Older La Marzocco GS3 MP vs Linea Mini

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

#1: Post by maxcr »

The upgrade bug got me. I'm a long time lurker and happy owner of a Spaziale Vivaldi Mini and Compak K10 WBC for the last 10-ish years (both will be coming up for sale in New England soon).

Looking at my dream setup, I zeroed in on the GS3 MP and a Lagom P64. I looked at the Decent, the Prima and a bunch of other machines, but ultimately I've been obsessed with two machines for the last however many years: the Speedster and the LM GS3. (the KvdW is out of budget)

I have a good lead on an older (2014) GS3 MP without the conical valve for a good price. It's been recently maintained with a bunch of new parts so it's in good operational shape. I mostly enjoy the same beans for a week or two before changing them, so pressure profile although a nice to have but not a must have. I'm pretty much set on getting it because it fulfills my LM dreams and it's within budget.

Now I'm wondering if I should consider the Linea Mini which I had ruled out because I convinced myself I wanted the GS3. I will admit there's something about the faux paddle in the LMLM that bothers me. But I'm basically getting what I think would be an equivalent machine in terms of the espresso output in the older GS3, given that I gave up pressure profiling (really the only reason to go GS3 MP). I also like the hot water mixing capability on the GS3, but I'm ok using a kettle next to my machine for americanos and tea. Budget-wise the LMLM would be a bit more, but that's for a new machine.

I don't see myself upgrading to a conical valve right away, it's an expensive and complicated process. Same is true for the IOT retro fit kit to get the app functionality.

The questions I have are:

1) Is the older GS3 MP kind of equivalent to the LMLM in terms of espresso quality? Is the potential of longer pre-infusion of the GS3 using line pressure worth it?

2) Which machine would you favor? LMLM is new with warranty and available until March/April, the 2014 GS3 MP is the machine which I favor aesthetically but being an older machine the costs of maintenance could be a problem. (probably have to change the o-rings on the old valve every year or so, etc).

Thanks for your thoughts.
Max

drH

#2: Post by drH »

I'm also interested to hear responses here.
One thing to consider is that there is a needle valve mod for the Linea Mini that would give it preinfusion similar to a slayer.

In any case I think this is a highly subjective decision. In 6 months which machine would you regret not owning? Sometimes it's not about capabilities and perfect taste, it's just about the experience and aesthetics you want.

User avatar
cannonfodder
Team HB

#3: Post by cannonfodder »

I went through the same process mid last year. I ended up with a GS3-MP for several reasons. I wanted the pressure profiling ability of the MP. The LMLM does have a mod that you can make but so much for your warranty. I also did not want to fuss with modifying something to make it work the way I wanted. The MP was designed to do what I wanted out of the box. I also like the looks of the GS3 better than the mini.

To answer the next logical question, yes, I do use the pressure profiling all the time and it does make a difference. They are both made by La Marzocco so quality is equal between the two. The newer GS3 can also be programmed from you phone, track shot count, flushes, adjust the temperatures, set the on /off timer up and other things. The older unit may not have that ability.

So you know. I received an email for LM home about a price increase in the product line.

Hi there, this is a quick note to let you know that we're updating our espresso machine prices. Starting February 1, 2022, La Marzocco Home prices in the United States will be updated to:

Linea Mini: $5,900
GS3 AV: $7,500
GS3 MP: $7,900
If you've been looking to upgrade, there's never been a better time to lock in your order. Linea Minis & GS3 lead times are currently 8-10 weeks.
Dave Stephens

Marmot

#4: Post by Marmot »

I don't own one the mentioned La Marzocco machines but one thing I would consider is that as far as I know the GS3 MP dumps the excess water from pressure profiling into the drip tray. So if you plan on doing that you have to empty the drip tray quite often and throw away precious filtered water. The Grafikus Mod on the Linea Mini is a far more elegant solution to me and I think it also allows for much better control.

If you get a used La Marzocco machine you should also consider the service costs which might be necessary on the machine you get. La Marzocco uses many proprietary parts and sometimes has quite complicated systems inside that will sum up to pretty expensive repair costs. It does not have to be the case on the machine you choose but I would just be prepared for it.

maxcr (original poster)

#5: Post by maxcr (original poster) »

Thanks for your replies.


I know about the Linea Mini mods (both options), but this is probably not something I would explore right away, maybe in a few years down the line? It seems to be a pretty big undertaking.

