Londinium R vs. Lelit Bianca - Page 2

Recommendations for espresso equipment buyers and upgraders.
runningonespresso47

#11: Post by runningonespresso47 »

Hi, everyone. Thank you all so much for your input. I really appreciate it. I didn't realize the price difference was that staggering in different countries. The Lelit is $2795-$3095 (depending on length of warranty chosen), and the Londinium is a little over $2900 at the current exchange rate.

How I've been thinking of these machines is they are two different paths to the delicious espresso: the LR crowning simplicity and the Bianca taking flexibility. Both enticing, and I've gone back and forth on them. I guess this is the problem with being completely new to this arena: you don't have any basis of experience to know what you'd prefer.

Once you've dialed in and found the preferred PI, the LR is a walk up and pull. The simplicity of the LR is also found in maintenance and design. No backflushing (which it sounds like chemical backlashes do a little wear on espresso machines each time?) and essentially 1/2 the parts to break compared to a DB. The simplicity is attractive to me. The only con I see of the machine is it is larger in footprint compared to the Bianca and maybe a little less powerful of steam.

On the other hand, the Bianca you can change PI, ramp up speed, infusion pressure, and decline in flow manually. While simplicity is attractive to me, as is tinkering and experimenting. It feels like you can pull out some more nuances than a single pressure profile can. All of this, in a smaller footprint and with more features (cup warming tray, eco mode, etc.). The build quality, while more complex, seems to hold its own. I spoke to Jim at 1st line, and he told me he can count on both his hands the number of issues the Bianca had that required servicing. Plus, DaveC seems to find the internal quality pretty solid.

I guess what concerns me most about the Bianca is understanding how the flow profiling works. I can't find many resources to explain how changes in profiles create different tastes (I wish I could get my hands on that Bella Barista users guide). Similarly, I understand dialing in a grind on a pump/lever espresso machine, but I'm confused where grind plays a role in a flow profiling machine. I know you can grind finer, but do you then to make small adjustments by taste do you just adjust the flow profile or alter grind? The basic adjustments by taste seem to be lost in all of the profiling variables.

Can anyone answer those questions for me or share some resources that may help figure that out?

wai2cool4u

#12: Post by wai2cool4u »

The current iteration of the LR is also the cheapest it's ever been based on exchange rates with Brexit pending. If you wait a little longer, I would guess it could get even cheaper.

Also there is currently a used LR for sale in Philly if you look at the Londinium forums.

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Almico
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#13: Post by Almico »

The question comes down to: do you want fool-proof espresso, or do you want to fool around with your espresso?

For me, less moving parts is better. I want to walk up to my machine and pull a great shot...once. I have no desire to experiment with my coffee. Too many parameters and controls beats a path straight to frustration for me. YMMV.

And FWIW, you can play with pressure profiling on a lever. Holding the lever back or pushing it forward will change the profile.
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spressomon

#14: Post by spressomon »

Once an LI owner: Here is what I didn't care for...and this is relative to your palate sensitivity...the group, is a passive heat radiator. Successive back-to-back shots, without approximately 10-minutes +/- in between to allow the heat soaked group to shed heat, will result in hotter and hotter brew temps. And, if you are so inclined to want to change your brew temp in a more precise manner, a lever isn't the best tool in the tool box IMHO. Yes, one can use a cold wet rag placed over the group to bring the temp down and/or a fan to help cool it down faster, etc. Also, I found, in our 4-season climate with ambient room temps varying by 10-degrees or more, a seasonal adjustment to the pstat was necessary too to adjust the effective brew temp.

Although I've never owned an e61 group head machine I suspect, since once again ambient air is used to temper the effective brew water temp by shedding/radiating heat, it would be subject to similar issues. All the levers I've owned/own have a similar limitation.

Yes, with a lever you don't have to backflush to clean the brew path. OTOH, you will need to disassemble the lever to clean & lube the piston seals at least annually if not more often depending upon frequency of use. This may bother some more than others, but always wondered what even tiny amounts of silicone/? based lubes do to us internally. Ever try to wipe DOW111 from your fingers/hands after applying it to piston seals? Maybe innocuous; don't know.

Just my $.02 and maybe all its worth :wink:
No Espresso = Depresso
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Almico
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#15: Post by Almico »

