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Thread: Considering a Linea mini

  1. #51
    Senior Member matth3wh's Avatar
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    On a previous machine it needed adjustment from reservoir to mains. But will be interested to see what others have experienced.

  2. #52
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    Big thanks to Paul and Chris for both recently commissioned LMLM tweaks!

    The temperature display and shot timer are an evolution of the shot timer idea originally requested by owner and CS member kwantfm. That was the first one, and still the coolest implementation I think! So much fiddly work though that I knew I would not be doing another in a hurry.

    Fast forward a few months and I finally found a reliable source for the Gicar controllers that feature a shot timer in the firmware. This has enabled a more streamlined install and scope to show group temperature, or in the latest incarnation of Chris' machine, control it directly. There's still a lot of custom work to shoehorn everything in, but it's now a pretty neat solution, with a machined aluminium bezel for the 3 digit display, which is mounted into the bakelite paddle housing. The main board and associated power supply and relay sits back in the main body of the machine out of the way of steam etc.

    You could surmise from the decision to hijack control of group temperature that the factory board was doing a bad job - it was not, at all. The Linea Mini is very temperature stable and responsive, due to the design of the control system and integrated group/boiler. I said at the time I evaluated my preorder machine that it was the most impressive I'd ever measured, and still is. It is a simple matter of how close the measurement point and head source is to the shower screen - there is no appreciable offset meaning what you set is what you get, practically immediately.

    What was evident though from looking at the way the PID and group casting behaved when an accurate group temperature reading was constantly available, was there may be some room to wring a few more horsepower out of an already high performance engine. I was seeing a propensity to by the factory PID (and my retrofit before extensive tuning work) to overshoot by one or two degrees - a function of the high wattage heaters, and stainless steel having a different transient response time to say brass - the material I am used to tuning cartridge heater PID loops for.

    By tweaking the restrictor setup in the feed path to the boiler, effectively increasing the incoming water temperature and slowing down the water debit (0.55mm at the entry point to the group/boiler), the PID values can be more aggressive as there is less work to do, and less chance of a significant overshoot - providing flushing is kept to a minimum.

    So temperature stability was very very good, the best I've seen, now it's phenomenal!

    Massive thanks to Chris for giving me carte blanche to try it. No need to feel inadequate if your LMLM uses the factory PID and wheel - as I said, it's great. This is the difference between what the factory can do to again say a performance car engine, and what a dedicated tuning house can do with a dyno and a custom mapped ECU chip and a new exhaust system. Insignificant in the scheme of things perhaps but it still puts a smile on my face!

  3. #53
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    Rick's amazing work will be back on our demo bench in the next day or two and it's a fitting showcase of what is possible with a little thought and big grey matter.

    CS'ers are welcome to make a time to come play. In addition to being our new "go to" machine, it's a ripper platform of mods from which to cherry pick for those considering a purchase.
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  4. #54
    Junior Member DB79's Avatar
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    Thanks Rick for PID & preinfusion mods on my LMLM....your the man!
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  5. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by DB79 View Post
    Thanks Rick for PID & preinfusion mods on my LMLM....you're the man!
    He certainly is. The shot timer and preinfusion mod on ours along with the restrictor change have produced a machine which delivers everything in the cup that our Slayer can. The real PID is just really nice to have. This machine is sheer brilliance and for little more than 50% of a Slayer. I honestly think I'd have one in preference to a GS3 as the preinfusion is just so much better.

    It's our everyday go to machine on our bench and will be on demo tomorrow for any CS'ers who would like a look/taste/play.
    Last edited by TC; 16th September 2016 at 08:55 PM.
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  6. #56
    Site Sponsor coffee_machinist's Avatar
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    Thank YOU blokes! I really get job satisfaction out of this stuff and it's humbling to hear that it ticking boxes. The Linea Mini punches well above it's weight with a few extra tricks up it's sleeve.

