Make Coffee You Love!
The Round Up
What’s do we mean by “not quite espresso makers?” As we know, a true espresso shot brews consistently at nine bars of pressure. There are a handful of coffee makers that brew at one to two bars of pressure creating a cup that’s rich, dark and full-bodied like espresso. For coffee lovers craving a stout cup, we rounded up the AeroPress Coffee Maker, Ilsa Express Espresso Stove Top and Wacaco Minipresso GR Portable Espresso Machine to get the job done!
First on our list is the beloved AeroPress. Simple, compact and affordable, the AeroPress easily finds its way into homes. It works similar to a French press by immersing grounds in water and then plunge, but the AeroPress brews directing into the bottom of a fresh cup. Not to mention, the pressure buildup is completely different. The AeroPress rubber plunger seals against the chamber and builds up one to two bars of pressure by hand. We’ve heard of some coffee lovers out there getting up to nine bars of pressure with the assistance of a lever device—still not quite espresso.
The Ilsa Express brews by steam power, it doesn’t extract at nine bars of pressure. So not quite espresso. That said, stovetop makes one mean cup of coffee! And by mean, we’re talking about a seriously stout and strong cup. If you enjoy sipping the rich flavors of espresso, the Ilsa Express can make that happen for you at a fraction of the cost of an espresso machine. The Ilsa Express has a 3, 6 and 10-cup option available and, better yet, the 6-cup has a divider that can cut your portion to 3 cups.
The Wacaco Minipresso Espresso Maker is the closest thing to espresso. It boasts eight bars of pressure and makes a single shot! Similar to a pressurized portafilter, it won’t release the coffee unless it reaches that eight bars of pressure. It’s designed like a mini espresso machine equipped with a brew basket, water reservoir and hand-driven pump system. At the end of the day, if you’re on the road the Minipresso is the perfect companion for a quick pick-me-up.
The true espresso coffee lovers crave brews with nine bars of pressure. Our makers don’t quite reach that mark, but they certainly make a strong cup of java! What did you think of our Top 3 “Not Quite” espresso makers? Share what you would have chosen in the comments below!
How Does It Compare?
Italian manufactured, Rocket’s contemporary espresso machines are designed with sharp precision and traditional inspiration. Underneath the surface, though, is where we start to see the individual personality of a Rocket. Let us introduce you to one, the Rocket Espresso Evoluzione.
Encased in polished stainless steel, the Evoluzione brews with a rotary pump. Compared to vibratory pumps, found in many machines like the Rocket Espresso Appartamento, the rotary pump provides instant pressure and quiet brewing experience. And we fully anticipate home baristas pulling shot after shot. Best of all, the Evoluzione is the cheapest convertible water line machine in our lineup. Flip between reservoir or plumbed-in—most machines are one way or the other! The plumbable options offer homeowners the flexibility to remodel their kitchen and elevate their coffee game. Your home could be running like your favorite cafe!
Built with the commercial-grade 58mm portafilter and renowned E61 brew head, the Rocket Espresso Evoluzione runs strong and sturdy as a professional cafe’s equipment. But no, the Evoluzione is a home espresso machine. If you’re ready to invest in an espresso machine, the Evoluzione has Rocket’s solid reputation and spectacular features behind it.
For example, the rotary pump instantly adds pressure as opposed to vibratory pumps, which slowly build pressure to nine bars. Coffee enthusiasts will appreciate the 'true' pre-infusion the rotary pump offers. It uses two or three bars of pressure from the plumbing before hitting full extraction at nine bars. On the other hand, the vibratory pump passively pre-infuses espresso by ramping up from zero to nine bars.
