Sneak Peek: Linea PB AV

We’ve been packing up our crates and gearing up to head to Boston next week for SCAA Expo. We’re most excited that the big day – April 12 – is almost here: the day we get to introduce the newest espresso machine in our lineup, the La Marzocco Linea PB.

We’re not to April 12th just yet, but we wanted to give you a little sneak peek at some of the technology you’ll see on our newest addition.

Last week we shared some of Ben Kaminsky’s thoughts on volumetrics after reviewing some testing results we conducted in the La Marzocco Lab. His analysis made his opinion clear:

“In practical application, in a bar setting, baristas utilizing flowmeters are nearly 50% faster than those pulling shots without.”

The La Marzocco Linea has come to be known as a workhorse of a machine: a durable, dependable classic that performs in the highest-volume settings. The Linea PB has been designed to continue this tradition, while also giving the barista new tools to prepare coffee more consistently.

As the specialty coffee community has taken a more in-depth approach to extracting espresso, we have come to more fully appreciate the value of flowmeters, and we believe flowmeters offer a path to providing the barista a dynamic measurement of espresso extraction. As such, we are excited to introduce the Linea PB AV.

The auto-volumetric system of the Linea PB will introduce a new feature, never before seen on an espresso machine. With a built in display, the barista will have the choice to view either the time of the extraction (just like the La Marzocco GB/5) or to see the number of cycles (pulses) moved through the flowmeter. Each count on a flowmeter is similar to .5 ml of water. Using this method, a barista will be able to see how much water has traveled into the portafilter. As Linea PB users become more familiar with the machine, they will be able to tell if their espresso is extracting too fast or too slow by how quickly the pulses count through the flowmeter. For the first time, the barista will have a dynamic measurement to understand the rate of extraction – rather than just time or volume. Ultimately, this new unit of measure will further put baristas in control of their extractions.

Each group head of the Linea PB has three buttons. Two buttons are programmable to a certain number of flowmeter cycles. The other button is a manual brew button, giving the barista the same start/stop control of a semi-automatic (EE) espresso machine. These buttons are silicone membrane switches, and are backlit with LED lights. Each switch has a life span of over a million cycles.

There are many other features of the Linea PB that we look forward to sharing with you over the coming weeks. We hope to see you in Boston (Booth #519), but if we don’t, be sure to check back here for more updates as we reveal the next generation of a classic.

La Marzocco Machine Names

On January 14th, we celebrated a great occasion within the La Marzocco family, as we congratulated Piero Bambi on his 79th birthday. What a milestone!

Piero is the son of Giuseppi Bambi, who, along with Piero’s uncle Bruno, started La Marzocco in 1927. Piero has spent much of his life carrying on his father and his uncle’s legacy of building the finest quality espresso machines. Piero has had a hand in the design of every La Marzocco espresso machine that is currently in production. If you ever visit the La Marzocco factory in Scarperia, just outside of Florence, Italy, you’ll find that Piero still goes into work every day, and is still actively participates in design and engineering projects and meetings.”

With a lineup of espresso machines that includes Linea, GB/5, FB/80, GS/3, and Strada models, we often get questions from our customers and the people who use our equipment about what the names mean.

Our machines are generally named for members of the Bambi family – our founders and our heritage; for important milestones in our history; or for new technological advancements introduced by La Marzocco.

FB Series
In 1997, La Marzocco celebrated its 70th anniversary. In honor of the occasion, La Marzocco introduced an alternate body style that could be installed on the Linea – the only La Marzocco espresso machine that was in production at the time. This special body style was made of resin, and was offered in custom colors of the customer’s choice. To honor the Bambi family, the machine was named the FB/70, or Fratelli Bambi 70 (The brothers Bambi).

The FB/80 is named for the 80th anniversary of La Marzocco. It was designed, built, and released just ahead of the anniversary. Like the FB/70, it features a curvy resin body style that is available in custom colors. The features of the FB/80 are the same as those found in the GB/5.

GB/5
The GB/5 was designed primarily by Piero Bambi, and was released in 2005. The GB/5 features a number of technologies that come together to provide superior temperature stability and control. In 2005, as the time came to release the machine, Piero chose to name it for his wife, Giovanna Bambi. Thus, the name was GB and 5 for 2005, the year it was introduced.

GS/3
The design of the La Marzocco GS/3, introduced in 2007, draws inspiration from the iconic GS series of commercial espresso machines that were in production 1970-1991. The La Marzocco GS was the first dual-boiler espresso machine, and featured saturated groups (“GS” stands for “gruppo saturo”).

Today, the GS series remains iconic for its low profile, classic styling, and as the source of the original paddle group. The styling has endured and is a symbol of what makes La Marzocco so classic. The body style of the GS/3 is reminiscent of the GS series, however, it occupies a smaller footprint, intended for the home or for light commercial uses.

Each La Marzocco espresso machine is named to recognize or pay tribute to our past, our family, and our traditions. We look forward to sharing more as we introduce new products in the future!

Best Photo of the Week!

Kent Bakke just received this photo, via text, from Daymond Jordan. We think it’s pretty awesome.

Daymond Jordan restores old La Marzocco machines, under the company Old School Espresso. He can be reached at daymondjordan (at) me (dot) com or at 206-619-7744.

 

New Machine Accessories

La Marzocco has updated the accessories to be packed with ALL machine models.  The Strada MP, GB/5, FB/80 and GS/3 models, which went into production the week of November 21st, have been packed as indicated below.  The Linea and FB/70 models, which entered into production this week, have also been packed as indicated, and the Strada EP will follow shortly.  We hope you enjoy the new products!

