The Linea Mini Espresso Machine by La Marzocco has certainly created some vibes recently. But is it worth your money? Let’s find out!
We have assessed it closely and found some interesting points about this machine. First of all, it is a semi-automatic dual boiler mini espresso machine, which is inspired by the design of the Linea Classic.
With a reduced footprint, this machine can achieve temperature stability along with energy efficiency with an integrated brew. Due to its reduced footprint, you can use it either at your home or in the office. Despite being “Mini”, it doesn’t compromise on the quality of the components used in its construction.
Those of you who crave for that classic cafe look in their home kitchen, besides a great tasting coffee, will love the design and aesthetics of this machine. But it is not an ideal choice for those who are new to coffee making. You will have to go through a lot of trials and errors before you make the perfect cup of coffee.
So is it the mini espresso machine you are looking for? Time to dig in deep!
Do you need a semi-automatic mini espresso machine?
In simple words, a semi-automatic mini espresso machine has everything automated in it, excluding the extraction pump. To use this pump, you will have to activate/deactivate its switch manually.
As you’re controlling the pump, you get to decide how much water you need in each of your shots. A fully automatic espresso machine won’t allow you to have this freedom.
Due to the reduced size and footprint, some of the models don’t come with grinders. Therefore, you will either have to use ground coffee or will have to purchase a grinder separately.
A mini espresso machine is not designed to cater to large gatherings. And if you are not a barista, then you should better go for a fully-automatic espresso machine with an automatic boiler and grinder.
|Features||La Marzocco Linea Mini||La Spaziale Vivaldi II Mini||Breville Nespresso Essenza Mini|
|Taste||Well balanced taste with a manual temperature gauge (requires more experience).||Well balanced taste with automatic temperature control.||More sweet and aromatic than bitter.|
|Brewing capacity||10.5 cups.||5 cups.||2.5 cups.|
|User-friendliness||Easy to access knobs, levers, buttons, gauges, and steam wand.||Easy to access knob, buttons, lever, and steam wand.||Not many buttons to deal with, and they are very easy to access.|
|Design and materials||Stainless steel with some plastic accents.||Stainless steel and plastic.||Plastic and metal.|
|Cleaning and maintenance||Easy descaling.||Slightly more cumbersome to descale.||Easy descaling.|
|Frothing||Angled steam wand made of stainless steel.||Angled steam wand made of stainless steel.||No steam wand.|
|Grinding||No grinder.||No grinder.||No grinder.|
|Additional features||Adjustable temperature and pressure, consistent heat flow, pre-infusion stage.||Pre-infusion stage, preset temperatures, pre-infusion stage.||Espresso and lungo coffee.|
|Value for money||Full value for money.||Meets the value.||Cheap.|
The La Marzocco Linea Mini Espresso Machine Review
An espresso shouldn’t be too bitter or sweet; instead, the taste of this type of coffee is all about maintaining a balance between bitterness and sweetness. Now, the looks of a machine can’t tell you what taste it can produce, so we have given a try to all three espresso machines and looked for any differences.
The Linea Mini does come with a PID temperature control, but you will have to be very precise with it. With the right temperature, you will be able to extract a better taste from the coffee beans. The 14g espresso baskets of this machine can produce consistent tasting coffee without any channeling issues in the thinner’s top. The constantly flowing coffee from the portafilter spots ensures that each cup of coffee states the same.
Likewise, the tastes that Vivaldi II and Nespresso Essenza can produce are also well balanced. The Nespresso is a bit more on the milder side, and you might get more aroma and sweetening flavors from this machine.
It’s more of a tie between Linea Mini and Vivaldi II. For more convenience of automatic temperature control, you should choose the latter. However, if you are a more experienced coffee maker, then you should choose the Linea Mini.
As all of these three machines don’t come with an automatic grinder, so it is going to be a huge factor for you to consider. The quality of the grinder and the ground coffee that it creates matters a lot, as it can alter the taste significantly. Therefore, you will need to invest in a good quality grinder to pair with these espresso machines.
When we talk about brewing capacity, the Linea Mini comes with a 2.5L steam boiler that is roughly equal to 84.5 fluid ounces or more than 10 cups. It means that you will only have to fill it up once or twice in a day, depending upon your coffee consumption patterns. So despite being a mini espresso machine, it can still store quite a lot of water in it.
