Choosing between La Marzocco GS3 MP and Decent Espresso DE1XXL

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.

#1: Post by clokwork »

Hello, I understand the 2 machines are quite different. I am a newbie by comparison to most here. I have been a manual lever guy looking to add to the hobby. What drew me to the LM GS3 MP is the heritage, the aesthetics, reliability (I hope), and the conical valve. The Decent is a totally different beast where the customizations of your espresso are nearly endless.

I mostly use medium roasts beans, but don't want to rule out light roasts in the future. I am currently using a Niche, but plan on adding a P64 (undecided on burrs) with the purchase of a new espresso machine to add the possibility of clarity to my shots.

I don't know how much information to add without blabbing on. One factor I am having a hard time deciding on is how I want to pull the shots. Do I Want to feel like I am part of the process with the LM or am I fine with doing all of the "math" ahead of time and letting the Decent do its thing.

Some other factors that are high priority are:
- Not difficult to maintain
- Good reliability
- Not obnoxiously loud (I've had no interaction with either machine)

Lower Priority:
- Water reservoir isn't a pain to get to (while I hope to work on plumbing)

Please let me know if I am missing vital info to provide. I've been lurking for a little while and am happy to be here.


#2: Post by Ad-85 »

Best part of making your coffee is walking to the machine and using it (even looking at it is a pleasure). Your decision should be based on that.
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clokwork (original poster)

#3: Post by clokwork (original poster) »

That hits me in the feels :D

First thing I thought of hearing that was the LM. I still need to read more into the reliability, longevity, and maintenance.


#4: Post by tompoland »

Agree that how you feel about the looks of a machine can be an important part of the decision making process and I for one did not fall in love at first sight when I saw a Decent (I have a DE1XL) whereas I did with many other machines including ECM Synchonika, La Pavoni Professional, Izzo Valexia and more.

That said, the Decent has stayed on my coffee island as the others have come and gone around it.

My conclusion, for me, is that I fall in love quickly with a good looker (still talking espresso machines at this point) but I stay in love with the one that continues to fascinates me. That said, I have a Nurri Leva S.A. on the way so I'm probably just an incurable romantic.

So back to you: do you want to play a lot and for a long time? If so then the DE1 is your new partner.

But if you find the siren lure of a GS3 more seductive then don't try and fight it.

Ideally, get both.
Some people drink coffee to wake up, I wake up to drink coffee.

clokwork (original poster)

#5: Post by clokwork (original poster) »

Not the answer my wallet needed to hear but dang does it make sense. I knew this would be a rabbit hole as are my other hobbies, but whew! Your writing is poetry by the way.


#6: Post by Ypuh »

Decent to me is a toy, La Marzocco a tank (who needs a tank you may ask, at HB we all just want something to play with).

It would be a no-brainer for me still, but then I have to add I'm looking at screens and data all day continuously and therefor prefer the artisan factor of a boiler, lever and some heavy duty piping/pump/steel body over a Chinese made all-electrical device. A Decent has fewer and cheaper parts, so heat-up, power consumption, maintenance etc. will be in its advantage. The La Marzocco may be built as a tank, that doesn't equal that it's cheaper to maintain. It can however work indefinitely if taken care of.

You'll enjoy both I'm sure, but I also know a few who just sold their Decent because it was simply too much (or too little in terms of hardware) for them.
I don't want a Decent

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#7: Post by Randy G. »

I have the DE1XL. Not sure why you would need the XXL. The XL functions fine on 120VAC.
See the Blog on my website- Chapters 159, 160, 166, 167, 168. They document my decision to get the Decent and post purchase experiences with about 1 year's use. I would say that if a manual lever is what you have been using and like, get a high-end lever machine. I might have considered the GS3 MP, And it might last twice as long as the Decent, and it should for about twice the price of the DE1XL. But it cannot match the flexibility and repeatability of the Decent. Two different worlds, really. I would say try them both before purchasing... And what grinder do you have?

