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Thread: Considering a Linea mini

  1. #1
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    Considering a Linea mini

    Ok so I've finally got the approval to buy a Linea mini, but I just can't quite pull the trigger on it yet. I think it's the price that's stopping me. I want a machine that is going to satisfy me, but is there a noticeable difference from other quality machines like the duetto, r58, synchronika and particularly the profitec 700? It's too much money to not be completely satisfied with the purchase. Are there many people out there that have buyers remorse about not paying a 'little' extra to get the mini or regret that the mini wasn't available when they purchased their machine?

    I've had a small play with one, and it's very nice, yet quite industrial. It's not so much the looks that get me but the almost universal acclaim for superior performance it garners from all sides.

    Previous to this potential acquisition I have upgraded mostly used coffee machines, so this would be my first brand new extreme machine purchase. So for those that have upgraded before and perhaps been here before, what advice do you have?

    Thanks
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    Junior Member v1nh's Avatar
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    I never regretted buying mine i just fell in love with the look of it.

    I wouldn't say it's any better than any of the other similarly priced machines and think it just comes down to mainly aesthetics.

    Always loved the look and reputation the Linea PB's have so decided to pay a little extra for it.

    I came from a Breville DB.
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    The good thing about machines at this level is that they have been extensively and recently reviewed so it becomes a process for you to determine which of the features matters most to you.

    To give you a headstart:

    Do you want espresso shot performance that is more forgiving of user error? That is a vote for an E61 based machine instead of a standard Linea Mini.

    Do you want extremely powerful steam performance? That is a vote for Linea Mini.

    Do you want the ability to quickly swap between brew temperatures? Another vote for Linea mini

    Do you want to achieve great espresso/milk performance and save some cash? There are certainly other options besides Linea Mini.

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    Thanks v1nh and Melbroaster

    The espresso shot more forgiving of user error is interesting. I have vaguely heard of this before. I'm no professional barista so coming from an E61, I wouldn't want to make my life any harder. I imagine this would be overcome with practice though - which I'm more than happy to do. I would prefer the temp stability of the mini vs my HX though. I do predominantly milk drinks but do enjoy espresso when I nail it enough that it would be treasonous to add milk!
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    One query I do have concerns maintenance costs. Is the linea mini likely to cost more servicing than a typical E61 style double boiler with rotary pump? Whilst I do like the shot timer feature of many of the pids, I won't be too thrilled if they keep falling over every 3-4 years. From what I understand it's not uncommon for these parts to be replaced.

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    When you buy LM, you pay the ransom every time you require parts....They are after all the company of the $30+ o-ring...

    Lovely gear, but the cost of ownership is higher than e-61 machines from all of the majors...

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    Servicing and repairing are two different equations.

    Servicing is generally a look over, clean, replace shower screens and seals, temperature pressure adjustment and an overall look.

    Repairing is obviously diagnosing a fault and replacing the faulty parts. In which case general LM parts are a little pricey in comparison to equivalent parts on other machines.

    If you're buying new you really shouldn't be replacing faulty parts within the first 4-5 years, an E61 machine will require a group head rebuild after a few years in service as the pins and seals wear out where a Linea Mini won't require this because it runs a brew solenoid which is cleaned with regular back flushing.

    If you're considering an LMLM you're paying for the look, name, high quality parts and most importantly the engineering. At the end of the day if you're worried about an extra possible $100 for parts in the 3rd or 4th year repair (Fingers crossed no repair is required) that really shouldn't be part of your final decision in purchasing.

    I've just repaired a 2 year old Vibiemme Domobar Super that cost the client $400-$500 because of a faulty control board, plus while it was here he wanted a full service and group rebuild so he didn't have to worry about it for a few more years to come. Moral of the story is you have no idea if you're purchasing a lemon or have a machine that will go 10 years without a fault. It's basically pick a straw and see who gets the short one.

    Make your decision on the machine itself and engineering/design, take repairing out of the equation.
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    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    I'm not an early adopter, buying objects utilizing tried and proven technology has served me well over the years, give em time to iron out bugs and let the price stabilise before leaping in.

    Interesting thoughts on the subject here 5 Reasons Why Being An Early Adopter Is A Bad IdeaLots of excellent E61 machines available now at well under $5000, most perform very well straight out of the box.

    Yep! I know Luddite works for me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by K_Bean_Coffee View Post
    Hi Pretzal.

    I sell the LMLM, Profitec Pro 700 and ECM Synchronika, so believe me, my opinion below is unbiased.