A rotary pump is also considered more resilient. As the name implies, it rotates the water through the pump, which is gentle on the machine (for a quick comparison, vibratory pumps use a piston to push water). And most home espresso machines use identical rotary pumps as commercial models—like the Evoluzione. Let’s not forget to mention that rotary pumps are sweeter on the ears thanks to the quite
Equipped with a 1.8-liter copper boiler, the Rocket Espresso Evoluzione is built for frothing. Release the valve and a powerful mist of steam billows from the two-hole tip. That sort of power means milk is heated in seconds! Don’t forget, the Evoluzione has a heat exchanger, so you can brew and steam at the same time—you’ll be pulling a shot and pouring the milk in under a minute!
Cut from the same cloth, the Rocket Espresso Evoluzione has the style and function that make coffee connoisseurs swoon and hole-up in the kitchen brewing espresso. But the Evoluzione gifts baristas with an extra feature. Built into the machine is a simple switch that flips between plumbed-in or reservoir. Imagine brewing latte after latte and never refilling the water in your espresso machine. Picture it. Got it? That’s the dream with the Evoluzione.
If variety is the spice of life, then you’re going to love the Evoluzione’s two style choices. The Rocket Espresso Cellini Evoluzione features the classic Rocket style with clean edges and a boxy shape. The Rocket Espresso Giotto Evoluzione is outfitted with geometric side panels that stand out from the crowd of rectangle machines—but we’re not biased.
The Rocket Espresso Evoluzione features a powerful heat exchanger and rotary pump that produces quality espresso each time. This is one of the cheapest heat exchangers we offer that also comes with customizable options such as the style and flexible water reservoir. What do you think of the Rocket Espresso Evoluzione? Share it with us!
How Does It Compare?
They grind, they brew and they make cappuccinos at the touch of a button. We’re talking about one-touch superautomatic espresso machine! We compared the DeLonghi Magnifica S Cappuccino Smart against the Saeco Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino.
The Smart earns it name from DeLonghi’s milk frothing carafe called the LatteCrema system. Built into the carafe is an adjustable dial that whips up silky microfoam and fluffy cappuccino foam—seriously! While it’s a frothing genius, it lacks the programmability and drink options you’d expect from a machine called “smart.”
The Deluxe Cappuccino aced coffee 101 with a specialty coffee menu and two dedicated espresso buttons that we can program. The simplified menu is a refreshing sight to swiftly guide you to your morning cup. The Deluxe Cappuccino also brews one-touch drinks but the carafe creates one foam, what we're used to in most carafe systems. Don’t just take our word for it, check out these two machines for yourself!
The Saeco Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino replaced the previous model with an updated coffee menu, including specialty drinks! At this price point, the additional drinks add creativity to otherwise classic options. Our personal favorite from the specialty menu is the baby cappuccino—an espresso shot with a dollop of foamy milk. That’s what perfect mornings are made of. And for mornings that need multiple cups of coffee, you’ll appreciate the quick recovery that ensures your machine is warmed up in time—hallelujah!
For easy, relaxed mornings, the DeLonghi Magnifica S Cappuccino Smart know how to get the job done. The simple interface and classic drink options promise consistency in each cup. While we love simplicity, an expanded drink menu and more customization wouldn’t hurt! That said, we can adjust the brew temperature, coffee dosage and grind setting for a personal touch. If you need more of a pick-me-up, the 2x button increased the grounds per shot.
The LatteCrema system has to be one of the better auto-frothing carafes we’ve seen! Featured on DeLonghi’s high-end lineup, we were stoked to hear it was included on the lower-tiered DeLonghi Magnifica S Cappuccino Smart. Where in lacks in programmability, it makes up with customization! Three milk foam options froth between a silky microfoam and thick cappuccino foam. When you’re done with the milk, flip the dial to clean for a spic and span carafe ready to store in the fridge.
While the Saeco Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino’s carafe isn’t as advanced as its competitor, we control the milk volume. Better yet, there is a dedicated milk froth button that is manually turned on and off for piping hot milk on demand—hot chocolate, anyone? The Deluxe Cappuccino also has a ‘carafe quick clean’ button to rinse out residue for safe storage. That said, we can’t get over how well the Smart’s LatteCrema system whips up frothed milk.
