In this guide, we're comparing the Rocket Appartamento vs Linea Mini by La Marzocco. You'll learn everything you need to know about these espresso machines to decide which one is right for your home or business.
Here are the details we're covering...
- The features that the Rocket Appartamento and the La Marzocco Linea Mini share.
- What makes these machines different and how their features work.
- How to assess each machine according to your individual or professional needs.
Modern with high-performance features like automatic pre-infusion and a heat exchanger, this lever-operated machine was created for the home, office, or small restaurant environment. It's the best choice if you need a semiautomatic machine with a sensible, user-friendly design under $2,000.
La Marzocco Linea Mini
This paddle espresso machine pulls out all the stops to bring the home barista the greatest control with temperature adjustability, barista lights, and dual pressure gauges. It's the ideal option for homes, offices, and small business owners looking for advanced technology or an optional plumb-in kit.
With a single group, the Rocket Appartamento and La Marzocco Linea Mini fit perfectly into home kitchens, offices, and small business environments.
You'll find that prosumer espresso machines tend to come with one group to let home enthusiasts focus on one well-crafted espresso at a time.
For a low-volume business, you'll have generous support from either model.
Pour-Over Machine Type
Equipped with manually refillable water tanks, these espresso machines can be operated from any location.
This can be crucial for an environment where the machine won't be positioned near a water line.
The trade-off for the portability is the need to keep water nearby to replenish the tank. To make maintenance easier and minimize scale buildup, adding a water softener tablet is recommended.
Pre-infusion is incorporated into the brew process to enhance the flavor of the espresso. With automatic pre-infusion built into the Rocket and La Marzocco, you'll have better tasting espresso every time you pull a shot.
The La Marzocco model has a programmed pre-infusion time of two seconds to saturate the coffee bed before the full pump pressure kicks in during the brew cycle.
The Rocket works similarly with an E-61 commercial group providing a passive pre-infusion stage to fully immerse the coffee bed and extract all of the flavors of the coffee.
Low Water Sensor
The more information your espresso machine gives you, the easier it is to use.
With the low water sensors in the Rocket and La Marzocco, you'll know when it's time to refill the reservoir.
The flashing indicator on the front of the machine is like a built-in communicator of the reservoir status, which is especially helpful in an office or any location where multiple users are operating the machine throughout the day.
With each of these espresso machines you'll get a professional metal tamper.
What makes a metal tamper the preferred tamper for many baristas is partly the look. Plastic types aren't quite as impressive as a shiny metal tamper.
Beyond the style, the metal material provides a heavier weight that helps to build the right amount of tamping pressure for optimal brewing.
Lever vs Paddle Operation
These semi-automatic machines are operated differently, one with a lever and one with a paddle.
The lever group on the Rocket model controls dosing. To begin brewing, simply push the lever vertically into the on position and then back into its original position to end the cycle.
Similarly, you'll push the paddle to the left and right to start and stop brewing on the La Marzocco.
Both designs are simple and straightforward and yield high-quality results.
Heat Exchange Boiler vs Double Boiler
A heat exchange boiler and a double boiler perform the same basic function in an espresso machine: They allow it to brew and steam at the same time.
The Rocket's heat exchange system uses a copper tube to pull water from the reservoir through the boiler to the group, heating it to brew temperature while the steam temperature remains separate.
The La Marzocco model has two boilers—one for steaming and one for brewing. This ensures that both temperatures are maintained simultaneously and can also improve temperature consistency.
Vibratory vs Rotary Pump
The Rocket's vibratory pump, a common element of pour-over machines, has a different design from a rotary pump, the type installed in the La Marzocco.
A vibratory pump builds pressure with a magnetic piston. In this system, electrical currents activate the piston, pushing it back and forth to move the water.
Rotary pumps create pressure using a rotating disc divided into sections by vanes and set inside a larger chamber. When the motor spins the disc, water enters the larger chamber gaps and is then squeezed out as the disc rotates and the space closes.
While espresso quality is the same with both of these pumps, they have their own unique advantages. Whereas the vibe pump is the more economical option, the rotary pump is quieter and longer lasting.
These espresso machines are as different on the outside as they are on the inside.
