Rocket Appartamento vs ECM Mechanika Slim: Which is Better?
If you’ve come across the Rocket Appartamento and the ECM Mechanika V Slim in your search for an espresso machine, you may be torn between them because of how similar they are.
You may be asking yourself: which one should you pick?
There are many reasons why you might choose one espresso machine over another, even when they share a lot of similar features. In this guide, we’ll help you make your decision between these two excellent machines.
We’ll discuss the following:
- Features the Rocket Appartamento and the ECM Mechanika have in common and that they mean
- Differences between them and what those differences mean
- Factors to consider before picking either one of these models
WHAT DO THEY HAVE IN COMMON?
SEMIAUTOMATIC ESPRESSO MACHINES
The Appartamento and Mechanika share the same basic machine type: semiautomatic.
Most of the time, semiautomatic machines are the closest you’re going to get to old-fashioned lever machines. They grant users a high level of control over the brewing process, which makes them favorites for veteran baristas.
Those who are into a vintage aesthetic or admire the old manual lever espresso machines will appreciate the lever-operated brewing system incorporated in both the Appartamento and Mechanika.
These machines add a modern and convenient twist by allowing users to push their levers into on or off positions to start or stop brewing. You’ll have complete control over the duration of the brew time and can pull shots as long or short as you need.
E-61 BREW GROUP
The E-61 brew group includes machines with specific features that encourages thermal stability.
Machines that are members of this group circulate water between the boiler and the group head continuously, guaranteeing a consistent, ideal temperature.
Machines in this group also come with automatic pre-infusion, which means the coffee grounds are gently soaked with water prior to extraction to settle them. This eliminates any human errors that may have been made in tamping.
As members of the E-61 brew group, both the Appartamento and Mechanika come with these advanced features. You and your customers will notice the difference in the quality of your espresso flavor as a result.
While direct-connect machines must be connected to a water line to function, the Appartamento and Mechanika are pour-over machines with manually refillable water tanks.
This does mean you’ll need to stop and refill the reservoir every so often, but some baristas prefer this configuration because it also means these machines don’t need to be near a water line for use.
If you’re a caterer looking to serve espresso at events, a home user with limited counter space, or a mobile coffee cart, this mobility will be fantastic for you.
However, we do recommend using filtered water and descaling the water tanks often with pour-over models to promote the quality of your drinks and the longevity of the machines.
HEAT EXCHANGE BOILERS
If you need to be able to make drinks quickly, then the boiler type of the espresso machine is something you should look at.
The Appartamento and Mechanika have heat exchange boilers, which means they’re able to brew and steam at the same time.
This is possible because of a tube that runs through the boilers and carries brewing temperature water to the group heads, while steaming temperature water is kept separate.
You’ll be able to froth your milk while you wait for your espresso to finish brewing, resulting in a quicker drink. It is recommended that you flush the group a bit before each shot, though, to guarantee the brewing temperature is where you need it to be.
STYLE AND SIZE
Just as the Appartamento and the Mechanika have similar features, they’re also similar in appearance.
They are both made with a sleek and shining stainless steel. They both incorporate twist steam and hot water valves and are operated with levers.
Regardless, there are some slight style differences that may be a factor in your decision.
The Rocket Appartamento has round cutouts on the sides that give its panels some interesting texture. These cutouts are available in White or Copper options, which add a little extra something to help it blend into your atmosphere.
On the ECM Mechanika V Slim, the sides are pure and unmarked stainless steel. Some may find this simplicity in appearance preferable, as it lends the machine an air of professionalism.
Both machines put modern flourishes on vintage aesthetics, such as the inclusion of lever-operated brewing and twist valves.
LOW WATER SENSOR
Water sensors built into the front of the Appartamento and the Mechanika will let you know the moment your water level gets too low by flashing.
To protect the machine, it also will cut the power to itself in case the water level gets too low and it is not filled.
This makes it so you never need to guess when the tank needs to be refilled and you don’t have to check it needlessly – the machines will tell you when more water is needed.
NO BURN ARTICULATING STEAM WAND
On some machines, extra care needs to be taken when touching the steam wand for use or cleaning to avoid a nasty burn.
With the Appartamento and Mechanika, the steam wants are kept cool through thermal insulation. That way, you can touch and clean the steam wands in complete comfort.
Another benefit to this cool temperature is that milk doesn’t crust onto the end of the steam wand, making cleaning even faster.
Because they’re articulating, the steam wands are also able to be moved to the optimal angle needed for frothing milk every time.
BOILER PRESSURE GAUGE
Like its name implies, a boiler pressure gauge allows you to monitor the pressure in the boiler of the machine.
This feature is much more useful than it may sound initially.
Not only will it tell you when the machine is ready to steam or brew, but you’ll be aware instantly when the pressure is off so you can adjust your brew ratio.
