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Thread: Rocket opinions? Good, bad and ugly ?

  1. #1
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    Rocket opinions? Good, bad and ugly ?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hello

    I am a long time Rancilio Silvia user and prior to that Gaggia Classic (sum total of 15+ years of home espresso making?).
    My grinder is Rancilio Rocky which seems to work well with Silvia.

    Thinking of upgrade sometime late in 2016.....

    Budget $2500-$3000 for new machine and ~$800-$1000 for the new grinder.

    Looking for all opinions about Rocket brand - the quality of doppio espresso/ristretto, the reliability, longevity, cost of servicing, maintenance, etc.

    Basically I want to know what machine to spend my $2500-$3000 next, if not Rocket, what else in that price range is better?

    I understand that some of Rocket machines are heat exchange and some are not (double boiler?) - would appreciate some thoughts of one type over another.

    I exclusively make doppio espresso and doppio ristretto coffee, so I do not steam milk at all (in case it colours your answers).

    thank you in advance

  2. #2
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    If you go for a double boiler you can usually turn the steam boiler off. But double boilers are more expensive than a HX.
    The Rocket double boiler the R58 is over your budget. The current Rocket v3 PID I think has the advantage that it's boiler temp is PID controlled so will be easier on the boiler coil on off switches. This is within your budget at the moment though prices are now scheduled to rise due to exchange rates. I think sponsors have stocks at the current price. I am very happy with the Rockets, I have one at work HX and one at home DB.
    Re grinder aim for the M4D which is around your budget price. If you put them together.
    I reread your post and you speak of late 2016,
    I think there will new choices on the market by then. I think most manufactures have new models in the pipe line. Sadly my Silvia is retired and sitting in the garage, not sure what to do with it.

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    Depending on your location, I would suggest drop into a site sponsor to try before you buy which will most likely clarify your decision. They will also give you all the info you need on HX/Dual boiler.
    Dimal likes this.

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    Im in same boat, same budget but limited to Perth options. Ive been looking at ECM range too not sure how well they stack up against Rocket.

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    Senior Member artman's Avatar
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    Have you been to CS sponsors Dimattina in Osborne Park? They have Giotto and others.

    Cheers
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    I would say the ECM are quite similar to the rocket range, with comparable models through the range generally. The r58 rocket is around 4K and has the dual boiler / PID set up, but currently ECM doesn't have the competitor. The new ECM arrives very soon which is a compact dual boiler with PID, but it will be around 4K I think.

    If you're happy with a Heat exchanger, which I think a generally as good unless you intend to vary brew temp often for different roasts.

    I I have an ECM mechanika profi with vibe pump, which set me back just over $2500. It's a great machine, does everything I wanted. Great steam pressure and pulls great shots. You can get the model with rotary pump for around $3k, depends if you intend to plumb it in really.

    There is also a technika, which is internally the same, just visual differences and a smaller cup tray.

    Personally i thought the ECM seemed higher quality comparing side to side. The ECM has much more solid portafilter handles and the E61 grouphead looks higher quality. Plus the profi has knobs for steam and hot water, which works great and looks pro.

    Each to their own, but for me I preferred the ECM. Both are top quality machines which will produce top quality shots with a capable barista.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member ArtW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by acid_rider View Post
    I exclusively make doppio espresso and doppio ristretto coffee, so I do not steam milk at all (in case it colours your answers).
    If you really don't make milk drinks, even for guests, then I would suggest that you can save a fair few $$$ by getting a quality single boiler. I doubt the quality of the espresso will be any worse and you will not only save on the purchase cost but also running and maintenance will be cheaper. A quick look on a sponsors website shows single boiler Italian/German e61 group espresso machines from ECM, Vibiemme and Isomac. These range from $1,500 to about $2,000 and there is an argument that says you can get a better espresso from a single boiler with a PID (eg. ECM Classika PID) than a heat exchanger - particularly if you use single origin or particularly dark roast beans because of the precise temperature control.

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    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Hi-Q dual-purpose single boiler machines don't resell as well though, not as much demand.
    Worth keeping in mind perhaps...

    Mal.

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    Another factor is if you are entertaining guests....I would say the vast majority of general coffee drinkers drink milk based coffees, so it's good to have that option there if needed without the hassle of a single boiler set up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ArtW View Post
    If you really don't make milk drinks, even for guests, then I would suggest that you can save a fair few $$$ by getting a quality single boiler. I doubt the quality of the espresso will be any worse and you will not only save on the purchase cost but also running and maintenance will be cheaper. A quick look on a sponsors website shows single boiler Italian/German e61 group espresso machines from ECM, Vibiemme and Isomac. These range from $1,500 to about $2,000 and there is an argument that says you can get a better espresso from a single boiler with a PID (eg. ECM Classika PID) than a heat exchanger - particularly if you use single origin or particularly dark roast beans because of the precise temperature control.
    thanks you, this sounds interesting ! So single boiler with PID for pure espresso may be all I need.
    Does Rocket make such a machine or am I better off with ECM?
    I dont want Breville Dual Boiler - too many quality and longevity issues, I need a machine that will last for years and years and not cost me hundreds of dollars in maintenance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by snedden9485 View Post
    Another factor is if you are entertaining guests....I would say the vast majority of general coffee drinkers drink milk based coffees, so it's good to have that option there if needed without the hassle of a single boiler set up.
    I dont offer steamed milk coffee to guests, so there is no problem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimal View Post
    Hi-Q dual-purpose single boiler machines don't resell as well though, not as much demand.
    Worth keeping in mind perhaps...

    Mal.
    resale value is no issue, I tend to keep my equipment for 10+ years, I dont care if its worthless by the time I am done with it.

    I need to find the best pure espresso coffee maker for the lowest price but I want to improve upon Silvia espresso and I am happy to spend up to $2500 for such a machine plus a grinder to match ($1000?).
    Sounds like Rocket does not have anything with single boiler plus PID, so what is next? ECM as suggested?
    How reliable and lasting is this machine and what about cost of maintenance and parts (assuming no steaming) ?

  13. #13
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    VBM Domobar Piccolo. PID it and you have one of the best shot machines available.

    Cheers

    Chris
    acid_rider likes this.

  14. #14
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    Rocket make great machines...my last one was a single boiler HX machine. Was also great for milk based drinks, so no issues there at all if the occasion calls for.
    My giotto lasted me around 10 years, with general maintenance and a couple part changes as they wore out...was able to do it all at home...easy to work on.
    I on sold it here, and believe it is still working fine...

    so when it was time to upgrade, i chose another rocket in the r58...again in just over a year no issues at all. They are a quality machine, built like tanks, as i am sure most others in the same price range would be also.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    VBM Domobar Piccolo. PID it and you have one of the best shot machines available.

    Cheers

    Chris
    thanks, and what if I do *not* want to modify the machine at all, i.e. I want to buy one which already has a PID built-in ??

  16. #16
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    Buy one from us and we'll arrange the mod for you.

    Single boiler PID would limit you to Silvia V5 (Jetblack Espresso can PID it) or Lelit PL041TEMD

    Chris

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    Senior Member readeral's Avatar
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    Is there a reason you're so keen on Rocket/ECM?

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    Quote Originally Posted by readeral View Post
    Is there a reason you're so keen on Rocket/ECM?
    No reason. I want the best Espresso maker in $2500 range. Don't care about steam, just Espresso. I want reliability and longevity with decent service and parts costs, hence I don't want breville dual boiler based on low quality even if it makes great coffee when it works.

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    My second crack...if your hell bent on only ever making espresso moving to a HX would be a complete waste and DB even more so. Chris is on the money with his recommendations.

    If you want to reach new heights in quality espresso this would be more easily achieved by getting a professional PID fitout on your current Silvia - assuming it is all still in good working order, ditching the Rocky and spending your budget for new machine on a high quality commercial grinder.

  20. #20
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    Yeah I was wondering if you wanted a change for the bling factor, 'cause the Silvia will do as well as you could manage before moving to a pressure profiling machine (which is outside of your price range as far as I know).

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    Silvia with extraction PID would fit the bill. What state are you in? Set the PID to around 106C and that should give about 95C at the group. As there is no need to steam there is no risk of heating coil damage. Depending how old Silvia it can be very easy to set the Brew Pressure - I am sure you know all this. Silvia could still be going strong when all the shiny HXs are stacked by the pearly gates!

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    Good advice. I don't care about bling,
    happy to PID silvia, who in Melbourne does this work and what is the cost?
    I have 2009 silvia, I think V3
    but element replaced by V4 in 2015.
    Should I buy latest V5 silvia and PID it?

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    I opened new thread in $500-$1500 equipment forum. Thanks.

  24. #24
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    If it's an ultimate espresso making machine you're after have you not considered a lever machine?

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeroyC View Post
    If it's an ultimate espresso making machine you're after have you not considered a lever machine?
    Not much in ultimate lever machines <$1.5k

  26. #26
    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    Not much in ultimate lever machines <$1.5k
    OP's original budget was stated as $2.5k which is still below Strega level, but is possibly within La Pav or maybe Electra territory.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by readeral View Post
    the Silvia will do as well as you could manage before moving to a pressure profiling machine (which is outside of your price range as far as I know).
    Hmmm, yes and no. The Silvia is capable of making excellent coffee in the right hands. However, I found that even after 7+ years of use (albeit a stock not PID'ed model) I still had issues with consistency. Silvia is very sensitive to minor fluctuations in dose and grind. Since upgrading to an E61 (with PID FWIW) the consistent quality of my shots is much better, though my shots are probably no better than what I could achieve with Silvia on a good day. There are much more forgiving machines than Silvia. I also find that I am able to extract a better shot when the coffee is slightly less fresh.

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    Agreed.
    Is solved consistency issues by always doing this-
    weighing beans and using bottomless portafilter and a stopwatch.
    Even half a gram of beans makes a difference in some cases.
    But water temperature is something I can't get right 100% of time.
    I think PID is the fix for that problem?

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    thanks everyone.



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