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Best Rocket Espresso Machine: Our Top 5 Picks

Hi! My name is Arne. Having spent years working as a barista I'm now on a mission to bring more good coffee to the people. To that end, my team and I provide you with a broad knowledge base on the subject of coffee.

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I know you’re a real coffee nerd if you’re reading this guide to the best Rocket espresso machine. And honestly, I can’t say that I blame you. I mean, I tend to adore anything and everything that passes through the Rocket Espresso warehouses. 

I know you’re a real coffee nerd if you’re reading this guide to the best Rocket espresso machine. And honestly, I can’t say that I blame you. I mean, I tend to adore anything and everything that passes through the Rocket Espresso warehouses. 

Consequently, I decided it was high time to write this guide to the best Rocket espresso machine for all of you looking to buy a prosumer or commercial espresso machine. 

Read along as I explore my favorite models from this Italian manufacturer!

Best Rocket Espresso Machines at a Glance

1Product List Image

Stylish design

Commercial components

Adjustable PID controller

2Product List Image

Heat exchanger boiler

Compact design

Gorgeous to behold

3Product List Image
Best Commercial Model

Rocket Boxer Timer

Powerful commercial machine

Dual steam wands

Volumetric control

4Product List Image

Shot timer

Adjustable PID controller

Unique design

5Product List Image

Dual boilers

Auto-on function

Powerful and versatile

Background on Rocket Espresso

Though I started out this guide to the best Rocket espresso machine with a shout-out to coffee nerds, it’s also possible that you happened across this article by accident. And that’s understandable, too. 

After all, Rocket Espresso has only been on the scene since 2007, making them newcomers when compared to older espresso machine manufacturers like Gaggia or Lelit. So, I’ll give you a brief summary of their history and reputation in the coffee world. 

Rocket Espresso bases their design and production in Milan, Italy. Though it is a relatively young company, it’s quickly built a reputation for producing premium domestic and commercial espresso machines.

Incidentally, it’s clear from the design of their machines that the brand is dedicated to traditional Italian espresso culture. At the same time, they are driven innovators and passionate coffee people interested in new coffee trends. So, you can expect a premium and thoughtful espresso experience when you purchase the best Rocket espresso machine. 

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✔ Easy-to-follow guide demystifying the espresso-making process

✔ Clear explanations of each step to avoid confusion and frustration

✔ Proven methods to consistently achieve a smooth, flavorful shot

Naturally, all of their build materials are high quality and carefully sourced. Plus, Rocket Espresso practices the old “fatto a mano” tradition, whereby all their machines are made by hand. How’s that for quality control?

As it happens, Rocket Espresso is very popular in the specialty coffee scene. So popular, in fact, that it sells all kinds of non-coffee merch, including a limited edition bicycle

Given their popularity, it’s no wonder that all Rocket espresso machines display their brand name in large letters or a big “R” front-and-center. 

How to Choose the Best Rocket Espresso Machine

It almost goes without saying that you can’t just go out and buy a new home espresso machine without doing any research first. I mean, there’s so much to consider when purchasing any new appliance for your kitchen, let alone a fancy coffee gadget that costs well over a thousand dollars. 

So, I’ve compiled a list of factors you could consider in order to find the best Rocket Espresso machine for you. 

Price

For most buyers, price is the biggest deciding factor when choosing a new espresso machine. That said, if you’re going for a Rocket, it means you’re at least tolerant of the idea of spending around two thousand dollars on your new gadget. 

Still, there’s a pretty big range of price even among high-end Rocket espresso machines. The cheapest option I have on this list hovers just under the $2,000 mark, while the most expensive option will require emptying your bank account of an eye-watering $7,000. 

Needless to say, that’s a lot to spend on an espresso machine! So, you’ll want to make sure that you’re getting an espresso machine that meets but does not exceed your needs.

Size and Design

As far as aesthetics, Rocket espresso machines have a pretty consistent vibe. I guess you could call it a traditional-industrial fusion. 

In fact, much of Rocket’s lineup looks so similar that those who are unfamiliar with the brand may have a hard time telling the difference between unique models. 

For the newcomers, you can expect shiny stainless steel, chunky knobs and a lever action brew style. What’s more, every Rocket machine has a generous cup warmer and a commercial-style build, including an E61 group head. 

Rocket Appartamento TCA Size and Design

Beyond the general look and feel of the machines, there are a few specific design features to consider when choosing the best Rocket espresso machine for your needs. 

For example, some of these models can be plumbed into your water line, while others only have an isolated water tank. What’s more, you can choose between compact machines, tank-like home espresso machines or even a two-group commercial behemoth.

