Category Archives: Rocket

Crew Review: Rocket R58

Rocket R58In my humble opinion the Rocket Espresso Machines are some of the most visually appealing machines out there. And the Rocket R58 is no exception.

Aside from the beautiful aesthetics, the Rocket R58 is built very well. The quality production  of each machine is something that Rocket prides itself on. Each machine is hand crafted with commercial quality parts, from the rotary pump to the portafilter.  Pulling delicious espresso with these machines is a wonderful experience.

The Rocket R58 is truly a powerhouse espresso machine. It is a dual boiler machine, giving you the excellent control for both brewing and steaming. The dual boiler along with thermo siphon system design allows for stability in the espresso boiler and increased levels of steam pressure and hot water from the service boiler. The brewing boiler holds 0.58 liters while the hot water/steam boiler holds 1.7 liters. The Rocket R58 also features a remote PID, which keeps your countertop looking clean and the temperature in your control.

The Rocket R58 is plumbable, so you can say goodbye to filling a water tank if that is something you wish to do. If you aren’t good at goodbyes, not to worry, you can also use the 2.5 liter water reservoir.

Watch the Crew Review below to get a good feel for this machine. Gail takes a close look at each part of the design before making herself a cappuccino.  And a tasty looking one at that!

 

 

Crew Review: Rocket Cellini and Giotto With PID

Rocket Cellini and GiottoThe Rocket Cellini and Giotto Premium Plus with PID are some of the, dare I say, sexiest espresso machines on the market. Rocket has always been design forward (but backs that beauty up with reliable and high quality parts) making for some killer espresso machines.

The Rocket Cellini and Giotto are essentially the same machine, but they do have a feature that make each of them more suitable for different wants and needs. The Rocket Giotto has the beveled sides, I like to think this one has an art deco feel. The Rocket Cellini is for those that like things clean and organized (you know who you are), the straight sides will look great on your counter top.

These Rockets also come in another version, The Evoluzione. The Evoluzione is a plumbable model, so instead of having to fill a water tank up, you can have this model tied directly to your water supply.

The Rocket Cellini and Giotto Premium Plus both have the anti-bake wand, which makes cleaning the steam wand easy as pie! Maybe even easier to be honest.

Watch the full Crew Review below, Gail even makes some pretty cool looking latte art! And be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel, you can do so by clicking here! By subscribing you will never miss a moment!

 

 

Ask Gail: Troubleshooting Water Detection Sensors

Water Detection SensorsIt is early in the morning and you just filled up the water tank in your Nuovo Simonelli or Rocket machine in preparation for that first shot of espresso of the day. And then it happens. The lights start to blink and the machine won’t run. Even though you are 100% sure you put water into the machine, the water detection sensors say otherwise. Why is this happening! And before I can even get my daily caffeine fix.

Well it turns out that the water detection sensors on all the Rocket and Nuovo Simonelli machines use an electrical current to detect if any water is present. And it turns out pure water is actually a very weak conductor. So why then do they always say not to use the hair dryer in the bathtub? Well, the ions that are dissolved in the water (think salt) act as charge carriers and allows an electrical current to flow through the water. So if you are using distilled water or water that has gone through a reverse osmosis process you have water that is pretty close to pure. So the water detection sensors won’t recognize the water that is actually in the tank.

Gail has a pretty easy solution to this issue, watch the video below to find out what it is!

 

Tech Tips: Plumbing in a Rocket Home Espresso Machine

We hear from customers quite frequently that directions for pluming in a Rocket Espresso machine are needed…desperately! We’re not going to lie, we’ve even heard from plumbers calling in on behalf of their customers, as they are in their homes trying to complete the installation. And, on more than one occasion, we’ve had stories recounted of multiple hardware store trips and a fair amount of frustration.

So we’re here to set the story straight: You don’t need a plumber to install your plumbed in machine. You don’t need to spend hours, or really more than 10-20 minutes, on the installation. Last, but not least, you certainly don’t need to suffer through sixteen trips to [insert name of your favorite hardware store]. What you do need is to watch the video below, which is a step-by-step walkthrough (with SCG’s very own repair technicians!) of how to plumb in your Rocket home espresso machine!

