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La Marzocco's new interactive site lets buyers customize their machines before buying.
La Marzocco’s new interactive site lets buyers customize their machines before buying.

Espresso fans know the La Marzocco name from the high-end espresso machines in some of the world’s top coffee houses. Based in Florence, Italy, the company has been around since 1927, but until this point, La Marzocco International has sold its equipment and accessories only to commercial customers and through resellers.

Scott Callender of La Marzocco using the GS3 home espresso machine at the Specialty Coffee Association of America annual meeting in Seattle earlier this year.
Scott Callender of La Marzocco USA using the GS3 home espresso machine at the Specialty Coffee Association of America annual meeting in Seattle earlier this year.

That changes today with the launch of La Marzocco Home, a new business unit based in the Seattle headquarters of La Marzocco USA. La Marzocco will sell high-end espresso machines direct to consumers using an interactive e-commerce portal that lets users customize their machines with different features, colors and accessories. The company compares the underlying technology to sites that let consumers ‘build’ a high-end car or personalized sneakers online.

“This is a new adventure for La Marzocco,” said Scott Callender, the director of La Marzocco Home, describing the initiative as a way of “removing all the barriers” between the company and the home espresso enthusiast.

The first machine to be sold online is the La Marzocco GS3, a professional-grade espresso machine designed to fit onto a kitchen countertop. But this is for the true espresso geek: The base model is $6,900, with customization options making it possible to push the price above $8,200. With high-end features precision controls, the GS3 offers the same type of functionality that baristas use to pull the perfect shot of espresso.

In conjunction with the launch, the company has partnered with the gurus at Seattle’s ChefSteps to offer a free course in making espresso.

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