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Vår recension av Rocket Appartamento

Our review of Rocket Appartamento

Since its release, the Rocket Appartamento has been one of the best-selling espresso machines by Italian espresso machine manufacturer Rocket Espresso Milano. It's compact, gives a luxury feel and critics say it brews very good espresso given its attractive price. In this article, we share our experiences and opinions on the Rocket Appartamento and hopefully can give you a good idea on what this espresso machine is capable of.

Rocket Espresso has been around since 2007 and creates handcrafted premium espresso machines for both commercial operations and home use. Where every detail has a high finish and carefully designed to last a lifetime. Yes! These espresso machines with good care can last a lifetime. With internal components from the Rockets commercial espresso machines, you can produce cafe quality espresso in your home.

The espresso machine comes well packaged. The machine comes with several accessories such as two portafilters, one with one outlet and one with two outlets, single/double beaker, baker for "backflush" cleaning, Rocket branded microfiber cloth, cleaning tablets, water hardness test strip, aluminum tamper and a brush. It also comes with a USB memory with in-depth knowledge on the use of the espresso machine as well as a well-thought-out instruction book.

Our first impressions with the Rocket Appartamento were very good however one thing that was noted was the rail for the cup tray which is made of plastic which felt very cheap considering everything else felt very luxurious and well made. Luckily there are aftermarket rails that are made of metal that can be purchased.

The Appartamento comes with two separate valves for hot water and steam. In fact, some other manufacturers omit the hot water outlet to save on costs. Rocket has always had large and user-friendly knobs for hot water and steam with its classic R on the left knob.

The best thing about the espresso machine is that it has an E61 group which gives it a cool look as well as having an important function for espresso brewing. By pulling up the left lever, you open the three-way valve and activate the pump. The E61 group constantly circulates hot water from the pump to the brewing head, thus providing a stable brewing temperature. A tip! If you don't like the sticker that warns you that the brew head gets very hot, remove it before first use as it is much easier to remove.

Something we were disappointed with was that the Appartamento only has one pressure gauge. This pressure gauge only shows the pressure of the cooker and not the actual brewing pressure. The advantage of knowing the pressure of the cooker is that you can correlate the pressure of the cooker to the brewing temperature and to be able to see if the machine is ready for brewing or not. However, despite this, we wish they had added an extra pressure gauge for the actual brewing process as it can show if you have pressed the puck well or had the correct amount of coffee in the cup. The design of the pressure gauge itself looks really good.

One great feature that the Appartamento has is that it alerts you when the water tank is starting to get empty by the green LED on the front of the espresso machine starting to flash. There is also a Rockets sign on the front to remind you that you have purchased a premium quality espresso machine.

The Rocket has always had small drip trays which results with it needing to be emptied regularly given that the Appartamento is an espresso machine with heat exchanger with pressure switch you need to flush the water before each brew. A nice touch that Rocket has made is to have magnets on the drip tray which ensures that the tray is firmly in place and always in the right position.

The Rocket Appartamento is designed for home use and thus built as compact as possible with low and wide feet unlike other models that have high and narrow ones. Since

Appartamento has a cooker with a vibration pump, the machine cannot be directly connected to water but has a 2.5 litre fresh water tank. The advantage of having a water tank is that you can place the espresso machine anywhere. On the underside of the machine there is a green button where you can activate Eco mode. Eco mode means that the machine switches off after 90 minutes after the last brew. This can come in handy if you happen to forget to turn the machine off before leaving home. Personally, I would use a timer that can be controlled by an app as the machine needs about 20 to 30 minutes to fully warm up. By using a timer with an app, you have the ability to start the machine at any time and also be able to create an off/on schedule to always have a warm and ready machine.

Usage

Grinding, pressing the puck as well as brewing. The whole brewing process with Appartamento is very easy and smooth. Something that needs to be kept in mind when brewing is to flush the water out of the brewing unit as after the machine has been on for a while, very hot water can collect at the brewing unit. By flushing the water you cool the brewing water down to the correct temperature. If you brew more than 3 coffee drinks at once, the Appartamento's boiler may need to recover and this may take a few minutes.