They’ll even explain how to disconnect the hoses, in case you need to remove the machine for a repair or relocation, and show you the steps for programming the PID to accept a direct connection the R58. Espresso lovers, unite!

Removing Side Panels on Rocket Espresso Machines

Rocket Espresso MachinesOne of the things we love the most about Rocket Espresso Machines is their beautiful and shiny stainless exterior. This casing is actually handcrafted in Italy, which makes each machine even more unique. However, a little known feature about these cases is that you can actually take them off fairly easily.

Why would you want to do such a thing? Even if your local delivery company takes every precaution into consideration when transporting your machine accidents do happen and sometimes a case gets damaged. As a side note, if you ever have to ship your machine for any reason, make sure to check out the handy shipping guide we’ve created to help ensure your machine stays in good shape while traveling. Anyhow, if you do find yourself with a damaged case you may want to order a new one to replace it with and you will need to know how to remove the old one. Or, if you’re really tech savvy, sometime you may want to work on the internals of your machine and will have to take the side panels off to access it.

Removing the side panels varies slightly for the different versions of each machine, but there are some aspects that are the same no matter what machine you have. The tools you need are a screwdriver, 7-millimeter wrench, socket set and an extension bit. Before you start to take off the side panels it is important that you make sure the machine is powered off and cold, and that you remove all of the accessories such as the lid, water tank, drip tray and portafilter.

When it comes to locating and removing and loosening the screws and bolts is where things start to change per machine. Once you have located and removed or loosed the screws on the top of your machine, the first part of the process will be to remove the cup warmer, water tank and then remove the diffuser plate. The next step is to locate the bolts on the sides, bottom and/or back of the machines and loosen them to remove the side panels. On Cellini V1, you can take the entire case off at once by standing at the back of the machine, grabbing the front casing (you will have to pull to two sides apart a bit to get around the internals of the machine) and then pulling it back toward you. On the Giotto, you can remove each side panel one at a time, for whichever side of the machine you need access to.

To see specific instructions for the Rocket Cellini and Rocket Giotto, watch as our repair tech Jeremiah takes the side panels off both machines. If you’re still not sure about taking the case off your Rocket Espresso machine yourself, we’re always here to help! Just let us know any questions you may have.

SCG Tech Tips: Removing Side Panels on Rocket Espresso Machines

Rocket Cellini Premium Plus with PID & Giotto Premium Plus with PID

Rocket Cellini Premium Plus with PIDRocket Espresso has outdone themselves once again! The brand has updated their Giotto and Cellini V2 models to create the Rocket Cellini Premium Plus with PID and the Giotto Premium Plus with PID. These machines still have all the high-end features that were found in the previous models, but they now also include an integrated PID (proportional integral derivative) for a more precise brewing temperature. The folks at Rocket didn’t want to change the sleek, clean lines of the machines (which are handcrafted in Italy) so they have artfully hidden the PID inside each machine’s drip tray.

What are the benefits of having a PID as part of the machine? The PID makes controlling the brewing temperature more efficient, since it considers a variety of factors when calculating the temperature instead of just the pressure, which is what V2 models with just a heat exchanger did, allowing you to get a consistent temperature over and over again. In addition, the PID enables the machine to keep the temperature within one degree of the temperature you have programed in, where as with a typical heat exchanger there is a little bit more variation.

Some of our favorite features on the Rocket Cellini Premium Plus with PID and Giotto Premium Plus with PID that have continued on from the V2 models are the copper insulated heat exchanger boiler, huge water tank and the ever-popular E61 brew group and its thermo syphon system that efficiently heats the brew head. Another nice feature is the anti-burn steam arm, which will prevent your milk from burning and hardening onto the steam arm if you forget to wipe it off right away. However, it is important to remember that this doesn’t mean the steam arm won’t be hot; it will be, so be careful not directly touch the wand after each use.

To learn more about the new functionally on the Giotto and Cellini Premium Plus with PID machines and see how to program their PIDs, allow Gail and Brendan to walk you through the steps in this video.

 

Crew Review: Rocket Cellini Premium Plus with PID & Giotto Premium Plus with PID

Tech Tips: Rocket Espresso Mineral Sensors

R58 Dual Boiler Rocket Espresso MachineWhen it comes to semi-automatic espresso machines, Rocket’s are the cream of the crop. Not only are they beautifully designed with their shiny stainless steel housing, but they also have state of the art mechanics as well, making them excellent for espresso production.

