La Marzocco’s signature espresso machine is back with two new versions that mirror the classic design.
BY KATRINA YENTCH
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Photos courtesy of Anthony Abarlich
Linea PB, GB5, Strada … chances are likely that if you’ve worked in a coffee bar with an espresso machine, you’ve encountered one of these La Marzocco espresso machines. These machines could easily be responsible for a barista’s initial obsession with the coffee world—the way we latch onto an espresso machine as an endearing memory of our first barista steps is completely understood by this mainstay Italian coffee manufacturer. So it makes sense for their latest model upgrade to be penned as a “Timeless Love Story.” Say hello to your past lover, better than ever, the GB5 S and the GB5 X, two new models that encompass the features we’ve favored the most in past LM models.
The first La Marzocco GB5 was introduced by the company in 2005, quickly becoming a trusted workhorse for its PID-controlled temperature stability. Over time, and after the introduction of other LM products to the lineup, the call for a refresh on the GB5 came, with users requesting that it be more reflective of the other technological advancements that the newer models had. “Visiting cafés around the world we would often hear a similar question, ‘We love the design of the GB5, but we love the functionality of the Linea PB. Is there a way to have both?’ This was the starting point which inspired us to begin the redesign,” explains La Marzocco product manager Scott Guglielmino.
Maintaining their classic and elegant aesthetic, the upgraded GB5 X and GB5 S both utilize today’s technological advancements to provide an even more accurate and consistent cup of coffee—but in slightly different ways. Both models have two separate boilers that can allow different temperatures to be set for each grouphead. A handy water sensor comes as the first of its kind in the new GB5s, assuring machine owners that they’ll be able to take those necessary steps to making their machine last forever before it’s too late. With flashy features like dimmable barista lights, app-powered controls, and an eco mode, LM keeps the conscious and tech-savvy barista in mind for this edition.
When choosing between the two for your café, you may want to consider the volume at which you’re typically serving drinks. “The GB5 X is built with the same external design but internally it has been fit with hardware to allow it to perform well in extreme service environments, and shares the same hydraulic principals as the Strada AV,” shares Scott. “The GB5 S is designed to carry the thermal stability and ease of use of the Linea PB, while accentuating classic old-world styling.” For this reason, the GB5 S carries the same volumetric capabilities as the PB with programmable doses and integrated scales (depending on the configuration style you choose).
Echoing the sentiment of La Marzocco’s emphasis on the GB5’s “Timeless Love Story,” the aesthetics of the GB5 X and GB5 S truly don’t look much different from the originals, aside from a Florentine lily in place of the original LM lion (which is present elsewhere on the machine), along with some added curvature to the paneling. The main motivation for this rebuild was to offer their signature model with the added technological capabilities deserving of users who have remained loyal to the GB5 since its inception. The original GB5 may be phasing out soon, but that love story remains stronger than ever with this fresh makeover. “Our hope is simple,” says Scott. “We wish to make the lives of baristas better by making their work on our machines easier, and the coffee more consistent.”