The Rocket is a heat exchanging machine, the Unica is a Single Boiler Dual Use machine. Two very different machines with very different operation. There isn't really any comparison. Both machines have an E61 group from the looks of it, but that's about it.
From those answers, we can determine if the Premium or the Unica is the right machine for you. However, lets start out with budget? Budget must include the Grinder, Espresso Machine and Accessories.
I realized that you have quite a few posts and in a lot of those posts you've mentioned you've owned SBDU machines before, so I apologize if it sounds like I'm talking down to you. In that thread I mentioned, there is a lot of good information in there and you've mentioned before that you were looking at a Rocket.
IMO, I would say that due to your past experiences and posts, Just consider buying the Rocket.
Garbage In, Garbage Out, for every step of the process. From Beans to grinder, grounds to machine, coffee to cup.
gibson00 Senior Member Joined: 30 Aug 2007 Posts: 129 Expertise: Just starting
Posted Sun Apr 21, 2013, 1:33am Subject: Re: Bezzera Unica?
No worries, I do realize they are quite different. The Unica seems like a nice package for the money. I don't make more than two drinks at a time, so don't truly -need- a Rocket... :) Just wanted to see some reviews of the Unica.
As for grinder, I'll probably be going with a Vario.
ChiefUnick Senior Member Joined: 27 Jun 2013 Posts: 1 Location: GB Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Thu Jun 27, 2013, 5:30am Subject: Re: Bezzera Unica?
I am new to the 'homepro' coffee arena and have just got my first machines a Bezzera Unica and Mahlkonig Vario, and am really pleased with them both.
I wanted a compact machine with PID and a professional group which the Unica has.
Like you will only be making a few drinks at a time and also have limited space in my kitchen. The machine is nice and compact, and heats up very quickly warming the group as it goes.
After a couple of trial runs I got the grind right and now get the 30 second shot. The pre-ground coffee I used in my old steam pressure machine shot through in 10 seconds!
The Vario is great there is practically zero waste as it dispenses a measure dose right into the portafilter, which is easy to tamp down. Get a decent 58mm tamper though as the Unica comes with a plastic one. It does come with 2 portafilters and a single and dual shot filter.
The Unica PID has 2 modes, coffee & steam (which can both be adjusted), when you switch from coffee to steam between them it takes about 30 seconds to get the boiler up to steam temp. When switching back you need to turn on the pump to fill the boiler again and drop the temperature. I have found that a lot of water comes out if you fully open the steam wand but I think that is partially due to my inexperience. I think the trick is to let more of the water out of the boiler before steaming to give the steam more space to expand.
Edit: Yup that's better let the boiler get up to steam temp then open the wand for 10 seconds to purge out some water. Then once back up to temp you just get steam with very little water.
The user manual is pretty basic and for a novice like me wasn't much help getting me started actually making a decent shot.
There are a couple of youtube videos with Luca Bezzera (current production manager) who demonstrates how to use the machine. He steams the milk first then makes the coffee shot.
My brother has the Rocket R58 which is a dual boiler monster but has the same E61 group. The coffee shots from the Unica are as good as the R58 but the steam production is a little more fiddly to master.
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