    There are lots of differences between traditional high end DBs and the LMLM.

    Traditional high end DSs:
    Ability to use small brew boiler only to save power when using for espresso only.
    PID brew temp control
    E61 head
    Shot timer (some)
    Classic looks
    More than enough steam pressure for me.

    LMLM:
    Fake paddle is a massive disappointment.
    LM premium price.
    Big steam pressure.
    Fast heat up time.

    I would say the LMLM is over-rated and over-priced. It's only worth considering if you are going to get Rick's mods. The fact that the factory machine needs after-market mods says a lot.

    My opinion. Some people love them. I hope this helps a little.
    I suggest that an absolute tiny percentage of Linea Mini owners have modified them. It is in no way a fact that modification is required.The vast majority of Linea Mini owners are enjoying delicious espresso on standard machines. There are a small number of owners who do choose to enhance for aesthetic reasons, or as 'icing on the cake' for an otherwise great machine.
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    Senior Member Jono_Willmer's Avatar
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    I was super keen on the Linea Mini too, but in the end I decided to go for a second hand GS3 which has all the benefits of the Linea Mini, but a few extra features that I really think I'd have missed going from an Izzo Alex Duetto 2.
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    Looks brilliant Jono... Should have the recoated drip tray for you this week to up the stealth quota... I miss that machine...

    Chris
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    Just to update this thread, I have now purchased a linea mini and am satisfied that I have bought what I wanted. At this stage, I don't plan on doing any mods to it, but simply trying to enjoy what seems to be a pretty impressive machine as stock. If there is a feature I really miss (eg preinfusion mod) once I've lived with it for a while, at least hopefully I have the option of upgrading it at a later date. I thank everyone for their input and interest - I have enjoyed the discussion.

    Ultimately it's a personal choice as to what you're looking for when you buy a machine, I'm sure I'll be satisfied with my choice.

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    Congrats on the Linea mini. Really wonderful machine as standard. Good luck learning to work with 2 bar of steam pressure; there is a learning curve involved. If you find that too much milk ends up on the ceiling Woolworths tends to have good discounts on paper towels...😉 After you are familiar with it you will be regularly spoiled by delicious espresso, and amazing microfoam that you can start steaming 20 seconds after your espresso extraction starts, and have both the espresso and milk finish together 😃.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pretzal View Post
    Just to update this thread, I have now purchased a linea mini and am satisfied that I have bought what I wanted. At this stage, I don't plan on doing any mods to it, but simply trying to enjoy what seems to be a pretty impressive machine as stock. If there is a feature I really miss (eg preinfusion mod) once I've lived with it for a while, at least hopefully I have the option of upgrading it at a later date. I thank everyone for their input and interest - I have enjoyed the discussion.

    Ultimately it's a personal choice as to what you're looking for when you buy a machine, I'm sure I'll be satisfied with my choice.
    Congrats on the purchase mate. If you don't mind me asking, what grinder do/will you have it paired with? Looking at getting a Linea Mini in the future and am not sure what level of grinder I need to get to ensure I'm making the most of the machine.

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    Thanks. I have a macap m4d. Might have to hit my brother in law up (he's a spray painter) for a custom paint job on it so it rises to the occasion. It seems that adding custom timber mods/powdercoating/anodising adds value and appeal to machines eg GS3, does anyone know if moding grinders with custom paint schemes does the same?? Off topic I know...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pretzal View Post
    Just to update this thread, I have now purchased a linea mini and am satisfied that I have bought what I wanted. At this stage, I don't plan on doing any mods to it, but simply trying to enjoy what seems to be a pretty impressive machine as stock. If there is a feature I really miss (eg preinfusion mod) once I've lived with it for a while, at least hopefully I have the option of upgrading it at a later date. I thank everyone for their input and interest - I have enjoyed the discussion.

    Ultimately it's a personal choice as to what you're looking for when you buy a machine, I'm sure I'll be satisfied with my choice.
    Huge Congrats Pretzel,

    What a great machine, it has the look and the performance to keep you very happy for years to come. I don't know how anyone can control the steam power of the LMLM I find it hard enough to use the available power on the GS-3.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    Looks brilliant Jono... Should have the recoated drip tray for you this week to up the stealth quota... I miss that machine...

