The Cronometro brings a modern approach to the old adage of ‘30 mills in 30 seconds’ as Rocket Espresso releases its first domestic range of models with a built-in shot timer.
Minimalistic, elegant, and iconic are the first three words Charles Stephens, CEO of Espresso Company Australia (ECA), uses to describe the new Rocket Espresso Cronometro range.
Released in late 2019 and now available throughout ECA’s national specialty coffee retail network, Cronometro derives from the Italian word for stopwatch, which is reflected in the extraction speed of the machine.
“With the help of the Cronometro’s shot timer feature, you can adjust and dial in your grind size – either coarser or finer – to speed up or slow down the flow rate of the espresso to achieve a guideline extraction of 30 millilitres in 30 seconds.”
However, Charles adds that modern home baristas now like to follow a unique recipe, often published by the roaster, which includes an espresso volume over a number of seconds, and to achieve this, the appropriate tools are required.
“This ensures consumers are able to maintain consistency of flavour in every coffee. When the coffee in the grinder has the accompanying extraction recipe, the consumer will experience flavours as designed by the roaster,” he says.
“There is a finer line these days between professional baristas and the home enthusiast than ever before.”
Despite being a key new feature, Charles says successfully integrating a shot timer into the Cronometro required a carefully considered approach.
“There was extremely high consumer demand for Rocket to include a shot timer, but the challenge was implementing it while retaining the simplicity and elegance of the brand’s trademark aesthetic,” Charles says.
Rocket Espresso’s team was determined to find a solution, trialling different styles and designs of shot timers to find something which matched the desired aesthetic, until Co-owner Andrew Meo took a different approach.
“Andrew decided that rather than trying to force something that clearly wasn’t working, the perfect solution was to custom-design and build the Cronometro its own unique shot timer,” Charles says.
“The result is a stylish shot timer that subtly illuminates in a soft, pale blue when on and then fades into the stainless-steel mirror face of the machine when off.”
The Cronometro is available in two designs, Giotto and Mozzafiato, and two models, Tipo R and Tipo V.
Tipo R contains a rotary pump, a mechanical pump that is commonly found in commercial espresso machines. It also allows the user to plumb the machine into the water mains of their home or office.
The V series contains a vibration pump, a small electromagnetic device that has a piston attached to a magnet, set inside a metal coil. As an electrical current form through the coil, the magnet rapidly shoots the piston back and forth, pushing water through the machine. The average vibration pump operates at 60 pulses per second.
Opinion varies in terms of whether the pump affects espresso flavour, but Charles says vibration pumps are slightly louder, albeit cheaper and easier to replace. Other than the pumps, the machines have identical technical components.
In addition to its shot timer and two different pump styles, Cronometro includes a Proportional Integral Derivative to regulate temperatures of the boiler and heat exchange, a 2.5-litre water reservoir, height-adjustable feet, and an E61 group head.
“These machines categorically deliver every characteristic of a commercial coffee machine that you would find in an espresso bar, including the same temperature, flowrate, pressures, and build quality. It’s a perfectly scaled down commercial machine in all senses,”Charles says.
“Cronometro uses a 10-amp plug and 2.5-litre internal water reservoir, so it’s a dream for portability.”
The choice for consumers doesn’t end at pump preference. The Cronometro also comes in two distinctive designs, the traditional Giotto and contemporary Mozzafiato.
Starting at the bottom, Giotto’s side panels subtly flare out diagonally before snapping back near the top of the machine. This creates the unique triangular prism body shape on each side.
The Giotto’s distinctive side panels originated from original Italian manufacturer Espresso Coffee Machines in the 1990s. Around that time, Charles began importing the products and since then, Rocket Espresso has been improving its version of the Giotto.
“It was a very high-quality product and totally unique to anything else. I was fortunate to be bringing them in over 20 years ago when the now-huge espresso-at-home wave started,” he says.
Mozzafiato shares identical technical features to the Giotto, but sports more conservative cast alloy straight- sided panels.
“Our sales would indicate that the Giotto is our number one model. It’s an iconic design, but we were missing out on a market segment that prefer the look of straight-sided edges,” Charles says.
All models of Cronometro, follow the “fatto a mano” Italian tradition, which translates to “made by hand”.
“Rocket’s team of craftsmen build domestic and commercial espresso machines with meticulous care and attention to detail. It’s another really cool point of difference that makes Rocket Espresso so special,” Charles says.
To complement the Cronometro series, or any of the other models in its domestic range, Rocket Espresso has launched the Faustino grinder in 2019 as a smaller alternative to the Fausto.
Both the Fausto and Faustino are tailor-made to fit the Rocket Espresso aesthetic and provide consumers with an accessory that stylistically matches their espresso machine range.
The Fausto, released in 2016, features a digital display with commercial quality and size burrs, a grind shot counter, and programmable duel control buttons for easy portion control and quick adjustments.
Charles affectionately refers to the Faustino as “the son of Fausto”. It shares the same features as the Fausto with slightly scaled down power and a smaller footprint that takes up less space on a benchtop.
“In essence, the Faustino is refined, sophisticated, and functional, and incorporates a new responsive LCD touchscreen and display. It comes in four colours that all look beautiful sitting next to one of our machines,” he says.
Faustino is around 6.3 centimetres shorter than Fausto, 3.8 centimetres thinner, and 5.1 centimetres shallower. The Faustino weighs in at 7.6 kilograms compared to its 11.3-kilogram father model.
“The Rocket Faustino has been very well received by consumers – we actually underestimated just how popular it would be. It’s a worthy and beautifully branded grinder that’s very compact and perfectly complements any domestic Rocket machine,” Charles says.
With the new Cronometro models and Rocket-branded grinders now on the market, Charles says Rocket Espresso is continuing to look forward by preserving what makes the brand unique.
“Rocket is continuing to find ways to innovate its range and develop new features without losing its identity,” Charles says.
For more information, visit www.espressocompany.com.au