Category Archives: Rocket

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!

SCG Experiments: Playing with Single Shots

We’re not quite sure why one would want to pull single shots, but we’ve been asked multiple times to experiment and provide our tips on how to get the job done. So we drafted Jess to take on the formidable task of dialing in a single shot. Off-camera, she worked on the Rocket Giotto Evoluzione and the Crossland CC1; while she had success on the former, the latter still proves to be a challenge.

Watch her pull a few shots on the Rocket, varying an element each time to dial it in. The singles she pulled did taste great, but, still … really? We’re triples all the way, friends.

Face Off: Musica vs. Giotto Evoluzione

Decided to up your latte game and invite a ‘prosumer’ espresso machine into your home? I was interested in learning more about two of the the heat exchangers that we have in the store — the art deco inspired Nuova Simonelli Musica and the hand crafted Rocket Giotto Evoluzione — so I decided to take them each for a test drive. Now, if you’re into straight up features and spec comparisons, check out the table I’ve laid out below; but if you learn more from hands-on experiences, read on!

I started with the Musica and instantly fell in love with its portafilter. The smartly angled handle enables the filter basket to lie flat on the counter. Jessica held my hand as I dialed in the grind using the Mazzer Mini E – Type A grinder. After pulling a number of double shots, I came to appreciate the Musica’s automatic pre-infusion and programmable volumetric buttons, making this machine a breeze once you figure out the right grind and tamp for your bean. You can also steam milk extremely quickly using the standard three hole steam tip. I loved the paddle functionality to control the steam, allowing you to pulse or flip up for maximum power.

As I approached the Rocket, I could see my reflection in its highly polished casing. With a commercial-grade brew head, I was in store for consistent shots given the thermal stability provided by the E61. After inserting the portafilter, I flipped up the lever all the way to begin shot extraction. I was glued to a timer while pulling shots, and this would be best practice given there isn’t volumetric programming on this machine. Steaming was straightforward with a traditional steam knob and single hole tip, giving me a little more time to work up the microfoam.

In the end, there was no difference in shot or milk quality from these two exceptional machines, so it all boils down to a few essentials in your decision set. If you need a convertible water source, crave sleek steel lines and appreciate the ritual of classic espresso extraction, the Giotto Evo is a strong bet. If you need an NSF rated machine for a small cafe environment or dig  modern conveniences like programmable volumetrics and disco lights, give the Musica a happy home.

Nuova Simonelli Musica
Rocket Giotto Evoluzione
Dimensions 12.75 in W x 16 in D x 16.75 in 12 in W x 17 in D x 15 in (16.5 in w/ cup rails)
Reservoir Size 2.3 Liters 2.9 Liters
Water Source Either reservoir or direct connect Convertible
Programmability Volumetric control None
Case Design Stainless steel with optional disco lights Stainless steel and fancy like a race car
Steam Wand Traditional, not insulated, 3 hole tip Traditional, insulated, 2 hole tip
Boiler Material Copper Copper
Pre-infusion Automatic and programmable Passive
Boiler Volume 2 Liter 1.8 Liter
NSF rated Yes No
Pump Vibratory Rotary
Gauges Boiler pressure Steam boiler & brew head pressure

Compare: Rocket Espresso Steam Tips

Rocket Espresso - Steam TipsWe’re not sure if learning how to pull a shot is more or less frustrating than learning how to steam milk, but we do often hear complaints about the latter. It does take a little time and practice to produce microfoam, but what part will your tools play in the equation?

Rocket Espresso offers a set of four different tips for their steam wand, which feature different configurations of smaller diameter holes. We wanted to find out how these different styles affected our mad steaming skillz, so Bunny and Kat took them for a ride! Watch as we compare different techniques and the different tip styles to learn how they measure up.

An Interview with Andrew Meo of Rocket Espresso

Rocket EspressoPay no attention to the man behind the curtain! Okay, maybe do pay attention — this time.

If you’ve ever wondered who’s behind the gorgeous machines of Rocket Espresso, meet Andrew Meo. With a background as a coffee roaster and connoisseur in New Zealand, he started selling the home machines of now-defunct ECM, eventually joining forces with a couple of business partners to spin off Rocket Espresso in 2007. Since then, he’s developed the machines into some of the most beautiful examples of form meeting function. Learn about Rocket’s approach to product design, how they’ve developed the machines since taking them on and future plans.


The Reluctant Barista: Tackling the Rocket R58 Dual Boiler

58I had an ‘Aha! Moment’ this morning and it changed my whole relationship with espresso prep. Very reluctantly, and only because I was on a deadline, did I approach the Rocket Espresso R58 Dual Boiler. Kat asked me why I was more reluctant than usual to pull shots on this machine and I didn’t have a good answer. Shiami encouraged me and told me that I would love the quality shots an E61 brew group produces.

To start, I frothed a pitcher of milk, which I do regularly on the Rocket Giotto, and the difference between a heat exchanger and a dual boiler became apparent. In the same time it takes me to get a nice velvety microfoam at 150 degrees on the Rocket Giotto, I found the Rocket R58 had gotten up to 170 degrees! There was foam but the higher temperature killed the creaminess. The powerful steam cut frothing time almost in half and I had not adjusted for that fact.

Next, I enlisted Fillmore from the repair department to expertly dial in the grinder. I watched him grind into the portafilter from a Mazzer Mini. He pulled a shot and it was too quick. He adjusted the grind a tick finer, pulled another shot and it was still a little fast. He re-adjusted, then felt the espresso grounds in his hand and they were fine like ground pepper. On the third extraction the shot pulled evenly and within 22 seconds we each grabbed a shot and tasted it. Zoka Organic Espresso Quatro — yum!

As I stared at the shiny stainless steel Rocket R58 with its 58mm portafilter, I was still reluctant to pull my own shots. I recounted all of the variables Gail recommends for a perfect espresso shot: filtered water, the right grind, the correct tamp and a deluxe hand-built Italian espresso machine (just kidding! Kind of…). Finally the answer was clear to me: While I understand how to make espresso, my problem is I can’t tamp!

I love it when Kaylie makes me a latte, I use E.S.E. pods at home and I will occasionally use the new Francis Francis capsule machine for an afternoon pick-me-up. As a result, I have avoided the tamping issue altogether. Aha!

There are benefits to having the entire SCG demonstration arsenal at my disposal. I lined up a tamping mat, a tamper and a knock box. Long overdue tamping practice began and continued until both the Rocket R58 drip tray was full (twice!) from pulling shots and the knock box was full of spent pucks. From this experience I found out the following:

  1. The R58 brew head warning sticker states, ‘Caution Hot Surface,’ and that’s the truth
  2. Pre-warming your portafilter in the brew head yields great results, however it also makes it hot to touch when you tamp
  3. Fillmore’s Pro-Tip: A half flip of the lever allows for a mellow pre-infusion using passive boiler pressure
  4. It is hard to get espresso grounds out from under your fingernails

Many people go through a coffee preparation progression as their taste, budget or skills change. I went from French press to stovetop espresso maker to a small single boiler machine. How do you know when you are ready for the next step, in this case a dual boiler? Identify your comfort level and your ultimate goal. My comfort level had me afraid to tamp, but my goal was a fresher shot. So it turns out that I am ready to upgrade. For now, a heat exchanger model is my next step.

There is a machine for every person though, so who does need a dual boiler espresso machine? For me, the styling of the Rocket line is what an espresso machine ‘should’ look like — I would love to see one on my counter top. Like a heat exchanger, a dual boiler saves time if your preferred drink is milk-based since you can froth and pull shots simultaneously. The R58 in particular can be used with the internal reservoir or plumbed-in for even more convenience. Finally, espresso is all about consistency; with commercial grade parts, dual pressure gauges, a rotary pump and an external PID, the Rocket R58 uses current technology to allow you to pull the best shots you are capable of every time.

Where will your preparation progression lead you? The Rocket R58 Dual Boiler is not a starter machine. When you are ready to take things to the next level though, this espresso machine is one of the very best. Don’t be reluctant to try it!