If you’re lucky enough to have purchased a Rocket Espresso machine, you likely rushed home so you could proudly display it on our your counter in all its glory. So, now you’ve got the machine all set up, plugged in, filled with tasty filtered or reverse osmosis (RO) water and you are good to go. But wait – what’s that flashing green light on the front of the machine? You’ve just filled the water tank, so why is the machine telling you that it is empty?

Never fear, your machine is not broken! This is a common question our customer service team receives about all Rocket machines, and luckily it is easy to fix. The problem is your Rocket is too smart for its own good and thinks the water reservoir is empty when the machine’s sensor doesn’t detect any minerals in the tank. In this video, Teri walks us through what causes this error and explains an easy solution.

SCG Tech Tips: Water Sensing on Rocket Espresso Machines

Espresso Shot Comparison: Breville Dual Boiler v. Rocket Espresso R58

Espresso Shot ComparisonLining up a couple of espresso machines and comparing them against each other in terms of functional features, technology and build quality is one way of determining which machine is the best fit for your particular needs. Another tactic is a straight up espresso shot comparison — holding a practical, blind taste test between machines to see if you can taste a difference in the shot glass.

In response to a viewer requesting that we compare the Breville Dual Boiler against a machine with an E61 brew group, we asked Gail to setup the Rocket Espresso R58, dial both of the machines in using a Mazzer Mini coffee grinder, then pull shots simultaneously. Next, two willing volunteers from our Bellevue retail store, Michael and Kevin, donated their tastebuds to the cause and they gave us their opinion on how the shots compared, flavor-wise.

Ever wonder how the Breville’s brew head technology measures up against the classic, tried-and-true E61? Watch this fun video to see how they compared this time! Of course, the coffee you use will definitely play a part in this equation, and you could go further with this by performing several blind taste tests in a row and then averaging the opinions, but here’s our first stab. Enjoy!

Espresso Shot Comparison: Breville Dual Boiler v. Rocket Espresso R58

The Reluctant Barista: Milk Frothing Madness

Milk Frothing TechniqueHow many how-to-froth-milk videos have you watched? They make it look so easy! While my espresso shots are really improving, I still have a hard time getting milk to the right consistency for a perfect latte. My lack of consistent consistency makes me a little grumpy…even mad. If frothing milk makes you grumpy too, then follow along as I try to de-mystify microfoam. It is time for FROTHING MADNESS!

First things first, while you can use the words froth and foam interchangeably, what we are after is the ever elusive microfoam. The manner in which milk is heated produces different results. Microfoam is smooth and velvety with a texture almost like wet paint because very tiny bubbles are incorporated evenly throughout the liquid. The foam I most often produce is heated milk with a bubbly volcano of erupted meringue dolloped on top. This is not microfoam.

The more you practice on one home espresso machine, the more you get to know the timing involved. This is one of my problems. I froth milk on different machines. Teri in customer service tried to console me. She said, “just when you thought you had steaming down on one machine, you try another machine and it steams totally different! …or someone changes your steam tip from a two-hole to a four-hole!” (Which totally happens around here but probably doesn’t happen at your house.)

You are probably familiar with the basics of milk frothing:

  • Start with a chilled stainless steel milk frothing pitcher and cold milk.
  • Submerge the steam wand, start to froth, then lower the pitcher until just the steam tip is submerged. The milk should move in a circular pattern.
  • Plunge the wand lower into the pitcher and continue to roll the milk.
  • Stop at your desired temperature.

While this sounds well and good, let’s explore how this works in real-life situations with three very different home espresso machines. Armed with some additional tricks from my barista friends, we can learn together!

Rocket EvoluzioneRocket Giotto EvoluzioneA heat exchanger espresso machine with a large 60oz boiler

Espresso machine repair tech, Bryan, gave me some great advice. First, whole milk froths best. Second, on a larger espresso machine like this one, plunge the wand a few seconds sooner than you think it will take. It only took 35 seconds to froth 6 ounces of milk to 165F. I found this out the hard way because at 40 seconds it was up to 170F and the milk smelled scalded. Because it happens so fast, it is hard to make adjustments. I grabbed a gallon of milk and kept trying until I got it just right.

