Top 3 Luxury Semi-Automatic Espresso Machines
We’re nearing the end of our 2021 Top 3 content, but we’ve got a little bit more for you today. Whether you’re shopping for the absolute highest end machine you can buy for home use or just dreaming about where you might take your espresso hobby, luxury machines are very exciting to see. Today we’ve got our picks for the three best luxury espresso machines of 2021.
The La Marzocco GS/3 is the manufacturer’s ultimate home espresso machine for espresso hobbyists. Like everything on our list today, this is a full-size, dual boiler machine with extremely high-end performance and long lasting reliability. This machine, and the others on this list, offers near commercial levels of performance.
What differentiates the GS/3 is the way in which it is hands-on. While the AV model provides incredible performance and is simpler to use, the MP model is where the real hobbyists will find something exciting. The AV model uses the buttons located under the screen to control everything. This works well, and you’ll be able to pull perfect shots with timed dosing and PID controlled temps without any fuss. However, with the MP model you’ll get that tactile brew paddle. This paddle allows you to directly control the pressure coming from the pump, giving you on the fly pressure profiling. What’s pressure profiling you ask? It’s a term for modulating the pressure of the brew to develop different “profiles” and different flavors. You might want a fast ramp to 8 BAR of pressure, then a slower build to 9 BAR. The ability to experiment is yours with the GS/3’s MP configuration.
Rounding out the package is a cool touch steam wand and a handy hot water valve. All of it is quite ergonomic, making this machine a dream from a workflow perspective as well. We love brewing and steaming on this one, and we’re sure you will too.
The R Nine One is Rocket Espresso’s premium hobbyist machine, and it expands on some of the concepts found in the GS/3. This machine also offers PID controlled temps, a cool touch steam wand, hot water, and a dual boilers for plenty of capacity. It also is managed through a screen based interface, though the vibrant touch screen here may be preferable to some users. The big difference with the R Nine One is how it handles pressure profiling.
As you control the brew lever on the R Nine One you will see a real time graph of your pressure map on the screen. This gives you plenty of feedback so you can see exactly what your hands on control is resulting in for the pump and valves themselves. The best part though, is that you can save these profiles. You can then tell the R Nine One to recreate one of your saved profiles, meaning you don’t have to perform the exact paddle motions again in the future.
This means you can use the R Nine One to recreate, and save, the profiles from a huge range of espresso machines. Interested in what espresso would taste like from a niche machine of the past? If you can find the details on the machine’s pressure profile then you can recreate it with the R Nine One. It’s why this machine is the ultimate hobbyist’s espresso brewer.
Maybe you’re not looking for pressure profiling. Maybe you just want that commercial performance in a single group machine to fit on your kitchen counter. For this list, that’s where the La Marzocco Linea Mini comes in. This machine is based on the Linea line of commercial machines that has been a stalwart part of the La Marzocco espresso line for decades.
We love the Linea Mini for its simplicity. This machine features PID controlled temps managed by a simple dial on the side of the brewer. It’s also got a wonderful feeling brew paddle and set of knobs that offer relatively simple, but near perfect operation. Dual boilers deliver that high capacity so that you’ll be brewing and steaming without fail for drink after drink. The Linea Mini also has a hot water spout for tea and americanos, and a nice and toasty cup warmer up top.
It’s not a complicated machine, but it is just about perfect.