Outfitted with a brushed stainless steel casing, the Saeco Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino complements modern kitchen appliances. The front accessible reservoir and dump box optimize your counter space. Similarly styled to the Deluxe Cappuccino, the DeLonghi Magnifica S Cappuccino Smart’s compact and front access design save valuable counter space. The polished black casing contrasts against the silver detailing giving it a clean, contemporary finish. When it comes down to looks, your personal style is all that matters.
That said, the Deluxe Cappuccino interface offers functionality and drink options than its competitor. Considering both machines are in the similar price range, we appreciate the little things! The Deluxe Cappuccino also features dedicated espresso buttons that brew at the touch of a button. The Smart’s only drinks are available in the select drink menu.
Both one-touch superautomatic machines fall into the same price range and category. The DeLonghi Magnifica S Cappuccino Smart features DeLonghi’s impressive LatteCrema system. That said, if you want more drink options and programmability, the Saeco Intelia Deluxe Cappuccino fits the bill. What do you think? Share your favorite machine in the comments below.
The Round Up
Making espresso you love at home has never been easier or more affordable with these top three picks! We rounded up our top three budget espresso machines, the DeLonghi EC155, DeLonghi Dedica and Breville Duo-Temp Pro.
When we picked our three budget machines, we were looking at the cost to features. It's no surprised that our machines featured pressurized portafilters and panarello-style steam wands since these are entry-level machines. That said, programmability and capability also helped us decide which machine made the cut! That goes for the Duo-Temp Pro too. Sure it's a little extra, but the price balanced the advanced features—we'll talk more about this machine below. Check out our top picks and let is know which one’s for you!
The DeLonghi EC155 is the smallest machine in the roundup but don't be fooled by its size. It features a one-liter water tank and a single boiler! Surprised? Sometimes great things come in small packages. This machine also has an amazing community dedicated to getting the most out of it. And it’s no wonder! This machine has a lot to offer for the price. The panarello-style steam wand is designed to froth for you, a perfect option for beginners! Not only that, but the pressurized portafilters ensure the espresso is extracted perfectly each time. This machine is designed to make delicious cappuccinos, no sweat.
That said, the EC155 has some weak spots. Since this is a single boiler, you have to temperature surf after steaming in order to brew. Don’t forget to always have a full reservoir so you don’t burn out the boiler, too. Also, some nit-picky cons are the plastic built-in tamper and clunky plastic steam tip. Overall, the EC155 is a great machine with an affordable price tag!
If getting espresso at the touch of a button sounds fantastic to you, then you need the DeLonghi Dedica! Built with two programmable espresso buttons and a pressurized portafilter, the Dedica brews espresso without any fuss. Plus, the panarello-style steam wand automatically incorporates air for you and makes fluffy foam perfect for cappuccino. Bonus: The Dedica comes with a single or double basket.
The Dedica requires more patience and maintenance. As with any machine with a shared boiler (or thermoblock), you have to steam and brew one at a time. But, if you want to lessen the wait time, we recommend using a technique called temperature surfing. Bonus: The Dedica protects the thermoblock by pausing after steaming and forces you to cool it down before brewing. This keeps your machine in tip-top shape!
Similar to other budget espresso machines, we weren’t a fan of the plastic accessories. And, while we adore the Dedica’s slim profile, it has a small drip tray to fills up quick. If you plan on temperature surfing, have a separate cup or the sink nearby to purge.
The Breville Duo-Temp Pro knocks it out of the park with advanced features! It's equipped with both non-pressurized and pressurized baskets, so home baristas can grow their skills with this machine. While this entry-level machine has a simple interface, the Duo-Temp Pro packs in pre-infusion and, our personal favorite, auto-purge. What’s auto-purge? Instead of temperature surfing, it purges hot water to cool the thermoblock to brewing temperature—saving you time!
