Volumetrics on GS3 make a happy wife? Or just buy the La Marzocco Linea Mini?

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

#1: Post by Pprior »

So many questions, so I'll keep this focused.

Background: we have a breville oracle touch currently. Wife uses everything full auto (grind, tamp, steam) and while she will admit weighing the output rather than just using the timer has helped shots, she wants little do with with the "art" of making espresso.

She puts 2 oz of caramel syrup into probably 12-14 oz of coconut milk and is very happy with our $5 aldi beans. I enjoy espresso shots at a good coffee shop but my favorite is a macciato or a flat white, and none of these are as good at home with what we have as I enjoy at a shop hence I've got upgraditis.

With regards to the machine, looks are VERY important to her, she is already very unhappy that i have taken over precious countertop space.

She likes the LMLM (who doesn't!) but I'm thinking the pushbutton volumetrics on the GS3 AV may make her happier.

With a dose based grinder (I've ordered a Lucca atom 75, but whether that was a good choice is whole different thread), would the workflow be pretty much touch button on grinder, tamp, touch button on GS3 AV and be done? I think that would make her much happier than doing the whole scale thing.

Appreciate the marriage counselling.


#2: Post by klee11mtl »

lol, I hear ya. If our Pro did not have volumetrics, regardless of how poorly implemented, my wife would probably make herself tea if I wasn't available.

It's possible your grinder upgrade alone may solve the quality issue for your own drinks. I'd certainly give that a chance before deciding on the next machine.

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#3: Post by Jeff »

Depending on how you phrase the question, you probably could get the answer you want.

Whose happiness are we really talking about here?

"Would you be OK watching the scale to know when to flip the lever to stop the shot?"

"Would you be OK, putting the scale on the drip tray, adding the cup, hitting the tare button, then watching it so that you don't mess up and let it run too long?"

"I know it's much bigger but this one stops on its own."

"It would cost several thousand dollars to get one that will stop on its own, then we can't get the one with the shot-profiling valve. Can I show you how to use the scale, or even roughly where to stop if you're using your favorite cups?"


#4: Post by beans+crumble »

Milk steaming is not automatic on the GS3 or the Linea Mini like it is on the Oracle Touch. Both the GS3 and Linea Mini have very powerful steam wands and would have a learning curve. Something to consider as well.


#5: Post by Satchmo780 » replying to beans+crumble »

This would seem to be a big drawback that I think OP has overlooked.

Also, I wonder if improving the current setup with a better grinder, and more importantly better beans, would get them closer to the cafe style drinks they crave. I was able to get consistently good espresso and milk with a PID Silvia.

The GS3 or LM will definitely get you great coffee and milk, but not without work, and there are additional factors that you want to consider (maintenance, water quality, plumbed or not, etc.)

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#6: Post by Jake_G »

I'm running the Lucca Atom 75 alongside the GS/3 right now and one of the things I'm evaluating is Heidi's experience in using the two.

Volumetrics are nice.

I'm weighing the output as a function of grinder evaluation, but otherwise the workflow would be as follows:
  • Remove Portafilter
  • Click portafilter into Lucca once to wake up
    (or tap anywhere on screen)
  • Click portafilter into Lucca to dispense coffee
    (or tap big timer on screen)
  • Tamp
  • Lock portafilter into group
  • Press desired dose button
  • Steam milk
  • Pour milk
  • Enjoy coffee
Volumetric dosing is total water dispensed through the shot The logic board in the GS/3 counts the pulses from the flow meter when you program it and it stops the shot when that number of pulses is reached. Because of this, there are a couple caveats:

First, you should either rinse the group immediately before each shot to fill the internal tube between the 3-way valve and the group every time, or you should never rinse the group immediately before each shot. If you set the dose with an empty tube (no group rinse) and then pull shots with a full tube (with group rinse), the volume of the tube (which was air when the dose was set) will be water and you'll get a larger yield. The opposite is also true, so pick one approach and stick with it. I'm in the pre-rinse camp. I'm almost certain Heidi is not, so if your wife can't be bothered to rinse the group first, maybe adjust accordingly.

Second, dose impacts the volumetric yield. The Lucca Atom 75 is consistent enough that once you get a bean dialed in, this should not matter too much, but I've seen +/- 0.7g swings on odd occasions and that does impact the yield. The coffee puck absorbs some water, so when the dose goes up, the yield goes down (in addition to the brewing time going up) and the inverse is also true. The results are generally perfectly drinkable as the Mythos burrs in the Lucca have a massive sweet spot for dial in, but it is something to be aware of.

I mention this because Heidi is cognizant of shot volume in the cup and reports back if things seemed unusual. "Jake, I don't know what you messed with, but the shot took forever this morning and it stopped way short. Fix it."
This happens more frequently with Lucca than with the Ultra, but she prefers the easy workflow of timed dosing to weighing the beans with Ultra, even if the shots are slightly less consistent.

Again, this is an inconsistency that will appear to be a problem with the volumetric dosing on the GS/3, but is actually a function of the grinder. Just be aware.

I'll second the notion that while the wife may be happy with $5 Aldi beans and coconut milk with 6 pumps of syrup, upgrading to something freshly roasted, even with the equipment you have now, should greatly remove the urge to sip coffee at a cafe. Grab some beans from your favorite cafe and you should be able produce results that are on par with or better with a little bit of practice on the Oracle. The integrated grinder is the hold back, but even so, you should be able to get some great results with a typical shop espresso blend.

I would recommend that with the Lucca Atom 75 on the way, you keep the Oracle filled with Aldi beans for the wife and load something tasty into the Lucca and get to work dialing in that combination.

You can politely let your wife know that the big grinder is for beans that don't need syrup to be delicious and she can make the transition whenever she likes.


- Jake
LMWDP #704

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#7: Post by harris »

She is obviously happy so the real question is how unhappy do you want to make her? Get yourself a Strietman CT2 and be done.

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#8: Post by ira »

I would consider the LM Swift Mini. It solves all the grind-measure-tamp issues in one pretty decent grinder. The biggest issue will be getting one. That paired with a Linea Mini might make her happy and somewhat minimize counter space. I say that because while the GS3 is volumetric, it's also a lot bigger and possibly not as attractive.

La Marzocco Swift Mini Review


#9: Post by mike01 »

I went though this same decision. My wife has similar tastes in coffee. I went with the GS3 AV and I haven't regretted the decision for a minute. The volumetrics make the brew process super easy and it is overall reasonable accurate. Other than dialing in a new coffee, I never measure my brew output, it just works.

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#10: Post by Jake_G »

ira wrote:I would consider the LM Swift Mini. It solves all the grind-measure-tamp issues in one pretty decent grinder. The biggest issue will be getting one. That paired with a Linea Mini might make her happy and somewhat minimize counter space. I say that because while the GS3 is volumetric, it's also a lot bigger and possibly not as attractive.

La Marzocco Swift Mini Review
The OP has a Lucca Atom 75 on the way.

Having used both, I would not recommend the Swift Mini over the Lucca.

I would not recommend the Swift Mini over a Super Joly.
Or a Vario.

Or Café Bustelo.
LMWDP #704