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If you're espresso machine shopping, this is your guide to compare the Rocket Appartamento vs Breville Barista Express. You'll learn everything you need to know to make an informed decision.
Here are the details we're covering...
- The similarities between the Rocket Appartamento and the Breville Barista Express.
- Key features that are different on these machines and what they mean for you.
- What to consider when choosing the ideal home or office espresso machine.
Stylish and robust with an E-61 group and powerful steaming, the Rocket Appartamento is a prosumer espresso machine for intermediate to expert baristas. Choose this model for your home or office if you're looking for a more traditional option with commercial features and power.
Breville Barista Express
With a built-in grinder and integrated tamper, the Breville Barista Express is a one-stop home espresso setup. It's the best option if you're on a tight budget and you're looking to limit the amount of equipment you need to buy.
A single group on the Rocket Appartamento and the Breville Barista Express is perfect for a home barista.
Depending on the size of your operation, a single-group machine can also be a great small office option to save you a trip to the coffee shop.
Built with removable water tanks, the Rocket and Breville models are pour-over machines that require manual refilling.
Their water tanks are similarly sized with the Rocket's 2.25 liter tank holding a little more than the Breville's 2 liter tank.
Though pour-over machines can't be connected to a water source for a continuous supply, they do offer mobility. Owners of pour-over machines often need them to work anywhere—not just near a water line.
Stainless Steel Casing
Built with a solid 304 stainless steel case, the Rocket is a sturdy piece of equipment inside and out.
Designed with a die-cast stainless steel case, the Breville offers similar durability with a brushed metal look.
Frequently, prosumer espresso machines give preference to stainless steel over plastic. For one thing, it tends to look better. More importantly, it gives the owner peace of mind that the casing is built to last.
The Rocket Appartamento comes with automatic pre-infusion, a technological advantage to those seeking to enhance the espresso flavor.
When you start the brew cycle, a low-pressure stream of water will be released in an initial phase to saturate all of the coffee grounds.
This ensures that the extraction process will be more even, encouraging the natural flavors in the coffee to fully develop and blossom in the cup.
The Breville Barista Express also releases water with gradually increasing pressure to immerse the coffee bed and create better flavor.
Heat Exchange vs Thermocoil Boiler
There are many different types of boiler systems espresso machines can be equipped with, each serving a specific purpose.
The heat exchange boiler in the Rocket consists of a boiler with a tube running through it, drawing water to the group and heating it to the accurate brewing temperature.
Essentially, this system keeps steam and brewing temperatures separate, allowing you to make espresso and steam milk at the same time for speed and freshness.
The Breville's thermocoil boiler is an energy-efficient single boiler system that heats water in small amounts instead of heating all the water in the boiler.
The downside to the Breville's boiler system is that you can't effectively brew and steam at the same time. It's a good idea to steam milk first so that the espresso doesn't turn old and bitter while you're waiting to steam milk.
Manual vs Timed Brewing
Though both machines are semiautomatic, they're operated differently.
The Rocket's lever-operated dosing is something of a traditional experience. In contrast, the Breville's push-button brewing is programmable by time.
Timing espresso shots is standard practice for baristas, so the Breville incorporates this step into the process for convenience and consistency.
The Rocket's lever action is more analogous to a manual machine, providing a touch of a nostalgia.
In a milk steaming contest, the Rocket is the winner. With its less powerful boiler system, the Breville takes its time between brewing and steaming.
The Rocket has one of the better steam capacities for a prosumer model on the market. It produces perfectly frothed milk and silken microfoam in no time.
For many baristas, style is just as important as function. You'll be spending a lot of time with your new espresso machine, so you'll want to make sure that it scores highly in all the categories, style included.
There's no question that the Rocket Appartamento is a beautiful machine. With intriguing circular cutouts on the side panels and a contemporary look, it can take center stage as a conversation piece.
The Breville Barista Express has a simpler—and totally different—design. It's a slick-looking machine that fits in well with your typical kitchen appliances.
Created for kitchen countertops, the Breville Barista Express stands at 16 inches high, 13.25 inches wide, and 12 inches deep. Generally, this is a good size for the average home.
If you're short on space, it's hard to find a more compact machine than the Rocket Appartmento. 14.25 inches high, 10.5 inches wide, and 17 inches deep, it can fit underneath low cabinets and in between appliances.
