Are you torn between La Marzocco’s Linea Mini and the Rocket Appartamento?
If you’ve come across these espresso machines and don’t know which one you should choose for your home or business, we’ll help you make your decision.
In this article, we’ll catch you up to speed on the features of the Linea Mini and the Rocket Appartamento and go over additional considerations before you make your choice.
By the end of this article, you’ll know:
- What features the La Marzocco Linea Mini and Rocket Appartamento share and what they mean
- What differences there are between the machines
- How each of these features meet different needs
NO TIME TO READ? HERE'S THE BOTTOM LINE:
If more advanced features are what you’re looking for, then you’ll love the temperature wheel, dual pressure gauges, and the option to convert to a direct-line machine that the Linea Mini offers.
All of these things equate to a higher quality espresso every time.
At the same time, if price is highest on your list of priorities, then you’ll find the Rocket Appartamento more suitable. You’ll still get professional-level drinks and a user-friendly machine at a much-reduced price. It’s also especially compact, so it can squeeze in on just about every counter.
While both machines are outstanding and able to excel in offices, small shops, or even homes, the La Marzocco Linea Mini simply has more advanced features, making it the winner.
Groups are one of the main features in any espresso machine that affect how many espressos they can produce at a time.
The more groups you have, the more drinks can be prepared simultaneously.
Both the Linea Mini and the Rocket Appartamento have a single group. This makes them fit perfectly in home kitchens or small shops and offices with a low-volume demand for espresso.
A single group allows users to spend time focusing on each drink to ensure it turns out exactly as desired.
POUR-OVER MACHINE TYPE
The Linea Mini and Rocket Appartamento come with water tanks that need to be manually refilled.
The upside to this feature is that means they can be operated from any location, as opposed to direct-connect machines that need to be hooked into a water supply.
At the same time, you will need to have water to add to the tanks as they are depleted. We also recommend adding a water softener tablet to them to cut down on scaling, which can damage your espresso machine.
If you want to guarantee that you make delicious espresso shot after shot, then pre-infusion is a feature you’ll be interested in.
Pre-infusion occurs prior to espresso extraction and helps promote balanced extraction by saturating the espresso and settling it. That way, any mistakes your baristas may have made while tamping won’t have any effect on the end product.
As part of the E-61 commercial group, the Rocket offers a passive pre-infusion step that soaks the grounds evenly so users get the most of espresso extraction every time.
The Linea Mini has a programmed pre-infusion time that’s two seconds long. During this time, it automatically soaks the bed of coffee with a soft stream of water before the full pressure of extraction happens.
LOW WATER SENSOR
As pour-over models, both these machines need to be refilled by hand when their water tanks run dry.
If you’re not aware the water is running low, it’s possible you could run out while in the middle of pulling a shot, which is, to the say the least, an unpleasant surprise.
In front of a customer, it could reflect poorly on your business when a drink takes longer to make because you needed to drop everything to refill the reservoir.
The good news is, both the Linea Mini and the Rocket come with low water sensors. You’ll be aware of the need to refill the reservoir before it runs out through a flashing indicator located right on the front of the machine.
Small touches can make all the difference.
Both of these machines come with professional metal tampers that baristas will find wonderful to use.
Between plastic and metal tampers, metal ones are preferred by more baristas because of their look and weight. Being made of metal makes them heavier so more force can be used to provide the ideal tamping pressure to espresso before brewing.
In light of the machines themselves, tampers may seem inconsequential, but even seemingly the smallest things can contribute to brewing delicious shots.
LEVER VS PADDLE OPERATION
This isn’t a huge difference, as both models function generally the same due to both being semi-automatic, but it’s worth noting.
The Rocket is controlled using levers. To begin brewing, the user pushes a lever up into the on position and back down into the off position once brewing is complete.
On the Linea Mini, brewing is started or stopped by pushing a paddle to either side horizontally.
As you can see, the difference is just a matter of which direction levers or paddles are pushed in, but either design still allows users maximum control over brewing time.
DOUBLE BOILER VS HEAT EXCHANGE BOILER
Being able to steam and brew at the same time is a must-have feature for busy shops and many prosumers.
Double boilers and heat exchange boilers are different ways to achieve that end.
In the Rocket, the heat exchange boiler has a copper tube that carries brewing temperature water from the reservoir to the group while holding steam temperature separately in the boiler.
The Linea Mini uses a double boiler, with one boiler for brewing and the other for steaming. Having two boilers can ensure the ideal temperature for brewing and steaming is maintained.
VIBRATORY VS ROTARY PUMP
The mechanism that applies the proper pressure for extraction is the pump – the heart of every espresso machine.
Vibratory pumps, the type used in the Rocket, are common in pour-over espresso machines.
They work by utilizing a magnetic piston that moves back and forth to push the water. They’re especially good at ensuring the water only goes forward, rather than being pushed the wrong way.
The other option, a rotary pump, is used by the Linea Mini. Rotary pumps operate by using a rotating disc with sections called vanes. The disc sits at the bottom of a curve, and as water flows through it, the disc spins and water filters through its vanes, pushed out while the disc rotates.
Rotary pumps are longer lasting and quieter than vibratory pumps, but the disadvantage to them is that they require a larger motor, which can make them impractical for smaller counters at home. They can also be more expensive than models which use vibratory pumps.
