The Rocket R Cinquantotto is the new and improved version of the beloved and well-trusted Rocket R58 espresso machine. In fact, cinquantotto is simply the Italian word for 58, and so they have even kept the original name.
The fact that you are reading this article suggests that you are interested in investing in a high-quality, prosumer home espresso machine. An espresso machine that would be on par with a Wega Mini, Bezzera Duo, or even a La Marzocco Linea Mini. No doubt, this is only one of the various models that you are considering.
And as we will go on to show, the Rocket Espresso R58 should be a very worthy contender on your list.
Rocket R58 Cinquantotto
The Rocket R Cinquantotto is a high quality double boiler espresso machine with PID temperature control, an E61 group head, rotary pump, quick recovery time, pre-infusion, and a built in shot timer. It is superbly made and has excellent temperature stability for better extraction.
Specifications of the Rocket Espresso R58 – Cinquantotto Model
Improvements with the 2020 model of the Rocket R58
In 2020 Rocket Espresso took their well-beloved R58 espresso machine and both upgraded it and gave it a facelift. This upgrade was not primarily about fixing problems (as very few significant problems dogged the R58). Instead, it was about enhancing what was already very good for greater usability and aesthetic appeal.
None of the valued strengths of their R58 were taken away, but additional features and enhancements were added.
New features of the Rocket R Cinquantotto:
Many of these upgrades were in response to the feedback of long-term owners of the Rocket R58 espresso machine.
Detachable PID touchscreen
The big-ticket item here is the detachable touchscreen PID. This excellent upgrade is connected to the left of the drip tray and can either be permanently attached or removed without affecting the machine’s performance.
And the responses of users have been overwhelmingly positive. The touchscreen is very intuitive to use and just looks a heck of a lot better than the old PID that had to be awkwardly plugged in.
Some of the different functions that can be controlled via the controller are:
As you can see, this is a marked improvement from the old Rocket R58. It makes the espresso machine far more enjoyable to use and far more doable to customize according to extraction preferences.
7 Day Programmable Timer
One of the most noticed improvements of the Rocket R58 Cinquantotto is the new seven-day timer. This means that you can program the machine to turn on twice a day at your preferred times. You can set it differently for each of the seven days of the week to fit in with your specific routine and schedule.
This is a superb feature and really ought to be part of every prosumer espresso machine. Because of the E61 group head, this double boiler (like most prosumer and commercial espresso machines) takes a while to heat up. Aka, if you turn it on from cold, you will be waiting for a while before the rocket espresso machine reaches a temperature so that you can pull your shot.
However, with this timer set via the touchscreen, you never have to worry about that again. Simply set the timer to be ready when you usually make your coffee, and you will be away laughing. It is very easy to program and change and is one of the most appreciated upgrades with the Rocket Espresso R58.
Built-in Shot Timer
Rocket has also added a shot timer above the on/off switch in response to feedback. This small LED timer is well-positioned to be visible while the shot is being pulled.
In addition, the PID controller is able to show a larger shot timer as part of its general display.
These shot timers are a small but significant improvement. It means that when you are using your Rocket R58, you no longer need your iPhone on the bench or to be constantly looking at your watch.
It is also nice that they have managed to include the shot timer without significantly altering the front profile of the espresso machine.
The final series of improvements have to do with the aesthetics of the Rocket Espresso R58. These have proved to be the most controversial of the changes.
The most noticeable difference is the new angled chrome legs. Some people love them, and other people hate them. It does come down to personal preference.
For my part, I do prefer these legs to the originals. I think they add a level of elegance and sophistication that wasn’t there in the original model.
The other difference concerns the cup warmer rail. Instead of the removable cup rail that topped the original R58 espresso machine, the Cinquantotto now boasts a permanent and more substantial stainless steel rail.
Again, this has to be evaluated in terms of personal preference. I see it as an improvement as it fits in well with the aesthetic and incorporates the iconic R.
Key Features of the Rocket Espresso R58
While these are genuinely noteworthy additions, the reason many people love the R58 is for what was already there and already excellent. And none of these have been sacrificed in the Rocket R Cinquantotto.