Milk frothing

The steam function on the Rocket Appartamento works very well as expected but was found to be a little weak compared to Rocket's other models. The reason for this is that the Appartamento has the smallest kettle of Rocket's model range. But with all that said, you won't be disappointed with the Appartamento's milk frothing and it is fully capable of frothing cappuccino and smooth milk with perfect texture. Being able to froth latte milk is an art and is something that needs practice. Appartamento comes with a steam wand with two holes but if you would like to froth milk faster, we recommend replacing the steam wand end with one that has 3 or 4 holes.

The Rocket Appartamento has a pressure switch which in practice means that the heating element is switched off or on based on the pressure of the boiler. This technique has been used for years and is a very safe method that has always worked. If you wish to change the brewing temperature, you need to do so by adjusting the pressure switch located in the machine.

Our thoughts on Rocket Appartamento

Rocket espresso machines have always been our favourites and the Appartamento will not disappoint. The Appartamento is an espresso machine that is worth every penny both with its unique look and functionality. Owning such an espresso machine is like having an Italian work of art in your kitchen. Appartamento is a very simple machine compared to the other models of Rocket that have dual boilers and can be directly connected to water etc. but in fact most people don't need machines that can produce like a commercial espresso machine in their kitchen.

Who is the espresso machine for?

  • Anyone who wants to reach the next level with their espresso brewing. A very serious but simple machine.
  • Someone who wants to own their second espresso machine or needs an espresso machine for their office or summer place.
  • Someone who is looking for a small and compact espresso machine that delivers as well as large ones.

Benefits:

  • A small and compact package, the Appartamento fits in most kitchens.
  • Comes with exceptionally good accessories and attachments with an all-metal tamper not found with other brands.
  • Features both steam wand and hot water outlet. This is not always found with compact espresso machines.
  • The heat exchanger allows you to froth milk and brew espresso at the same time which is a unique advantage of an espresso machine with a boiler.

Disadvantages:

  • Has only one pressure gauge. An additional pressure gauge for brewing would be something that you want to see in the future with a Rocket Appartamento.
  • Spoon for the cup tray felt cheap.
  • Since the machine is compact, there is not much room for copper on the cup tray.
  • The drip tray could be larger.
  • Need to perform a short flush before each brew to cool down the brew head.

Things to know about Appartamento

  • It has a vibration pump. Can be perceived as noisy.
  • The internal 2.5L water tank needs to be refilled fairly regularly. Remember to use good quality water to avoid damage due to limescale.
  • Appartamento is a small compact heat exchanger. It is therefore not designed for commercial environments but is fully capable of brewing for the whole family.
  • Appartamento has a pressure switch that regulates the brewing temperature unlike more modern PID temperature control systems which are better and more stable control systems. If you are looking for a similar espresso machine with PID, we can recommend our Rocket Cronometro V.

Good to consider if you're thinking of buying an Appartamento

  • Make sure you buy a good coffee grinder if you're going to buy an expensive espresso machine. We can recommend the Eureka Mignon Specialita or the Rocket Faustino. The espresso machine can only produce as good as the grinder can deliver, so it's important to have a grinder that is capable.
  • Buy a bottomless portafilter! It's one of the most satisfying things about espresso brewing where you can see the espresso flowing down from the portafilter. Yes that may sound a bit geeky.
  • For those who plan to drink coffee drinks with milk, we recommend buying a milk jug to froth the milk. We offer jugs by Rocket but any milk jug that is entirely for frothing milk would do.
  • Tamping mat is something that seems to be unnecessary but trust me. After using one you will change your mind. A tamping mat protects the surface from damage and also simplifies your process of preparing your coffee puck.
  • A knock box is a must! Instead of sitting and knocking out your coffee puck after brewing at the kitchen compost, a knock box is a perfect answer to the problem and will definitely make your life easier.
  • Always have a microfiber cloth by your side to keep your espresso machine's nice mirror-finish always clean.
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