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Confused about opportunity.
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Confused about...  
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SylvainMtl
Senior Member


Joined: 5 Apr 2006
Posts: 142
Location: Montreal
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Elektra Sixties A3
Grinder: Mazzer Super Jolly with...
Posted Tue Aug 27, 2013, 11:03am
Subject: Confused about opportunity.
 

I'm a bit confused.  With all the talk for years now about the GS/3 being the iconic machine that it is.
I've finally had the opportunity to experiment with one for a couple of hours and I want to share my thoughts and hear you about it.
The machine in question is one that I may possibly end up getting, it is the manual paddle version.

Ok, so I was underwhelmed with the machine at first sight.  It doesn't have much of a presence in the room but most important is all the
use of plastic.  Side panels, I can live with, but the drip tray...  What is the reasoning behind it? I fail to see.  It's all plastic with what I assume a thin chrome finish.
It doesn't feel very good, and when inserting the PF you can hear or at least perceive the plastic.  The removal/insertion process of the tray is also awkward, I kept thinking... this thing is worth this much? I can brake the plastic by just shoving the tray a bit hard, wth?

I was also let down by the cup tray cover,  the way it is made, you can't put wet cups cause all the drippings are gonna endup inside the machine.

Lastly the gauges are so small :)  Of course I'd get used to but still.

So what you guys think?  I'm currently using an over 15 year old Elektra (that still looks like new).  And I realized it is so well thought out (eg, double cup tray with unalligned holes so water dropplets won't fall in the machine).

A forum member swapped his Marzocco for a Faema Legend, I have the feeling it might be for some of theses reasons, I just didn't get the "barista" feeling when using it the first time around.  But I am willing to give it another try.
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 2,972
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Tue Aug 27, 2013, 11:28am
Subject: Re: Confused about opportunity.
 

I was at a person's house a few months ago with a GS/3 and an L1.  I liked the L1 about 1000% better.  He sold the GS/3.

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

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TonyVan
Senior Member


Joined: 24 May 2010
Posts: 273
Location: Pacific Northwest
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: GS/3, La Pavoni
Grinder: Macap M7K, Rocky
Drip: Kone
Posted Tue Aug 27, 2013, 8:20pm
Subject: Re: Confused about opportunity.
 

There are many reasons why someone might choose a Speedster or Londinium or Faema Legend (or Slayer or Cremina or whatever) to a La Marzocco GS/3.  For some it's design, others want to go with a lever this time, and some people can afford the excitement of something new and different every year or two - even at the high end.  

I'd certainly agree that its looks won't attract a lot of attention ("ruggedly handsome" is about as far as I'd be willing to go).  If the size of the dials is an important factor to you, other machines may be more to your liking, although I give LM some points for mounting them at an angle making them extremely easy to read.  I'm a little puzzled by the comment about hearing or perceiving plastic when inserting the portafilter, especially since the PF is made from about two pounds of solid brass.  I also don't think anyone has any real concerns about damp cups on the warmer grate, though I have stopped short of pouring a pitcher of lemonade into a GS/3 just to make sure.  

But while these are all perfectly valid preference items, I do not suspect that many GS/3 owners have replaced the machine due to drip-tray feel - or for that matter, anything regarding quality of construction.  Before you guess at the motivations of other forum members and use them to support an argument, they might appreciate being asked...

On its plus side, among the generally accepted high-end machines, only the GS/3 makes espresso (a) without being plumbed in and (b) on standard 110 current and (c) in a very compact footprint and cabinet-friendly height.  For some, these capabilities make the GS/3 the only practical option.  Some also like the security of service availability.  For others, being able to add pressure profiling is the big advantage here (pre-Slayer anyway) regardless.

If these aren't critical factors for you, that opens up many more options.  Given your "meh" reaction, I think it would be tough to spend the money on this one.  Get something you're really excited about.
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crazy4espresso
Senior Member
crazy4espresso
Joined: 19 Jan 2008
Posts: 144
Location: Toronto
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Silvia, La Pavoni...
Grinder: Pharos
Posted Wed Aug 28, 2013, 5:39am
Subject: Re: Confused about opportunity.
 

I know what's happening, it's the lure of the Lever.  Resistance is futile.  Come over to the dark side. :)
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takeshi
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takeshi
Joined: 12 Oct 2002
Posts: 935
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Alex Duetto 3.0
Grinder: Super Jolly
Roaster: Amaya Roasting
Posted Wed Aug 28, 2013, 11:02am
Subject: Re: Confused about opportunity.
 

One size does not fit all.  If the GS/3 doesn't do it for you then move on to something that does.
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Burner0000
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Joined: 28 Jul 2011
Posts: 1,011
Location: Cambridge, Ontario Canada
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia, VFA Expres...
Grinder: Macap MX/VFA N1464/Kyocera...
Drip: Manual Drip, French Press
Roaster: Behmor 1600 / Sonofresco
Posted Wed Aug 28, 2013, 12:22pm
Subject: Re: Confused about opportunity.
 

Personally for the price of a GS/3 you can get a full blown commercial machine.  For example.  Locally I have seen the GS/3 for $6,600. For the same price I can get a Rancilio class 6 2 group espresso machine or even a class 7.  If I wanted true barista feel for big bucks I would go all out and get something like this.  The Rancilio Classe 6 LE is the exact same price as the GS/3 and you get 2 levers. :P
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IMAWriter
Senior Member
IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
Posts: 5,689
Location: Brentwood, TN
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega
Grinder: Forte, Preciso/Esatto, KyM...
Vac Pot: Adcraft SS, Yama 8 cup
Drip: Brazen, Kalita, Chemex,...
Roaster: Behmor 1600, CO/UFO combo
Posted Wed Aug 28, 2013, 12:31pm
Subject: Re: Confused about opportunity.
 

Antony (TonyVan),
I believe your response to the OP is well reasoned, sympathetic, and done in good coffee fellowship. Not always easy when you are a happy owner of the gear being discussed.
I agree with you and others who simply say, "if it ain't your thing, move ON."

Sylvain, fortunately the choices are endless and you're SURE to find exactly what fits your wants and needs.

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
My Music Production web site:
www.robertjason.com
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SylvainMtl
Senior Member


Joined: 5 Apr 2006
Posts: 142
Location: Montreal
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Elektra Sixties A3
Grinder: Mazzer Super Jolly with...
Posted Wed Aug 28, 2013, 2:24pm
Subject: Re: Confused about opportunity.
 

thanks, for the replies, my intention was not to put down anything, but just try to understand the lure about this machine.
Please note that I already have a commercial machine and was looking at the GS3 from this perspective, I must have not made myself clear since some people suggest me to buy a commercial machine instead.  again.. sorry if I hurt anybody's feelings.
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etout00
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Sep 2011
Posts: 81
Location: Upstate NY
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Marzocco GS/3 MP
Grinder: Compak K10 WBC
Posted Wed Aug 28, 2013, 4:41pm
Subject: Re: Confused about opportunity.
 

I'll give my somewhat biased opinion on the GS/3 (I've owned several machines and have settled on the GS/3).

As far as the build quality being in question, I am going to have to disagree. The plastic side panels are actually very thick and have a full sheet of stainless steel screwed on the inside. You will notice the stoutness of the panels if you remove them and feel them and just see how robust they actually are in your hand. As far as being plastic, there are numerous high end commercial machines that use plastic panels as they are easier to keep clean, do not take finger prints and do not ding or scratch. In fact I honestly see more commercial machines in cafe settings with plastic panels than stainless for instance. I truthfully prefer the black side panels vs. stainless as I thinks its a nice contrast to all metal...but that's my opinion. I've owned several commercial machines: Nuova Simonelli Mac2000V with plastic side panels, a La Spaziale Vivaldi with plastic side panels and Faema Compact C84 with side plastic panels...and the GS/3's panels are by far the best quality and heaviest by as least 2 to 1. Again, just my first hand experience so take it with a grain of salt.

I can't comment or agree with on the cheap feeling you mention with the portafilter though....in fact many users of E61 machines seek out to buy and modify a La Marzocco portafilter due to its robust feel and build quality. The saturated group head of the GS/3 is identical to their cafe class machines...the Strada and GB5.

I agree that the GS/3 could have had an all metal drip tray and I am 100% with your opinion. Although, the tray itself is wrapped in a sheet of stainless steel and has a solid feel to it, I don't think I would break it unless I dropped it on concrete or threw it against a wall.

You will really start to see why the GS/3 has a premium price once you get down to the internal components and take the side panels off to see the inside build quality. Out of all the brands I have owned (Nuova Simonelli, La Cimbali, Faema and La Spaziale), La Marzocco's build quality is superior to what I have personally seen first hand.

The reason why most people buy a GS/3 is the thermal stability and repeatability without any fuss. There is no need to count seconds on cooling flushes, perform warm up shots, dump multiple sink shots and/or really have to worry about temp stability in general. It's been discussed time and time again that the temp stability of a saturated group is going to arguable be one of the best in the business....there are more posts and comments to prove that than I need to repeat. Others will disagree and claim that machines like the L1 are 'just as good' or 'the same'....fact of the matter is that the GS/3 is used as a standard that other machines are compared to...not the other way around. Again, this is not my opinion, but rather reference to countless posts on this forum and others.

As far as comparing it to a L1 or another lever, you are comparing apples to oranges....they are too different to lump them in the same bucket. If you know someone who sold a GS/3 to buy an L1 I would be very surprised if they did it because of the build quality and not because they wanted to try their hands at a lever or try something new in general. If you really want a lever, the manual paddle of the GS/3 is not going to be comparable unless you had an electric Stada...and even so you are still dealing with different brewing technology. If other members have sold their GS/3's for another machine I can't seem to believe it was because of the build quality unless they received a lemon of a machine.

One last word on the build quality of a GS/3...it weighs 73lbs, only 4 lbs less than an Elektra T1...and I believe the Elektra T1 has technically a larger overall footprint. I honestly can't agree on the build quality being in question, with the only caveat being that I would have liked to see a metal drip tray. (There are really no other plastic parts used besides the drip tray inner lining and the side panels)

As far as the cup tray is concerned, I would never be comfortable putting soggy wet/dripping cups on any machine no matter what type of hole arrangement there was; but that's just me and I like to keep my machines spotless inside and out.

In my honest opinion (and please take it with a grain of salt), the only dual boiler machines on the market that would be a step up in build quality from the GS/3 would be a Synesso, Speadster or Slayer...and they are much, much more money if you look at the real street price of a GS/3 ($4,800 - $5,500... those prices are more realistic once you negotiate with a vendor).
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SylvainMtl
Senior Member


Joined: 5 Apr 2006
Posts: 142
Location: Montreal
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Elektra Sixties A3
Grinder: Mazzer Super Jolly with...
Posted Wed Aug 28, 2013, 4:59pm
Subject: Re: Confused about opportunity.
 

Thanks etout00, very interesting.  Thinking about it, it is true machines like La Spaziale and others have plastic side panels.  Like I said in my first post, the side panels did not bother me too much.  The plastic creaking when inserting the portafilter came from the drip tray, thinking back, it might be because the tray was badly inserted to start with.  

You are right, the GS3 is often used as a reference when talking about how to pull a shot for a given blend/SO, because of how stable/predictable the machine is.  I was just taken a bit by surprise last week because of a few less talked about aspects.

On a side note the copper cap where the heat exchanger tubes get into the steam boiler was covered in verdegris, I'll need to check this out again.

One last thing I failed to mention, the GS3 was sitting next to a speedster, that didn't help ;)
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