When I started my adulthood obsession with coffee crafting, my boss mentioned that espresso machines are the sports cars of the coffee world.
I didn’t think much of it at the time, thinking it was just due to the price tag on the expensive models - but I’m a believer after trying out the Rocket Appartamento espresso machine.
Whether you are a Rocket espresso machine fan or looking to up your brew game, follow me as I dive into my experience working with this beautiful machine.
Rocket Espresso Appartamento Review – Our Ratings & Top Features
Overall, I would rate the Rocket Espresso Appartamento 4.6/5 stars because it is a truly stunning machine equipped with everything you need to pull incredible shots. The Rocket is my absolute favorite espresso machine under $2,000.
Some Rocket Appartamento features I love include:
Who Should Buy The Rocket Appartamento?
The Rocket Appartamento espresso machine is best for folks like me who tend to drink more milky coffee creations than straight espresso.
If you are an experienced barista looking to up your game but have limited counter space to spare, I would highly recommend the Rocket Appartamento.
It is not the best choice for inexperienced coffee fans or those who want a more automated morning coffee experience.
For you, I would recommend looking at non-Rocket models like Jura’s WE6 or Breville’s Barista Touch.
Why I Decided To Review This Rocket Espresso Machine
I got my chance to start this experiment after being shown the ropes by a friend - I was immediately charmed by this compact machine.
I knew I had to get my own and master this Rocket espresso machine.
Cups Brewed Per Day
Level Of Experience Needed
Intermediate - Expert
Home brewing enthusiast who started with a simple cafetiere collection and is on a journey to up their game.
Home and home office
Money Saved Per Year
Favorite Drink To Brew
Caramel latte and chai latte
What’s It Like To Live With The Rocket Espresso Appartamento
Let’s dive into the Rocket Appartamento review properly.
What’s In The Box?
The Rocket Appartamento espresso machine arrives in a massive double-walled yet sturdy box. There is no way you will miss this delivery, that’s for sure!
In fact, it was so heavy that I had to ask my partner to help me haul it into the kitchen.
After lifting the outer layer, the first thing you will see is a snugly fit box full of the accessories and manuals you will need to get started.
Removing the accessories box will reveal the prosumer espresso machine wrapped in a dust cloth and snugly slotted between foam binders.
I admit I was nervous that I would drop it on lifting the machine out of the box, and I let out a breath when it made it to the counter in one piece.
It looks stunning - there really is no other word to describe it. Your eyes are instantly drawn to it whenever you enter the kitchen. It is a wonderful yet practical centerpiece for your counter.
This machine is so flashy and sleek that it really feels like a big deal to open. I have noticed this trend among other Rocket models, too - they make a statement right out of the gate.
The extra accessories you get with your Rocket Appartamento are:
Pulling My First Espresso Shot
The manual has everything you need to know to get set up, including some recipes and pro tips.
I found it easy to follow but did have to pick through some more general advice to get to the good stuff.
Once my filtered water was in and everything was ready, I let everything warm up for about 30 minutes.
It was hard to contain my excitement, but I forced myself to focus on checking my emails and getting some work done while I waited.
When it was ready, I opened the steam handle and released a cup of hot water from the brew head into my cup as instructed before giving it a few minutes to get back up to temperature.
I prepped a larger dose and tamped, feeling impressed by the hefty weight of the provided tamper.
Then I did a cooling flush and locked in my portafilter. Locking in felt so satisfying, and the lever pull to control the pre-infusion process was also incredible.
The E61 group head was a welcome classy touch that helped with temperature control. Once I was happy with the pre-infusion, I pushed the lever up to really get going.
There is no built-in shot timer, so I would recommend sticking around to keep an eye on things unless you have an external shot timer of your own.
The espresso extraction was so smooth, and the espresso quality was amazing - it came out a beautiful color.
I love that you can start and stop whenever you are ready, with full control of the pre-infusion and shot-pulling process.
Overall, I can only use one word to sum up the inaugural shot pull - satisfying.
First Time Frothing Milk
I love a milky coffee drink with plenty of microfoam. There’s something about the texture and taste of a freshly steamed caramel latte or chai latte that just hits different.