Now, if you compare these metrics with the Vivaldi II Mini, it only comes with a brewing capacity of 1.2L, which roughly equates to 40 fluid ounces or 5 cups. The Linea Mini has almost double the brewing capacity of that of Vivaldi II Mini, and of course, it requires fewer refills.
On the other hand, the brewing capacity of the Nespresso Essenza Mini is slightly more than half a liter. It equates to 20.3 fluid ounces, and the number of cups it can hold is just over two and a half. It is almost negligible in comparison to the capacity of the Linea Mini.
Therefore, the clear winner here is Linea Mini, which completely overshadowed its competitors in terms of brewing capacity. However, if you are buying a machine for your personal use and no one else is going to join you. These numbers might not hold any significance.
The Linea Mini comes with a PID temperature control. There is a small dial that allows you to manually control the temperature of the coffee shots. With temperature control, you get the convenience of altering the taste of your espressos whenever you want them.
But there is a catch!
This temperature dial is all manual, and you have to decide what temperature should be set for a particular shot. It is a process that requires some serious barista experience that you will only gain with multiple trials and errors.
If you are new to coffee making, then you need to seriously consider this point. Of course, for the experienced users, this won’t be a thing, and you can make a great tasting cup whenever you want with varying tastes and aromas.
In comparison, the Vivaldi II Mini comes with automatic temperature control. This feature makes the machines user-friendly even for newbies. Hence, if you are not sure about how to use temperature controls, then Vivaldi Mini II would be a better choice for you.
And when we talk about the Essenza Mini, there are not many complications associated with this machine. You just need to choose between the two programmable cup sizes for your lungo and espresso coffees, press the button, and that’s it. There are no complicated settings involved here.
In conclusion, we would say that the Linea Mini is more focused towards the experienced coffee makers that are looking for more control over everything.
The Vivaldi II Mini is geared more towards people who prefer varying tastes but don’t want to get into complications of temperature controls.
The Essenza Mini is designed for people who just want a good tasting espresso to tackle a busy day schedule.
Design and materials
Linea Classic is well-known for its high-quality design and materials used in the construction. The Linea Mini follows the same pattern and features a similar hand-built quality for durability.
Every stainless steel component is commercial-grade. However, despite being “mini”, this machine is big in this category, and a lot of credit goes to its brewing capacity. It certainly needs its own space on your counter, not as much as the Linea Classic, but it still does.
Vivaldi II Mini also has the same commercial-grade construction featuring plenty of stainless steel in almost all parts and components. But you will find plastic as well, and it significantly reduces the looks of this machine.
On the other hand, the entire body of the Essenza Mini features plastic. It makes the machine lightweight and easy to move. The overall design of this machine is very compact too, and it can fit into tight corners.
Hence, if space is your high priority, then you need to go for Essenza Mini because you can change its positions from time to time as well.
Cleaning and maintenance
Cleaning your Linea Mini is effortless. Just use 6g of detergent for every one liter of water. And soak the basket and portafilter into it for 30 minutes. After that, wash them with clean, warm water, they will be as good as new. Now fill the blind basket with 3g of detergent and fit it into your machine. Turn it on for about 10 seconds for 5 to 7 times.
Now, rinse the basket and run the machine again for 10 seconds 5 to 7 times. Rinse the basket well and fill it with clean hot water and allow the steam wand to soak it in for about five minutes. Your Linea Mini espresso machine is ready to use.
Cleaning and maintaining Vivaldi II Mini is a slightly more complicated task because it requires disassembling and then resembling.
And when we talk about descaling the Essenza Mini, there is a separate mode for it that you can use by pressing both the buttons on the top of the machine.
The cleaning and maintenance of Vivaldi II Mini are far more complicated than the Linea Mini and Essenza Mini. So the clear winner here is Linea Mini.
For frothing, an articulated or angled steam wand is the best choice. Why? Because it comes with a couple or more joints. The standard style of the steam wand allows you to easily direct steam into your cup of coffee. From one side, the shaft is slightly angled for frothing one side of the cup.
The Linea Mini provides you with a medium foaming that is an excellent option to create some latte art. Steel is the best metal to use here because it won’t rust or corrode as the wand is exposed to elements. And of course, you just need a damp cloth to wipe it clean.
A similar kind of steam wand is there in Vivaldi II Mini, so milk frothing is an easy job in this case as well. The Essenza Mini doesn’t come with a steam wand altogether. So coffee art is not possible with this machine!
