Rocket Appartamento TCA Review: Totally Completely Amazing!

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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If you've had a chance to check out my review of the Rocket Appartamento, you'll know how impressed I was. So, I'm pretty darn excited to be embarking upon this Rocket Appartamento TCA review.

If you’ve had a chance to check out my review of the Rocket Appartamento, you’ll know how impressed I was. So, I’m pretty darn excited to be embarking upon this Rocket Appartamento TCA review.

As it happens, this is a brand new, updated version of the original Appartamento. And while it looks pretty similar, the Rocket Appartamento TCA brings a ton of eagerly anticipated updates to the table.

So, without further ado, let’s jump in and see what the Appartamento TCA is all about!

A complete redux

Rocket Appartamento TCA

A magnificent espresso machine

Beautiful design

Rugged and durable

PID and adjustable temperature settings

Straightforward operation

Commercial components

Rather expensive

Overview: Rocket Appartamento TCA Review

The original Rocket Appartamento was released in 2016 as the manufacturer’s entry-level model. To say the Appartamento has been a success would be a huge understatement. Seriously, this baby has become one of the most popular prosumer espresso machines around.

Rocket Appartamento TCA Overview

Still, venture onto a home barista forum and you’ll find plenty of folks complaining about the Appartamento’s temperature stability issues. So, I’m not surprised to see that the new Rocket Appartamento TCA is equipped with a PID and variable temperature control. That’s definitely the most important upgrade, and proves that Rocket Espresso has been paying attention to its critics.

Of course, there are tons more smaller and less obvious upgrades on board the Appartamento TCA. However, when you add them all up, it’s obvious that the manufacturer has really gone to town.

With that said, I should hope so, given that the Rocket Appartamento TCA will set you back an eye-watering $2,150.00. I mean, that’s a lot of money to spend on a home espresso machine, no matter how loaded you may be.

Plus, there’s no getting around the fact that you’ll need a really good espresso grinder to go with this machine. After all, if you’re investing over two grand on an espresso maker, it would just be plain wrong to use a substandard burr coffee grinder or (dare I say) pre ground coffee.

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Rocket Appartamento TCA Features

Let’s continue this initial Rocket Appartamento TCA review by checking out the machine’s many exciting features!

Size and Design

Rocket Appartamento TCA Size and Design

I had no problem whatsoever with the design of the original Appartamento. In fact, I seem to remember gushing over its stylish beauty during my review. Unsurprisingly then, the manufacturer hasn’t done anything radical in terms of the machine’s overall design. Still, I will say the Rocket Appartamento TCA ushers in some very attractive stylistic changes.

For starters, everything plastic – from the portafilter handle to the brew lever – is now soft-touch matte plastic. That’s not only going to feel nicer, but it looks more premium. Elsewhere, there’s a super cool vertical stripe on the back of the machine with a Rocket logo for good measure.

Finally, Rocket has abandoned the controversial cup rail altogether. Believe me, that’s a good thing, seeing as the rails are prone to cracking and snapping.

User Interface

If you’re in the market for a prosumer espresso machine, chances are you don’t want a touchscreen user interface. Rather, this type of espresso machine is usually more traditional.

The Rocket Appartamento TCA is no exception, offering users a hands-on approach to making espresso. You’ll find Rocket’s signature chunky knobs for controlling steam pressure and hot water delivery, as well as a manual lever for controlling water flow from the brew group.

Elsewhere, there’s a prominent gauge for monitoring boiler pressure. Personally, I would have liked to have seen a gauge to measure pressure at the group head, seeing as that can be a valuable tool for assessing your shots. Still, you can’t win ’em all!

Overall, this analog approach might seem a little intimidating to newbies, seeing as you’re responsible for everything. However, believe me when I tell you that having this level of control means you’ll be able to pull exceptional shots of espresso once you feel comfortable. 

