La Marzocoo GS3, after 11 years of ownership

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PhillySteve

Postby PhillySteve » May 12, 2019, 11:25 am

I was reading posts from 2008 when the GS3 hit the market and a group of us were very actively discussing/debating the merits of ownership and pros/cons of various top machines which had just arrived on the scene. I thought it might be appropriate, 11 years later, to give the skinny on my ownership experience.

I bought the GS3 (and included Max Hybrid grinder) from Chris Coffee in 2008 and I am pleased to say they are both still going strong and producing great espresso. As these are both commercial quality units adapted for the home kitchen, the usage (average over 10 yrs probably 3 drinks/day) is quite light vs the engineering.

I had one issue with the GS3 immediately upon purchase; the well-known steam wand issue of the initial units. The wand base was plastic and the wand itself contained a teflon tube so it would be cool-touch. The result was a cheap feel and wet steam on an otherwise superb coffee machine. LM quickly offered a traditional steam wand with a metal socket and a 4-hole tip. I installed this at home with no trouble and have never looked back.

Other than requiring a new OPV after 7 years and a new seal on the vacuum breaker at that time (both maintenance items I did myself), the GS3 proceeded to provide 11 solid years of trouble free operation. About that time, the tea water mixing valve did begin to provide only cold water as a check valve had become stuck. This I just lived with and waited until the machine had some real problem. The first major issue I have now had is a heating element failure. After 11 years of daily thermal cycles, that ain't bad! This was waaay overdue. The machine started tripping the GFI outlet and eventually would not turn on. LM suggested a tech service that would come to my house and perform the repair. I was torn, as I imagined the 3 hour drive up to Chris Coffee would assure me of good service. But I rolled the dice and went with BrewTeks ( https://www.brewteks.com/) out of Lancaster/Philly. They were great. Came to the house and diagnosed the problem. Ordered the parts and returned a few days later. The steam boiler was cleaned, element replaced, tea check-valve replaced, vacuum breaker replaced (was spitting a bit), and a new water level probe was installed (its continuity became irregular after being handled). It came to about $800.

The machine is running like new. Hopefully the next service interval will again take a long while. In fairness, I can't expect another 11 years without service. But who knows.

The Max Hybrid, which supposedly has "lifetime burrs" has been trouble free with the exception of the doser return spring, which I've had to replace twice. I feel I should replace the flat burrs soon, but only out of assumed longevity.

So over time, this setup has cost me roughly $2/day, not including consumables. Not bad at all.

note: machine is plumbed in and fed by a 2 stage filter/softener.

njtnjt

Postby njtnjt » May 12, 2019, 11:52 am

Thank you for sharing with us!
Cheers!
-Nicholas

LMWDP #414 njtnjt

tumendoza

Postby tumendoza » May 12, 2019, 12:34 pm

Good information. Thank you as I'm in the market for one and have been on the fence.

pcrussell50

Postby pcrussell50 » May 13, 2019, 1:37 pm

PhillySteve wrote:I was reading posts from 2008 when the GS3 hit the market and a group of us were very actively discussing/debating the merits of ownership and pros/cons of various top machines which had just arrived on the scene. I thought it might be appropriate, 11 years later, to give the skinny on my ownership experience.
...snip...

note: machine is plumbed in and fed by a 2 stage filter/softener.


Great story. Thanks for sharing.

And I can not underscore enough how big a deal it is for long term reliability how important it is to feed our machines good safe water. It's almost becoming like broken record, reading accounts from people with this or that machine having this or that problem, which is traceable to scale or corrosion. And it's all so unnecessary with just a little bit of extra cost and effort.

Are you using the Chris Coffee filter/softener system? I'm using the similar 3M/Cuno system. I would use the Chris Coffee one too.

-Peter
LMWDP #553

PhillySteve

Postby PhillySteve » replying to pcrussell50 » May 13, 2019, 9:40 pm

I am indeed. The 2 10" housings with his carbon filter and softener. I replace them annually.

User avatar
BaristaBoy E61

Postby BaristaBoy E61 » May 14, 2019, 12:04 am

So important to hear this feedback. There machines can only have gotten better over the years so your story adds tremendous weight when considering a GS3 MP as a next purchase.

Thanks for sharing.
"You didn't buy an Espresso Machine - You bought a Chemistry Set!"

PhillySteve

Postby PhillySteve » replying to BaristaBoy E61 » May 14, 2019, 7:39 am

Had it been available at the time, I would probably have gone for the mechanical paddle too. More engaging.

8899

Postby 8899 » May 14, 2019, 9:47 am

PhillySteve wrote:The Max Hybrid, which supposedly has "lifetime burrs" has been trouble free with the exception of the doser return spring, which I've had to replace twice. I feel I should replace the flat burrs soon, but only out of assumed longevity.


Thanks! I too bought a La Cimbali Max Hybrid at about the same time and it has also been 100% trouble-free. I think it does a phenomenal job in terms of grind quality...however I am curious to learn how much "better" the Monolith range of grinders are in comparison.