If you think a small espresso machine simply can’t be as powerful as a larger one, there are plenty of machines out there that would pleasantly surprise you. The Lelit Bianca and La Marzocco GS3 are two examples of extraordinarily robust and petite espresso machines that can fit into crowded kitchens.
Trying to decide which one you should get? In this Lelit Bianca vs GS3 comparison, we’ll guide you to a decision by discussing these machines’ features.
This is what you can expect to learn:
- Features the Lelit Bianca and GS3 have in common.
- Which features are different from one machine to the other.
- Information on their prices.
- Advice on choosing one machine.
Let’s get started.
If you asked us where you could find a high-power and compact espresso machine that’s also exceedingly stylish, we’d point you in the direction of the Lelit Bianca. This remarkably compact espresso machine contains two robust boilers and a sleek stainless steel case with walnut handles and feet. It’s a great pick for home baristas and small businesses that want to be able to experiment with different espresso flavor profiles.
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La Marzocco GS3 Manual Paddle Machine
La Marzocco machines are famous for lasting for years and years. The GS3 is no exception, with the standard La Marzocco sturdy design, including a tough steel case and boilers. Like the Lelit Bianca, this machine would work beautifully for prosumers and smaller businesses that want the flexibility to control the development of each espresso.
Let’s start off with their most basic quality: their machine type. The Lelit Bianca and GS3 are what’s called semiautomatic espresso machines. In the event you’re unfamiliar with the term, we’ll introduce you to it.
A semiautomatic espresso machine is one that will not time the duration of the brew step for you. Once you put your portafilter on the group head, you must start the brew cycle and choose when it ends.
This is an extremely important step in the process. The extraction must be timed carefully to ensure the best flavor and for the sake of consistency. Since the machine won’t be stopping automatically, it will take some time to adjust to using them if you’re inexperienced.
There is one major benefit to semiautomatic machines, though: flexibility. You can pull long or short shots as you wish.
Want to see more machines like this? You can read our list of the best semi automatic espresso machines for more great options.
Central to every espresso machine, there’s a boiler or two. Because of their integral role in brewing espresso, it’s always important to learn what kind of boiler design an espresso machine uses prior to purchasing it.
In this case, the espresso machines in question both have a dual boiler system. Like the name implies, that means they have two boilers.
Why does an espresso machine need two boilers? Well, the average espresso machine must perform two different functions: steaming milk and brewing espresso. Because these functions require different temperatures, many single-boiler machines can only do one at a time.
Since the Bianca and GS3 have two boilers, however, they can steam and brew simultaneously. This translates to faster drink preparation.
Heat exchange machines can also handle simultaneous steaming and brewing. Learn more about them in our guide to the best heat exchanger espresso machines.
Machine type and boiler design are both crucial in terms of output, but the number of groups an espresso machine has also matters in that regard. The more group heads it has, the more espresso it can brew at one time.
But there’s also a benefit to having a single-group machine like the Lelit Bianca or La Marzocco GS3. Even though they may not be able to produce as much as a two-group or three-group machine, they are generally more affordable. This makes them perfect for small coffee shops and businesses or homes on a budget.
PID Temperature control
Just like these machines will give you the ability to control the duration of the brew cycle, they will also give you control over temperature. Temperature is, in many ways, as important as timing. Which temperatures you choose to brew your espresso at will affect its flavor.
That’s why the Lelit Bianca and La Marzocco GS3 have PID controllers. Using their controllers, you can adjust the temperatures of either of their boilers by extremely accurate single-degree increments.
Read Also: Best PID Espresso Machines
Just like with any other major purchase, you don’t want your espresso machine to break down shortly after you buy it. You want an espresso machine that will last you for years and years to come, and quality of materials will help you guarantee that.
To help ensure their longevity, the Bianca and GS3 each use a rotary pump. Rotary pumps are famous for their long lifespans, so you won’t need to worry about repairing them too soon.
