Kev’s Review of the La Marzocco Linea Mini

La Marzocco Linea Mini, that’s four words that will conjure up a particular feeling for many would-be LMLM owners. Possibly a feeling of anticipation about one day owning this Iconic espresso machine or a feeling of frustration about the fact that you’ve still not won the Euro Millions and therefore still don’t have one of these in your kitchen. In any case, if you’re looking for a warts ‘n all review of the La Marzocco Line Mini, look no further.

The La Marzocco Linea Mini is the compact, home espresso machine from commercial espresso machine manufacturer La Marzocco. Its position as an Icon in the home barista world I think comes from the Iconic status of the La Marzocco Linea Classic, the inspiration for the LMLM.

For this reason, then, it’s no surprise that many people who own the LMLM (because I can’t be bothered continuing to type La Marzocco Linea Mini) tend to be baristas or ex-baristas, not just the similarity with the commercial La Marzocco machines, but the similarity with commercial machines in general. If you’re used to using commercial espresso machines, using the LMLM will be a very familiar experience.

So, yeah yeah, it’s a well-known machine, it has a certain degree of cult status, but what is the LMLM actually like to use, is it worth the investment, are you right to have this in your sights as the machine to own soon, or to own eventually when your “upgradeitis” eventually reaches that point? Let’s find out…

Kev’s La Marzocco Linea Mini Review

La Marzocco Linea Mini.

La Marzocco Linea Mini.

Check Price – Shop Coffee

So I was down in Cambridge visiting my friends at shop coffee, returning the Rancilio Silvia they’d let me use in order to review, and picking up the La Pavoni Europiccola, as they’re now stocking the La Pavoni lever line. While I was there, I was asked the question “do you want to take the La Marzocco Linea Mini with you”, a question that didn’t require much thought, obviously! 

I’d wanted to review this machine for quite some time, but that’s not quite as simple as it may sound. We’re talking almost four thousand pounds worth of espresso machine, just taking one out of the box and using it for review purposes probably costs a good few hundred quid, in terms of the resale value of ex-demo vs brand new unopened. But as luck would have it, Shop Coffee had a couple of LMLM’s which had been used at one of the recent coffee festivals, LCF I think, so I managed to borrow this one for review prior to them going on to list the unit as an ex demo.

Specs

  • 2.1 Litre water tank
  • Large drip tray
  • Can be plumbed, optional extra £84 for the plumbed in version
  • 3 Litre steam boiler
  • Rotary pump
  • 175ml brew boiler (filled via heat exchanger)
  • PID
  • Integrated brew group, 58mm
  • Connectivity via Bluetooth & Wifi
  • Brew Paddle
  • Barista Lights
  • No-burn steam wand
  • Water outlet
  • Brew boiler adjustment via the stepped adjustment wheel or smartphone app
  • Just 35.7 cm wide!
  • Adjustable brew pressure (by removing back plate and turning a screw)
  • Brew pressure gauge
  • Steam pressure gauge

I’m not going to go into detail about each feature, I’ll just go into some detail below on the points that I think need expanding.

The Water tank
The water tank is fine, OK a bit on the tiddly side for a machine of this caliber, but really, who’s going to buy this machine and not plumb it in? It’s in a bit of an unusual position, pushed behind the drip tray, which is one of the ways they’ve managed to make this beast of a machine so compact. 

The Steam Power
So we’ve got a 3 litre steam boiler here, and a four-hole steam tip. The result is incredible steam power! Thankfully my son is a barista, and he uses a La Marzocco Linea PB, so I got him to teach me how to not completely overstretch and overheat the milk, which I was doing at first.

To steam enough milk for a single flat white, from start to finish including stretching and heating, we’re talking under 10 seconds! This thing is amazing when it comes to steaming milk. 

The Rotary Pump
It’s thanks to the fact that it has a rotary pump, that you can plumb in the LMLM, but that’s not the only benefit. Being a rotary pump machine also means that it’s quiet, as rotary pumps are quiter than vibration pumps. 