Unlike some prosumer espresso machines, which are heat exchange, the Rocket R58 is a double boiler with designated brew and steam boilers. This means that there is no recovery time needed between brewing and steaming, but the two can be done simultaneously.
The water temperatures of either boiler can be easily adjusted via the PID controller to fit your preferences. The R58 espresso machine has excellent temperature stability and no need for that dreaded temperature surfing.
As with the original, the Cinquantotto boasts the classic and trusted E61 group head. While saturated group heads have overtaken the E61 on commercial machines, it is still an excellent option for smaller prosumer machines.
An E61 group head is good for two things; thermal stability and pre-infusion. An E61 has a continuous circulating flow of water from the brew boiler through the group head and back to the brewer. This circulating flow, mixed with the heavy chrome plated brass (around 9lbs), makes for excellent temperature stability. The circulating water also means that the heat is evenly distributed across the metal in the group head. While this is ultimately inferior to a saturated brew group, it provides superb thermal stability and is significantly better than an electrically heated brew group.
In addition, an E61 group head has built-in passive pre-infusion. The water is applied to the puck at a low pressure that is regulated by a pre-infusion cylinder in the brew head. This aids even extraction and helps cover mistakes and imperfections caused by the puck prep.
So the E61 group head is undoubtedly a strength of the Rocket R58. The only downside to the Rocket R Cinquantotto in this regard is the lack of confirmation around pre-infusion. To do pre-infusion, you partially lift up the brew lever but not all the way. However, there is no light that goes on, no click or indication of any sort that pre-infusion is occurring in the group head.
While this issue is by no means insurmountable, it has caused frustration for some users.
There are two sorts of pumps typically used in espresso machines; rotary pumps and vibratory pumps. The former are more typically found in double boilers, while the latter are more commonly associated with heat exchangers.
The Rocket Espresso R58 has a superb rotary pump that is very high quality and is built to last. Rotary pumps are quieter and tend to last longer than vibratory pumps, which is a bonus for the Rocket espresso machine.
This rotary pump also allows the option of plumbing in as opposed to using the in-built reservoir.
And that leads to one of the first things you will notice if you decide to purchase the Rocket R58 Cinquantotto, which is that it is built to last. Rocket Espresso subscribes to the tradition of fatto a mano which can be translated as ‘made by hand.’
Every Rocket espresso machine is made by hand in Milan, Italy, and it shows. The Cinquantotto has that self-evident build quality that you can’t fake. Everything from the knobs and switches to the Chrome exterior and the sheer weight feels and is premium. It is a known fact that Rocket Espresso makes machines to last a lifetime.
So indeed, the Rocket R Cinquantotto isn’t cheap, but you are paying for quality and a machine that, if cared for, will last as long as you need it. This is a premium prosumer espresso machine.
And the build quality is not just about longevity, but it just makes it a joy to use. By the time you are paying for this caliber of espresso machine, it is not just about features and the coffee it can make, but it is about the joy of using it. You buy a machine like this because it brings you happiness to brew with every day.
The following video is a great in-depth user review that will give you an honest feel for what you can expect from the Cinquantotto.
Who is the Rocket Cinquantotto for?
So who would we recommend the Rocket R58 for? Well, as will be self-evident by now, this is a high-end prosumer espresso machine. It isn’t for a beginner; it is not a good machine to learn to brew espresso on. Instead, this is designed for those looking for commercial quality on a domestic machine.
It will make superb espresso if you know what you are doing. This Rocket espresso machine is one of their more expensive models and a significant step up from the Rocket Appartamento.
And so it is for the home barista who is significantly invested in espresso and is sick of sub-par espresso machines. This is commercial quality, and so you have to pay for it. As the PID controller suggests, this is for the sort of home baristas who would be interested in playing with the temperatures of both the brew and steam boilers.
It is the sort of machine that you can really aim for superb extraction and accurately highlighting the flavor profiles of different beans.
While there is a range of prosumer espresso machines in this price bracket with similar claims, we highly recommend the Rocket R58 Cinquantotto as a worthy option. Especially in light of the improvements post-2020, this is a seriously impressive machine that is a delight to use.