  7. #57
    kbc
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    a machine which delivers everything in the cup that our Slayer can.
    Absolutely. I'm not a fan of the "out-of-the-box machine but the modded machine is excellent, and yep, takes it right up to the Slayer.
    Cheers, Paul
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  8. #58
    Junior Member DB79's Avatar
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    You know you want one Paul....
    Quote Originally Posted by K_Bean_Coffee View Post
    Absolutely. I'm not a fan of the "out-of-the-box machine but the modded machine is excellent, and yep, takes it right up to the Slayer.
    Cheers, Paul
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  9. #59
    Junior Member DB79's Avatar
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    Well worth getting mods. Talented man Rick, be proud!
    Quote Originally Posted by coffee_machinist View Post
    Thank YOU blokes! I really get job satisfaction out of this stuff and it's humbling to hear that it ticking boxes. The Linea Mini punches well above it's weight with a few extra tricks up it's sleeve.

  10. #60
    Senior Member Lukemc's Avatar
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    Im guessing mine doesn't have this restrictor rick/chris?

    Im saving the pennies for the shot timer but will have to add to the jar for the restrictor too if I'm missing it, pretty sure can live without then PID (just!!)



    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    He certainly is. The shot timer and preinfusion mod on ours along with the restrictor change have produced a machine which delivers everything in the cup that our Slayer can. The real PID is just really nice to have. This machine is sheer brilliance and for little more than 50% of a Slayer. I honestly think I'd have one in preference to a GS3 as the preinfusion is just so much better.

    It's our everyday go to machine on our bench and will be on demo tomorrow for any CS'ers who would like a look/taste/play.

  11. #61
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    Hey Luke,

    No restrictor changes to your machine to my recollection. Terence first requested to go to a 0.6mm to reduce water debit for extended pre infusion. In Chris' latest demo I also found it improved PID performance marginally, but the main effect there was further upstream in the HX/cold mix, which got a separate restrictor in the cold line.

    It's subtle but really helpful for the slayer style extractions that benefit from extended pre infusion.
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  12. #62
    Senior Member matth3wh's Avatar
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    Anyone/sponsors have a (standard or mod) mini for demo in Sydney? Itching for a trial ?

  13. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by matth3wh View Post
    Anyone/sponsors have a (standard or mod) mini for demo in Sydney? Itching for a trial ?
    They are two very different machines Matt. Literally chalk and cheese. It's worth booking a flight.
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  14. #64
    kbc
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    They are two very different machines Matt. Literally chalk and cheese. It's worth booking a flight.
    +1. Fly down and see the fully modded LMLM at Talk Coffee.
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  15. #65
    Junior Member DB79's Avatar
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    Upgraditis at its finest...thanks to b & Coffeemachinist!
    LMLM.png

  16. #66
    Senior Member matth3wh's Avatar
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    Considering a Linea mini

    What happened to the infrastructure PM and the bullet train to Melbourne?

    Back to reality... I see there's some cheap flights from Newcastle but unlikely at this point as I've just had 3 weeks of travelling around the country (sadly not Melbourne).

    Will have to give work the hurry along with opening Melbourne office ;-)
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  17. #67
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    Off topic from the LM mods, is there a measurement for what a click of the dial on the standard PID wheel represents in C? Having just received my Linea mini im blown away by the quality and performance standard, i'll definately consider trying to ship my machine from up north to him to do some mods. The steam pressure on the thing is off the chart compared to my Mechanika!

  18. #68
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    As a matter of interest, what is the price for doing the PID/Shot timer? Im aware the preinfusion mod is $1100 for a machine supplied to Rick for mods. Certainly something i'm going to look into for the future.

  19. #69
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    Each line on the dial is approx 0.5 degrees and each audible click is around 0.25 degrees. Per Snedden I would also like to see some sort of price list for the available modifications.
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  20. #70
    Senior Member readeral's Avatar
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    Surely doing these mods is kind of a half parts half servicing kind of gig? As much as the price won't change much there might be reasons for varying the price, e.g. how much use the machine has seen before mods, which mods you opt for etc. It's likely more an email and get a quote scenario I reckon. See post #61.
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  21. #71
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    Agree with Al...

    Far better to contact Rick directly for this sort of info...

    Mal.
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  22. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by matth3wh View Post
    Anyone/sponsors have a (standard or mod) mini for demo in Sydney? Itching for a trial ?
    Well there is an empty spot on our demo bench ...

    charlie
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  23. #73
    Senior Member matth3wh's Avatar
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    I like the way you think Charlie

    Have been wondering about water tank/reservoir size on the mini. I've seen some sources and specs say 2.5L and others 3.5L.