Dr.H
Looking back from 6 months? I don't think I'd regret either (unless the GS3 ends up being a lemon with lots of problems) which is why I think the decision is so hard, they're both great machines. I agree with you that experience and aesthetics matter a lot.

Cannonfoder
The pressure profiling ability of the MP is something I'm interested in, but the older model GS3 doesn't offer it - you can only do longer pre-infusions with line pressure. It's line pressure, then all the way to 9bar, so you don't really get the experience that the new model offers. That's why I'm trying to compare the Mini with the older GS3 which is the one I could buy.

I saw the price increase email, so I need to make a decision by next week.

Marmot
I would plumb in the GS3 so I'm not worried about the water problem and I don't think this is as bad with the older model since you're not really profiling with the conical valve but I'm not sure.

Regarding the service cost, this is something that isn't clear to me. What are we talking about for a tech visit / parts every year? How different is it for a GS3 than a LMLM? I'm in a metro area and although I have done most of the work on my Spaziale myself I would probably use a certified tech for the LM.

Thanks again!

Marmot

#6: Post by Marmot »

I just read that the old GS3 just had a service so this probably will be no problem for you.
It's just that I was surprised when I saw the prices for spare parts for La Marzocco machines. They use a lot of proprietary parts and they are usually built a lot more complicated than standard E61 machines so it will take more hours in the service. But since you are used to doing some work yourself I would suggest you get acquainted with the inner workings so you could do minor repairs yourself.

User avatar
spressomon

#7: Post by spressomon »

A difficult choice but if it were me making the decision and knowing what I know today all things flow profiling...I would go the route of LMLM and at least have the option of modding it downstream for more manual control.

Being able to pre-brew/pre-infuse with lower water volume/pressure and extend the time for same...along with the ability to pull lower pressure shots...is a HUGE tool in the toolbox IMHO. I wouldn't go back to 9-BAR only.

And, arguably, the LMLM would hold its value, just in case you change your mind later on for whatever unknown reason, better than the older GS3. Again, just my $.02.
No Espresso = Depresso

Arafel

#8: Post by Arafel »

Just to throw more confusion on the fire, you can buy a pre-modded LMLM from Specht Design (I just ordered one, as I'm not a tinkerer and didn't want to try to install the Grafikus mod myself). They offer two mods from Rick Bond: the Slayer needle valve mod, or the Strada style gear pump mod. The gear pump mod lets you control pressure output throughout extraction of the shot, while the needle valve mod adds a middle position preinfusion on the paddle, just like a Slayer. Specht is great to deal with, and they warranty their machines, including the modded ones.

I might have got a GS3, but the MP is too big for my counter space. the LMLM fits, as it is only 15 inches high (the GS3 paddle is at 17 inches).

ApR186Qep

#9: Post by ApR186Qep »

I am new to the conversation. You all sound very knowledgeable. I have wanted to buy a LM LM or GS3 for 6 months but haven't pulled the trigger. What do you think about the GS3 AV versus the GS3MP/LMLM?

maxcr (original poster)

#10: Post by maxcr (original poster) »

I have read so many threads on this topic (suggest you do some searching, there's a lot of info here) that I think I have an informed opinion but I never owned them. From my understanding, it comes down to:

1) GS3 AV is a great machine for home but also for higher volume needs. It's pricey. For home use, people will tell you to look at La Victoria Arduino Prima, etc but if you have the budget, want La Marzocco and want the convenience of pressing a button for volumetric dosing, then this is it. It also has a mixing valve for regulating the temp of your hot water spout and is a steam monster.

2) GS3 MP is similar to the above, but instead of volumetric dosing you'll get manual profiling. People will tell you to look at The Decent, etc but if you have the budget, want La Marzocco and want to play with manual adjustments of pressure/flow then this is it. It's recommended that you plumb it given how much water is required for longer shots. It's great to experiment with Single Origin or lighter roasts.

3) LMLM is a great stable machine, most reviewers love it. It's a bit narrower than the GS3 (in case space is an issue) and can be ran off the reservoir. It's very stable but offers no extra frills (LM calls it an analog machine) - it's more of a purist experience except for the fact that the paddle actuates a switch instead of offering you real variable paddle control (some people care, some people don't). Lot's of steam power as well.

Overall you can't go wrong with any of the machines above, it comes down to which one best suits your use case.