Rocket Espresso Appartamento TCA as my daily driver- first thoughts:

So I am a week in with the daily driver TCA on my bench and it’s been an interesting journey. Here are some initial rough and dirty thoughts on the experience so far.


  1. Looks good in the metal
  2. With this example at least, the pump is better isolated. It’s quieter than the average vanilla Appartamento
  3. Throw medium roast at it and the coffee has been excellent- and we have been spoiled. It has followed a souped up gear pump Linea mini and a custom Faema President which are two of the best machines I have ever used. I am not in any way feeling let down in the cup
  4. Good, strong steam. We’re talking 10ish seconds to 65 deg. with a 300ml jug
  5. The drip tray extends further from the body of the machine (handy when backflushing) and no longer contains a step so the capacity is improved.
  6. And a HUGE pro. The anatomy of the steam and hot water valves has finally changed! The valve bodies are now longer and it’s no longer possible to scratch the front panel of the machine with the wands.


  1. The chassis appears to be galvanised and it had already gained a water mark before we received it. This is not coming off. Rocket has traditionally powdercoated their chassis’ and this looks to be like the basic mild steel and build bucks saved. (Edit): The coating is apparently something called Magnelis® – coated with a corrosion resistant zinc aluminium alloy. Good stuff? Dunno, but those marks are definitely not wiping off with water nor detergent 🤷‍♂️
  2. The stainless tank cradle has been replaced with plastic
  3. The new look handles look and feel nice though I suspect money has been saved. They’re going to be a pig to remove for service as there’s no gap between the plastic insert and the handle body. It’s probably a thin feeler gauge job to remove them
  4. You get a choice of four boiler pressures and eco mode off and on and programming involves switching the machine on with the leva raised and then a leva up/down dance with diode flashes to select the options you want. It’s RTFM super fiddly and I’m wondering if the pressure changes truly lead to different shot temperatures? It is after all a heat exchanger machine. We’ll check this with a Scace device when it goes back to the demo bench. So far, I can’t say I have really noticed. We’ll let you know when we do…
  5. I have been spoiled! I’m not used to filling tanks or draining drip trays these days!

Pro or Con?

  1. The new chunky group has plenty of room for cartridge heaters. I’m wondering if this group might be earmarked with cartridges for future Giotto/Mozza/R Cinquantotto updates? Who knows? That’s just me speculating…
  2. What’s inside? Will the internal build be an improvement or has cash been saved? We’ll look and let you know

In summary:

  1. I guess for me the gotcha is that is at rough street pricing, another $300 gets you a Giotto/Mozzafiato V with a real PID, second pressure gauge and inbuilt shot timer and eco mode- and superior finish. Is a TCA compelling or would you spend another few hundy to get the upgrade/s?
  2. I can’t imagine that any buyer would be disappointed in the performance of the TCA, but does it represent bang for buck?

What do you think?

To be continued…..

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