For some baristas, a boiler pressure gauge is an absolute must-have feature.
CUP WARMER WITH REMOVABLE GUARD
No one likes when their drink gets cold quickly.
This is why you might have seen baristas pouring hot water into empty cups. The hot water keeps the cup heated until the espresso drink is poured in, preventing a cold cup from lowering the temperature of the drink.
To keep cups warmed, the Appartamento and Mechanika have cup-warming shelves on top.
They also come with removable cup warmer guards that function as rails which hold the cups in place in case the machine is bumped.
Should you need extra space or to remove the guards for cleaning, you can easily take them off the machines.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES?
COPPER VS STAINLESS STEEL BOILER
The boiler material can be just as important as the boiler type.
A copper boiler is used in the Appartamento, while a stainless steel boiler is used in the Mechanika. Each material has its own benefits.
The copper in the Appartamento’s boiler makes it naturally antimicrobial and excellent at conducting heat.
On the flip side, the stainless steel in the Mechanika’s boiler makes it especially sturdy and resistant to scaling.
Regardless of which one you choose, both models come with excellent boilers that contribute to the machine’s longevity.
The size of an espresso machine’s boiler correlates with how much it can steam or brew.
In this comparison, the Mechanika’s 2.2-liter boiler is a bit larger than the Appartamento’s 1.8-liter boiler.
Either of these machines has a boiler that’s more than enough to handle the needs of a rush, though, and either one will be able to steam milk quickly. The difference in the Mechanika’s steam power may not be very noticeable in a side-by-side comparison.
ROCKET APPARTAMENTO NON-COMPRESSION VALVES
Do you worry about having to pay for expensive repairs to your machine?
If the cost of potential fixes worries you, then you’ll appreciate the Appartamento’s non-compression valves.
Not only do they make steaming user-friendly, but if a replacement ever becomes necessary, they are less expensive to replace.
ROCKET APPARTAMENTO METAL TAMPER
Many baristas like the look and feel of a metal tamper, because of its polished appearance and heavy weight that makes tamping easier.
This is why the Appartamento comes with a metal tamper instead of the plastic tampers that commonly come with home espresso machines.
As an added bonus, the metal tamper matches the sleek and shining steel of the Appartamento.
In comparison, the Mechanika comes with a plastic tamper. A plastic tamper will still get the job done, but it is not as sturdy or heavy as a metal one.
ECM MECHANIKA V SLIM BREW PRESSURE GAUGE
The more information your machine can provide to you, the more control you have.
In addition to the boiler pressure gauge, the Mechanika comes with a brew pressure gauge so you can also watch the pump’s pressure while your espresso is brewing.
This allows you to make immediate corrections to your brew ratio if the pressure isn’t where it needs to be.
If you want to maximize your control and further guard the quality of your espresso, the brew pressure gauge may be an important consideration.
ECM MECHANIKA V SLIM ANGLED PORTAFILTERS
The Mechanika kept the comfort of its users in mind when angled portafilters were incorporated into its design.
Rather than sticking straight out, the portafilter rests at a slight downward angle when it’s placed in the group head. This angle feels more natural to hold and keeps baristas comfortable throughout a long day of frequent use.
The cost of an espresso machine will likely be a large part of your reason for choosing one model over another.
This is why at Majesty Coffee, we are committed to providing both high-quality machines and the best prices online for them.
We have the Rocket Appartamento available with White circular cutouts or Copper cutouts for $1,690.
Currently, we do not have the ECM Mechanika V Slim available, but it is sold online through other retailers with its price typically ranging from $1,800-$1,900.
WHICH ONE SHOULD YOU PICK?
You may still be wondering:
Which one should you pick?
Since the price on these espresso machines is so similar, price likely isn’t going to be the deciding factor in your choice. Instead, you may need to look more closely at the styles and features offered by either the Appartamento or Mechanika.
For those looking for an espresso machine with a unique appearance, the Rocket Appartamento’s panel cutouts make it a striking choice. Completing its sleek look is its complimentary metal tamper.
With the Appartamento, you’re also getting non-compression valves that make steaming a breeze and are affordable to replace if necessary.
If you’re concerned about sanitation, you may potentially prefer the Appartamento’s naturally antimicrobial copper boiler.
On the other hand, if you appreciate simpler designs, you may be more drawn to the ECM Mechanika V Slim’s smooth stainless steel case.
If you’re concerned about ergonomics, the Mechanika’s angled portafilters are worth consideration, as well.
Here’s the conclusion:
With two similarly priced machines, you’ll need to consider the look and features of the machine rather than focusing solely on the price.
You should also keep your own personal preferences in mind – some features might appeal to you more than others on a personal level.
For more information on the Rocket Appartamento and best price online, check out our listing here: