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Review: Rocket Appartamento Espresso Machine and Rocket Faustino Grinder

Back in June, I posted about how I was able to order a new espresso machine straight from Italy without having to pay crazy shipping prices. I briefly mention what I ended up buying but since I still hadn’t had the machine for that long, I decided I’d leave the proper review for another time and since it’s now been a few months here is what I think of my setup.

Firstly my coffee machine set up is composed of the following three main parts:
Rocket Appartamento
Rocket Faustino Grinder
Acaia Lunar Scale

These three items along with my leveling tool (instead of a coffee tamper) have proven to be a dream team for me. One of the hardest things to get right is consistent coffee on a daily basis. There are too many factors in play and if just one of the steps changes slightly you end up with a different tasting coffee. This is why people generally have a favorite barista at their favorite coffee place, people want their coffee done the same way every morning. My setup is allowing me to get the same result every time and so I’m loving it.

My previous espresso machine was the Breville Oracle which had basically a fully automated process to make my latte. My Rocket setup is fully manual so I have the following steps I need to take:

  • I first fill up my milk jug with milk and place it next to my machine
  • I remove the portafilter from the coffee machine
  • I place portafilter on my scale and zero it
  • I then grind 18g of coffee into the portafilter. My grinder has a timer and I’ve set it to grind for 12.7 seconds which generally grinds around 18g of coffee
  • I then place portafilter back on my scale to see if I hit 18g. I’m fine with 18-18.3g of coffee, if its a bit more I remove some, if it’s less I add more
  • Using my leveling tool I press it hard on my portafilter and rotate it 8 times
  • I then purge the steamer to let out condensation while also purging the group head to stabilize the water temperature
  • I mount the portafilter back in the machine, I place my scale under the portafilter and place my coffee cup on it and zero the scale
  • I then take my milk jug and start steaming my milk, once the milk gets warm I start the coffee-making process
  • My scale can sense when coffee drips into the cup, it then automatically starts a timer while weighing my coffee.
  • In the middle of this process, my milk hits the correct temperature (I can now feel it with my hands but I started off using a thermometer) so I turn off the steamer, clean the wand and purge it to clear any milk that might have gotten inside
  • I then get back to focusing on my coffee. Once I get 36 grams of coffee in my cup I stop the machine. I try to get 36g of coffee in around 20-24 seconds
  • I then take my milk and pour it into my coffee cup attempting latte art which I’m consistently terrible in and then I’m done

It’s a lot of steps but it’s become second nature and I timed the process and from start to finish and it takes just 2 minutes. 2 minutes to make a great latte, that’s really not bad at all. Most importantly is how good my coffee is and it’s always the same. I’m making such good coffee now I’ve stopped having coffee completely outside my house. When I had the Oracle I had consistency issues all the time and used to still have coffee at %Arabica on weekends because their coffee just tasted better than mine at home. But now I’m basically making the same quality at home with my set up so I haven’t had a single coffee outside since I got the machine. Not exaggerating either, not one single coffee outside my home since I got the machine back in May or June (whenever I got my machine). No more inconsistent coffees because of different baristas, no more complaining about the temperature of the milk because they’ve either boiled it too hot or not heated it enough. I have the exact same coffee every single time.

My coffee experience has improved tremendously because of my setup and I’m using the Appartamento model which is the entry-level Rocket machine. There are a lot more sophisticated models with more capabilities, but for my needs, the Appartamento has been more than enough and great value. The only negatives I really have are the following:

  • I wish the drip tray was bigger in the Appartamento
  • I wish the Appartamento could hold more water
  • The Faustino grinder touch screen is great unless your fingers are damp and then it doesn’t work

Honestly, these three issues are very minor and aren’t really issues. So yeah, obviously I would highly recommend my setup especially if you want to make great espresso at home but don’t want to invest crazy money. My setup including accessories which I didn’t list above cost me around KD700 shipped to Kuwait. Sounds a lot but keep in mind it costs me around 500fils to make a latte at home using my favorite beans from %Arabica (Arabica Blend) and with lacto free milk (which is more expensive than normal milk). A regular latte at a coffee shop costs around KD1.750 with regular milk. I have three lattes a day so that’s a saving of 3.750KD a day or 112.500KD a month. So in just seven months of use, I’ll recoup the cost of my setup and you could recoup it even faster by using cheaper beans and milk. So you’re paying this much money upfront, but saving so much more in the long run.

So if you want to now buy a coffee machine online, check out my previous post here.

32 replies on “Review: Rocket Appartamento Espresso Machine and Rocket Faustino Grinder”

Hi Mark!

Awesome post! My question is regarding the most underrated accessory. The table itself. I canโ€™t seem to find a decent or nice coffee table to be at the right height and the right size. Which one do you use? Thanks a lot!

A journey from
“I don’t drink coffee/hate coffee”
to
“grind for 12.7 seconds which generally grinds around 18g of coffee”

Excellent stuff Mark. I need to bite the bullet and get some serious equipment,. I’ve had my trusty Aeropress for about 5 years now and brewing from it daily is getting a bit boring now.

