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GS/3 v Speedster
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > GS/3 v Speedster  
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NobbyR
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NobbyR
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Posted Fri Jul 5, 2013, 9:30am
Subject: Re: GS/3 v Speedster
 

DeanOK Said:

This link provides some excellent analysis of barista results with different methods... I think this is a good read for anyone interested different methods of achieving the best shot. I would like to think these tests were on the up and up and not slanted to sell volumetric machines.
http://www.lamarzoccousa.com/tag/extraction-yield/

Posted July 5, 2013 link

A few things I find remarkable about this study:
  • The barista's results were better combining timing and sight, which makes sense to me. For someone starting to brew espresso at home, aiming at an extraction time of around 25 seconds is the easiest way of controlling preparation.  But most people make that step to watch out for blonding instead, because it gives you better results in the cup.
  • Even though the results of volumentrics were better than those of the professional barista, I find it amazing how accurate the barista actually was. That's something to strive for as an amateur.
  • One thing I'm missing in this test: What do these results really mean in regards to the taste of your espresso? Are these small differences in extraction yield noticeable? So, there should have been a blind cupping.

 
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"This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee, when he was urged to ban the beverage)
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DavecUK
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Posted Fri Jul 5, 2013, 9:34am
Subject: Re: GS/3 v Speedster
 

emradguy Said:

Having said that, as DavecUK pointed out (and I think he was the one who mentioned stale water -whatever that is...yeah I think that concept is for the loonies) some people can't taste the difference in shots drawn 1degree C apart. .

Posted July 5, 2013 link

By stale, I simply mean water that has been boiled and cooled and boiled and cooled and boiled.. "stale" in terms of that. Most people usually empty a kettle in the morning and refill with "fresh" water for their tea. I have a water boiler for constant hot water, but rather than just keep topping it up, at the end of each day I empty it and then refill it. I just can't see why a 1.5 litre brew and 3.5 litre steam boiler is necessary in the home environment.

I personally don't think it's a concept for the loonies, but perhaps just something that bothers me more than you. Even La Marzocco themselves recommend draining the GS3 boilers every month and that's for a much higher volume environment than home use.

As for volumetric dosing, a study referred to by another poster...it's a convenience feature for the industry, not a way of producing a better shot. e.g. barista presses button, turns away and does something else, correct volume gushes into cup in 10s, correct volumes strains its way into cup in 50 seconds, or halfway through shot it blonds. In all these cases the "Barista" doesn't see it in a busy coffee bar and shockingly some of them won't care. Now I'm not saying it should all be manual in a busy business, but as a home user looking for perfection, YOU should be controlling that shot, it's not like we don't have 28 seconds to watch it pour.

Of course LM go a long way to try and convince everyone it's better, but funny how they don't mention the 3 issues above...not at all, but they are in the business of selling machines. Also if they EVER thought the public would start caring about shot times (specifically gushers), they would simply fit a pressure device into the portafilter to limit flow, so gushers can't happen and then use marketing to convince retailers that it's better.....call me cynical if you like.

Oh I thought I would just add a note about the GS3s Preinfusion (mentioned by the poster, seemed a key issue)....what is that exactly in a GS3?  It does talk about pre-brew and pre-infusion and makes some vague mention of a valve that opens.In an E61 there is a preinfusion chamber so the pressure ramps up rather than hits the puck full on. It does this by filling a small preinfusion chamber against a spring loaded valve set at around 3-4 bar, once it's full the full pressure rather than just 4 bar gets applied to the coffee. The GS3 has no internal component to gives this type of pressure ramp up to the coffee puck and I've a very good idea what their preinfusion is....as it's similar to the method Dalla Corte use...but there won't be any gradual application of pressure to the coffee puck!
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emil3m
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Joined: 14 Jan 2013
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Location: New York
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Crossland CC1
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Posted Fri Jul 5, 2013, 11:05am
Subject: Re: GS/3 v Speedster
 

DavecUK Said:

Oh I thought I would just add a note about the GS3s Preinfusion (mentioned by the poster, seemed a key issue)....what is that exactly in a GS3?  It does talk about pre-brew and pre-infusion and makes some vague mention of a valve that opens.In an E61 there is a preinfusion chamber so the pressure ramps up rather than hits the puck full on. It does this by filling a small preinfusion chamber against a spring loaded valve set at around 3-4 bar, once it's full the full pressure rather than just 4 bar gets applied to the coffee. The GS3 has no internal component to gives this type of pressure ramp up to the coffee puck and I've a very good idea what their preinfusion is....as it's similar to the method Dalla Corte use...but there won't be any gradual application of pressure to the coffee puck!

Posted July 5, 2013 link

Can you please explain in lay terms the difference of the preinfusion process in the AV v. MP versions of the GS/3?
I've tried to decipher information on previous CG discussions and online; all the technicalities mixed with opinions, it's all a soup.

I did learn that one way to look at it is "progressive" and "active" methods. The latter activates the pump at full pressure, pauses, and reactivates for the pull. The former I'm not so sure about, but vaguely understand that the pressure either cranks up gradually or starts at 3 bars, pauses, and reactivates at 9 bars.

How plumbing v. not-plumbing affects this is a mystery still.

 
Currently in love with Hayes Valley by Blue Bottle--locally roasted next to my house in Brooklyn
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DavecUK
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Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Jul 5, 2013, 12:24pm
Subject: Re: GS/3 v Speedster
 

emil3m Said:

Can you please explain in lay terms the difference of the preinfusion process in the AV v. MP versions of the GS/3?
I've tried to decipher information on previous CG discussions and online; all the technicalities mixed with opinions, it's all a soup.

I did learn that one way to look at it is "progressive" and "active" methods. The latter activates the pump at full pressure, pauses, and reactivates for the pull. The former I'm not so sure about, but vaguely understand that the pressure either cranks up gradually or starts at 3 bars, pauses, and reactivates at 9 bars.

How plumbing v. not-plumbing affects this is a mystery still.

Posted July 5, 2013 link

The proverbial marketing mystery, people want it, yet they don't really know what it is or whether its worthwhile. Look at the parts catalogue, difficult to see anything unusual in there, certainly no pressure profiling pump, or fancy valves. It's really up to LM to explain it in lay terms, not me, rather than the trust us we no best approach.

Just like TDS of espresso....what does that even mean, yet LM love to quote it. No if it was actually TDS then it might be meaningful, but it's conductive solids, who the hell knows what that means? It has to be about taste, smell, eyes...the senses, not numbers and doohickies measuring espresso quality, really what's all that about. Sure the machine has to look nice, be easy to maintain. The GS3 would be difficult for the average user to maintain and pretty expensive on parts. The very complexity of the thing will make it more unreliable than simpler machines. I think it might end up being quite a "needy" machine over it's service life. Plus having those big hot boilers on all the time....not good, unless your a cafe.!
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emil3m
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Joined: 14 Jan 2013
Posts: 106
Location: New York
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Vario
Posted Fri Jul 5, 2013, 12:33pm
Subject: Re: GS/3 v Speedster
 

DavecUK Said:

The proverbial marketing mystery, people want it, yet they don't really know what it is or whether its worthwhile. Look at the parts catalogue, difficult to see anything unusual in there, certainly no pressure profiling pump, or fancy valves. It's really up to LM to explain it in lay terms, not me, rather than the trust us we no best approach.

Just like TDS of espresso....what does that even mean, yet LM love to quote it. No if it was actually TDS then it might be meaningful, but it's conductive solids, who the hell knows what that means? It has to be about taste, smell, eyes...the senses, not numbers and doohickies measuring espresso quality, really what's all that about. Sure the machine has to look nice, be easy to maintain. The GS3 would be difficult for the average user to maintain and pretty expensive on parts. The very complexity of the thing will make it more unreliable than simpler machines. I think it might end up being quite a "needy" machine over it's service life. Plus having those big hot boilers on all the time....not good, unless your a cafe.!

