La San Marco 100 single group - thoughts and opinions

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.
arishmawy
Posts: 8
Joined: 3 months ago

#1: Post by arishmawy »

Hello people, hope everyone is doing well.

I was hoping to get peoples' opinions on the La San Marco 100. I cannot find any reviews or feedback on this model anywhere. Seems strange to me that barely no one posts or comments about it. From specs it seems to be an interesting choice for a home machine, at least given how popular LSM lever groups are, solidly built with quality components and engineering

I am in the process of negotiating a La San Marco 100S. Coming from a Londinium R I do not have experience with pump machines, but am becoming interested on the flavor profile of flat 9bar extractions. I'm probably just bored of levers and wish to try something new

Things that caught my attention personally on the 100S are:
- Basket depths of 54mm groupheads vs traditional 58mm which I currently use (supposedly aides channeling and somewhat changes taste profile?)
- Compact 3L HX boiler (faster warmup times, less waste during flushes/higher water cycling)
- Water flow variator in thermosyphon to regulate group water temp.
- Exterior design is not so bad. I am inclining towards white panels.

In regards to the flow variator, what does this help with? Will you need to do less flushes to reach target temp? Does this eliminate the HX "water dance" and makes the machine a walk-up-and-pull-your-shot type machine?

My apologies if I didn't make myself clear or got anything wrong, it's my first time posting here.

arishmawy (original poster)
Posts: 8
Joined: 3 months ago

#2: Post by arishmawy (original poster) »

Any advise is welcome. Thank you

MemPast
Posts: 200
Joined: 7 years ago

#3: Post by MemPast »

Welcome to HB.
I do not have any experience with La San Marcos.
It is worth asking about the smaller basket width and its effect on flavor profile. I personally prefer smaller baskets on my la pavoni and zerowat (49mm and less). With traditional medium-dark roasts, they produce thick crema with a very nice mouth feel. I also used a Saeco Via Venezia with 53mm, and I thought it was easier to pull a shot with it than Gaggia classic with 58mm. (Yes, it was with pressurized portafilter, but I also tried other pressurized 58mm and did not like them, where I liked the Saeco's one).

LSM 100 seems an expensive machine. I assume you are buying used!?

How about you buy a La Spaziale Vivaldi/dream, which has smaller baskets (53mm), is cheaper, built for home, and it is actually a double boiler, which is a big plus. The vivaldi and dream got very nice reviews in the past when they were introduced, and you can find plenty of reviews here. You can get a good one with around 1000 usd, and may be less.

Good luck.

arishmawy (original poster)
Posts: 8
Joined: 3 months ago

#4: Post by arishmawy (original poster) »

Thanks @mempast the Vivaldi in fact is my third option, I very much like its simplicity and straightforwardness, plus the fact it is a DB so temp management would be a non issue. But it is exactly this why the LSM is attractive to me. I seem to enjoy the feeling that using the LSM would be a more challenging, therefore more rewarding machine when pulling a great shot, the satisfaction of understanding the flexibility of my machine and having a more "intimate" relationship with it

Pricing is what is tilting me towards the LSM. Incredibly it is only $300 more expensive than the Vivaldi, I can purchase locally and have local service and 1yr warranty, things I don't get with the Vivaldi. plus I get the feeling the LSM is more "machine" than the Vivaldi in terms of longevity and component quality, but that's just my opinion.

What would you do in my spot? Thank you

User avatar
BaristaBoy E61
Posts: 3538
Joined: 9 years ago

#5: Post by BaristaBoy E61 »

Your 'perfect' machine might be the Dalla Corte Mina. That machine might give you everything you're looking for - including a 54mm group!
"You didn't buy an Espresso Machine - You bought a Chemistry Set!"

arishmawy (original poster)
Posts: 8
Joined: 3 months ago

#6: Post by arishmawy (original poster) »

The Mina would certainly be my near perfect machine, it's just that it's more than 3 times the price of the LSM 100s I have my eyes on. Not worth it for me at this point in my life

Just look at it, a thermosyphon with flow variator HX boiler LSM group setup that looks like it'll last for ages. It sounds very fun. And for $3K new? What do?

(Credit: Instagram)

arishmawy (original poster)
Posts: 8
Joined: 3 months ago

#7: Post by arishmawy (original poster) »

For example, would a Cimbali Junior DT1 Casa be comparable to a La San Marco 100? Are they in the same league?

MemPast
Posts: 200
Joined: 7 years ago

#8: Post by MemPast »

It looks like you are in Honduras. In that case, definitely go for something with local support. There is some difficulty with HX, but people learned workflows to get nice shots.

Personally, I would go with double boiler over HX, or with single boiler (if you do not steam milk like me). I have a Vibiemme HX and QM Alexia single boiler with PID. I prefer the Alexia, especially with the PID.
That said, I think your Lever might be more than enough for your needs. If you must go for pump machines, E61 machines are good value, despite the 58mm basket that you wish to change for smaller baskets. I think you will get more out of an E61 with flow control. Flow control definitly helps with getting better shots. I have it on my Alexia, and without it my shots are not as good.
In regards to the flow variator, what does this help with? Will you need to do less flushes to reach target temp? Does this eliminate the HX "water dance" and makes the machine a walk-up-and-pull-your-shot type machine?
I think that helps with regulating the group temp to some degree. Not sure if it is a big deal, since you can control the group temp with the boiler pressure or doing flushes.

BTW, what is your grinder?

arishmawy (original poster)
Posts: 8
Joined: 3 months ago

#9: Post by arishmawy (original poster) »

I use a Kafatek mc3 as my conical and an Anfin super caimano as my flat. I'm very happy with both. I'm also wanting to get into pulling caffe crema drinks since I do enjoy drinking americano style coffee very often, something I can't do with my spring lever hence me wanting a pump machine

Thanks for the recommendation about e61s, although honestly I've never been a fan of the E61 GH looks, I just can't find them pleasing to the eye. I'm torn between the LSM 100S and the Cimbali M21 Junior, can get them both locally with warranty and support for basically the same price. None of them have flow profile but I can do without it. I really like both interpretations of grouphead thermal management, the fully saturated group in the Cimbali and the tunable thermosyphon on the LSM

Decisions, decisions

MemPast
Posts: 200
Joined: 7 years ago

#10: Post by MemPast »

You have nice grinders.

Cimbali has 58mm portafilter. I think it is better suited for home use, and pretty sturdy.

The following suggestion might be in your price range, but a bit higher than the ones in your list: it is the Olympia Maximatic - Second Look. The newer ones has 54mm baskets.