La Cimbali Junior vs Rocket: Which Should You Choose?
There are plenty of commercial espresso machines out there designed to serve hundreds of people a day. These machines have multiple groups, often taking up tons of space on your counters because of their increased size and output.
But what if you need something a little smaller? Or what if you’re looking for an espresso machine that could be used at home?
The La Cimbali Junior is an excellent compact espresso machine suitable for small businesses and homes alike. In this post, we’ll see how it holds up against a similar competitor, Rocket.
Keep reading this La Cimbali Junior vs Rocket comparison, and you’ll discover:
- Which features the espresso machines have in common.
- What sets them apart from each other.
- Prices for the machines in this guide.
- Guidance on how to choose which one is a better fit for you.
Let’s dive right into the comparison…
The La Cimbali DT1 Junior is probably one of the most dependable single-group machines out there. With its solid stainless steel casing, it’s made to withstand the trials of a busy environment. Plus, with its three-hole steam wand, it can generate powerful steam without going overboard. We recommend this one for small business and homes that want an espresso machine they can count on for years to come.
Rocket’s original R58 model was a tremendous success due to its powerful dual boiler design. The Cinquantotto makes some intriguing upgrades to the build, including a PID temperature controller that looks and feels sleek. This is a great fit for small coffee shops and home baristas that want to enjoy the ultimate degree of control over the temperature and flavor of drinks.
Stainless Steel Case
With nothing more than a quick look, you can tell what the first similarity between these machines is: their gleaming stainless steel cases. There are a couple reasons these cases are worthy of your admiration.
The first reason is obvious: they simply look good. With their polished and shining exteriors, either the Junior or the Cinquantotto would look beautiful on your countertop.
The second reason is something you’ll notice with time. Because of their tough stainless steel shells, either machine is more than capable of withstanding daily wear and tear.
Both these espresso machines use pre-infusion. Pre-infusion is like an invisible insurance policy for every single shot of espresso you make. An insurance policy protects you from accidents, and that’s what pre-infusion does, too.
How does pre-infusion protect you? It basically functions as an additional step in the brewing process. Rather than extracting your espresso right when you start the brew cycle, the machine releases a light stream of water that helps smooth and settle the grounds.
If there are any errors in tamping that caused the grounds to be improperly packed, pre-infusion helps sort them out. As a result, each shot of espresso is as balanced and flavorful as it can be.
Learn More: La Cimbali DT1 Junior Review
The outside of the Junior and Cinquanotto isn’t the only thing about them that’s tough. There’s also the rotary pump to consider.
The pump is what pushes water through the group head on your machine. Vibratory and rotary pumps are the two types used in espresso machines today.
As the name implies, vibratory pumps can sometimes be on the loud side. Rotary pumps, on the other hand, are both quieter and more durable. That’s just one less thing you have to worry about with these machines.
Both the Junior and Cinquantotto are plumbed-in machines. This means that they hook up to your water line, refilling their boilers and reservoirs automatically instead of requiring you to add more water manually.
Since you don’t have to stop and add water periodically, you save time. Employees are more able to get into the flow of work without the need to worry about frequent interruptions.
It’s important to mention here, however, that the Cinquantotto can be used in a pour-over format. If you prefer, you can add water to it manually, which we’ll discuss in more detail later on.
The Junior, on the other hand, requires a water line connection.
More Like This: Best 1 Group Commercial Espresso Machines
The Junior and Cinquantotto each have a single group head. Your espresso machine’s output is restricted by its group heads; the more it has, the more shots of espresso it can produce at a single time.
Having said that, it may seem like a drawback for an espresso machine to have just one brew group. But this can actually be beneficial for a few reasons.
For starters, machines with a single group as opposed to two, three, or even four are generally more affordable. This puts them into range for those on a smaller budget.
What’s more, machines with multiple group heads have to be larger. If you’re a small business or home barista with limited space on your counters, a large multi-group machine may not be feasible, but a compact single-group machine would be.
With the La Cimbali and Rocket machines in this post, you don’t have to worry about them eating up space on your counters or being extremely expensive.
There are numerous factors you need to pay attention to while operating an espresso machine. Pressure is easily one of the most important.
If your espresso machine consistently can’t reach fifteen bars of pressure, then you know right away something might need repairs. Knowing the pressure level of your machine also tells you when it’s ready to brew or steam.
That’s why the Junior and Cinquantotto both have pressure gauges on them. It’s not just boiler pressure you’ll get to see, though – both machines also allow you to monitor the group pressure.
Further Reading: Best Professional Espresso Machines for Home
Let’s be clear: the La Cimbali Junior and Rocket Cinquantotto are each remarkably compact machines, especially when compared with other competitors. However, there is still a slight size difference between them that could factor into your choice.
Of the two machines, the Rocket is slightly smaller. It measures at 12 inches wide, 17 inches deep, and 15 inches tall. In comparison, the La Cimbali is 12.75 inches wide, 18.75 inches deep, and 17.25 inches tall.
It is a bit wider, deeper, and taller than the Rocket. This may not be a big deal for you, but if you’re in a situation where every slice of space matters, those couple inches could be a game changer.
Dual Boiler vs Heat Exchange Boiler
The boiler design is probably one of the most significant differences between these espresso machines. On the one hand, you have the heat exchange boiler in the Junior. Then on the other hand, you have the dual boiler system in the Cinquantotto.
There are a couple pros to both designs. A dual boiler system has one boiler for steaming and the other for brewing, which often means more steam power.
The heat exchange boiler in the Junior has a tube running through it that carries brewing water to the group head. Because it is only a single boiler, it may have less steam power, but it will also heat up more quickly and require less energy to stay up to temperature.
There’s no right or wrong answer on which is better. It’s a matter of personal preference, as you may find the benefits of one more appealing than the other.
Rocket Cinquantotto E61 Commercial Group
An E61 commercial brew group, such as the one on the Rocket Cinquantotto, can be summed up in one word: convenience. This is where the machine gets its pre-infusion from.
However, there’s another benefit to E61 brew groups that deserves mention, and that’s their increased thermal stability. Because they circulate water continuously from the brew group to the boiler, the temperature of your water is carefully maintained, shielding your espresso from disastrous heat fluctuations.
La Cimbali Junior Three Hole Steam Tip
If you looked at the tips of the steam wands on these machines, you’d observe another difference between them. The Rocket has two holes and the Junior has three.
This probably seems inconsequential, but makes a surprising amount of difference – especially if you’re going to be making a lot of milk-based drinks like lattes. The extra hole in the Junior helps it generate greater steam power.
That’s perfect in commercial settings where milk needs to be frothed quickly.
Rocket Cinquantotto Optional Pour-Over Use
It’s true that you can use the Cinquantotto as a direct-connect machine if that’s your preference. We’d even recommend that for most commercial establishments, because direct-connect machines save you time you’d otherwise spend filling up the water tank.
But you have the option of using the Rocket as a pour-over machine if that better suits your needs. A pour-over machine is pretty self-explanatory; they require users to add more water to the tank by hand periodically.
The greatest benefit to this design is mobility. Because a pour-over machine doesn’t have to be connected to a water line, it can be used virtually anywhere. For that reason, the Cinquantotto could be a great machine for a coffee cart, caterer, or food truck. Similarly, it may be a better fit for baristas at home who may not have space near a water line to put their machine in.
Rocket Cinquantotto PID Temperature Controller
You probably noticed the small screen attached to the side of the Cinquantotto in pictures. If you were wondering what that was, here is the answer: it’s a PID temperature controller.
Temperature is crucial in the brewing of espresso. Cooler or warmer temperatures can alter the flavor of your drinks.
With the Rocket’s attached temperature controller, you have the ultimate control over flavor. That’s what makes it wonderful for seasoned baristas who know exactly what outcome they’re looking for.
The first question you probably ask before purchasing anything is, “how much does it cost?” Everyone looks for a good deal, and the great news about shopping at Majesty Coffee is that we offer the most competitive prices online.
Let’s get to the nuts and bolts here: how much do we offer the Junior and Cinquantotto for?
Which Should You Choose?
Now that we’ve answered questions about their features and price, you likely have one last important question: which espresso machine should you choose?
The answer to that question depends entirely on you and your circumstances. There’s no such thing as a miracle espresso machine that works for everyone, so it’s possible that your circumstances may lead to the Junior or Cinquantotto being better for you personally.
As an example, consider cost. Since the Junior is a couple hundred less than the Cinquantotto, it may be the wiser pick for those on a budget.
Another thing to think about is the type of drinks you’ll be making. If the bulk of your drinks will be milk-based ones like cappuccinos, you need something with the steam power to match. That makes the Cinquantotto’s dual boiler system especially attractive – although the Junior’s three-hole steam wand isn’t anything to scoff at here.
The amount of room you have available is also vital. Try measuring potential spaces for your espresso machine before purchase one so you know exactly what you’re working with. The slightly smaller size of the Rocket may be enough to tip the balance in its favor if you’re particularly limited on space.
Consider the water tank design, too. The Cinquantotto is the only machine in this comparison that can function as a pour-over model. If you need a portable espresso machine for a mobile business such as catering, it is the only viable option in this guide.
For the most part, both machines would thrive in similar situations. It’s just the specific considerations we mentioned above that may be more applicable to you depending on your needs. We’d recommend either one for a small business or home.
You can learn more about either machine by clicking these links: