Professional Home Barista Rocket Appartamento £50 Per Month

If you’re considering a home espresso machine, you’re probably planning on starting off at the entry level price point as most people tend to do when just starting out. Jumping in with both feet with a professional espresso machine for home users is such a leap in the dark, as well as being difficult to afford and/or to justify.

There are just so many unknowns, is the home barista hobby really for you, is the particular setup you’re looking at, the right choice for you?

What happens if there’s a problem, are you going to be making a very expensive mistake? I know all of the fears as I was a beginner home barista myself only a handful of years ago.

If you’re a budding home barista & you started off with a very low end setup, a Delonghi Dedica and a modded Delonghi KG97 for example, or if you’re like me – a used Gaggia Classic from the early 00s along with a Hario Skerton hand grinder attached to a cordless drill ;-), you may be considering an upgrade. 

At this point you’re likely to be in a similar boat.

Some of the fear of the unknown will be gone, if you’re considering upgrading then you’re not going to be worried about whether home barista thing is going to be for you, but still, going from a couple of hundred quid setup to a higher end £1500 – £2000 setup feels like a leap in the dark.

Are you going for the right machine? What happens if you find out you went for the wrong machine? What happens if stops working in a year, or in two years just after the warranty ends – what’s known as “sod’s law”? ;-).

So whether you’re brand new to home espresso or you’re already developing your home barista skills and you’re thinking about an upgrade – what if you could kick the tyres on the latest version of a popular, higher end espresso machine (full setup with matching grinder if you like), with no obligation to buy? 

What if the only commitment was to a monthly rental of a £1600 espresso machine for £50, for three months, and if it’s not for you it’s just taken back, no worries?

This already sounds too good to be true doesn’t it? What if I told you that you never have to worry about problems, if anything ever goes wrong with the machine, an engineer will come to your home to fix or replace it, so you NEVER have to worry about it breaking or developing a pricey fault.

I know this all sounds way to good to be true, I thought the same, but it’s not – and I shall explain:

The latest version of the Rocket Appartamento is the Appartamento TCA (Temperature Control Adjustment). and you can rent one for £50 per month, and own it at the end of the rental!

No, you’re not dreaming ;-), this is correct. In fact, it gets even better than that!

This new plan that is being backed by the manufacturer, goes like this:

Hand over fifty quid, and get one of these: 

Rocket Appartamento TCA

Find Out More – Rocket Fuel

Rocket Appartamento TCA Review

  • £50 per month (£69 per month if you want the setup with the Rocket Faustino grinder).
  • Option to tag on 1 or 2Kg of coffee per month from one of 20 UK roasters.
  • Rental agreement, not a purchase agreement (more info shortly on how you end up owning it) reduces the usual red tape and commitment.
  • 2 person white glove delivery and install, they’ll even unbox it for you and put it wherever you point (they’re heavy).
  • 3 month minimum term, hand it back after 3 months if you like, they’ll come get it. 
  • Never worry about issues, servicing, maintenance. If you have an issue they’ll send one of their engineers to your house, to fix it or replace it.
  • Trade in your old machine if you want, even pod machines, reduce the monthly cost.
  • Own the machine after the 36th rental payment, or “buyout” early with no early termination fee.

Try Before You Buy…

Have you ever wished you could try a setup before committing to it? This is essentially what this is, and a lot more.

You’re only committing to stick with the machine for 3 months, after that, if you decide a traditional machine like this isn’t for you, or this isn’t the specific machine for you – they’ll come and pick it up (it’ll be serviced and will probably end up as a demo unit in one of their partner roasteries).

But because this a fully serviced rental agreement, you also have no worries at any time about maintenance, faults or servicing. 

They have a team of engineers covering the UK, if you have an issue, they’ll send an engineer to sort it, if they can’t (unlikely) they’ll replace it.

Renting is Dead Money?

I’m not sure I fully agree with that philosophy anyway, renting is an option to pay for something you need.

We all need somewhere to live, renting is an option if we can’t afford to or don’t want to buy. We need a way to get around, a form of renting is one of the options, and there are pros and cons to renting vs owning depending on the situation.

But, yeah, if you never ended up owning the machine, then this would be the obvious catch. But you do end up owning it, on the 36th payment – or earlier if you prefer.

They’ve done it as a rental agreement which means that until the rental period ends or you take the buyout option, they still own the machine. This means they don’t have to use full scale credit history checking and all that rubbish that happens when you’re applying for credit.

But, they’ve done it in a way that works similar to a mobile phone contract, which means that by the time you’ve finished the full term (or bought out early) you own it.