Temperature Control

Now we’re getting to the meat and potatoes of this Rocket Appartamento TCA review!Plus, I can finally tell you what “TCA” stands for. Ready? It stands for Temperature Control Adjustment, and refers to the fact that you’re able to adjust the machine’s brewing temperature. What’s more, there’s a kind of hybrid PID controller on board, which changes the boiler pressure in order to adjust brewing temperature.

So why might you want to adjust the temperature, anyway? Well, say you’re experimenting with a light roast single origin coffee. In order to really get the best from these coffee beans, increasing the temperature might be the way to go.

Ultimately, having this option is cool, but many users won’t care. However, the important thing is that the Rocket Appartamento TCA offers temperature stability across the board.

Portafilter

Rocket Appartamento TCA Portafilter

I’m sure you won’t be surprised to learn that the Rocket Appartamento TCA comes with a commercial-grade 58mm portafilter. Plus, you’ll get single-wall filter baskets for both single and double shots of espresso.

As I mentioned earlier, the manufacturer has improved the portafilter by using soft-touch plastic for the handle. In my opinion, this not only looks better but will feel more comfortable. So, win-win on that front!

Boiler

The Rocket Appartamento TCA is equipped with a similar 61-ounce (1.8-liter) copper heat exchanger boiler to its predecessor. However, the TCA’s boiler is fully insulated, which means it’ll be more temperature-stable.

In case you were wondering, a heat exchanger boiler works by siphoning off water from a smaller enclosed section within and circulating it through the group head. Meanwhile, the rest of the boiler’s water is kept at the ideal temperature for steaming milk.

In other words, you’ll be able to pull a shot and steam milk at the same time if you want a cappuccino.

Group Head

I’m a sucker for the Rocket’s iconic E61 group head. You’ll find this group head on most heat exchanger espresso machines, seeing as it’s been designed with temperature stability in mind.

As far as I’m aware, the Rocket Appartamento TCA has a redesigned group head that’s heavier and denser. And in combination with the machine’s PID and insulated boiler you can expect higher levels of temperature stability than ever.

Tamping

Regular Coffeeness readers will know how bent out of shape I get about the flimsy plastic tampers some manufacturers include with their machines. And that goes double for more expensive prosumer machines.

Fortunately, Rocket Espresso knows what’s up and supplies a premium espresso tamper with its machines. Made from sturdy aluminum, the tamper you’ll get with the Appartamento TCA has a fancy Rocket decal, so you’ll never forget who made your machine!

Milk Foam

Believe me when I tell you that being able to make espresso and steam milk simultaneously is a game changer if you’ve never experienced it. Seriously, you’ll feel like a pro barista!

Thanks to the Rocket espresso machine’s beefy insulated boiler, you’ll have a ton of steam pressure. With that in mind, I’d be careful with the steam dial until you get used to it – the wand might feel overly powerful at first.

At this point I should mention that the Rocket Appartamento TCA also has a dedicated hot water outlet, which is a dream come true for americano lovers. As with the steam wand, this water wand is ball joint-mounted, so maneuvering it into position is a piece of cake. 

How to Use the Rocket Appartamento TCA

Seeing as this is an initial Rocket Appartamento TCA review, I can’t give you the lowdown on how it performs. However, I can offer a quick idea of what using the thing will involve. With that said, I’m going to recommend studying the user manual for learning how to prime the boiler.

Once you’ve set the espresso machine up, do yourself a favor by washing all removable parts. Once that’s done, it’s time to pull a shot of espresso.

Rocket Appartamento TCA How To Use

Needless to say, you’ll get the best results by using a good espresso grinder. And if you don’t own one already, consider picking up a decent coffee scale. Believe me, that’ll really help you achieve consistency.

Moving on, weigh your coffee beans before grinding them and dosing the portafilter. Next, tamp using an even amount of pressure then insert the portafilter into the group head. To start your extraction, lift the brew lever and start a timer. If all goes well, you’ll have a 2-ounce (59-milliliter) shot in around 28 seconds.

