The Best La Marzocco Espresso Machines: Linea, Linea PB, GB5, Strada, or KB90?

If you’re not sure which La Marzocco espresso machine is right for you, here’s the first thing you should know: There is no such thing as a bad La Marzocco. Each one blends Italian design and fine craftsmanship into an espresso machine that keeps pulling quality shots no matter how busy your shop gets.

The La Marzocco is the most recognized and trusted espresso machine brand in the world. But before you make your purchase, you need to know which La Marzocco is right for your cafe.

This article covers:

  • The best La Marzocco machine for beating the morning rush
  • Which model makes training new baristas a breeze
  • Which espresso machine is for the true La Marzocco aficionado

Let’s get started.

The Best La Marzocco Espresso Machines by Category

Best No-Frills La Marzocco Espresso Machine: The Linea Classic

Released in 1989, the Linea Classic saw early adoption with Starbucks—which pushed the Linea into the limelight. It’s the highest-selling espresso machine in the United States … and probably the world.

The Linea Classic has been the gold standard for espresso machines for decades. While it may not have the latest technological advances of other espresso machines in the Marzocco catalog, it still packs a punch.

“The Linea Classic is a workhorse behind the bar and it is beloved by baristas, so much so that many of the other La Marzocco models are based on the original Linea Classic design. It is a machine that many first-time baristas used early on in their career and everyone seems to love it.” — Do Kim, RaonJena Coffee & Dessert

The Linea Classic comes with Semi-Automatic (EE), Standard Mechanical Paddle (MP), or Auto-Volumetric (AV) functionality. This line comes in 1, 2, 3, and 4 groupheads. Single grouphead machines are only available in EE or AV.

“With the Linea Classic, you can make consistent coffee with fewer variables. And the failure rate is very low.”  — Do Kim, RaonJena Coffee & Dessert

Coffee shop owners who want a simple design that has stood the test of time can’t go wrong with the Linea Classic. But you should know that the Linea Classic is perhaps not best suited for light roast single-source beans or complex recipes, because it doesn’t have multi-boiler temperature control—so you can’t set the boilers to separate, different temperatures. And if your shop has extremely high volume (400+ shots per day), the Linea Classic might struggle to keep up.

Learn more: A Barista’s Review of the La Marzocco Linea Classic

Best Value La Marzocco Espresso Machine: The Linea PB

The Linea PB was the successor and first update made to the Linea Classic in more than twenty years. The design of the machine was improved and powerful new features were added to bring the La Marzocco line into the 21st century. Released in 2013, it has become one of the most popular La Marzocco espresso machines out there. 

“It’s going to be the center point 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.” — Jesús Goméz, J.Rene Coffee Roasters

What’s under the hood: Auto-volumetric programming and digital screen displays have made the Linea PB a much more efficient machine for coffee shops that experience large rushes. It can handle up to 10KG of coffee per day before losing steam wand pressure.

It comes in 2, 3, or 4 grouphead models with optional integrated scales available. That means baristas don’t need a separate scale when making espresso—they can automatically brew by mass, volume, or even brew ratio.

“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.” — Jesús Goméz, J.Rene Coffee Roasters

Another unique feature of the Linea PB is eco-mode, which means you don’t have to go to work thirty minutes early to set it up. Just set a timer and the Linea PB will warm up and be ready to go in time for the morning rush.

Learn more: A Barista’s Review of the La Marzocco Linea PB

Best Classic Mid-Range Commercial La Marzocco Espresso Machine: The GB5

Designed by the renowned Pierre Bambi and released in 2005, the GB5 is known for its sleek design and dual PID (Proportional Integral Derivative) functionality, which uses algorithms to give baristas complete control over steam boiler temperature. It also has the latest advances in espresso machine technology, such as auto backflush and ruby flow restrictors, to keep it functioning as well as the day you bought it.

The GB5 is a heritage machine, designed for those who understand and appreciate the La Marzocco brand and everything it’s about. It even comes with a lily (which calls back to La Marzocco’s Florentine roots) embossed on the side of the machine.

“The dual-boiler architecture of the machine gives you incredible thermal control of the water, especially with the heat exchanger feeding it. Having that level of consistency is really helpful for brewing quality drinks. The fact that it’ll time the shots and control the temperature means you don’t have to pay attention to it during your bar flow. Those features really make it a fantastic machine.” — Jackson O’Brien, Peace Coffee

The GB5’s dual boiler control ensures thermal stability during the busiest of rushes. It has all the latest electronics onboard—screens, shot timers, and four fully-programmable recipe buttons—making it a strong candidate for busy cafes with complex menus.

