Since so many people have followed my coffee journey this is the perfect place to share my battlestation details and links to the resources I’ve used to learn the art of espresso making. I’m far from an expert but I feel my skills at espresso pulling and latte art are moderate and I’d be hirable at a nice coffee shop. If my work at Period Nirvana ends, I have a fallback career in coffee.


The Gear List

Espresso Machine: Rocket Apartamento ($1,700)

Grinder: ECM S-Automatik 64 Burr Grinder ($950)

Why I love this set-up…

Both the Rocket Apartamento and the ECM grinder fit beneath most kitchen counters!!!

The only complaint I can think of with the Rocket Apartamento is the water reservoir doesn’t give you the “water is low” light until it runs out. I’ve had the light blink after a few drops of espresso hit the cup, meaning that particular cup will have to go to waste. I then have to fill the water tank and restart the process. If their warning light were the E on a fuel gauge I would immediately be out of gas and on the side of the highway when it flashes. For the price this machine is insanely capable, I can steam milk while pulling shots, a rare feature in this price range.

In the coffee world you may be able to find an espresso machine to fit under counters easily but most grinders do not. ECM makes one of the handful of grinders that fit. My biggest complaint about this grinder would be how close the portafilter is to the spout, I always have overflow when I pull backwards that is unavoidable. This means coffee wasted and a guaranteed mess. The quality of the grind is great though at the finest settings it clumps which isn’t uncommon.

Unfortunately for your budget, a good espresso machine is only as good as the grind of your beans. You need an equally good grinder to make a nice shot of espresso.

rocket apartamento

Favorite Pitcher: Motta Europa Frothing Pitcher 12 oz ($40) Perfect size for flat whites and smaller milk based drinks.

Favorite Latte Mugs: IKEA 5 oz mugs with Saucer  (2.99 – discontinued) or Loveramics 5 oz. Flat White mugs with Saucer 

Favorite Beans: Blue Bottle Hayes Valley, Counter Culture Big Trouble, Stumptown Holler Mountain, and Summit Pitch Black.

Misc Gear: Grindenstein Espresso Knock Box ($25) and my corner tamping mat ($14)

Espresso Beginner Resources

To decide which espresso maker is best we utilized the YouTube reviews from Seattle Coffee Gear.

For help learning how to pull shots, steam milk, and later, to create latte art, I found the channel Coffee Fusion most helpful.