PID, Brew boiler & integrated group
The PID is how the temperature is controlled, and I’m not going to go into much detail about that here, because most people who’re interested in the La Marzocco Linea Mini will probably be familiar with such terminology, but if you’re not, it’s just a fancy way of saying temperature controlled.

The brew boiler is small at 175ml, but there’s no need for it to be big really, it’s filled via a heat exchanger, meaning that the water is heated up via a pipe running through the steam boiler as it’s filling the brew boiler, to avoid thermal shock and to therefore aid the temperature stability that the LMLM is known for.

Another thing that aids temperature stability, is the integrated group, which means that the small brew boiler is positioned directly on top of the group & that the group and boiler work together to achieve the desired brew temperature. This isn’t quite the same as the saturated group on the LMLM’s bigger sibling, the La Marzocco GS3 in which the brew temperature is kept stable by the group actually being one with the brew boiler.

Bluetooth/Wifi connectivity
While connectivity with espresso machines is quite often a bit on the gimmicky side, in theory the La Marzocco home app that comes with the LMLM is far more than just a gimmick, with some very useful features, including a daily on/off schedule, brew boiler temperature control and status & control over pre-brewing.

I say “In Theory” though, as it’s completely useless if you can’t get the chuffing thing connected, and I very much struggled to get the chuffing thing connected! In the video review I did recently of the LMLM, my only criticism of the wifi feature was initially connecting, which I found to be a very frustrating experience. This was on an android device, by the way, and I’ve since read that this isn’t as much of a struggle with IOS devices.

I came to the LMLM the day after shooting the review video though, and would it connect, would it balls! I tried removing the profile and starting again, and no joy at all. The next day, I walked up to it and it connected immediately, no trouble at all, so just slightly inconsistent…  As far as I can see, La Marzocco are aware of this and are in the process of rectifying it.

When I’ve managed to get connected, I’m a fan of the app. I found being able to see the actual brew temp very handy, and being able to change it via the smartphone app is in my opinion much more precise than doing it with the adjustment wheel on the side, which I’m not a massive fan of – I found it a bit faffy to see what I was actually setting the temp to, via the wheel. I like the scheduling, I like being able to turn the machine on and off via the phone, and also being able to adjust the auto standby time, but obviously, none of this is of any significance if you can’t connect.

Brew Paddle
I’ve found the brew paddle quite enjoyable to use, actually. In theory, I don’t really understand it. It looks like it might handle pre-infusion or something, or give you at least some level of control over something, but actually, it’s just a really big on/off switch. As I’ve said, though, I did find it nice to use. My only thoughts on this are that although it’s nice, a button would have done fine, and then maybe they could have added a shot timer, which would have been a really nice addition. Maybe I’m talking rubbish though, I do that sometimes. It could be that the paddle is one of the things that sets the LMLM apart from so many other espresso machines.

Barista Lights
This is a cool feature, and the advantage of this feature is… it looks cool, that’s about it. But, come on, if we’re spending the best part of four grand on an espresso machine, don’t we deserve a certain level of coolness? When you engage the group by sliding the brew paddle over, the drip tray is illuminated by the barista lights, giving you a better view of your espresso.

No burn steam wand
This is an underrated feature in my humble opinion, it may only be a small thing, but if you have a no-burn wand instead of a plastic or rubber holding sleeve, it just means that you’re less likely to burn yourself on the steam wand, as we all tend to do occasionally when we miss the plastic/rubber grip while grabbing hold of standard steam wands.

Water outlet
If you want hot water at approximately the temperature of the sun’s surface, you’ll like this. It dispenses water straight from the steam boiler, so it is chuffing hot – too hot for ready-to-drink Americano, though, so you’ll need to leave a bit of space for cold water if you don’t plan on waiting for a while before you start drinking your coffee.

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Just 35.7 cm wide
It really is a compact machine, given the specs, especially the width (just under 36cm) and height (just under 38cm, so it’ll fit under most wall cupboards). It’s not even all that deep really, too, at just over 45cm. OK, if you compare it with the Gaggia classic or Sage Bambino Plus, it’s big, but compared to other dual boiler espresso machines, it’s not all that big at all considering the commercial specifications, including the whopping 3L steam boiler.

