Breville Dual Boiler Vs Rocket Appartamento: Which Is Better?

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Breville Dual Boiler vs Rocket Appartamento: Both are somewhat costly and will likely consume a good part of your next paycheck. But they will be investments that can last for years and give you café-grade beverages for years to come! Having weighed the pros and cons, I must say the Breville Dual Boiler wins my favor.

The Breville Dual Boiler stands head and shoulders above its competitors in the sub-$2000 price range.  Living up to its moniker, the unit boasts two boilers, enabling you to brew coffee and steam milk simultaneously. This one has an ample water tank that can easily be refilled via the top door and a front-facing window for water level checks. The machine’s built-in roller system makes maneuvering it around your space a cinch.

The Rocket Appartamento, on the other hand, can also multi-task thanks to the heat exchanger, which is honestly a real bonus. Though it has no PID temperature controls, the extraction is still fantastic, and the temperatures were consistent. Moreover, this one is also very compact and easy to use.

Breville Dual Boiler Vs Rocket Appartamento: Comparison Chart

Image
THE WINNER (#1)
Breville BES920XL Dual Boiler Espresso Machine,84 oz, Brushed Stainless Steel
THE RUNNER-UP (#2)
Rocket Espresso Appartamento Nera Espresso Machine, Black
Model
Breville Dual Boiler
Rocket Appartamento
Dimensions/Weight
16.3 x 15 x 15 inches/30 lbs
14.2 x 10.8 x 16.7 inches/25 lbs
Heating System
Dual Boiler Heating System
Single Boiler With An Heat Exchanger
Interface
LCD & Buttons
No Screen
One Touch Drink Options
2
2
Spigot Type/Cup Clearance
Dual/4 inches
Dual/3.5 inches
Water Reservoir/Bean Hopper
2.5 liter/None
2.5 liter/None
Pump Pressure
15 bars
15 bars
Built-in Grinder
Grinding Settings
Pre-Infusion
Filter
Yes (Optional)
Milk Frothing System
Manual Steam Wand
Manual Steam Wand
Compatible With Pre-ground Coffee
App Connectivity
What I Like
Price
$1,599.95
$2,000.00
THE WINNER (#1)
Image
Breville BES920XL Dual Boiler Espresso Machine,84 oz, Brushed Stainless Steel
Model
Breville Dual Boiler
Dimensions/Weight
16.3 x 15 x 15 inches/30 lbs
Heating System
Dual Boiler Heating System
Interface
LCD & Buttons
One Touch Drink Options
2
Spigot Type/Cup Clearance
Dual/4 inches
Water Reservoir/Bean Hopper
2.5 liter/None
Pump Pressure
15 bars
Built-in Grinder
Grinding Settings
Pre-Infusion
Filter
Yes (Optional)
Milk Frothing System
Manual Steam Wand
Compatible With Pre-ground Coffee
App Connectivity
What I Like
Price
$1,599.95
More Info
THE RUNNER-UP (#2)
Image
Rocket Espresso Appartamento Nera Espresso Machine, Black
Model
Rocket Appartamento
Dimensions/Weight
14.2 x 10.8 x 16.7 inches/25 lbs
Heating System
Single Boiler With An Heat Exchanger
Interface
No Screen
One Touch Drink Options
2
Spigot Type/Cup Clearance
Dual/3.5 inches
Water Reservoir/Bean Hopper
2.5 liter/None
Pump Pressure
15 bars
Built-in Grinder
Grinding Settings
Pre-Infusion
Filter
Milk Frothing System
Manual Steam Wand
Compatible With Pre-ground Coffee
App Connectivity
What I Like
Price
$2,000.00
More Info

Last update on 2024-02-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Breville Dual Boiler Vs Rocket Appartamento: Differences

The Breville Dual Boiler has a strong 4-0 win against the Rocket Appartamento. Keep reading for more information!

