Right now I think it is fair to say that the espresso machine world is in the midst of a revoloution. The march toward the stabilized brewing water temperature, employing digital controls and improved group head designs, is no longer the sole domain of Synesso and LaMarzocco. That means I may not be aware of excellent equipment that is on the market and I can no longer state that something is “the best”.
Now that I have done my back-pedaling I can say that the Lamarzocco GS-3, marketed as a home machine, is a very, very good espresso machine. It is capable of perfect espresso, making a Northern Italian roast such as Vivace’s, taste sweet, and brings out the varietal flavors with incredible fidelity to the fragrance. With the GS-3 I can taste the hoppiness of a Brazil or the blueberry of a nice Harrar in my blends. (It has been my pleasure to brew my morning coffee on this machine for about a year now.) And, it plugs into a standard 110V outlet and requires no plumbing.
The steamer is capable of rolling the milk in a 1/3L pitcher, producing perfect foam in enough quantity for a true cappuccino. Order the “fine” tip.
The machine is high-stylin’ and looks vaguely 1950’s retro as LaMarzocco has been doing for awhile. I like the look. And, like all LaMarzocco machines, it is built to last.
As I said above, the brewing system is very good. It uses a dedicated boiler with PID control, and a very improved group-head designto bring all that stability to the coffee bed. The machine is easy to fill and has a removable drain tray that holds at least a liter.
Drawbacks..the machine is annoying at times. The control buttons are tiny and frequently do not engage without a focused attempt, which is in short supply at 5am. And, it buzzes and rattles due to the internal pump.
Now that Franke is out of the picture I can wholeheartedly recommend this machine with LaMarzocco’s excellent domestic distributors ready to stand behind your purchase.