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Choosing a new coffee machine

Choosing a new coffee machine blog image

read time: 3 minutes

date published: May 17, 2024

last updated: May 24, 2024


It's a hard job, but it has to be done.

For the last three years at LOCAL we've been using a Conti Monte Carlo coffee machine and although it's served us well the time has come to upgrade to something new.

This is how we went through the process & chose the best machine that catered for our needs.


Our machine is broken.

Bank holiday weekend, three baristas, one group head.

A thing of nightmares for all small business owners and baristas alike. Our coffee machine packed in one of its group heads right before one of the busiest weekends so far this year - yikes. Luckily we have a team of dedicated baristas, years of experience of things breaking and a spare single group machine at our office. We powered on through.

But it was time to upgrade so we had to ask ourselves, what machine will be best for our coffee shop?

London Coffee Festival

To get to grips with what we needed we visited London Coffee Festival. A chance for us to talk to hundreds of coffee professionals, try out all the newest machines & ask all the questions we wanted to ask.

Here's some of the coffee machine brands we got our hands on:

Sanremo
Slayer
La Marzocco
Victoria Arduino
Rocket

What do we need?

After trying many machines, lots of talks, coffees and recommendations we came up with a list of what we needed:

Three group heads (yes Karen, we're sure.)
Something that can handle high volume
Consistency
Simplicity
Great tasting brews
Something that looks good
Cool touch steam wands (we're just used to them now)

La Marzocco

After describing our requirements the majority of coffee professionals we'd spoken to recommended we check out a La Marzocco machine. So to be sure we took a day trip to their showroom in Leeds to meet Luke from La Marzocco and North Star Coffee to show us the range of what was on offer.

KB, PB, STRADA, GB5 & a whole lot of other letters

After hearing all about La Marzocco's history - which is a great story & we would recommend you having a good read. It was time to try out the machines.

The KB with it's straight-in portafilters, the Strada with it's pressure profiling and control over everything, the stunning GB5, The Classic & the PB.

After probably too many questions for the La Marzocco guys, a few espresso shots & biscuits (thanks Luke) & getting the letters all messed up. We were satisfied with the options presented to us. We then had the drive home to Newcastle to think about what we fancied.

& the winner is...

Soon, we will be the proud owners of a La Marzocco GB5X. We opted for this machine for two reasons, firstly because it ticks all of the boxes of what we had laid out previously and secondly because we thought it the most visually appealing (not that important for many people but for us aesthetics is everything). We're going to pair our machine with a Mahlkonig grind-by-sync grinder to have even more consistency to make our coffee that we know & love so well, that much better.

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