Londinium / Strietman

Recommendations for espresso equipment buyers and upgraders.
one1speed
Posts: 78
Joined: October 6th, 2015

Postby one1speed » Jul 28, 2016, 2:19 pm

Good afternoon, hoping some of the lever guys visit this forum. Getting close to pulling the trigger on a lever machine and would to get something I'll be satisfied with for a while. I had been thinking of a PID'd machine for control, but feel the lever would be much more up my alley. My grinder is pretty decent, but I am considering something like an HG One down the road. I do have an appreciation for control obtained through manual process.

I drink almost exclusively espresso only with an Americano here and there, preferring roasts that are to the lighter side. I really only make 2-3 shots most days, it's a rare occasion to make more in any sort of succession. We do some milk steaming, though it's infrequent enough (once or twice a month), that it's not really a requirement to buy a big machine because it has that function. There are options to help with frothed milk that are said to be pretty good, and I do enjoy the occasional macchiato or cappuccino. My goal in this quest is to have the ability to pull a good shot more regularly, with a slightly softer profile / layered flavors.

I've generally boiled my choices down to the Londinium L1 and the Strietman CT1. Both appear to make sizable shots, be very temperature stable, start-up time is about the same between them, and neither require cooling or warming flushes. I do realize one is full manual and the other is a spring lever. I'm looking for opinions, hopefully from people who've used both machines as to the user experience and how they compare in the cup (taste, body, etc.).

The Strietman seems to make sense for my fairly low usage and the lack of milk drinks. The manual lever will make consistency a little more challenging, but I would assume that if grind is consistent, one would get a feel for the pull and this wouldn't be an issue after a while. I also like that one can add fresh water for each days use, and can use a kettle to add water to temp when making a higher shot volume. Through email conversations, Strietman sounds like he would like to develop a steamer to accompany his espresso machines when he has time to dedicate.

The Londinium strikes me as being closer to a no-compromise machine with the commercial group, consistent shots, ability to steam, etc. But it's a lot of machine and I wonder if it isn't overkill for a couple of shots a day. Is it worth the additional $$ in the cup, when all is said and done?

I've done a lot of searching and reading and while I'm seeing some people who've used both, I've not found any sort of comparison, likely because they are so different. I do realize the making of the espresso is much different between the two. If it matters, I do tend to switch a bit between caf. and decaf, and try different roasters when I can.

Appreciate any thoughts, thinking it makes the most sense to make a purchase soon, as I'm seeing the Euro / British Pound beginning to rebound.

Cheers.

Bak Ta Lo
Posts: 931
Joined: February 3rd, 2012

Postby Bak Ta Lo » Jul 28, 2016, 2:43 pm

Hello one1speed! Exciting times now for the lever lover, so many great options out there. CT1, L1, Strega, Cremina. I am sure you will get lots of good advice here, and here is my 2 cents on it.

I have the Strietman ES1, Strega, Cremina, and Caravel. They all have such different styles and I like each for different reasons. They are each great for particular situations and even for different use and space reasons. The ES1 is great as it is so small, and if you will never need steam and do not drink milk, and have a need for a small footprint on the counter the CT1 ticks a lot of the boxes. They are also a work of art, always a conversation starter.

I know you did not mention the Cremina, but I feel I have to throw it out there because they are such great little machines. The heat up fast, pull amazing soft manual lever shots, and shutdown and clean up fast. I also love its small space requirement on the counter top. Good steaming too from such a small machine.

Never used the L1, but I have used the Strega for several years and it is excellent as you can flip it on and leave it on all day, pulling shot after shot after shot and steaming milk. I think the L1 has all those same advantages going for it too. It does need more space than the others, so measure your coffee bar and check how it will all fit once you get it, allow space for the grinder, knock box, a place to weigh beans, and tamp.

Good luck in your decision, and don't stress the choice too much, if you are like me you may end up owning all of them in the long run anyway! :lol:
LMWDP #371

CwD
Posts: 490
Joined: December 15th, 2015

Postby CwD » Jul 28, 2016, 3:25 pm

I can't compare directly, but consistency hasn't been a problem at all with the Strietman for me. Temperature is of course very easy to get dead on, and getting consistent shots is as simple as watching the flow and getting a feel for the force.

I can use the machine with my thermometer sticking in through the lid, and if you do want to PID it for a little more temperature accuracy I'm sure that would be easy as well with a no modification necessary PID like the sous vide ones from Auber.

one1speed
Posts: 78
Joined: October 6th, 2015

Postby one1speed » Jul 28, 2016, 3:31 pm

Thank you for your thoughts, really appreciate it. I have looked pretty intensely at the Cremina as well, seems to be the go-to for so many people. I'd have to buy used, which I'm not opposed to. But that gets me into replacing seals, taking a chance with shipping, etc. I do keep my eye on them on Ebay and will continue to do so. The Cremina has the benefit of steaming built-in, which is a nice option. And the older machines have a smaller boiler for better water turn-over.

I'm sure the Cremina could be a fine choice and in the end, could be it. However, I have just found myself really drawn to those mentioned above.