“The GB5 is a very good machine to learn on. It has incredible temperature stability, and as a result—if you pay attention to your grind and dose—the machine is going to be very forgiving. The electronics like flow meters and auto-volumetric settings are also consistent for first-time users.” — Jackson O’Brien, Peace Coffee

The GB5 comes in Semi-Automatic (EE), Auto-Volumetric (AV), or AV with Scales (ABR). It’s only available in two or three grouphead models. All in all, the GB5 is an excellent coffee machine and one La Marzocco fans, or anyone who appreciates a high-performance espresso machine, will adore using.

Learn more: A Barista’s Review of the La Marzocco GB5 Espresso Machine

Best Commercial Machine for Training New Baristas: Strada

The La Marzocco Strada, often lovingly referred to as the Ferrari of espresso machines, is powerful, sleek, and designed with a unique low profile that allows baristas to feel closer to the customers they are serving. The low profile also makes it easier to train new baristas. Here’s what one veteran barista had to say about it:

“I appreciate the Strada for teaching because of the open design … I can actually stand above or over or even around on the other side of the machine, and I can see what the barista is doing.” — Mike Walker, Epoch Coffee

La Strada is also ideal for experienced baristas who know what they’re doing. The conical valve and paddle give 100% control of the water pressure and flow to the barista, allowing them to experiment with espresso flavor profiles on each coffee puck.

This machine comes in EP (electronic paddle), AV (Auto-Volumetric), MP (Manual Paddle), and EE (Semi-Automatic) options. You can purchase it with either two or three grouphead.

All models come with independent boiler groups, allowing for multiple drinks at different temperatures to be made with different recipes at the same time. The La Strada also features an automatic backflush system to keep the machine running in tip-top form for longer.

Learn more: A Barista's Review of the La Marzocco Strada Espresso Machine

Best Luxury La Marzocco Machine: The KB90

The KB90 was released in 2019 and is one of the most powerful espresso machines in the La Marzocco catalog. It consists of a major update to the Linear PB—with an even better electronics system, multi-boilers with individual temperature control (the only La Marzocco Line to feature this), and most importantly, a straight-in portafilter that’s great on baristas’ wrists and arms.

“Outside of the ergonomic benefits of the straight-in portafilters, the individual group boilers have helped our bar flow tremendously. And, the cool-touch double-insulated steam wand handles are great too.” Matthew Delarosa, Ironsmith Coffee

When you’re pulling 100 shots day in and day out, you can develop wrist injuries if your form is off. These days, baristas are crying out for straight-in portafilters, and the KB90 certainly delivers. And when you press a button to release the portafilter, the KB90 initiates an auto steam purge to keep the grouphead clear from coffee grounds and at optimum extraction temperature.

The KB90 comes in AV, or AV with scales, and in two or three grouphead models.

It is without a doubt the top-of-the-line La Marzocco machine. The multiple independent boilers each have separate temperature control, meaning baristas can keep their shots consistent no matter the recipe or volume of their workplace.

The KB90 is made with efficiency and workflow in mind, while still maintaining superior drink quality. This design allows baristas to multitask. This machine definitely allows you to be the most efficient by far.Matthew Delarosa, Ironsmith Coffee

For coffee shop owners who want the best La Marzocco machine that money can buy, the KB90 will not disappoint.

Learn more: A Barista's Review of the La Marzocco KB90 Espresso Machine

Breakdown of La Marzocco’s Espresso Machines

Category

Machine

Price

Best No-Frills La Marzocco Espresso Machine

La Marzocco Linea Classic

$11,380

Best Value La Marzocco Espresso Machine

La Marzocco Linea PB

$18,420

Best Classic Mid-Range La Marzocco Espresso Machine

La Marzocco GB5

$18,720

Best for Training New Baristas

La Strada

$24,420

Best Luxury La Marzocco Machine

La Marzocco KB90

$27,230

Wrapping Up

Picking the right La Marzocco for your cafe’s situation isn’t easy. But you can’t go wrong with any of these commercial espresso machines. No matter how busy your shop gets or whatever custom drinks are on your menu—each of these La Marzocco machines are up to the task.

Want tailor-made advice for you and your business? We’re here to help. Our team of coffee industry experts is ready to advise you on what the best coffee machine is for your situation and budget—and we’re just a phone call away. Get in touch today!