If you’re an at-home coffee enthusiast looking to make your own drinks, researching espresso machines can quickly become overwhelming.
So if you’re unsure how to begin, you’ve come to the right place.
In this guide, we’re going to compare and contrast the Rocket Appartamento and the Breville Barista Express, two espresso machines which are uniquely well-suited for home users.
By the end of this article, you’ll have learned the following:
- Features the Appartamento and Barista Express share and what they mean
- Differences between the Appartamento and the Barista Express and how they affect you
- What you should think about to help you choose the espresso machine that’s the best fit for you
Let’s get started…
Both the Appartamento and the Barista Express have a single group.
The number of groups an espresso machine has a direct impact on how many drinks it can make at once. Simply put, more groups means more drinks can be made at the same time.
A single group is ideal for users at home who don’t have large numbers of customers to serve drinks to. Since the number of drinks you’re able to make simultaneously is more limited, you’re able to focus on one drink at a time and ensure each one is perfect.
A single-group espresso machine may also be suitable for businesses that don’t serve a high volume of espresso drinks or small offices where employees don’t want to make frequent trips to the local coffee shop.
For those concerned about flexibility and counter space, the fact that the Appartamento and Barista Express are both pour-over machines may be appealing.
With a pour-over machine, a removable water tank is built right in and needs to be periodically refilled as it runs dry. While having to stop and refill your espresso machine can be detrimental if you’re in the middle of a rush in a coffee shop, it’s not an issue when you’re making drinks at home.
The Rocket and Breville have similarly sized water tanks, with the Rocket having a 2.25-liter capacity and the Breville having a 2-liter capacity.
Pour-over machines have the added benefit of being mobile, because they don’t need to be hooked up to a water line to be used. Either one of these machines can be moved wherever you need to use them.
STAINLESS STEEL CASING
The Rocket Appartamento and the Breville Barista Express are built from long-lasting stainless steel.
With the Rocket model, you get a gleaming and durable 304 stainless steel case.
The Breville, on the other hand, is built with a die-cast stainless steel case, which is also dependable.
Stainless steel is preferable over plastic components for two main reasons:
It’s more reliable. Stainless steel lasts much longer than plastic.
The second reason is that it simply looks better and more polished, lending a lustrous sheen to any countertop.
Dedicated coffee experts will find that pre-infusion is a real game changer.
In the Rocket Appartamento, there’s automatic pre-infusion which gently soaks the coffee grounds with a low-pressure trickle of water prior to extraction.
The Barista Express has a similar function, where it applies water with slowly increasing pressure during the extraction process.
What this does is eliminate any irregularities in the espresso that have occurred from improper tamping. This means you can enjoy a quality espresso regardless of your experience level.
HEAT EXCHANGE VS THERMOCOIL BOILER
The type of boiler system an espresso machine uses can impact its speed and function immensely.
The Appartamento uses a heat exchange boiler. It works by having a tube which carries brewing temperature water through the boiler to the group head.
The rest of the boiler is then able to hold steaming temperature water at the same time.
Basically, this means the Appartamento is able to brew and steam simultaneously without you needing to wait to do either one.
Alternatively, the Barista Express has a thermocoil boiler. It’s a single energy-efficient boiler that heats the water within it in small parts rather than all at once.
A drawback to this kind of system is that you aren’t able to brew while you steam and vice versa – you can only do one or the other. In this kind of setup, it’s better to steam your milk first so your espresso doesn’t grow bitter while waiting for the milk.
MANUAL VS TIMED BREWING
Both the Rocket Appartamento and the Breville Barista Express are semiautomatic machines, which means parts of the brewing process are automated. However, their operation is still slightly different from each other.
The Breville model uses a button to start and stop brewing, which is common with semiautomatic machines. This button can also be programmed with different dosing times.
The Rocket has a lever-operated configuration that looks impressive and is reminiscent of the earliest espresso machines. Rather than push a button to start and stop brewing, users pull and push a lever.
If you were to put the two machines side-by-side and use both of them to steam, you’d notice the Rocket has greater steam power.
The Rocket is able to steam more quickly than the Breville, since it doesn’t need time after brewing to build up to steaming temperature.
It also creates silky frothed milk with ease.
A machine’s look can be a really important feature to many aficionados.
Since your espresso machine will likely sit on a counter where you or your guests can see it, you’ll want it to fit in with your décor or look appealing.
The Rocket Appartamento has a gleaming exterior with interesting circular accents cut into the sides. These cutouts are available in either copper or white color options, so there’s some flexibility to ensure it matches its home.
The Breville Barista Express also enjoys the sleekness of glittering steel, but with a simpler twist. Its uncomplicated appearance makes it fit right in with many other kitchen appliances.
Many home users and businesses alike may be concerned about the amount of space their espresso machine takes up.
The Breville Barista Express was specifically designed with kitchen countertops in mind. Measuring at 16 inches tall, 13.25 inches wide, and 12 inches deep, it’s an especially compact machine that will fit comfortably on just about any counter.
The Rocket Appartamento is known for its small size, as well, measuring at 14.25 inches tall, 10.5 inches wide, and 17 inches deep. Being so short and narrow, it can easily fit between other kitchen appliances.
ROCKET APPARTAMENTO E-61 COMMERCIAL GROUP
Espresso machines in the E-61 commercial group, including the Rocket Appartamento, make high-end levels of brewing accessible to home users.
Machines in this group help prevent fluctuations in temperature by rotating water between the boiler and the group head.
Unexpected cold pockets or changes in temperature can ruin an otherwise perfect shot of espresso, so this improvement to thermal stability can really boost the quality of your drinks.
ROCKET APPARTAMENTO NO BURN HOT WATER AND STEAM ARMS
Seasoned baristas are familiar with the experience of getting an agonizing burn from accidentally brushing against the steam wand or the hot water spigot.
With the Appartamento’s cool steam wand and hot water spigot, these burns are nothing but a distant memory.
Another benefit to a cool steam wand is that the milk doesn’t cake onto it after steaming, which makes cleaning it a much smoother process.
ROCKET APPARTAMENTO REMOVABLE CUP WARMER RAIL
While the Appartamento and Barista Express can each keep your cups warm with built-in cup warmer shelves, the Appartamento’s cup warmer rail is an added level of security.
If you’re concerned about accidentally knocking cups over, the rail will keep them safe from bumps.
For cleaning or when you just need a little more room on top, you can also remove the rail at any time.
ROCKET APPARTAMENTO BOILER PRESSURE GAUGE
You’ll know exactly when the Appartamento is ready to brew and steam through a boiler pressure gauge right on the front of the machine.
If you’ve just turned the machine on and you’re waiting for it to warm up, this can take all the guessing out of it – you’ll know when it’s ready.
Additionally, you’ll know when there are issues or repairs are necessary by being able to carefully monitor the pressure in the boiler at all times.
ROCKET APPARTAMENTO LOW WATER INDICATOR
If you’re the kind of person who gets really focused on your work, it might be easy to overlook your espresso machine’s water level getting too low.
To prevent the reservoir from catching you by surprise by running dry, the Appartamento was built with a light on the front that lights up when the water drops below a certain level.
That way, you’ll never be caught off guard by the water running out in the middle of brewing or steaming.
BREVILLE BARISTA EXPRESS BUILT-IN GRINDER
Do you like to have everything all in one place or enjoy appliances with multiple functions?
Then you’ll love the built-in grinder that comes in the Breville Barista Express.
Not only does it save on counter space by keeping you from having to buy a separate grinder, but it comes with user-friendly fineness settings that you can use on the side of the machine. Its conical burrs will help highlight brighter and zestier notes in your coffee.
While it’s true that buying a separate commercial grinder allows for more customization and control, the grinder in the Breville will still create tasty and fresh espresso.
BREVILLE BARISTA EXPRESS PID
Inexperienced and experienced baristas alike will enjoy the Breville’s PID temperature controller.
It’s an added protection against unexpected changes in temperature. With PID temperature control, the Barista Express uses an algorithm that regulates the temperature by itself.
You’re able to adjust brewing temperatures within a specific range to find the conditions that best support your tastes.
This feature may take some time to learn without a digital display for easier access, but it’s a useful addition, nonetheless.
BREVILLE BARISTA EXPRESS INTEGRATED TAMPER
This is another feature that adds to the Breville Barista Express being a standalone espresso machine.
It comes with a tamper fixed to the machine so you can grind, tamp, steam, and brew using one machine.
You can store the tamper in the machine when not in use to clear some space and prevent it from getting lost.
The Rocket comes with a metal tamper, too, but it is not built into the machine like with the Breville.
At Majesty Coffee, we do our best to bring you the most competitive prices online so that those with budgets of any size can find the espresso machines that meet their needs.
Through our site, the Rocket Appartamento is available with White circular accents for $1,700 and Copper accents for $1,750.
At this point in time, we do not offer the Breville Barista Express on our site. It is available among other online retailers, but please note that prices may vary between them.
WHICH ESPRESSO MACHINE IS THE BEST FIT FOR YOU?
The Rocket and the Breville models are both well-suited for home users. When it comes to deciding between them, you’ll need to think about your own personal preferences, budget, and how you intend to use it.
Do you like the idea of a compact machine that comes with everything built into it? Then you may prefer the Barista Express, which comes with a tamper and grinder inside it.
It’s worth noting that it can be slower, though, as it cannot steam and brew at the same time.
For those who have stricter budgets, the Breville comes with a smaller price tag that can be ideal.
However, the Rocket’s heat exchange boiler, E-61 commercial group, and low water or boiler indicators make it well worth its higher price.
If the size of the espresso machine is also a big concern for you, you’ll like how compact the Rocket is. One thing to keep in mind is that, as it is lever-operated, it may take a little more time to learn.
Finally, the Rocket is more suitable for those looking to purchase an espresso machine for an office. The Breville is built with home users only in mind.
Here’s the main point:
The Rocket is going to be a great investment for espresso enthusiasts at home or in the office.
But for beginners on a budget, the Breville is a good starting machine.
For more information on the Rocket Appartamento and the lowest prices online, check out the listing here:
Appartamento Store link: https://majestycoffee.com/products/rocket-appartamento-espresso-machine-re501a3c12)