La Marzocco GS3 vs Synesso Cyncra

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Postby laservet » Jan 01, 2008, 5:37 pm

Well, I'm over the price increase and am nearing a decision point. I am trying to decide between the GS/3 and the Synesso Cyncra. Unfortunately I've never seen either machine in the flesh, making an informed decision difficult. I also have a tendency toward paralysis by analysis. The space on the granite countertop is 24.5" deep, 28" wide, and 21.5" high. I can get 110 or 220 to the location, so power isn't a deciding factor. I want dual boiler, rotary pump, plumbed in, but I would prefer not to have to drill large holes in the granite. There are full granite backsplashes back and side so I can't get around drilling stone. There is already a 1.25" hole in the stone at the back of the slab. Here are my thoughts so far:

GS/3 pluses:

-- Fits the space a little better, just a little shorter front to back
-- Electronic controls more accessible
-- Can be set to turn on in morning
-- May not need to drill another hole in the granite if I don't plumb in the drain

GS/3 minuses:

-- Funky style (IMO)
-- Plastic sides, not a functional issue but disappointing given the price
-- Electronics in a hot area, possible toll over time
-- QC problems noted here and/or CG

Cyncra pluses:

-- Looks better to me, all metal, like the style
-- Electronics are located away from the heat
-- Possibly quieter since I can put the pump under the counter
-- Quicker recovery in 220v, but realistically this isn't much of an issue since I'm only making drinks for myself, rarely for more than 3 or 4
-- I like the paddle group

Cyncra minuses:

-- Appears to be larger, a little deeper front to back, wouldn't fit the space quite as well
-- According to Synesso, I would need a much larger hole in the granite - they recommend 2.5" but that would be a honking big hole. Alternatively, I could use the hole that is already there for some of the lines and make another smaller-than-2.5" hole to handle the rest, but I don't really know since I don't know what the feed and drain lines look like. This could be a deal-killer with the wife.
-- No timer, not sure if it could be run with an external timer. OTOH, if 220v it would warm up pretty fast anyway

I may see if I can burn some vacation time and take a trip to Synesso and to wherever my "local" Franke dealer is to see the machines in person. Unless someone who has used these machines comes up with a deciding point for me I suspect at this level of machine it may be a subjective decision, sort of like spouse preference. :)
Any and all impressions and advice encouraged and appreciated.

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Postby Psyd » Jan 01, 2008, 5:46 pm

laservet wrote:Cyncra minuses:
-- No timer, not sure if it could be run with an external timer. OTOH, if 220v it would warm up pretty fast anyway

I'd lean toward the Cyncra myself, if I were making that choice. And I'd be willing to bet that the hole issue would be solved two smaller holes, each an inch and change in diameter. Maybe a 2.5" x 1" slot? Anyhoo, get the Cyncra with the hot water nozzle as well as the steam nozzle, and just leave the thing on 24-7. No warm up time. Espresso, tea, hot instant soup, cocoa, oatmeal, cream o wheat, whatever, on demand. You'd be amazed at what you can instantly heat up with a steam wand. Instant fluffy omelette in the wee hours of the morning, anyone? ; >
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Postby lennoncs » Jan 01, 2008, 6:29 pm

I visited Synesso a while back and I can't speak highly enough about the welcome I was extended on my visit.
Mark and Sandy are extremely patient with me digging around the machines and asking a million questions.

as to the construction of the machine ....Bombproof; I believe the thing that surprises people when they see the thing is that it is not a small machine, not huge, but more designed with maintenance and accessibility in mind. i work on industrial equipment that doesn't have a fraction of the thought that this machine has with regards to ease of service (EVERYTHING breaks at some point in time)

the welds on the boilers and other components were fabulous and all fittings were standard fare for the US.
mark always seems to be looking for ways to make improvements...this is good.

styling is in the eye of the beholder; some people like the GS3, some the Synesso...toss a coin.

As to the GS3 It appears to be a fine machine and well made but I don't have any first hand knowledge as to all the inner workings.

My opinion...

I live in the Detroit area and have been recently wandering through used machine tool dealers looking for a piece of equipment. I see a lot of very fine American iron from companies that no longer exist; I see Synesso as a small company that echos the spirit of many of those machine tool companies of building the best here at home. when it comes to the kind of money these machines command; I feel better knowing that someone here is going to make a living wage and I can get repair parts for a fair price when I make my purchase.

a bit smarmy, I know, but try living in SE Mi. watching small shops auctioned every day at pennies on the dollar.

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Postby pdx » Jan 01, 2008, 9:12 pm

The countertop hole for the Synesso needs to accommodate:

1" outside dia. drain
1/2" outside dia. water supply
1/2" outside dia. pump power wire.

This assumes the power plug is above the counter. 1 3/4" is a minimum diameter; when spec'ing a bar I draw 2 1/2" with a raised grommet surrounding the hole (to keep machine legs from falling through during maintenance or moving.

I've never come close to outrunning my 110v Synesso, but 220 is much more efficient.

I don't regret having bought the Synesso, and would do it again even if the GS3 were at its previously publicized price. The build quality is amazing, even on parts that aren't exposed to view (inside boilers, etc.) The factory support is amazing, and you really are supporting a small, American, family-owned business. Parts are standard, so no problem with repairs.

