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The GB5 was best known as being the understated powerhouse of the La Marzocco range. It could have tricked you with its elegant, traditionally Italian curves. You might have believed it to be a bit to decorative to be a balance of style and substance. But thanks to La Marzocco’s commitment to provide the same cup quality across their entire range, here we find a machine that has never been just a pretty face, but one that has always boasted the essential technological advancements that make La Marzoccos the essential machines that they are today. Now though, since discontinuing the old and curvy model from pre-2021, La Marzocco have revamped the GB5 with a new look and a new specification internally, adding in features not yet available on any other models or lines of machinery.
We love the new look. For us it blends parts of the well-loved Linea PB aesthetic with the ornamental looks and extravagant feel that the old GB5 had before. But most of the real benefit to the new spec is under this sleek, shiny exterior. You’ll now find two specifications as with the Linea PB and Leva machines, S and X. Essentially we have S for the standard build, and X meaning the fully loaded specification. As standard, you’ll find the below and in the subsequent list we have the X spec outline for you!
Water hardness sensor – the new specification goes further than any other machine in the range with a few new additions, such as an innovative way to measure water hardness as water enters the machine. You might wonder what that is truly worth to you, and the answer is it’s worth a lot if it saves you ever having an unexpected performance issue or failure on your machine, and stops you running your precious water filter through its capacity without you knowing better to switch the cartridge early! Not knowing your water hardness can mean you involuntarily risking the health of your machine parts, potentially introducing rapid limescale formation inside the machine’s precious boilers! This is a great leap forward for being proactive with machine health over time, especially in the third and fourth years of ownership where health starts to be a real concern if you’re uncertain of how to manage servicing and water filtration.
Programmable doses for your recipes – as always, the volumetric controls in the La Marzocco GB5 are super accurate and the machine has a nicely restricted water flow in-built to it too. You’ll be accurate all day and it’s easier to set doses on the GB5 than on any machine. Simply hold a button instead of pressing a button to begin programming a dose while you brew. It couldn’t be quicker for changes on the go in service.
Integrated sclaes are available – As with the Strada and Linea PB, built-in weighing scales are available to take accuracy to the next level. These will be held as standard stock with the X spec of the machine, but are too available with the S spec as a special order. We’d advise against the scales if you’re not ordering the X machine specification in full
Externally serviceable, easy-fix steam controls – One of the big additions into the new spec is the externally serviceable steam wand, like is seen on the KB90 machine. Another servicing benefit – it will reduce maintenance costs through labour time savings, and too will simply decrease the regularity of servicing needed and the likelihood of a failure over time with a more robust mechanism too. A win win, since it also feels super sleek and ergonomic to use, identical to controlling the steam on a Linea PB in terms of usage for the barista.
Intuitive digital controls & menu – For anyone geeking out on machinery under the hood of the usual external spec, the GB5 now features a more intuitive menu and a larger screen for displaying less shorthand text and more easily readable messages for those who are not already familiar with La Marzocco lingo behind the scenes. The menu allows a lot of intelligent control, a little like the Linea PB system. In there you can quickly alter temperatures, recipes and pre-infusion settings to suit your needs. You can also tweak the eco mode settings or even the brightness of the newly in-built barista lights if you feel the spotlight is a little too strong, or a little too bright in the darker hours.
Barista lights as standard – three settings are available on your barista lights by default, pertaining to the machine being: on but idle (on show for the customers at its best); mid-brew, and when the machine is in Eco mode. You can customise the lighting on show for all three of those scenarios in the menu easily. The lights are LED and not too energy intensive by the way – sustainability is still at the heart of any La Marzocco!
24V Electronics – this may sound abstract to you, but a new electronic configuration inside the GB5 makes it easily compatible with the new La Marzocco Pro App (more on that below) to create an easier time for diagnostics of machine health, and in general makes the machine’s electronics even more reliable and robust for a longer lifespan on your bar top too!
Click here for the official GB5 S brochure. This includes all the specifications and features for this espresso machine model.
ABR integrated scales – the now-famous weighing scales that are in-built into the machine’s drip tray and integrated with its software, allowing you to measure all of your coffee by weight and not volume. This is an extra level of accuracy that means you’re a step closer to perfect consistency, but it also leaves you the relatively stress-free workday of managing only your grinder (instead of needing to constantly fine tune both your grinder and machine through busy service). On a personal note, we love this technology because it really does lower your wastage levels to as close to zero as they can possibly get. There is a long and arduous supply chain to any great coffee – nobody does all of their work for it to end up in the used coffee bin!
Independent Saturated Boilers – separate saturated boilers for each group head. Again, this may just sound a little abstract but this is the key to ultimate stability on each head of the machine. La Marzocco machines have never lacked this kind of stability for the amount of coffee output seen in even the busiest of UK city centres, but just in case you were in doubt at any stage, the independent boilers will allow baristas to truly optimize temperature for individual group heads, ensuring thermal stability is never amiss.
Hot Water Economizer – just in case you want to fine tune temperature and flow rate of your hot water tap, you now can with the economizer feature on the X spec machinery. This is a feature you may have already seen on the Linea PB X or the Strada, and can be a big help even if you jut use your hot water tap for gently cleaning your espresso group handles.
Cool touch aka Pro Touch steam wands – the personal favourite feature of any X spec La Marzocco machine is the easy-to-clean but not easy-to-burn-yourself steam wands. Pro Touch technology means the steam wand can be moved, cleaned and controlled more easily, and milks of any type will not dry onto the surface of the wand due to its high temperatures. So, a more ergonomic time and a less risky time using the new GB5 with those involved. Win win.
High legs – useful for cleaning underneath the machine, which usually is a difficult task! Also recommended if you wish to avoid RSI or excessive strain for any staff using the machine at any low-medium counter height. Please note that ABR technology tends to work even better with high legs on the machine too, for mitigating pesky vibrations and providing more stability on the counter.
Custom colour – order this machine in any RAL colour of your choice for an extra fee. This can make your kit truly unique and eye-catching, and may be the difference between someone simply walking past your shop without noticing your coffee set-up, or walking in after being drawn to the La Marzocco machine. This is something that regularly occurs now in the UK, as La Marzocco have built an excellent reputation through building quality machinery that performs and stands the test of time.
Click here for the official GB5 X brochure. This includes all the specifications and features for this espresso machine model.
If you’re wondering whether the La Marzocco GB5 is right for you, or if a different model would be better for your specific circumstances, we can lend a helping hand. We’ll listen to what you want out of an espresso machine and discuss all the different options to ensure you end up with a machine perfect for your needs.
We can also guide you through all the various options, from renting espresso machines, to buying them outright, or finding second hand ones. We can also ensure you have all the necessary accompanying equipment, such as commercial grinders.
Buying an espresso machine is a big decision so let us help you understand everything you need to consider. We can guide you through the whole journey so you end up with a machine that works for you.