After that first shot, I knew I had to try my hand at milk steaming with this beauty.
The Cool Touch steam wand is an absolute dream to handle. It is highly controllable, powerful, and consistent with its fully articulated structure that is easy to adjust.
Its power may be surprising to folks who only have experience with semi-automatic or automatic machines, but it handles like the bigger machines in cafes.
It only took me around fifteen seconds to bring the steaming milk up to speed, and the microfoam was incredibly smooth.
I think the standard two-hole tip on the steam wand is perfectly balanced, but I know some prefer the three or four-hole styles.
Once the steaming milk was frothy and ready, I tried my hand at some latte art. The steamed milk handled like a dream and made even MY attempts seem somewhat put together.
I love that this steam wand is double-insulated and comes with clips to avoid burning yourself. Personally, I chose to remove the clips.
However, this does mean I have to be extra mindful not to just grab the steam wand at my friends' houses.
How Much Control Do You Have Over The Machine?
Technically, this prosumer machine is the entry-level model when compared to other Rocket espresso machines.
This means no bells and whistles like other expensive machines - just you and the bare essentials.
This means you lose out on some of the control features that other prosumer espresso machines have, like a PID controller, but you can control what matters most - the shot and pre-infusion times.
I do wish that the Espresso Appartamento came with a pump pressure gauge alongside the boiler pressure gauge, but I will take the compact design as a trade-off.
How Does It Handle Different Roasts?
This would not be a full review without really putting the Espresso Appartamento through its paces. Over 30 days, I tried every type of roast I could: light, medium, and dark.
Whether coarse or fine, my little grinder kept up with every dose, and so did the Rocket Appartamento.
Honestly, all of them tasted fantastic. I especially recommend the Starbucks Breakfast Blend and Stumptown Hair Bender Medium Roast blends.
No matter what espresso-based drinks you make or your roast preferences, the Rocket Appartamento will keep up.
That being said, the cup clearance means that if you like a long coffee, you will need to place a shot glass or espresso cup underneath before transferring to a larger cup.
Look, Feel, and Size Of The Machine
The Rocket Appartamento is a gorgeous heat exchanger machine. I am a huge fan of how striking it looks despite its compact build.
The stainless steel casing and sleek design remind me of a classic Porsche - I admit it was a bit intimidating to look at at first.
The Appartamento is a sleek stainless steel model with a series of colored circular cutouts along each side for style and two black valve knobs bearing the signature R and a Rocket branding metal plate.
It is about 14.25 inches high, meaning that it should slot nicely under most kitchen cupboards.
This is a hefty beast, coming in at 58 pounds, but the wise squat steel feet help support everything without sacrificing its compact design.
It is equipped with a water tank that is concealed inside the machine rather than connected to the outside like other models on the market.
Prosumer machines are meant to be kept on the counter for easy access, but this will bully you into making it the centerpiece of your kitchen.
I love that you can change the color of the circular cutouts - no need to stress if you change your decor color scheme.
It is a heavy machine, but the large squat feet help keep everything stable.
Even if you choose to stack cups on the cup warmer, you won’t find yourself worried about knocking them over when opening your cupboards.
It really does help you save space while giving you commercial-grade build quality and parts.
What Drinks Can It Make?
You can make whatever drinks you like with the Appartamento. Alongside espresso and the occasional caramel latte, I also treated myself to herbal teas and chai lattes.
Each one tasted great, but I admit the milky drinks were my favorite - I just can't get enough of the hot steam wand.
How Easy Is It To Use?
While this is Rocket’s entry-level machine, I would suggest this model for intermediate baristas and coffee enthusiasts who want to upgrade their skills.
Because it is so stripped back, it would be really beneficial to have a barista experience to help you when it comes to judging each stage yourself.
There is little to aid you in terms of evaluating whether the pre-infusion was done right, for example.
The manual is very helpful, and this single boiler machine is not as complex as it could be, but it takes a certain finesse to master the Rocket Espresso Appartamento.
How Long Does It Take? (From Heat Up To First Sip)
From booting it up to the first sip, it does take a little longer to get that caffeine hit than some automatic users may be used to.
