Today we’ll be comparing two very powerful, very popular, but very different espresso machines. The Breville dual boiler and the Rocket Appartamento.
For some first-time buyers, these two machines might seem pretty neck and neck in terms of which one you should buy.
But unlike in some previous reviews where I leave the conclusions slightly open-ended, I firmly believe that one of these machines will serve you better.
It just depends on what you’re looking for in an at-home espresso experience.
You can check your local pricing; however, the rocket is almost certain to be taking a larger chunk out of your next paycheck.
It might surprise some people to see how large the dual boiler is in person. It has that same standard appearance as the other Breville machines, but it seems to be supersized in almost every dimension.
E61 heat exchangers are not exactly known for being compact, but the Appartamento is slightly more space-conscious than most and looks almost petite next to this big red dual boiler.
The Appartamento is a quite traditional build using an all stainless steel shell and drip tray, and everything from top to bottom is as nice to touch as it is to look at.
With that being said, I also really enjoy the appearance of the Breville machines. I think they’re contemporary and fit in well in a wide range of different kitchen styles.
Both of these machines also put some consideration into the design of the back panels, which is good if you plan on placing it on an island or another space where it’s going to be seen from all angles at all times.
Independent of the size and physical appearance, the build quality, and finishing are also very different between these two machines.
Having them sat here side by side, it’s apparent that Breville is a more consumer or appliance-level machine.
There’s far more plastic used throughout the build, and things like locking in the portafilter or activating the steam don’t feel anywhere near as rock-solid as you’re getting on the rocket Appartamento.
A small but good example of this is the included tampers. The Breville’s is made of plastic and feels very light.
Whereas the Appartamento’s are made of one solid piece of metal, and small differences like this can be felt all the way from the bottom to the top of both of these machines.
Quickly running through the features of each of these machines, we’ll start with the dual boiler because there is way more to go through.
Three buttons on the front allow you to program your desired single and double shot volumes or manually run the machine.
A digital screen allows you to dig deeper into brew settings such as temperature and pre-infusion schedule times for the machine to automatically power on or off and access things like the cleaning and descaling cycles.
A knob on the machine’s left controls the hot water outlet, and on the right, a lever controls the steam.
Some nice added convenience features are a front water filling port and viewing window, a hidden storage area behind the drip tray, and a built-in caster system for moving the machine around.
Now, looking at the Appartamento, the list is almost shockingly short in comparison.
Brewing is actuated by a manual lever on the right of the group head, which starts and stops only when you choose to stop and start it.
The right knob provides hot water, and the left controls steaming, and that’s it.
If we stop here for a second and consider what I said about one of these machines is suiting you better, you might start to get a sense of what I’m getting at.
The Breville has a laundry list of features that will make it more convenient, more repeatable, and more enjoyable to use in some people’s minds.
The Appartamento has a far better build quality, but it’s more of an analog and manual experience.
Both of these machines will offer you the ability to brew and steam simultaneously, which will already be a huge step up if you’re upgrading from something like a single boiler.
However, in terms of brute steaming power, the Appartamento does come out on top, being about 30 percent quicker to steam the same volume of milk.
Another feature worth mentioning is that the Appartamento features a no-burn steam arm. This dual-wall construction ensures that it doesn’t get scalding hot during use, which is safer and means that milk won’t aggressively stick to its tip.
This might not have been a feature that you’ve heard of or were previously shopping for, but I can assure you it’s something you want.
One final thing to note before moving on to espresso performance is that the steam arms are on opposite sides of these two machines.
This might seem like a trivial difference, but if you’re planning to place your machine next to a wall, you’re going to want to have the steam arm on the free side to give you more working room.
Shifting to espresso, surprise surprise, these two machines take very different approaches. The Appartamento uses an E61 group head that constantly circulates warm water through nine pounds of solid metal.
This huge thermal mass allows it to maintain a very consistent temperature assuming that you purge the group head first to get rid of any overheated water vapor that might have gathered after long periods of sitting idle.
In comparison, the saturated group on the dual boiler takes a more modern approach utilizing two pairs of PIS’s and heating elements.
One pair in the brew boiler and one pair right at the group head. This allows it to achieve an accuracy of plus-minus just one degree Celsius, which is impressive, and it’s also what allows it to adjust the brew temperature anywhere between 86 to 96 degrees celsius.
Adjusting the temperature like this is a big advantage as it allows you to tweak your extraction for particularly easy or difficult to extract coffees. Something that the Appartamento does not offer.
The dual boiler’s advantages don’t stop there. Probably my favorite feature on this machine is the programmable pre-infusion.
You can select any combination of pressure and duration. So, for example, if you wanted, you could do a very low pressure up to 90-second pre-infusion.
And while you might not want to go that extreme, having the ability to adjust a pre-infusion in this way isn’t something that many machines offer at any price range, let alone the price of the dual boiler.
The Appartamento will allow you to do a light pre-soak by holding the lever just before the actuation point, but that’ll only last a couple of seconds.
Then it has a mechanical pre-infusion built-in as the group gets up to full brewing pressure, but it’s pretty much a fits-all solution, nowhere near the adjustability on the dual boiler.
So, as you might have inferred from that onslaught of information, the dual boiler is overall a more consistent, customizable, and in many ways capable machine when it comes to your espresso extraction. easily outpacing many machines or any machines in its price bracket
However, if at any point throughout that espresso explanation your eyes started to glaze over and you didn’t care about digging that deep into each espresso you brew, I would highly recommend you still consider the Appartamento.
Yes, it shockingly lacks features when placed next to the dual boiler, but the enjoyment you get from using such a high-quality and analog machine is not something that should be ignored.
For every inch that the Breville gains in terms of features and customization, the Appartamento wins it straight back in terms of build quality and enjoyment to use as a tool inside your daily espresso routine.
If I had to compare, the Breville would be something like a Tesla Model 3, whereas the Appartamento would be something like a manual Porsche.
The tesla is undeniably more technologically advanced, feature-rich customizable, but it might be lacking slightly in driver engagement and build quality.
On the other hand, the Porsche might be a bit more expensive, but the build quality is there to match, and the driver engagement when you’re using it is also there. It’s a more analog, more raw experience where you’re in control.
Each brand each type will have a dedicated fan base arguing that one is undeniably better than the other. Breville versus rocket, Tesla versus Porsche, which one is best for you?
That is up to you to decide so hopefully this article has helped you make a buying decision.
Where To Buy
|Breville Dual Boiler vs Rocket Appartamento|
|Color||Stainless Steel||Brushed Stainless Steel|
|Weight||30 Pounds||44 lbs|
|Dimensions LxWxH||14.1" x 14.6" x 14.7"||274x425x360 mm|
|Available Portafilters||58mm Stainless Steel Portafilter||Non-Pressurized, Bottomless|
|Water tank size||84 oz||76 oz|
I like to buy locally so I would always support the underdog, the smaller business when it comes to buying products online. This is why when buying the Appartamento I would choose 1st In Coffee. They offer a 30-day money-back guarantee and have excellent customer support.
When it comes to the dual boiler, unfortunately, 1st In Coffee doesn’t stock that machine so the next best would be Amazon. As I said, I prefer the small business as I believe in helping where I can, but Amazon offers a good price so you can’t go wrong.