Furthermore, rotary pumps are oftentimes quieter than the alternatives. As a result, the Lelit Bianca and La Marzocco GS3 can both operate more quietly than many other espresso machines.
Direct-Connect or Pour-Over Functionality
For many, the flexibility to set up their appliances however they choose is important. Espresso machines can also have this flexibility, which the Bianca and GS3 demonstrate handily with their water systems. Either machine can be plumbed-in or pour-over.
As pour-over machines, you’ll need to add water to them yourself whenever their tanks get low. The good thing about this format, though, is that they’re also more portable, since they’re not connected to a water line.
If you find you don’t like the pour-over configuration, you can connect the Bianca and GS3 to a water line. In this plumbed-in format, they’ll draw water into their boilers automatically, saving you time on water refills.
Water Tank Size
Pour-over machines rely on you to keep their water tanks adequately filled. If the machine in question has a larger water tank, you won’t need to refill it as frequently.
Both the Lelit Bianca and GS3 have 2.5-liter water tanks. This is a fairly generous size that will allow you to make a few drinks in a row before you need to stop add more water.
Earlier on in this comparison, we discussed how timing is crucial to the brew cycle. You want to make sure you’re brewing your espresso for the proper length of time to create a balanced extraction.
That leads to many baristas having to resort to using a separate timer or even their phones to keep track of the length of the extraction. Fortunately, you won’t need to do this with the Bianca or GS3, as either machine comes with a built-in shot timer.
Cool-Touch Steam Wands
An espresso machine’s steam wand gets notoriously hot when you’re frothing milk. To make matters worse, you will need to handle it often for cleaning and to reposition it while you’re steaming. Burns are oftentimes an unavoidable occurrence when you’re using an espresso machine.
The good news is that using the Bianca or GS3 doesn’t need to be painful. Both machines use no-burn steam wands that remain cool to the touch even during use. You can comfortably handle them at any time without any risk of being scorched.
There’s a second underlying benefit to this design: easier maintenance. Because their exteriors don’t overheat, milk doesn’t get burnt onto the ends of the steam wands, so keeping them clean is even simpler.
Stainless Steel Casing
The exteriors of either espresso machine in this comparison are covered in beautiful stainless steel. There are a couple reasons why this is a good thing, and the first one is obvious: the stainless steel casing looks appealing. Many appliances these days are made from stainless steel, so it’s likely your espresso machine will match with them.
The second benefit is that the stainless steel cases are tough. They help protect the inside for your espresso machine from damage, increasing their lifespans.
It doesn’t hurt that stainless steel is easy to clean, too. Simply wipe the outside down with a damp and non-abrasive cloth to keep it sparkling.
Got tons of coffee mugs at home? Then you understand how much space they can take up in your cabinets. This is another thing the Lelit Bianca and GS3 can help you out with.
Either machine has a flat space on top that you can use as cup storage. This will free up a little space in your cupboards.
Additionally, these cup shelves are made to warm up any mugs you place on top. By pouring your espresso and milk into a preheated mug, you ensure that your drink will stay hot for a longer period of time.
Despite the fact they both use stainless steel cases, the Lelit Bianca and La Marzocco GS3 still look drastically different. Given the fact their appearances are so different, considering their aesthetics is an easy starting point.
The La Marzocco GS3 has a very distinct short, sturdy silhouette with a gracefully curving steam wand and hot water spigot. It marries durability and grace into one sleek package that is sure to look amazing on your counter.
On the other hand, the Lelit Bianca has a much more petite size. It also has walnut handles and feet to give it an earthy feel that’s ideal in farmhouse or rustic settings.
Now, there are some pictures of the GS3 online that show it having wooden side panels and handles. However, we can’t guarantee it will always have these qualities available – it will depend largely on the seller you choose to purchase it from.
It shouldn’t be surprising, based on how they look, that both espresso machines in this comparison vary quite drastically in size. If your office or home kitchen doesn’t have much space, dimensions will be one of your deciding factors.
