If you are anything like me, you’ve been curious about the La Marzocco Linea Mini machine. For years, the home espresso market has had few options for cafe caliber espresso at home.
While we await the build out of The Crown: Royal Coffee Lab & Tasting Room, our Crown Team has been focused on conducting Crown Analyses against many of our offerings. If you are a loyal reader of our blog or buy any of our Crown Jewels, you know all about them. For those visiting us for the first time, on each of our Crown Jewel offerings, we conduct a 5-tier analysis on each coffee. We explore origin story, green coffee analytics, taste analysis, roasting analysis, and brew analysis. While not all of our coffees make it to the espresso machine, we dial in a select few on a La Marzocco GS3 & Mazzer Kony Grinder.
While Royal isn’t in the business of serving coffee, we love being able to provide starting points & espresso recipes for the curious.
Recently, Royal had the opportunity to bench test a Linea Mini for a few weeks. Personally, I’ve always wanted to compare and contrast the GS3 vs the Mini. How would our coffees taste when brewed side by side?
La Marzocco Linea Mini & Mazzer Grinder – Photo Credit: La Marzocco Home USA
Short Version: Pretty similar and show-stoppingly great.
But there is always more to the story.
I asked our Creative Director and frequent Brew Analysis contributor Evan Gilman to dial in three coffees for us to compare & contrast. We wanted to explore how each coffee brewed on the two machines.
Three Coffees, Two Espresso Machines, One Barista
Full disclosure: If you are looking for science, look elsewhere because we don’t have any.
What we do have is an honest look at both machines and how our coffees performed. Our shot puller, has years of experience dialing in coffees for cafe rollouts & has trained 100s of baristas. Prior to recording the below data, we dialed in each coffee. Once pleased, we compared & contrasted the different recipes for us to enjoy.
La Marzocco GS3 & Mazzer Grinder – Photo Credit: La Marzocco Home USA
After searching through our offerings, we decided to roast & pull three coffees as espresso. We pulled all of the coffees at 10 days off roast. For fun, we decided to taste the Brazil and 78 Espresso Blend at 30 days off roast.
Brazil Fazenda Rainha Yellow Bourbon Pulped Natural 16+ GrainPro
78 Espresso Blend GrainPro
Most of the shots were either pulled at 1:1.5 or 1:2 coffee to water ratios. Below you can find all of our results.
10 Days Off Roast
30 Days Off Roast
Ultimately, these two machines performed nearly identically. Theoretically, all espresso machines should behave the same and provide consistent pressure & temperature – but we all know just how hard that it to achieve. While, the GS3 offers a little bit more room for customization, both machines pulled incredible shots.
Moreover, one of the guiding principles of espresso is that coffee should not be pulled after (insert the number of days your barista trainer told you here). I was always taught never to pull espresso longer than 2 weeks off roast. While not relative to the machines, both our Brazil Fazenda Rainha Yellow Bourbon Pulped Natural 16+ GrainPro & 78 Espresso Blend GrainPro tasted really great at 30 days off roast. It lost some of its sparkle between day 10 and day 30, but still produced wonderful shots. Like all things in coffee, test your hypothesis before making your decision.