La Marzocco Linea Mini – The Ultimate Prosumer Espresso Machine

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The La Marzocco Linea Mini is every home barista’s dream machine. At the heart of this machine is the desire to bring commercial-grade espresso quality to domestic settings, not merely as a marketing gimmick, but with genuine components and functionalities that would meet the standards of a specialty coffee café.

This is the espresso machine for the home barista who is discontented with anything but the best. It isn’t cheap, in fact, it may cost more than your car, yet, every penny spent is justified by the machine’s uncompromising quality and performance.

The Linea Mini is crafted for passionate home baristas who are deeply invested in the art of coffee brewing or for small commercial settings like a coffee cart or market stall. So read on to find out if it is right for you.

La Marzocco Linea Mini – The Overview

La Marzocco Linea Mini

The Linea Mini comes equipped with dual boilers, PID temperature control and a steam wand that may even rival the one at your local cafe. The Linea Mini was upgraded in 2024 so it now offers a brew-by-weight functionality, shot timer, and IoT connectivity to pair with the La Marzocco app. 

There are bad home espresso machines, good home espresso machines, and then commercial espresso machines that just happen to be in a home. This La Marzocco Linea Mini is in the third category.

Specifications

  • Group Heads: 1
  • Boiler Type: Dual Boilers
  • Pump Type: Single internal rotary pump
  • PID Temperature Controller: Yes
  • Dimensions (W x D x H): 14 x 21 x 15 in
  • Weight: 71 lbs.
  • Reservoir Size: 3.5L
  • Steam Boiler: 3.5 L
  • Brew Boiler: 6 fl oz
  • Colors: yellow, red, white, black, stainless steel, powder blue, grey 

La Marzocco Linea Mini Review


In this section, we will outline key features of the La Marzocco Linea Mini. We won’t deal with every feature or component but instead the most noteworthy. 

Steam Wand

The Linea Mini has earned its reputation primarily for the exceptional quality of its steam wand, a feature that distinguishes it from typical home espresso machines. Most home espresso machines have fairly weak steam pressure. This is an advantage for beginners as it offers a gentle introduction to milk steaming. On a home machine, the milk can easily take 30-45 seconds to steam and heat. 

In contrast, commercial steam wands are designed so that multiple coffees can be pumped out quickly, so it will take closer to 10-15 seconds to steam milk. This makes them fairly unforgiving but capable of producing far better-textured milk. The Linea Mini’s steam wand delivers an impressive 1.7 bars of pressure, thanks to the large 3.5L steam boiler. Heating the milk incredibly fast—a crucial feature for continuous back-to-back drink preparation. Users can lower this steam pressure via the app if they so desire.

The other good thing about this steam wand is the consistency in pressure. Some steam wands begin to lose pressure when used continuously for lengthy periods of time. Not so the Linea Mini. This makes it an excellent choice for low-traffic commercial settings such as a coffee cart or event use where its reliability will allow you to pump out coffees for hours on end. 

Finally, a nice feature that has just been introduced with the 2024 update is that the steam wand is now cool touch for safer handling.

La Marzocco Linea Mini

Temperature Control 

One common drawback of domestic espresso machines is their inconsistent temperature control. However, the La Marzocco Linea Mini stands out for its exceptional temperature stability, attributed to several key factors. Firstly, the water for the brew boiler is heated via a heat exchange system before entering the brew boiler. Secondly, the Linea Mini incorporates an integrated brew group, positioning the brew boiler directly atop the group. This design mirrors the temperature stability of a saturated group while maintaining a more compact footprint. These innovative features work in tandem to ensure that espresso is brewed at optimal temperatures consistently.

The Linea Mini also comes with a PID temperature controller that is incredibly accurate. The temperature is adjusted by a temperature dial on the side of the espresso machine. This allows the user to alter the temperature anywhere between 185 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit depending on the roast and flavor profile of the coffee beans. The dial is stepped at roughly 0.3 F increments. Consequently, to adjust the temperature you move the dial, pull and taste the shot, and then continue to fine-tune until you hit your target profile. 

This dial has been a matter of some discontent among users. While it is functional it is somewhat finicky, and can be hard to access if the espresso machine is up against a wall. This discontent has been partially mollified by the recent IOT connectivity which allows temperature control from the app, however as we will see, it is not without its frustrations. 

Brew pressure is also very stable but some home baristas may be disappointed by the lack of control over pressure. While it has a brew paddle, this doesn’t control pressure but instead is simply a glorified switch which admittedly does look pretty amazing. This differs for example from the Slayer or La Marzocco GS3 where the brew paddle allows you to manually control and alter the pressure throughout the shot. 

It is possible to alter the pump pressure on the Linea Mini, the new model has convenient access to this on top of the machine. The pump pressure is adjusted using a screwdriver. 

The Boilers

One of the trickiest aspects of seeking to design a commercial-grade espresso machine with a small footprint is fitting everything in. There is a reason that most commercial machines are big, and that is that there are a lot of fairly large components that need to fit in.

Part of what allows the La Marzocco Linea Mini to fit in a normal kitchen is the respective boiler sizes and arrangement. The Linea Mini has one large (3-litre) boiler for steam and hot water distribution, and a smaller (170ml) flash boiler exclusively for pulling shots. The 170ml brew boiler is more than large enough for even longer shots and means that the espresso machine is warmed up and ready to go faster than many of its commercial counterparts. 