So this is the best of both worlds. You have the peace of mind, affordability and lack of commitment of monthly rental, but your monthly payment isn’t all being spent on the rental, the vast majority of it (90%) is being invested into paying off the machine.

So it’s only dead money if you hand it back early, and even then – £150 for getting to use a machine like this for 3 months on a try before you buy basis, I think is very reasonable.

The Buyout Option

You can login to your account at any time, click the buyout option, and you’ll see what the buyout cost is at that time, which includes 90% of what you’ve paid up until that point (the remaining 10% covers the cost of the rental, servicing, delivery, collection, admin etc.). 

As an example, let’s imagine you’ve been renting for 6 months, at that point you’ve paid £300, £270 goes towards the value of the machine, so your buy out value at 6 months would be the remaining £1330, meaning that you’ve paid £1630 in total, on a £1600 machine.

If you let the rental go to the full 36 months, at month 36 you’ve paid the £1600 machine value, plus the additional 10% for the rental and servicing etc., meaning you’ve paid £1800 in total, and at that point it’s yours. In other words you paid the retail price over 3 years, plus you paid a fiver per month for the rental, support & so on.

You can then keep the machine and cover your own maintenance, or pay a small monthly amount to keep up with the maintenance arrangement, or trade it in for a brand new machine and start again, using the value of your old machine to bring the payments down.

Or you can sell it privately if you think you’ll get more for it, you can do whatever you like basically, it’s yours.

But if you want to own it before that, you can, or if you want to give it back early, you can.

So it’s similar to a mobile phone contract, but without the commitment to remain for the full term, and without the whopping early termination charge. Regardless of when you want to own it, you’ll always simply pay the remainder of the balance.

If you don’t think that’s the deal of the century, please tell me what is. 

Find Out More – Rocket Fuel

I think this is such a clever concept because of all the birds it takes out with one stone (poor birdies). 

Affordability is one problem that this solves, and it does it without the usual hassle and commitment of taking on a finance agreement.

When you finance a machine, you’re committing to buy it, you can’t turn around to the finance company after 3 months and say “not for me, they can have it back”.

Also, if you were to take finance on anything, good luck trying to stop paying the monthly repayments 6 months in because you feel like you shouldn’t be paying for it as it’s stopped working ;-).

Also the “fully serviced” element of this removes the fear of what happens if it develops a costly fault a couple of years down the line, that little fear most of us have in the back of our minds when we’re buying anything expensive.

PAF 

What’s usually referred to as WAF, Wife Acceptance Factor, I’m referring to here as PAF, Partner Acceptance Factor because I think it may be slightly chauvinistic of me to assume that it’s always that way around ;-). I know it isn’t, by the way, as I’ve heard from people who are doing their best to convince their husband, too.

The TCA doesn’t look quite as offensive to the senses as some traditional E61 machines look, in fact I think it looks gorgeous. Even my wife, who doesn’t drink coffee, looked at the TCA and said “ooh, that would look nice in our new kitchen”. 

Yes, OK, that’s a double edged sword. I have to produce the new kitchen first ;-), I’ve only been promising for 17 years since we moved in, give me chance.

In addition to how attractive this machine is, the deal itself makes so much sense that most none home barista partners, although they may still think you need your head reading for wanting such an expensive “coffee machine” ;-), will struggle to not admit in the end that it just makes perfect sense.

“What if you don’t like it. What if it has a problem. What if I can’t figure out to use it”, can all be easily answered, although we all know the answer to the last one is “you’ll have a barista serving you your favourite coffees at your beck & call, who wouldn’t want that?”.

Read The Rocket Fuel FAQ

What’s the Catch?

When I first heard about this when Pro Espresso (the UK distributor for Rocket) sent me a press release, I thought exactly that, as it sounded far too good to be true. 

They’ve literally thought of everything, and anything that looked like a catch, they’ve changed. 

For example, initially the way you could end up owning your own machine was a bit complex, so they changed it to make it much easier to understand.

They also started out only with the full setup, and realised that some people would have another grinder in mind, so they gave customers the option, machine only or full setup.

I actually can’t see how this makes financial sense for them, being perfectly honest. The only reason I think they’re doing it – and that Rocket are partnering with them on it, is for the long term benefit it’ll have on the awareness of Rocket machines among a much wider audience.

Some may say the catch is that only 90% of your monthly payments is paying off the value of the machine, but I think that would be a really unfair perspective. You’re paying £5 per month (10% of your £50 monthly payments) to cover the rental, servicing, admin & so on, the other £45 is being invested into your machine. 

Some may say the catch is that if you end it early you don’t get back what you’ve paid, because it only changes from a rental to a purchase either when you get to month 36 or when you pay the outstanding.