Operating the machine is a tactile pleasure. The group & steam handles feel great, the slides, glides, & clicks provide firm, satisfying feedback without getting in your way. This machine will outlive me, no doubt. I really love to use it.

All that said, it is a big hoss of a machine.
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Postby luca » Jan 02, 2008, 10:21 am

I recently marshalled together as many points against they Cyncra as I could in the thread Why not Synesso?, and some of the discussion covered this very topic. When reading my post, please keep in mind that my purpose was to answer the OP's questions and, therefore, to give a negative point of view.

In a nutshell, I think that they are both pretty good machines and I think that you will end up happy with whatever you decide to buy.

I have only had one session with the GS3. It lasted a few hours and by the end of it I was enjoying some truly amazing shots. My impression is that those shots had thicker crema, brought out more of the subtle flavours of the blend and were sweeter than what I would have expected from the Synesso that I worked on ... truth be told, they even edged out the FB80 that I work on now. I can't sensibly attribute that to the GS3; it might have been the particular bag of that blend that I had, the particular grinder (doubt it), the focussed experimentation that I had time to do or perhaps even divine intervention. However, at the very least I think that I can say that the GS3 is up to the standard of the Cyncra.

Just trying to do some lateral thinking wrt the Cyncra plumbing ... the legs are pretty high; I wonder if you couldn't remove the water drain hose and simply put a container on top of the bench and underneath the drain box?

Personally, I'd go with the GS3. The portability alone strikes me as an advantage, but it might not be relevant to you. Unfortunately, the fit and finish didn't strike me as being as good as the current crop of LM commercial machines, but I think that it is about on par with Synesso. If I were you, I'd also work out how you are going to use the steam lever on the Cyncra if you install it in your kitchen. I liked using the steam wand on the right hand side of the machine, but I found that reaching under the steam wand on the left hand side to grab the lever was a bit irritating. The GS3 lever struck me as more generally user-friendly.

I'm sure that I'm partly swayed by the great shots that I got on that one session with the GS3 ... but what if that wasn't a once-off scenario? I'd love someone to do some more testing - it wouldn't surprise me if the GS3 just flat out made better espresso.

I'll reiterate, though, that I'm sure that you would be happy with either machine.

The team at Synesso are lovely and very responsive. The team at LM are also very welcoming and I think that it is owned by Americans. However, LM sure is a bit bigger than Synesso and I understand that you'd be relying on Franke/ESI for support.



PS. If you go for the Synesso, I'd recommend seeing if you could get the old style wire drip tray grate instead of, or as well as, the new style grate. The wire one doesn't collect any espresso on top, whereas the metal grates on both the GS3 and the new(er) ones on the Synesso do. I'm quite sure that both manufacturers avoid the wire grates because they look cheap, but they work well!
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Postby cinergi » Jan 02, 2008, 8:35 pm

If you go with the cyncra get the 220v. It takes mine 13 minutes to fully warm up and it recovers incredibly fast. With the cyncra you can run a 220v machine in 110v mode which I experimented with to save energy but quickly changed back to 220v because once you get used to the faster response and recovery anything less just won't do.

I also stopped leaving it on 24/7. My electric bills have dropped ~$15/mo. and rubber gaskets are lasting longer. I don't have to descale as often either (2 times per year down from 4).


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Postby JimWright » Jan 12, 2008, 12:28 pm

Wait, if you get the 220v machine, you can switch it to run in 110v mode? I'm currently renting so this is a big deal for me.

I can get 220v power easily in my current situation because I have it already running to my kitchen for a washer dryer combo unit, and can just run the espresso machine from the same circuit I think (not at the same time, obviously). But, if/when I move, I imagine I might be going back to only having 120v in the kitchen, so I might need to switch back...

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Postby Everman » Jan 12, 2008, 11:52 pm

Psyd wrote:I'd lean toward the Cyncra myself, ... No warm up time. Espresso, tea, hot instant soup, cocoa, oatmeal, cream o wheat, whatever, on demand. You'd be amazed at what you can instantly heat up with a steam wand. Instant fluffy omelette in the wee hours of the morning, anyone? ; >

Are you serious about the omlet? Does that work? I'm tempted to try but I'm afraid of the possible :shock:

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Postby Ken Fox » Jan 13, 2008, 1:01 am

Everman wrote:Are you serious about the omlet? Does that work? I'm tempted to try but I'm afraid of the possible :shock:

If you do use it for omelets, you need to get the special anti-microbial gasket for the frothing wand. This prevents the possible cross-contamination of any milk you may froth after doing a batch of eggs. The last thing you want to give a friend who requests a latte is a case of salmonella.

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Postby pdx » Jan 13, 2008, 1:02 am

Everman wrote:Are you serious about the omlet? Does that work? I'm tempted to try but I'm afraid of the possible :shock:

Yeah, you can cook eggs in a hurry with a commercial steam wand. I wouldn't do it on mine, though. Imagine eggs in the boiler... Mostly I use mine to heat bottles for my son.

I know at the Synesso factory they used to use theirs to heat soup for lunch. Just be sure to purge & don't do it after you've drawn out water for an americano or whatever.
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