    Chris
    Thanks Chris,

    I'm absolutely loving the machine and enjoying the fact that I have two completely different looks available. The coffee I'm able to produce with the combo I have is the best I've ever made at home in 15 years of trying and better then most bought coffee I've had recently.
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    Quote Originally Posted by K_Bean_Coffee View Post
    So, so, so nice Jono. Glad you're loving it Pre-loved GS3 was a GREAT move. Enjoy.
    Hi K_Bean_Coffee,

    I don't know why, but I'm not receiving notifications of replies. Thank you so much for the feedback, sadly the photos don't do it justice. I am so grateful to be able to have been given the opportunity to buy my dream machine and the mods have made this even sweeter. The drip tray will arrive soon to finish off the look. I have just started to achieve a reasonable level of consistency pour to pour. I only drink black coffee's mostly espresso and some long blacks, making milk drinks has been fun, all that extra steam power over the Duetto II is tricky(I thought I was ok at steaming milk, boy was I wrong). Looking forward to start to play with temperature and a few other variables once my consistency is rock solid. One day I may consider some different coloured sides or the Strada gauge mod, but I'm more than satisfied at the moment.

    Jono.
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    got the drip tray Chris, thanks it looks great.
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    Looks full stealth Jono
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    Chris did you swap over the steam and water wands? or was that the layout on the earlier versions?

    Can't go wrong with the GS3 only reason I'de swap to anything else is to see some Slayer aesthetics on the bench in lieu
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    Quote Originally Posted by evro50 View Post
    Chris did you swap over the steam and water wands? or was that the layout on the earlier versions?

    Can't go wrong with the GS3 only reason I'de swap to anything else is to see some Slayer aesthetics on the bench in lieu
    Yes- Rick did the wand swap evro50.

    My opinion was that it didn't make ergonomic sense to hold a jug in left hand as most do, but have to cross (so to speak) to access flick steam with the right hand...so that's how we rolled

    Chris
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    Yes- Rick did the wand swap evro50.

    My opinion was that it didn't make ergonomic sense to hold a jug in left hand as most do, but have to cross (so to speak) to access flick steam with the right hand...so that's how we rolled

    Chris
    The steam wand is great on the right, and I'm tall enough to reach over the machine to flick it on, my wife is still getting used to it. I love the look though, can't wait to one day put it on an island bench so that I can show off it's gorgeous rear end.

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    Amazing. Way too tempting....😃

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    Quote Originally Posted by K_Bean_Coffee View Post
    I picked the unit up from Rick yesterday for a customer order. It has had the works - adjustable pressure pre-infusion mod and PID with integrated shot timer. With the mods the machine is a really great one.

    Congrats looks amazing.

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    New bezel for shot timer looks great.

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    Looks ace! Great work K Bean & Rick
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    Just an update.

    The Linea mini arrived yesterday just before I went to work of course! Have managed to pull some shots last night and today using the supplied 17g VST basket. I've managed to get a couple of decent shots which have been nice. It seems to be fairly fussy with distribution and dose but this is most likely to be the basket, I would guess, knowing that the VSTs can be fairly intolerant of user error. The couple of shots I did pull, that were good, were much better than what I typically got with the previous machine. I won't miss the long cooling flushes and moving the cup tray to fill it up either.

    The steam power is obviously very impressive. I tried 2 jugs of water with a drop of detergent with reasonable results, but when I changed to using real milk the results were very impressive. I didn't find it that hard to get excellent microfoam and I'm really impressed with the quality after a fairly brief effort. Looking forward to perfecting this in the coming weeks.

    Heat up time is very impressive. Out of the box I timed 12 minutes before it was up to the full 2.0 bar pressure which is awesome but I overcame the previous machine's E61 grouphead with a Belkin WEMO switch which I rate very highly for machines with longer warm up times.

    Overall very impressed so far with the new toy.
    Attached Images Attached Images
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    Looks so awesome mate. Thanks for sharing your experience so far.

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    Senior Member matth3wh's Avatar
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    Hi Pretzal. Any more follow on LM action to share ? :-)

    I'm in the happy position of considering what I do with Linea Mini. Over the moon to get a phone call from wifey the other day saying she'd won a recent competition with prize of a LM Linea Mini!
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    Half you luck Matth3wh! Would have been quite happy to have won mine!

    Still going strong and enjoying the machine. I have a naked group handle on the way so I can keep a closer eye on the pour as it comes out of the basket. Still very impressed with it almost 2 weeks on. I've pulled more great shots in the last 2 weeks than I have in the last 6 months with the old machine, so I'm still very happy with it.