I’d highly recommend James Hoffman on YouTube if you want to delve even deeper into roasts, grind setting, brew times, etc.

Also, have you tried other beans from Arabica besides their house blend? I’ve tried about 9 different ones (Kenya, Ethiopia, Colombia, etc.) each with their own unique flavour profiles. But I guess if you’re doing lattes (try flat whites? :O), house blend is more than sufficient.

lol I’ve watched ALL of his videos, ALL of whole latte love and ALL of Seatle Coffee Gear videos. No exaggeration, lots of free time + my obsessive nature = watched easily a 1000 coffee videos on youtube.

Regarding the beans no I haven’t tried anything else. Don’t have an issue with the blend, I like the flavor of it and price and like you said since I’m mixing milk with it, even if I changed beans the end flavor would most likely still be similar. Plus because its the Arabica house blend and they use it for all their coffee drinks you know it will always be available and always have the same profile.

Did you start off with French Press? ๐Ÿ˜€

I am glad to come across a fellow Aeropresser! I have felt the same about the Aeropress since last year, and two months ago I got a Chemex… It’s been a great change!

I am looking to get an espresso machine (preferably a manual one), so I can enjoy iced coffee at home or whenever I want to though.

Happy Coffee Adventures! XD

Oh man my coffee adventure started off with Nescafe Gold. Then to more ‘premium’ instant coffee brands. Finally, went for a French Press and it was alright (at the time I still knew little) but I used to froth milk as well so that was cool.

Got an Aeropress when I was in uni and it was a game changer. However, I did spend almost a year dialling it in (grind amount, water temp., steep time, etc.) as well mainly going for the inverted press technique.

Nowadays, I make iced Americano with it which has been superb. If you haven’t done so, set Aeropress to below 2, invert press, add one scoop or 12g grind, steep for 1.5 minutes, stir 4-6 times, place filter on, press into a tall glass of mostly ice with a bit of water. Bam! Really really good for what you have ๐Ÿ™‚

My Breville Oracle had broken down at the start of the pandemic so I was getting my coffee from Arabica every morning instead. But then the 3 week lockdown was announced and so my only way of getting coffee every morning was with the Aeropress my manual hand grinder. It was pretty therapeutic and entertaining to wake up every day and make my coffee that way. Usually I’m in a hurry but because it was a total lockdown and I had no where to be, I loved using the Aeropress.

Great post. Very detailed and helpful. Yes, making coffee at home, whether espresso based or brew, saves a lot of money!

Might I direct anyone who is interested in buying coffee machines to stockroomcoffee.com. I recently discovered it from Rocket site and it has this espresso machine.

yeah they do sell it but it’s out of stock and was out of stock when i wanted to buy. But it turned out to be cheaper ordering it directly from Italy. For example, they sell the Appartemento for KD485 at stockroom, I got the Appartemento, Grinder, Bottomless Portafilter, tamping mat, leveling tool, knock box, milk thermometer, scale and shipping to Kuwait all for KD700.

That does seem like a better deal. I’ve been holding off on buying Appartemento (I want the black with copper one!) but I think I might pull the trigger. Thanks Mark ๐Ÿ˜

They have I think 8 locations around Kuwait, search for “arabica” on google maps to find the one closest to you. I’m sure you’ve seen it or been there, it’s the coffee shop with the % logo.

@James

Caffeine has steel filters in stock and I recently bought one from there. Does the job well and you experience a different flavour profile. Thought, little coffee matter does seep into your brew but unsure if my grind is too fine or I shouldn’t push when it bottoms out

Thank you. I tried the steel ones but faced exactly what you mentioned. My blends from kings are very fine and I hate the acidity that builds up with the seep. Nothing like the paper filter unfortunately.

Hello Mark, best use of the dustrubtion (leveling) tool is not tp replace the tamper, but to distribute the coffee evenly in the basket so you have even exttraction of the whole coffee. so it is adviced not to press hard with the distrutiuon tool but keep it at the minimum hight that would work, and then tamp with a flat tamper.
the way you mentioned makes coffee looks flat, but it will be more dense in spots where you pressed first with the deeper fins, and that causes chanelling in espresso making.

if this method you following is producing a cup that you enjoy and dont want to change thats fine, but espresso is very sensitive and these small details make big difference if you wouole like to test it.

I have to disagree with you here because it all comes down to personal preference. A distribution tool can replace a tamper, saying it can’t is an old way of thinking. It does not make the coffee look flat and it also doesn’t cause any channeling. Some people like to level with their fingers and then tamp, some like to use a leveler to level and then tamp and some people like to level and tamp with a leveler. All methods work and it’s just a matter of preference and what you like to do. A lot more pros out there who know about coffee way more than me level and tamp with a leveler, just check youtube.

Thanks for this great post! I just bought the same equipment and I had two quick questions:

1- Did UPS charge any additional custom clearing or duty fees?
2- What grind setting worked best for your Arabica blend beans.

Regards,
Mohammad

Hi Mark, this post was very helpful. I have a question regarding the faustino. What number did you have the dial set to?

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