Category Archives: Rocket

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

Espresso Machine Compare: Pasquini Livia G4 vs. Rocket Giotto Evoluzione

Espresso Machine Comparison - Rocket Giotto vs. Pasquini Livia G4Selecting the right prosumer-grade espresso machine for you can sometimes be a bit of a challenge. With so much gleaming stainless steel and commercial-class components, how do you determine which model is worth your investment?

Take the Livia G4 and Giotto Evoluzione, for example: These are two heat exchange espresso machines, which allow you to brew and steam at the same time, that have polished stainless steel cases and are designed to work on the 15 amp, 110 power circuits most often found in home kitchens.

Feature-wise, the Livia G4 comes in a few different configurations — a traditional semi-automatic, a semi-automatic with a PID and an automatic with a PID. The two models that incorporate a PID enable you to control the steam boiler’s temperature, which will in turn affect the water in the heat exchange that is delivered to the brew head. Pasquini designed it to also incorporate a thermoblock at the brew head, producing a consistent brew temperature while not requiring an upgrade in the machine’s power requirements.

The Giotto Evoluzione, on the other hand, is simple yet refined: A traditional semi-automatic with an E61 brew-head and the ability to either use the internal water reservoir or plumb it in to your home’s water supply. While it doesn’t have any programming options, the brew head design and heat exchange technology produce a consistent brew temperature, backed by a very hearty steam boiler.

Watch as Teri guides us through a detailed overview of the features and specs of each machine, then demonstrates how they compare, performance-wise.

Compare: Pasquini Livia G4 vs. Rocket Espresso Giotto Evoluzione

SCG How-To Guides: Packing Your Espresso Machine for Shipping

Packing an Espresso Machine for ShippingDoes your Saeco Via Venezia need to be repaired but you don’t have a repair center in your area? Did you try on a DeLonghi Magnifica for size and it didn’t quite fit? Will that Rocket Espresso R58 see more action at your vacation home? Regardless of your reason for shipping your espresso machine — repair, return or simple transit — ensuring that it’s packed properly to limit damage is key.

In this series of videos, we asked a member of our shipping crew, Spencer, to guide us through the best practices for three general styles of espresso machines: Small (under 35lbs), large (over 35lbs) and superautomatics (watch those drip trays!). Check out the video that most closely matches your style of machine to learn how the pros do it.

Episode One: Packing a Small (Under 35lbs) Espresso Machine

Episode Two: Packing a Large (Over 35lbs) Espresso Machine

Episode Three: Packing a Superautomatic Espresso Machine

The Reluctant Barista: A Tale of Three Rockets

cellini classicRocket Espresso makes highly polished stainless steel home espresso machines in Milan, Italy. And we really mean highly polished: You can actually see your reflection in their gleaming surfaces. We have a row of Rocket demo models standing at the ready in our store, which can sometimes give the visual affect of a row of funhouse mirrors.

My go-to Rocket machine is the Giotto Evoluzione, which sits next to the R58 Dual Boiler and the Cellini Premium Plus. While I’m often found crafting one of my favorite drinks on the Giotto Evo (a Shot in the Dark), I also occasionally experiment with the other models — like firing up the R58 just to watch an espresso extraction with a bottomless portafilter (yes, that’s what we do for fun around here). But I hadn’t played much with Rocket’s entry-level model, the Cellini Classic, so decided to find out how it stacked up against my other favorites.

First, a little background: The only difference between the Cellini series and the Giotto series is their case styles. The Cellini has straight sides and the Giotto has more angled, diamond-shaped sides. In accordance with its name, the Classic has a straight design like the other Cellinis, however the sides are brushed stainless steel and the top and front panels remain polished. Next, ‘Premium Plus’ refers to models with an internal water reservoir only, while ‘Evoluzione’ refers to models that have a convertible water source — either the internal reservoir or plumbed to the main water supply. The Classic has an internal reservoir only and a few less features than the other models overall, but still sports the well-loved E61 brew group of its compatriots.

So I wondered, would I notice if a few Rocket Espresso features were left off? I gave the machine a chance to warm up and then I made Dori a latte. While the functionality was similar to the other Rocket models, the feel was different. The machine felt stiffer to use and the knobs were more plastic-y. Yes, I know espresso knobs are generally made of plastic, but this felt more plastic than usual, with sharper edges and none of the tactile luxury associated with other Rocket models. Looks aside, I felt like the performance was on par — my shots were great! The Classic operated very intuitively on my first and subsequent attempts, and I did not miss having a PID nor did I mind that I had only a single manometer instead of two gauges. When things go so smoothly right out of the gate, I don’t feel the need to fuss or fine tune.

For the price, I still prefer the slightly smaller stature and slightly larger boiler of the Nuova Simonelli Oscar, another heat exchanger model. Even though the Oscar case is all-plastic, oddly enough, it does not seem plastic-y (at least not to me). It is interesting how we each have our own notions about the look and feel of espresso machines! The taste of the espresso produced is usually the main qualifier, but price, quality — and yes, even looks — all play a part in the decision.  The Cellini Classic will perform like a Rocket and that’s what counts, right? And you can always sink the savings into a high quality burr grinder, like the Rocket Mazzer  (for a sweet countertop set-up).

SCG Crew’s Favorite Gear: Single, Hx and Dual Boiler Espresso Machines

Next in our series of the crew’s favorite picks covers the world of traditional espresso machines. Find out which single, heat exchange and double boiler machines the team digs.


Single Boiler Espresso Machines


Heat Exchange Espresso Machines


Dual Boiler Espresso Machines

Tech Tips: Internals of an E61 Brew Head

Rocket Espresso Cellini EvoluzioneEver wondered how an E61 brew head works? What makes it different from other brew heads? How it maintains temperature consistently or releases pressure at the brew head? Or maybe you just want to know what the heck an E61 even is! Well, your questions are about to be answered, darling, with help of our good friend Bill Crossland.

Not only is Bill a talented and knowledgeable mechanical engineer in his own right, he’s also been working on developing a wide array of espresso machines for both the commercial and home markets for the past twenty-odd years. So when it comes to breaking down how the mechanics of an espresso machine work, we were lucky enough that he provided us this lovely tutorial!

Using an E61 from a Rocket Espresso machine that has been cross-sectioned to show its internals, Bill walks us through the different components and functionality of this brew head. Watch to learn everything you wanted to know about E61’s — and possibly more! — in this mechanically-focused video.

Crew Review: Rocket Espresso R58 V2

Rocket Espresso R58 Dual Boiler Espresso MachineAs any good product developer knows, the key to keeping things real for their customers is to iterate, iterate, iterate! In Rocket’s newest version of their popular R58 dual boiler espresso machine, they’ve made a few adjustments to improve both the form and function of the machine.

Form-wise, they’ve strengthened the chassis, added nylon rails to improve the fit of the drip tray and implemented a magnetic drip tray closure. Function-wise, they’ve installed a new control board to optimize steaming and brewing and updated the firmware on the external PID.

Watch as Gail takes us through all the features and specs of the V2 R58, then makes a delicious cappuccino in a gorgeous Lino cup!