Keeping caffeinated is a natural way to keep up on your life and on top of your tasks, with coffee providing fuel, and espresso giving us jet fuel. An espresso machine gives us the ability to expand upon our coffee-derived product usage to include exotic drinks beyond the scope of a cup of good old joe.
Whether you prefer espresso straight, mixed with hot water as in an Americano, with a bit of froth like a cappuccino. or brought to life by steamed milk in a latte, the espresso machine can deliver. In this article, we will explore the La Marzocco espresso machine and a few competitors so you can get the best machine for your money.
What Is a La Marzocco Espresso Machine?
According to espresso machine producer La Marzocco, the primary reason to select a La Marzocco espresso machine is "...for our unique philosophy, distinct heritage, ultimate technology, and Italian design." The name of this espresso company is derived from the symbol of Florence, Italy: the lion.
Since its founding in 1927, La Marzocco has been a leading espresso machine innovator. La Marzocco machines were the first on the market to have double boilers. They had the first saturated grouphead, and the first commercially available machines with PID controllers. They were also the first to introduce fully programmable pressure profiling.
The quality manufacturing and innovative technology built into each La Marzocco espresso machine is significant. The company has contributed significantly to the growth of the specialty coffee community since increasing its activity in the 1980s. As most are aware, companies like this spurred a robust, quality-driven industry to emerge. In the United States, La Marzocco distributes both La Marzocco and Mazzer coffee equipment, providing sales, technical support, training, and customer satisfaction on the level of a global industry leader.
The specifications of the La Marzocco espresso machine are industry-leading and innovative. All La Marzocco units are fully equipped with insulated boilers, which increases their energy efficiency by approximately 20 percent.
The sophisticated software designed into La Marzocco products enables the user to control temperature settings with ease, adding customizability to coffee beverages that is unparalleled. The Linea PB model comes equipped with programming that allows the machine to enter standby mode, which may dramatically improve the energy efficiency of the product.
For this review, we focused on the La Marzocca espresso machine known as the "Linea Mini." This particular model costs approximately $4,500, and thus is relatively high in terms of cost, although the quality provided by the manufacturer is substantial. The original, "big" Linea is an extremely popular espresso maker model, and many espresso drinkers have seen the original Linea in their favorite coffee shops. The Linea Mini is recognizable instantly as a member of the La Marzocco espresso machine family due to its unique styling and overall aesthetic appeal.
How They Compare
We picked a few similar espresso machines that are available on the market to see how they compare to the La Marzocco espresso machine. Note that the models reviewed are ETL/NSF certified for business use, so they can be used to create impeccable espresso shots equally well in your home or in your business to serve your clients.
La Marzocco Espresso Machines
The Linea, like the La Spaziele, is capable of pulling back-to-back shots with outstanding temperature stability, although the brew must be started and stopped manually to do this. The reservoir loads from the front for added convenience. The Linea also possesses a rotary pump like the La Spaziele, and there is an optional plumbing kit available to enhance water flow.
The user controls brew temperature with an analog click wheel, and there is no display or shot timer on the machine. This system may not have a true mechanical paddle, but it feels like a traditional La Marzocco... with greater durability.
Pricing for La Marzocco espresso machines can be quite high, with the Linea Mini explored herein at $4,500. This may seem cost-inihibitive to some, but the level of quality in the manufacture of the machine is outstanding, which translates directly into the quality of the espresso products the machine makes.
Ease Of Use
The La Marzocco Linea Mini is capable of pulling cups back-to-back with consistent temperature control, although the brew must be manually stopped to accomplish this. Further, the front-loading water reservoir adds ease to the use of the machine. There is also a 3.5-liter steam boiler which will allow you to steam milk for small drinks all the way up to pitchers full of milk.
This machine is easy to use for the single espresso maker to the barista, making its ease of use exceptional. The lack of a shot timer on the machine does somewhat limit its convenience, to cite one drawback.
Energy efficiency modes, significantly large boiler that is insulated for efficiency, a sizable boiler to make steaming bulk milk simple. Overall the features are substantial, just the lack of a shot timer is a factor that detracts from the features of the La Marzocco espresso machine Linea Mini model.
The stainless steel design and sleek aesthetics of the La Marzocco line have differentiated it from the competition for nearly a century.
All products offered by La Marzocco include a standard 13-month warranty on parts only from the original date of shipment, and all parts include a standard 45 days of warranty coverage from the original date of shipment. Electrical parts don't carry a warranty and cannot be returned, exhibiting a relatively important limitation to the warranty offered by La Marzocco.
Breville Espresso Machines
- Dose-control grinding: integrated conical burr grinder grinds on-demand to deliver the right amount of freshly ground Coffee directly into the portability for your preferred taste with any roast of bean.
- Precise espresso-extraction: digital temperature control (PID) delivers water at precisely the right temperature, ensuring optimal Espresso extraction.
- Micro-foam milk texturing: the steam wand performance allows you to hand texture micro-foam milk that enhances flavor and enables creation of latte art.
- Grind size dial: simple and intuitive, giving you control over the grind size no matter what type of bean you're grinding.
- Hands-free operation: innovative grinding cradle allows any at-home Barista to grind directly into the espresso port filter.