What’s the LMLM like to use? 

In short, it’s a joy to use. The espresso is stunning, the milk texture is amazing, the steam power is insane, and for “normal” use, I really can’t fault the La Marzocco Linea Mini.

When I say “normal” use, I’m talking about more standard espresso-making, in comparison to the more complex faffery required to get great results with much lighter roasts. If you’re wanting to work with anything from medium roasted beans and upwards, and you just want to pull relatively normal shots, then I think you’re quite likely to quickly fall in love with the LMLM.

Speaking of coffee beans, here’s a completely shameless plug for my own coffee beans :-). Use the discount code below as a first time customer, and after that should you choose to re-order (and, thankfully, most people do so I’m obviously doing something right) use the discount code “coffeebotherers” for a permanent discount (usually 10%).

Use Discount Code CBNC25 for 25% Off Your First Order at The Cofeeeworks

If you’re wanting to get into the more new-age super light roasted espresso scene, though, I don’t think the LMLM is the obvious choice, and I say this because I see there’s a fair amount of activity on’tinternet when it comes to searching for info on modding this machine for pressure profiling.

If you’re wanting to this level of control over the pressure, then I can understand the idea of picking up an inexpensive (comparatively speaking) Sage Dual Boiler and doing the slayer mod, which is is quick and fairly simple to do and free, or almost free, and fully reversible.

The idea of spending several hundred pounds (which is what it appears to cost) to do a similar mod with almost four thousand pounds worth of  LMLM, which doesn’t seem as simple to fit, or to reverse, doesn’t quite make as much sense, to me.

The GS3 seems a more obvious option for this kind of use, although I do appreciate that this machine is almost double the price of the LMLM. The Slayer one group is very cool, but is even more pricey. There’s the Decent espresso machines, though, which are made for this kind of espresso-making, and as I’ve mentioned already, the Sage Dual Boiler I think is a good option for this.

I have a couple of Sage Dual Boilers, both of which I bought reconditioned – one is currently my main home espresso machine, and I use the other one in my studio. I had one of them modded recently with the slayer mod, I took it to Radu at espresso repair shop, who reconditioned both of the machines originally, and he did the mod for me.

He tells me it’s incredibly simple to do, and the only part required was something to cap a tube, a part worth pennies, so if you’re getting an engineer like Radu to do this for you, you’re really just paying for labour. You could do it yourself though, I did have a look at what’s involved and came to the conclusion that I could do it myself, and that’s saying something – but I just don’t have the time at the moment.

Using this mod gives you control over the pump pressure via the water knob, without dispensing water. Even without doing this, you still have mega control over both pre-infusion power and time, straight out of the box, just via the control panel, as well as having 10 degrees Celcius of adjustment over the brew temp, which is also very simple to do.

So if I were wanting to play around with this kind of thing, I’d either be looking at the Sage (Breville, if you’re outside Europe) dual boiler, or maybe Decent espresso if you want precise pressure profiling. But what I wouldn’t be doing, personally, is buying the Linea Mini and trying to make it into something it wasn’t designed to be.

Going back to what it is designed to be, though, it’s essentially a commercial espresso machine, albeit a compact one. It’ll produce great shots, and it’ll produce stunning milk texture, with unbelievable speed, but in addition – it’ll do this continually and consistently.

This is something I think you probably need to keep in mind if you’re looking at other dual boiler machines and wondering just how far over the line of diminishing returns the LMLM is.

There are other machines that are maybe just over half the price of the LMLM, which seemingly will produce the same or similar shot quality and milk texture – but should you come to need the level of performance that the LMLM is capable of when it comes to continual back to back use, this is, I believe, where you’d feel like you’ve got your “money’s worth” from that additional investment. 

If you’re looking at one of the many E61 options for example, if you’re looking at dual boiler with rotary pump, you’re probably looking at the £2,000 – £2,500 kind of territory, machines along the lines of the Rocket R58, Profitec Pro 700 & ECM Synchronika. While I’m fairly certain the LMLM would out steam all of these machines, if we’re looking at overall cup quality, I can see the argument for the point of diminishing returns having been crossed, possibly by quite a bit.