Coffee Flavour

Winner: Breville Dual Boiler

Built-in Grinder

Both are grinder-less espresso machines, meaning you’ll have to shell out extra cash for a separate grinder and find additional countertop space for it. For many, spending nearly two thousand hard-earned dollars on an espresso machine only to realize they must spend extra bucks on a grinder can be a tough pill to swallow. Not to mention, a good espresso shot demands a top-notch burr grinder, which doesn’t come cheap. Some quality models, such as the Breville Smart Pro, Baratza Sette 30, or Eureka Mignon Specialita, can even cost as much as some entry-level espresso machines.

both have no built-in grinder
Both have no built-in grinder

Adding to the Rocket Appartamento commercial-grade vibe are two 58-mm single and double shot portafilters and two single wall (pressurized) filter baskets. Meanwhile, the Dual Boiler also comes with a dual-spouted 58-mm portafilter and four filter baskets, including pressurized and non-pressurized options for both single and dual shots. The pressurized filter basket is more forgiving for starters, while the non-pressurized one is the go-to for crafting that impeccable shot of espresso (but, yes, it requires more precise grinding, tamping, and extraction techniques).

the rocket appartamento comes with two 58-mm portafilters
The Rocket Appartamento comes with two 58-mm portafilters

These machines are classified as semi-automatic,” partly because they require manual tamping before brewing. This skill takes practice and attention to detail, but the important thing is that they come with solid and weighty metal tampers instead of flimsy plastic ones. The Dual Boiler even uses a magnetically attachable tamper that stores neatly onboard, albeit a tad lighter.

Heating System

The Dual Boiler is among the Breville dual-boiler machines. In case you don’t know how big a role this thing plays in an espresso machine, having two boilers means you can pull a shot and froth milk at once, which is a game-changer in both home and commercial settings. Furthermore, each boiler is calibrated independently at just the proper temperature, ensuring both the espresso extraction and milk frothing functions receive consistent and accurate temperatures. Consistency is key for the best espresso extraction, wouldn’t you agree?

On the other hand, the Rocket Appartamento uses a single 1.8-liter (61-ounce) copper boiler. But don’t let that fool you. It can actually brew espresso and steam milk at once, just like the Dual Boiler, through something called a “heat exchanger.”

The boiler on the Rocket Appartamento features a small isolated section within, which constantly circulates water out and around its E61 group head (where the portafilter attaches) – this circulation cools down the water to the appropriate temperature for espresso extraction. Meanwhile, the rest of the water inside the boiler is maintained at a higher temperature suitable for steaming milk. Hence, after all, you can prepare espresso while using the steam wand.

the e61 group head on the rocket appartamento
The E61 group head on the Rocket Appartamento

Unlike the Dual Boiler and most modern bean-to-cup machines that rely on PID control to maintain the right temperature for extraction, the Rocket Appartamento utilizes a heat exchanger system in conjunction with a Pressurestat for temperature control. Of course, this doesn’t give precise control of the PID controller, but indeed, there are many baristas, particularly those with experience, who prefer using this old-school unit for good reasons.

By the way, they have built-in cup warmers on top, which are passively heated by their boilers. That is a welcome addition! And I found some folks complaining about the plastic cup guard on the Rocket Appartamento, which feels flimsy and cheap. It’s not a massive issue, but such a robust machine should come with a metal rail without additional cost.

Brewing System

Both have a pre-infusion function. You don’t need me to tell you that it is an important part of the brewing process, right? During this initial low-pressure step, these machines moisten the puck in hot water for a brief duration. This enables the grounds to bloom (or swell) for better aroma development and reduces “channeling,” which results in uneven extraction.

One thing that the Dual Boiler has over its rival is that it allows you to play around with the length and pressure of this stage. This level of fine-tuning is an uncommon luxury, especially when you consider how competitively priced this machine is.

I loved that they have 15-bar pumps to provide the right pressure for the extraction process. For those who don’t know, espresso machines these days use pressure to extract espresso, and the minimum pressure to pull a shot is 9 bars.

Milk Frothing System

They are equipped with manual steam wands, meaning frothing with them involves a bit of a learning curve. Using these wands is definitely more tricky than using an automatic Pannarello wand on a machine like the Breville Oracle, where you just push and leave to get the job done. But once you know what you’re doing, you can create foam with the right consistency for any milk-based beverage you can think of, whether it’s a classic latte, a frothy cappuccino, or a smooth cortado.

breville dual boiler vs rocket appartamento's steam wands
Breville Dual Boiler vs Rocket Appartamento’s steam wands

First impressions? It is remarkably easy to handle. These wands feature ball-shaped joints that enable fluid 360-degree movement, making it a breeze to find your frothing sweet angle. Plus, the black handles are intentionally designed to provide an added layer of safety and prevent any accidental finger burns. You will find yourself easily positioning the milk jug and finding the ideal angle to froth the milk.

