Known for its modern yet durable design, efficient features, and reliability, the La Marzocco Linea PB espresso machine is a staple in specialty coffee shops across the globe.
But is this powerhouse espresso machine the right choice for your café?
We spoke with Jesús Goméz, expert barista and trainer at J.René Coffee Roasters, about his experience working with the Linea PB in high-volume cafes, what advice he’d give to first-time users, and what to expect when investing in a La Marzocco espresso machine.
Overall, the La Marzocco Linea PB is a powerful espresso machine with several features designed to enhance the quality of your coffee and streamline barista workflows.
By the end of this guide, you’ll know all about:
- The Linea PB’s core features and how they contribute to a coffee shop’s workflow
- How the Linea PB performs during high-volume rushes
- The best ways to maintain your Linea PB for the long-haul
The La Marzocco Linea PB Espresso Machine: An Overview
La Marzocco first launched the Linea series of espresso machines in 1990, followed by the Linea Classic in 1993. The Linea Classic became the defining model for La Marzocco, with thousands produced and used worldwide since its introduction to the market.
The Linea PB was launched in 2013 and named after creator Piero Bambi. Through this new machine—the first update to the Linea in 30 years—Piero sought to accomplish two objectives:
- Enhance the machine’s aesthetic through classic yet contemporary design elements
- Put the power in the barista’s hands through enhanced technology
As a result, the key features available in the dual-boiler Linea PB include:
The Linea PB’s design and functionality can also be modified to meet the needs of your shop. Modification options include:
Optional Integrated Scales
The La Marzocco Linea PB can include built-in scales in the drip tray. These scales are used in combination with La Marzocco’s patented Auto Brew Ratio technology, allowing baristas to automatically brew by mass, volume, or brew ratio. This technology eliminates the need to use a separate scale when brewing espresso.
Aligned with La Marzocco’s desire to give the baristas more control, the Auto Brew Ratio feature allows baristas to program the desired ratio and water output.
The benefit? A streamlined workflow and reduced margin of error during busy rushes.
The Linea PB is available in 2, 3, or 4 group models.
Colors & Finishes
Those interested in having a Linea PB with a specific color or finish can do so by request. Options available are based on the RAL color system.
An Expert Barista’s Thoughts on the La Marzocco Linea PB
Throughout the duration of his expansive career in specialty coffee, Jesús has worked with numerous espresso machines, including the Linea PB. We spoke with him about the machine’s features, maintenance timelines, and overall value.
How do first-time baristas do on the machine?
“La Marzocco machines have always been known as one of the best on the market—not only in terms of the machine’s durability, but also the quality of the coffee it produces.
In the hands of a skilled barista, the Linea PB works wonders. It has a high learning curve and proper barista training is always required, but the new technology and upgrades have made it easier to accomplish that in a quicker time frame.”
How does the machine do with large rushes? Average day?
“The addition of the Auto-Volumetric programming, shot timers, and the digital display has increased the productivity of the machine. During large rushes, the barista doesn’t need to look at a clock to make quality drinks. This expedites the process from the moment the customer orders.
The Linea PB can handle up to about 10 kilos (10 liters) of espresso a day. Anything above that and you’ll begin to lose steam wand pressure. However, this 10 kilos of coffee is a large volume for the average coffee shop.”
Are there any features of the Linea PB that contribute to an effective workflow?
“The Auto-Volumetric feature allows baristas to pull consistent quality shots throughout the day. Being able to select the volume of the espresso shot and the time in which that volume is extracted is the most sought after characteristic of the machine.
Additionally, the eco-friendly mode is a huge advantage. Back in the day, we’d have to arrive at the shop at least a half-hour early to turn on the machine. This feature now sets the machine on a timer and greatly reduces the machine’s impact on electricity, which is so important nowadays.”
How are the machine’s ergonomics for baristas?
“La Marzocco definitely improved the ergonomic aspects of the machine with the Linea PB. For example, the steam wand knob requires less turns than the original Linea model. By turning the lever less, you reduce fatigue on the wrist, especially for baristas who work in a busy cafe.
Sometimes the machine does feel a little bit low in profile for taller baristas. But, a positive is that the buttons feel sturdy and firm. Previously with the Linea Classic, the switch on the bottom would break after several uses.”
What should first-time users know about using this machine?
“This machine is a workhorse! It’s going to be the centerpoint of your shop and retain its value for a long, long time. The quality of your espresso machine is paramount, especially for new coffee shop owners. Know that if you invest in the Linea PB, it’s going to live a long life and help turn a profit.”
What is the standard maintenance timeline for the machine?
“Besides the usual day-to-day cleanup, you should always do a full maintenance on the machine quarterly—removing gaskets, checking seals, etc. Of course, this all depends on your volume. Some people achieve a certain amount of volume faster than others, but a quarterly checkup is the best way to keep the machine clean and running for years to come.”
What's it been like implementing repairs without a technician? Is this something the staff can do?
“The Linea PB allows you to get inside fairly quickly as the top comes off quite easily. For experienced baristas, fixing certain parts of a machine isn’t something out of the ordinary. But to keep your staff and machine safe, larger or more complex repairs should really be done in the hands of an experienced technician.
However, if you’re in a pinch and you know what you’re doing, then you can easily get inside and see what’s going on. Remember, La Marzocco has their Certified Technician program for a reason! My advice has always been to let the people who have been trained to repair the machines fix the problem.”
Can you describe some of the common problems you’ve experienced with this machine?
“Depending on the quality of your water, the rotor disks on the group heads often need the most maintenance. When you don’t have proper water, you’ll begin to see sediment on these disks, which will slow the flow of your espresso shots over time.
This is the biggest drawback of the machine. But, this is not a design flaw. It’s on the user to have proper water quality and avoid these problems.”
In combination with a quality grinder, how does the espresso pulled and milk steamed from this machine compare to others you’ve used throughout your career? Do any specific machine features contribute to drink quality?
“One of the most important aspects of the Linea PB is the dual boiler. La Marzocco is actually the pioneer of dual boilers in the espresso machine industry. This enables baristas to pull shots and steam milk at the same time, while maintaining consistency throughout the entire process.
This critical aspect of the machine assists with productivity. For me, that’s what makes a coffee shop great—being able to handle high-volume while maintaining high-quality. And, the Linea PB makes that possible.”
Is there anything else that someone who’s considering buying this machine should know before they commit?
“La Marzocco espresso machines have a reputation and design for making great espresso. But remember, there’s a high learning curve that comes with it. If you’re looking to purchase a La Marzocco Linea PB, know that there’s a significant amount of espresso training that will come with it.
No machine will give you a perfect shot—that’s something you aspire to through training and hard work. The Linea PB will enhance your shop’s productivity, and with adequate training you will get the most out of it.”
La Marzocco Linea PB: In Review
The La Marzocco Linea PB is a valuable and efficient machine for coffee shops of all sizes. Whether you’re opening your first shop or your third location, this dual boiler espresso machine can be modified to meet your shop’s volume and reliably pull consistent espresso shots, even in the middle of the morning rush.
Before you make a purchase decision, be sure to review the pros and cons of this machine.
Overall, the La Marzocco Linea PB is ideal for coffee shop owners looking to invest in an espresso machine that will:
- Retain its value for years to come
- Maximize barista efficiency and workflow
- Maintain espresso and steamed milk quality in conjunction with proper training
Think the Linea PB is the right espresso machine for your shop? Check it out and contact us about wholesale discounts available on La Marzocco espresso machines.