The Appartamento machine heats in around 20-30 minutes plus the few minutes it takes for you to prepare your drink of choice - this stage will vary depending on your drink of choice and your skills as a barista.
It should not take more than 35 minutes for that first cup of coffee to hit the spot.
This tends to be about average for prosumer machines but may feel like an age for semi-automatic and automatic fans.
Does It Have A Water Filtration System?
While I love how compact the Rocket Espresso Appartamento is, this does mean it compromises certain elements I would have loved to see, like a water filtration system.
Instead of having a water filtration system alongside the heat exchange boiler, Rocket recommends that you use filtered water in your machine.
This will help minimize limescale buildup.
How Hard Is It To Clean and Descale?
How hard a machine is to clean and descale has a huge impact on its value and how often you use it.
Like other Rocket espresso machines, the Appartamento comes with everything you need to get started - including cleaning products.
The manual’s cleaning instructions are clear and easy to read. I will say that the compact size, although great most of the time, does make it difficult to get to certain internal parts if necessary.
In terms of cleaning, I tend to do the following:
When it comes to maintenance, regular, thorough steps are key to ensuring you get to keep making espresso for years to come.
Unlike other espresso machines, Rocket does not recommend descaling your Appartamento as that could damage the copper boiler - using filtered water is a great way to avoid having to contact the customer service team.
Water management and cleaning are the two biggest maintenance issues to stay on top of. The long warranty is very reassuring to have on hand should you need help.
My Favorite Parts About The Rocket Appartamento
My Least Favorite Parts About The Rocket Espresso Coffee Maker
Rocket Espresso Appartamento Vs Similar Machines
Rocket Appartamento vs Rancilio Silvia Pro X
Both Rocket and Rancilio are reputable brands that many coffee fans love. These two models are very similar in many ways, including their size and weight as well as their stainless steel exteriors.
However, the Silvia has a few elements that are missing from the Appartamento, including multiple PID systems, a dual boiler, and an Auto On feature.
That being said, it is also a much more expensive machine with a much more limited warranty.
Rocket Appartamento vs Breville Barista Touch
Both the Breville Barista Touch and the Rocket Appartamento are high-quality compact espresso machines that make use of stylish stainless steel casing and milk frothers.
However, the Breville Barista Touch is a semi-automatic single-boiler machine - a much different beast for a different kind of home coffee enthusiast.
The Barista Touch is Breville’s flagship mid-range machine that comes with more color options and bells and whistles than the Appartamento.
Not only does it have a PID, but it also features a control panel, personalized elements, auto-dosing, auto pre-infusion, and an auto steam wand.
Rocket Appartamento vs Nuova Simonelli Oscar II
Both the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II and the Rocket Appartamento are compact stainless steel heat exchanger machines for the prosumer market.
They feature commercial-grade components to craft commercial espresso drinks at home. The main difference between the two comes down to price.
The Oscar II is significantly more expensive than the Appartamento, featuring a highly futuristic compact design and a thero siphon group head, among other technical features.
It provides a less tactile brewing process that is controlled via a control panel—another unique style of espresso machine for a very different coffee consumer.
Related Rocket Espresso Appartmento Questions
The best temperature for the Rocket espresso is between 90-95 degrees Celsius or 194-203 Fahrenheit.
The Rocket Appartamento has a pressure stat of 15 bars. The steam gauge typically sits in the 1-1.2 bar range.
It typically takes between 20-30 minutes for the Rocket Appartamento to be ready to brew. There is no light or beep to let you know, which means getting distracted could be a problem. I recommend setting a timer and doing other tasks while you wait for it to heat up properly.
Technically, you can leave your Rocket Appartamento on all day - I do not recommend it, however. I typically turn mine on in the morning and off in the evening to be more energy efficient and minimize stress on the internal parts.
Conclusion - Is The Rocket Espresso Appartamento Worth Your Money?
The Rocket Espresso Appartamento is a truly magnificent prosumer machine. It features plenty of high-quality components and everything you need to up your game while making coffee.
If you are looking for a satisfying consumer-level machine that delivers cafe-quality espresso drinks, this could be the best Rocket espresso machine for you.
Just be prepared to become the hot new place to hang out for good free coffee among your friend group.
Rocket Espresso Appartamento