The Breville Dual Boiler’s professional steam wand boasts a 3-hole tip, a step up from the Rocket Appartamento’s 2-hole configuration. I found the first one distributes air bubbles more evenly and steams a bit more quickly. In return, the Rocket Appartamento was able to reach the ideal temperature for milk frothing of 60°C in just 25 seconds, while the Dual Boiler took 40 seconds. Also, if you are more practiced with commercial steam wands, you will find them a bit on the weak side and take more time to texture the milk. But for beginners, this lack of pressure makes the journey to perfect cappuccinos and lattes far more forgiving.

Design & Usability

Winner: Breville Dual Boiler

Dimensions, Footprint, & Weight

Breville Dual BoilerRocket Appartamento
Dimensions15 x 15 x 16.3 inches14.2 x 10.8 x 16.7 inches
Weight30 lbs44 lbs

The Dual Boiler, just like its siblings, opts for a minimalist aesthetic, predominantly featuring plastic construction, which is a widespread issue for entry-level machines. But look! I believe it will be a showstopper in any kitchen. It has a fairly large footprint and is quite tall, so you’ll need to arrange your kitchen counter a bit to find a suitable spot to park it.

On the other hand, the Rocket Appartamento has a mechanical appearance that immediately reminded me of the death machines in the Terminator series. Well, it’s here to perfect your morning espresso in lieu of putting an end to the world. It has a polished 304 stainless steel compact machine body (except, of course, for the less-than-ideal plastic rails) that gives it a durable feel but also makes it incredibly heavy.

the rocket appartamento has a compact footprint
The Rocket Appartamento has a compact footprint

Regarding the user interface, the Dual Boiler has a few basic function buttons and a small LCD screen on the left, where you can easily monitor and adjust almost every aspect you can think of when brewing espresso. I was also glad to see that the Barista Express‘s pressure gauge continued to appear here, enabling you to closely monitor the pressure exerted on the coffee puck during extraction and make sure that each shot is perfectly balanced.

the breville dual boiler's user interface
The Breville Dual Boiler’s user interface

As for the Rocket Appartamento, it includes nothing but a lever for extracting espresso and two knobs for dispensing hot water and activating the steam wand. It also has a good-looking pressure gauge with big numbers and a green accent to show the ideal range that the needle should fall within (around 1 bar). But this one shows the pressure of the steam boiler instead of the brewing pressure.

the pressure gauge on the rocket appartamento
The pressure gauge on the Rocket Appartamento

Pre-programmed Coffee Options

Breville Dual BoilerRocket Appartamento
Espresso
Hot Water
Espresso
Hot Water

Don’t expect any one-touch milk-based drinks from these machines – you’re in for some manual labor to concoct your ideal cappuccino or latte, or just a mixture of espresso and steamed milk, nothing more and nothing less. Oh, right, both sport a separate spout for dispensing hot water, which is a godsend for quick tea brewing or making a clean café Americano without any taste interference.

both have a separate hot water spout
Both have a separate hot water spout

The Dual Boiler offers a higher degree of customization with adjustable shot length, brew temperature, and pre-infusion time. As for the Rocket Appartamento, the only thing you can interact with for your espresso game is to adjust the length of the pre-infusion and extraction processes.

Spout & Cup Clearance

Breville Dual BoilerRocket Appartamento
Spout TypeDualDual
Cup Clearance4 inhes3.5 inches

While the Rocket Appartamento is only suitable for espresso cups, the Breville Dual Boiler can really fit some travel mugs or latte macchiato glasses. Of course, if you’re planning on brewing into a thermos, you have the option of removing their drip trays. The drip tray on the Rocket Appartamento is a bit small and requires frequent emptying, but that’s not a big deal if that’s your daily routine.

breville dual boiler vs rocket appartamento’s cup clearance
Breville Dual Boiler vs Rocket Appartamento’s cup clearance

Water Reservoir & Bean Hopper 

Breville Dual BoilerRocket Appartamento
Water Reservoir2.5 liter2.5 liter
Bean HopperNoneNone