As for steaming milk, it’s as easy as adding milk to a steaming pitcher, inserting the steam wand under the surface and opening the steam valve. Of course, newbies should be cautious about turning the dial too far at first. After all, the Rocket Appartamento TCA can deliver a lot of steam pressure.

Rocket Appartamento TCA Cleaning

When it comes to cleaning and descaling, regular maintenance is key to keeping the Rocket Appartamento TCA in good working order.

However, there really isn’t that much to deal with. That said, you should always use filtered water to prevent limescale accumulating in the boiler and plumbing. What’s important to note is that the manufacturer doesn’t recommend descaling the Appartamento TCA. That’s because the copper boiler is particularly susceptible to damage from descaling agents.

At the end of each day’s use, make sure to backflush the machine with water only. You can use the blind filter basket for this. Once a week or so, backflush using espresso machine cleaning powder. That’ll thoroughly clean the group head of coffee oil residue. You can use the same powder mixed with water to soak the filter baskets and shower screen.

As for the steam wand, you should keep a damp cloth handy to wipe the tip of any excess milk after each use. Once a week, submerge the steam wand in a solution of dairy cleaner and water and let it soak for a few minutes. That’ll take care of any stubborn buildup that might have escaped your attention.

Rocket Appartamento TCA Technical Specifications

Rocket Appartamento TCA
Manufacturer

Rocket Espresso

Model number

Appartamento TCA

Product category

Manual espresso machine

Housing material

Stainless steel

Color options

Black/Black, Black/Copper, Stainless/Black, Stainless/Copper, Stainless/White

Milk frother

Steam wand

User interface

Buttons and dials

App

User profiles

1

Portafilter size

58 mm

Tamping

Manual

Removable water reservoir

Water reservoir capacity

84.5 fl oz / 2.5 l

Number of boilers

1

Pump pressure

15 bar

Maximum cup height

3.5 in / 8.9 cm

Grinder

N/A

Grind adjustment levels

N/A

Bean hopper capacity

N/A

Specialty drinks

1

Pre-infusion

Adjustable coffee temperature

Adjustable milk foam temperature

2-cup function

Yes (non-milk drinks only)

Hot water function

Hot milk function

Milk foam only option

Water filter

Power consumption

1350 W

Weight

45.0 lb / 20.4 kg

Dimensions

14.0 x 10.7 x 17.6 in
35.6 x 27.2 x 44.7 cm

Warranty

2 years

Notes

Included Accessories: User manual, 2 x filter baskets, blind basket, tamper, group brush, microfiber towel

Current price on Amazon

$2,150.00

All specifications

Rocket Appartamento TCA vs Appartamento

Rocket Appartamento Copper Review Overview

I guess it’s been hard to write this Rocket Appartamento TCA review without comparing it to the original Rocket Appartamento. So, you already have a fairly good idea of how the two machines differ.

Of course, at $N/A you’ll save quite a bit of cash by opting for the entry-level Appartamento. However, many will find that investing a few hundred dollars more will be well worth it.

Sure, both machines are similar in many ways, but having a PID and adjustable temperature controls is a huge upgrade. Seriously, if money were no object, I’d definitely go with the TCA to never have to worry about cooling flushes again!

See Also: Rocket Appartamento Review

Rocket Appartamento TCA vs Appartamento Comparison Chart

Rocket Appartamento TCARocket Appartamento
Manufacturer

Rocket Espresso

Rocket Espresso

Model number

Appartamento TCA

Appartamento

Product category

Manual espresso machine

Manual espresso machine

Housing material

Stainless steel

Stainless steel

Color options

Black/Black, Black/Copper, Stainless/Black, Stainless/Copper, Stainless/White

Black, Copper, Red, White

Milk frother

Steam wand

Steam wand

User interface

Buttons and dials

Buttons and dials

App

User profiles

1

Memo function only

Portafilter size

58 mm

58 mm

Tamping

Manual

Manual

Removable water reservoir

Water reservoir capacity

84.5 fl oz / 2.5 l

84.5 fl oz / 2.5 l

Number of boilers

1

1

Pump pressure

15 bar

15 bar

Maximum cup height

3.5 in / 8.9 cm

3.5 in / 8.9 cm

Grinder

N/A

N/A

Grind adjustment levels

N/A

N/A

Bean hopper capacity

N/A

N/A

Specialty drinks

1

0

Pre-infusion

Adjustable coffee temperature

Adjustable milk foam temperature

2-cup function

Yes (non-milk drinks only)

