Rocket Espresso: Time For Coffee

We're huge fans of anything that exudes quality, craftsmanship and passion and this week we want to talk about Rocket Espresso. A few years ago we came across the brand at Giro Cycles and it was instantly a love affair.

We caught up with Andrew Meo, founder of Rocket Espresso ( to find out about his company and also ask him some important questions!

1) What does a 'day in coffee' look like for you? Take us through your typical drinks for the day and why you have them at certain times. 

Thats pretty simple really, as I start with espresso, drink espresso all day and finish with espresso. In my previous life in New Zealand I would drink a lot more milk based coffee, generally flat whites. Coming to Italy 13 years ago, the way most bars treated milk was a long way from the milk quality found in Australasia, so I started to drink espresso more and more. Now I rarely drink a coffee with milk and if I do, its generally always outside of Italy.


2) Why do you think coffee and cycling have become so closely linked? What is it that draws the two together?

I really dont know! I have been asked this question a lot, nothing I have seen or read definitively marks the time cycling and coffee got together. Maybe it was Merckx and the association with machine manufacturer Faema in the 70’s but I think it goes back to before that time.

I guess that the fact that you can have a caffeine jolt prior to racing or training, without any real side affects goes a long way to explaining it, but then not many other sports seem to have the same fixation over coffee and you would think they would in that case. 


3) Rocket has become known as the coffee machine of the WorldTour, with pros typically choosing your brand - why do you think that is? 

Our association with the professional peloton really started by chance. In 2009 we released a limited edition machine to celebrate 100 years of the Giro d’Italia. At the time, through Rapha, one of these was given away as a prize. Both Mark Cavendish and Bradley Wiggins at the time were Team Sky riders, who’s clothing sponsor was Rapha.

They saw and ordered machines and it started from there. Now we have a kind of brand ambassador programme where a World Tour rider can approach me and get a machine at a good rate, there must be at least 250 riders, possibly a few more all using Rocket Espresso machines. 
Lately a number of riders have really gotten into making great coffee, it wasn’t always that way, and a number now have side line businesses going on around coffee, whether that be there own brand of coffee, or ownership of cafes.


4) Tell us more about Specialized-RocketEspresso team?

We were approached by Specialized to be part of their Redhook team, I think what they really wanted was to appear at Redhook as a factory team, but to be more interactive with the spectators, so we created a pop up where the riders were based. 

The spectators could come in and see the riders, watch them warm up, have a look over some product and then sit at a big communal table with a decent coffee. It was a brilliant concept and worked really well. It was a real shame Redhook came to an end as it was such a brilliant event.


5) Does Rocket Espresso have any more ventures into cycling lined up at the moment?

Currently we are offical partners with both Bahrain Mclaren and Deceuninck professional World Tour teams for the 2020 season. 

My passion is racing, I have raced for years and all over the world, so thats why we have become involved with teams and races. My business partner is into basketball and knows absolutely nothing about cycling so I am fortunate he is happy that I use budget in this way. We are not trying to become a cycling brand, we get involved as thats what we love. For me, to see the brand on the side of a team bus at a World Tour event is just brilliant.

6) Do you still ride now? And if so, what is it that inspires and motivates you to ride?

Normally I am on the bike 6 days a week, I still race, so thats the motivation to get out. The racing scene here for my age is great, at a really high level with a reasonable number of ex pro riders still racing. I still manage to race well, so that makes the training seem worthwhile even if it's difficult to sometimes fit that into my day.


7) What’s your go-to cycling coffee stop drink? And what snack do you have with it?

I mentioned I drink espresso almost exclusively however after a hard ride, if I were to stop at a cafe, I guess it would be a flat white that I would order.

Ironically in Italy there is not really so much of a culture of stopping after a ride for coffee, but if I am out of the country and ride with a group its likely I will have a flat white.

I have to be pretty smashed to eat a decent wedge of cake. I sometimes do some big days with my son who races on a Continental team, we pull into the bar mid ride, quick espresso and possibly a brioche, maybe a coke if I am on my knees and then we are gone


8) What set-up would you recommend for someone new to home espresso?

The internet is full of miss information about what you need in an espresso machine. Almost all machines in what we call the premium domestic category, from around EUR 1000.00 plus will make brilliant coffee. Generally if the machine is capable of making coffee and steaming the milk at the same time its going to be a fairly decent machine.

Automatic machines will never give you brilliant espresso but may give you convenience. The more you spend, does not necessarily give you better coffee, it does generally get you more and better features though. What you need is good advise from a decent retailer that understands what you want and guides you into the right product. Keep in mind that a premium domestic machine will last at least 25 years if it's looked after, sure it may need some maintenance in that time, but that does not make it a very expensive purchase at all so spending a little more is never going to be wasted.


9) And for the connoisseur and expert, do you have a typical machine you recommend?

Our R NINE ONE (!!) many are saying its the best domestic espresso machine in the world, and honestly it is (!!) that is after using many of the competitor machines. Thats what I use, but even if you are super passionate you do not need to go to this kind of expense. Possibly our R 58 is our best product, value verses features.

Like a lot of industries there is a lot of hype around coffee, to me its important to make a coffee that tastes brilliant and many many machines are capable of that. Is the best coffee I have ever had, the one that had the greatest amount of attention paid to making it, absolutely not.


10) Finally we have a shared passion for excellence, what three words would define what RocketEspresso is all about? 

Sorry its more than three words; I am passionate about the brand, I want everything to be as good as it can be, it won’t always be perfect every time but I strive for perfection. When it’s a less than stellar performance from us, I take it hard and personally. Thats not very healthy but its how I am wired I guess.

Thanks for your time Andrew, it was great to talk about if you’d like to find out more about RocketEspresso please visit
Photos: Augustus Farmer

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