I've also considered the Strega, but unless I can plumb in, I'm not quite as interested due to the pump pre infusion. Plumbing in is a future possibility, but noting the L1 is currently about the same price, I'd prefer that model.

Thank you again.

one1speed
Posts: 78
Joined: October 6th, 2015

Postby one1speed » Jul 28, 2016, 3:46 pm

CwD wrote:I can't compare directly, but consistency hasn't been a problem at all with the Strietman for me. Temperature is of course very easy to get dead on, and getting consistent shots is as simple as watching the flow and getting a feel for the force.

I can use the machine with my thermometer sticking in through the lid, and if you do want to PID it for a little more temperature accuracy I'm sure that would be easy as well with a no modification necessary PID like the sous vide ones from Auber.


Thanks for this, great info and ideas. Not overly concerned with a PID on the Strietman, as it seems pretty good already. A simple thermometer seems a smart way to go. Appreciate the thoughts.

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peacecup
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Joined: August 25th, 2005

Postby peacecup » Jul 28, 2016, 3:57 pm

I've used neither, but one main difference is the exact temperature control of the open boiler. If you are changing coffees and temperatures often, the exact control would seem to be an important feature.

I seldom change coffees, so I mainly stick with my pressurized machine and don't use my open boiler Caravel much.
LMWDP #049
Hand-ground, hand-pulled: "hands down.."

IUespresso
Posts: 50
Joined: November 19th, 2014

Postby IUespresso » Jul 28, 2016, 4:06 pm

I have had a L-1 for about a year and half, and it is a solid machine.

Maintenance is pretty simple and that is coming from someone who is not handy (I have even changed the seals...). I am also mostly just an espresso drinker, but we occasionally have friends over that would like a latte, so it is nice to be able to accommodate them.

For what it is worth, I have looked at the Strietman as well because of the same reasons you have and it seems like it is a solid machine. I think it comes down to whether you want a machine with a smaller footprint and are okay with not being able to turn 5-6 drinks in a short period of time (although Erik has come up with a way to do that by boiling some water while you are pulling shots to be able to keep going) or a bulky commercial spring lever (I think it looks good on my counter) that can basically run a small shop if it is plumbed in.

Sounds like you can't go wrong either way!

one1speed
Posts: 78
Joined: October 6th, 2015

Postby one1speed » Jul 28, 2016, 4:47 pm

peacecup wrote:I've used neither, but one main difference is the exact temperature control of the open boiler. If you are changing coffees and temperatures often, the exact control would seem to be an important feature.

I seldom change coffees, so I mainly stick with my pressurized machine and don't use my open boiler Caravel much.


Right, this is interesting. I can't change temps with my current machine, so haven't been able to experiment with this as an option. I've read about it and understand temp changes make a difference, depending on roast level and what you want out of it.

Good thought, thank you.

one1speed
Posts: 78
Joined: October 6th, 2015

Postby one1speed » Jul 28, 2016, 5:00 pm

IUespresso wrote:I have had a L-1 for about a year and half, and it is a solid machine.

Maintenance is pretty simple and that is coming from someone who is not handy (I have even changed the seals...). I am also mostly just an espresso drinker, but we occasionally have friends over that would like a latte, so it is nice to be able to accommodate them.

For what it is worth, I have looked at the Strietman as well because of the same reasons you have and it seems like it is a solid machine. I think it comes down to whether you want a machine with a smaller footprint and are okay with not being able to turn 5-6 drinks in a short period of time (although Erik has come up with a way to do that by boiling some water while you are pulling shots to be able to keep going) or a bulky commercial spring lever (I think it looks good on my counter) that can basically run a small shop if it is plumbed in.

Sounds like you can't go wrong either way!


Our friends that we make for are often are most interested in espresso, which I wouldn't have guessed (maybe just curious?), but we do get into milk drinks on occasion. Really only once have I ever made 6 shots in a row, half were capps, which the Bezzera can crank out easily, and I can certainly see how the L-1 would excel in that situation as well. I'm not really worried about running a coffee bar. We have plenty of good coffee making options and we're usually well-stocked with good beer / wine, which most of our friends would prefer by the time we get around to socializing. I will fully admit a slight hesitation to go away from a machine that steams well, but in daily use, I really don't think it would be an issue, as long as the option to heat and froth milk is readily available.

My S.O. picked up an Aeropress and loves it, uses it daily. I just help her source good beans. We've found a light roasted local decaf which is amazing through the Aeropress, but is awful as espresso. Will actually be curious to see what a lever might be able to do with those bean, and other single origins I've tried.

Thanks for taking the time!

netgeo
Posts: 5
Joined: March 1st, 2016

Postby netgeo » Jul 28, 2016, 5:15 pm

one1speed wrote:
I've also considered the Strega, [...] but noting the L1 is currently about the same price, I'd prefer that model.

Thank you again.


Hi there, nice thread as I also have my eyes on the Strietman...

Not sure though how you got your prices, Strega in Europe is around 1,500€.

L1 is around 2,500€ with shipping and the Strietman around 2,000€.

In any case good luck on your quest :)

 
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