Breville InfuserBreville InfuserA home espresso machine with a thermoblock

Matthew Hodson, a Seattle-area professional barista, shared this via Twitter “Experiment to find the spot where the milk and foam spin in a whirlpool and integrate. Only aerate briefly (count 1,2,3 quickly) and then spend the rest of the time integrating with the whirlpool.” It took 1:15 to get 6 ounces of milk to 165F. This was enough time to experiment with different adjustments. With some extra time and careful attention spent tilting and pivoting the frothing pitcher around the steam wand, this technique produced good results.

Saeco Via VeneziaSaeco Via VeneziaA single boiler with less than 8oz capacity

To get quality milk frothing from a smaller espresso machine requires every trick in the book. Make sure the espresso machine is on and pre-heated. Clear the steam wand (or in this case the panarello) into the drip tray until it is all steam with no water. Note where the air intake hole is on the panarello sleeve and keep it even with the level of the milk in the pitcher, not above or below. Froth one drink at a time, in this case 6 ounces took 1 minute to steam but was still very bubbly.

Lastly, Miranda in customer service told me you can try to “fix” milk frothing madness by softly tapping the frothing pitcher on the counter and swirling it in a circle repeatedly to try to eliminate big bubbles and incorporate the little bubbles back into the mix. Don’t try to re-heat or re-froth the milk. When all else fails keep these two important adages in mind,
1) Don’t cry over spilt milk
2) Tis a lesson you should heed, If at first you don’t succeed, Try try again.

Rocket Espresso Steam Tips

Compare: Dual Boiler Espresso Machines

After many requests, we were finally able to get all of our dual boiler espresso machines in the same place at the same time — these guys have very busy schedules! But once we cornered a La Marzocco GS/3, Rocket Espresso R58 and Breville BES900XL at our Bellevue retail location, Gail made short work of a very thorough comparison.

First off you may be wondering why you’d choose a dual boiler machine to begin with. One of the primary benefits they offer is that you can control the temperature of the brew boiler independent of the steam boiler’s function. You can also brew and steam at the same time, producing cafe-quality lattes and cappuccinos in a snap. Each of the dual boiler machines we carry offer something a little bit different … here’s a quick overview:

La Marzocco GS/3 Dual Boiler Espresso Machine

La Marzocco GS/3

Originally designed by La Marzocco for roasters to use to test their espresso roasts, the smallish stature yet commercial grade components have made the GS/3 a sought-after home espresso machine for truly committed enthusiasts. Because it technically is a commercial machine, and can be used in very low volume commercial environments, its shot and steaming performance is most like that of a much larger pro model. The steaming is fierce and forthright, the shot temperature consistent throughout and it features an internal reservoir or plumb-in option. This is the machine for those that appreciate high quality with a little brand cachet.

Rocket R58 Dual Boiler Espresso Machine

Rocket Espresso R58

The R58, on the other hand, is a decidedly home-oriented espresso machine with commercial-grade components. Featuring an E61 brew head, a removable PID interface and an exceptionally polished stainless steel case design, it also has a convertible water source and a large steam boiler. While the GS/3 will steam your milk a bit faster, the R58 does enable you to work your milk a little bit, which is perfect for those with mid-range milk frothing skills. If you love the look of polished stainless steel and want a machine that recalls the classic design of early espresso machines, the R58 is a solid choice.

Breville Dual Boiler Espresso Machine

Breville Dual Boiler

Finally, we have the BES900XL, which is Breville’s entry into the dual boiler ring. Like their entire suite of products, this espresso machine is designed from a home appliance perspective — smaller footprint, increased ease of use and some people-friendly elements like an integrated storage tray and the ability to move the machine around on a wheel that’s integrated into the bottom. It has the smallest boiler set of the trio, making its steaming functionality much slower, which can be great news to anyone just learning how to make the fine micro foam necessary for latte art. It’s also the most budget-conscious of the lot, so definitely a great choice for folks who don’t want to drop a few thousand bucks for an espresso machine.

Want to learn more? Watch as Gail gives us a detailed feature and spec overview of each machine, then demonstrates how they perform by making us lattes. If you’ve been curious about these models or the benefits of a dual boiler espresso machine, this video should answer most of your questions.

SCG Compare: Dual Boiler Espresso Machines