 

Accessories Linea 1-group and GS/3 models:

  • 1 new stainless steel tamper
  • Stainless steel precision filter baskets, 1 each of 4 sizes – 7, 14, 17 and 21 grams

Accessories Linea, FB/70, GB/5, FB/80 2 and 3 group models:

  • 1 new stainless steel tamper
  • Stainless steel precision filter baskets, 1 each of the 14, 3 of the 17 and 2 of the 21 gram size

Read more…

Calling all service technicians!

• Do you work in the US as an espresso service technician?
• Are you experienced and comfortable working on La Marzocco machines?
If you said YES to both questions, please either connect, or re-connect with us!

Email solutions@lamarzoccousa.com to get in touch with our Solutions (tech) department.

Thanks, and we hope to hear from you talented ones soon!

 

Ipsento Coffee’s Customization

This photo was sent to us from Chicago’s well respected, independent Ipsento Coffee. There’s a variety of creative customization currently out there, but no one can deny the beauty of this wood paneled Linea EE with exposed groups. We are honored that Ipsento has used our platform to create such an awesome dream machine! Read more…

Intelligentsia @ NADA Art Fair

NADA (New Art Dealers Alliance, that is) Art Fair was held recently in Miami Beach and Intelligentsia to pair spectacular coffee with spectacular art. WBC Champion Stephen Morrissey, USBC Champion Michael Phillips, and David Latourell were there to pull shots from two classic semi-auto La Marzocco Lineas and to provide entertainment. More pictures on David’s Flickr.

Stephen Morrissey and Michael Phillips getting serious behind the Linea

SF Coffee Scene*

*Well, due to limitations in my travels last week (Thanksgiving), this is only partially representative of the city, not of greater SF or the Bay Area, which I hope to fully document someday.

SF is HOT! For coffee, that is. Roasters there are certainly bringin’ it with their coffees and their visions for the Third Wave (or Fourth Wave, for that matter).

Justin pulling shots on Four Barrel’s double Mistral

Take Four Barrel, for example. Ask the people there about what coffee most excites them right now and, to my surprise (and initial horror), they said DECAF! Now, I’m philosophically opposed to decaf and the only good decaf I’ve had was a decaf espresso from Verve a couple years ago. To my pleasant surprise, Four Barrel’s decaf espresso was amazing! Of the beans used in their decaf is the Ethiopia Mordecofe, a coffee hand picked by them for decaffeination (as opposed to coffees picked by decaffeination companies). Mordecofe is offered three ways at Four Barrel – decaffeinated, washed, and natural (highly recommended!).

Four Barrel has recently reopened their back alley bar, this time with a built in bar instead of a cart. The idea is to offer a more limited but more personable approach to customers that come through the alley. It will be operated by their head trainers and/or baristas in training from their wholesale accounts. It’s a terrific concept and I’ve had amazing shots in the back bar.

Down the street on Valencia is Ritual. The cafe is busy busy BUSY (which is a good thing)! Soon they’ll move the roaster and green bean storage to revert the area back to dining room style seating for a more intimate setting. On the coffee side, they’ve recently started offering Panama Esmeralda in special handmade packaging (very cool cardboard and spray paint!), just in time for the Holidays.

Blue Bottle’s cafe (with their Mechanical Paddle Linea) and roastery in Oakland. Note the warm Californian sun. How we so need it in Seattle.

Hop on the BART to Oakland and there is Blue Bottle‘s new roastery and a small cafe. The place is spectacularly clean (by that I mean clean and clean/sharp looking). In addition to the standard roasting/packaging area for coffees, office, and tech/training room, there is a cool presentation room, a full kitcken/bakery (they make killer chocolate chip cookies and $9 waffles), and a see through cupping room. If it wasn’t for the coffee equipment, the place might be mistaken for an art gallery.

Mechanical Paddle Linea at work at Blue Bottle’s BUSY cafe at SF Fisherman’s Terminal.

Back to SF side of the Bay at the Ferry Building (a touristy place for foodies) is one of Blue Bottle’s cafes, a very busy one at that. Featuring a Mechanical Paddle Linea as their main production machine, each espresso shot is expertly soft pre-infused for a nicely rounded, rich taste. With the Mechanical Paddle, the barista has more control (with variable pressure) over the soft pre-infusion process and thus requires a very well trained barista to continuously pull shots while there are a dozen people waiting in line.

Perhaps one of the most exciting up and coming roaster is Sightglass, just south of

Jerad and Ally of Sightglass. Pulling shots on their Slayer. Construction is afoot behind the wall of canvas.

Market in downtown. While their new roastery and cafe is still under construction, they are selling drinks on their cart to the passerby. Currently offering Verve coffee until their own roaster goes live (hopefully sometime later this month), they make fantastically prepared drinks every single time. With a huge space, a beautifully designed bar, and an u-shaped balcony seating area overlooking everything, this will be one of the most awe-inspiring coffee destinations for some time. If you go, be sure to try their mocha, which uses a specially sourced chocolate. It’s literally a chocolate cherry bomb.

Remote Control Linea (from an iPhone)

For his home espresso machine, Mike Furlotti resurrected a Linea and modded it unlike any other mods I’ve never seen before. Mike purchased a non-functioning Linea from eBay, refurbed it, added PIDs to both boilers and preheated water inlets. Best of all, he embedded a web server running an MSP430 so he can control it from his iPhone. Why? So he can start the machine up and preheat it before he gets home. Monitoring and adjusting the temperature remotely is also built in.

Happy Labor Day Weekend!

La Marzocco Linea, Manual Charcoal version, manned by Dan Fogel

By the way, La Marzocco USA will be closed on Monday, September 7 in observance of Labor Day. Happy grilling!

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