Rocket Appartamento E-61 Commercial Group
An E-61 commercial group delivers the kind of performance in brewing that professionals expect from a high-end home machine.
In addition to automatic pre-infusion, the E-61 group improves temperature stability by circulating water between the boiler and the group.
Greater temperature stability enhances the efficiency, consistency, and overall experience of your espresso machine.
Rocket Appartamento No Burn Hot Water and Steam Arms
Nobody likes getting burned by the hot water spigot or the steam wand while cleaning or accidentally brushing against them.
Rocket's no-burn wands stay cooler to increase safety and improve the user friendliness of the machine.
Staying at a cooler temperature also means that the steam wand won't encourage milk to instantly stick, making it easier to keep clean.
Rocket Appartamento Removable Cup Warmer Rail
The Rocket and the Breville have a cup warmer area to keep your espresso cups toasty, but if you fear knocking them over, you'll like the Rocket's removable guard.
It'll keep cups from tumbling in case the machine is nudged, and it pops out for easy cleaning.
And if you need just a hair more room at the top of the machine, you can always remove the cup guard entirely.
Rocket Appartamento Boiler Pressure Gauge
For some, pressure gauges are non-negotiable in an espresso machine. Depending on the type, you'll be able to monitor some of the machine's inner workings.
The Rocket's boiler pressure gauge is placed on the front of the machine to let you keep an eye on the pressure inside the boiler.
The benefit of this gauge is largely knowing exactly when the machine is able to brew and steam. This can be especially helpful when you're waiting for it to warm up.
Rocket Appartamento Low Water Indicator
Similarly to the boiler pressure gauge, the low water indicator in the Rocket provides information that helps you navigate the machine's daily operation.
When the water level in the reservoir dips to a certain point, a light on the front of the machine will start blinking.
This immediately tells you that it's time to refill the reservoir so that you don't have to guess.
Breville Barista Express Built-In Grinder
Arguably the most unique element on the Breville Barista Express is its built-in grinder. If you'd rather have a combined grinder and espresso machine at home, this is the solution.
The fineness settings for the Breville's conical burr grinder are accessible on the side of the machine. The system is easy to use and allows you to choose how much coffee should be ground for a single or double shot.
It's not going to be as fine-tuned a system as many independent commercial-style grinders, but it will produce a nice espresso, especially for the machine price.
Breville Barista Express PID
The Breville sports a PID temperature controller, which regulates temperature with precision using an algorithm.
You have wiggle room with the brew temperature as you can adjust it within a certain range and find your ideal brewing conditions.
Because there's no digital display, this will be a little less straightforward to operate, but it's a great add-on for a budget model.
Breville Barista Express Integrated Tamper
With an integrated tamper, the Breville is a pretty complete package for someone who wants a machine with everything included.
The tamper can be stored in the machine to help keep the space clutter-free—and it'll be harder to lose if it's always with the machine.
The Rocket also comes with a tamper (a metal tamper), though it's not integrated into the machine.
We offer the Rocket Appartamento at Majesty Coffee at a competitive price to meet a wide range of budgets.
The Rocket Appartamento comes with White circular cutouts for $1,700 and Copper cutouts for $1,750.
We do not currently offer the Breville Barista Express and prices vary among other online retailers.
So Which Should You Buy?
Since the Rocket and Breville are both excellent home espresso machines, consider your preferences, budget, and machine applications to decide which one is for you.
The Rocket's performance is reflected in its higher price. With its powerful heat exchanger, E-61 group, and function indicators, it's a higher-tier machine.
Performance aside, the Rocket may also be the best pick if you're looking for a specific style or size—this machine earns points for its dashing appearance and compact size. Just keep in mind that it's a lever-operated machine, so it does involve a learning curve if you're new to espresso.
If you're on a pretty limited budget, the Breville can be a good entry level machine in the prosumer market, especially if the built-in grinder appeals to you for space-saving, economical, or convenience reasons.
The Breville is slower and somewhat limited in its grinder capacity and performance, but it packs in some impressive features like PID temperature control and timed dosing.
Last but not least—if you need a machine for an office, the Rocket is for you. The Breville is designed for home use.
So what's the bottom line?
For home or office, the Rocket is a good investment for aficionados. The Breville makes a nice starter espresso machine for home enthusiasts or anyone on a tight budget.
For the best price online, see the Rocket Appartamento here on Majesty Coffee...