual Boiler

How Does It Compare?

There’s nothing we love more than being able to brew and steam at the same time! And with either the Rocket Espresso Appartamento or the Breville Dual Boiler, we can do just that, but the user experience is completely different. The Dual Boiler packs in dedicated boilers alongside options like a pressurized portafilter and programmable shot buttons. On the other end of the spectrum, the Appartamento is Rocket’s smallest semi-automatic and, like other models in the line-up, sports a heat exchange boiler and traditional manual controls. The Appartamento will require more commitment and the dedication to learn, whereas Breville’s programmable features and range of accessories give baristas the ability to hone their skills.

The Rocket Espresso Appartamento is outfitted with a 1.8-liter copper boiler and legendary E61 brew group.
The Rocket Espresso Appartamento is outfitted with a 1.8-liter copper boiler and legendary E61 brew group.

Shot

Breville pulls out all the stops when it comes to crafting user’s experience. We’ve got a list of what makes the Breville Dual Boiler user-friendly, but one that stands out is its programmability. It features two programmable espresso buttons, in single or double shot quantities, the control volume by time. So while you’re concentrating on frothing your milk, you can press a button and let the Dual Boiler do the work—well, most of the work—for you. If you want to change it up, it also has a manual button to give you full control. The Dual Boiler also features pressurized and non-pressurized baskets for the portafilter. For beginners, the pressurized portafilter assists in extracting delicious espresso, especially if the grind is off. This gives beginners a chance to perfect their technique, or honestly, allows baristas to be lazy with the grind. When you finally perfect the grind, switch it up to the non-pressurized portafilter to brew like a professional. Whichever way you brew, the Dual Boiler’s user-friendly brewing makes it an easy machine to learn on.

The Breville Dual Boiler features two boilers that reach brew and steam temperature independently.
The Breville Dual Boiler features two boilers that reach brew and steam temperature independently.

The Rocket Espresso Appartamento’s design is influenced by traditional Italian espresso machines with its manual control lever and turn-dial knobs. Manual controls offer you freedom over your espresso and milk steaming. And with the Appartamento’s commercial-grade build, you’ll feel just like a professional barista. It’s equipped with two 58mm stainless steel portafilters (single and double spouts) and an E61 brew head that produces consistently hot espresso. Since there are no programmable features, there is a fairly steep learning curve and most of that is learning how to time pulling a shot while frothing milk. For experienced baristas, it’s muscle memory. For beginners, it’s more to handle—you can always slow down and froth, then brew. The Appartamento has features designed for an intermediate to an experienced barista, but with a will to learn an entry-level barista can pull delicious shots too.

The respectable 2.25-liter water tank is easy to access in the back.
The respectable 2.25-liter water tank is easy to access in the back.

The Dual Boiler has an 84-ounce water reservoir that feeds a 10-ounce brew boiler and a 32-ounce steam boiler. The boilers may seem small but that’s to your advantage. After pulling espresso shots for the whole family, the small 10-ounce boiler refills and reheats in no time. The Appartamento, on the other hand, has a respectable 60-ounce (1.8-liter) boiler that we expect to find on a heat exchange machine. The larger boiler takes longer to heat up. It has to heat the whole boiler to steam temperature before it can heat water on the fly from the reservoir, so we have to wait (again) to pull consistent shots. Once the Appartamento is heated, it can make multiple lattes before needing time to refill and reheat.

Steam

While we’re on the subject of boilers, the Breville Dual Boiler has a programmable PID to control both boilers. This allows you to set the ideal temperature to create consistency for your brew. Also, the latest update on the Dual Boiler now allows you to control the steam boiler range from 265 to 285 degrees. Paired with the traditional steam wand, it feels like a true barista experience. The Dual Boiler features a three-hole steam tip that shoots hot steam evenly in your pitcher—it’s super easy to get your milk rotating into a nice whirlpool. However, we will say that the steam wand will take more practice and patience for a beginner to learn.

Showing off the steam power on the Breville Dual Boiler.
Showing off the steam power on the Breville Dual Boiler.

The Rocket Espresso Appartamento is right up there with practice and patience. The 60-ounce boiler packs some incredible steam power and, paired with the two-hole steam tip, it whips up milk foam with ease. The Appartamento, however, doesn’t include a PID to set your temperature, so you’re stuck with Rocket’s standard heat settings. If you wanted to get technical with your brew, Rocket does offer other models with a PID. After making a handful of lattes on the Appartamento, we’re impressed with the temperature and consistency. When we compared its steam power to the Dual Boiler, to us it seemed obvious the Appartamento stole the show.

Style

The real show stopper is the Rocket Espresso Appartamento’s new style. It’s still the same beautiful stainless steel body but with white or copper side panels that are revealed through cutouts. The body sticks to Rocket’s clean cut style with gear-inspired knobs and their logo stamped front and center. The Appartamento may have been built like a traditional espresso machine, but its style is better described as contemporary, especially with those retro spots. While the Crew is divided about what color we like more, both will easily integrate into a home brewer’s kitchen. And it’s no problem squeezing the Appartamento on any apartment counter—it’s Rocket’s smallest machine to date. It’s even smaller than the Breville Dual Boiler, which is 6.25 inches wider than the Appartamento. Think of that prime counter space you’ll save.

Copper or white? We're digging the retro dots.
Copper or white? We’re digging the retro dots.