But, the Linea Mini is made to perform as a commercial machine, and will just keep on consistently banging out back to back shots and back to back jugs of milk with no qualms whatsoever, something that the “usual suspects” when it comes to high-quality home espresso machines, aren’t really made to do.

So, if you should come to suddenly have 20 or 30 coffees to make (maybe you decided to have the odd coffee morning to raise money for a great cause, or you decided to provide the coffee for the “great patriotic excuse to have a party for someone/something none of us really give a crap about but let’s do it anyway cos we’ve not had a street party for ages” street party), the LMLM will have no problem stepping up to the plate and performing for you on that level. 

Anyway, at least now you have at least one clever argument up your sleeve for when it comes to justifying this extravagant purchase to the other half. “Well, I was thinking of using it to run the occasional coffee morning to raise money for <insert their most important cause/charity/subject here>.”

Joking apart, coffee mornings are a great way to practice your latte art, and to give you an excuse to spend a few hours just pulling shots and steaming milk, and you can do so while raising money for a good cause and keeping in the good books while you’re at it, great plan!

I’m not saying, by the way, that Profitec, ECM, Rocket etc., are going to let you down if you were to try to use them for this level of output, I’m just saying that they’re not really made for this kind of use. 

At the end of the day the reason the Linea Mini costs what it does, ultimately, is that it’s a commercial machine, a very well built compact commercial machine which has been very carefully crafted, using high-end components, by a manufacturer who knows what they’re doing.

Love the idea but can’t afford it – alternative?

I see quite a lot of talk online about what to go for if someone is eyeing up the LMLM but just can’t currently afford it without selling the family car or a Kidney, which talk about some of the machines I’ve just mentioned, Profitec, Rocket, ECM etc.

While I can see the point of recommending these as alternatives, to me, the obvious cheaper alternative to the LMLM is another compact commercial espresso machine known for its consistency and steam power:

la spaziale mini vivaldi s1 2.

la spaziale mini vivaldi s1 2.

Check Price – Shop Coffee

This, for me, is more akin to the LMLM than the usual suspects are that I see being discussed as alternatives. At the end of the day, as with the Linea Mini, the Mini Vivaldi is a commercial machine, just a compact one, and in my humble opinion, it has more in common with the LMLM than most other alternatives.

It’s a lot cheaper, and there are obvious downsides to this – but if you’re someone who wants this kind of “non-faffy”, more commercial-esque espresso-making, and back to back shots & milk-steaming capability but on a smaller budget, you may well decide that the downsides are acceptable given the comparative affordability.

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It has a vibe pump, not a rotary pump, so it’s not as quiet, and it can’t be plumbed in, although it does have a 3 Litre water tank. It’s dual boiler, with a 450ml brew boiler and a 1.2L steam boiler, and although the steam boiler is clearly not as gargantuan as with the LMLM, it is known for being powerful when it comes to steam.

It has a 53mm group head, not the more standard 58mm, which makes it slightly more difficult when it comes to buying tampers, baskets & distribution tools etc., but that wouldn’t be a deal breaker for me, as I know there are 53mm accessories on the market.

It’s a high quality and high-performance machine for the money, much more affordable than the LMLM – roughly half the price. If the fact that it has a vibe pump, not quite as big a steam boiler, and can’t be plumbed in is a deal breaker – the S1 Vivaldi (not the Mini), is just a few hundred quid more, has a 2.5L steam boiler, and can be plumbed in.

La spaziale vivaldi 2.

La spaziale vivaldi 2.

Check Price – Shop Coffee

The “non-mini” version of the S1 Vivaldi is actually the same size, strangely enough. It’s just that the “mini” version has a smaller steam boiler, a vibration pump and can’t be plumbed in – and the non-mini version also has a rotary steam valve instead of the joystick on the Mini.

For more alternatives, see:

Best Home Barista Setups

Anyway, getting back to the La Marzocco Linea Mini:

Little Tweaks

I’ve noticed a few small things that I might want to just tweak slightly if I was buying the Linea Mini.

