Lelit Bianca at the top of my list, but I have questions - Page 2

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.
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sweaner
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#11: Post by sweaner »

As far as Q#3, a Bianca is definitely not overkill. I feel that most will really enjoy the flow-control paddle. You will learn quickly and enjoy the learning process.

When I was choosing an upgrade path, the top 2 were the Bianca and the Decent. I went with the Bianca because the Decent was not very available at that time, and I thought that I would get buried by the capabilities of the Decent...which are truly amazing.
Scott
LMWDP #248

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slybarman

#12: Post by slybarman »

Jeff wrote:Any "no-burn" steam wand is very likely to use PTFE tubing to carry the steam. The various ones I've seen have two o-rings at the tip. One seals against the PTFE tubing at pressure, the other seems designed only to prevent milk ingress between the tip and the outer tubing. I have not looked at if the outer tubing is pressure-sealed to a fitting on the boiler end. It is possible that you might need to replace the wand in its entirety..
You are correct. I mistakenly assumed the Bianca had the same flexible tubing in the steam arm as my Cuadra did, but it is not. It is a rigid nylon tube.

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decent_espresso
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#13: Post by decent_espresso »

pm- wrote:In the US, and likely numerous other countries, laws are lax regarding requirements for testing of new materials in food related applications. That's how (in general), things like PFOAs are used in teflon cookware for many years (I think until 2013), until independent testing determined that it is toxic and can cause serious pregnancy related problems.
I think this is a very good point, and hopefully I can answer from my own point of view, without running afoul of HB's rules.

In the US, the main hurdle to selling is to get UL approval. But UL approval is almost exclusively concerned with 3 dangers: fire, electrical shock and burning you. There's not much in UL1082 https://standardscatalog.ul.com/Product ... tId=UL1082 related to food safety. And just FYI, Decent does not yet have UL certification, as we passed everything, but failed in the end because we were tablet-controlled. The examiner felt that since the tablet could be taken to another room and could start hot water pouring remotely, this was a UL violation. That's one reason why we added buttons to our v1.3 machine, which will soon be re-submitted for UL testing.

The food safety requirements situation is completely different for European CE compliance. Europe has extensive food safety standards, and paid tests you need to comply with to bear the CE mark.

I've frequently been asked about the food safety of our water path. We test each material twice. The supplier has to provide an independent lab test before we award them the job. And then we re-test ourselves, using SGS labs https://www.sgs.com/ on each part we receive, for each new version of our espresso machine. I've posted on other forums all our independent test results, and I'm happy to do so again on request. Or maybe I should just make a web page with all the PDFs.

We've been put through the water-path-safety wringer several times on various forums. Your concern is a common one.

My own personal opinion is that you should only buy an espresso machine which can also be sold in the EU, because the CE compliance standards have so much food safety compliance requirements. Hopefully my stating that opinion won't get my in trouble with HB's vendor guidelines.

I'm not sure there exists any espresso machine over USD$1000 that doesn't also sell the same model in Europe, so that's not a terribly bold thing for me to state. Certainly, Lelit and LM are complying with the CE guidelines. Virtually all over $1000 machines are made in Europe.

I want to write a bit about metal in the water path; specifically about brass.

There is a varying amount of naturally occuring lead in brass. As the German (and Japanese) standards have been getting tighter over time, it's been possible to fail the German ROHS test even without adding lead to the mix. This annoying fact has led to a slow movement in the espresso machine industry toward stainless steel, away from brass.

It's obviously a disaster for any manufacturer if your batch of brass component fails the ROHS test, and going to stainless makes that worry go away. I'm not saying any manufacturer out there has a lead problem in anything they're shipping. What I'm saying is that potentially a manufacturer has to discard a run of brass parts due to a ROHS test failure, and that's quite expensive. Decent is still using brass in its group head (we test each batch twice), but next year we're moving to a mix of stainless and ULTEM in the group head, partially to make these worries go away.

My general recommendation for anyone worried about water path safety, is to ask for the CE mandated testing certifications from the manufacturer in question. You should also be able to ask your manufacturer to give you a list of all materials that touch water.

