The GS/3 Arrives

This isn’t going to be a machine review. There are plenty of those done in great detail on a variety of forums and blogs. Plus it only just arrived today!

This sort of thing makes me childishly pleased, and it was pretty easy to setup. The autofill takes care of most of it, and after bleeding the group (not too difficult) and correcting the expansion valve (mine appeared to have been set at 5 bars instead of 12 bars, which was quite interesting when you hit brew all the water just went into the drip tray with nothing coming out of the group!) it was ready to go.

I haven’t Scace’d it yet – Anette was teaching all day and had mine with her – but I will play tonight, though I don’t expect to discover much. Instead it was time to pull some shots and see if I still enjoy espresso. It turns out I do – I had some coffee given to me by Peter James and having messed around with the manual pre-infusion I pulled one of the best shots I’ve had in ages! A wonderful creamy texture and yet light, clean and sweet. Splendid.

I’ll be messing about with it a lot more over the next few weeks and I have to say it is a great tool for espresso which I’ve only just scratched the surface of (anyone got any PID settings they want to pass on?)

I had read people had had issues with steaming – I have to say I had no problem though it will take a while before the placement of the lever becomes normal. My only real complaint at the moment is that there seems to be a bug in the software which means I can’t change the first letter of the name to anything but L, which is really quite odd. (Anyone had similar issues?) This isn’t really a complaint – I am having a lot of fun with this machine. Expect lots of silly espresso pics on my flickr!

GS/3 Espresso ShotA little espresso porn

21 Comments The GS/3 Arrives

  1. Chris

    speaking of the love of espresso, our roasters just got in a lot of the Herbazu that you used in WBC this year and were hoping to roast it for espresso. I know you had mentioned it being difficult to roast as espresso.. any suggestions on how to handle it?

  2. James Hoffmann

    Anette roasted it so please don’t take this as definitive. Oddly for such a dense coffee we dropped it into the roaster while the drum was relatively cool (375F if I remember rightly – this was a Diedrich 12 kilo) and then were just very gentle throughout the entire roast, though obviously not so slow as to bake it, and then it was dropped into the cooling tray about 10 seconds in 2nd. The goal was to mute as much acidity as possible but still keep character. The problem is that it is quite a fine line with this coffee. It is a great filter coffee too though!

  3. Chris

    All the information much appreciated. The questions we had concerning the acidity level were confirmed by your comment. I am looking forward to enjoying the many aspects of this coffee! Thanks much again.

  4. Adam

    Would it be any trouble to ask exactly what coffee Peter gave you? What was this creamy textured, light, sweet, and clean espresso?

  5. Fredrik

    Congrats to the arrival of the saviour. I have had my GS/3 for a couple of months and I would be very intrested in hearing your future comments on especially “prebrewing” settings, which is all new to me. Thanks for a great blog

  6. Olings

    I got my GS3 on Friday and the Compak K10 the week before, but since I’m living with the in-laws at the moment (don’t get me started) I haven’t had the chance to use it yet. Can’t wait though!

    Come Monday it’s a brand new appartment, brand new grinder, brand new espressomachine – a brand new life!! …but which brand?

  7. luca

    The phrase kid in a candy store springs to mind!

    Did LM give you a machine with the paddle group?

    I have only had a few hours play around with one, but it seemed that adjusting the steam boiler temp had an impact on the brew temperature. Which was bizarre. I wouldn’t have though that enough water was going through the HX to make a difference in the boiler, so perhaps the machine that I used wasn’t set up properly. At any rate, this leads me to suggest that it’s probably a good idea not to muck around with the steam pressure whilst you are also mucking around with brew pressure. It took me half an hour of chasing my tail to work that one out. 1.9 bar for steam was the factory setting and seemed quite good. I loved the lever!

    Anyhoo, have heaps of fun. Not that you need an order from me to do so!

  8. James Hoffmann

    No paddle group for me – just a standard GS/3.

    My steam boiler is a little lower than that but it is fine for now. Gonna sort out the offset today, it is running about 1.5F hotter than it says. Very stable though intrashot – no surprises there.

    Gonna mess around with steaming today some more.

  9. Ron Sveen


    I am glad you have a GS3. Hardly anyone has been talking about their experiences with it. So I am greatly looking forward to yours.