Reduce the bad vibes man…
The first is that it’s a very quiet machine except for when the metal cup warming tray vibrates. It doesn’t always do this, but occasionally there’s a loud vibrating sound, coming from the noise of metal hitting metal, which is just the cup warming plate hitting the top of the machine. A strip of tape, foam, or something at each point that the cup warmer plate comes into contact with the top of the machine will sort that, just make sure that whatever you use is heat resistant and isn’t likely to permanently mark the top of the machine.

Buy an iPhone
As I’ve mentioned already, the app is great when it works, but I found getting connected initially to be a real pain, and re-connecting with it after the initial setup to be hit and miss. From what I can gather this is an issue with the android app only, and not with IOS. By the way, if you have the LMLM and you have an iPhone, and I’m wrong about this, please let me know via the comments below, ta.

So if you’re an Android user, you may want to consider switching to iPhone on your next upgrade. To anyone else, it would seem utter lunacy to decide to let your coffee machine dictate whether you’re an android or iPhone user, but I think most home baristas reading this will be nodding their head and agreeing with me that they’d do this if it means being able to have the additional control over the LMLM that the app provides.

Should we have to do this, of course we shouldn’t, and this is something La Marzocco really needs to resolve, but the simple fact is that at the time of writing at least, the app doesn’t appear to be very reliable at all with Android.

Get naked…
No, I’m not talking about making coffee in the buff, although to be fair you can do whatever you like in the comfort of your own home. I am, of course, referring to getting a naked portafilter.  You don’t “need” a bottomless portafilter, but then again, you probably don’t “need” a four grand espresso machine 😉 – the fact is, not only do they look cool, but they enhance the espresso making game on more than one level.

The first obvious advantage of the naked, or bottomless portafilter, is that it gives you more space over the drip tray, which increases the max height of the scales you can use. If you’re using the Acaia Lunar, or a similarly squat set of scales, you’ll probably be OK, but if you’re using any scales which are a bit more on the chonky side, you’ll find it a bit of a stuggle to fit your cups under the portafilter spout on top of the scales.

The second advantage is a bit of a double-edged sword for me, if I’m honest, but I do think it’s an advantage overall, and that is the visual indication of anything that might be going wrong with the shot. With bottomless portafilters you can see the very smallest of channels, as “spurters” along with other vidual clues such as when the initial drips start, what pattern is formed, multiple espresso streams and so on.

The reason I say this is a double-edged sword for me, is that if I’m honest, although it’s immensly satisfying when you get it looking right with a bottomless portafilter, at times (and this will depend on your palate) I find that there are visual indicators that I can clearly see, but I can’t taste in the cup, in which case I’m reminded of the saying “ignorance is bliss”, given that I’d have been really happy with the same shot with a standard portafilter, but instead I’m left a bit annoyed because although the shot tastes great, I saw that it wasn’t quite right.

One of the main advantages is of course that it looks cool. When you get a shot right, it’s so mesmerizing to watch. If you do go for a naked portafilter, then you can combine it with my next point about changing the 

Shot Timer

Lmlm shot timer.

Lmlm shot timer.

Check Price – Etsy

For me, a shot timer is something the LMLM is missing. When I say “for me”, I mean – it is missing, in that it doesn’t have one – but what I’m saying is, I think it should have one. Spending this kind of money on a high-end, amazingly well-built machine which is missing something as obvious as a shot timer, seems like a bit of a mistake to me.

I don’t think it is a mistake as such, I’m sure La Marzocco decided not to include a shot timer, but in my humble opinion that’s a mistake – if I’m spending almost four grand on an espresso machine, I expect to be saved from having to perform the task of pressing the timer button on my scales.

It could be that La Marzocco simply suspects that someone spending this kind of money on a machine would be using a set of scales such as the Acaia Lunar which has an auto setting, and that’s fair enough, but I’d at least like the choice of being able to use the timer on my scales or on the machine. 

