We managed to play with and pull coffee with one of the grails of espresso machines, and certainly the end game machine for most home espresso enthusiasts, the La Marzocco GS3. With the Lagom P64 grinder.
TGIFridays: La Marzocco GS3 professional grade espresso machine for the home
We managed to get our hand-on one of the few high end espresso machines made for domestic use in the home of our reader Brighty. We had previously featured his espresso system with the Flair 58 and Niche Zero. He recently upgraded to the La Marzocco GS3 and Lagom P64 grinder. Both professional grade espresso machines, designed for the home. Both highly engineered, perhaps massively over-engineered. Both beautiful machines which are highly capable of extracting superb espresso.
The GS3 features a saturated group head with excellent thermal stability system. This group head is the same as the one used in the commercial La Marzocco Strada. And includes a preheating system, digital PID controller, saturated groups, a dual-boiler system, and digital display. The machine also comes with three pressure gauges, one for the brew boiler, one for the steam boiler and one for the group head. In our use, we found it to be spot on accurate.
The head features a conical valve system assures progressive control of water flow and pressure via an internal orifice, before applying full pressure. This paddle valve controls pre-infusion and works with the volumetric pump is working at full pressure. This allows us to profile the shot. In the most flavourful shot we made that afternoon, we used a 10s pre-infusion at 1.2 bar, and extracted at about 6 bar pressure over about 28s. Other profiles are also possible with the precision afforded by the paddle.
We played with extracting espresso for the best part of a Saturday afternoon. We used a Acai smart scale for measurement. Our target is a 1:2 extraction for proper extraction. On the GS3’s 18g portafilter, this will yield a double espresso of 36g. Seen below, on the right of the GS3 is the Lagom P64. The grinder features 64mm flat burrs, and comes very beautifully finished in a silver 6061-T6 CNC machined and anodised aluminium. The burrs are powered by a 300W brushless DC motor and is adjustable from 300 rpm to 1400 rpm with load. The motor is very quiet in operation, and without coffee in the chute, is almost silent. Even when grinding, it is very quiet.
Overall, an afternoon well spent. Both Brighty and me are getting used to the machines. When I visited, the GS3 was a couple of weeks in his possession, and the P64 had just been delivered the day before.