First Impressions of La Marzocco GS3 from a New Owner

Need help with equipment usage or want to share your latest discovery?
mike01

#1: Post by mike01 »

I've been very interested in the La Marzocco GS3 and have followed the development of it ever since the prototypes came out many years ago. I finally had the money, so I decided to upgrade my Duetto. I considered the Linea Mini since it was cheaper and I actually ordered one. It was on backorder and after doing more research, the more I thought about it, the more I wished I had gone with the GS3. I was able to get a pretty decent discount off either machine and the price difference isn't even that much since the recent price increase of the LM if you look at it as a percentage of the cost of the machine.

The differentiating features of the two machines was the decision making factor for me. In my household, my wife uses my espresso machine almost as much as me. However, she is interested in a simple workflow. She only drinks milk drinks and has never used a scale or any precise method of measuring shot volume. Therefore, that pretty much ruled out the paddle version of the GS3 as that is another variable that would give her inconsistency. That also wasn't a big deal for me as I generally use medium roasts, not the lighter roasts that benefit the most from flow control. I figured the volumetric function, even though many people claim it is not very accurate, would give her more consistency.

I received the new GS3 a couple days ago. I was a little concerned how I'd like the cosmetic appearance of the plastic side panels, but they actually aren't bad in person. The machine is overall very attractive and the build quality is excellent and several steps above my Duetto, which is a great machine for the price. There is just something about the GS3 though, it's solid and feels like the commercial machine it is.

I've been spending the past several days doing tests on the machine (and drinking coffee). I own a scace device and have been running tests with that, but there are no real surprises there. It functions the same as what others have reported here, which is to say very well. The shot quality so far has been very good. My taste buds aren't the best trained, but there is more clarity in the shots vs my Duetto. I'm not really sure why that is, because the temperature profile seems pretty similar between the two machines.

The thing that has been the best surprise so far has been the accuracy of the volumetric function. My workflow for shots is designed to make things fast and easy. I keep a few days worth of coffee in the hopper of my Mahlkonig K30 and dose using the timed function. Unfortunately, I broke my cheap scale accurate to a 1/10th of a gram yesterday by soaking it with water under the GS3 so I've had to use my digital kitchen scale with only a 1g accuracy. I dialed in a brand new coffee today and I made 6 shots shooting for a 1:2 brew ratio. After dialing it in with 18g of coffee, the first shot I made stopping the pump manually while programming the volumetrics, I got 38g out. The next shot with using the now programmed button, I got exactly 38g out again. Since my GS3 is one of the new app enabled models, you can use the app and adjust the amount of water dispensed by the volumetrics. I made a small adjustment, shooting for 36g out. The next 2 shots out were at exactly 36 grams. The shot after those ended up being 37g, but the one after was 36g again, which to me is pretty amazing consistency and better that I could do on my own if I manually stopped the shots. I was hoping for this type of consistency after reading this. https://www.lamarzoccousa.com/blog/ben- ... lumetrics/ The GS3 does appear to use the same flowmeter as their larger commercial models if you compare the parts diagram.

The new double walled no-burn wand is also great. It works as advertised, with the performance of a standard burn wand, with the convenience of a no-burn. I actually added a burn-me La Marzocco wand with a GS3 tip to my Duetto years ago so this steam setup is familiar to me. It's just that there is now quite a bit more power, which I'm still getting used to, but this is definitely a step up in performance.

Overall, I'm very happy with the upgrade and I'm glad I went with the GS3 over the Linea Mini. The drink quality out of either machine should be very similar, but for my workflow the GS3 is worth the difference in price for the ease of use and added consistency.

ShmulikTal

#2: Post by ShmulikTal »

Thank you very much for the review. I"m currently in the market for a new machine to replace my Rocket Giotto heat exchange machine.
I almost ordered a Slayer one group, but canceled it after reading about the poor reliability of the Slayer machines.
I like the design and simple workflow of the Slayer, so I think that the GS3 AV, will be even easier to use for my wife and son.

I currently narrowed my options to two machines:
1. ECM synchronicity - much cheaper than the Slayer and GS3 (about 1/3 of the price), superb build quality and finish, I don't like the design at all.
2. La Marzocco GS3 AV - about 2k$ cheaper than the Slayer, the design is not great, compared to the Slayer, bad placement of the steam actuator.
With some customization, like black powder coating and wood panels, the GS3 looks nice, but that cost extra money.

What are your thoughts?

mike01

#3: Post by mike01 »

I also love the look of the Slayer, however it was never a consideration for me due to the price and reliability concerns. Either the ECM or GS3 will make great espresso. With the GS3, the extra money gets you more consistency due to the saturated group, better steaming due to larger boiler, easier workflow from the volumetrics, and nicer design (although that is subjective). I was concerned too about the design of the steam valve on the gs3, however it works fine and the ergonomics don't bother me. Whether the extra money for the gs3 vs the ECM is worth it, that's a decision you will have to make.

User avatar
cerone

#4: Post by cerone »

ShmulikTal wrote:Thank you very much for the review. I"m currently in the market for a new machine to replace my Rocket Giotto heat exchange machine.
I almost ordered a Slayer one group, but canceled it after reading about the poor reliability of the Slayer machines.
I like the design and simple workflow of the Slayer, so I think that the GS3 AV, will be even easier to use for my wife and son.

I currently narrowed my options to two machines:
1. ECM synchronicity - much cheaper than the Slayer and GS3 (about 1/3 of the price), superb build quality and finish, I don't like the design at all.
2. La Marzocco GS3 AV - about 2k$ cheaper than the Slayer, the design is not great, compared to the Slayer, bad placement of the steam actuator.
With some customization, like black powder coating and wood panels, the GS3 looks nice, but that cost extra money.

What are your thoughts?
Any reason you're not considering the Decent Espresso machine? It has all the features and more of anything you've listed above. You can easily save profiles for your wife and son. I haven't had mine long but I'm extremely impressed so far.

ShmulikTal

#5: Post by ShmulikTal »

mike01 wrote:I also love the look of the Slayer, however it was never a consideration for me due to the price and reliability concerns. Either the ECM or GS3 will make great espresso. With the GS3, the extra money gets you more consistency due to the saturated group, better steaming due to larger boiler, easier workflow from the volumetrics, and nicer design (although that is subjective). I was concerned too about the design of the steam valve on the gs3, however it works fine and the ergonomics don't bother me. Whether the extra money for the gs3 vs the ECM is worth it, that's a decision you will have to make.
The GS3 is much nicer than the synchronika and I like the low profile and wider body.
Thank you for the inputs, I will check the GS3 next week before I will make any decision.

User avatar
Peppersass
Supporter ❤

#6: Post by Peppersass »

Congratulations on a fine purchase. I've enjoyed my GS/3 AV since 2009 and still love it. It's pretty-tricked out with mods after almost 11 years of ownership, but I loved the stock machine just as much.

The microprocessor I added to my GS/3 monitors the flow meter, and confirms that it really is surprisingly accurate (come to think of it, does the new app show the flow rate?) However, note that you may have to reprogram or adjust the volumetric buttons for different coffees and/or grind settings. Not a big deal.

You won't miss the MP's pressure and flow profiling capability if you drink medium or darker roasts, but if you ever want to explore light roasts, especially very light roasts, you can do so with the GS/3 AV by adding a "Jake Valve". You can read all about it here. It's a relatively inexpensive and straightforward mod if you're handy with tools and doesn't interfere with traditional brew technique including volumetric.

As my mother used to say, "Wear it in good health."

User avatar
CarefreeBuzzBuzz
Supporter

#7: Post by CarefreeBuzzBuzz »

Deleted
CarefreeBuzzBuzz
___
Artisan Quick Start Guide
http://bit.ly/ArtisanQuickStart

mike01

#8: Post by mike01 »

Peppersass wrote:Congratulations on a fine purchase. I've enjoyed my GS/3 AV since 2009 and still love it. It's pretty-tricked out with mods after almost 11 years of ownership, but I loved the stock machine just as much.

The microprocessor I added to my GS/3 monitors the flow meter, and confirms that it really is surprisingly accurate (come to think of it, does the new app show the flow rate?) However, note that you may have to reprogram or adjust the volumetric buttons for different coffees and/or grind settings. Not a big deal.

You won't miss the MP's pressure and flow profiling capability if you drink medium or darker roasts, but if you ever want to explore light roasts, especially very light roasts, you can do so with the GS/3 AV by adding a "Jake Valve". You can read all about it here. It's a relatively inexpensive and straightforward mod if you're handy with tools and doesn't interfere with traditional brew technique including volumetric.

As my mother used to say, "Wear it in good health."
Thanks. No, the new app does not not show flow rate unfortunately. You can change boiler temps, setup an on/off schedule, change pre-wetting settings, and change the water dispensed in increments of pulses from the flow meter. The Jake valve mod does look pretty interesting. I don't think I'll do this right away, but this is something that I very well may do in the future.

rccoleman
Supporter ♡

#9: Post by rccoleman »

mike01 wrote:Change the water dispensed in increments of pulses from the flow meter.
This is one of the things that I really like about the app, and I'm surprised you can't do from the machine itself. There's a pretty reliable relationship between volumetric measurement and weight after setting a baseline with a shot, so adjusting the shutoff weight becomes very easy through the app. Without the app, you can only record and replay what you just did. I wish they reported the flow rate or amount along with the timer on the display, and it's weird to specify the output in pulses (~0.5ml).
The Jake valve mod does look pretty interesting. I don't think I'll do this right away, but this is something that I very well may do in the future.
Easy to do and highly recommended.

jpsm

#10: Post by jpsm »

Very good to hear that you are getting accurate volumetrics. I own the model before the app thing but I am gonna get it upgraded also(so i wont have to use a wemo anymore LOL). My personal experience it is accurate 7/10 times and the other 3 times it is + 1-4ml the targeted weight. So for me it is meh but considering that the volumetrics on the gs3 is one of the best if not the best, I cant imagine volumetrics on another machine maybe it will be +- 1-10ML so it's pretty much ok I guess.

Re flowmeter I will get back to you as I also have a PB for my shop but it is still brand new so i've yet to play around with it because of the whole virus thing but I think it will be the same as my experience +1-4ml.

Also if you get bored of how it looks you can always spice things up changing the side panels and group head cover like I did http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSjgVfc0Ics :D