Linea Mini Pulling espresso shot

IOT Capability

In the past few years, La Marzocco has updated the Linea Mini, and one of the most helpful features to be introduced is IOT capacbility; aka you can now connect to the La Marzocco Linea Mini with an app from your phone. 

The app allows:

  • Remote ability to turn the machine on or off
  • Creation of an on/off schedule
  • Boiler temperature status and control
  • Adjust steam pressure intensity
  • Program a pre-infusion
  • Machine Stats & Total Shot Counter

This IOT capability is an increasing trend in the specialty coffee world with scales such as the Acaia Lunar, and kettles such as the Fellow Stagg EKG+ similarly allowing app interaction. 

Some users have found it tricky initially to connect their phones to the app. Both the phone and the Linea Mini need to be connected to the same Wifi. However, this troubleshooting does tend to be more around the retrofitted versions. Once connected, you need to register and then you are good to go.

There are several aspects of the app that users have very positive feedback. The first is the option to remotely turn on the Linea Mini. This is helpful in making it that step easier to preheat. Wake up, turn on the espresso machine on the app, have your shower, and your Linea Mini will be good to go. You can also set a timer for the machine to turn on at a specific time each day to fit your routine. 

The second aspect is the ability to set pre-brew/pre-infusion times. The new Linea Mini comes with a dual solenoid valve for a two-stage pre-infusion. Here the machine prewets the puck then stops the pressure and lets it sit for a few seconds before ramping up to full pressure. This isn’t technically a pre-infusion as the water is at the full 9 bars of pressure, however, it forms the same function of helping to avoid channeling and encourage optimal extraction. With the app you can alter how long this stage lasts. If the machine is plummed in you can also set a timed pre-infusion.

The third is the ability to control both boilers from the app rather than with the finicky dial. This helps with precision and ease. There is one hiccup however which is that the temperature on the app cannot go under the temperature on the physical dial. So for example, if your dial is at 195 F, and you use the app to lower the temperature to 190 F, it will drop to 195 F and then sit there. So to use the app helpfully you need to set the temperature low on the actual machine. 

The latest Linea Mini introduces a brew-by-weight feature, although it requires purchasing the compatible brew-by-weight scale separately. With this feature, users use the app to set a specific dose for their desired output, the machine then automatically stops the shot just before reaching this dose. While beneficial for improving workflow and consistency in commercial settings, some users have expressed dissatisfaction with the additional expense of purchasing the brew-by-weight scale, essentially the Acaia Lunar, in addition to the machine itself. It is disappointing that this feature is not available as an update to current Acaia Lunar owners.

In summary, the La Marzocco app offers some genuinely useful features and makes it easy to adjust different settings.

brew by weight feature

Build Quality

What will appeal most to some people about the Linea Mini is the quality of the components used. This is the real reason that this is an expensive espresso machine for a home setting; because La Marzocco hasn’t cut any corners in the manufacturing. It is not mass-produced in China, but instead, each part is constructed in Italy.

It uses the exact same parts as its namesake the Linea Classic and so retains a commercial feel and quality. This extends from its boilers to the shower screen, solenoid valve, and drip tray. The Linea Mini is an espresso machine built to last and built to deal with commercial use over a long period of time.  

In addition, the machine is easily serviceable, with readily available parts and components that can be easily purchased and replaced. Quite simply the Linea Mini is a beast that deals well with heavy traffic, rough use, and all you can throw at it. 

Aesthetics

Another aspect of the La Marzocco Linea Mini that we would be remiss to overlook is the aesthetics of this espresso machine. The simple fact is that when you are paying this much for a piece of coffee kit, you had better like what it looks like.

It seems that the best way to describe the aesthetic appeal of the Linea Mini is timeless. It is certainly not futuristic or sleek, but neither does it look old and outdated. Instead, it already looks simply like a classic, iconic espresso machine. 

It really is a beautiful espresso machine and the different colors available only add to this. Also if you are really into it, you can even purchase a wooden customization kit that is available here.

The updated Linea Mini incorporates several design enhancements, such as a color-matched backsplash, integrated shot timer, upgraded drip tray grate, and a versatile portafilter that can be used for single, double, or bottomless shots.

Updated Linea Mini

 

La Marzocco Linea Mini – Who should buy it?

So as we come to a close, who is the Linea Mini for? Who should fork out the cash to buy an espresso machine of this caliber?

Well to start with, it is easiest to say who shouldn’t buy it. And that is primarily the espresso lover just beginning his journey. The Linea Mini is really designed for those who are already familiar with and skilled at making espresso. So if you are just learning, then this isn’t the machine to learn on. It is expensive and unforgiving.

The second group of people who shouldn’t buy it are those who love the highly technical side of espresso. If you love controlling brew pressure, tracking flow rates, and regularly altering boiler temperature then this probably isn’t the machine for you. You would be better off with its older brother the GS3 or the decent espresso machine. 

With the release of the Linea Micra, the Linea Mini is best suited to low-volume commercial use or an espresso enthusiast looking to purchase the best espresso machine. The Linea Mini is an iconic, sought-after espresso machine that does the basics well. If well used the La Marzocco Linea Mini can pull an exceptional shot, steam near-perfect milk, and last a lifetime. If you think that is worth the money for this espresso machine, then this is probably the right one for you. This is one purchase that will hurt the wallet, but I can almost guarantee you will not regret. 

La Marzocco Linea Mini

Happy Brewing 

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