    Which is it?

  24. #74
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    Hi Matt,

    Their brochure states 2.5L and I'd think that about right based on the size of it...

    Not a massive issue IMHO. We recommend fresh water to your tank each day. Stale water = crappy cup.

    Cheers

    Chris
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  25. #75
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    Hi guys,

    For those interested in pricing, I quoted another snob via email recently so may as well put the info here as well.

    "So as you may have seen via Chris' posts, I can now use the shot timer (which is also a PID) to either passively display (with control still handled by the factory pid and wheel) or directly control (with additional hidden menu buttons) the group temperature.

    temp display and shot timer - $720

    Temp control and shot timer - $890.

    Some more info in my recent instagram posts - https://www.instagram.com/coffeemachinist/

    Also a few posts on HB about it - http://www.home-barista.com/espresso...ay-t43115.html

    As for the restrictor changes, they would be included in the 2nd option as they go with my PID tuning. For the 0.6mm only, call it extra $50 if done in conjuction with option 1, standalone circa $150.'

    Cheers, Rick

    Note - edited. This stuff is still up in the air and I am revisiting costing after each install and parts purchase.
    Last edited by coffee_machinist; 18th September 2016 at 11:04 PM.

  26. #76
    Senior Member matth3wh's Avatar
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    Hi Chris. Yeah noticed the PDF brochure on your site says 2.5L and the La Maz AU site shows 3.5L. http://lamarzocco.com.au/products/linea-mini/ Hence the confusion.

    I currently enjoy cycling my tank and boiler water to keep everything fresh . Currently have a 4L tank and fill it once a day as I cycle through the water using it for flush/cleaning the group and hot water tap to extra heat cups/flush milk jugs.

    Like any new machine you change habits to fit what it can do.
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  27. #77
    Site Sponsor coffee_machinist's Avatar
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    Hey folks,

    Just a heads up that as of today I am no longer supplying Linea Minis. Word has it that changes in the distribution network are in the wind which will further discourage independent retailers, and along with some recent cosmetic quality control issues, it's time to jump ship.

    It's a shame as the Mini was, is and will be a really cool machine, modded or not. I'll happily keep modding them but the warranty situation may have to be reassessed. We shall see....

    -Rick

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    Reading between the lines La Marzocco Home is building up to do in Australia similar to what they are doing in the USA....
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  29. #79
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    Thanks for the heads up Rick, I appreciate all your good work and development on the mini - you have made an exciting machine even more so...shame LM seem to be keeping such a tight leash on distribution and supply. Would love a pre-infusion mod to mine in the future but I need to let the dust settle for quite a while on the initial purchase cost.
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  30. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by Melbroaster View Post
    Reading between the lines La Marzocco Home is building up to do in Australia similar to what they are doing in the USA....
    Yup, that, I had email confirmation today but it was the last straw in a less than stellar working relationship. I do wish them well though, no ill will here it's just business. Domestic sales by and large are high maintenance and I hope they've had their weetbix!
    Last edited by coffee_machinist; 20th September 2016 at 03:24 PM.
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  31. #81
    Senior Member readeral's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coffee_machinist View Post
    Hey folks,

    Just a heads up that as of today I am no longer supplying Linea Minis. Word has it that changes in the distribution network are in the wind which will further discourage independent retailers, and along with some recent cosmetic quality control issues, it's time to jump ship.

    It's a shame as the Mini was, is and will be a really cool machine, modded or not. I'll happily keep modding them but the warranty situation may have to be reassessed. We shall see....

    -Rick
    This is such a bummer! Just the mini, or more/all of the La Marzocco range?

  32. #82
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    Well- that's it for us as well then. We too had a relationship like that of Rick's. I reckon they'll ultimately try to take it all (i.e commercials as well) in house. I see a fleet of outsourced techs and a hope that the model will not make the wheels fall off.

    We have a GS3 and the pimped Linea mini and that will probably be the end of it...

