If you’ve been looking for powerful espresso machines to add to your home or office, you’ve likely come across the names Lelit Bianca and Rocket R58 before. Either machine is uniquely well-suited to a smaller environment, such as a home kitchen or small office.
Even though they’re clearly designed for smaller settings, though, they’re still each veritable workhorses. Either one will empower you to quickly produce espresso-based drinks, due largely to their use of a dual-boiler design.
This begs the question: how do you decide between them? At Majesty Coffee, we believe in making informed decisions – especially when it comes to quality espresso. That’s why we’ve created this detailed Lelit Bianca vs Rocket R58 comparison.
This is what we’ll be covering:
- Which features you’ll find in both machines.
- The differences between the Bianca and R58.
- Information regarding their prices.
- Our advice on what to consider before purchasing either one.
With all that in mind, let’s get started…
There are numerous reasons to choose a machine like the Lelit Bianca. But to give you just a few quick examples, we’d like to highlight that it’s compact, powerful, and offers baristas a unique flow control system. Since you can make adjustments to brew pressure on a whim, we think this lovely machine is a great fit for experienced home baristas or those willing to experiment with flavor profiles.
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Just as there are many reasons to pick the Lelit Bianca, there are also many convincing reasons to consider the Rocket R58. For instance, it features a bold and classic design that looks good virtually anywhere and naturally antimicrobial copper boilers. It’s an excellent espresso machine for seasoned home baristas and small offices that want a fast espresso time and time again.
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If there was one similarity worth starting with, it would be the fact that these are both semiautomatic machines. Wondering what exactly that means for you? We’ll elaborate.
A semiautomatic machine is one that doesn’t automate the duration of the extraction for you. Put another way, you’ll have to start brewing the espresso and end the brew step at the appropriate time.
This does take a little practice. It’s easy to get distracted, and even if you can generate a laser-like focus while brewing, you may need to experiment with different durations to get a flavor you like.
Once you get the hang of it, though, you’ll also get to take advantage of a high degree of flexibility. Because you can start and stop the brew cycle whenever you want, you can pull short or long shots as you need them.
Dual Boiler System
Both the Lelit Bianca and Rocket R58 operate with two different boilers inside them. One is a designated brewing boiler, and the other is a designated steaming boiler for texturing and steaming milk.
This is huge. Because there are two boilers, you can effortlessly steam milk and brew espresso at the same time. The bottom line is you’ll get your milk-based drinks that much more quickly, which can be extremely important when you’re preparing espresso for groups of people.
Read Also: Best Dual Boiler Espresso Machines
Stainless Steel Case
You can tell with just a glance that the Bianca and R58 are made with stainless steel cases. There are two main advantages to this design.
The first one is simple: both espresso machines simply look attractive. Their highly polished appearances give them a feel of refinement and elegance that you’ll love having on display.
The second benefit is durability. Being coated in tough stainless steel helps protect the machines from harm, increasing their lifespan.
Another obvious similarity these machines have is their single-group design. The group is the part of the machine your brewed espresso comes out of.
If your machine has more groups, the amount of espresso you can put out increases. This doesn’t mean that single-group machines like the Bianca and R58 are bad, though. There are certainly benefits to having a single-group model.
One benefit is that single-group machines tend to be less expensive than multi-group alternatives. Another benefit is that, because you are only brewing one or two shots at a time, you are able to more easily focus on the development of every drink you craft.
That’s what makes machines with one group perfect for beginners or those who want to deepen their experience with crafting espresso. You’ll have the time to invest in growing your skills.
See Also: Best 1 Group Commercial Espresso Machines
E61 Commercial Group
On either machine in this comparison, the brew group we just discussed is what’s called an E61 commercial group. There are a couple features that come as part of E61 groups.
One is pre-infusion. Pre-infusion is a step that occurs prior to extraction. Your espresso machine will use a light stream of water to gently settle the grounds in your portafilter, which helps lead to a balanced extraction and more well-rounded flavor.
Another benefit is increased thermal stability. E61 commercial groups circulate water from the group head to the boiler constantly, reducing temperature fluctuations that can hamper the development of your espresso.
No-Burn Steam Wand
With some machines, accidentally brushing up against the steam wand can lead to a stinging burn. This can make learning to use an espresso machine intimidating for beginners.
That is not an issue you’ll have with either the Lelit Bianca or Rocket R58. Because the steam wands on them are insulated, they remain cool no matter how long you use them. You can safely clean and reposition the steam wands without any worry about hurting yourself.
Direct-Connect or Pour-Over Compatibility
Do you dislike having interruptions to your work? Would you rather not have to deal with regularly maintaining your espresso machine?