While we adore Breville’s newest entry-level model, we miss the programmable shot times. And the Duo-Temp Pro is outfitted with a traditional steam wand, which could be a pro or con depending on your skill level. The thermoblock pressure builds slowly so baristas will either be a) happy because you get to practice your technique or b) frustrated because it requires more time and skill to froth. That said, we love what the Duo-Temp Pro has to offer home baristas!
While these machines are easy on the wallet, they certainly didn’t go easy on the features! The DeLonghi EC155 is the most affordable of our budget machines and is built with a single boiler—an amazing feature for the price! Our other DeLonghi, the Dedica, impressed us with its programmable espresso buttons. And, of course, if you want to grow with your machine, the Breville Duo-Temp Pro is equipped with the accessories to get the job done! What did you think of our top picks? Tell us your favorite machine in the comments below.
How Does It Compare?
If you’re on the hunt for a superautomatic, look no further than the Saeco Moltio Carafe Superautomatic - Certified Refurbished! The Moltio Carafe (model HD8869/47) is certified refurbished, so it’s easy on the wallet but always tested and approved by us before it’s sent to you. As the name suggests, this superautomatic uses a removable carafe to make one-touch lattes and cappuccinos or you can switch it out for the hot water spout to make Americanos.
But what’s the icing on top of this machine? The removable bean hopper! And there are two hoppers for twice the beans—we don’t see removable bean hoppers on superautomatics often, let alone two. But there is another machine with a removable bean hopper, the Saeco Gran Baristo Hd8966/47. The Gran Baristo seals the deal with six user profiles; however, it only has one bean container. What’s the benefit of a removable bean hopper for coffee lovers? You can change out your beans from a morning blend to an afternoon decaf! If you enjoy lots of different coffee, the Moltio Carafe has two hoppers to get the job done.
Grab your favorite mug and enjoy hot coffee at the touch of a button. The Saeco Moltio Carafe Superautomatic - Certified Refurbished dedicates four buttons for classic drinks like espresso or latte macchiato. The intuitive press and hold programming is an effortless user-experience—we give it the thumbs up. To program, hit stop in the left-hand corner and the Moltio Carafe will remember the volume until it’s programmed again.
Pro tip: Program this machine for one-ounce espresso shots if you like it strong. We love our espresso, so naturally we programmed the Moltio for two-ounce shots and it was weaker than we wanted. That's because even at the strongest dosage, (five beans under the Aroma button) the brew group is better designed for a single shot.
That said, you can control the strength of your espresso using the Aroma button. There are five settings that add more grams per shot for the best cup every time. Another nifty trick for brewing coffee is choosing the bean species. Under the Menu button, select from arabica, robusta or a mix blend. Last but not least, like other superautomatics, you can change up For the price point, the Moltio Carafe offers us several ways to make coffee we’ll love.
Want a cappuccino to-go? The name says it all— the Saeco Moltio Carafe Superautomatic - Certified Refurbished features a one-touch carafe system that steams milk right into your mug. Dual thermoblocks for brewing and steaming work separately so you're sipping a full mug in a matter of minutes! Similar to other carafes you cannot control the froth, which is why we see drinks like the latte macchiato. Our latte macchiato was foamy and the factory settings pleased us with a stiff shot and lots of milk—just how we like it!
Encased in a sleek gunmetal casing, unboxing the Saeco Moltio Carafe is like driving a new car off the lot. The metal bezel on the side adds an unexpected touch. The minimalist interface finishes this streamlined design that makes you skip the test drive and sign the paperwork. But like every new car, you unearth something after the honeymoon cruise is over. For the Moltio Carafe, the polished interface with buttons carved out of the panel starts to creak under your fingers. And that creak makes you realize these buttons could break. It hasn’t happened to the Crew, but—as you would with most electronics—use a gentle touch.