    Can't say I'll miss dealing with them. Vostok leva for the demo bench here we come...
    Last edited by TC; 20th September 2016 at 03:35 PM.
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  33. #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by coffee_machinist View Post
    Hey folks,

    Just a heads up that as of today I am no longer supplying Linea Minis. Word has it that changes in the distribution network are in the wind which will further discourage independent retailers, and along with some recent cosmetic quality control issues, it's time to jump ship.

    It's a shame as the Mini was, is and will be a really cool machine, modded or not. I'll happily keep modding them but the warranty situation may have to be reassessed. We shall see....

    -Rick
    That really is a shame... your mods work extremely well.
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  34. #84
    Senior Member readeral's Avatar
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    In the coffee scene here, it's you independent retailers that give us confidence as consumers. I can't imagine what a PITA it'll be for turn arounds on warranty issues for consumers if they're opting to limit themselves to only a few distributors (or whatever they're doing). I'd personally prefer work with a small business and have a personal relationship with whoever is selling me my machine and who is doing my maintenance in the future.

    They'll likely sell less machines, but they'll probably not lose any money doing so, and I guess that's a win for them. Either that or they'll have centralised advertising, try to maintain sales but with restricted supply and discouraging floor stock to maintain a minimum retail price. I guess that means the time to buy is NOW.

    Limit the supply, increase the desirability of the brand, which would split the high end home espresso market - Not great IMO. Hopefully they revert back in a few years.
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  35. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by readeral View Post
    In the coffee scene here, it's you independent retailers that give us confidence as consumers. I can't imagine what a PITA it'll be for turn arounds on warranty issues for consumers if they're opting to limit themselves to only a few distributors (or whatever they're doing). I'd personally prefer work with a small business and have a personal relationship with whoever is selling me my machine and who is doing my maintenance in the future.

    They'll likely sell less machines, but they'll probably not lose any money doing so, and I guess that's a win for them. Either that or they'll have centralised advertising, try to maintain sales but with restricted supply and discouraging floor stock to maintain a minimum retail price. I guess that means the time to buy is NOW.

    Limit the supply, increase the desirability of the brand, which would split the high end home espresso market - Not great IMO. Hopefully they revert back in a few years.
    I had a laugh Readeral getting in touch with your inner Peter Costello "Coffeesnobs should support their local industry and buy an E61 HX for mum, a commercial group spring lever for Dad and a dual boiler 1 group machine for AUSTRALIA...😂😂😂
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  36. #86
    Senior Member readeral's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Melbroaster View Post
    I had a laugh Readeral getting in touch with your inner Peter Costello "Coffeesnobs should support their local industry and buy an E61 HX for mum, a commercial group spring lever for Dad and a dual boiler 1 group machine for AUSTRALIA...
    Haha. And have a baby for the nation. Then you can buy it a <strike>gagaga</strike> gaggia.
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  37. #87
    Senior Member matth3wh's Avatar
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    Considering a Linea mini

    I was going to say manufacturers should learn from car / computer industry and encourage mods around products to drive interest around the product and increase sales.

    Then again you have Apple with the premium product aura / direct sales + very tight controls and margins for any resellers which works ok for them ringing every last cent out of their customers and resellers

  38. #88
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    Quote Originally Posted by readeral View Post
    They'll likely sell less machines, but they'll probably not lose any money doing so...
    Agreed. LM have only ever used their resellers as pawns. The margins that they allowed on their gear meant that the entire margin often disappeared if there was a warranty claim. We got well burnt on one machine.

    They also sold ex. importer whenever they felt inclined at close on wholesale leading to no margin at all available on any stock you were holding.

    Their domestic gear is lovely, but we have not enjoyed the relationship with the company.
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  39. #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    Well- that's it for us as well then. We too had a relationship like that of Rick's. I reckon they'll ultimately try to take it all (i.e commercials as well) in house. I see a fleet of outsourced techs and a hope that the model will not make the wheels fall off.

    We have a GS3 and the pimped Linea mini and that will probably be the end of it...

    Can't say I'll miss the grief of dealing with them. Vostok leva for the demo bench here we come...
    I had heard about a rumored change a month or so ago, more of direct market approach.

    lets see how it works out, there is a reason resellers work direct with public...
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    this is a shame indeed. I always prefer to purchase and support the local re seller. You end up having a good relationship and no dramas with service or warranty claims.

