What makes La Marzocco GS/3 different from Linea Mini or similar priced espresso machines?

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

#1: Post by Sfnewbie »

The guy who services my machines has been a big proponent of throwing down for a GS/3 rather than getting a DB e61 when I upgrade. Not being as familiar with Linea Minis, he loves the serviceability, reliability and consistency of a GS/3 and thinks its footprint is better for the home kitchen.

No doubt, the G3/3 is a great machine, but what makes it multiple thousands of dollars better than other options. At what discount below the advertised price for a GS/3 would you consider it a screaming no-brainer. Assume my guy has a hook-up.

And along similar lines, what experience/advice do people have on the paddle vs. volumetric GS/3 beyond aesthetics or the tradition of a paddle?

The Slayer is not an option, so please don't say that if I'm willing to spend $7k....then why not.

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AssafL
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#2: Post by AssafL »

I own a GS/3 volumetric and will not speak to the difference between paddle and AV (not since I am not opinionated, but since I don't think it really matters that much).

GS/3 is designed for high throughput. As high as almost possible for a single group machine. This isn't just a choice of heaters, but the entire hydraulic / steam system:

1. Large steam boiler
2. Heat exchanger to heat the water that goes into coffee boiler (so one can pull espressos sequentially).
3. Heated water goes into a Mixer with cold water to conserve the heat of the steam boiler and ensure the water is as close to boiler temp as possible. Helps thermal stability.
4. Tea water is steam boiler water mixed with cold water (hot water conservation)
5. Lots of extra check valves and plumbing to make all this work.
6. PID for both boilers. PID in steam boiler measures steam temp for fast recovery.
7. Love the AV (volumetric) feature, but it needs a good grinder and consistent dosing.
8. Auto clean cycle. Can be done manually - but it is nice.
9. Spacious design for reasonably easy maintenance.

Now all these are also weaknesses:
1. Extra components:
A. Raise machine price
B. Make machine more difficult to troubleshoot and fix.
C. More can go wrong and is expensive to fix.
2. Early machines had issues with water in the CPU
Box (seems to have been fixed)
3. Rather wide footprint
4. Plumbing in also requires drain plumbing
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nuketopia

#3: Post by nuketopia »

I opted for the Linea Mini. It had the right size for me and the front accessible water tank made it on my short list of machines. I needed something that would allow for front water access. My tap water is not suitable for plumb in without a lot of treatment. So a "pour over" is needed. The LM hit that mark.

The Linea Mini is different than the GS/3 in implementation, but it too, is a very high quality machine. Stainless in places where others use brass and commercial quality construction inside It's a little less tweeky featured than the GS/3 and it is about $2500 cheaper.

The Mini heats up very quickly - something that makes it suitable at home. ( I think the GS/3 takes longer to stabilize, due to the saturated brew head - but I could be wrong) The rate at which one can go from, wanting a coffee to drinking it is under 10 minutes, or just a bit over if you want milk. I don't mind the "less variables" to play with. The Mini is straightforward to use and is very consistent in terms of temperature and pressure. The integrated brew boiler is a very good design and the PID is solid.

I had an e61 HX machine and enjoyed it for years. You may be completely happy with a PID/DB/e61. The LM was a big step up in consistent performance. I didn't think I needed anything else from the GS/3 to warrant the extra money. Love them though.

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weebit_nutty

#4: Post by weebit_nutty »

When I was in the market for a new machine, I came upon an incredible opportunity to pull shots on the GS/3 side by side with a Linea Mini at a La Marzocco sponsored "training" event. I ended up purchasing the Mini.

It was impeccably crafted, pulled some very yummy shots, more ergonomic, and significantly lower in price, which left me with more play money for other cool toys :) (I purchased a 2015 Cremina a month later).
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JonF

#5: Post by JonF »

I am planning on upgrading to one of these two. I did have a chance to see both in person at La Marzocco in Seattle. Had a nice tour too, by the way :D .