Anyway, thankfully there are paddle shot timers on Etsy, someone has created an aftermarket paddle that has an auto shot timer in it, which automatically starts and stops. This is available in black, and in walnut, so if you’re planning on buying the walnut paddle kit for the LMLM for example, you may want to go for the walnut option. Just keep in mind that if you’re going for the black one, I’ve read that the black colour of the timer paddle is more of a dark grey so it doesn’t match perfectly.

Who is the LMLM made for?

So the above few paragraphs lead us to the obvious question, who is the LMLM made for then if it’s not made for the person who wants flow profiling geekery for light roast espresso sorcery? The answer is, I think, is that the Linea Mini is made for the discerning espresso enthusiast looking to enhance their home barista experience from an experiential perspective.  

Wow, that sounded sophisticated, quick, let me throw in some of my usual language so you know it’s still me here and I’ve not hired a writer: What a chuffing load of bollox. There you go :-), I’m back. 

So in other words, if you’re happy with the more traditional end of the spectrum when it comes to espresso, and I don’t just mean super traditional dark espresso roasts, but anything from medium and upwards really, who wants to pull fairly “normal” shots of espresso, and wants to use a traditional machine in a fairly traditional way, but you want to do it with a machine which has commercial level power and sophistication, then I think the LMLM was made for you.

I often make car analogies when talking about espresso machines, which I think may lead people to think I’m a petrol head, but I’m really not ;-), I wouldn’t know a Tesla from a tractor, well I probably would, but I’m really not a car enthusiast. Anyway, the analogy I think is best to describe who the Linea Mini is made for is to describe the difference between the “normal” car driver (like me) who sees driving purely as a means to an end, vs the car enthusiast who has dreams & ambitions about driving particular cars.

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At the very far end of this spectrum when it comes to espresso machines, are bean to cup machine users, to whom convenience is important enough to sacrifice espresso quality, so this kind of espresso machine user we could probably compare with the kind of person who really isn’t fussed about driving, only drives because they don’t want to get the bus, and couldn’t care less what car they drive.

Somewhere in the middle of this spectrum, I’d say, are people who kind of enjoy driving but who wouldn’t be able to justify a particular level of investment of time, effort and expense in order to drive a particular car. I’m like this when it comes to driving.

I actually really enjoy driving, I can drive for hours on end, I’d happily drive from up here (greater manchester) down to Cornwall in one go if I didn’t need to stop for a McSlash, and don’t get me wrong, there are some very cool cars I wouldn’t mind having a drive of, but I’m not the kind of person who’d buy a particularly “special” car.

Even if I won millions tomorrow, I’d keep the car I’ve got, it’s fine. I don’t need to worry about people opening car doors into it, it’s nice enough to drive, and doubles as a van when I put the seats down which is handy when a tip run is required, or when I need to pick up a machine like the Linea Mini to review ;-).

But when it comes to cars, there are people out there who know what they’re looking for in terms of experience when it comes to driving. It may be the sound of a particular engine, the feel of a certain steering wheel, even down to the feel of the way the doors shut. There are people like this when it comes to espresso machines, too. 

Some people would feel just as envigorated at the feel of the La Marzocco portafilters in hand as someone who’s really into cars may feel with their hands on a the steering wheel of a particular car. Some home baristas will feel the thrill of the amazing steam power they’ll get from the LMLM steam wand as they would from tapping the throttle of their dream car and listening to the roaring engine. 

If that’s you, then you’ll get where I’m coming from with this analogy, and you’ll be able to justify the price (if you can afford it) at least to yourself, good luck with your significant other ;-).

If this isn’t you, and you’re thinking “Kev, don’t be silly, it’s a flipping espresso machine, it’s just for making espresso” – then to be perfectly honest, if you’re not going to enjoy the experience of using the LMLM, I’m not completely convinced that the LMLM is for you, as for me it’s the “espresso machine lovers espresso machine” – rather than just being an espresso machine to perform the task of producing espresso.

In short, I think you’ll know if the Linea Mini is for you as you’ll be paying very little attention to what I’m saying here, all you’ll be thinking is “when” you’ll get one of these, and how you’re going to convince “the boss” that you don’t need to go on holiday for a few years, and that those much-needed bits of work to the house can probably wait a while ;-). 