    Essentially it does what I thought it would - performs exceptionally well on its part so I can concentrate on my part.
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  32. #32
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    Our Linea mini is almost done and is due back on our demo bench early next week...It's been a mammoth job for the big brain of Rick (aka site sponsor Coffeemachinist)
    • shot timer/temp display
    • preinfusion mod
    • it's now plumbed
    • souped up restrictor
    • it has proper PID control with special stealthy set buttons


    Whilst the works have come at quite some $$$, a few Jamaica Blue Mountain test shots yesterday lead me to have little doubt that the final result will give our Slayer one hell of a run for supremacy..

    Pics to come or follow Rick's instafeed for progress....
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    So the PID display is also the shot timer?

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwantfm View Post
    So the PID display is also the shot timer?
    Sure is
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    Sure is
    Somewhat envious!

    Watching the development of these LMLM mods is great.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    Our Linea mini is almost done and is due back on our demo bench early next week...It's been a mammoth job for the big brain of Rick (aka site sponsor Coffeemachinist)
    • shot timer/temp display
    • preinfusion mod
    • it's now plumbed
    • souped up restrictor
    • it has proper PID control with special stealthy set buttons


    Whilst the works have come at quite some $$$, a few Jamaica Blue Mountain test shots yesterday lead me to have little doubt that the final result will give our Slayer one hell of a run for supremacy..

    Pics to come or follow Rick's instafeed for progress....
    Where was this when I was looking? Sounds like a weapon of a machine! Congrats on the the success of some truly amazing mods.
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    Just curious - what is the purpose/reasoning behind the 'souped up restrictor'?

    Agreed...Rick's work and Chris' facilitation makes this a very exciting machine with loads of potential. Thanks for your efforts.

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    I had Rick put in a smaller gicleur which reduces flow rate from the pump. I'd read that this makes the machine more forgiving and results in better extractions (I'm unsure exactly why this would be).

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    It's changing the stock 0.8mm restrictor to the 0.6mm one as found in the GS/3. This controls the water debit
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  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by thebookfreak58 View Post
    It's changing the stock 0.8mm restrictor to the 0.6mm one as found in the GS/3. This controls the water debit
    Bingo- you gets an elephant stamp

  41. #41
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    Here you go....
    One "Stamp" coming right up...
    Stampy.jpg

    Mal.
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    Senior Member matth3wh's Avatar
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    Cool

    I miss old Stampy the elephant.

    One main thing that worries me a little about owning LM is whether there is gouging on parts.



    Any comment on whether it's arm, leg, or first born?
    Last edited by matth3wh; 4th September 2016 at 08:17 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by matth3wh View Post
    I miss old Stampy the elephant.

    One main thing that worries me a little about owning LM is the likely gouging on parts.



    Any comment on whether it's arm, leg, or first born?

    Or is it more like a regular Apple (Tm) style gouging?
    I have had my Linea since 2009 now and have replaced a boiler level sensor (under warranty), a few group gaskets and a pump. That is 7 years service for less than $200. The machine still looks and performs as it did when new. Real quality....
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    I share your concerns too matth3wh but you're in the fortunate position of being $5k ahead of the rest of us!!�� If you decide to keep your Mini, I suggest you sell your current machine which should more than likely cover any parts for a long long time. Hopefully we can share Paolo's experience with LM.��
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  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paolo View Post
    That is 7 years service for less than $200. The machine still looks and performs as it did when new. Real quality....
    Sounds very good to me. May we all enjoy that high level of reliability.

  46. #46
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    I can't see why the LM shouldn't be really reliable in service and cheap to maintain given good water.

    The group needs no maintenance other than shower screens and group seals and there's nothing particularly complex about the rest.

    FWIW, I think it will be less expensive to maintain than other e-61 dual boiler gear.
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  47. #47
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    I'm considering plumbing in the Mini so I'm wondering there's any info on the La Marzocco kit in AU?

    REF: Linea Mini Plumb in Kit | La Marzocco

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by matth3wh View Post
    I'm considering plumbing in the Mini so I'm wondering there's any info on the La Marzocco kit in AU?

    REF: Linea Mini Plumb in Kit | La Marzocco
    Hi matt,

    $125 US for a braided hose, a drain tube and a couple of brass fittings...

    I'd reckon you could make quite a few kits for that. The only other task remaining is to fool the tank sensors into thinking the tank is full and you're done. Perhaps the instructions were $100 US?
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  49. #49
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    Thanks Chris. I wondered whether the magic tape for the sensors was somehow gold plated. ;-)
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    I'm heading down the path of plumbing in too in the coming months. What is the alternative really? Apart from installing the hoses/fittings etc it also does require an adjustment to the pump.

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