If you answered yes to either of those questions, then you’ll love the fact that the Lelit Bianca and the Rocket R58 can both be used as direct-connect espresso machines. They can connect to your water line, refilling their water tanks automatically as you use them. That translates to less maintenance and disturbances.
But if you don’t want to deal with connecting your machine to a water line, that’s not a problem, either. They can also be used as pour-over machines that you’ll add water to periodically by hand – just like with your standard coffee maker.
Want to see more espresso machines that can connect to a water line? You can check out our list of the best plumbed espresso machines for more options.
Water Tank Capacity
If you decide you’re going to use these espresso machines as pour-over models, one aspect you’ll be especially concerned about is the size of their water tanks. The greater their water tank capacity, the more drinks they can brew at one time before you must stop for a refill.
In this area, the Bianca and R58 are perfectly equal. Their water tanks both hold around 2.5 liters of water at the most. You’ll have no problems making a few drinks in a row before you need to pause for a refill.
Low Water Sensor
Running an espresso machine dry (when it doesn’t have an adequate amount of water in the tank) can be disastrous for your boilers. It’s crucial that you always ensure there is ample water in the tank for the health of your espresso machine. The problem is, it can be easy to forget to do this if you’re busy, if you’re in a rush, or if you’re simply a beginner who’s adjusting to espresso machine maintenance.
The Bianca and R58 both have a solution to this issue. To protect your machine from harm, they each incorporated a low water sensor that will notify you when their water levels are getting dangerously low. That way, you won’t be able to forget to add water in whenever necessary.
If you’re planning on adding your prospective espresso machine to your home or office, then the last thing you want is an extremely noisy machine that disrupts your atmosphere. Both home and office environments require peace and quiet.
Fortunately, since the Bianca and R58 have rotary pumps, they are able to run more quietly than espresso machines with vibratory pump alternatives. We wouldn’t go so far as to say either espresso machine is completely silent, especially when it comes to steaming, but they do produce less noise than many competitors.
Unlike businesses centered around providing food and drinks to customers, such as coffee shops and restaurants, homes and offices don’t have all the room in the world for kitchen appliances. In fact, these types of environments are often quite limited on space, so anything they do choose to add to their kitchens or breakrooms needs to be compact.
This is another thing that makes the Lelit Bianca and Rocket R58 great. They are both compact machines that won’t need large swathes of counter space.
That being said, their measurements are slightly different. The Lelit Bianca measures at 15.75 inches tall, 11.4 inches wide, and 19.1 inches deep. In comparison, the Rocket R58 is 16.25 inches tall, 12.25 inches wide, and 17.50 inches deep.
Thus, if you’re looking for an espresso machine that can slide under low-hanging counters, the Lelit Bianca may be preferable. On the other hand, its shallower shape may make the Rocket R58 a better fit for counters that don’t stick out as far.
Related Article: Best Mini Commercial Espresso Machines
PID Temperature Control
Temperature is one of the most important factors when it comes to brewing a good shot of espresso. That’s why it’s crucial to eliminate temperature fluctuations and to have some kind of control over the brewing and steaming temperatures.
Controlling internal temperatures is something both the R58 and Bianca excel at. Both machines have PID temperature controllers that will allow you to make minute and precise changes to both brew and steam temperatures as you see fit.
Put these machines side-by-side, and you’ll notice at least one difference right away: their overall aesthetics. In general, they may look similar. They both have straight side panels, rounded legs, and shining stainless steel cases.
But that is where the similarities end. The Lelit Bianca in particular has a remarkably intriguing design, thanks to the walnut accents on its handles and legs.
We personally feel like those extra touches make it the perfect fit for rustic kitchens. This doesn’t mean it looks dated, though – the stainless steel case allows it to blend countryside comfort with refined modern design.
What you may get along with either espresso machine can vary depending on the seller you purchase them from. In the Majesty Coffee store, though, either machine has different extra accessories included with them.
Along with the Lelit Bianca, you’ll get a microfiber towel that makes it easy to clean the exterior of the machine without scratching it. You’ll also get a triple basket that you can brew even more espresso at once with, as well as a water softener that we strongly recommend using – especially if you set up the machine as pour-over.
The Rocket R58 will help you get off to a good start by giving you both a user manual and DVD. You’ll also receive a coffee scoop, which is perfect for using pre-ground espresso.
These aren’t the only things either machine comes with. You’ll also get direct-connect plumbing kits, cleaning brushes, portafilters, tampers, and steam tips with either one. We just wanted to highlight the differences.
The number of boilers is far from the only thing that matters when it comes to their setup. You’ll also want to investigate what material they’re made from.