    Will be interesting to see how their domestic line does now
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  41. #91
    Senior Member gonzo89's Avatar
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    Well there go my dreams. Not keen at all. But then again, some great competitor machines have popped up in the linea mini price range and it's not the end I'll get over it.

  42. #92
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    Yeah I was hoping to get a LMLM one day as well. Alas.
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  43. #93
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    Been following this thread with interest, never was a potential buyer, however the high degree of interest and excitement over the machine had my attention.

    How things can change in a matter of weeks, wonder if LM are overestimating the potential of the Aust market, at a price of $5000 + they won't be appearing on everyone's bench top.

    As someone else commented, there are a number of other excellent options available.

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    Australia will end up being a top 5 country for LM Home, perhaps even top 3. Mercedes is one of the top car brands by volume in the country. Walk into any Apple store and see the crowds waiting to pay top dollar for what they perceive as a premium product. LM will do very well out of this.

  45. #95
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    For those who want to grab a machine from a local outlet, now is the time and the traditional client/reseller relationship will exist in terms of support. Who knows what will come next?

    Quote Originally Posted by Melbroaster View Post
    Australia will end up being a top 5 country for LM Home, perhaps even top 3. Mercedes is one of the top car brands by volume in the country. Walk into any Apple store and see the crowds waiting to pay top dollar for what they perceive as a premium product. LM will do very well out of this.
    The thing is the Apple has support pretty much nailed. Unless LM decides to clone their model into LM stores everywhere, things may get interesting.
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  46. #96
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    Glad I got mine before this happened. I don't fancy contacting a huge company when I have a "simple" question. Last email I sent with a query about my mini to Chris and Rick was sent at 628pm on a Wednesday night. I had a response and answer from both gents by 7pm. I'm guessing LM wouldn't be that responsive.
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  47. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lukemc View Post
    Glad I got mine before this happened. I don't fancy contacting a huge company when I have a "simple" question. Last email I sent with a query about my mini to Chris and Rick was sent at 628pm on a Wednesday night. I had a response and answer from both gents by 7pm. I'm guessing LM wouldn't be that responsive.
    Thanks Luke.... I am awaiting responses to email that I sent to LM Aust 18 months ago... I could unload at this point, but came to the realisation that it was futile approximately 17 months and 30 days ago . My opinion is that LM are and always will be solely about LM. They make money in spite of themselves.

    It's a pity. I do like their domestic gear.
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  48. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by Melbroaster View Post
    Australia will end up being a top 5 country for LM Home, perhaps even top 3. Mercedes is one of the top car brands by volume in the country. Walk into any Apple store and see the crowds waiting to pay top dollar for what they perceive as a premium product. LM will do very well out of this.
    Perhaps, but I'm guessing Mercedes dealers have excellent support nationally and from the factory when needed, issues solved quietly and quickly if they do occur, without anyone getting egg on their face. That is what a brand that positions itself as premium should be able to deliver with it's sales and support network.

    When issues have presented themselves on a few Linea Minis that I've sold, no one seemed interested in a solution that didn't leave me looking like a chump and the customer without a machine for a good long while, so I solved them myself at my expense.

    In all but one case these were issues that did not affect the function of the machine, but ones that a discerning eye would have spotted almost straight away and were not commensurate with the premium positioning of the brand.

    Good luck to them with LM Home, but they sure as heck better up their game.
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  49. #99
    Senior Member Lukemc's Avatar
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    I just got my mini home from Rick where he added a shot timer and PID control instead of the wheel to go with the preinfusion mod I already had. Loving the new mods and still can't fault the mini. It's a shame that it won't be sold by Rick/Chris anymore and future buyers will miss the opportunity to have Ricks mods added.

    Dimal, matth3wh, Pretzal and 1 others like this.

  50. #100
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Moonta SA.
    Posts
    5,196
    Finally saw one on a showroom floor yesterday, totally underwhelmed.

    They may well be the bees knees performance wise, visually? very domestic looking, wouldn't want one in my kitchen.

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