What grinder to pair with the La Marzocco Linea Mini?

I’ve used the LMLM with both the Eureka Mignon Specialita and the Niche Zero, and got great results with both. If you’re planning on sticking to medium roast coffee beans and upwards with the LMLM, I think you’ll find that either of these grinders will work well.

I’ve done quite a bit of research into what grinders people pair with the LMLM, and there does seem to be a lot of praise from other owners who’ve paired the Linea Mini with either of these grinders. If you’re wanting to spend more than four or five hundred quid on a grinder, you certainly can, but how much difference you’re going to get from the increased spend will depend on you, and your palate.

If you’re considering pairing with a particular grinder, if you do some Googling you’ll usually find someone else who’s paired it with that same grinder, so you should be able to get a fairly good idea, with a bit of research. If you do end up with an LMLM paired with a different grinder and you’d like to recommend this pairing, please leave a comment below.

Is the Linea Mini worth it?

La Marzocco Linea Mini White

La Marzocco Linea Mini White

Check Price – Shop Coffee

This is a very common question, and re “worth it” I think mainly this means is it worth the money, but also it may mean is it worth the time and effort in trying to justify spending this much on an espresso machine to your nearest and dearest.

It’s a difficult question to answer really. Yes it is an expensive espresso machine, but it’s not as if it’s a cheap espresso machine with a posh badge on it – it’s incredibly well built, using expensive components and materials. Plus, aside from the intrinsic value of the sum total of all the components, carrying the La Marzocco branding is more than just a pretty logo.

Along with the prestige, you’re buying into the reliability and performance that this branding represents thanks to spending such a long time producing great machines and building up a loyal following as a result of that, in the same way that car manufacturers like Ferrari, Porsche and Aston Martin cars have a value of more than just the sum total of the components for the same reason.

There are other options of course, and many of them are quite a bit cheaper, so it’s down to you to decide whether the Linea Mini is worth it to you, and as I’ve said, I’d think that it would be more likely to be if you’re going to enjoy using the machine. If you’re asking is it worth it in terms of cup quality, then – that depends on your palate I suppose, but focusing purely on cup quality, I’d think there are other cheaper machines that would deliver similarly great-tasting espresso. 

The Sage Dual Boiler, for example, is a mega machine in my humble opinion, and if we’re just talking about espresso quality, and we’re not bothered about steaming speed or anything else, then at about a third of the price, I’d say the Dual Boiler puts up a good fight – and there are many other potential machines at around half the price of the LMLM that would do a similar job when it comes to espresso. 

There are other things to keep in mind too, including value over time. Keep in mind that although the Linea Mini isn’t cheap to buy, it holds its value very well, as you’ll find if you look for a used LMLM, and also as it really is a commercial-grade machine, you’ll never have an issue when it comes to maintenance & repair, as any local espresso engineer will be able to get the parts you need and do whatever needs doing, while this isn’t the case with all machines.

Espresso quality

Before signing off on my La Marzocco Linea Mini review, I feel I should talk a bit more about the espresso quality, because yes, OK, as I’ve said I think part of the allure of this machine is the experience of using it, but no one is going to spend almost four thousand pounds on a machine which isn’t capable of decent espresso.

What I’d say about espresso quality is I’ve been amazed at how easy it is to get fantastic shots with the LMLM. God shot type results aren’t all that far from reach when you’re working with a machine with this level of temperature stability and precision, and I can tell you, I’ve had some mega shots from this machine! 

There are some machines that are difficult to dial in, and to get consistent results from shot to shot, this is definitely not the case with the Linea Mini. As long as you’re pairing it with a capable grinder, and as long as you’re using high quality, freshly roasted coffee beans of course, and coffee beans that you like the taste of, then I don’t think you’ll be dissappointed in any way by the shot quality that this machine delivers, I certainly haven’t been.

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This article firstly appeared at Coffee Blog – The UK Specialty Coffee Blog – For Lovers of REAL Coffee!

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