Crew Comparison: La Marzocco Linea Mini vs Rocket Espresso R58 Espresso Machine

How Does It Compare?

La Marzocco and Rocket Espresso are two of the top manufacturers for high-end home espresso machines. It comes as no surprise that people often request a comparison between their two double boiler espresso machines, the La Marzocco Linea Mini and Rocket Espresso R58 Espresso Machine.

While these espresso machines aren’t similar in price point, the capabilities and build quality make both semi-automatics tough competitors! Odds are you’ve heard of the impressive La Marzocco Linea café equipment; the Linea Mini is their home machine designed with an integrated brew group that boasts temperature stability. Not to mention, the Linea Mini is NSF-rated!

On the other hand, the R58 hits the price point sweet spot and wows baristas with its sterling exterior. And, of course, the R58 features the distinguished E61 Brew Group to help maintain espresso temperature. Although, it’s argued that an integrated brew group has more temperature consistency. That said, a sip of espresso from either machine won’t leave you disappointed!

The La Marzocco Linea Mini is a double boiler espresso machine designed with an integrated group head. The La Marzocco Linea Mini is a double boiler espresso machine designed with an integrated group head.

The Rocket Espresso R58 features a programmable PID that controls both boilers. The Rocket Espresso R58 features a programmable PID that controls both boilers.

Inner Workings

There are several convenient benefits of double boiler espresso machines such as simultaneously brewing and steaming or boiler temperature management. But the La Marzocco Linea Mini is designed with something extra favorable; the brew boiler is strategically built into the group head to maintain consistent brewing temperature. This design is called the “integrated brew group” and the temperature variance is never more than plus or minus two degrees—that’s crazy accurate!

The E61 Brew Group is a tried-and-true thermal-siphon heater with a sound following. In fact, the entire Rocket lineup, including the Rocket Espresso R58 Espresso Machine, is equipped with one! The E61 works by drawing water from the steam boiler into the group head to keep espresso extraction at it’s finest! That said, compared to an integrated brew group, a thermal-siphon system like the E61 can be inconsistent when the machine first turns on or isn't frequently used. That's why it’s recommended to pull a seven-second shot get everything nice and toasty.

The front-mounted pressure gauge lets you see what is going on inside the boiler. The front-mounted pressure gauge lets you see what is going on inside the boiler.

Built-In PID

Another feature to help maintain temperature is the built-in PID found on both the La Marzocco Linea Mini and Rocket Espresso R58 Espresso Machine. While they’re both easily programmed, the R58 has a removable PID controller featuring a digital screen that easily adjusts the brew and steam boiler temperature, language and temperature scale.

That said, the Crew has mixed feelings about the R58’s PID controller. The buttons feel like blister packets ready to pop as you press down to scroll through the menu. And even though the menu is easy to read on the screen, rapidly pressing through the options is an old-school operation.

By comparison, the Linea Mini's dead simple stepped scroll wheel PID makes temperature control simple, albeit hard to read. Unlike the R58, the Linea Mini’s PID only operates the brew boiler. The steam boiler is factory preset. Honestly, some baristas love control over every aspect of their espresso, but we appreciate the Linea Mini’s simplified PID!

Steam Pressure

With the La Marzocco Linea Mini, there’s no need to worry about steam pressure! Equipped with a 3.5-liter stainless steel steam boiler, the pressure astounds baristas with its powerful performance. And the 3.5-liter water reservoir means the Linea Mini can make multiple lattes back-to-back without losing its mojo!

Of course, the Rocket Espresso R58 Espresso Machine is a closely matched with a 1.7-liter steam boiler. Crack the steam dial all the way up and you’ll be just as impressed by its quick frothing capabilities.

What sets the R58 and Linea Mini apart in steaming is their wands. The Linea Mini features a four-hole steam tip that reaches every corner of your frothing pitcher. But, the one downside to the Linea Mini’s steam wand is it’s what’s called a “burn wand,” so milk quickly cooks to the outside—yuck.

The R58 has a two-hole steam tip that still impressively froths milk without a hitch. But what we really love is the anti-burn wand that gives us a hot second (pun intended) to clean off the wand before the milk burns. Just remember, the R58’s steam wand will still be hot to the touch!

The front-mounted pressure gauge lets you see what is going on inside the boiler.

Sensible Style

Encased in polished stainless steel, the Rocket Espresso R58 Espresso Machine is a sophisticated piece that shines on your countertop. The modest steam and hot water black knobs complement the machine’s overall design whereas the same can’t be said for the La Marzocco Linea Mini.

Don’t get us wrong, the Linea Mini’s stainless steel casing built in the traditional espresso machine silhouette is gorgeous! But the beauty is downplayed by the large EE Paddle brew switch and bland steam/hot water knobs stuck on the front. These completely necessary features could have used a little more design oomph. Appearances aside, the big brew switch fluidly flips into position and makes brewing a breeze—sometimes that's what counts the most.

Extras

Both the La Marzocco Linea Mini and Rocket Espresso R58 Espresso Machine come with little extras that add to the home brewing experience. While both double boiler espresso machines can be plumbed into your kitchen, the Rocket includes a plumb-in adapter in the box! And with the R58, there is a switch to convert between reservoir or plumb-in. For the Linea Mini, you have to purchase the plumbing kit separately.

On the other hand, the Linea Mini comes with industry-standard 58-mm stainless steel portafilters that feature “breakaway spouts!” So, if you tamp too hard these spouts break away to prevent damaging your counter or the spouts! Or, you could use the portafilter's sensibly designed flat spot in the front to rest on the edge of a counter.

Last—and certainly not least—the Linea Mini is NSF-rated to use in a commercial setting! This mini version of the powerful Linea commercial machine offers small-business coffee connoisseurs a caffeinated treat to offer to their customers. While it's not designed for big cafés, it’ll easily pump out 125 to 150 drinks a day—a respectable amount for a home espresso machine.

LineaMini_side

Conclusion

When it comes down to it, the La Marzocco Linea Mini and Rocket Espresso R58 Espresso Machine are two powerful double boiler espresso machines. The Linea Mini’s integrated brew group maintains the temperature stability of your espresso—essential for pulling delicious shots! That said, the Rocket is comparable for quality espresso, steam pressure and comes in at a lower price range.

If you’re choosing between these two home espresso machines, you can’t go wrong with either. Check out the rest of the nitty-gritty specs on the product pages to see how these machines will fit into your lifestyle.

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