rocket giotto

  • Rocket v. Silvia

    If you drop $1k more on your espresso machine, is there a discernible difference and / or improvement in the shot quality and flavor? We dialed in the Rocket Giotto Evoluzione and the Rancilio Silvia, pulled shots simultaneously and asked three of our fearless compatriots to taste them. Watch as they tell us which they prefer and why.

  • Ask the Experts: Which Machines Need to be Backflushed?

    Cleaning and maintenance is a hot topic in this neck o' the woods, but some folks aren't clear on which specific maintenance routines apply to the type of machine they own. This comes up specifically in regard to backflushing -- do you or don't you?

    You do backflush if you own a machine with a valve system referred to as a three-way solenoid, brew pressure release, three-way valve, solenoid valve or any other combination of these phrases. Not sure if your machine has this? If your machine has an E61 brew group (such as those on Rockets, Quick Mills, Izzos or Grimacs), it has this valve system. Other models that feature this without the E61 are those made by La Spaziale, Pasquini, the Rancilio Silvia and Ascaso's Uno Pro and Duo series. This valve system relieves pressure post-brew, which results in a drier puck, but it sucks a little bit of coffee and water into the system each time which can build up in there and adversely impact the machine's performance. Backflushing forces detergent and water through the valve system, thoroughly cleaning it and maintaining the system. It also has the added benefit of cleaning up behind the brew head's screen without taking it apart.

    You don't backflush if your machine doesn't have this system -- because you don't have the valves to clean! Some machines that don't need backflushing include the Saeco Aroma, Via Venezia, Sirena, models made by Breville, those from Francis Francis/illy and Delonghi and Capresso semi-automatics. But since you're not forcing detergent through the brew head, you will need to take it apart semi-regularly to clean up behind the brew screen.

    The best way to determine if you need to backflush your machine is to read the manufacturer's manual and the machine's technical specifications to see if it has the valve system. If it doesn't, you're good to go; if it does, you should backflush once every 1 - 2 weeks, depending on how often you use the machine.

    Not sure how to do it? Watch us backflush the Rocket Giotto E61 or the Rancilio Silvia.

  • Ask the Experts: Can I use Lemon Juice to Descale my Machine?

    DIY lovers are all into the idea of using lemon juice or vinegar to descale their machines, but while the latter will leave a nasty residue and we don't recommend it for that reason, the former just isn't concentrated enough to do as an effective job in as an efficient manner as a concentrated citric acid solution like Dezcal. This is what we find out from Gail, plus she makes freaky faces and it's worth watching just for that.

  • ECM vs. ECM Manufacture

    Since we're fairly vocal proponents of Rocket Espresso, we often have older models produced by the previous manufacturer, ECM, coming into our repair center for tune-ups, parts replacements and general repairs.

    A couple of weeks ago, we had an older ECM Giotto come in for a seemingly simple repair, but it spiraled into the mire once we realized that this wasn't just any Giotto we were dealing with: It was an ECM Manufacture Giotto. Apparently, the German company was a distributor of the Giotto and the Cellini products, eventually deciding to bring the production of these machines in house. Despite facing legal action from the Italian ECM company, the German company built and distributed their version of the machine for some time -- the external design very reminiscent of the original machine, and with the ECM Giotto or Cellini name badges on the machine. A few years ago, they spun off the machines under their own names -- like Technika, Barista or Mechanika -- so now it's easy to tell the difference between these machines. You can also look at the ECM logo itself to determine if you have a German or Italian produced model: The ECM Manufacture machines reference Heidelberg instead of Milan.

    If you have an older version of an ECM Giotto or Cellini that you purchased in Germany, keep in mind that the internals and parts for the German-produced versions of the machines are not the same as the original Italian versions. Before having the machine repaired, make sure who you're working with has access to the ECM Manufacture-specific parts. We poked around to see if we could find anyone who sells or has parts for these and, as of this writing, we weren't able to find anyone who imports these models into the US.

  • Ask The Experts: How Much Electricity Does My Espresso Machine Use?

    Sure, our espresso machines give us energy, but how much are they taking from the planet? We ran a test on a few of our favorites to show examples of the electricity draw and cost involved with running these machines each year. Our cost estimates are based on a national US average of $.11/kWh -- you can find more accurate data for your specific area here.

    Machine Name & Type kWh Used Estimated Annual Cost

    Jura Ena 3 & 4

    Superautomatic

    .17/day

    62.05/year

    $6.83

    Jura Impressa Z7

    Superautomatic w/One-Touch

    .24/day

    87.6/year

    $9.64

    Rancilio Silvia V3

    Semi-Automatic w/Single Boiler

    .81/day

    295.65/year

    $32.52

    Rocket Espresso Cellini Premium Plus

    Semi-Automatic w/Heat Exchange

    1.91/day

    691.15/year

    $76.03

    Incidentally, we measured how much kWh it took to make a one-touch cappuccino on the Jura Z7 and found that it was .02kWh -- at $.11/kWh, that means you'd need to make about 5 cappuccinos to rack up 1 cent in energy costs!

  • Tech Tip: Backflush Flashback


    If you have a semi-automatic espresso machine with a 3-way pressure release, or solenoid, valve, you need to backflush it on a regular basis to keep the machine in fine working order. Backflushing will clean up behind the screen and into the brewing system, cleaning out coffee or grounds residue and reducing the potential for clogs.You can watch Dane as he cleans a Rocket Giotto, or follow these steps:

    1. Replace brew basket with a blind basket in the portafilter (or you can use this universal insert in your existing basket)
    2. Place 1/2 teaspoon of a backflush detergent such as Cafiza or Joe Glo (Important: make sure it indicates backflushing as its primary use on the label -- do not use Dezcal or any other standard detergent here!)
    3. Insert the portafilter into the brew group and initiate a shot
    4. Allow the pump to run about 4 - 5 seconds maximum
    5. Turn the pump off and allow the water and suds to release through the valve
    6. Repeat this process until the water coming out of the valve is clear and suds-free
    7. Remove the portafilter, rinse it in cool water to cool it down and then switch out the baskets again
    8. Before you pull your first shot, run a blank shot through the system to make sure there is no residue leftover

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