Even though the Dual Boiler’s a tad wider, it’s equipped with convenient extras that make up for it. One of those extras is hidden under the drip tray—Breville has included a swivel foot that drops down on the counter to easily rotate the machine around. This makes accessing the water tank effortless. It also included a hidden storage tray behind the drip tray and a magnetic tamper—everything you need for espresso is close at hand. While the Dual Boiler also has stainless steel casing it’s a cover over a plastic body, but we’re OK with that since we still get the style with an affordable price tag.

The Dual Boiler comes with pressurized and non-pressurized baskets and a tamper that magnetically stick into the machine.
The Dual Boiler comes with pressurized and non-pressurized baskets and a tamper that magnetically stick into the machine.

Conclusion

Between the Breville Dual Boiler and Rocket Espresso Appartamento, it comes down to what sort of user experience you desire. With the user in mind, the Dual Boiler comes equipped with programmability and accessories like pressurized and non-pressurized portafilters for beginners or experienced baristas. The Appartamento’s got style. It’s one of those machines you look at and can’t help but ask about. But the manual controls require commitment and plenty of patience to learn how to brew. So if you have the time and the will to learn, either machine will offer you the chance to hone your skills.

The Crew is still debating what color is better: white or copper? Tell us what color you like the best in the comments below!

 

Crew Comparison: Rocket Espresso Machine Class Line-Up

How Does It Compare?

Hand-built in Italy, the craftsmanship and attention to detail have made Rocket Espresso some of the most desired espresso machines. Their line-up includes a list of impressive features, including the  legendary E61 brew head, and is constructed with commercial-grade materials. When you’re trying to decide on one machine, though, that’s where it can get tricky. Rocket’s contemporary, clean design resonated throughout the line-up and the deciding factor comes down to the features and details. In this Crew Comparison, we mixed it up to  dive deeper into certain features. We’ll discuss the differences between a heat exchanger and double boiler and  how a PID and pressure profiling affect coffee.

Boiler

Rocket equips their espresso machines with either a heat exchanger or double boiler system. While there is a bit of misconception that double boilers are superior, each system offers something unique. Take the double boiler, such as the Rocket Espresso R58. We used to categorize the double boiler at the top since you could set the appropriate temperature for each boiler. And, let’s face it, it’s much easier controlling two separate boilers. However, we’ve discovered that two isn’t always better than one. While the boilers are working, minerals are slowly leaching and creating what is affectionately called “dead” water. In short, the idea is that this water isn’t fresh.

The Rocket R58 features a dual boiler and PID to control the brew and steam  boiler.
The Rocket R58 features a dual boiler and PID to control the brew and steam boiler.

That’s where the heat exchanger excels. A heat exchanger works by pulling fresh, cool water from the reservoir through a tube that runs the length of the steam boiler—this creates the ideal brew temperature. To keep the temperature consistent, Rocket designed the system with the legendary E61 brew head to maintain heat as the water leaves the brew chambers and hits your coffee. Of course, that means the E61 is correcting an issue, so there’s question over consistency. We recommend pulling a shot evenly heat and to also purge water sitting in the tube. Two of the machines that feature heat exchangers is the new Rocket Espresso Appartamento and the Rocket Espresso Evoluzione.

The Rocket Espresso Appartamento is outfitted with a 1.8-liter copper boiler and legendary E61 brew group.
The Rocket Espresso Appartamento is outfitted with a 1.8-liter copper boiler and legendary E61 brew group.

PID

PID (Proportional, Integral, Derivative) is a temperature controller on the boiler(s). Thermostats and pressurestats are used to control the boiler heat and many machines are pre-programmed by the manufacturer. Enter the PID. The PID allows users to set the temperature that they want within a few degrees. It monitors the temperature and controls how often the boiler turns on or off. This regulate temperature and create less fluctuation. So, what does this mean for your brew? The consistent temperature evenly extracts grounds and enhances the quality of your coffee.

The Rocket Giotto Premium Plus with PID features a hidden PID under the drip tray and sleek, kicked out side panels.
The Rocket Giotto Premium Plus with PID features a hidden PID under the drip tray and sleek kicked outside panels.

On the Rocket Espresso Premium Plus with PID, the PID setting is hidden under the drip tray to maintain that clean cut style. But it’s there, continuously monitoring the boiler and maintaining it at steam temperature. Other models like the R58 have an external PID monitor that can be plugged in or stored away. Bonus, the R58’s PID controls the steam and brew boilers, which mean you can set the ideal temperature for each.

Pressure Profiling

What is pressure profiling? Pressure profiling is, put simply, the ability to change your extraction pressure. Common practice says the ideal pressure for the perfect espresso extraction is 9 bars, but recently coffee geeks have been playing with varying pressure to extract different flavors. The Rocket Espresso R60V features pressure profiling and our resident coffee geek, Joe took over the studio and presented an easy breakdown in this video. He started a low but long pre-infusion at two bars, then ramped it up to nine bars (classic pressure) and then slowed it down to six bars to extract more. Joe also did a modern pressure profile with pre-infusion at four bars and finished strong at nine bars. Of course, each profile will be unique to the coffee, so it’ll take some experimenting to find that sweet spot.

Rocket features a pressure gage so you can see what's happening in the boiler.
Rocket features a pressure gauge so you can see what’s happening in the boiler.