Their large water tanks are easy to refill from the top, as long as you make sure there is enough clearance to do so. The Rocket Appartamento features an electronic microprocessor-controlled automatic sensor that will automatically turn off the machine whenever it reaches a low water level. The Dual Boiler has a front window that allows you to keep your eye on the current water level with ease and a roller system that allows you to easily move or rotate the machine to remove its water tank.

refilling the breville dual boiler vs rocket appartamento
Refilling the Breville Dual Boiler vs Rocket Appartamento

The Dual Boiler comes with a water filter to remove impurities from your water. That way, not only will your espresso taste better, but you’ll also need to descale the machine less often. The Rocket Appartamento has no water filters at all, so you should use pre-filtered water or a water softener if you live in a hard-water region to increase the length of time between descales.

the roller system on the dual boiler
The roller system on the Dual Boiler

Cleaning & Maintenance

Winner: Breville Dual Boiler

Now, let’s talk about the elephant in the room! I don’t expect you to be excited about cleaning and descaling your coffee appliance, but the good news is that they don’t take much time and effort to complete.

Let’s start with one of the most important parts of the maintenance schedule – cleaning the group head. Why? That’s where coffee oil residue builds up, which makes it a mecca for bacteria and mold. All you need to do is backflush the machine with water by putting a blind filter basket (a filter basket with zero holes) into the portafilter and running the machine. Then, disassemble the portafilters, remove the filter basket, and give each component a thorough scrub. If required, you can also soak the parts in a specialized espresso cleaner.

As for the steam wand, just give it a good wipe with a damp cloth after each use and turn on the steam dial again to blast a little steam. This two-step routine guarantees that you’ll have a nozzle free of stubborn milk residue.

But unlike you would with the Dual Boiler and most espresso machines, you shouldn’t descale the Rocket Appartamento since its copper boiler is prone to damage from descalers. Instead, I strongly recommend always opting for pre-filtered water or adding a softener if your water has high hardness. Meanwhile, the Breville Dual Boiler has my vote thanks to its ability to be descaled via an automatic cycle every few months. Just use the included descaling agent and follow the user manual, and you’ll be fine.

The remaining tasks include draining their drip trays, emptying their dreg box, and cleaning their water containers. This may feel like a lot of cleaning, but, you know, it is the key to keeping them lasting a very long time and in good working order. 

Utilities & Other Features

Winner: Breville Dual Boiler

Auto Off

Look closely at the bottom of the Rocket Appartamento, and you will see a small green button where you can activate the “Eco Mode”. This mode will turn the machine off after 90 minutes from the last brewing cycle. So, if you get in a hurry and leave the machine on, it will turn off after 90 minutes of your last brew. 

On the flip side, the Dual Boiler has a timer that allows you to program the machine to automatically turn on or off as you wish. That way, it can be set to wake up and pre-heat itself before you get out of bed.

Quick Rundown Of Breville Dual Boiler

Breville BES920XL Dual Boiler Espresso Machine,84 oz, Brushed Stainless Steel
  • Please refer to user guide or user manual or user guide (provided below in PDF) before first use

Last update on 2024-02-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • Two boilers for multitasking.
  • Has a large cup warming tray.
  • Has various adjustable settings.
  • Has a large and easy-to-refill water tank.
  • The manual wand is ideal for latte art.
Cons
  • No built-in grinder.
  • Bulky and heavy.
  • A bit bulky.

Quick Rundown Of Rocket Appartamento

Rocket Espresso Appartamento Nera Espresso Machine, Black
  • Heat Exchanger: The 1.8-liter HX boiler allows for simultaneous brewing and steaming.
  • E61 Group: Boiler-heated and backflushable, E61 groups offer reliable operation and more consistent brew temperature.
  • Compact Case: The Appartamento's compact 10"x17" footprint makes it one of the smallest prosumer machines on the market.
  • Manual Control: Brew and steam controls are all analog for hands-on brewing.
  • Three Year Warranty: We're proud to offer three years of parts and labor support for every Rocket machine purchase.

Last update on 2024-02-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros
  • Compact footprint and sleek design.
  • Is incredibly well built.
  • Can brew and steam at once with a heat exchanger.
  • Commercial-grade attachments.
  • Ease and enjoyment of use.
Cons
  • On the heavy side.
  • No PID controller.
  • No built-in grinder.

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