Ease of Use

I’ll give it to you straight: Rocket espresso makers are not necessarily beginner-friendly espresso machines

This is as a result of their common design features. For example, most of these models have heat exchanger single boilers, which often require a bit of finesse to get your brew temperature just right. 

That said, models with PID controllers will be easier for novice baristas to use, because the controllers ensure that the water reaching the group head is at the right brew temperature. 

On another note, most of these models require you to pull shots manually, meaning there isn’t volumetric control. But if you’re up to the task, manual shots are where all the fun is!

All in all, if you are open to being hands-on with your espresso, Rocket espresso machines are pretty easy to use once you get the hang of things. 

However, if convenience and ease of use is your ultimate priority, going with a super automatic espresso machine may be a better route. 

Features

Many of these Rocket machines offer a mix of the same features, so you’ll want to read the product page carefully before picking the best Rocket espresso machine for you. 

As I mentioned, most of these models are single boiler heat exchanger (HX) machines, though I did throw in one with dual boilers. Incidentally, the heating system has a big impact on workflow and shot consistency, so this is a big factor to consider. 

Other features to look out for include a PID controller, which gives you control over the brew temperature. What’s more, volumetric control can be a convenient feature if you’re looking for a semi automatic espresso machine, rather than a purely manual espresso maker

On the other hand, water flow control could be a super exciting feature for expert baristas wanting to tinker with their shot profiles. 

Finally, if you’re buying a Rocket espresso machine for a low to mid-volume cafe, you’ll want to think about whether a single or double group would fit your needs the best. 

I’ll admit that this list is a little short, but that’s because we’re talking about Rocket espresso machines here. As I mentioned, Rocket Espresso is impressively consistent across its lineup, so many of its machines have similar features.

Domestic vs Commercial

This one is pretty obvious, but I’ll talk more about it anyway. 

For most home baristas, an appliance-grade home espresso machine will serve you well. But I’ll admit that Rocket Espresso doesn’t even sell any of those. Rather, they only make prosumer espresso machines for the home market, which are home machines built with commercial-grade materials and features. 

As it happens, I’ve only got one commercial espresso machine on this list, and it costs several thousand dollars. Unless you have so much cash you literally don’t know what else to do with it, there’s no reason to shell out so much for a commercial model that you’ll only use in your home. 

On the other hand, budget-conscious shop or inn owners may be tempted to buy a prosumer domestic model, rather than shell out for the real deal. I certainly understand that sentiment, especially if you only plan to use the machine for a couple of years. 

That said, if you’re operating anything more than a very low-volume shop, it’s a good idea to invest in a commercial machine that actually meets your needs, rather than stretching the capacity of a home espresso machine. 

The Top 5 Best Rocket Espresso Machines

Rocket Appartamento TCA: Best Overall

Rocket Appartamento TCA Feature

PROS

  • PID and adjustable brew temperature
  • HX boiler
  • Commercial components
  • Stylish design

CONS

  • Limited cup clearance

I’ll start this guide to the best Rocket espresso machine with my favorite of all time, the Rocket Appartamento TCA. This is an upgrade from my pick for the best value Rocket Espresso model, which I’ll talk about in a bit. 

The Appartamento TCA proudly proclaims its Rocket Espresso lineage with big letters spelling “ROCKET” down the back of the machine. What’s more, laser-cut circles on the side of the machine add to the Appartamento TCA’s unique industrial design.

Like many Rocket espresso machines this one has an HX boiler system, meaning it has a single steam boiler with a cold water tube running to the group head to ensure adequate brewing temperatures. This system allows you to pull shots and steam milk simultaneously. 

As it happens, HX boilers are notorious for leading to inconsistent shots, especially with novice baristas. However, the Appartamento TCA fixes this problem with a PID controller, which allows you to control the brew temperature. 

Admittedly, its $2,150.00 price tag makes this machine quite expensive. That said, the Appartamento TCA’s commercial-grade components and stylish design give this durable model a premium feel that matches its price. 

See Also: Rocket Appartamento TCA Review

Rocket Appartamento: Best Value

Rocket Appartamento Copper Review Overview

PROS

  • Commercial-grade materials
  • HX Boiler
  • Gorgeous design
  • Compact footprint

CONS

  • Small drip tray
  • No PID controller

The Rocket Appartamento should look pretty familiar, seeing as it’s in the same general line as my Best Overall pick. That said, the Appartamento is a bit more affordable than the Appartamento TCA, coming in at $2,150.00

After all, the Appartamento is designed to be the most compact and entry-level Rocket espresso machine. But don’t let that fool you – the Appartamento could easily be an end-game prosumer, thanks to its commercial components, impressive design and durable build.

