Kit Review - La Marzocco Linea PB 2 Automatic

The Linea PB (named after the son of the founders of La Marzocco, Piero Bambi) has swiftly become one of our favourite machines to work with, both in our cafés and our training room. So, we thought we’d provide a review to highlight how the technology has evolved, what the PB can do, and why we love it.

The PB was released in 2013 as an update to the Linea Classic - a model that has been around for 20+years. Only a few changes were made to the Classic as technologies advanced. These were:

• A PID (digital temperature reading) controller on the coffee boiler replaced the old inaccurate oil stat giving reliable temperature stability for brewing 
• Welded group heads made life easier for espresso machine technicians, with no rubber gasket to fail, and no boiler studs to rust and break off 
• ‘Cronos’ keypads with inbuilt digital timers removed the need for a stopwatch on top of the machine

The PB took these features to the next level, enabling the precision required to get the best out of speciality coffee, even in busy coffee shops and restaurants. The most important additions are:

• There is a PID on the steam boiler for digital steam pressure changes via a technical menu – this allows you to adjust the temperature and pressure of your steam

• LCD display with full technical menu for programming parameters, including: auto on/off; a filter replacement alarm; auto back flush cycle; copy and paste volume doses (a big time-saver)

• Fully articulating steam wands with quarter-turn valves

La Marzocco Linea PB AutomaticVisually the machine received a face-lift but retains its boxy, retro feel from the rear, but from the business end looks super modern, with an amber digital display, red button illumination and red pressure gauge. 

Its low work height, quarter turn steam valves and standard-issue angled portafilters make the machine extremely ergonomic, minimising fatigue on wrists and shoulders. 

From the baristas view, the most obvious change is with the touch pads, which have been reduced from 5 buttons to 3. Two of these are programmable, and have two pre-sets per button meaning you can have four different shot sizes per group. The copy and paste feature means only one button needs to be programmed and you can then copy this volume to any other button very quickly and accurately.

We love the Linea PB AV (volumetric) for its consistency, usability, and stability as well as its good looks. The Linea Classic is there for those who don’t need all the bells and whistles but still want something that will perform well in volume environments.

The Linea classic has stood the test of time, becoming the industry standard for over two decades. But in the PB, La Marzocco have created the Rolls Royce of espresso machines.

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