If you do get the Decent, I would recommend plumbing it in and out. The owner's manual is, like so many other things about the Decent, different. But their owner's forums are filled with helpful folks.

I find many of the negative comments on the Decent flippant and dismissive without substance to support them other than emotions.
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#8: Post by Marshall »

All machines require maintenance. Sometimes tricky maintenance. A disproportionate number of the active posters here are engineers or are otherwise very skilled with mechanics and electronics. If you lack those skills (or the tools or space), LM products have the advantage of being supported by a wide network of espresso mechanics, who mainly service retail shops, but will also come to your home. (Ignore this if you live in a remote area)

My impression is that Decent maintenance is DIY, but with excellent online or phone support from the manufacturer. But you will still need tools and work space. Consider that FWIW.

I've happily used 2 GS3 MP's (in succession) for about 10 years and love them. But I have nothing negative to say about the Decent. If you want to run lots of brewing experiments, the Decent is designed for that. However, if you are like me, you may get bored with all the parameters you can adjust on a Decent and just want to walk up and brew a predictable cup of espresso each morning, even though your brain is full of cobwebs, which is what my GS3 does for me.
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clokwork (original poster)

#9: Post by clokwork (original poster) »

Thank you for all of the responses. This forum is amazing. I didn't get flamed once.... So far :D From the feedback, I am going to initially order the LM, but rub nickels together to add the Decent to the mix later. That said, is there a 007/Austin Powers stealth counter I can build to only show one machine at a time? I need to pull the wool over my wife's eyes.

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#10: Post by Peppersass »

Marshall wrote:All machines require maintenance. Sometimes tricky maintenance.
Very true. All espresso machines are subject to wear and tear over time. Sometimes they have issues due to water composition, lack of filtering, etc. Sometimes you get unlucky and receive a machine with shipping damage, defective parts, manufacturing errors, etc. The difficulty of dealing with these almost inevitable issues depends on machine design, your level of skill, availability/cost of parts, and/or availability/cost of professional service. So it's difficult to predict what your experience with either machine would be. All I can say is that the Decent and MP are much more complex than the Flair, so more maintenance issues will come up.
Marshall wrote:A disproportionate number of the active posters here are engineers or are otherwise very skilled with mechanics and electronics.
Guilty as charged. :mrgreen:

Good advice from Marshall on maintenance, but I don't agree with this:
Marshall wrote:If you want to run lots of brewing experiments, the Decent is designed for that. However, if you are like me, you may get bored with all the parameters you can adjust on a Decent and just want to walk up and brew a predictable cup of espresso each morning, even though your brain is full of cobwebs, which is what my GS3 does for me.
It's true that the Decent is an incredibly versatile machine, and you can go way down the rabbit hole with parameter adjustments, but you can also set up the machine using a traditional espresso profile and just walk up to it and pull a shot. Further, while you can just walk up to the MP and pull a traditional shot without having to setup anything, you can also execute a virtually unlimited set of flow/pressure profiles with the MP, albeit manually and with less precise repeatability. For advanced profiling, the mental learning curve with the Decent might be steeper because the parameters are number-based and software-controlled, but the tactile and timing learning curve with the MP might be just as steep (more similar to a lever, I'd say.) Sort of depends on how you're wired.

The GS/3 MP definitely has an advantage in build quality (my GS/3 AV was built 14 years ago and is still going strong), as well as availability of parts and service. LM is a much larger company than Decent, and there's little chance of it going under and leaving you high and dry. That said, Decent appears to be doing a good job and may end up being with us for the long run. From what I see posted, the vast majority of Decent owners are happy with their choice.

[FWIW, I went for the best of both worlds: I outfitted my GS/3 AV with a gear pump, needle valve and microprocessor control. I probably can do 90% or more of what the Decent does. But I'm one of disproportionate number of active posters Marshall mentioned... 8) ]