The Moltio Carafe continues its minimalist style with an intuitive and sophisticated menu. It features a controlled auto-off and maintenance functionalities like a descale mode, which is vital to the life of your machine. The only feature we’re missing is a manual rinse cycle on the Moltio Carafe. After a few lattes, it’ll prompt rinsing the carafe again. Or if you’re impatient, the hot water tap had the carafe spick and span!
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly machine with all the bells and whistles, check out the Saeco Moltio Carafe Superautomatic - Certified Refurbished. The Moltio Carafe whips up classic drinks at the touch of a button. And best of all, this machine has style that complements the kitchen. What do you think of the Saeco Moltio Carafe? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Supersonic Coffee, one of the roasters carried by Seattle Coffee Gear, released a statement this week that they'll be changing their name due to a trademark infringement.
Goodbye, Supersonic Coffee. Hello, AKA Coffee!
Starting October 24, 2016, Seattle Coffee Gear will be ordering Supersonic Coffee under the new name, AKA Coffee. It’s the same great coffee, with a new face!
In the statement, John Laird, the Managing Director of AKA Coffee, said; “We are excited to explore the new opportunities that AKA Coffee represents. The AKA name is playful, personal, and embraces the moments when we enjoy a cup of coffee, whether it is a quick break or a meditative pause. Call it what you will, to us, it is AKA Coffee.”
The trademark claim came from Sonic, the hamburger chain, and lead the roaster to change its name to avoid further legal issues. Sonic claimed there could be potential confusion between the chain and specialty coffee roaster. The roaster recognized the financial impact of disputing a $4+ billion company and instead used the opportunity to rebrand.
It’s difficult for us to see small companies, especially a specialty coffee roaster we love, undergo involuntary changes. That said, Seattle Coffee Gear is excited to welcome AKA Coffee and continue forward with them on their new journey.
For more information, read Supersonic Coffee's statement here.
Follow AKA Coffee on Twitter and Instagram @enjoy_aka
How Does It Compare?
If you need coffee to get your morning started, one-touch espresso machines are the answer! We’re comparing two one-touch machines, the Miele CM 6310 Coffee System with the new DeLonghi Eletta Plus Cappuccino. And when you can program your machine to turn on whenever you want how can you not be sold?
The Miele sports four profiles for the whole family to make their favorite drinks—it’s truly like having a personal barista. The Eletta isn’t too shabby, either. While the Eletta doesn’t have profiles, we can customize the volume of espresso and milk for a handful of menu options. However, the really cherry on top of the Eletta is it’s advanced carafe, called the LatteCrema system, that has three dials to control milk frothiness. If you’ve been searching for a one-touch superautomatic espresso machine, check out these machines to see if one is right for you.
If you were tantalized by the Miele CM 6310 Coffee System’s four profiles, you’re going to swoon for this—each profile can customize the espresso and milk volume, brew temperature and pre-infusion time. Better yet, it’ll remember your tall order on every drink, on every profile. Did you get swept up off your feet? We certainly did. The espresso held up to our Crews tastebuds.
The newest superautomatic to our lineup, the DeLonghi Eletta Plus Cappuccino, holds its own against the Miele. The drink menu features intuitive espresso choices that make finding your favorite drinks seamless. For instance, the My Coffee menu uses your taste preferences like standard taste or extra strong to make your perfect cup. While there are no profiles, you can program the espresso and milk volume under My Coffee as well as under the Cappuccino and Milk Menu buttons.
Bonus: The Eletta features pulse brewing coffee that lowers the pressure and extracts a cup that is similar to drip!
One-touch cappuccinos, lattes or even flat whites are at our fingertips with the DeLonghi Eletta Plus Cappuccino’s LatteCrema system. Superautomatics tend to make one-foam-fits-all and limits our creativity, but the LatteCrema system takes care of that. The carafe dial has three options that turn milk into creamy silk or fluffy foam to dollop on espresso—the result is like ordering a latte from a local cafe!
We gave both of these one-touch superautomatic machines the thumbs up in milk temperature! The Miele CM 6310 stainless steel thermal carafe will keep our milk cool while the Eletta’s plastic carafe is likely to warm faster. And unlike the Eletta, the Miele can adjust the milk temperature, so we’re never worried about cold milk in our cup. Another design feature we appreciate on the Miele is the dedicated hot water spout. With the Eletta, we have to change between the carafe and hot water spout.
The Miele CM 6310 interactive digital display navigates user’s smoothly through programming and selecting a cup of coffee. And that’s what you want when you’ve have so many features to customize! The icons can be tricky to figure out at first, but a quick look over the manual makes it a no-brainer. The DeLonghi Eletta Plus Cappuccino features a similar interface. Both have touch-sensitive icons and a display, but the Eletta reuses some buttons for different functions, which can create confusion. But get to know your superautomatic and it’s all smooth sailing.
Both of these one-touch superautomatic machines are outfitted with extra bells and whistles to keep your machine in tip-top shape! In fact, the Miele has one of the best cleaning cycles we’ve seen! It actively prompts a “rinse milk pipework” cycle to clean the hoses. The drip tray even has a slot dedicated for the nozzle of the hose to make cleanup more effortless. The Eletta’s maintenance is on par too—the carafe dial has a clean dial that steams water through the pipework without backwashing into the milk.
Overall, both one-touch espresso machines impress us with their capabilities and convenience! The Miele CM 6310 features four customizable profiles that can remember drink settings—this really knocks the Miele out of the park with other comparable superautomatics. That said, DeLonghi Eletta Plus Cappuccino feature customizable drinks too and features the advanced LatteCrema system that changes the frothiness of your milk. Both are great companions for coffee lovers, but which one is for you? If you want to learn more about these machines, check out their Crew Reviews.
The Round Up
Single boiler espresso machines are a great choice for your home, and we have the right machines to get the job done! Today’s top three machines are the Capresso EC Pro, Rancilio Silvia M and Crossland Coffee CC1.
Single boiler espresso machines are more affordable than heat exchanger or double boilers, while still providing better steam pressure and thermal mass than comparable thermoblock models. Not to mention great for straight espresso drinkers, too! So, what’s the tradeoff? Single boilers require more attention to detail. For instance, temperature surfing is a technique used to bring the boiler down from steam to brew temperature—you don’t want to burn your espresso!
For baristas new to espresso machines, these machines are the perfect introduction into espresso. That said, on today’s roundup even experienced hobbyists will find an espresso machine they’ll love without breaking the bank. Check out our top three machines and let us know what you think!
If you’re new to using semi-automatic espresso machines, check out the Capresso EC Pro. It's small, but looks can be deceiving—the EC Pro has all the essentials you need to make creamy lattes! This novice machine offers baristas the opportunity to hone their techniques. The pint-size boiler offers slower and steadier steam power so you can learn how to texture milk at your own speed! This makes perfect, silky milk for latte art easier to achieve than on quick-steaming commercial-rated machines.
Even though it’s a novice machine, the EC Pro includes a non-pressurized bottomless portafilter so newbies can see the flow of espresso and improve their extraction—you don’t see this feature on machines in this price range! And it also comes with a pressurized portafilter—a super sweet cheat for baristas who want delicious espresso but haven’t gotten the extraction just right. The downside to this tiny machine is it’s small 42-ounce water tank and inarticulate steam wand. All-in-all, these cons don’t overshadow the EC Pro’s affordable price and introductory design.
While producing fantastic espresso machines for cafes, Rancilio paused and gifted home baristas with a home machine, the Rancilio Silvia. Since then, home baristas have been going nuts for it! The Rancilio Silvia is a tried-and-true single boiler espresso machine that hasn’t changed much since its creation. However, the improvements that have been made have created today’s model, dubbed the Silvia M.
