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Time with the La Marzocco GS3

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  • Time with the La Marzocco GS3

    So coffee has been an obsession since 2007 when I first started working at a local café for some extra cash whilst at uni. I didn’t really understand coffee like I do now, but back then all I knew was that it kept me going. Years passed and I finally managed to purchase an ECM Botticelli. It was a temperamental beast that required strategic planning before making coffee – the question was to steam or pull a shot first. Anyway I soon progressed to a Giotto Rocket pp V2 which for the most part a dream to use, couldn’t ask for anything more and couldn’t care less for a pid installment either as everything just worked.

    Then one day upgraditis kicked in and all I could think about was a Slayer. Heck, it’s sleek, the actuator looks amazing and that steam lever is a work of art. To be honest I was actually going to place a back order (of course with permission of the boss!). But the more I thought about it, I didn’t feel that the prettiness and patented needle valve was worth the 7k premium over the GS3. So here I am, thanks to Chris from Talk Coffee with a brand spanking new La Marzocco GS3 MP.

    I guess I’ll focus my observations on the differences between using a Giotto Rocket PPV2 and the GS3. Aesthetically I feel that they are both good looking machines, one more tradition and the other contemporary. They are both made superbly, the Giotto wrapped in stainless steel and the La Marzocco with amazing saturated group head and pond of a drip tray!

    Nonetheless, my main questions upon purchasing the La Marzocco was, how much better/ tastier would my coffee be? And, would I really notice that much upgrading from a Hx machine.

    In short, I found that I was able to make better lattes and espressos more consistently than the Giotto. I believe this is attributed to the saturated group head and double boiler. For the most part, a lot of the coffee that came out of both machines tasted very similar and if I was to have a blind tasting of both I would say it would be a hard pick. There was also less temperature management with GS3. I have grown to live with the quick cooling flush with my Giotto, especially after being on for extended periods. But with the GS3, a quick flick of the paddle and off you go; there is no steam spurting out of the group head like with my Giotto.

    What I did notice was how forgiving the GS3 is and how it is able to extract certain elements albeit body, acidity and general mouthfeel better than the Giotto. I came to this conclusion whilst I was dialling in the GS3. My normal routine is to grind 19g and yield roughly 30g to have a brew ratio just above 1.5. Once I feel I’m in the ball park I dose +/- .5g just to see effects. Normally when I used my Giotto and dosed up or down – it didn’t end too well; however with the GS3, dosing up lead to more body, at times more acidity (dunno why). All in all everything was still very much drinkable. Also what my wife and I have noticed was that the coffee that we are producing using the GS3 has more layers in flavour. These complexities in flavour was something that we didn’t notice as much in the Giotto. Part of me thinks that it may be psychological, but the objective side of me can’t deny that these shots do taste pretty good. I haven’t played with the temperature, but less variables for me are better!

    (Bottomless extraction from the Giotto)

    It’s a whole new level steaming milk with the GS3 – it’s crazy! I only use a 350ml jug and it was over in under 7 seconds! Though I’m still getting used to this knob thing. Would love to convert it to a lever one day – when I can save more money. Anyway other benefits for me included the rotary pump and auto wake time. The auto wake up time is a godsend, especially being a shift worker! Last thing I want to do is turn the Giotto on @ 5am and wake up the wife!

    (La Marzocco GS3 in action)

    So does my coffee taste better? Yes.

    Does it taste 4k better that the Giotto? Probably not

    Do I regret my purchase? Absolutely not – It’s made my morning ritual a lot more enjoyable and has allowed me to produce consistent/ better tasting coffee. Plus it has the added benefit of potentially playing with temperature and pre infusion when that time comes.

    The performance from the machine is everything I expected and to be honest a little more.
    It’s a bit of an essay but I hope you guys had a nice read


  • #2
    Congrats Shayne and thanks for choosing us. I trust your machine will bring much pleasure.

    I'm on my 2nd GS3 at home (one ended up as a shed demo) and I also have no regrets. They are exxy, but you get commercial performance in a domestic footprint. I chose mine for the form factor and the ease of use and repeatability get my vote- day in, day out.


    • #3
      Great review Coffeechaos, enjoy your new gear which most of us coffee mortal can only dream of, very impressive!


      • #4
        great to hear some feedback on this much converted machine. I'm sure it is not your imagination and the flavours really are more layered.


        • #5
          Excellent summary. Agree with all your observations. Out of curiosity (and apologies if this is stated in your post) is your GS3 plumbed in?


          • #6
            Originally posted by Faatshank View Post
            Excellent summary. Agree with all your observations. Out of curiosity (and apologies if this is stated in your post) is your GS3 plumbed in?
            All good. my machine is currently running off the tank reservoir but will hopefully plump it in the near future.


            • #7
              Great story and commentary. Now you've got me thinking...


              • #8
                You got me thinking. Now I've bought another machine. VBM Replica Lever. It's an older machine and if arrives next week. A whole new learning curve coming up.


                • #9
                  That's great news. Ive alway been interested in purchasing a lever but opted for the paddle route as it would be easier for my wife and I to use on a daily basis.


                  • #10
                    Would agree with your excellent review. Did the same thing you are going true 3 years ago. It has been a beautiful journey and the GS3 will give you many an excellent cuppa....... Did find the plumbing/tank the only difference was the preinfusion..... Had it half and half and did not find it much of a hassle to top up the tank.


                    • #11
                      I think I got the first GS3 in AU, seems like many years ago. It's proved a good investment as it's delivered thousands of excellent coffees - and best of all, with absolute consistency. Has an annual service for various tweaks (e.g. just replaced the flowmeter), but overall has been easy to look after.


                      • #12
                        Nice write-up, thanks for posting. The more I read, the more I'm drawn to the GS3.

                        Possibly an odd question, but what's the provenance of the KeepCup with the grey/yellow lid?