-john

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skansen

#14: Post by skansen »

slybarman wrote:There should be a (I think) rubber tube inside the steam arm which makes it "no burn". I'm not sure if that is a material OP is concerned about or not.
Yes, it is possible.
My post was response to the picture of Bianca showing plastic tubes. All plastic tubes on picture below are for waste water.
Image

pm-

#15: Post by pm- »

I need to read up more on the flow control on the Proftec Pro 700, but I may move this machine to the top of my list. Reason being, the internals are so clean and nicely laid out in comparison to the Bianca, and that is something that matters to me (and plenty of others, I'm sure). Price is similar, and while it looks like the flow control devices function a little differently, once comfortable with them, the usability and quality in cup are presumably comparable.

At the same time, the Profitec Pro 700 is getting a little large for my kitchen (but will probably fit). It's too bad they haven't figured out how to have comparably stable brewing temperatures in HX machines like the Pro 500, or I could consider one. Although maybe it's not as much of an engineering issue as it is a cost issue, in that the cost would increase to the point where it wouldn't have much of a cost advantage over DB machines... :|

Nunas
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#16: Post by Nunas »

I need to read up more on the flow control on the Proftec Pro 700, but I may move this machine to the top of my list. <snip> and while it looks like the flow control devices function a little differently, once comfortable with them, the usability and quality in cup are presumably comparable.
They used to be different but now are substantially the same. The ECM/Profitec version used to retain the original preinfusion spring, while the Bianca changes it out, effectively eliminating the inbuilt preinfusion function of the e61. But, later ECM kits now include the stronger spring. They are both just a needle valve. But, that big, honking paddle on the Bianca limits the operable range, whereas the control knob on the ECM is small enough to go around from stop to stop. In the real world, this does not make a huge difference, as wide open on both machines is far too much water flow to be practical. Besides, you can always change out the knob on the Bianca or cut a chunk out of the bottom if you want it to go all the way around.
It's too bad they haven't figured out how to have comparably stable brewing temperatures in HX machines like the Pro 500, or I could consider one. Although maybe it's not as much of an engineering issue as it is a cost issue, in that the cost would increase to the point where it wouldn't have much of a cost advantage over DB machines...
HX machines appeal to a different crowd to DB machines, just like lever machines have their own target market. I had an HX and loved it. Learning how to flush, surf the temperature curve, and so forth was fun. Also, if you want to play with different brew temperatures, doing that on an HX is simple. OTOH, I also love my DB machine. If stability and repeatability are your things, then this is what you want. As for my levers, you get to grow a bushy mustache and take on a cool name like Luigi :lol:

Fi3000

#17: Post by Fi3000 »

pm- wrote:I need to read up more on the flow control on the Proftec Pro 700, but I may move this machine to the top of my list. Reason being, the internals are so clean and nicely laid out in comparison to the Bianca, and that is something that matters to me (and plenty of others, I'm sure). Price is similar, and while it looks like the flow control devices function a little differently, once comfortable with them, the usability and quality in cup are presumably comparable.

At the same time, the Profitec Pro 700 is getting a little large for my kitchen (but will probably fit). It's too bad they haven't figured out how to have comparably stable brewing temperatures in HX machines like the Pro 500, or I could consider one. Although maybe it's not as much of an engineering issue as it is a cost issue, in that the cost would increase to the point where it wouldn't have much of a cost advantage over DB machines... :|
Have you thought about Profitec Pro 600? It's basically the same footprint of Bianca, also DB, but with vibe pump. Pro 700 is a pretty wide machine. I'm also first time buyer with Bianca and I'm still choosing between Bianca and Pro 600.

pm-

#18: Post by pm- » replying to Fi3000 »

I gave it a little thought, but vibe pumps are louder than rotary pumps. I live in an open floor plan condo that doubles as an echo chamber, so even if a vibe pump is on the quieter side and only marginally louder, it could be annoying at the least. We're also looking to move into a larger place, hopefully in the next few years, at which point I would install a water filtration system (hopefully RO with non-calcium re-mineralization) and plumb it in.