Londinium R vs. Lelit Bianca

Recommendations for espresso equipment buyers and upgraders.
runningonespresso47

Postby runningonespresso47 » Aug 12, 2019, 6:15 pm

I've been researching to purchase my first espresso machine, and I've narrowed down to the Lelit Bianca and the Londinium R. Both seem to high performing, flexible machines (through either the paddle or digital pre-infusion module) at around the same price. I've ruled out the DE1+ just because I want to stick to a proven E61/spring lever design for now.

I will make primarily shots for myself but would like to be able to entertain for a few (~5-7 people) with milk based drinks when need be (both machines seem more than able on steam). I also use a Niche Zero for drip right now that I think will work well for either machine.

I really like the simplicity of the LR, both in work flow and maintenance. However, the Bianca seems to be just as capable and more flexible at the cost a greater learning curve and more attention. As a newbie, I'm wondering if going down that pressure profiling rabbit hole is worth the extra effort (given that many pressure profiles end up emulating spring levers) or is just going to lead to more frustration and inconsistencies. People say the learning curve is quick, but I feel like that applies to people who have at least some experience pulling shots.

I guess I'm curious if you were a novice in the market what you would go for now. Any wisdom/recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!

Bluenoser
Supporter ♡

Postby Bluenoser » Aug 12, 2019, 8:12 pm

I also am considering moving from an HX pump design (profitec pro 500) to a lever.. and I see the Londinium as having a good rep.

It looks like all levers use an HX design. I'm a little turned off on HX designs as they are hard to control the brew water temp.

Are you just guessing at the brew water temp on a Londinium, or is there some magic in their design?

runningonespresso47

Postby runningonespresso47 » replying to Bluenoser » Aug 12, 2019, 9:44 pm

Based on what I've gathered, changing the LR pre-infusion pressure is the main way one changes the brew temp for the different roasts. Higher PI's (up to 6 bar) are used for lighter roasts and lower PI's for darker roasts. Currently this is done on the module inside the machine, but Reiss's most recent post on the Londinium site states that there is an app that's just about to be published to change the PI from your mobile device. I know you can change the boiler pressure too and that should change the temp (I'm assuming?), but I'm not sure how often people change that.

The LR is an HX (though most other levers are dippers). Londinium states the thermosyphon is tuned so that there is no cooling flush needed. A flush after the shot is used to clear the screen, but the LR is designed to be a walk up and pull system. I know there are posts on HB discussing the temperature stability of the LR.

LObin

Postby LObin » replying to runningonespresso47 » Aug 12, 2019, 11:46 pm

You're spot on. Londinium's are walk up and pull. I've owned a few levers and it's quite an advantage knowing that the group will basically be iddling at the same temperature after my first shot in the morning till it shuts off at 10pm at night. No fiddling. No guessing.

E61/HX and Lever/HX are 2 different beasts.

Even though the Bianca is quite desirable, my vote would go for the LR. Commercial lever groups are easy to clean, maintain and operate. They're also king of consistency. The PI module is a nice plus to accommodate for the more modern super light roasts but the machine itself is bilt to last. If the module was ever to fail, it'd be easy to put the mater pstat back and operate it per the original LR design. Plus Reiss is always around when you need help. It recoups quite fast after a pull so making multiple drinks in a row isn't an issue. It can be a bit more challenging with a double boiler design where fresh water fills the smallish brew boiler therefore altering the brew temperature. I wonder what are Bianca owners experience on this matter...?

And yes. I'm somewhat biased. My Londinium 1 is paired with a Niche Zero and I feel privileged to be able to drink amazing coffee, time after time.

RPH

Postby RPH » Aug 13, 2019, 12:55 am

I've a Londinium R and would highly recommend it to anyone. With the HX thermosyphon which means the boiler is not directly bolted to the group, plus the large group mass results in the system being extremely temperature stable! Super easy to use and pull excellent shots. Looks great too.

Mrboots2u

Postby Mrboots2u » Aug 13, 2019, 1:55 am

Two different machines, do two different things.
I suggest reading the lelit review on here to understand that the Bianca is primarily adjusting flow manually to achieve its end results. The Londinium is altering pressure not flow.
Both will make great coffee, in the UK the lelit is considerably cheaper, this may not be the case in the USA.
There is a simplistic joy to using a lever that gets owners this more than anything might sway you.

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sweaner
Supporter ♡

Postby sweaner » Aug 13, 2019, 11:17 am

They are both great machines.

Which do you look at and say "I WANT that!"? That will be the one.
Scott
LMWDP #248

www.coffeefreek.com

guydebord

Postby guydebord » Aug 14, 2019, 1:00 am

I tried both and own the Bianca. The Bianca has a considerably smaller footprint, gives you more operation and output flexibility and as a double boiler it gives you temperature stability, plus E61 group heads are as easy to clean as the levers.
In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni

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Denis

Postby Denis » Aug 14, 2019, 2:17 am

I would pick a lever any time of the day, if only the heating time would not be that big. I can play with a timer plug in the morning, but what I do when I come back in the afternoon and need to drink a coffee, waiting 40-60mins for it to heat? Same goes for many machines, not only levers.

The londinium vs Bianca I don't see it equal, as they have totally different BO costs, one is $2800 the other ones is almost $4000. The difference in price is almost a good grinder.

I would consider DE1 vs Londinium if you want, with the plus on the DE1 on heating in 7-10 mins, more compact, posibility to do more things than any other machine (if you are the type, but experiments ask for more coffee to be dumped, so more money down the drain) a good resell value. In my eyes a boxy espresso machine with the old e61 group head design doesn't look good in 2019. It's not even classy, as a lever is.

The + on the Lever machines are the fact that they help you get better results faster. You will not have many problems getting a good shot on a spring lever.

shotwell

Postby shotwell » Aug 14, 2019, 8:02 am

In the US (where the OP is) the Bianca is $2800 at 1st line and the Londinium R is in exactly the same price range. The DE1+ is slightly less expensive on paper but evens out to match after shipping.