The Lelit Bianca is 15.75 inches tall, 11.4 inches wide, and 19.1 inches deep. To put it into perspective, the La Marzocco GS3 is 17.5 inches tall, 16 inches wide, and 21 inches deep.
The GS3 is taller, wider, and deeper than the Lelit Bianca. In fact, you can make the Bianca even smaller by using it as a direct-connect machine and removing the water tank.
Lelit Bianca E61 Brew Group
There are actually different types of brew groups on the market today. The Lelit Bianca demonstrates one type of brew group called an E61 brew group.
What does it do for you? In short, it boosts consistency, and it does so through two different inherent qualities.
The first is its automatic pre-infusion. Before it uses full pressure during extraction, the machine will use a lighter stream of water to settle the grounds in your portafilter. This makes it a simpler matter for water to reach all coffee particles when the full pressure of extraction is applied.
Second, the group head reduces temperature fluctuations. It does so by constantly circling water from the brew group to the boiler. Greater thermal stability promotes uniformity in flavor time and time again.
La Marzocco GS3 Brew Paddle
Both machines in this comparison have brew paddles, but those paddles work differently from each other. Let’s look at the GS3’s brew paddle first.
On many espresso machines, the brew cycle is started and ended by pushing a button or flipping a lever. The GS3 uses its brew paddle to achieve this function. You simply flick it from side to side to control the brew cycle.
Some baristas may find this easier to use. It also gives the machine a very classic design that would pair wonderfully with vintage décor.
Lelit Bianca Flow Profiling Paddle
Now let’s look at the Lelit Bianca’s paddle. The Bianca’s paddle is designed for the specific purpose of controlling the flow of water during brewing.
Pressure is one of the cornerstones to brewing espresso. By altering the water’s pressure, you can subtly influence the flavor, so you can experiment with different tastes much more easily.
La Marzocco GS3 Joystick-Controlled Hot Water and Steam
The Lelit Bianca isn’t the only machine here with unique controls. If you look at the front panel of the GS3, you’ll notice it has stick-shaped switches.
These joystick controls can be used to turn on the hot water spigot or the steam. Like with its brew paddle, many baristas may find these tactile controls simply easier to manipulate than small buttons or switches.
If you’d like to learn more about it, you can dive deeper with our La Marzocco GS3 Manual vs Automatic comparison.
One question you’ve probably been asking yourself from the beginning is how much either of these machines cost. Price is important, after all.
Majesty Coffee believes in offering our customers the best prices online for the best coffee and espresso gear. This includes our Lelit Bianca, which we have in our store for $2,979.
We do not have the La Marzocco GS3 at this point in time. You will need to check with other online sellers to see if they have it available. You can also view our collection of La Marzocco espresso machines to see if there’s something similar from the same brand that would fit for you.
Which Espresso Machine Should You Get?
In conclusion, the Lelit Bianca and La Marzocco GS3 are both outstanding espresso machines. If you’re looking for something to use at home or in a small business setting that will give you control over each shot of espresso, either one would likely do the trick.
With that being said, there are certainly differences between them that may cause you to pick one or the other. We’ll examine some of those differences now.
The most obvious difference is the way they look. While both machines use stainless steel, only the Lelit Bianca is guaranteed to have the wooden handles and feet that give it a memorable rustic feel.
Another obvious difference is their sizes. The Lelit Bianca is more compact than the GS3, so it will likely be preferable for environments that are crowded with other appliances.
In some ways, the Bianca may also be more manageable for beginners. Its E61 brew group will smooth out the irregularities of poor tamping technique and reduce temperature fluctuations that can tamper with the taste of your drinks.
Want to learn more about the Bianca? You can view the Lelit Bianca in our store or call us at 888-978-5224 for more information. Our team will be more than happy to help you find the best espresso machine for your specific needs.
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Majesty Coffee Technical Sales Expert - Meet the Team
Tony Barlow, with over a decade of experience in the coffee industry, is the go-to technical sales expert at Majesty Coffee. He's passionate about helping businesses find the right espresso equipment for their needs.