Lelit Bianca or Rocket R nine one?

Recommendations for espresso equipment buyers and upgraders.

Postby Agathorn » Nov 12, 2018, 5:32 am


I have an Izzo Alex Duetto mk2 DB-machine at home, but it is currently broken and I'm looking for an upgrade.
I want to try out pressure profiling and I don't know what to get. I want to be able to adjust pressure on the fly.

I'm torn between two machines: The Bianca and Rocket R nine one. Is the higher price of the Rocket worth it? Is the temperature stability that important?

I mostly do 1 espresso shot in the morning on weekdays and a few more during weekends and I don't roast my own coffee.

Any input would be greatly appreciated. I want to get a very good machine that I can use for years to come and with the potential for me to grow as a home barista.

If I understand it correctly the Rocket uses pressure profiling and the Bianca uses flow profiling. Is that correct?


Postby Agathorn » Nov 12, 2018, 8:02 am

Could someone sort out a question I have.
I'm looking for a new machine with pressure profiling and/or flow profiling.
Is my understanding correct that these are two separate way of profiling where flow profiling uses a constant pressure but adjusts the amount of water coming through? And this is what Lelit Bianca uses?
And pressure profiling is the same amount of water coming through but at variable pressure? The Rocket R nine one uses pressure profiling?

I dont know what to get. The Bianca or the Rocket R nine one. I want a machine that is the easiest to handle but have the potential with profiling of some kind.

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Postby Jake_G » Nov 12, 2018, 9:13 am

I haven't done too much studying of the Rocket, but I can answer the question of pressure/flow relatively quickly.

You have the general grasp of what most folks consider to "pressure profiling" or "flow profiling", but I contest that pressure and flow are so entangled in each other, that it's hardly a worthwhile discussion to hash out which is which. That said, here's the functional difference of approach with "traditional" pressure profilers such as the Rocket, and what Bianca is doing:

Pressure profilers utilizing a controller are monitoring the pressure (somewhere, could be pump discharge, could be puck, doesn't much matter) and adjusting pump speed until the pressure hits some target profile. Fancy machines can have a curve with various pressure targets throughout the shot that the controller follows by continually adjusting the pump speed. Complicated controllers, but simple idea.

Interestingly, these controllers are adjusting the flow of the pump and it is the puck itself that changes the pressure. Less flow through a puck means that it generates less back pressure, so even pressure profiling machines are adjusting flow to reach their goals...

Bianca and a select few others (Dalla Corte Mina, my own modified Rancilio S20 and to some extent, the "pre-brew" function of Slayer included) let the pump do it's thing and run at constant speed and put something that restricts the flow and is adjustable in between the pump and the puck. By doing this, the pressure at the inlet of the restrictor tends to be constant, as long as the pump is big enough to "outflow" the restrictor at its least restrictive settings (if you try to flow more than the pump can put out, the pressure falls, but this only happens during very fast preinfusion or flushing the group, so it's not too big a deal).

Much like pump-controlling pressure profilers, there's an 'interesting" part of the would-be flow profilers. The adjustable restrictor that is employed on these machines doesn't really profile the flow. What it actually does is create a pressure drop across it that varies the pressure hitting the puck, depending on the flow through it. More flow through the restrictor, more pressure drop, lower brew pressure. Less flow through the restrictor, less pressure drop and higher brew pressure. To give you an idea of the range, you can take Bianca's paddle at its lowest setting and flush the group with no basket. This represents a situation where the flow is high enough that there is no pressure at all in the group. Likewise, put a blind basket in the portafilter and you will see full brew pressure on the puck pressure gauge when the flow is zero. So, by adjusting grind and dose to achieve a range of flows, you can have any brew pressure you want without even adjusting the paddle, but in practice, you pick a grind and dose and then adjust the paddle to give you whatever brew pressure you desire by referencing the puck pressure gauge. Ironically, it is the pressure drop across the variable restrictor that results in the change in flow, so these "flow profilers" rely on changing pressure every bit as much as the "pressure profilers" rely on changing flow to do their thing.

One thing I can say about the so-called flow profiling machines is that their control schemes seem to be much more simple than the pressure profilers. The ones employing variable restrictors as described above I call "Variable Water Debit" machines. As they don't directly control anything. They set the stage for the puck and pump to do their respective things and it's up to the user to modulate the results. I'm a fan of this simple scheme because there's very little to go wrong, but it isn't as sexy as what the more fancy machines can do.

In my book, the only true pump-driven flow profiling machine on the market right now is the Decent DE1+ /De1 Pro machines. Lurking around the corner is the über expensive Duvall espresso machine, and it looks to be somewhat revolutionary in its design, but it's not available for purchase yet and makes a Slayer look "affordable" by contrast.


- Jake

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Postby HB » Nov 12, 2018, 9:27 am

Agathorn wrote:I'm torn between two machines: The Bianca and Rocket R nine one. Is the higher price of the Rocket worth it? Is the temperature stability that important?

Agathorn wrote:Is my understanding correct that these are two separate way of profiling where flow profiling uses a constant pressure but adjusts the amount of water coming through? And this is what Lelit Bianca uses?

FYI, I merged your reply in another thread with this thread since they're largely on the same topic, i.e., you're trying to decide on a purchase and need more information.
Dan Kehn


Postby Agathorn » Nov 12, 2018, 9:30 am

Thanks for the very elaborate answer. I don't really understand it all (english isn't my native language) but it sure is interesting to read and learn!

In a nutshell: What would you recommend me to get if I'm after a machine that is relatively easy to use and is the shortest way to a good cup of espresso? I know the basics having owned a DB-machine for 9 years but I'm ready to take the next step. As I've come to understand: flow profiling like the slayer and Bianca (if you can call it flow profiling then) lets you create long preinfusions which in terms enables you to grind finer and extract more flavors. Can you do the same in pressure profiling machines like the R nine one?

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Postby Jake_G » Nov 12, 2018, 9:43 am

I can't speak to the capabilities of the R nine one, but my short answer to it's capabilities of long, slow preinfusion is "I think it probably can". In your price range I would not hesitate to suggest Bianca, as it's a logical progression from what you know. You'll be up and running the day you unbox your machine.

That said, I think the Decent Espresso Machine warrants further research on your part, but I don't think they have any inventory at the moment. If you've already looked into it and feel it's not for you, I think Bianca is a natural choice compared to the much more expensive R nine one, but again, I'm not knocking the Rocket, I'm just not knowledgeable about it.


- Jake


Postby Agathorn » Nov 12, 2018, 10:01 am

Thanks Jake! I guess the Bianca is the sensible choice. Especially price-wise.

I've looked into the Decent but I don't think I'd like that pump (sounds really "cheap" and weak. I know it's just my feeling about it. I'm sure it's more then capable). I also like to have a lever to control the pressure/flow.


Postby erik82 » Nov 12, 2018, 10:38 am

A saturated group will give you much better espresso than an E-61. I tried the Bianca and it couldn't keep up with my Strietman in any way tastewise. I tested the LM GS3 and it was a bit better than the Strietman. Both where way better than Bianca. That's the biggest difference in group design.

Bianca will be a step up but you'll run against a ceiling pretty quick. A saturated group without pressure/flow profiling will do much better than an E61 with that option.


Postby Normie » Nov 12, 2018, 12:03 pm

Just to kind of hopefully add on to this discussion, does pressure profiling make that big of a difference in the cup?


Postby bradenl123 » Nov 12, 2018, 12:30 pm

Short answer, YES. Long answer is somewhere in this forum if you do some searching. Someone will kindly post a link. I don't know how to do that yet.