Decent vs La Marzocco Linea Micra (or Mini)

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

#1: Post by StijnL »

Well, this was a topic that needed to be started some day, so it might as well be by me.

I have a La Spaziale S1 Dream and want to upgrade. Part of it is the impossibility to get it serviced and self servicing a plumbed in machine is not easy. Another part is that I'm having great trouble getting the flavor outcome that the bar achieves that is attached to my roaster, they are using a commercial multigroup Linea. I'm considering that it might be due to portafilter size (53 mm), some pressure sensor issue,... . Lastly, there is the great upgradeitis.

The machine is paired with an Eureka Atom Specialty 75HS with titanium burrs, which will not be changed. I'm doing one cappuccino and 2-3 espresso's per day. I do not care too much having to wait half a minute between drinks if I would have a lot of visitors, nor about having to steam for 10s more. I care about consistency and flavor.

When the Linea Micra surfaced, I was immediately drawn to it. Having a La Marzocco portafilter in itself would already provide great satisfaction (unexplainable brand effect). The machine will fulfill my consistency requirements as well. If my coffee would be bad, it would be me/water and not the machine. However, I started thinking about the Decent as well. I understand both machines are very different, but both are on my list. The Micra would be about straight-forward espresso making with great, consistent flavor; the Decent about many options and possibilities for experimentation, but also the simple tablet press for straight-forward espresso. Both machines will be plumbed in and out.

The Micra would be 3605 euro for the machine and 150 euro for a plumb kit, i.e. 3755 euro in total. The Decent (DE1XL) would be 4518 euro for the machine, 500 euro for the plumb kit (incl import and VAT) and 145 euro for the tamper, i.e. 5163 euro in total. Price difference of 1400 euro. (Am considering the DE1Pro as well, which would be 400 euro less expensive)

In favor of Decent:
  • Volumetric / Weight based extraction, which makes the machine useable by my wife as well
  • Experimentation possibilities
  • Consistency
  • Power consumption (I'm estimating 100 euro/y and better environmentally)
  • Community forums
  • More space below the portafilter
  • Possibility for tea and hot water (although slow apparently)
  • Would be my end machine, not so sure that that would be the case for Micra
In favor of Linea Micra:
  • Price
  • Brand
  • Better steam (minor thing)
  • Serviceability? (minor thing, because I'm afraid their direct sales model will remove most of the service network)
  • Safer plumb connection (closed circuit, minor thing)
  • Sound
Lifetime of the machine is not on the list, as I'm confident enough in the Decent, so that it is a non-issue to me. Also not concerned about the plastic portafilter of the Micra, as I will always brew with naked portafilter (and will likely buy a nicer LM naked portafilter over time). Having to weigh and pay attention to the Micra during each shot is more negative than having to steam separately from the brewing on the Decent (I tend to do both separately on the La Spaziale anyway, as I'm filling the pitcher during the brew). I am concerned about not being able to fit a scale and a large cup on the Micra.

Any further thoughts? It seems that more people have been moving from GS3 / Linea Mini to Decent than in the other direction. I'm looking forward for the thoughts of this great community, especially from people that have experience with both the Decent and the LM Linea Mini. I do not seek recommendations for other machines.

mikelipino

#2: Post by mikelipino »

You've done your research! The only thing I'd add is flow and pressure profiling on the Decent vs no flow control on the Micra. Other than that it seems like you can pick your machine by prioritizing what's must important to you.

baldheadracing
Team HB

#3: Post by baldheadracing »

Do you want to drink coffee or make coffee?

That's the essential difference between an LMLu and a decent.

As an aside, your shop's grinder, burrset, and water might have more impact on taste than the difference between (properly-working) machines.
-"Good quality brings happiness as you use it" - Nobuho Miya, Kamasada
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Spitz.me

#4: Post by Spitz.me replying to baldheadracing »

I get this sentiment, but it's misleading. I used it to drink coffee for half a year. Many of us use espresso machines that provide capability perhaps beyond what we actually need.
LMWDP #670

drH
Supporter ♡

#5: Post by drH »

The best advice I've ever gotten when looking for new machines is to really examine what you want out of the change. Do you really want the ability to profile and experiment? Will it make you happier to have that branded LM machine to work with every day (nothing wrong with that)? Is it effortless coffee? The ability to impress guests?

Both machines will make excellent coffee. But which will bring you joy in the process is what the hobby is all about.

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Randy G.

#6: Post by Randy G. »

With the Decent, you can make exactly the same bad espresso, day after day, shot after shot. Or, you can make adjustments to virtually all parameters and make exactly the same excellent espresso, day after day, shot after shot. Once you find what you like, save the profile under a name of choice in app. In terms of tea, I bought the tea portafilter and we have used it on black, white, and herbal teas. There are tea profiles in the app, and those can be adjusted and saved just like the espresso profiles.
I have been using mine daily for about 1½ years now. There have been some head-scratching moments but I do not regret the purchase.
www.EspressoMyEspresso.com
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TallDan

#7: Post by TallDan »

I have a decent and have used a LMLu. Other than both being home espresso machines in the same price bracket, they're so different that it's difficult to compare them.

If the looks and style of control don't immediately make the decision for you, I'm not sure anything that someone can tell you here will help.

Have you used any machines other than your La spaziale? What have you liked and disliked about making espresso?

baldheadracing
Team HB

#8: Post by baldheadracing »

Spitz.me wrote:I get this sentiment, but it's misleading. I used it to drink coffee for half a year. Many of us use espresso machines that provide capability perhaps beyond what we actually need.
So you were making coffee for the other half of the year :D. You have the machine that is right for you, and perhaps you might find yourself a little frustrated at times with an LMLu - at least, that's what my sentiment would imply.
-"Good quality brings happiness as you use it" - Nobuho Miya, Kamasada

RyanP

#9: Post by RyanP »

If you aren't immediately attracted to one or the other based on aesthetics, size, or some other reason that doesn't have to do with the espresso then I'd say it might depend on the type of coffee you like to use for espresso and the grinder you have paired. There's a lot of use cases one might argue for having a DE1, but I think the best use case is where somebody wants to be able to pull good espresso with light roasts and is either using a conical grinder or a flat burr grinder that is not well aligned and/or doesn't have a high quality burr set for light roasts. The various preinfusion tricks the DE1 can employ will cover some of the ground that you may be losing with the grinder in that case. With the right grinder/burrs I don't personally find you will need the capabilities of a DE1 and should be able to make great espresso with either machine and it just comes down to user preference. In fact, with some of the large flats you may even find that less is more when it comes to improving the espresso. Just my opinion, based solely on my experience and my tastebuds.

Milligan

#10: Post by Milligan »

I think it kind of boils down to are you an experiential person or a technical one? Meaning do you enjoy the process and the experience of the actual making of the espresso or do you enjoy the outcome and feedback loop of taste vs graphs? There is, of course, cross over and not a strict dichotomy. I feel like the home LM machines are more about creating a consistent environment to play barista in while the Decent allows nearly every parameter to be adjusted.

Kind of a different philosophy for both. Personally, I lean more toward the LM approach because it feels more engaging to me and, at the end of the day, more fun. I may be leaving some taste/note/texture on the table with the LM due to not having as much adjustment but you wouldn't know it from my smile while I'm working the machine :mrgreen: