If you’re taking the plunge and looking into purchasing an espresso machine, you’ve probably come across the name Rocket at least once.
Rocket is a well-known manufacturer that makes espresso machines which are widely regarded as beautiful and high-quality.
The Rocket Appartamento and the Rocket R58 are machines that demonstrate Rocket’s lofty standards wonderfully.
If you’re looking at this guide, chances are you’re wondering which one you should buy.
Our goal in this guide is to provide you the information you need to make your decision.
Here’s what we’ll discuss:
- Similar features the Appartamento and R58 share
- Different features between the Appartamento and R58
- How to choose the machine that will be best for you
Let’s get started…
SEMIAUTOMIC MACHINE TYPE
Do you enjoy adding your own personal touches or customization to things?
If your answer to that question is yes, semiautomatic espresso machines like the Rocket Appartamento and R58 are just the ticket for you.
When you begin looking at espresso machines, you’ll commonly run into two basic types: automatic and semiautomatic.
Automatic machines automate the majority of the brewing process through programming.
Semiautomatic machines give more control over to the baristas. Instead of programmed settings handling dosing, users can begin and end dosing whenever they see fit.
Basically, this means you can pull shots as long or short as you want to. This is why semiautomatic machines are preferred by many seasoned baristas.
The main drawback to semiautomatic machines is that there’s a steeper learning curve involved. But once you get more comfortable using them, they allow for a ton of customization.
An added fun feature to these machines is how they’re operated by lever. Lever operation is reminiscent of early espresso machines, and adds a vintage twist to a modern machine.
Small offices or coffee shops will love how many espressos these machines can whip through.
Either the Appartamento or the R58 can create up to 20 shots of espresso an hour.
This may not be much of a concern for home users where only one or two people will use the machines, but for offices with a handful of people, small coffee shops, or restaurants that offer the occasional espresso, it can be a big deal.
E-61 COMMERCIAL GROUP
Making memorable drinks time after time requires consistency.
These machines use E-61 commercial groups, which help boost consistency of quality by stabilizing the brewing temperature.
They work by nonstop circulating water from the boiler to the group head. This stops temperature fluctuations that could tarnish the taste of your espresso.
E-61 commercial groups also include automatic pre-infusion, another trait that contributes to your consistency. What automatic pre-infusion does is settle the puck of grounds with a delicate stream of water before extraction, smoothing out any areas where distribution is uneven.
How does this benefit you? It means that poor tamping won’t ruin your shots, so baristas of all skill levels can make great-tasting drinks.
You’ll get much more out of and enjoy your machine more when it’s easier to use.
The non-compression hot water and steam valves used in the Appartamento and the R58 contribute to the machines’ ease of use. Steaming milk or pouring hot water can both be done with a quick turn of a valve.
Should you ever need to replace them, the non-compression valves are cheaper to replace than their compression alternatives.
LOW WATER SENSOR
Most of us have spent time looking up troubleshooting methods to figure out what went wrong with an appliance.
One fantastic thing about these Rockets is that they take the guess work of wondering when you’ll need to refill them with their low water sensors.
When you’re using a pour-over machine, you’ll need to stop to refill the water tank as it gets too low. Oftentimes, this can be difficult to keep track of when multiple people are using the machine.
With a low water sensor, you’ll know right when you need to add water to the tank with a quick glance.
Rocket is well-known for making stylish espresso machines.
This style is apparent in either the Appartamento or the R58. So many style elements are the same between them, that you could be forgiven for thinking they were the same machine.
They both use 304 stainless steel casing that makes them look clean and polished. Both are a square shape with industrial-looking valves on the front.
On either one of the machines, you’ll find Rocket’s eye-catching R on one of the valves.
If you appreciate a style that combines vintage and modern beautifully, then the Appartamento and the R58 will fit the bill.
NO BURN HOT WATER AND STEAM WANDS
The last thing you want is for you or your baristas to be afraid of handling the machine.
User comfort was definitely planned here with these Rockets’ no burn hot water and steam wands.
Traditionally, a quick brush against the steam wand or hot water spigot on an espresso machine resulted in a stinging burn. With the Appartamento’s and R58’s thermally insulated steam wands and hot water spigots, you’ll be able to safely touch the wand or spigot at any time.
The value of this feature doesn’t stop there: because the steam wand stays cool, milk doesn’t get burnt onto its tip during steaming. This means cleaning the steam wand is super fast.
If the signature Rocket look appeals to you, the matching branded metal tampers that these machines come with will be a nice touch.
Of course, they look sleek along with the Appartamento or the R58. But appearance isn’t the only thing a metal tamper is good for.