The Rancilio Silvia M requires solid technique and skills to operate well. It comes with a 58mm non-pressurized portafilter—one of the most common commercial portafilter sizes—and a traditional steam wand. This classic single boiler, while impressive, has finicky temperature stability, so naturally, we included a fix—a built-in PID. We offer the Rancilio Silvia M with PID give you control over temperature to the degree. This makes coming back up to brew temperature after purging steam from the boiler much more accurate than classic 'temperature surfing'. That said, this single boiler espresso machine, with or without the PID, can produce impressive pressure for powerful steam and perfect espresso.
With the Crossland Coffee CC1, you can customize your coffee to your heart’s content! It features programmable espresso, pre-infusion and wait time that you can save to three profiles. Bonus: The CC1 also has a built-in PID for the same price point as the Rancilio Silvia M without the PID. Awesome.
While the CC1 features user-friendly programmability, it still requires practice to master. The CC1 comes with a 58mm non-pressurized portafilter and a traditional steam wand (like the Silvia M). And with a single boiler, we want to steam and then brew, which means you’ll temperature surf to get the boiler back to brew temperature—but wait! There’s more.
So, we’ve told a little white lie about this machine—it’s not a true single boiler. While the CC1 does have one boiler, it has an extra feature—a thermoblock for steaming! The thermoblock lessens the time between steaming and brewing by not bringing the boiler up to full steam temperature. We still consider the CC1 a single boiler, but with an extra trick up its sleeve—hey, we’ll never complain about getting our lattes faster!
Our top three single boiler espresso machines are the Capresso EC Pro, Rancilio Silvia M and Crossland Coffee CC1. For home baristas looking for their first classic espresso machine, check out one of these single boilers. Single boilers offer more control over espresso and these three picks have different features for every user level. Tell us what you think of these three single boiler espresso machines in the comments below.
The Best Maintenance Is Preventive!
If you ask us, the best maintenance is preventive maintenance! Keep your Rocket espresso machine squeaky clean and working like new with the Rocket Espresso Water Reservoir Filter. What does the Rocket water filter do, you ask? It prevents the buildup of scale in your Rocket boiler(s)!
Now, this filter is little different from your Brita filters. The Rocket Espresso Water Reservoir Filter is a compact, square packet that floats inside the Rocket’s water tank. To get the water filter ready, rinse it under cold water before adding to the tank—voila! Rocket’s water filter will last between six and 12 months between replacements.
Why Use A Water Filter?
The Rocket Espresso Water Reservoir Filter helps reduce scale. Scale is the buildup of minerals (calcium generally) that naturally occur in water. Scale is more noticeable in areas with hard water, which just means the water is heavy with minerals. The buildup can lead to slow water flow, reduced boiler functionality or worse case scenario a malfunctioning espresso machine—and we don’t want that!
How It Works
The Rocket water filter uses resin and activated carbon filtration system to filter out calcium, chlorine and other impurities. The more minerals and dissolved solids like calcium there are, the harder your water is. You’ve probably heard about water hardness and that it’s bad for espresso machines. While minerals do cause scale, if you own a Rocket, you need minerals!
Rocket machines use an electronic sensor that requires some mineral content in the water to register that the tank is full. So, if you pour distilled water to your Rocket, it would think you were out of water—neat!
Here’s another consideration about water hardness; the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) recommends between 75 and 250 milligrams per liter of total dissolved solids (TDS), which include minerals like calcium or sodium. The higher the TDS, the harder your water is. The ideal mineral content for coffee water is 150 mg/L. So while minerals will cause scale, it’s not bad to have minerals in your water.
How Often Do I Descale?
Eventually, there will come a time where you notice your machine is a little lackluster. It might be time to descale! But listen up before you buy a descale solution—Rocket recommends that you do not descale your machine at home. Instead, Rocket recommends home barista’s take their espresso machines to a professional—such as Seattle Coffee Gear! It’s an extra step, but the peace of mind of having a professional look at your Italian hand-crafted machine is worth it—your Rocket’s in good hands.
If you think you need your Rocket espresso machine descaled, send us the deets on your machine on this page.
How Does It Compare?
You know what they say, don’t judge a book by its cover! But in our case, don’t judge an espresso machine by its name. We’re comparing the DeLonghi ECAM 25462S Magnifica S Cappuccino with the DeLonghi ECAM 23260SB Magnifica S Cappuccino Smart to see which superautomatic has what you need. Sure, the Smart has the name but the features we consider smart are missing—there’s no coffee customization! The Magnifica S Cap, on the other hand, has programmable espresso and milk volumes—we’ll raise a mug to that kind of customization!
So, what makes the Smart smart? The LatteCrema system! Both machines have the LatteCrema system (a carafe with a froth control dial) that make one-touch cappuccinos, but the Smart has three dials while the Magnifica S Cap only has one. With the Smart’s three frothing options, you can achieve creamy frothy milk or fluffy cappuccino foam by only turning a knob! Check out the rest of the difference between these machines and see which one is for you.
So, just how smart is the DeLonghi Magnifica S Cappuccino? Program the volume of your espresso and milk and the machine will remember it for tomorrow’s cup—better yet, you can program every drink option! It features two espresso buttons, a cappuccino button and a milk menu with four other options to program to your perfect cup. It’s basically like having a barista on call 24/7. To top it off, the Magnifica S Cap also has temperature and coffee strength options for you to change at will. Pretty smart, right?
That doesn’t mean the DeLonghi Magnifica S Cappuccino Smart is a dumb machine—far from it! While it may not have programmability, it has five coffee options—including an actual pulse-brewing coffee! The intuitive icons make it effortless for sleepy baristas to make a cup. Use the dial to find the brew you’re in the mood for—espresso or cappuccino, anyone—and just hit brew when you’re ready. While there’s not a customize volume option, you can adjust the strength of our coffee with the two bean icon and—wait for it—
With the DeLonghi Magnifica S Cappuccino Smart, we can switch up the foaminess of our milk! The Smart features three frothing icons on the carafe. Choose the first option for creamy milk and the last option for fluffy foam. Customize the drink menu and adjust the frothing dial to replicate your favorite drinks like cappuccinos, flat whites or anything in between. The LatteCrema system, as it’s called, makes foam we don't see on carafes, and coupled with the fact that it’s customizable, it’s pretty smart if you ask us!
While the DeLonghi Magnifica S Cappuccino full of coffee customization, there’s less available for milk froth. It also features the LatteCrema system but with one frothing option. It makes a mean cappuccinos foam, but it couldn’t silky milk that we’d want for our lattes. Like most carafe systems, it’s a one-milk-fits-all deal. You can, on the other hand, program the amount of milk for each drink, so choosing between these two boils down to what features you want more.
Both machines are cut from the same cloth. They are designed to complement home brewer’s kitchen and respect their counter space. The slim build and front-accessible reservoir and grounds bin are optimized for home baristas to slide their DeLonghi next to kitchen appliances. The DeLonghi Magnifica S Cappuccino has a slightly larger footprint and reservoir, but the size won’t be noticeable when you’re brewing. We pulled several lattes before needing to refill. The biggest difference is that the DeLonghi Magnifica S Cappuccino Smart’s menu offers less customization.
Both the DeLonghi ECAM 25462S Magnifica S Cappuccino and the DeLonghi ECAM 23260SB Magnifica S Cappuccino Smart have some smart features to offer home baristas. While the Magnifica S Cap can save both espresso and milk ratios, the Smart excels in customized foam—a feature that’s not found on a lot of superautomatic machines! What do you think of these two one-touch superautomatic machines? Share your experience with these machines in the comments below.