With a fairly square shape, a 304 stainless steel casing, and circular cutouts on the side panels, the Rocket Appartamento is an elegant option that will blend seamlessly with contemporary furnishings.
Available in multiple color options, the La Marzocco Linea Mini has slanted angles and a simpler body. In many ways, it has a more mid-century modern appeal that's popular as a cafe style.
Both the Rocket and La Marzocco come with a boiler pressure gauge. This gauge is your guide to when the machine is up to temperature to brew and steam.
The La Marzocco's group pressure gauge functions as a monitoring system for the pressure generated by the pump when you're brewing espresso.
If the pressure isn't where it needs to be, the answer likely lies in your brew ratio. By checking the brew pressure gauge and adjusting your brew ratio accordingly, you'll have an easier time perfecting your craft.
At 15 inches high, 14 inches wide, and 21 inches deep, the La Marzocco was made for home kitchens and smaller locations with limited counter space.
If you need an even more compact machine, the Rocket takes the lead at 14.25 inches high, 10.5 inches wide, and 17 inches deep.
Brew Group Type
A key difference between these espresso machines is the type of brew group, a difference that will produce unique brewing conditions.
With the Rocket's E-61 group, water is circulated between the boiler and the group to help stabilize the brew temperature.
However, this heat exchanger machine requires some purging of the brew group to ensure that the temperature is optimal before pulling a shot.
The La Marzocco comes with an integrated brew group, which means that the group is attached directly to the brew boiler to eliminate heat loss and produce the greatest temperature consistency, even when you're not using the machine continuously.
The Rocket and La Marzocco can both generate legendary steam power, though the La Marzocco boasts the greatest steam power of the two.
The La Marzocco's 3.5 liter steam boiler is hard to beat in a prosumer model. It's fast, creating perfect microfoam in seconds.
Rocket Appartamento No Burn Hot Water and Steam Arms
One distinct advantage of the Rocket Appartamento is the ability to froth milk and pour hot water without fear of scorching hot water and steam arms.
These parts are thermally insulated to stay cooler so that you won't experience unexpected burns if you accidentally touch them.
Because the steam wand stays cool, milk won't cake onto it from steaming, making cleaning easier.
La Marzocco Linea Mini Optional Plumb-In Kit
Though the La Marzocco comes in pour-over form, it can be converted to a direct-connect espresso machine with a plumb-in kit.
Direct-connect machines are a commercial industry standard for their ease of use and breezy maintenance.
Since they plumb into a water supply, there's no need to worry about refilling the reservoir. They also make installing a water filter or softener simple, reducing scaling problems and maintenance.
La Marzocco Linea Mini Temperature Wheel Adjustment
The La Marzocco's stepped temperature wheel is an advanced feature that lets you set the brew temperature.
Positioned on the side of the machine, the stepped wheel can be rotated between 185 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
With this thermal control system at your fingertips, you have access to greater customizability in your espresso recipes.
La Marzocco Linea Mini Barista Lights
Don't let low-light conditions interfere with your work.
The barista lights situated beneath the group head of the La Marzocco provide illumination of your work space so that you can see what you're doing in detail.
For energy preservation, these "smart" lights only switch on when the pump is activated.
Here at Majesty Coffee, we're proud to bring you the best espresso machines at the most affordable prices.
We offer the Rocket Appartamento with White circular cutouts for $1,700 or Copper cutouts for $1,750.
Our La Marzocco Linea Mini comes in Black, Red, Stainless Steel, and White for $4,900.
So Which Should You Buy?
If you're searching for a home espresso machine, you'll love these prosumer models. But how do you choose between them?
There's no question that the La Marzocco Linea Mini provides more user control with the dual gauges and adjustable temperature wheel. For many aficionados, these features are integral to the experience and allow for greater precision and experimentation.
But if budget is your main concern, the Rocket Appartamento delivers professional quality drinks that are easy to make at a significantly lower price.
Both of these machines can also translate to an office or small business setting, but the La Marzocco may be the winner with the plumbed-in kit, steam power, and robust double boiler system.
Choose the right espresso machine with budget, individual preferences, and machine applications in mind. Striking a balance between these points will help you determine which features are absolutely necessary and which are nice but not must-have.
For expert service and the best prices online, check out the Rocket Appartamento and the La Marzocco Linea Mini here on Majesty Coffee...