Conclusion  

Of course, there are other considerations you’ll make before you purchase a Rocket. The Appartamento is the smallest in the lineup and easily fits on a small counter, but if you’ve got space, the larger R58 is packed with dual features for the ultimate control. Or if you’re looking for a more stylish look, you could choose between the Giotto or Cellini in the Premium Plus or Evoluzione. Other models offer plumbable versions, so you would never have to refill your water tank again. We’ve glanced at the Rocket lineup, learned some of the key differences  and now we want to hear which model you’d like to take home! Drop us a comment below and let us know.

Crew Comparison: Nuova Simonelli Oscar II vs Rocket Appartamento

How Does It Compare?

Crafted from brightly polished stainless steel, both the Rocket Appartamento and Nuova Simonelli Oscar II are beautiful machines we’re torn between—we can’t decide which one we love more! If you’re in the market for a powerful, semi-automatic espresso machine, you’re in the right place. Both machines are built by well-loved manufacturers in the coffee community, so whichever way you go, you’ll have plenty of fellow coffee lovers to show off too!

The Rocket Espresso Appartamento is outfitted with a 1.8-liter copper boiler and legendary E61 brew group.
The Rocket Espresso Appartamento is outfitted with a 1.8-liter copper boiler and legendary E61 brew group.

The main difference between the Oscar II and the Appartamento is control. The Oscar II features programmable shot time buttons, while the Appartamento offers mechanical control over the entire brew process. To that point, the Oscar II has no option to change the factory-set pre-infusion time, unlike the Appartamento’s manual pre-infusion brew lever. The Oscar II, however, is NSF certified! If you’re a small business looking for a fantastic machine, the Oscar II is suitable for a commercial environment and with the two programmable buttons anyone can make delicious espresso.

The Nuova Simonelli Oscar II's updated style stunned us! It looks nothing like the first Oscar.
The Nuova Simonelli Oscar II’s updated style stunned us! It looks nothing like the first Oscar.

Shot

Operating these two heat exchangers feels completely different. The Rocket Appartamento features a manual operation reminiscent of classic lever espresso machines, but we’d call the Appartamento’s style contemporary. The Nuova Simonelli Oscar II is built with a set pre-infusion time without the option to customize and two programmable buttons—introducing the convenience of a superautomatic. The Oscar II’s programmed by time, not volume, so the consistency of your grind each time will affect the volume of your espresso. For instance, the finer the grind, the slower the flow. While there’s no manual extraction time on the Oscar II you can stop the flow of espresso at any time.

The Oscar II features two time controlled espresso volume.
The Oscar II features two timed controlled espresso volume.

Side-by-side, the Appartamento was slimmer than the Oscar II. It may be small, but its espresso is anything short of spectacular. Designed with the legendary E61 brew head, the Appartamento produces consistently hot shots on par with the rest of the Rocket lineup. The 1.8-liter boiler is the same size as the Rocket Espresso Cellini Evoluzione V2 and only 0.2-liters smaller than the Oscar II—so the Oscar II has the Appartamento beat there.

Check out that side profile of the legendary E61 brew head.
Check out that side profile of the legendary E61 brew head.

Pro Tip: We recommend pulling seven seconds of hot water to heat the brew head and portafilter, so they don’t cool your shot. Since these are heat exchangers, it’ll also purge warm and stagnant water that’s been sitting in the tube.

Check out that portafilter. The open spouts offer a beautiful view of your espresso.
Check out that portafilter. The open spouts offer a beautiful view of your espresso.

We’re pleased both machines included commercial-grade portafilters. The Appartamento comes with two heavy-duty, stainless steel portafilters, in single and double spout options with interchangeable single and double baskets. The Oscar II features breakaway spouts on their one double spout portafilter with a single or double shot basket (no second portafilter for the Oscar). Rocket included more heavy-duty accessories such as their sleek metal tamper whereas Nuova Simonelli dropped in a plastic guy—not a deal breaker, but we’re more appreciative of Rocket’s thoughtfulness.

Steam

Of course, if you’re considering the Oscar II, you know by now that Nuova Simonelli’s steam power is famous—Barista Championship famous. They’re the official espresso machine for the competition and the proof is in the microfoam. The four hole tip evenly heats milk in all directions while the steam pressure is nice and dry, perfect for incorporating air into the milk. With the Oscar II’s updated 360° rotating ball joint, it’s easy to texture milk at any angle and achieve the ideal foam whether you’re a latte or cappuccino lover. It is a traditional wand, so have a towel on hand to wipe away milk. We’d still call the OScar II an entry-level to a prosumer machine, but the spring-loaded lever makes it difficult to regulate steam pressure.

Hello, steam power.
Hello, steam power.

The Rocket Appartamento, like its other siblings, has an anti-burn traditional steam wand and dedicated hot water spout. Anti-burn doesn’t mean it’s cool to the touch—seriously, use caution—but it’ll help milk from sticking on. Don’t skip wiping down the wand! You’ll still want to purge and clean it like the Oscar II’s wand. We’ll also add that the steam pressure on the Appartamento is powerful and capable of creating beautiful latte art worthy microfoam, however, it’s a lot harder to control. Texturing milk takes practice and practice makes perfect, so don’t give up with either machine.

The iconic Rocket logo and power switch on the front of the Appartamento.
The iconic Rocket logo and power switch on the front of the Appartamento.

Style

Mamma mia! Handcrafted in Italy, each Rocket is a beautiful, one-of-a-kind machine in every box. The Rocket Appartamento introduced big, beautiful and bold dots on the sides and we’re absolutely smitten with the new design! The SCG Crew is, of course, in a heated debate about which color is best—copper or white—and it’s safe to say there’s no ending that topic anytime soon. The colored cutouts correspond with the wide, stout feet on the Appartamento, which are noticeably bigger when you remove the drip tray like an adorable, large-footed puppy. Make no mistake, while the Appartamento’s sized for an apartment, it’s a fierce espresso machine. Its small footprint is packed with commercial-grade features.