The Linea Mini and the Rocket both have boiler pressure gauges. A boiler pressure gauge can tell you at a glance when the machine is ready for steaming or brewing.
Going the extra mile, the Linea Mini also has a group pressure gauge so users can watch the pressure generated by the pump while brewing. This makes it easy to notice mistakes and make corrections right away.
If you notice that pressure isn’t what it should be, then you’ll know you need to adjust your brew ratio.
For areas with limited space, such as home kitchens or shops with crammed countertops, size will be another factor to examine.
Both these machines are fairly compact.
The Linea Mini is 15 inches tall, 14 inches wide, and 21 inches deep. You’ll have no problem making room for it in any workspace.
On the flip side, the Rocket Appartamento is even smaller, measuring at 14.25 inches high, 10.5 inches tall, and 17 inches deep.
TYPE OF BREW GROUP
Espresso machines have different types of brew groups, which each have their own individual brewing conditions.
A member of the E-61 brew group, the Rocket Appartamento circulates water between the boiler and group head to keep the water temperature even. This feature is called a heat exchanger boiler. Fluctuations in water temperature can potentially lower the quality of an espresso shot, so this feature is important.
The disadvantage of a heat exchange boiler is that you’ll need to purge before you pull a shot to make sure the temperature is perfect for brewing.
An integrated brew group is used by the Linea Mini. This means that the group is attached right to the boiler, which minimizes heat loss and promotes an even temperature. If a solid level of quality is important to you at all times, you may find this feature particularly desirable.
While both machines create immense steam power, the Linea Mini beats out the Rocket Appartamento when it comes to steam.
This is because it has a 3.5-liter boiler dedicated specifically to steam. Not only will this make steaming nearly constantly possible, but it in seconds it can create beautiful microfoam.
Looks can also be a point to consider, especially if your shop or home has a certain aesthetic you want to maintain.
Just as they are packed with different features, these machines both look different.
The Linea Mini, with its slanted sides and metal casing, has a look that’s all-business and will blend right in on the counters of modern restaurants or cafes. It even comes in black, red, white, or stainless steel options so it can complement a variety of color schemes.
With 304 stainless steel casing accented by circular cutouts on the sides, the Rocket Appartamento is bright and elegant. The circular cutouts on the sides are available in copper or white colors, giving the machine an extra artistic touch.
ROCKET APPARTAMENTO NO BURN HOT WATER AND STEAM ARMS
Have you or your employees ever accidentally touched the steam wand or hot water spigot and received agonizing burns?
Then you’ll see how luxurious the Rocket Appartamento’s no-burn hot water and steam arms are.
Thermally insulated, these parts of the machine are built to stay cool to the touch so that users are kept comfortable during use all day. Plus, this feature makes cleaning simpler by helping to prevent milk from crusting onto the steam wand.
LA MARZOCCO LINEA MINI OPTIONAL PLUMB-IN KIT
Because of their convenience and their ability to make improving water quality easy, direct-connect machines are the standard in virtually every professional setting.
Although the Linea Mini comes as a pour-over model, it also comes with an optional plumb-in kit, allowing you to convert it to a highly efficient direct-connect machine at any time.
Once you convert it, the water tank will refill itself automatically, so running out of water in the middle of a shot or serving a customer is a thing of the past. It will also be easier to install water filters or softeners, which can improve the taste of water and guard your machine from scaling.
LA MARZOCCO LINEA MINI TEMPERATURE WHEEL ADJUSTMENT
This advanced machine comes with a stepped temperature wheel built into the side, granting you more control over the quality of espresso with the ability to set brew temperature.
This gives you another way to customize and experiment with drinks using this straightforward wheel for a high level of thermal control.
LA MARZOCCO LINEA MINI BARISTA LIGHTS
A well-lit work environment can help promote safety and ensure a higher level of quality in the work being done.
This can be an especially important aspect when you provide products made to order, such as espresso drinks.
The Linea Mini took this into consideration with its bright design that comes with lights built right under the group head. Your baristas will clearly be able to see what they’re doing, saving them from having to strain their eyes or making mistakes due to low-lit settings.
It doesn’t stop there: these barista lights are also smart lights that only come on when the pump is activated, cutting down on energy use.
WHICH ONE SHOULD YOU CHOOSE?
To make sure you choose the machine that’s truly best for you, consider your personal preferences, your budget, and how you plan to use the machine. Try to avoid letting one factor alone hold a greater level of influence over the others unnecessarily, so that all considerations are balanced.
While all features may seem desirable, think about which are ones you absolutely need and which ones you simply want. That’s how you end up with the right espresso machine for you personally.
Again, while we think the more advanced features of the Linea Mini make it the winner between the two, the Rocket Appartamento is still a fantastic high-end machine.
For even more information on the Rocket Appartamento, look at its listing right here on Majesty Coffee:
As for the Linea Mini, we don't have it in our store. If you like the look of it, however, we'd strongly recommend the La Spaziale S1 Mini Vivaldi II. This strong dual boiler machine packs a lot of power into a small package that you'll have no problem finding space for.
If you're interested in La Marzocco specifically, you can also check out our La Marzocco collection for other machines by the brand.
Majesty Coffee Technical Sales Expert - Meet the Team
Tony Barlow, with over a decade of experience in the coffee industry, is the go-to technical sales expert at Majesty Coffee. He's passionate about helping businesses find the right espresso equipment for their needs.