Within the Rocket R58, you’ll have two copper boilers. This is a classic boiler material in espresso machines for a few reasons.
First, it’s antimicrobial by nature. That makes this machine perfect for those who are particularly concerned about sanitation. Beyond this, copper is great when it comes to thermal stability, helping keep the boilers up to temperature even more easily.
On the other hand, the Lelit Bianca has stainless steel boilers. Stainless steel boilers, like copper ones, can be incredibly good when it comes to thermal stability – especially if they’re insulated like the boilers in the Bianca. It may not be antimicrobial like copper, but it also isn’t as vulnerable to scale buildup.
Rocket R58 Cup Warmer Guard Rail
Both machines have cup-shelves on top. These shelves function as both storage for your mugs and as a way to preheat them and keep your espresso warm longer.
The key difference here is that the Rocket R58 is the only one that has a guard rail around the cup shelf on top. If you have cats who like to jump on your counters or a small space where bumping into the espresso machine is a serious risk, this guard rail will help prevent any mugs on top from sliding off.
Lelit Bianca Group Pressure Gauge
You’ll find pressure gauges on both the Bianca and the R58. Just like the R58 improves upon the basic cup warmer design, though, the Lelit Bianca makes its own improvements to the pressure gauge design.
Between these two machines, the Lelit Bianca is the only one with a third pressure gauge on the group head. This extra pressure gauge makes it a simple matter for you to keep a close eye on the brew pressure while you adjust it on the fly using the Bianca’s unique flow control paddle.
On top of notifying you if the group’s pressure is consistently off, it also makes it easier for you to achieve uniform quality in your drinks since you can check which pressure you prefer by glancing at the gauge.
Rocket R58 Non-Compression Hot Water and Steam Valves
Nobody likes having to shell out money for costly repairs. That’s why the Rocket R58 was designed with longevity in mind due to features like its non-compression hot water and steam valves.
These valves were created to move seamlessly. Not only will this make the machine marginally easier to use, but it also means they’re a little simpler to replace if repairs are ever necessary. As a result, repairs to the hot water and steam valves on the Rocket R58 are generally less expensive.
Lelit Bianca Flow Profiling Paddle
When it comes to the Lelit Bianca, the feature that really steals the show it its flow profiling paddle. The paddle on top of the group head can be used to make adjustments to the flow of water while you’re brewing espresso.
This is an aspect that gets espresso experts eager to try the machine out. With the increased customization permitted by the flow paddle, you have even more power to test out new flavor profiles by playing with the water pressure.
Find a position on the paddle that results in the best-tasting espresso? Then all you need to do is glance at the group head pressure gauge and note where it’s at so you can recreate it in the future.
Majesty Coffee is pleased to have both the Rocket R58 and the Lelit Bianca in our store for the best prices you’ll find online.
To be specific, we have the Lelit Bianca for $2,979 and the Rocket R58 for $3,495. At the time of this guide, however, the R58 is currently sold out. If you would like to check out a similar machine by Rocket, you can also take a look at the Rocket Cinquantotto, which we have for $3,200.
Which Should You Buy?
More likely than not, the reason you’re looking at this guide is that you’re trying to decide which of these espresso machines you should buy. We can tell you as many technical features as you like, but this still doesn’t always help you make up your mind.
That’s why we’re going to take a quick look at a few circumstances that may make the R58 or the Bianca better for your specific needs.
One thing to consider is price. At this point in time, the Lelit Bianca is a bit more affordable and accessible than the Rocket R58. That being said, the price is still only a couple hundred dollars cheaper, so this may be more or less important to you depending on your budget.
You also shouldn’t feel guilty if one of the things that’s important to you is the look of the machine. Tons of thought goes into ensuring your home kitchen and office have a pleasing look. There’s no reason why you can’t give the same thought to an espresso machine, as it can be quite an investment.
Many people are drawn to the Lelit Bianca for this reason. It has an utterly unique design with the walnut accents. However, the classic look of the Rocket R58 is also undeniable and may appeal to you more if you’re looking for something that can blend in with a wider range of environments.
One situation in which the Lelit Bianca really excels is espresso customization. Its flow paddle will give you even more control over the brew pressure, which is ideal for knowledgeable or adventurous baristas. For that reason, we’d recommend it more to anyone who wants a machine that will support experimentation with flavors.
This is our suggestion:
Consider purchasing the Lelit Bianca if you’re drawn to wood accents, or you want a machine that will give you more control.
On the other hand, you should consider the Rocket R58 if you just want a classic stainless steel espresso machine, or you want to reduce the risk of repairs with its durable valves.
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