Copper or white? We're digging the retro dots.
Copper or white? We’re digging the retro dots.

The updated style of the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II has left us starstruck! This famous machine is carved to reflect the light like the futuristic cyborg it reminds us of—Cylon, anyone? The stainless steel casing extends to the front and sides but is replaced in the brew head with a chrome-coated plastic. Still, the curves and edges complement this powerful heat exchanger. Even the less-desirable steam switch sticking out at the top can be overlooked by its new extended steam wand (though we’re still not a big fan).

Conclusion

We’re still torn between the Rocket Appartamento and Nuova Simonelli Oscar II, but it’s easier to decide once you know what you want. If you want 100% control, the Appartamento is your guy. If you love the convenience of a superautomatic, but want to have more control, then you want the Oscar II. Both have updated styles with polished stainless steel that shines like a beacon to your espresso. Their unique style and shape will also make it easy for you to decide on which is best. The Oscar II’s curved edges are nothing like the Appartamento’s boxy body. These two heat exchangers make it hard for a Crew to decide, but you know what, we like options here at Seattle Coffee Gear. We’re curious what you guys think about the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II and Rocket Appartamento—drop us a comment and tell us which one you’re leaning towards. Also, don’t forget to tell us if you like the Appartamento in copper or whitewe’ve got a debate to settle.

Crew Review: Rocket Espresso Appartamento

How Does It Compare?

The Rocket Espresso Appartamento’s apartment-size footprint means you don’t have to sacrifice counter space for delicious espresso. Rocket shaved a few inches off the sides of the Appartamento to optimize counter and cabinet space: 10.5 inches wide by 17 inches deep and 14.25 inches tall. That’s 1.5 inches narrower and nearly 2 inches shorter than the Rocket Espresso Cellini Evoluzione Espresso Machine V2. Even with its healthy trim, the Appartamento doesn’t lack in capability.

 The Rocket Espresso Appartamento is outfitted with the same 1.8-liter copper boiler and E61 brew group as the Rocket Espresso Cellini Evoluzione.
The Rocket Espresso Appartamento is outfitted with the same 1.8-liter copper boiler and E61 brew group as the Rocket Espresso Cellini Evoluzione.

It’s built with the similar heavy-duty components as the Rocket Espresso Cellini Evoluzione Espresso Machine V2 and the Appartamento espresso and steam performance continues to shine amongst the other semi-automatics. The Cellini Evoluzione and Appartamento are equipped with a 1.8-liter copper boiler, but unlike the Cellini Evoluzione, the Appartamento doesn’t have an insulated boiler. That extra padding improves thermal stability and increases energy savings. Aside from the insulation, the Appartamento’s performance is on par with the Cellini Evoluzione.

Shot

Rocket stuck with what they do best and outfitted the Appartamento with professional grade materials. It’s equipped with a heat exchanger and the legendary E61 brew group for consistently hot performance. Trust us, after pulling a couple shots, the portafilter got nice and toasty—perfect for retaining heat for your shots. Pro Tip: Do a seven-second flush through the brew head to get the best shot possible.

Rocket’s standard commercial-grade 58mm portafilters made it in the box too, and we’re happy to have them! This tiny tyke didn’t get skimped on accessories: it comes with double and single spout portafilters that can pair with their respective baskets to please everyone’s caffeine needs. And we’ve complained time and time again about plastic tampers—fear not with Rocket, they included the same nice, shiny metal tamper you see with other models.

The 2.25-liter reservoir
The respectable 2.25-liter water tank is easy to access in the back.

What it didn’t come with is a plumb-in option that a few Rockets do include. At this price point, we’re not missing it with the Appartamento’s respectable 2.25-liter reservoir. While the reservoir is a nice size, the drip tray is a bit shallow for catching that excess water from the solenoid valve. Without any bevels, it’s easy to wear the contents of the tray if you’re not careful—Pro Tip: empty it out sooner rather than later. At least you have a nice view of that beautiful stainless steel while you’re concentrating on not spilling.

Steam

Built with a 1.8-liter boiler like the Rocket Espresso Cellini Evoluzione Espresso Machine V2, it comes as no surprise that the Appartamento has similarly magnificent steam performance. The two-hole steam wand evenly warms and circulates milk to achieve perfect microfoam. It heats up so quickly that a beginner might find they didn’t have enough time to texture their milk, but we would still recommend this machine to an entry-level to a prosumer buyer.

Appartamento_3:4
The traditional steam wand and dedicated hot water tap make creating lattes or Americanos a snap.

Like the previous models, it’s a no-burn wand, which means it’s harder for the milk to burn on after steaming. Keep those finger guards on, though! The steam wand is still extremely hot to the touch after a couple of lattes.

Style

Those big, beautiful spots. Choose white or copper, but choose wisely: The pearl white complements everyday kitchen appliances (yahoo…) whereas that copper sing to more modern vibes. OK, so the SCG Crew is a little torn between the two colors. To be fair, the copper is a bit on the darker side—some would say bronze—so that’s where the true-to-its-name white got the Crew’s vote. Check out the video and tell us what color you dig.

Copper or white? We're digging the retro dots.
Copper or white? We’re digging the retro dots.

Someone’s had to notice by now that the colored cutouts match the new wider, stouter feet. This is another debate between the Crew (as most aesthetics are a heated topic around here) and we’re 50/50 on the look. The body’s clean edges against the curved detailing provide a beautiful contrast. The gear-inspired knobs and Rocket’s logo stamped boldly on the front add a nice touch to this machine. The stainless steel casing that Rocket is known for continues to showcase their equally famous high-quality products. It’s no surprise that Rocket continued these fine-tuned details, even in a small and lower priced machine.

The iconic Rocket logo and power switch on the front of the Appartamento.
The iconic Rocket logo and power switch on the front of the Appartamento.

We thought perhaps the smaller footprint would mean small everything else, but a quick glance at the manual says otherwise: it has a 1.8-liter boiler, 2.25-liter water tank and E61 brew group. So what did it lose? To be honest, nothing. The cup warmer is a bit roomier and Rocket’s given us an (unfortunately plastic) cup rail to wrangle in mugs. We tried to replace it—because you know us and aesthetics—and discovered it’s not compatible with Rocket’s current metal racks. Perhaps a future accessory down the road, Rocket? We sure hope so. Either way, all that room for a handful of mugs means we can finally display our sweet Acme cups.

Conclusion

What do you think of Rocket’s new addition? The Rocket Espresso Appartamento has all the makings of Rocket’s bigger models packed into a mini machine. The new colored dots add extra style to an already good looking machine, and with two color options, there are more choices for a home brewers kitchen.

Crew Comparison: Breville Dual Boiler Vs. Rocket Premium Plus with PID

How Does It Compare?

Don’t judge a book by its cover. The Breville Dual Boiler and Rocket Premium Plus are two completely different looking machines packed with impressive espresso power! The Breville Dual Boiler, as the name implies, features a double boiler while Rocket Premium Plus comes equipped with a heat exchanger. For someone looking to purchase one of these beautiful machines, one question to ask yourself is what type of boiler do you want: heat exchanger or double boiler?

BrevilleDual_Front
The Breville Dual Boiler features two boilers that reach brew and steam temperature independently.

There’s a heated debate about which type of boiler is better. Double boilers have a dedicated boiler for brewing and steaming, which allows you to accurately dial in the correct temperature for each independently. A heat exchanger has one boiler at steam temperature and a tube siphoning water from the reservoir through a chamber within the boiler that indirectly heats the water to a brewing temperature. While this method isn’t always consistent, an estimated brew temperature is based on the length of the chamber.

You’re probably wondering why this is even a debate. It sounds like you’d want a double boiler for consistency. We’ve dived into the differences in a past post you can check out here, but the gist is that heat exchangers are continually siphoning fresh water to brew while double boilers use water that’s collecting minerals from boiling. That’s not to say a double boiler makes worse brewing water, but the argument is how the water’s heated to brew. A double boiler actually has a quicker recovery time to brew drinks back to back, so you might consider in your comparison for the right espresso machine for you.

Shot

Breville is known for its user-friendly functionality and they certainly didn’t let us down! The Dual Boiler is outfitted with two programmable buttons that set your customized espresso volume and temperature settings. Or opt for the manual button to control the process. There’s also a little extra cushion for newbies: Breville comes with non-pressurized and pressurized portafilter baskets to make up for inconsistent coffee grounds (you know, the occasional chunkier grounds). Hallelujah! This semi-automatic has a little bit of something for entry level and experienced baristas.

The Dual Boiler features digital interface and programmable buttons to easily customize your drink.
The Dual Boiler features digital interface and programmable buttons to easily customize your drink.

The same can’t be said for the Rocket Premium Plus—it’s all hands on! It comes with the standard non-pressurized baskets and the PID is the only digital control you have over this machine, otherwise, you’re manually controlling pre-infusion and brew time. The Rocket’s manual lever mechanics are reminiscent of traditional Italian espresso and is well suited for this machine’s sleek design, but that does mean you’ll have to dedicate yourself to expanding your barista skills and techniques.

The Rocket's built in PID is purposefully hidden underneath the drip tray to maintain the sleek appearance.
The Rocket’s built-in PID is purposefully hidden underneath the drip tray to maintain the sleek appearance.

Being consistent on a heat exchanger adds an extra challenge for brew temperature, but the legendary E-61 brew head uses a thermal siphon system to maintain the brew head temperature and makes your espresso consistently hot—and the brew head even hotter. Seriously, don’t touch that bad boy! It’s too hot to handle. Jokes aside, the E-61 brew head is exposed and poses a risk for burning whereas the Breville Dual Boiler also features an enclosed heated brew head that’s out of harms way.

Steam

Both use a traditional steam arm, which generally take practice to perfect your frothing technique. If you’re willing to put in the time, these machines are capable of making delicious steamed milk in short order. Bonus points go to the Rocket Premium Plus for outfitting it with a no-burn wand making cleanup a breeze. We will say while the Rocket is a no-burn that doesn’t mean it’s not hot—it’s on fire! After making ourselves a latte, we needed to use a towel to handle the steam arm. With the Breville steam wand, you’ll also want to keep a towel nearby to quickly wipe it off after use, as it becomes a bit harder to clean if you leave it too long. While it may take a bit more cleanup, Breville designs its products to be incredibly convenient and added a finger guard loop that makes it easier to adjust the wand for steaming and cleaning even when it is hot.

Showing off the steam power on the Breville Dual Boiler.
Showing off the steam power on the Breville Dual Boiler.

Circling around to the PID again, they upgraded the Breville Dual Boiler so you can adjust the steam boiler temperature between 265ºF – 285ºF. The PID on both machines will keep the temperature within  one degree of the set temperature. Since the Rocket is a heat exchanger, the boiler is designed for steam and that’s pretty evident when you turn it on. The Rocket’s steam pressure is comparable to the Nuova Simonelli’s. Hands down, the Rocket Premium Plus has powerful steam and we’d even venture to say it’s more powerful than the Breville Dual Boiler.

P.S. The Rocket uses Celsius, so Fahrenheit users will have to convert the temperature. That’s what you get when you get a Rocket hand-made in Italy.

Style 

Every Rocket’s hand-made in Italy with individual personality showing through the fine details. Rocket’s contemporary design will look flawless in brewer’s kitchens while it’s traditional components please espresso enthusiasts. The Premium Plus, both the Giotto and Cellini models, are purposefully constructed with simple turn knobs and levers and has no visible technology. Like we mentioned before, there is a digital PID, which has far better temperature control than without it, but Rocket was stern on maintaining a clean, structured style.

The Rocket Giotto Premium Plus features sleek designs with kicked out side panels.
The Rocket Giotto Premium Plus features sleek designs with kicked outside panels.

 The Breville Dual Boiler owns its modern design and is outfitted with a list of convenient features. The brushed stainless steel maintains uniform with many of today’s kitchen appliances. The pressure gage placed front and center on the Dual Boiler adds some vintage taste alongside those convenient programmable features. In fact, Breville hides a lot of the components, such as the three-way solenoid valve that’s clearly visible behind the Rocket’s brew group. The Breville Dual Boiler user-friendly features such as being able to program the auto-on time and alerts make the Breville’s overall design a crowd pleaser.

 Conclusion

There’s a lot we could say about the Rocket Premium Plus and Breville Dual Boiler: They’re both close in price and feature similar capabilities suitable for entry-level to prosumer. For a powerful, hands-on Rocket, we’ll be preaching, “Practice makes perfect,” to anyone hesitant on buying a more manual espresso machine. The Rocket Premium Plus isn’t as complicated as you’d think—actually, we’d say its simple mechanics make it easier to control and allows you to focus on mastering your grind and extraction time to achieve your perfect espresso. Of course, Breville Dual Boiler compensates a little more for entry-level baristas with its programmable buttons that let you set your espresso settings, removing all the guesswork each time you brew. Then, of course, we’ve dived into the debate between two types of boilers. Each boiler design has its own list of pros and cons for different people. We’ll just say, checking out all the machine on the market, the way the machine’s mechanics are handled impacts the quality. Breville and Rocket both excellence in quality and the proof is in the coffee.

Crew Comparison: Rocket Fausto vs. Eureka Zenith 65E Grinder

How Does It Compare?

It’s kind of like comparing the same motor inside a monster truck and a racecar. The Eureka Zenith 65 E comes in at 23.5 inches tall and towers over the Rocket Fausto’s mere 17.5 inches. Not to mention the Zenith 65 E’s massive three-pound bean hopper. When we talk about power, man, do they sure put on a show! Both are matched with 65mm flat steel burrs and a whopping 1650 RPMs (rotations per minute) to make quick work of beans. We’d love to see an actual showdown between a monster truck and racecar, but we’ll have to settle a match between the Eureka Zenith 65 E Burr Grinder vs. Rocket Espresso Macinatore Fausto Grinder.

Grind

Both grinders eat through beans like champs thanks to their 65mm flat steel burrs. Both rotate at 1650 RPM (rotations per minute) to quickly and efficiently grind beans. The real catch here is the Zenith 65 E’s 500 watts juice. This level of performance stands up in a busy setting such as a cafe or office full of coffee-lovers. If you’re thinking about making cup after cup, the Zenith 65 E will hold up. Keep in mind, this sort of power isn’t necessary for the casual, one-cup brewer.

Grinders at this caliber are stepless to allow you to fine-tune your grind with every inch of the burrs. This amount of control creates the perfect consistency for espresso and the Rocket Fausto and Zenith 65 E don’t fail to deliver. Both produce less clumping, which is a great accomplishment for these machines since a fine-grind naturally sticks together and forms clumps.

Lastly, what’s a high-class grinder without some programmable features? The Zenith 65 E offers two programmable doses that you can set for your portafilter. To grind, you press the portafilter against a button behind the adjustable holder. The Rocket Fausto also has two programmable doses and dispenses grinds when you press those buttons—with or without a portafilter, so have the portafilter ready to catch those grounds! Really, though, we think both machines take first place in grinding.

Glamour

So clearly the Eureka Zenith 65 E is a monster. If you haven’t seen a picture of it, it’s standing at staggering 23.5 inches and is 9 inches wide. The Rocket Fausto is 17.5 and 6.5 inches, respectively. We’ve talked about the Rocket Fausto a few times before and we were impressed by the one-pound bean hopper—the Zenith 65 E outdoes it with a three-pound bean hopper. Honestly, at Seattle Coffee Gear, we go through a lot of beans and we adore this three-pound monster, but not everyone needs these guy. The size alone would be a puzzle to fit in most kitchens, but we’ve definitely seen it done and admire home brewers with amazing commercial-grade machines like this.

