The Rocket Appartamento Spotlight

Written by
Chris Caruso
(we're on a mission)

Rocket Appartamento Espresso Machine


The Rocket Appartamento is a staple in the home espresso machine space. When you imagine a classic, beautiful, Italian-style espresso machine, the Rocket Appartamento always comes to mind. But in 2024, the Appartamento has a lot of competition, and its value as an espresso machine has come into question.

In this machine spotlight, we'll review why the Appartamento is such a popular machine, identify some of the key features it lacks, and compare the Appartamento to the similar Lelit Mara X.

Let's get brewing!

Table of Contents

Rocket Appartamento Machine Overview

Rocket Appartamento Features 2024

Functional Heat Exchanger

The Rocket Appartamento is a heat exchanger (HX) machine, which gives it many benefits of a dual boiler at a more affordable price point. HX machines have one boiler fed by an internal reservoir that is superheated to provide robust, on-demand steam. A secondary pipe runs from the reservoir, through the steam boiler, to the group head. This pipe provides brew water, which is heated as it travels through the inner steam boiler pipe.

Heat exchanger machines expand on the classic single boiler to achieve simultaneous brew and steam without the need for a second boiler. And while they provide a ton of functionality for the price, they do have their downsides. As water sits in the brew pipe, it continues to heat until it is much too hot for espresso. As a result, the water in HX machines must flushed to cool the brewing temperature. This process is known as 'cooling flush' and must be performed regularly with a HX machine.

Tactile E61 Group

As the center of the Rocket Appartamento is a classic lever-style E61 group. The chrome-plated brass group head has high thermal stability that does not swing or drop temperature shot-to-shot.

E61 groups, invented in 1961, have become a staple for many home espresso machines. Many E61 groups, like the one on the Appartamento, use a tactile manual lever that engages the pump to begin brewing. In addition, E61 groups can be modified with after-market flow control devices to fine-tune the flow rate of water, opening the world to espresso expiration.

Timeless Design

Surrounding the Apartamentos centerpiece E61 group is a classic design affectionately referred to as the 'E61 box.' Many E61 machines are characterized by their stainless steel bodies and sharp angles. And while the E61 box is not a modern design by any means, it stands the test of time in its aesthetics and beauty.

The Appartamento falls in line with this design and features classic rotary knobs for the how water and steam outputs, as well as a steam-boiler pressure gauge located just south of the E61 lever.

What makes the Rocket Appartamento Special?

##Beautiful Design Accents

Perhaps the most unique piece of the Rocket Appartamento is its beautiful side panels featuring accent cutouts. Compared to other E61 machines, the Appartamento is easily identifiable with just a glance and can be ordered with black, white, or copper cutouts.

Readily Repaired

The Rocket Appartamento is a relatively simple machine that uses standard parts common in all home heat exchanger machines. As a result of its design, as well as Rockets' presence in the espresso space, sourcing parts and repairs for the Appartamento is a breeze. Plus, the Appartamento is designed to be repaired and fixed, so it can last years to come if properly maintained.

What is missing on the Rocket Appartamento?

Rocket Appartamento Missing Features 2024

PID Regulation

The biggest miss of the Rocket Appartamento is its lack of a PID temperature controller. The Appartamento manages boiler temperature via a pressurestat - a mechanical device that controls the heating element and, therefore, the boiler temperature.

Almost all modern espresso machines (even those half the price) use a PID to control the temperature - that is, a microcomputer that uses mathematical algorithms to predict and counteract temperature swings caused by heating and cooling the boiler. PIDs are the go-to standard for maintaining boiler temperature, and the lack of a PID on the Apparatamento is a functional deal breaker.

PID Temperature Control

In addition to a PID-regulated boiler, most modern machines comparable to the Appartamento come with the ability to adjust the temperature of the brew or steam boilers. While some machines have 2-3 preset temperatures, others can change temperature by individual degrees.

The Appartamento's omission of this feature continues the domino effect, highlighting its failure to adapt modern go-to standards for setting and maintaining brew pressure and temperature.

Modern Technology

Unfortunately, the Appartamento continues to fall flat when it comes to any other 'brains' inside the machine. Many espresso machines combine internal PID displays with shot-timers to track how long a shot has been running.

In addition, many of these integrated displays enable access to all other machine settings, including cleaning reminders and eco-mode programming. The Appartamento, lacking any external display, has no such functionality. This lack of PID regulation, temperature control, and machine settings leaves us to question who exactly would want the Appartamento in 2024?

Comparison: Rocket Appartamento vs. Lelit Mara X

The Lelit Mara X is a modern E61-style heat exchanger that packs a ton of features into a compact package. Priced similarly to the Rocket Appartamento, the Mara X gives potential Appartamento owners a second thought before clicking buy.

Rocket Appartamento vs. Lelit Mara X

Internals & Pump

Both of these machines are relatively similar when it comes to the core internals. The Rocket Appartamento and Lelit Mara X both use a heat exchanger-style boiler and a compact vibratory pump.

The Mara X takes a step forward with Lelits 'silent' vibratory pump, which cuts down on the noise output from the machine. The Rocket uses a standard-style vibratory pump, which has no problem getting to pressure but at a slightly louder decibel.

Brewing Priority

The most significant difference between these two machines is the Lelit Mara X 'brew priority mode.' The Mara X has an optional toggle that prioritizes the brew water temperature by oscillating the steam boiler on and off. This lower temperature creates an ideal brew temperature, thus eliminating the need for cooling flushes.

The Lelit continues its sleek design with an elegant combo pressure gauge to measure both internal steam and brew pressure. The Breville Dual Boiler comes with a centerpiece pressure gauge to measure brew pressure alone.

Temperature & Pressure Control

While neither the Lelit Mara X nor Rocket Appartamento has a PID display, the Mara X has two PID probes - one in the brew group and one in the steam boiler. With these two probes, the Mara X provides three preset brew temperatures and three preset steam pressures controllable with a three-way toggle button.

The Appartamento with a classic pressurestat system has no control over the boiler pressure or temperature and needs to be managed via cooling flushes and steam dumping.

Pricing and Availability


In 2024, the Rocket Appartamento reatils for $1,650. The Appartamento is readily available across U.S. importers, including Clive Coffee, Seattle Coffee Gear, Chris Coffee, and Whole Latte Love. In 2024, the retails in the United States for $1,699. While this is a rather hefty price tag for a non dual-boiler, it is actuallty in line with other top-spec heat exchanges in the market - especially for those built with more features and control.


Although the Appartamento wins for its classic design, there are many better alternatives for the price. The Lelit Mara X or Rancilio Silvia Pro X dual boiler offer many more features for comparable prices.

The Final Sip

The Rocket Appartamento is an ode to classic Italian espresso in design and function. And while the Appartamento is beautiful, its lack of modern functionality, temperature management, or features make it a less-than-optimal purchase in 2024.

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