Linea Classic Specification and Features
The Linea Classic is the machine in La Marzocco’s range of commercial equipment that has stood the test of time. Its retro design inspired the ‘Classic’ tag, but the technology and cup quality it provides baristas are far from dated. As with all La Marzocco equipment, the quality you can achieve in brewing is identical, but here the interaction with the machine is found to be different from some of the more digital kit in the range.
With the Linea Classic, your ability to control brewing is the same as other electronic machines but your control of temperature, pressure and other variables is not accessed or managed through a digital interface. This means any advanced brewing control requires a little more manual handling of the machine. Despite a less digital approach to controlling the variables there is an impressive underlying technological layout with the Linea Classic.
Key features as follows:
- Time-tested longevity – some machines in La Marzocco’s range are newer than others, and therefore haven’t had the chance to show their ability to last over time. The Linea Classic is a machine that lasts, and we have customers using Linea Classics that are over 15 years old. They still produce excellent coffee and steam to this day, better than most other machine manufacturers’ best machines can even produce. With the usual basic cleaning and servicing over time, the La Marzocco build quality really does show with the Linea Classic models!
- Dual boilers – separate espresso and steam boiler systems providing you constant steam while not forsaking the consistency of your espresso quality.
- Volumetric or start-stop control of espresso brewing – with the Linea Classic EE you maintain a very manual approach to espresso brewing by controlling both the starting and the stopping of your espresso shots. Would we recommend it? Absolutely, if you’re in a lower volume location with the ability to spend the labour time doing it. With the Linea Classic AV, you manually start your espresso brewing, but program your own machine to stop brewing at your specified volume of liquid espresso. Any La Marzocco that you choose with this control level (named AV) will be more accurate at controlling your espresso recipe than your human baristas will be over the course of a day of operations. That means an added level of consistency and reliability that your staff can’t provide!
- Cronos keypads – we recommend buying any Linea Classic AV model with Cronos keypads installed. These optional (but highly recommended) extras can be added to any Linea Classic AV, allowing you to monitor the time taken for your espressos to brew the volume of coffee you have programmed into the system. This is one of the most basic yet essential steps to monitoring your coffee quality throughout the day, and will save you a lot of labour time and error having these timers installed into your machine.
- Saturated groups – groups which are saturated essentially mean that their parts don’t rely on being heated ‘as they go’. They are constantly supplied by hot brewing water which means the stainless steel parts at the group don’t lose heat while the machine is idle, nor do they fluctuate in temperature with irregular use, idling or in constant high volume use. All that means to the barista operating the machine is consistent espresso temperature from shot to shot. This means you can relax about one important variable that, with a lower grade of machine, would usually cause problems during service, particularly with repeat customers expecting consistency of quality. With any Linea Classic, temperature consistency is a problem avoided.
- PID controller – this is a part that works to regulate temperature in the boilers constantly during use. It stabilises the water temperature in the boiler that then moves out towards the saturated groups, adding an extra level of temperature control and stability to that which is mentioned above. This controller also allows you to control the temperature in your boiler, ultimately giving you precision in the temperature you’re brewing with. This can be controlled easily without a service technician present, as it can also be done without removing any sensitive parts or panels to the machine. How accurate is it? We tend to find machines operating at or within 0.3 degrees Celsius of the targeted temperature at any given time, which is pretty impressive at any level of output. It also happens to be a negligible difference in terms of the espresso produced and our ability to perceive a difference through temperature alone.
- Aesthetic & sales impact – the Linea Classic has become well respected in our industry for its longevity and quality, but too has become iconic in its design. It is a machine that draws attention from a coffee-loving crowd, and when people see one, it is often the case that they’ll give your coffee a try just because it has been made on a Linea Classic. It’s not a tangible nor performance-enhancing benefit, but it will make your business synonymous with quality without you even having to prove anything!
- Stainless steel portafilters – as with all of the range, we get the often under-valued benefit of stainless steel filter handles. No taints held, no leftover coffee oils or particles sticking around for too long – none at all after a quick rinse between coffees. Overall, they allow you a much cleaner espresso every time, without staleness or over-extracted flavours creeping into your recipe where they haven’t been a planned addition.
- Precision portafilters – not only are they stainless steel, but they also weigh exactly the same. No more need to tare your weighing scales to check your ground coffee weights, given that the equipment comes as standard with this common barista quality control measure taken into account.
Optional features to think about
- High legs – these are an option to facilitate cleaning under the machine more easily, or making a lower bar easier to work with. Not recommended at regular bar heights if you are looking to maintain constant customer interaction around the machine by one barista.
- Cup warmer – in windy or impressively cold environments, we’d recommend adding an extra element to the built in cup-warmer of any La Marzocco. In certain environments, warm isn’t enough for your cups, and the optional extra cup warmer can help you out wherever that is the case.
- Tall cups build – if you absolutely need to avoid brewing into smaller cups and decanting into your larger cups that wouldn’t usually fit under the machine’s groups, then we recommend this added extra. It will allow most cups of up to 20oz to fit underneath the machine’s groups, allowing for more speed when larger drinks are ordered to-go. Note that we would not recommend this option for any customers serving a typical speciality coffee menu (drinks up to 12oz) as you will find drinks going staler more quickly, and being a little too cool in temperature, due to the extra distance that the coffee will have to fall into the cup (it loses heat to the air as it falls).
The Linea Classic is the ‘workhorse’ of the La Marzocco range. You won’t be disappointed by its ability to produce consistent quality effortlessly for you over however long it serves you, in whatever output environment. If you want a machine that will allow you to start producing coffee of stellar quality day in, day out, you need not look further than the Classic.