It's not an easy decision! A GS/3 typically comes with extras, like built in timer, extra portafilter, included pluming kit, that reduce the price difference a little. But my take is it really comes down to variables. The GS/3, in either version, offers more variables to play with. Which, of course, has pros and cons. Ergonomically, I prefer the Mini by a wide margin--I like having the controls top and forward instead of back by all the hot things like water dispenser and steamer. Good luck!

Sfnewbie (original poster)

#6: Post by Sfnewbie (original poster) »

For those that have seen the mini and GS/3 side by side, how do the footprints compare?

The GS/3 seems to be shorter and could fit under a cabinet.

How do the LM's compare size wise to the E61 DBs on a kitchen counter? Looking at dimensions doesn't help me visualize much.

I'm looking for a small footprint

Beezer

#7: Post by Beezer »

The Mini is taller and narrower than the GS/3. It's comparable to the e61 machines, but a bit deeper than most. The Mini still fits under most kitchen cabinets, including mine, which are lower than most.

I didn't see any reason to pay $2,500 more for a GS/3 over a Mini. Both machines have similar shot pulling and steaming performance as far as I can tell. The GS/3 comes with some nice extras, like the plumbing kit and additional PF, but I bought those items separately for the Mini for a couple of hundred bucks and still saved over $2,000 over the GS/3.

The biggest difference between the machines is that the GS/3 paddle does preinfusion, but costs even more than the standard one. And it still needs to be modded if you want full pressure profiling, which costs even more and involves some work to install.

None of those extras seemed worth the additional money to me, plus I like the looks and simplicity of the Mini over the GS/3, so the Mini was the obvious choice from my perspective.

In terms of reliability and servicability, it's still a bit early to say, but so far the Mini has been rock solid for me and it seems very well laid out if it does need any work. The GS/3 is much more cramped inside. Again, the Mini wins as far as I'm concerned. However, I can see how some people would prefer the GS/3, and I would never tell them they're wrong.
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weebit_nutty

#8: Post by weebit_nutty »

All this begs the question, how has GS/3 sales been affected by the LMLM?

I'm betting the numbers have dropped significantly, maybe upwards of 80% (just a w.a.g.), however they've done the math and are probably coming out ahead tenfold, given the market for a $4000 espresso machine is at *least* 10 times greater (again WAG :lol:) than an espresso machine that costs $6500 + whatever additional costs needed to plumb the machine.
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AssafL
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#9: Post by AssafL »

I am pretty certain one could mod a Mini Linea to do preinfusion.

Many of us GS3 owners would have had a Linea if they had been available 7-8 years ago when we acquired ours. Not sure the opposite is true. I got mine at the fire sale for a bit under 5k and at the price the GS3 wins. Mine is also heavily modded over the years with mains preinfusion, flow control, long timer, etc.

As for performance, the GS3 is a professional machine, dual boiler, and can do catering work at ease. If I had a catering business I wouldn't depend on a mini Linea (a prosumer machine) as thermoblocks don't have the capacity a boiler has. As an example - I have seen GS3 at events, some coffee shops and even Michelin starred restaurants.

Otherwise it is a moot choice. The Linea being narrower takes up less counter real estate and that makes it the winner. I wouldn't hesitate unless I could get a sweet deal on a GS3 (or a used one).

But then again I would not replace mine - not with a Linea, not with a Londinium nor even a Bosco.
Scraping away (slowly) at the tyranny of biases and dogma.

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AssafL
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#10: Post by AssafL »

weebit_nutty wrote:All this begs the question, how has GS/3 sales been affected by the LMLM?

I'm betting the numbers have dropped significantly, maybe upwards of 80% (just a w.a.g.), however they've done the math and are probably coming out ahead tenfold, given the market for a $4000 espresso machine is at *least* 10 times greater (again WAG :lol:) than an espresso machine that costs $6500 + whatever additional costs needed to plumb the machine.
I guess it may hold true if you are talking about the prosumer segment of the market vs. the professional segment of the market. I don't think pros would buy a LMLM.
Scraping away (slowly) at the tyranny of biases and dogma.