    To answer a few of your questions. Teme noted the ‘name change’ problem in February ’07. So the bug is still there.

    I was told by LM that the expansion valve is set at about 5 to prevent internal damage during transportation, especially if the tanks are full. I use soft-jawed pliers to change it from 12 back to 5 and then back to 12, when I bring it with me to visit friends.

    I have noticed that it takes about one minute per degree F on down-changes for the GS3 to settle. Up changes happen very quickly. Even with up-changes, it over-shoots about two 0.3 degrees F, drops one below the goal and then stays within one 0.3 of the goal. During the shot, the temperature stays the same for two-thirds of the shot and then climbs 0.3 F for the last third. I haven’t played with the PID settings.

    I have used a Scace II to check & adjust my settings. My coffee brew temperature offset is -6.1 F.

    Thanks for your great blog.


  10. James Hoffmann

    Glad the oddities aren’t just me!

    I will spend some time over the weekend with the Scace to get a better understanding of its brew temp.

    Have you messed with any of the PID settings?

  11. Hans Pronk

    Hi James,

    Thank you for opening my eyes to the full functionality of this machine. I have been using a GB/5 for a little while and just today worked out the pre-infusion settings after becoming aware of them thanks to your blog.

    All the best with the GS/3

  12. Ron Sveen


    I haven’t messed with the PID setting, yet, but the following was passed on to me from Bill Crossland as part of another communication with him:

    “We encourage the experimentation of these [PID] values by customers and in the end they can always be changed back to the default numbers. No harm can be done by changing these numbers.

    The default numbers were obtained through experimentation and should be close to the optimum values. However we welcome all comments about this since there are some pretty smart people out there who love coffee. Maybe they can find some better values??????”

  13. Teme

    Congrats on the machine Jim!

    As Ron noted, I also have the name change bug. I wonder if the software is user upgradeable?

    I have not been playing with my PID settings, although I have been tempted. I guess I will get to that eventually and I would of course be interested in hearing if anyone has ideas on alternative settings (and whether or not these would actually make any perceivable difference).

    On the pre-infusion settings I am noticing that what worked well with the Compak K10 does not work as well with the Mahlkönig K30. More experimentation needed here as well…


  14. Ron Sveen

    Bill passed on some information to me about software user upgrades. But he implied users could not do the work.

    “Yes the GS3 is Software upgradeable. It is done the same way as a GB5. It does require a special cable so it is not as easy as a USB connection. Maybe in the future we could do the USB interface.

    The GS3 does not yet have the auto backflushing routine. We may install this on a future software version when all the software is proven effective. Right now we have a memory limit on the board we are using and we are very close to this limit. Therefore we omitted some of the items. We are working on optimizing the code for the software and this may free up some memory so we can add back some of the items we left out.”

  15. Wilson Hines

    Congrats on the machine, and more importantly congrats again on the reason for it being a gift!

    I remember two weeks ago when I was at the Counter Culture Coffee office in Durham, NC. Kim was taking us on a walk through and as we were going down the hall she said “I saved the best for last. I find this the room of most interest to anyone – professional or home user.” We rounded the corner and there that GS3 sat along with a grinder and some cups. I just stared and couldn’t speak.
    Was that your first reaction? LOL

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  17. Edson Ishida

    I’ve noticed this software bug (@ the name parameter) in the GS/3 I’m using @ home, but since it’s serial # 89 I think I’ll recommend a software upgrade to my friend Paul Germscheid, LM representative of Brazil to fix it.

    My overall view is that I’m loving this little toy…

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  19. Ron Sveen


    Bill Crossland has just released revised PID numbers for PID’ed La Marzocco machines, including the GS3. P 8, I 0.15, D 10. The new range is 20 degrees F or 6.7 degrees C.

    Happy brewing.

  20. Eric Calderwood

    Jim, Ron,
    Thank you for all of the info on the GS3.
    I have just read your post above and my GS3 came with the settings quoted P 8, I 0.15, D 10. On mine the range is set for 20.2 degrees F.

    Best Regards

  21. Ron Sveen


    I recently learned that pre-infusion paddles will be available for existing GS3s as a retro-fit by this summer. (I know that some coffee people believe that a paddle is a bit of a crutch; that is not needed, if one’s technique is excellent)



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