Really the only difference between the Appartamento TCA and the Appartamento is that the entry-level model lacks a PID controller. Since it’s got an HX boiler, this may worry some of you. Still, HX machines are time-tested and beloved by several generations of baristas, so I wouldn’t be too concerned. 

As long as you are game for some temperature surfing and trial and error, you’ll be able to pull some great shots with the Appartamento. 

See Also: Rocket Appartamento Review

Rocket Boxer Timer: Best Commercial Model

Rocket Espresso Boxer Timer Main

PROS

  • Programmable shot recipes
  • Volumetric control
  • HX Boiler
  • Two-group with commercial capacity 

CONS

  • Very expensive
  • No PID controller

The Rocket Espresso Boxer Timer is by far the most expensive model on my list, with a whopping $7,000 price tag. Incidentally, I wouldn’t blame you if you immediately disregard this machine and move on to the next section.

That said, if you’re looking for a budget commercial espresso machine with programmable shot recipes, the Boxer Timer is your guy. It’s the perfect choice for low to medium volume cafes, and offers both ease of use and programmability. 

As far as features go, this baby has two group heads, dual steam wands, automatic backflush and volumetric controls. Even better, you can program four unique brew settings into each group. 

Needless to say, the vast majority of home baristas don’t need an espresso machine like the Boxer Timer. Still, it’s a strong contender for restaurants, cafes and even bustling inns that want to offer an espresso service. 

Related: Best Commercial Espresso Machine

Rocket Giotto Timer Type V

Rocket Giotto Timer Main

PROS

  • Shot timer
  • PID controller 
  • Water flow control
  • Unique design

CONS

  • Not cheap

The original Giotto was supposedly the first Rocket espresso machine to hit the market, so you’re looking at a real legend here. Needless to say, the Rocket Giotto Timer Type V is another great model to consider. 

It’s quite expensive at $2,400.00 but again, that’s to expect from a Rocket espresso machine. And I’d say that represents pretty good value for money, seeing as you’re getting a shot timer, PID controller and water flow control in addition to Rocket Espresso’s standard commercial components and durable build.

With this context, the Giotto Timer has a leg up on its Appartamento siblings, though I admit that I prefer the industrial design of the Appartamento line.

Still, I’m being nit-picky. The Giotto is an absolutely beautiful machine, with a stainless steel body and the chunky Rocket Espresso knobs. I also quite like the beveled side panels, which add a geometric and modern flair to this classic design. 

Rocket R58 Cinquantotto

Rocket R58 Main

PROS

  • Dual Boilers
  • PID controller
  • Auto-on function
  • Optional plumb-in 

CONS

  • Very expensive domestic model

The Rocket R58 Cinquantotto is Rocket Espresso’s flagship model for home espresso machines. I’ll admit you’ll be paying a pretty penny for this impressive machine – $3,350.00, to be exact. 

Still, if you are an espresso guru planning to make this machine your end-all be-all, I’d say that price is worth it. After all, the Cinquantotto has everything an espresso connoisseur might want in a machine: dual boilers, a PID controller and a durable and stylish design. 

What’s more, the Cinquantotto gives you a couple bonus features, including the option to plumb it into your waterline. Even better, it’s got an auto-on function, so you can set the machine to start preheating before you’re even awake. 

That’s a big plus in my book, seeing as these machines take 30-45 minutes to preheat before the group temperatures stabilize. 

Beyond the advanced features, you’re still getting Rocket Espresso’s classic lever action look, stainless steel body and powerful steam wand. I know I said the Appartamento TCA is my favorite Rocket Espresso model, but this one is a close second. 

Final Thoughts

I had a lot of fun diving into Rocket Espresso’s star-studded lineup, so I hope you find this guide helpful. And the end of things, if you’re buying any Rocket espresso machine you can’t go wrong. After all, this manufacturer developed its reputation for durable and premium machines for a reason!

Which of these is your favorite Rocket espresso machine? Would you like to see an in-depth review of one of my picks? Let me know in the comments section below!

Your coffee expert
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Arne Preuss

Hi! My name is Arne. Having spent years working as a barista I'm now on a mission to bring more good coffee to the people. To that end, my team and I provide you with a broad knowledge base on the subject of coffee.

More about Arne Preuss

Hi! My name is Arne. Having spent years working as a barista I'm now on a mission to bring more good coffee to the people. To that end, my team and I provide you with a broad knowledge base on the subject of coffee.

More about Arne Preuss

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