That’s technically correct, but even if the ownership wasn’t a thing, I would think that a £50 per month rental agreement with just a 3 month minimum term, including all servicing and support, is a very good deal. But yeah, personally I’d only go for this if my plan was to kick the tyres and hand it back after 3 months if it wasn’t for me – or to end up owning it.

Personally I wouldn’t do it if I was thinking I might want to hand it back half way through, not because I think a £50 per month fully serviced rental agreement on a £1600 machine is a bad deal, but just because I think owning it after 3 years or after deciding to pay off the remaining balance, is an even better one.

So for me, the rental agreement with minimal (3 months) commitment and no worries about servicing and maintenance makes this a great deal, and the ownership makes it a complete no brainer.

The only real catch I can think of is for anyone who really had their heart set on either a different Rocket machine or a different espresso machine altogether.

In an ideal world I think it would be amazing if this deal was available on ALL Rocket machines – I assume it was such a complex thing to develop, though, that trying to do it on the entire range was probably impossible, so they had to go for the best selling machine that would be the best fit for the biggest % of people.

In an even more than ideal world this kind of deal would be available on whatever set up you fancied, and who knows, in the future other brands may follow suit in some way.

I suspect this will have taken a lot of support from Rocket, though, and I think they’ll have done it to increase their market share. Whether other manufacturers will be willing to invest in increasing their brand awareness in this way, I’m not sure, time will tell.

Anyway, on the plus side, you do have 3 months to see if you do get on with the machine, so if you were thinking about another machine but you just wanted a “try before you buy” 3 month use of the Appartamento TCA while you make your mind up about what’s your end game (for now) machine, you can.

Coffee Subscription?

They’ve also teamed up with 20 UK roasters, including Kickback, Crankhouse, Casa, 200 Degrees, Foundation, Workshop & Northstar, so if you want to, you can tag on a 1Kg or 2Kg monthly subscription, and that’s reasonable too.

You don’t have to take out a subscription, but I like the fact that they’re doing this – and that the price they’re charging for the coffee is very good considering who these roasters are.

I think a lot of people who wouldn’t have usually thought of going for a machine at this kind of grade, could potentially end up making the huge mistake of using such a mega machine with awful, stale coffee beans – so the fact that they’re encouraging customers to take up a monthly subscription for high quality freshly roasted coffee, I think is ace.

Grinder?

If you decide to go for this deal, please either go for the deal with the Rocket Faustino (for £19 per month more) or pair it with another capable espresso grinder. Using a machine like this with pre-ground coffee is illegal.

+ Fuastino Grinder + £19 per month

Well, OK it’s not but it should be.

I’d also highly recommend you don’t pair it with an entry level grinder. If you’re not going to go for the Faustino, I’d recommend pairing the Appartamento with at least something along the lines of the Eureka Mignon Specialita, Oro or Libra. DF64 or DF83. Niche Zero or Niche Duo. Baratza Sette 270 or Forte.  

Is the Rocket Appartamento TCA a Good Espresso Machine?

I’m not going to go into a full review of the TCA as I’ve already done that, here:

Rocket Appartamento TCA Review

But in a nutshell, I reckon the new TCA is among the best home barista espresso machines on the market at the moment, for this kind of price.

I’m not going to say it’s THE best, because there are so many options, covering such a wide price range, but all things considered I think this is one of the best options for a machine at this kind of grade.

If you want to find out about all the other options, see: 

Best Home Barista Espresso Machines

So this is a heat exchanger machine, which means it has one boiler – with a pipe running through it to heat fresh water from the tank, for the espresso. So you can pull shots and steam milk at the same time, just as you could with a dual boiler machine.

Also, as with most dual boilers, the steam pressure you get from the boiler is powerful, so you can steam your milk quicker than it takes for the shot to pull, so you can make coffees quickly, even if you’re making cappuccino, latte or flat white.

It’s not only quick, but it’s capable of brilliant milk texture, too, just as good as with any commercial coffee shop espresso machine.

They’re very well built, and they use quality components and materials. It has everything you’d expect a higher end machine to have including a 3 way solenoid, adjustable OPV, adjustable brew temperature. 

If you don’t know what any of that means, it really doesn’t matter – you’ll learn, and all you really need to know to begin with, is that you’ll probably want the brew temp on number 2 or 3, for most beans, leave everything else as it is when it’s installed, and tweak the grind size until you double the weight of ground coffee with espresso (36 grams of espresso from 18 grams of ground coffee) in around 20-30 seconds.

From here, there’s some learning to do, and yeah there’s a lot to learn, I wonder where you could go to learn more about all this? ;-).

Also see my simplifying espresso playlist



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