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Le'Lit PL53 Stepless Doserless Espresso Grinder

Postby 1st-line on Tue Dec 11, 2007 10:53 pm

Killer price for a Killer grinder! The LeLit PL53 stepless espresso grinder.

I have worked on this grinder with the manufacturer for the last 6 months - making refinements, adjustments, etc. This grinder has gone through my torture chambers for the past 6 months across multiple espresso machines - only result was to not be displeased.

The LeLit PL53 grinder is in stock.

Image

The only all stainless steel, polished body, doserless, conical burr espresso grinder with stepless adjustment for under $250.00. Can we say more? This grinder was designed for grinding for espresso. Although the PL53 can be used for other coffee brewing methods, the turning of the knob on the stepless adjustment can be cumbersome to rotate many times for different brew methods. This is why we recommend the grinder be utilized for one brew method only.

More details on our web site: www.1st-line.com
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Postby jamhat on Fri Dec 21, 2007 10:02 pm

The new grinder looks really sharp. I'm in the market right now for a new grinder to match up with my Gaggia Factory (la Pavoni rebadge). The Factory is pretty picky.

How fine does the new Le'Lit grind? Would you say it will grind as fine as Turkish?
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Postby 1st-line on Fri Dec 21, 2007 10:24 pm

jamhat wrote:The new grinder looks really sharp. I'm in the market right now for a new grinder to match up with my Gaggia Factory (la Pavoni rebadge). The Factory is pretty picky.

How fine does the new Le'Lit grind? Would you say it will grind as fine as Turkish?


I have actually choked a few espresso machines with the very fine grind settings on the LeLit . Although it came out like powder, I would say it achieved Turkish grind.
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Postby Branden on Sun Dec 23, 2007 8:29 pm

A few questions:
    1. Is it possible to operate without the hopper?
    2. What size are the burrs?
    3. Beyond espresso, would this work as a portable grinder for cupping samples?
Also, I am confused about the actual name of this grinder. Near the 'Buy Now' button on the website it is called "Le'Lit PL53110" whereas above the description it is called "Le'Lit PL041." Is there a difference?
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Postby ccfore on Thu Dec 27, 2007 5:57 pm

Are there additional pictures of this that might show the front profile a little better? The PF rest, or at least the folded metal part on the right, is hard to see and the left side looks to be totally different. Thanks.
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Postby 1st-line on Fri Dec 28, 2007 6:00 pm

Branden wrote:A few questions:
    1. Is it possible to operate without the hopper?
    2. What size are the burrs?
    3. Beyond espresso, would this work as a portable grinder for cupping samples?
Also, I am confused about the actual name of this grinder. Near the 'Buy Now' button on the website it is called "Le'Lit PL53110" whereas above the description it is called "Le'Lit PL041." Is there a difference?


Anything is possible. We do not suggest operating any grinder without a hopper.

Burrs are 38mm OD on the larger burr.

The grinder is really intended for espresso. Actually, all stepless grinders are really made for espresso. The stepless adjustment really makes it impractical for other brewing methods.

There were some typos on the description as we were rushing to put this page up. Sorry about this. page has been corrected.
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Postby 1st-line on Fri Dec 28, 2007 6:02 pm

ccfore wrote:Are there additional pictures of this that might show the front profile a little better? The PF rest, or at least the folded metal part on the right, is hard to see and the left side looks to be totally different. Thanks.


More pictures will be posted once our programmer returns from vacation. Unfortunately, there is too much reflection in the catch tray. The two folded metal parts do accommodate up to 58mm portafilters.
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Postby HB on Mon Dec 31, 2007 3:28 am

Last month Jim mentioned the Le'Lit PL53 doserless espresso grinder would be arriving around Christmas time. No formal review is planned, but I offered to provide some feedback since there's not a lot of information on it.

First of all, it's a nice looking grinder and has decent heft. The doser spout removes easily to reveal the exit chute, which is short and sloped. Very little grounds are retained and they are nearly clump free. I've pulled a few espressos with the Le'Lit grinder and dialing in was a breeze. I'll post more comments when I've gotten a few dozen espressos behind me. In the meantime, below is a quick video of one of the first extractions:



(Astute observers will note the new espresso machine in the video above; it's a "loaner" Elektra Microcasa Semiautomatica from Jim Schulman. I'm starting to grow rather fond of it... Jim, we need to talk. :wink:)
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Postby HB on Mon Dec 31, 2007 6:07 pm

I pulled a half pound worth of espressos using the Mazzer Mini Electronic Friday and Saturday; yesterday and today I finished the other half using the Le'Lit PL53. In terms of usability, the Mini E is the best doserless I've used; its timer doses are consistent and the large funnel routes all the grounds to a single spot. The coffee grounds from the Mini E are nearly clump free, but the PL53 is even better:

Image

The grounds are noticeably "fluffier" than the Mini E. For the photo above, I held the portafilter straight out, pressing it against the grinder's black momentary-on button. As you can see, unlike the Mini E that drops the grounds dead center, the PL53 throws to the left. This can be corrected by carefully redistributing the grounds after the grinding is finished, or by rotating the portafilter handle while the grinder runs. Rotating the portafilter from the 9 o'clock to 6 o'clock to 3 o'clock position is standard operating procedure for me when using doser grinders, however 9-to-3 o'clock rotation is inhibited by the PL53's portafilter rest "wings". That is, because you must press against the on button with the portafilter to keep the grinder motor engaged, the practical rotation is more like 7-to-5 o'clock (*). In the end, I opted instead to stop mid-grind, jiggle the portafilter gently to topple the left-weighted pile of grounds to the right, then finished with a Stockfleths Move. The result was very even pours again and again.

Although the tastings were not side-by-side, some general impressions did emerge; I caution you to treat these as preliminary. As noted earlier, dialing in the PL53 was easy and the extractions exhibited good striping throughout the pour. Counter Culture Coffee's Espresso Aficionado pulls rich and creamy; the crema from the Le'Lit PL53 was perceptibly lighter and greater in volume than the Mini E (sorry, I did not measure the brewing ratios). The flavor profile was also slightly different. Espressos from the PL53 were brighter and the nutty flavors transformed from black walnut to cashews. Very good espressos all around from both grinders. If these espressos were served at a barista competition, I would score them in the 3.5 to 4.0 range (explanation).

(*) To simplify distribution while dosing, the PL53 may be candidate for modification similar to the Rocky Doserless switch for continuous grind. Of course that would defeat the main switch's role as a safety mechanism and void the warranty.
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Postby HB on Tue Jan 01, 2008 11:41 pm

Today is the last day of my vacation and the end of my leisurely espresso mornings. Sigh. A couple tidbits from this morning's session:
  • Chute removal and cleaning - The exit chute is held on by a single plastic-capped screw (gray in the photo above). The inner bottom edge of the chute has a piece of rubber to seal against the grinder. The friction fit is tight enough that the chute stays put without the screw in place. Extreme neatniks can pop the chute off to brush out the prior day's grounds without difficulty.
  • Noise level - I owned a Solis Maestro and remember it whined loudly. Thankfully the PL53 is nothing like it. The PL53 is louder than the Mazzer Mini, but still within reason. Its sound and noise level reminds me of our food processor, if that helps.
I've moved all my equipment out of the kitchen into my home office. The outlets are a foot off the floor instead of the countertop backslash like the kitchen's, which brings up a minor point: The PL53's cord is approximately two feet long... not enough in my case. The Mazzer grinder's cord is almost twice as long. Oh well, it gives me the excuse to mount an outlet strip/surge protector.
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