Posted July 5, 2013 link

Fair enough--you may have saved me a pretty penny. Beers on me if you come down to NYC or if I ever fulfill a life-long dream of watching a live EPL match.

So if the GS/3 stand outs in its class way too much, what stands out just enough? In your opinion, of course. A few options would be appreciated.

I'm not sure what are the differences between various pre-infusion methods or how plumbing affects it or bar pressure. I know this: my shots are better when the CC1 is set to pre-brew for 2sec, pause for 2sec, and then pull as opposed to just pull right away. The CC1 certainly does not pre-brew at 3 bars. My online reading seems to suggest that pre-infusion at lower pressure than the actual pull is better--is that a myth?

 
Currently in love with Hayes Valley by Blue Bottle--locally roasted next to my house in Brooklyn
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tek
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Posted Fri Jul 5, 2013, 1:24pm
Subject: Re: GS/3 v Speedster
 

There is lot of opinions here from people that don't know or have ever owned the GS/3 or Speedster. That is all fine but is it wise to take purchase advice from someone who does not own or had owned machine?

GS/3 preinfusion when plumbed in is based on line pressure. There is no mystery. On AV model you program how long you want line pressure preinfusion in seconds. On MP model you move paddle to middle position to pre-infuse at line pressure for as much as you want then you move paddle all the way to left to engage pump. When working from tank, there is explanation on HB from Bill Crossland that designed GS/3 about how pre-infusion works. I don't remember the details, all I know that for unplumbed machine, pre-infusion is not working well. These are made to be plumbed in.

For Synesso Hydra that I own, here is very good explanation of all stages of pressure machine can do: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n30X11t1H4A

Regarding pressure ramp-up, GS/3, Speedster and Synesso all use gicleur which is like small pipe delivering water. I think GS/3 uses 0.6mm diameter gicleur which provides gentle pressure ramp-up. Gicleur restricts how fast pressure can raise. If you ever tried to empty syringe fast you will notice that at some point no matter how much pressure you put the water flow is constant. That's because small outlet restricts the flow and pressure ramp-up.

I can tell you that after changing countless machines after some point what it comes down to is how often you get exceptional shot of espresso from machine and grinder combination and how much you have to work at it. On low end, your frequency of exceptional shots is low and work rate is high. On high-end your frequency is high and work rate is low, given competent technique which is assumed. No matter how good gear is there is no low limit to how bad shots you can make with it :-) You have to be able to dose consistently, pack coffee in basket evenly and dial in your grinder and machine into the range to be able to produce exceptional espresso.

I preferred GS/3 over Speedster and Synesso over both of them. I would not mind at all living with GS/3. You cannot go wrong with either one of these machines.

You should be really, really concentrating on which grinder you will get and buy that first. Get Compak K-10 or Robur which will fit these machines better and even your CC1 will deliver better espresso more often. Start with grinder.

 
www.10000shots.com
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russel
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russel
Joined: 12 Mar 2010
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Espresso: Conti Princess 2grp, GS/3...
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Posted Fri Jul 5, 2013, 1:48pm
Subject: Re: GS/3 v Speedster
 

There are a few reasons to hate on the GS/3, but I don't think any have to do with LM's marketing or promoting of the machine and its features.  You have to remember that the GS/3 is a mini-fied commercial machine.  It was designed and built by people who make commercial gear.  It isn't meant to be some sort of halo product enticing consumers to spend more.  It is exactly what it is...a rather sophisticated La Marzocco commercial single group espresso machine squeezed into a (sort of) domestic sized housing.  My biggest complaint is that it's like 50lbs of espresso machine crammed into a 25lb bag...not really a positive feature for anyone.

emil3m Said:

Basically it should handle at least 4 double shots with swiftness and grace.

Posted July 4, 2013 link

There is a huge gap between what you need and what you want.  Almost no one here needs a GS/3 or Speedster to make the best coffee they can taste.  I'm including myself in that group, which is why I sold off my GS/3.  You cannot taste a 1F temp difference.  The "recovery time" of a 1 group commercial machine is irrelevant; you are not going to max it out pulling a couple of back to back shots.  You will never utilize the full steam capacity of a light commercial machine in your home.

Once you cross the $3000 light commercial line you are no longer buying yourself anything that you can taste.  You might buy a little convenience - I really miss being able to program the on/off/closed time on the GS/3, although even that was an overly simplistic carry over from the commercial firmware.  At $3000 and up you are buying things that you want, not "need" or even "can taste".  You are fulfilling a phycological desire to posses something.  Whether or not this is OK, or healthy, or worth $3000+, or whatever, is up to you.

That being said, the GS/3 is a really nice espresso machine.  A lot nicer in most ways than the 20+ other espresso machines that I've owned.  If I were to choose between the two I would purchase a GS/3 over a Speedster just for the increased ease of servicing it.  Finding someone that can service an LM machine is easy.  Parts are easy to get.  Techincal diagrams a easy to get.  Other owners are easy to find.  Unless you can buy a Speedster locally and service it locally, I feel like an GS/3 is just less hassle to own.  It's not cheap to own (it is a $6000 machine that combines water, metal, rubber, and electronics into a small box and then heats it all up a couple of hundred degree under 1 to 9bars of pressure) but you shouldn't be buying it if you are concerned about the cost of ownership.
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emil3m
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Posted Fri Jul 5, 2013, 1:51pm
Subject: Re: GS/3 v Speedster
 

tek Said:

GS/3 preinfusion when plumbed in is based on line pressure. There is no mystery. On AV model you program how long you want line pressure preinfusion in seconds. On MP model you move paddle to middle position to pre-infuse at line pressure for as much as you want then you move paddle all the way to left to engage pump. When working from tank, there is explanation on HB from Bill Crossland that designed GS/3 about how pre-infusion works. I don't remember the details, all I know that for unplumbed machine, pre-infusion is not working well. These are made to be plumbed in.

Posted July 5, 2013 link

Unless I found the wrong Hydra, it looks like I don't even have enough electricity to power that bad boy :)

Thank you for clarifying that pre-infusion is available on the AV version as well. I will certainly do the grinder. I suspect it would be easier to pick one than a machine. But going up from a SB is a reality for me.

With that said do you think there is no way for me to get equally good pre-infusion from a tank on high-end single-group machine under $7k?

 
Currently in love with Hayes Valley by Blue Bottle--locally roasted next to my house in Brooklyn
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tek
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Posted Fri Jul 5, 2013, 1:56pm
Subject: Re: GS/3 v Speedster
 

emil3m Said:

With that said do you think there is no way for me to get equally good pre-infusion from a tank on high-end single-group machine under $7k?

Posted July 5, 2013 link

I think nice double boiler E61 group will give you very, very good results. They have built-in pre-infusion chamber that will work on tank or plumbed-in. I've heard very good things about Vibiemme Double Domobar, double boiler, PID, E61 group-head for ~$2300 and can be plumbed in or used from tank. I have not tried it myself though.

 
www.10000shots.com
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emil3m
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Location: New York
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Vario
Posted Fri Jul 5, 2013, 2:09pm
Subject: Re: GS/3 v Speedster
 

russel Said:

That being said, the GS/3 is a really nice espresso machine.  A lot nicer in most ways than the 20+ other espresso machines that I've owned.  If I were to choose between the two I would purchase a GS/3 over a Speedster just for the increased ease of servicing it.  

Posted July 5, 2013 link

Thank you for that. I created this thread to try and understand how to go about this purchase. GS/3 and Speedster stood out together side by side, so they made the headline. I was not married to either. I was hoping to rely on the experience of CG members to select 3-5 other machines to look at. Tek just suggested one, which is massively appreciated!

Assuming that I will spend less than a GS/3, can you recommend a few alternatives to consider without considering their price? I would prefer to have the flexibility of it performing as well (or close it) from a tank as it is plumbed.

 
Currently in love with Hayes Valley by Blue Bottle--locally roasted next to my house in Brooklyn
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