spressomon wrote:Once an LI owner: Here is what I didn't care for...and this is relative to your palate sensitivity...the group, is a passive heat radiator. Successive back-to-back shots, without approximately 10-minutes +/- in between to allow the heat soaked group to shed heat, will result in hotter and hotter brew temps. And, if you are so inclined to want to change your brew temp in a more precise manner, a lever isn't the best tool in the tool box IMHO. Yes, one can use a cold wet rag placed over the group to bring the temp down and/or a fan to help cool it down faster, etc. Also, I found, in our 4-season climate with ambient room temps varying by 10-degrees or more, a seasonal adjustment to the pstat was necessary too to adjust the effective brew temp.
I live in NJ. I have a thermometer on my group. Regardless of season, it reads 187* when I walk up to it. I rarely pull more than 2 shots in succession, but I do not notice the temperature changing much. I'll try tonight and see if I can get it to rise. My HX lever at the bar works opposite. Temp drops after successive shots. Hence the 3 groups.
spressomon wrote:Yes, with a lever you don't have to backflush to clean the brew path. OTOH, you will need to disassemble the lever to clean & lube the piston seals at least annually if not more often depending upon frequency of use. This may bother some more than others, but always wondered what even tiny amounts of silicone/? based lubes do to us internally. Ever try to wipe Dow 111 from your fingers/hands after applying it to piston seals? Maybe innocuous; don't know.
Temp surfing on an E61 works, but it got tiresome real fast, especially with a non-plumbed machine. I was filling the tank every other day. And you still need to lubricate the operating cam in an E61 machine. It is in the brew path. And that job is harder than changing pistons seals. https://clivecoffee.zendesk.com/hc/en-u ... ubrication

Horses for courses...

yoshi005
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#16: Post by yoshi005 »

sweaner wrote:They are both great machines.
Which do you look at and say "I WANT that!"? That will be the one.
+1 If you really want a lever, you will probably know it when you spot one.
LMWDP #453

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spressomon

#17: Post by spressomon »

Almico wrote:I live in NJ. I have a thermometer on my group. Regardless of season, it reads 187* when I walk up to it. I rarely pull more than 2 shots in succession, but I do not notice the temperature changing much. I'll try tonight and see if I can get it to rise. My HX lever at the bar works opposite. Temp drops after successive shots. Hence the 3 groups.



Temp surfing on an E61 works, but it got tiresome real fast, especially with a non-plumbed machine. I was filling the tank every other day. And you still need to lubricate the operating cam in an E61 machine. It is in the brew path. And that job is harder than changing pistons seals. https://clivecoffee.zendesk.com/hc/en-u ... ubrication

Horses for courses...
I need to edit my post to reflect 'hot water fed' groups per my experience; not cold water fed groups (which have the opposite effect as you well know, on group temp) for which I have no experience.

If I had the counter space I think I might like a cold water fed 2 group lever.
No Espresso = Depresso

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Almico
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#18: Post by Almico »

spressomon wrote:If I had the counter space I think I might like a cold water fed 2 group lever.
2gr VA Athena Leva. 26W x 22D footprint. Not too big?!

The beauty of this machine is the HX. It doesn't draw boiler water for brewing, yet the group is hard mounted to the boiler for temp reg. It is insanely stable. You can set the mains water pressure to whatever you need for preinfusion. I set my grind to get the best brew flow, then match the water pressure to get 5s PI. I'm only using one espresso. If I were switching up, I would have the pressure regulator above the counter so I can adjust on the fly. One day I will go to VA and have them build me a custom machine with the pressure regulator right on the front panel.

Image

runningonespresso47

#19: Post by runningonespresso47 »

spressomon wrote:I need to edit my post to reflect 'hot water fed' groups per my experience; not cold water fed groups (which have the opposite effect as you well know, on group temp) for which I have no experience.

If I had the counter space I think I might like a cold water fed 2 group lever.
Can someone explain the difference between a hot and cold water fed group and what the LR is? I know the LI initially had some temp stability problems, but from what I've gathered those have been fixed and back to back shots on the LR is very doable. The page Frans has on optimal temp stability shows 12 back to back shots in 19 minutes and relatively small jumps in group temp.

Londinium I: Recommended protocol for best brew temperature stability

Point being, I think in a home environment the LR is more than capable for what I want it to do.
Almico wrote:The question comes down to: do you want fool-proof espresso, or do you want to fool around with your espresso?

For me, less moving parts is better. I want to walk up to my machine and pull a great shot...once. I have no desire to experiment with my coffee. Too many parameters and controls beats a path straight to frustration for me. YMMV.

And FWIW, you can play with pressure profiling on a lever. Holding the lever back or pushing it forward will change the profile.
This was very helpful question to ask myself. I'll have to think about it a bit more, but that's a very good way to think about this decision. Thank you.

LObin

#20: Post by LObin »

spressomon wrote:Once an LI owner: Here is what I didn't care for...and this is relative to your palate sensitivity...the group, is a passive heat radiator. Successive back-to-back shots, without approximately 10-minutes +/- in between to allow the heat soaked group to shed heat, will result in hotter and hotter brew temps. And, if you are so inclined to want to change your brew temp in a more precise manner, a lever isn't the best tool in the tool box IMHO. Yes, one can use a cold wet rag placed over the group to bring the temp down and/or a fan to help cool it down faster, etc. Also, I found, in our 4-season climate with ambient room temps varying by 10-degrees or more, a seasonal adjustment to the pstat was necessary too to adjust the effective brew temp.
Gibberish. Lots of people have posted scace temperature of the Londinium 1. Unless you have a stalled thermosiphon, the L1 group is very stable, even when pulling multiple shots in a row. Just check the 13 shots in 18 minutes test by HB member fransg...
Londinium I: 13 shots fast as I can
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