Next, we will examine the Breville BES980XL Oracle machine, which is competitively-priced and sports a modern, digital look. According to the manufacturer, this Oracle system provides espresso products equal in quality to drinks at your favorite cafe. To make quality coffee, it is essential to achieve the proper dose amount, precise water temperature, optimal water pressure, and sufficient steam pressure. The Oracle provides for all of this with its extensive set of features and options.
At a price of just under $2,000, the Breville model reviewed is competitive with the other machines in this sphere, albeit priced markedly below the La Marzocco maker we reviewed for this article.
Ease Of Use
The fully digital display, coupled with a timer, make the machine quite easy to use and even automate. In fact, espresso can be extracted while milk is being textured, allowing for a latte to be made in under a minute.
The features offered by the Oracle are extensive, and they provide a wide variety of options for the professional barista and the home barista alike. This machine can grind, brew, and steam, making it a one-stop shop for custom coffee drinks.
Designed with the best in modern technology, the aesthetics of the machine leave something to be desired, as it does not look unlike a digital boombox from the late 1990s.
The Breville line of espresso machines come with a 1-year limited warranty that protects defects in product material or workmanship over the full duration of the warranty period. Breville even arranges for pickup of the machine needing service and then returns either a new machine or yours fully repaired.
La Spaziale Espresso Machines
- Programmable Passive Pre Infusion
- Programmable Off Set Differential
- Dual Manometer
- The Vivaldi II Now comes equipped with the NEW .9 mm four hole steam tip as standard
- New LED display
La Spaziele is well known for creating industry-leading espresso machines, much like its competitor La Marzocco. We'll consider the popular La Spaziele Dream T model here; this machine was designed based on feedback and input from the professional barista community. The Dream T display delivers more information to the user than other machines. To go one step further, this espresso maker has more advanced functionality than some other machines we tried.
Given the many features and functions of the La Spaziale Dream T, its cost of just under $2,000 is not excessive by any means, in our view.
Ease Of Use
The Dream T is amazingly easy to use due to its electronic options, including a shot clock and programmable 7-day timer.
Electronic shot timers and other convenience features deploying modern technology make this a fine machine.
Using a similar double-boiler to the La Marzocco model, which costs over twice as much, the aesthetics and features of this particular espresso machine are strong.
The warranty for the La Spaziele is often provided by the vendor, which generally are for 2 years, parts and labor.
Gaggia Espresso Machines
- MANUAL FROTHING FOR MILK-BASED DRINKS: Pannarello steam wand for frothing milk
- PROGRAMMABLE: Programmable brewing options for espresso and espresso lungo
- TEMPERATURE CONTROL: 3 different temperature settings. Min/177.5 °F, Med/182.9 °F, Max/184.5 °F
- EASY ACCESS TO WATER RESERVOIR AND BEAN HOPPER: Features a removable 60 oz water reservoir that can be accessed on the top left of the machine, and an 8.8 ounce capacity bean hopper with access from the top right of the machine
- 2 YEAR WARRANTY: Hassle free 2 year warranty handled by Gaggia USA directly. For Gaggia USA's call center, call 888-389-4123.
The Gaggia line of espresso machines is extensive. Generally speaking, this maker focuses on smaller business operations and home brewing needs. For this review, we tried the Gaggia Accademia espresso machine. We knew going into it that Gaggia products have been a trusted go-to for Italian espresso adherents for almost a century. This renowned company has a reputation for producing high-quality, meticulously designed machines that reflect an unparalleled commitment to tradition.
Priced at just under $1,900, this espresso machine model is competitive in terms of cost, and is highly automated for the price.
Ease Of Use
The Accademia is a push-button machine with the ability to craft most of your favorite espresso drinks with a single use of a digit!
The Gaggia Accademia is a smart, sharp espresso machine with a technologically advanced design that earned the machine a "super-automatic espresso machine" nickname from our reviewers.
For a digital machine, the appearance and design of this well-balanced machine are exemplary. It is made of stainless steel and fashionably constructed, with the digital appearance fitting in rather than standing out.
The espresso machines produced by Gaggia are covered by 1-year parts and labor warranty without limitations. Replacement parts and refurbishment services are also available.
When it comes time to select your espresso machine, it is important to take into account how you intend to use it, how often, and how keen you are on cleaning it. A fine espresso machine with proper care can last for years or even decades, so it is important to select a machine that fits your preferences in both style and taste.
Whichever option you choose, you will have an exemplary espresso machine. Remember that the volume of the drinks you'll be making should be considered before deciding upon a specific machine. Also, think through the amount of work you want to contribute to the process.
The La Marzocco espresso machine line is a fine choice when seeking out business-grade espresso machines that will provide consistent quality at the speed you desire. Other models have greater levels of programmability and automation, however. Your purchasing decision may ultimately depend on the demands you'll be placing upon the machine.
If you are running a busy sandwich shop and want to offer espresso-based products on the side, a fully automated machine like the Gaggia Accademia is our suggestion, as it can make many beverages at the push of a button. For a moderately automated espresso machine, the La Marzocca Lucca Mini is a fine choice. It will work for any barista, whether this investment is for the home or the workplace. Whatever volume you'll be producing, this machine stands ready.
For more information on espresso machines and related products, check back with us at Best Espresso Machine Hub.