So the basics. Each machine comes in 2 versions. The type “V” denotes a vibration pump model, while the Evoluzione R models have rotary pumps. Coming up, my thoughts on why you might choose a vibration or rotary pump.
Beyond the pumps, the machines are nearly identical under the hood. All use a large 1.8 liter copper heat exchange boiler. So you can brew and steam at the same time -- that’s a huge step up from single boiler machines. On those there’s always some waiting involved for the machine to get up to steam temperature or cooling down the boiler after steaming before brewing again.
With PID temperature control, you get very consistent brew temps. But in a departure from what you see on most machines, the PID controller is not visible on the face of the machine. It’s hidden behind the drip tray.
The PID combined with the E61 thermo-siphon group-head makes it fairly easy to optimize your brew temp -- although you will need to reference the manual to get there. More on that in a second. In our testing using a Scace device, these PID machines produced consistent brew temps. One thing to note, Rocket takes a different approach with the PID, showing the actual temperature in Fahrenheit or Celsius in the brew boiler. Most PID equipped machines show a calculated brew temp using an offset from the in-boiler temperature. So on the rocket, you choose your desired brew temp then reference a chart in the manual to determine the PID setting -- which will be much higher -- to get that brew temperature at the group head.
I’ve spoken with Andrew Meo of Rocket about the hidden PID control. He’s the guy responsible for the exterior design of the machines and says customers prefer the cleaner more classic look of no visible digital displays.
Now, if you put a Rocket machine on your counter there’ll be, well, no mistaking it’s a Rocket. Andrew is all about the branding, from the adjustable feet which look like rocket engine nozzles to nameplate and logo badging on the front and back, as well as the iconic R on the steam knob. And there’s more! You'll find the Rocket name on the portafilters and laser etched into a substantial tamper which comes with each machine.
Onto steaming performance. All these machines use 2 hole steam tips mounted to cool touch internally insulated wands to prevent accidental burns. The hole size is a little larger than most with a diameter of 1.5mm. With the larger holes you get more steam power initially, but run the risk of it tailing off a bit when steaming large amounts of milk. In our testing that was not really an issue with enough power to froth milk for a couple medium size lattes at the same time. And, some users will appreciate more power initially when steaming small amounts of milk.
So what’s different on these machines? Well on the outside, the Mozzafiato models have flat side-panels with integrated cup rails. The Giotto models have a little more flair with the angular side panels and taller feet. And then there’s the vibration or rotary pump option for each type.
It’s easy to tell a rotary pump equipped machine from one with a vibration pump by the gauges. Rotaries have black gauges while the vibration pump versions have white. Why choose one over the other? Well some people prefer the slower ramping up to brew pressure you get with a vibration pump. But vibration pumps aren’t as quiet or durable as rotary pumps. And with the E61 group you can always get a light pre-infusion regardless of pump type. Now on the rotary pump models, you have the option of connecting directly to household plumbing so you have a constant water supply -- no refilling reservoirs. I guarantee you, once you’ve used a plumbed in machine, you will never want to go back to filling a reservoir again. And, with a plumbed machine, it’s much easier to incorporate worry free water filtering to protect your machine from scaling and improve coffee flavor. Use the link up here to learn more about our favorite in-line filter solution the BWT Bestmax Premium. When used properly, you will never need to descale your machine thanks to its patented ion-exchange technology.
So overall opinions on these machines; they definitely make a statement. As mentioned, with heavy branding there’s no mistaking they are Rockets. The steam and hot water valves, while fine, are not up to the quality of the lower wear sprung valves found on competing machines like the Profitec Pro 500.
Personally, I’d go with the rotary pump version of these machines. They are the plumbable ones and of course a little more expensive, but as I mentioned earlier, once you’ve used a plumbed machine you’ll never ever want to go back to filling a reservoir. Also very easy to add an in-line filter on a plumbed machine which will make better tasting coffee, protect internal components, and get you out of descaling maintenance.
Those are the Mozzafiatos and Giottos from Rocket Espresso. They are available now at Whole Latte Love. If you have more questions on these machines or anything coffee, use those comments and I’ll be sure to get you the answers. Come back soon for more of the best on everything coffee brought to you by Whole Latte Love.