Lelit MaraX vs good single boiler espresso machine

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.
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thedudeabides_1

#1: Post by thedudeabides_1 »

Does anyone have an opinion/insight between getting the Lelit Mara X vs good single boiler (SBDU). My wife and I only only make a 2 or 3 milk drinks/week, so I want something that's capable, but my priority is in excellent espresso extractions. Until recently, I'd been thinking a Quickmill Alexia, or ECM Classika. However, the Mara X is intriguing because they seem to have engineered most of the disadvantages out of a heat exchanger. I'm concerned, though, about longevity or ease of repair with the Lelit Mara X since it's so new, and likely with more proprietary parts. Thoughts?

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another_jim
Team HB

#2: Post by another_jim »

It's a good question.

Looking at it from a mixed point of view, steaming and espresso; it's up to you to make the trade offs. Personally, making one cappa each morning, I vastly prefer having the steam on tap, since my morning competence and patience are both limited.

The answer from the pure espresso point of view is easier. The single boiler E61s with PID will be a little more accurate and settable on temperature. However, the X also has a changed preinfusion that makes it significantly better for light roasts than any conventional E61. To get that for the single boiler models, you would need to also order one of the flow control paddle kits (Lelit Bianca, Profitech, or the Chris Coffee version (Quickmill?)) so you could slow down the ramp up and use finer grinds.
Jim Schulman

bbjwvr6

#3: Post by bbjwvr6 »

another_jim wrote:It's a good question.
To get that for the single boiler models, you would need to also order one of the flow control paddle kits (Lelit Bianca, Profitech, or the Chris Coffee version (Quickmill?)) so you could slow down the ramp up and use finer grinds.
If I understood your review correctly, the Mara X gets the slow preinfusion by replacing one or more parts in the group? Is there any reason one couldn't swap these parts into any E61?

Nunas
Supporter ♡

#4: Post by Nunas »

If you install a flow control kit and retain the existing spring the flow control lever will initially act as a variable preinfusion control. Once the preinfusion chamber fills then it becomes the same as a machine that has the stiffer spring installed with the flow control, which defeats the e61 inbuilt preinfusion altogether.

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another_jim
Team HB

#5: Post by another_jim »

bbjwvr6 wrote:If I understood your review correctly, the Mara X gets the slow preinfusion by replacing one or more parts in the group? Is there any reason one couldn't swap these parts into any E61?
Availability and complexity. My impression was that this is a result of a lot of fine tuning, the right pump, pipe diameters and resistance, jets, springs, etc.

Think of it this way: A single needle valve lets you control the flow moment by moment. If you want to automate the ramp up, you either need electronics or more traditionally, a hydraulic circuit with restrictors and cavities fine tuned for that ramp. The E61 is tuned for coffees and grinders as used in 1961. Lelit retuned the X's E61 for contemporary coffees and grinders. They released the paddle kit since every espresso machine company can put that kit together in five minutes. They'd be fools to release an X conversion kit until the competition figures out how the tuning works.

Then there's a purely anecdotal thing ... When I imitate the X's ramp up on the Bianca, the shot isn't as good as on the X. I need to use a different approach (longer dwell at low pressure, then faster ramp up) with the double boiler and the paddle to hit the mark. There is an interaction between the HX/DB differences and these flow differences that I don't understand.
Jim Schulman

Eiern

#6: Post by Eiern »

I was in the same boat, I drink the majority of the espresso in the house, the wife only a latte every now and then. So I went for a Classika PID. I really didn't like making milk drinks with it and really soon after sold it and bought a second hand Technika Profi. I installed the group thermometer and much more enjoyed to use the HX, lattes were a breeze, no wait time, really nice with guests over.

Also, if I was to fail the first shot a little I'd make the latte out of that, so I would pull two shots pretty rapidly, steam milk and make the latte of the least successful one. That was not as easy with the Classika. Remember you have to refill the boiler after steaming and it takes time before the group and boiler is really stable again.

In the end I ended up getting a Bianca at a 30% off sale and will run it with only the brew boiler on unless milk drinks, will get it in about two weeks.

So I think I'd go with the MaraX given it's good reviews, priority of brew temp, extra slow preinfusion spring and it seems like it features a fast heat up time if that's important to you.

stephenlthorne

#7: Post by stephenlthorne »

New here to the group. I've been reading about SB vs Hx for awhile now. It's funny, I think I've spent more time reading and thinking about this decision than with my last car. I use a Nespresso and Moka pot at home but want to make the jump to a true espresso machine. At the beginning I was first impressed with ECM Classica and then after starting to understand Hx I moved to the ECM Mechanika slim. Perfect size for my kitchen. But now discovering the Mara X and reading everything I can find, I've settled on this system. I've tried to talk myself out of it but the innovation is remarkable, size good and I like the look also (similar to the ECM Mech sans two gages vs the one double w Mara X. On First Line wait list hoping for mid Summer arrival.

Jeff

#8: Post by Jeff »

Respected manufacturer and vendor, enjoy it for years to come.

Jenbo47749

#9: Post by Jenbo47749 »

Agree with prior post. Was about to purchase ECM Mechanica Slim, but got upsold to Lelit Bianca and more recently purchased the pre X Mara.