Throughout my journey as a barista, I've had the pleasure of working with a number of great machines, but the most consistent workhorse has to be the Linea. On those slightly chilly days where everyone comes out of the woodwork for a hot, tasty espresso (or the always popular mocha's), this machine has always been there to hold up it's end of the bargain as far as helping me quickly push out incredible drinks, almost intuitively knowing when the rush comes, never faltering when recovering itself from the constant abuse of the three hour rush. Shot after shot, this is the workhorse those other machines hope to match. I can seriously pull well over 150 shots in succession, and the Linea has always stoically stood there, quietly shouldering the weight of an over-demanding barista (myself), without so much as a hiccup in performance.
As far as serviceability goes, this machine is relatively low maintenance. Replacing parts is a breeze, as the simplicity of design makes it a low impact task. The rugged build, beautiful design, and ease of use make this machine a trooper. In fact, the only real issue i've had with this machine is not due to the machine itself, but a maintenance issue from another barista. Due to a poorly cleaned steam wand, which resulted in a clog, the safety valve blew on the steam tank. Amazingly, even with the injury, the machine continued to perform incredibly, despite uneven pressure and a loud hiss from the broken valve. After waiting two days for the parts to show up, I was able to perform repairs in twenty minutes, and after the machine was turned back on, it reached temperature in TEN MINUTES!
At home i have my trusted Rancilio S27, but I get excited to go to work and hang out with my always trustworthy co-worker, the LaMarzocco Linea. Over the past few years, the market has been flooded with these machines, as Starbucks de-comissioned these when they moved to the super-automatics. You can find a two group version of these fro around $2000, however, most of the time they will be in dire need of repair and maintenance, but will be worth the time and effort for years to come if you want a machine to love, trust, lust after, and rely on. Granted, there are machines that offer more features, have more form and are asthetically more pleasing, but as far as the "last machine you will ever own" thing goes, I absolutely believe that has never rang as true as it does for this machine.
I know I'm basically just singing praises, but the thing about it is, I still cannot find any real flaws in this machine. It does exactly what it's supposed to do, with grace, panache, and reliability. LaMarzocco knows how to build these machines, and have set the bar high as far as commercial espresso machines. There is a reason these machines are as highly regarded as they are. Try one and see for yourself.