La Marzocco GS3 Espresso Machine Overview
Few names carry as much weight in the world of coffee as La Marzocco. They’ve been hand building some of the world’s most loved commercial espresso machines in Italy for the better part of a century. In recent years, they’ve been producing single group home espresso machines, the first of which being the GS3, continues to be a sought after machine for home baristas who want to take their setup to the next level.
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The unique design of the GS3 is undeniably eye-catching. Its low profile fits under just about any cabinet, and the sweeping angles of the side panels lend themselves well to the optional wood panels that La Marzocco produces. Its semi-saturated group head design keeps the area around the drip tray free of clutter, making every experience comfortable and satisfying. Its PID display with a built-in shot timer is angled up so that it’s easy to read at a glance.
Inside, the GS3 packs two temperature controlled stainless steel boilers. Its 1.5-Liter brew boiler and 3.5-Liter steam boiler give it enough power to serve as a true commercial machine or the focal point of your next dinner party. You can rest assured that every shot will be pulled at precisely the same temperature as the last. Even the largest lattes don’t phase the GS3 – it can steam 6 oz of milk in 7 seconds and 16 oz in just 25 seconds. Americanos and tea are easier than ever with the GS3’s hot water arm which uses a mix-valve to give you a smooth stream of hot, not boiling water. With the standard GS3 AV, you get the benefit of volumetric shot buttons which will automatically stop a shot at your desired volume. This allows you to pull shots and steam milk at the same time, significantly increasing efficiency.
The GS3 MP we have here has an even bigger trick up its sleeve: a manual flow profiling paddle. This paddle is attached to a valve which allows you to directly control the maximum flow rate and consequently, the pressure at the group head through extraction. You can create a slow ramping pre-infusion, choose to pull a 6 bar shot and ramp down pressure at the end to mimic a traditional lever espresso machine. No other home espresso machine allows for such direct control over flow-profiling, which is why the GS3 continues to be a popular end-game choice for dedicated home baristas.
Lastly, this being a La Marzocco machine, we have to open it up and talk about internal build quality. Once you’ve taken in the sight of those awe-inspiring boilers, you can see how neatly each cable and tube is organized. The GS3’s form factor makes almost any part easily accessible. Many of the parts are made by or exclusively for La Marzocco to meet their high standards for quality. For example, on no other machine have I looked at something as mundane as a pressure safety valve and found an appreciation for its mechanical beauty. That tells you a lot about La Marzocco.