Are such massive machines a glamorous addition to your home kitchen? The industrial-style build showcases raw, utilitarian appeal, especially in the chrome, that brings home kitchens a sophisticated edge. The matte black color also had trend appeal that complements the modern kitchen. Both are doserless with stainless steel adjustable portafilter holders that you’d find in a commercial setting, further completely the cafe-at-home style. You’re probably thinking with all this talk about industrial looks that the noise on these powerful machines is less than glamorous. Surprisingly, these grinders produce the average noise that you’d expect and hear from a smaller grinder of this grade.

Grade

We’re not handing out A’s and F’s for our grinders (but we’d never hand out an F to these guys). What we are dishing out are suggestions for these high-end grinders. When you have a grinder of this grade, you want to pair it with a machine that it will be compatible with. The Zenith 65 E and Fausto both create consistent, fine grounds that are perfect for non-pressurized portafilters. We wouldn’t pair these grinders with a machine that uses pressurized portafilters since the grinders do all the heavy lifting.

The Rocket Fausto is an obvious match for any of the Rocket Espresso Machines. We have our hearts set on the new Rocket Espresso R60v and with a grinder like the Fausto at its side, there’s no telling what sort of coffee-magic it will create.

The Eureka Zenith 65 E, with a three-pound bean hopper and massive stature, sets it up to be used in a commercial setting like your favorite cafe spot. That being said, we see commercial-grade machines in the average home brewers kitchen.  Since these grinders are so similar, we’d also recommend pairing this machine with the Rocket R60v.

Top Three Grinders For Espresso Machines

If you’re looking for a top-notch grinder, then look no further! We’ve picked out our top three grinders for espresso machines. When we’re looking for a grinder to go with our espresso machine, we’re looking it to be super fast and incredibly accurate for the best tasting espresso shot. 

  1. Rancilio Rocky Coffee Grinder

Rancilio Rocky

Tall, dark and built with pure muscle—no we’re not talking about that Rocky, but we might as well be. The Rocky by Rancilio is a powerful machine much like a certain boxer. Built with commercial-grade 50mm steel burrs, this is a professional machine that’s made for home brewing. This is a true underdog story folks.

This is the only grinder we’ve picked that isn’t stepless and we’re totally OK with that. The Rocky gives you 55 levels of control to grind your coffee beans thanks to ultra-fine threading that lets you go from espresso to French press without any fuss.

2. Rocket Mazzer Mini Electronic Grinder – Type A

Mazzer Mini Type A

Give us a shout if you’re a Type A, too! The Rocket Mazzer Mini is certainly the workaholic of grinders. It’s outfitted with a stepless grinder to allow you to fine-tune the grind, which is great for dialing in your beans. Once you hit that sweet spot, you won’t need to adjust it again.

The Mazzer Mini is also equipped with stainless steel burrs that rotate at a low RPM (rotations per minute) so that your beans won’t get extra crispy. These burrs are big; at 64mm the flat burrs grind beans quickly and that’s why the lower RPM won’t affect the overall speed.

3. Rocket Macinatore Fausto Grinder

Rocket Fausto

We thought the Rocket Mazzer Mini was impressive but man, when it comes to grinders the Rocket Fausto steals the show. The 65mm stainless steel flat burrs quickly and accurately create perfect, consistent grounds. It’s also stepless like the Mazzer Mini, so you have total control.

Now this is love—if you’re like us and make a lot of coffee, then you’ll love that the Fausto’s bean hopper holds a pound of beans. A. whole. pound. And, if you don’t go through the whole pound, there’s a stopper that’ll keep the beans inside so you can remove the whole bean hopper and change them out. Could you image trying to turn this guy upside down to shake out the extra beans?

We make a lot of coffee here at Seattle Coffee Gear and we love all our grinders for different coffee brewing methods. When it comes to getting the best grinder for your espresso machine, though, these three grinders fit the bill.

Pros & Cons Of Having A Built-In Grinder

Let’s talk about built-in grinders. There’s a lot of debate on the benefits of a built-in grinder on coffee machines. You expect it on a superautomatic, but what about those other guys? Built-in grinders can be found on some semi-automatic machines like the Breville Barista Express and some drip coffee makers like the Breville Grind Control. Naturally, we compiled a pro and con list for people out there weighing their options on buying a machine with a built-in grinder.

Built-In Grinder (1)

Our Top Pros

Space Saver:

When it comes to saving room on the kitchen counter, the built-in grinder optimizes every inch of your machine. Instead of having two machines sitting taking up space, you have one compacted unit. Arguably, a machine with a built-in grinder tends to be bigger overall, but we appreciate that it’s more ergonomically designed for space.

Convenience:

As if we needed more decisions to make, after you purchase an espresso machine you’ll need to search for a compatible grinder. Grinders come in all shapes and sizes and not all grinders fit the bill for your machine.

Saves Money:

We debated whether or not buying an espresso machine and built-in grinder saved money and we decided it can be less expensive to buy them together…depending on the model, that is. If you’re buying a grinder and espresso machine at a similar caliber, then it’s generally less expensive when the machine has a built-in grinder.

Compatible:

To pull off a delicious brew, you need a grind that’s consistent—and consistency can be tricky to find in a grinder! In short, you’ll cut out the middle man when you purchase a coffee machine that has a grinder that’s compatible with it.

Our Top Cons

If It Breaks:

Worse-case scenario is your grinder breaks. You generally have two options that will end up costing you extra money. The first option is to purchase a new grinder—which can be a good purchase if you invest in a high-end grinder. The second option is you have the scrap the whole machine and buy a new one. Hopefully, you have a machine that doesn’t rely on the grinder (such as the Breville Barista Express) but if it can’t be bypassed, then you’re out a whole machine.

