This holiday season, consumers are faced with more options than ever for home espresso machines (and grinders…so many grinders), so we’ve curated this guide to help you make the best decision for your situation. We’re solution-oriented around here at Voltage, so we’re going to take a fresh look at some well known, and some brand new, premium espresso machines, and break them down into their various use cases to help you identify what’s best for you.
- La Marzocco Linea Mini
- La Marzocco GS3 AV
- La Marzocco GS3 MP
- Victoria Arduino E1 Prima
- Slayer Single
- Rocket R58
- Sanremo YOU
There are 3 primary goal categories to break these machines down:
- Experience: I want the craft coffee experience more than features - let me feel it!
- Convenience: I want my coffee as consistent and convenient as possible - I’m busy!
- Experimentation: I am interested in coffee as a hobby and want to dive deeper - for science!
Brief Disclaimer: You Need a Scale
For all of the options that we are about to discuss, you are going to want a scale to go with them. For any premium coffee equipment, a scale helps you stay consistent and ensures you have a reference point to fall back on when dialing in your shots. This will save you a lot of frustration, especially on the more sophisticated machines.
I Want “The Experience”
Perhaps you are in the early stages of your coffee journey and are looking to take the leap from a single boiler to an independent boiler espresso machine. Maybe this is your first espresso machine ever! In either case, both of these machines will unlock access to a higher level of espresso brewing and give you the premium specialty coffee experience without too many frills. Both are semi automatic (just an on/off switch), and both have easily adjustable temperature controls (very important for good espresso). Both can be operated with a tank or be plumbed in directly (sold separately with the Linea Mini) and can pull a shot of espresso and steam milk at the same time. The Linea Mini is going to have the edge over the Rocket R58 due to its commercial grade components and world class support, but the Rocket R58 is a great value for the price. Both machines are very popular in their own right and will give you an elevated coffee experience.
Give me Convenience!
If you have a general idea on how to extract espresso and it's more about getting a consistent cup of coffee without too much fuss in the morning, then these two are worth considering. Both the La Marzocco GS3 AV and the E1 Prima are volumetric, programmable machines that will give you a consistent volume of coffee based on your desired brewing ratios. All the effort is up front at setup. Once you get them dialed in, you will only need to make significant adjustments if you change the coffee beans and/or grind size. Both machines have built in water tanks or can be plumbed in. Both let you play with temperature settings and set pre infusion time (a big bonus), but don’t have significant adjustments beyond these two, albeit, very important factors. The GS3 has the edge for some folks as it uses heavier duty components, and while it does have a phone app, it doesn’t require it…unlike the E1 Prima. With that said, the E1 Prima gives you a lot more settings to adjust, so if you want to make those kinds of micro adjustments, the E1 has a few more options than the GS3.
Yeah, But What Would Happen If…
Do you want to experiment with a lot of different coffees and extraction types? Do you want to unlock the full potential flavor of a single origin coffee? Then these are the machines you’re looking for. All 3 of these machines let you dynamically adjust the pressure/flow of the extraction at each brewing stage with a manual paddle and will require some practice to fully take advantage of their capabilities. Once you get the hang of them and understand the extraction variables, though, the world of espresso really opens up and your options become almost limitless. The GS3 MP and Sanremo YOU both have internal water tanks or can be plumbed in directly. The Slayer Single, on the other hand, must be directly plumbed in. Both the GS3 MP and the Slayer Single are entirely manual machines, so they will require some practice to replicate extraction profiles consistently. The Sanremo YOU brings a unique element to the table, however.If you find an extraction profile that you like, you can save it as a recipe and the machine will replicate that recipe for you in the future.
At the end of the day, it all depends on your goals and how you enjoy your coffee experience most. We hope you found this information helpful, and if you need any further guidance or have questions, our team is just a call or email away - we’re here to help!