Yes

Hot water function

Hot milk function

Milk foam only option

Water filter

Power consumption

1350 W

1200 W

Weight

45.0 lb / 20.4 kg

44.0 lb / 20.0 kg

Dimensions

14.0 x 10.7 x 17.6 in
35.6 x 27.2 x 44.7 cm

14.2 x 10.8 x 16.7 in
36.1 x 27.4 x 42.4 cm

Warranty

2 years

2 years

Notes

Included Accessories: User manual, 2 x filter baskets, blind basket, tamper, group brush, microfiber towel

Included Accessories: Instruction manual, Tamper, 2 x portafilters, Cleaning brush, Cleaning tablets.

Current price on Amazon

$2,150.00

$1,650.00

Rocket Appartamento TCARocket Appartamento
Manufacturer

Rocket Espresso

Rocket Espresso

Model number

Appartamento TCA

Appartamento

Product category

Manual espresso machine

Manual espresso machine

Housing material

Stainless steel

Stainless steel

Color options

Black/Black, Black/Copper, Stainless/Black, Stainless/Copper, Stainless/White

Black, Copper, Red, White

Milk frother

Steam wand

Steam wand

User interface

Buttons and dials

Buttons and dials

App

User profiles

1

Memo function only

Portafilter size

58 mm

58 mm

Tamping

Manual

Manual

Removable water reservoir

Water reservoir capacity

84.5 fl oz / 2.5 l

84.5 fl oz / 2.5 l

Number of boilers

1

1

Pump pressure

15 bar

15 bar

Maximum cup height

3.5 in / 8.9 cm

3.5 in / 8.9 cm

Grinder

N/A

N/A

Grind adjustment levels

N/A

N/A

Bean hopper capacity

N/A

N/A

Specialty drinks

1

0

Pre-infusion

Adjustable coffee temperature

Adjustable milk foam temperature

2-cup function

Yes (non-milk drinks only)

Yes

Hot water function

Hot milk function

Milk foam only option

Water filter

Power consumption

1350 W

1200 W

Weight

45.0 lb / 20.4 kg

44.0 lb / 20.0 kg

Dimensions

14.0 x 10.7 x 17.6 in
35.6 x 27.2 x 44.7 cm

14.2 x 10.8 x 16.7 in
36.1 x 27.4 x 42.4 cm

Warranty

2 years

2 years

Notes

Included Accessories: User manual, 2 x filter baskets, blind basket, tamper, group brush, microfiber towel

Included Accessories: Instruction manual, Tamper, 2 x portafilters, Cleaning brush, Cleaning tablets.

Current price on Amazon

$2,150.00

$1,650.00

Verdict: Rocket Appartamento TCA Review

A complete redux

Rocket Appartamento TCA

A magnificent espresso machine

Beautiful design

Rugged and durable

PID and adjustable temperature settings

Straightforward operation

Commercial components

Rather expensive

Having reached the end of this Rocket Appartamento TCA review, I can say that I’m dying to play with the thing!

From where I’m sitting, this awesome machine looks like a real winner. It’s always great to see a manufacturer that’s dedicated to improving its products, and the upgrades here are pretty exciting.

Incidentally, I’ll soon be updating my original Rocket Appartamento review with my hands-on experiences using the thing. So, once that’s done, I’ll start saving my pennies to buy this one too!

I hope you enjoyed my initial Rocket Appartamento TCa review. Have any of you bought this prosumer espresso machine? Share your experiences using it in the comments section!

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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