Inbuilt grinders are convenient as you can feed the machine with coffee beans, and it will turn those beans into a cup of coffee for you. Most coffee machines come with grinders in them. But this is not the case with most of the mini espresso machines.
If you are looking to buy a mini espresso machine, then you will have to purchase a coffee grinder with it. Of course, you can go with the option of using ground coffee. Using ground coffee doesn’t always produce that rich flavor that comes from a freshly ground coffee. But of course, you also need a good quality coffee grinder to pair with your mini espresso machine.
All three of the mini espresso machines that we are comparing don’t come with an inbuilt grinder.
The Linea Mini features a one-second pre-infusion stage where the ground coffee is gently soaked in the portafilter before the application of the brewing pressure.
Due to this feature, water flow remains consistent throughout the coffee ground bed, and the taste remains consistent. The machine also features a highly stable heating system that preheats the coil at a consistent heat. The machine also comes with adjustable pump pressure.
Whereas, the Vivaldi II Mini comes with a pre-infusion stage with automatic temperature control and adjustable volumetric dosing using the touchpad. The Essenza Mini has a very intuitive design that is very easy to use, and it allows you to make both espresso and lungo coffee.
In terms of additional features, the Linea Mini and the Vivaldi II Mini are miles ahead of the Essenza Mini. But Linea Mini edges pass the Vivaldi II Mini because you get more control over your cup of coffee.
Value for money
In the end, let’s talk about whether Linea Mini deserves a shot or not! To understand this point, we need to focus on the quality, user-friendliness, and longevity of this espresso machine.
Talking about quality, the Linea Mini features hand-built construction with the rigidity of stainless steel. The quality is sublime because all the components and parts of this machine are made of stainless steel. The accents of plastic are there on the handles and knobs, and that’s it.
User-friendliness is there too because a similar construction and design of a machine that you will find in a cafe are here as well. The steam wand, the knobs, and the buttons are all there.
And of course, with durability or longevity, the handmade stainless steel commercial grade Linea Mini can certainly last for a lifetime if you take proper care of it.
If you compare it with Vivaldi II Mini and Essenza Mini, you will find that it is a far better choice. The other two products don’t feature 100% steel construction. But Linea Mini is a bit expensive of the three.
Having a close look at design and materials and the ease in cleaning and maintenance, consider it a one-time investment in a high-quality product.
Who should buy the La Marzocco Linea Mini?
You should buy the Linea Mini if you have some experience in coffee making. As it comes with manual temperature control, setting the right temperature of a perfect cup of coffee won’t be easy to comprehend.
But without a shadow of a doubt, the cup that this machine will provide you with will be great in taste and aroma. It also comes with good brewing capacity, so if you have a coffee-loving company with you, then this machine is the best choice.
It is straightforward to clean and maintain. Still, despite being a Mini espresso machine, it does have a significant footprint. So your counter needs to have some space to accommodate it.
Who shouldn’t buy the La Marzocco Linea Mini?
If you are not interested in gauging the temperature controls, then there are better options for you to avail at a lower price.
Don’t go for it, if you don’t drink coffee regularly or don’t need to make any variations in the taste and aromas on your own.
This machine is not designed for novice coffee makers because you will need to have a good amount of understanding of temperature and tastes.
You don’t need to invest so much money if you are not overly particular about your cup of coffee.
FAQs for the La Marzocco Linea Mini Espresso
Before you start working on your machine, it is better to go through the instructions manual first. Your Linea Mini steam boiler gauge will give you a reading between 1.3 to 2.0 when it is ready to use or steam. This reading should never be over 12. There is a small valve underneath the drip tray, and you can use it to make adjustments to the pressure of your machine.
If you want complete control over your cup, then yes, this machine is worth it. But you need to shave some experience in coffee making to get that taste and aroma in your cup. Plus, you also need to have a good quality grinder to grind your coffee beans fresh.
For manual temperature and pressure controls, it is a better machine than Vivaldi II Mini, which features automatic temperature control. It all boils down to your preferences. If you can create different tasting coffees like a true barista, then you can go for the Linea Mini. And if you want automatic temperature controls, then the Vivaldi II Mini is better. There is a huge price difference between both these machines too.
In conclusion, we would say that the La Marzocco Linea Mini Espresso Machine is a product of true quality and durability. The traditional look and feel of this machine give you the cafe feel in your kitchen. And if you are a serious coffeeholic, then it puts you in the driver’s seat.
You have full control over your cup and the taste and aroma that comes from it. Just like a professional barista!