Bulkier:

While the grinder and machine together create an ergonomic design the overall size is larger than a model without one. If you look at the Breville Barista Express and Breville Infuser, the Barista Express is about an inch wider than the Infuser.

Difficult To Change:

You can’t turn the whole machine upside down to shake out the old beans (well, we guess you could, but we highly recommend not doing that). To remove the old beans you’ll have to grind until it’s empty and waste beans—especially if you have multiple coffees you want to brew. 

One Function:

If you’re interested in brewing a pour over, French press or other brew methods that require a wider grind setting, generally a built-in grinder will only make a grind consistent for that machine. Take the Breville Barista Express again, for example, the grinder makes a fine grind for espresso shots that wouldn’t be coarse enough for French press.

We’ve heard the top concern is that if the grinder breaks down, then you’re stuck with a now completely useless feature. Fortunately for you, we haven’t seen that happen too often, so don’t let this be the number one deterrent. The biggest disadvantage, in our opinion, would be that the grinder is only designed for that machine, and not for other brewing methods such as French press or pour over.

Pro Tip: We recommend investing in a high-end grinder as your first purchase. If you are interested in investing, check out some of our reviews on top-notch grinders like the Rocket Fausto Grinder and Rancilio Rocky Coffee Grinder. We also recommend the Breville Dose Control if you’re leaning towards something sweet, but not too sweet.

Crew Comparison: Eureka Mignon vs. Rocket Fausto

Get that barista quality coffee with these professional grinders! Designed to complement high-end espresso machines, the Rocket Fausto and Eureka Mignon got it going on. Both grinders feature stepless grinding, stainless steel flat burrs and timed dosing for a consistent, quality grind that will make any professional barista proud.

mignon_side_black_2

Right off the bat, we can tell you that if real estate is important to you, then the Mignon might be a better option. It’s smaller footprint and boxy design makes it a perfect companion next to a sleek espresso machine or, let be honest, the microwave. That slim size does mean that some features, like the 8-ounce bean hopper, are smaller. Don’t let that deter you! It’s packed with all the bells and whistles you need for a good shot.

Rocket Fausto

The Fausto, on the other hand, is a big kahuna. It’s outfitted with 65mm burrs, a 22-ounce bean hopper and a large chute topped with a programmable digital display. The Fausto spits out a great grind faster thanks to the larger burrs. Its giant bean hopper also means you can grind up more beans. This can be great for multiple cups, but otherwise, it might be excessive for a cup or two.

While we’re talking about the nitty-gritty details, the Fausto’s timer can get down to the second with the easily programmable digital display. It can also save two settings for a single or double shot. That means you can start your morning double shot and end with a pre-lunch single shot. After lunch? Rinse mug. Repeat. 

The Mignon also has a timer to control dosing, but it’s on the side of the machine, meaning you’ll have to reach around or angle the controls toward you. That sort of beats the purpose of its small footprint when you’re moving it around. 

By no means, though, does the Mignon make a disappointing shot! Its small size and the manual timer doesn’t affect the power of those 50mm stainless steel flat burrs. It produces a practically identical grind like the Fausto but without taking up the whole counter.

Both grinder machines complete the whole coffee package for home brewing! Pair one with a machine like the Rocket R60v (we’ve got it reviewed, too) and you’ve got a match made in caffeinated-heaven.

Check out the full review below and tell us what you think about the Fausto and Mignon! As Gail said, “The proof is in the feeling.”

If you can’t get enough of our videos, subscribe to our YouTube channel here!

Crew Comparison: La Marzocca Linea Mini vs Rocket Espresso R60v

When it comes to top-of-the-line machines, it just doesn’t get any better than these two high-end semi-automatics. The La Marzocco Linea Mini and Rocket Espresso R60v are two powerful machines that bring cafe-quality espresso right into your home. If you’re deciding between one or the other, check out the video below to see these two semi-automatics at work.

Linea Mini

The Linea Mini has a couple things over the R60v. For one, the professional-grade—the same ones you’ll find at a cafe—stainless steel portafilter makes tamping worry-free. The portafilter is outfitted with an angled handle for even tamping and, in addition, a breakaway spout in case you don’t know your own strength. But hey, save your nerves and counter and use the flat spot under the portafilter that fits perfectly against the edge of the counter.

Another difference is the Linea Mini’s steam wand, which has four holes (instead of the R60v’s two) releasing steam, making it one powerful milk-frothing machine. That doesn’t overshadow the R60v’s steam power, though. If you’re worried about the steam power, go to 7:50 on the video and watch Gail demonstrate both machines. What did you think? When it comes to steam power, we’re happy with the results from both machines.

Now, let’s take a look at the R60v. Sleek, streamlined and built with power, it’s a definite favorite with our staff. Besides appearance, the biggest difference you’ll see in the R60v is its digital PID and pressure profiling—something you usually see on commercial machines! What’s pressure profiling, though? Instead of the typical 20 to 30 seconds of brewing at nine bars of pressure, pressure profiling on the R60v allows you to have three profiles that allow up to five different stages of pressure applied during your brew. If you’re looking to have more pressure control, the R60v gives you that tailored espresso shot.

So, did you figure out what machine you’re taking home? When it comes to deciding between the Linea Mini and R60v, you can’t go wrong with either machine!