Many baristas love metal tampers because they’re sturdier than their plastic counterparts and their weight makes it easier to apply the correct pressure for tamping.
HEAT EXCHANGE VS DUAL BOILER
A heat exchange boiler (also called an HX boiler) and a dual boiler accomplish the same thing: making it possible to brew and steam at the same time.
What’s different between them is how they go about making simultaneous brewing and steaming possible.
The Appartamento uses a heat exchange boiler. It works by running brewing temperature water through a tube that goes through the boiler into the group head while steaming temperature water is contained separately.
The R58 uses dual boilers. Like the name says, this means it comes with two boilers: one for holding brewing temperature water and the other for steaming temperature water.
Dual boilers can mean more steaming power depending on the size of the steaming boiler, but they also often mean a higher price tag. Another drawback to them is that it can sometimes take longer for the machine to heat up because it has two different boilers to bring up to temperature.
Either way, both machines use boilers constructed from copper. Those concerned with sanitation will appreciate copper’s natural antimicrobial properties which cut down bacterial growth.
VIBRATORY VS ROTARY PUMP
Quieter atmospheres and environments will like the R58’s rotary pump, which makes it operate more quietly than the Appartamento. Another benefit to rotary pumps is their longevity.
One disadvantage to rotary pumps, though, is that they can increase the price on an espresso machine. They also generally require a larger motor, which means the size of the machine may need to be bigger.
The Appartamento’s vibratory pump is a little bit louder than a rotary pump, but at the same time, it’s more economical. If you ever need to replace it, it’s less expensive than replacing a rotary pump.
You’ll need to have the right amount of pressure to brew and steam, and pressure gauges make it straightforward to figure out when your espresso machine is ready.
Both the Appartamento and the R58 come with a pressure gauge so you can tell when the boiler has built sufficient pressure.
The R58 puts even more information at your disposal by adding a group pressure gauge. You’ll be able to examine your brew process and quickly adjust your brew ratio if you see the pressure is off.
The group pressure gauge will also reveal to you if there are consistent pressure issues with your pump. In that case, you’re able to use it as an indicator that maintenance is necessary and fix it before it worsens.
ROCKET R58 PLUMBING OPTIONS
When one appliance can be adjusted for different environments, it’s much more useful.
While both the Rocket Appartamento and the Rocket R58 are available as pour-over machines, the R58 gives you the power to change its setup by converting it to a direct-connect machine.
Direct-connect machines are the standard in commercial settings because they take the hassle of refilling the water tank away. Instead, they hook up to a water line and refill themselves automatically.
Down the line, this can save on time as employees don’t have to stop and refill the water tank no matter how much they use the machine.
Although this might sound more important in commercial settings, this feature can still be hugely beneficial for home users. Water softeners are easier to install in direct-connect machines, which protects your investment by reducing scale buildup that could harm the machine.
Not to mention how user-friendly direct-connect machines are – inexperienced users might not know to check the water reservoir, and might not realize it needs to be refilled.
However, if you enjoy the mobility that comes with pour-over machines, then the R58 grants you that option, too.
ROCKET R58 PID TEMPERATURE CONTROLLER
Making sure the temperature is optimized is critical to making the best-tasting espresso.
With the Rocket R58’s PID temperature controller, tweaking the temperature is made simple.
The PID controller is a unit that maintains thermal stability using an algorithm that calculates variables based on your selected temperatures. Using this controller, you can alter the steam and group boiler temperatures whenever you need to.
Once you’ve selected the ideal thermal settings, you can remove the PID controller and store it separately. This is great for freeing up a little more space around the machine or preserving its stainless steel appearance if you just don’t like the look of the PID controller.
Our goal at Majesty Coffee is to bring our customers the best espresso machines for the best prices online.
This is why our Rocket Appartamento is available in our store with White or Copper cutouts for $1,690. We have the Rocket R58 available for $3,000.
WHICH ONE SHOULD YOU BUY?
The Rocket Appartamento or the Rocket R58 would be great choices for homes, small offices, or small restaurants.
But with its direct-connect option and PID temperature controller, the Rocket R58 is slightly better suited for commercial settings.
Advanced baristas at home may also get a lot of use out of the PID temperature controller, though.
For most home users, the Appartamento will be a solid choice. It’s simple to use, and it’s much more affordable for personal budgets.
This is our conclusion:
While both of these make professional-quality espresso, the R58 is more flexible and better for commercial use.
The Appartamento will fit right at home as a base machine for espresso lovers looking to craft drinks in their own kitchen.
For more information on the Rocket Appartamento and the Rocket R58, as well as the best deals online, check out their listings here: