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Thread: La Marzocco GS3 AV vs MP question

  1. #1
    Senior Member FineGrind's Avatar
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    La Marzocco GS3 AV vs MP question

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi,
    I am about to purchase a La Marzocco GS3. I was all set to purchase the manual paddle version, when I read that this model really needs to be plumbed in for enough pre infusion pressure, which is not an option for me. And this model can only go to a maximum of 2 bar when on water tank. The post advised to get the volumetric version for the use of the reservoir. Offering a pressure greater than 2 bar for pre infusion. So my question is, in it's entirety, what does the manual paddle version do, that the volumetric one cannot. My rudimentary understanding is that the paddle is adjustable on the fly, meaning more flexibility during the course of a shot and for tweaking of the following shots without the hassle of reprogramming first. Whereas the volumetric version needs to be programmed, before any change in parameters occur. But I would like to ask someone who knows more about them, to be crystal clear about all differences before I proceed.
    Thank you in advance for your time ,
    FG.

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    You will find that people who have purchased the MP have been disappointed with the flexibility you are describing with the pre-infusion pressures, even people who do the Strada pressure mod explain that the amount of actual control they have over the pre infusion pressures is very minimal. If you aren't running line pressure you shouldn't be considering the MP because you'll only get boiler pressure at the group.

    The AV is your best bet, it has a programmable pre infusion for example you can set it to (Pre infusion open 2.3 seconds on, pre infusion closed 2.0 seconds, enable brew) The pressure you will get for PI on an AV will be a slow ramp up to 9 bar due to no line pressure.

    To be honest on my GS/3 I played and tweaked and tweaked and tweaked with PI and I saw very minimal improvement in the cup so I ditched it a long time ago.

  3. #3
    TC
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    I have the paddle and there is no way I could go to volumetric (good for offices and cafes). Preinfusion control comes via mains (plumbed) and the first thing to get ditched from mine was the tank- shocker design. I'm not even sure I know where it is anymore.

    Strada pressure mod only turns the MP group into an MP group with a gauge on the top. It does not give you pressure control as it's not a Strada EP and doesn't have a gear pump either.

    With the paddle version of the GS/3, you'll be replacing paddle o-rings on a yearly basis. Factor an additional hundy or so on top of your regular service costs.

    If you want real control over preinfusion, look past LM and to the Ambient Vesuvius which is at a completely different level. LM has a whole heap of catching up to do if it hopes to compete with the Vesuvius.
    Last edited by TC; 29th March 2015 at 11:37 AM. Reason: tpyo

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    Member jazzy_boy's Avatar
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    La Marzocco provide an interesting online article on difference between the MP and AV models of the GS3:
    Demystifying the GS3: MP or AV? | La Marzocco

    In the article, they compare MP to driving a manual car and AV to driving an automatic, which is a fairly loose analogy. I have been researching this topic for a couple of weeks now and discovered that even some of the retailers don't fully understand the differences between the models. I've also spoken to people that own both models and discovered this:

    (1) Owners of the MP model appreciate the feeling that they are in control of each individual shot. The tactile experience of the paddle allows you to feel connected to the machine and the process. It allows you to start and stop the shot when you want. So, if for example, you're making a ristretto, you could stop the shot early. Alternatively, you could be watching the shot for signs of blonding before you stop the shot. The pre-infusion feature of the MP really only works at its best when you are plumbed in. There is a debate among those who use GS3 whether there is any discernible difference in the cup from the pre-infusion. Most people who use the pre-infusion seem to do it pretty arbitrarily... that is.. they move the paddle to middle position.. count for 4 to 6 seconds.. and then move it all the way to the left to start the pump/extraction. If you were using a naked filter, you might pre-infuse and look for signs such as water beading at the bottom of the basket and then start the shot. In summary, this paddle option seems to suit people who like to "tinker" with the shot. However, the reality is that many MP owners might tinker with some shots or might tinker a little bit when they get new beans, but they tend to do a lot of shots on auto-pilot also... that is straight on and off with the paddle. Expect to pay about $300 or $400 more for the paddle version and also expect that the O-rings will need changing each year. There are instructions online for doing this yourself if you are handy type person.

    (2) Owners of the AV model seem to like convenience and consistency they get and are less concerned with standing there and monitoring the shot as it pours. For example, they can press the start button and then go butter some toast.. or grab the milk out of the fridge and come back to a nicely extracted shot. If there are multiple people in the house making coffee on the machine (and some of them are less coffee-enthusiast) this might also be a good option. The self-cleaning cycle is appreciated by a lot of AV owners. That is you can put in a blind filter, press the clean button and the machine will start and stop 12 times to flush. Some retailers told me that AV doesn't pre-infuse which is incorrect. It does pre infuse - you just have to program it into the button... so for example you could program a button to be... pump on for 4 secs.. off/wait 4 secs... extract for 28 secs. If you wanted to, I believe it's possible to control the AV manually, as in press the start and stop buttons which would approximate the MP control without the tactile feel of a paddle.

  5. #5
    JM
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    Re-AV model, yes you can stop the shot anytime - just press the button a second time. While that's not the general intent, you are not committed to the entire volumetric dose if you wish to cut it short.

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    I have the AV, and do not regret it. As JM says, you can stop the shot at any time. Volumetric will give you better consistency. See Matt Perger's video, "Man vs Volumetric". Consistency will get you to better coffee (as you improve). This is more important to me than the paddle.

    My understanding is that LM found no improvement with preinfusion, so that is why it is disabled by default. The flushing routine is very handy, and the yearly cost savings are a plus.

    I could plumb mine in as it's right next to a sink, but I haven't bothered. I refill once a day, it takes me about a minute in the morning. The drip tray jams on mine sometimes. A bit annoying, but it's only an extra few seconds. If I had to buy another one, it would be the AV again for me.

  7. #7
    TC
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    Glad you love your machine upl8.

    Sorry, but I disagree on volumetric v consistency. Regardless of the time of the shot, once it blondes, you're done and I'd sooner have 20ml of great stuff over 30ml which includes 10ml of blonde. You can just as easily watch or even weigh your shot if you choose. In addition, if/when things like control boards and touch pads die, they're exxy- especially boards that run volumetrics. I wouldn't think too many would set a volumetric machine differently for each coffee. Rather they'd watch the shot and work manually.

    Preinfusion? Slayer built a whole machine dedicated to the concept and preinfusion totally transforms a pimped Linea mini as well. LM likely didn't do it for cost saving measures. Regardless, it helps to lower the incidence of channeling for those learning distribution.

    As for Matt, I stopped reading him a long time ago. Happened when he wed Mr Marketing. Perhaps they had a truckload of volumetric machines to sell that week.

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    JM
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    Interesting. Love our AV, but impressed with what I have read about the science of precision pre-infusion with the likes of Slayer and Speedster (and Vesuvius for that matter)

    @upl8, plumbing in is so worth it. I know filling is easy, but it's icing on the cake.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    Regardless of the time of the shot, once it blondes, you're done and I'd sooner have 20ml of great stuff over 30ml which includes 10ml of blonde.
    Sure. But you can stop the flow on the AV.

    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    In addition, if/when things like control boards and touch pads die, they're exxy- especially boards that run volumetrics.
    I guess you have to weigh it up against the extra maintenance cost of the MP.

    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    I wouldn't think too many would set a volumetric machine differently for each coffee. Rather they'd watch the shot and work manually.
    Probably. I do a combination of both. No need to be too fussy if it's going to be a milkshake.

    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    Preinfusion? Slayer built a whole machine dedicated to the concept and preinfusion totally transforms a pimped Linea mini as well. LM likely didn't do it for cost saving measures. Regardless, it helps to lower the incidence of channeling for those learning distribution.
    I was referring to the AV version of preinfusion with the pump. They found no taste improvement with it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    As for Matt, I stopped reading him a long time ago. Happened when he wed Mr Marketing. Perhaps they had a truckload of volumetric machines to sell that week.
    I thought you were president of his fan club

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    Quote Originally Posted by JM View Post
    @upl8, plumbing in is so worth it. I know filling is easy, but it's icing on the cake.
    Granite benchtop. I could route the water line around it, but the drain would have to go through the benchtop. I would do it if refilling was a pain, but I rarely refill it more than once a day.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    As for Matt, I stopped reading him a long time ago. Happened when he wed Mr Marketing. Perhaps they had a truckload of volumetric machines to sell that week.
    Perverse is one of the very, very few who has some sort of metrics / data to back up his statements. And we he doesn't have data to support a viewpoint, he says so and encourages the reader to test his hypothesis.

    There are way too many IMO's and IMHO's on this forum with no basis for the opinion other that having the opinion.

  12. #12
    TC
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    As you wish dlight.

    You may not realise that the GS3 MP ships with a shot timer. Regardless of volumetrics, you get dose right and time right, you get consistency.

    Perhaps I'm missing something, but given a consistent dose I can't see how a button which counts is going to deliver anything that display which counts in a machine (which also offers line pressure preinfunsion) won't- unless of course the operator is unfortunate enough to be blind.

    I've done a whole heap of training people and the skill we invariably devote most time to is teaching users how to dose consistently.

    My advice? Spend what you need on tools and/or skill development to learn how to dose accurately. The home is not the cafe.

    That for what it's worth is my humble opinion.
    Last edited by TC; 19th January 2016 at 08:12 PM. Reason: further info.
    Dimal likes this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    Perhaps I'm missing something, but given a consistent dose I can't see how a button which counts is going to deliver anything that display which counts in a machine (which also offers line pressure preinfunsion) won't- unless of course the operator is unfortunate enough to be blind.

    If everything were consistent, then your theoretical shot in the post above wouldn't have
    blonded 10ml early. Machines are more consistent than humans, especially humans that are only pulling a few shots every day.

    Matt mentioned something in one of his posts that addresses your question. When a shot runs slowly, more water "slips" past the wheel in the flow meter. When a shot runs fast, there is less slippage, so more of the water is accounted for. This allows the machine to adjust to small dosing errors.
    Underdose a little, the shot runs fast, you end up with a bit less water. Overdose a little, the shot runs slower, so you get a bit more water. The brew ratio stays relatively constant. I did some basic testing, and it did work as he said. So a volumetric machine can make up for small dosing errors.

    I was originally going to get the MP, but decided against it because I wasn't sure if I would plumb it in. It's easy to think of the AV as being the inferior machine, but I'm not so sure now. As I said earlier, I am glad that I bought it. I'm sure there are also plenty of people that are happy with their
    MPs.

  14. #14
    TC
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    Sure thing. Whilst brew ratios can do whatever they like, slight underextraction will not deliver the same shot as slight overextraction.

    Your learning then is get your dose consistent. Training or buy a scale if you need one.

    The AV is a good machine. It has a push button shot timer rather than a stop watch in the display. Its preinfusion function is however inferior to that of the MP.
    Dimal likes this.

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    Your opinions are always appreciated. You have the experience to support it.



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