La Marzocco Linea Mini and GS3 - taste for comfort blends

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drH
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#1: Post by drH »

I've read a lot about these two machines and I'm aware that a selling point for the GS3 in home use is the MP conical valve that allows flow profiling, which has its advantages for lighter roasts.

My question is- if your main interest is comfort blend espresso (chocolate nut profiles), is there any difference detectable between these two machines? Would it be easier in some way to pull a tastier shot on the GS3, or is it a moot point if light roasts are not your thing?

Petra related question is: do modern flat burr high extraction grinders remove much of the benefits of the long slow pressure ramp of a GS3?

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BaristaBoy E61

#2: Post by BaristaBoy E61 »

While it might be true that for comfort blends there may not be a big difference in the cup between machines, I for one at that price range would not consider the LMLM over the GS3MP for reasons of flexibility should my tastes or interests change, resale value and also because guests invariably bring gifts of coffee beans that always seem a challenge to dial in and pull that would benefit from the enhanced abilities of the GS3. I would also want the PID and pressure gauge readouts that only the stock GS3MP offers.
"You didn't buy an Espresso Machine - You bought a Chemistry Set!"

grimeywelsh

#3: Post by grimeywelsh »

I have a GS3 MP, it may sound fussy, but what interested me more on the GS3 vs the mini is the exposed group. It makes the machine feel a lot more open. We have had a couple of LM events in my town where you can pull shots on a mini, and it is a great machine of course.

beans+crumble

#4: Post by beans+crumble »

I've been using my Linea Mini for a few months now and have been very happy with the machine. I think most people will say the biggest differences between the Mini and GS3 is how you want to interact with the machine & espresso making process. I like a more "low tech" connected feeling to the machine when making espresso, which the Mini gives me. The GS3MP will give one a much wider range of variables control with and tend to make people who love to play around happy. Prior to the Linea Mini I had a Rocket Mozzafiato who also gave me that connected feeling to espresso making. I've never used a GS3 but I would venture to guess that both machine will produce excellent tasting & consistent espresso. I use mainly medium to medium-dark, with the occasional darker roasted decaf, beans and have been very happy with the taste & consistency the Mini produces. I would also say your skill level needs to be at a higher level when moving up to this level of machine. I moved from a Breville Barista Express to the Rocket which was a learning curve, then to the Mini which I was more prepared to use because I had refined my barista skills. If I'd jumped from the Breville to the Linea I think it would have been a huge, uphill journey. Before I bought the Mini I went into Seattle Coffee Gear's retail store to test it out in person. If you have the ability to get some hands on time with both machines it could also help you in your decision making process.

drH (original poster)
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#5: Post by drH (original poster) »

The advice to get some hands on experience seems reasonable for a purchase like this. My impression after extensive reading is that some people experience challenges when upgrading to the Linea Mini- these can typically be solved by ensuring that your grinder is good and puck prep is up to the task. Others change the gicleur or reduce the pressure. This tells me that the machine is fully capable but perhaps less forgiving than an e61 or the GS3 with its stock 0.6 gicleur.

Hmmm. What I'm really after here is a consistent machine with no-fuss convenience- easy to pull a series of good shots quickly but offers room to experiment when needed- also with minimal maintenance. The GS3 is a complex machine, which makes me concerned about failures, but I think it's probably closer to what I'm after.

sluflyer06

#6: Post by sluflyer06 »

grimeywelsh wrote:I have a GS3 MP, it may sound fussy, but what interested me more on the GS3 vs the mini is the exposed group. It makes the machine feel a lot more open.
This. ^

I had and loved my Mini for close to 6 years and a little over 8,000 shots pulled. The whole "working under a ledge" thing always bothered me after having an E61 prior, so for me the experience and workflow of the open group is a major plus for me when I decided to switch to a GS3.

Other factors were the conical valve giving some extra flexibility for pressure changes, another big one for me is the hot water tap has a mix valve, the sensory experience of the loud sputtering flash boil taps you normally get just aren't very pleasant to me, so that blissful silence of the GS3 adjusted to not flash boil is just awesome.

Aesthetics are another factor, I think the GS3 just plain looks like it means business and I always wanted one since I got into espresso back in 2009 and I won't deny part of me has just always wanted a GS3 and I could finally justify one, so why not.

Lastly, build quality, the mini rattles cup like a SOB and I see that complaint frequently, I tried everything on my mini to quiet it down and eventually just went full nuclear and removed the pump and put it in the cabinet under the machine to solve the problem.

flip

#7: Post by flip »

sluflyer06 wrote:another big one for me is the hot water tap has a mix valve, the sensory experience of the loud sputtering flash boil taps you normally get just aren't very pleasant to me
This is my biggest issue with the LMLM. I've looked into modifying the circuit but I'm not that skilled. Maybe Grafikus will come up with an upgrade in the future :)

drH (original poster)
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#8: Post by drH (original poster) »

I kind of like the bubbling superheated water, it seems special somehow- thought I'm sure I'd be won over the practical benefits of the mixing valve.

beans+crumble

#9: Post by beans+crumble »

drH wrote:The advice to get some hands on experience seems reasonable for a purchase like this. My impression after extensive reading is that some people experience challenges when upgrading to the Linea Mini- these can typically be solved by ensuring that your grinder is good and puck prep is up to the task. Others change the gicleur or reduce the pressure. This tells me that the machine is fully capable but perhaps less forgiving than an e61 or the GS3 with its stock 0.6 gicleur.
I agree... once entering into the higher end machines the grinder becomes very important. Also, I agree puck prep is also important and can lead to consistency issues if not paid attention to. Comparing my Rocket E61 style to the Mini I don't feel the Mini is less forgiving per say, I think it's just a machine that expects the barista to have the necessary skills to pull constantly good shots.
drH wrote:Hmmm. What I'm really after here is a consistent machine with no-fuss convenience- easy to pull a series of good shots quickly but offers room to experiment when needed- also with minimal maintenance. The GS3 is a complex machine, which makes me concerned about failures, but I think it's probably closer to what I'm after.
Based on the above I agree with you that a GS3 sounds more of what you are looking for. The Mini does not allow for much control over variables aside from temperature & "prebrew" settings in the app. You can change the pump pressure from factory set 9 bar but you would need to open the machine to do so... doesn't lend itself to easy changes on the fly. But then again that's not who and what the Mini was designed for... the Mini is for people wanting a "no fuss" analog espresso machine. The GS3 is for people who want control over variables. I bought the Mini for that reason... I didn't modify/change the machine on purpose because it was the machine I wanted. If I started modifying it to be more like the GS3 then I should of just bought the GS3 in the first place!

Marmot

#10: Post by Marmot »

May I ask what your experiences with the Cremina and Maximatic are so far?
I often like to brew dark roasts and my go to machine is the Cremina. But looking at temperature management and versability my Bezzera Strega is a strong contender. I get my best shots from those two machines and I guess they will also get the most out of your preferred comfort blends.
I think with our preferences a lever or spring lever machine will get the best results. The GS3 MP might also get similar results but I have no experience with that machine.
And as it has been mentioned before the grinder plays a very important role. For dark roasts I prefer the Ditting cast iron burrs from the KF804. But the Versalab with its hybrid burrs follows closely on second place.