Londinium vs Decent? - Page 2

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

#11: Post by Primacog »

drtzali wrote:Thanks for the replies. To add to the conversation, what about adding a slayer to the mix? How would that compare and which would you choose?
A Slayer is a world class machine but costs a lot more than a nurri, decent or Londinium. Its also a markedly different machine though in some ways it gives a more lever like presentation of the coffee. These are very different machines and there are more quality options yet unmentioned. However there is no way to make any kind of decision I feel until you figure out what you are really looking for in terms of function.

For example if you are wanting a lever experience, nothing else than a lever will do, and then you can narrow down your choices . If you want a traditional type lever and only drink dark roasts then an izzo alex with pid is unsurpassed. However if you tend to shift between light and medium and dark roasts then a machine that can easily and quickly change temperature of the brew boiler and the grouphead is vital - the nurri would be the choice here compared to a traditional lever.

If you are wanting a pump machine then you can ask what type of pump machine do u want - a temperature stable flow profiler that specialises in preinfusion excellence like the slayer, or more budget conscious e61 plow profiler lile the lelit bianca, or one that gives you commercial level stability and power like the LM Linea. But the choice is legion among pump machines.

Another consideration is looks. This is very subjective. To me, the best looking pump machine for the home market is the kees van der Westen Speedster - it is as good ot better than any other pump machine and is a fully commercial level machine in performance and build quality but looks incredible, so if money is no object...but for me as a lever enthusiast, my own subjective opinion of the best looking machine is the nurri leva that I have as my own machine. The nurri has just been included in the ADI Italian design competition index for 2022 as recognition for its design excellence.
LMWDP #729

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CoffeeMac

#12: Post by CoffeeMac »

drtzali wrote:Has anyone had to make a decision between these two machines, and what did you ultimately decide to buy? Obviously they're pretty much opposite, and I find myself conflicted whether I prefer the technical ability of the decent vs the beauty, quality, and traditional feel of a gorgeous lever machine. I know there's no right answer to this, just curious what peoples' thought process was like, and what decision people ultimately made in this situation.
I faced the same decision a year or so ago when looking to upgrade from my Vivaldi. I loved the geekiness and promise of ultimate flexibility/control with the Decent, but also the ultimate simplicity and timelessness of a lever.

I ended up getting a Londinium Compressa. One thing that tipped the scale for me initially was that the most popular profile on the Decent was the Londinium. I figured why not get the original? I've not regretted my decision at all.

The Compressa has produced the best espresso I've ever had, and consistently. I've actually never had a sink shot with it. I've had great results from ultra light Nordic roasts to medium roast comfort blends to the occasional dark Neapolitan. While you can't compare temperatures / recipes from traditional pump driven machines, I've found the control provided by PI pressure (via external pressure regulator on the water inlet) and the lever itself (e.g. releasing the lever when first drop appears in cup), in addition to dose/grind/brew ratio, is all I need to dial in any bean I come across.

Some people freak out about not being able to control brewhead temperature to the nearest 0.1 degree, or not being able to replicate the recipe they find on the bag (likely based on results from a LM Strada or the like). To these people I would say, regardless of the machine they get, learn to trust your tastebuds. With the Compressa, it was actually quite liberating to be able to ignore this received wisdom about "best" recipe for a bean, and just vary PI pressure, dose, grind and brew ratio until I matched the tasting notes on the bag. And I usually nail it by the second shot, with even the first shot being drinkable. This is one of great attributes of the Londinium, and perhaps levers in general. With the typical long pre-infusion coupled with the naturally declining pressure/temperature profile inherent in the architecture of the Londinium it is very difficult to pull a bad shot and very common to pull exceptional shots. My main focus now is searching out great / interesting new beans, vs obsessing about "precision" control and why the coffee isn't matching the tasting notes.

Finally, I love the Compressa's silence and ultimate simplicity. No electronics, no displays. No Wi-Fi. No Bluetooth. No buttons. No plastic. No pump. No noise at all while pulling a shot except for the espresso hitting the cup. Pop off the top and sides and you have easy access to the internals for self-repair/maintenance if needed. The biggest surprise, perhaps, was how much I appreciated the silence of the lever in the morning and how much the noise of a pump annoys me now - especially a vibe pump like that found on the Decent.
Eventually you will end up with a lever.

LMWDP #706

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MB

#13: Post by MB »

I've had two Londiniums and one Decent, although only briefly the Decent. I had the L1 at home and got one of the early Decents for work. I imagine the software is much better now, but it was a point of frustration at the time. I agree with CoffeeMac that the simplicity and very high success rate of the spring lever is compelling. I don't have to futz with anything to enjoy great cups. It's satisfying to pull the lever. A big plus for me is no back flushing. I sold the Decent and replaced it with a Londinium R at work. I feel like the these levers are so forgiving and don't really need what pump machines do in terms of control. I have mine set up for light to medium roasts, and if I get the rare bag of darker beans, I can just rinse the portafilter briefly under cold tap water and make sure the shot doesn't pull too long. That's about all the adjustment I ever have to make besides grinder adjustments (which still have some margin to get a good cup).

Now after saying all of that, I don't believe either option is better for everyone. I feel one's personality plays a roll, and I imagine there's some overlap with many that would thoroughly enjoy either option.

I do recommend browsing though the following threads that discuss why people like their levers, including those that also have pump machines.

Reasons we use a Lever machine beyond superb shots

Why have a lever and a pump espresso machine?
LMWDP #472

GDK

#14: Post by GDK »

Great thread! The new Meticulous may end up being the middle ground for many who debate this choice. It is an automated lever but built with simplicity AND flexibility in mind, at the same time. Add to this:
- practically silent
- amazing programmability, if you want that, and shot repeatability
- it can work with any tablet/PC browser, but you do NOT necessarily need an external device to operate or program the machine
- really nice looking, to me anyway

Once it is out, reviews will tell how much of this will materialize but is is an exciting proposition.

MatGreiner
Supporter ♡

#15: Post by MatGreiner »

CoffeeMac wrote:Some people freak out about ... XX ... To these people I would say, regardless of the machine they get, learn to trust your tastebuds. With the Compressa, it was actually quite liberating to be able to ignore this received wisdom about "best" recipe for a bean, and just vary PI pressure, dose, grind and brew ratio until I matched the tasting notes on the bag. And I usually nail it by the second shot, with even the first shot being drinkable.
This is my thinking. There is joy to be found in all the detail and experimentation, but it is not what I enjoy four times a day, and the Decent is just not the type of appliance I want to see on my counter. Machines that make all that control less visible--Slayer and Black Eagle come to mind--would be tempting.
LMWDP #716: Jeez, kids! Don't swing on that!

Quester

#16: Post by Quester »

MB wrote:I agree with CoffeeMac that the simplicity and very high success rate of the spring lever is compelling. I don't have to futz with anything to enjoy great cups.
I get this. I'm not going to part with my two Decents because of other gains--but I totally get this. And it's a close call.

Primacog

#17: Post by Primacog »

CoffeeMac wrote:I faced the same decision a year or so ago when looking to upgrade from my Vivaldi. I loved the geekiness and promise of ultimate flexibility/control with the Decent, but also the ultimate simplicity and timelessness of a lever.

I ended up getting a Londinium Compressa. One thing that tipped the scale for me initially was that the most popular profile on the Decent was the Londinium. I figured why not get the original? I've not regretted my decision at all.

The Compressa has produced the best espresso I've ever had, and consistently. I've actually never had a sink shot with it. I've had great results from ultra light Nordic roasts to medium roast comfort blends to the occasional dark Neapolitan. While you can't compare temperatures / recipes from traditional pump driven machines, I've found the control provided by PI pressure (via external pressure regulator on the water inlet) and the lever itself (e.g. releasing the lever when first drop appears in cup), in addition to dose/grind/brew ratio, is all I need to dial in any bean I come across.

Some people freak out about not being able to control brewhead temperature to the nearest 0.1 degree, or not being able to replicate the recipe they find on the bag (likely based on results from a LM Strada or the like). To these people I would say, regardless of the machine they get, learn to trust your tastebuds. With the Compressa, it was actually quite liberating to be able to ignore this received wisdom about "best" recipe for a bean, and just vary PI pressure, dose, grind and brew ratio until I matched the tasting notes on the bag. And I usually nail it by the second shot, with even the first shot being drinkable. This is one of great attributes of the Londinium, and perhaps levers in general. With the typical long pre-infusion coupled with the naturally declining pressure/temperature profile inherent in the architecture of the Londinium it is very difficult to pull a bad shot and very common to pull exceptional shots. My main focus now is searching out great / interesting new beans, vs obsessing about "precision" control and why the coffee isn't matching the tasting notes.

Finally, I love the Compressa's silence and ultimate simplicity. No electronics, no displays. No Wi-Fi. No Bluetooth. No buttons. No plastic. No pump. No noise at all while pulling a shot except for the espresso hitting the cup. Pop off the top and sides and you have easy access to the internals for self-repair/maintenance if needed. The biggest surprise, perhaps, was how much I appreciated the silence of the lever in the morning and how much the noise of a pump annoys me now - especially a vibe pump like that found on the Decent.
You make valid points for simplicity. In fact the fully manual nature of the nurri make it really simple to use and the ability to set the temperature of every component ndependently of preinfusion pump pressure (that can also be set separately) is something that becomes very appreciated very quickly as there is no guessing whatsoever. As a former owner of an izzo, i wouldn't say that it is any more complicated to use at all compared to a traditional lever in practice ...
LMWDP #729

iyayy

#18: Post by iyayy »

my experience with bdb for few months since i started just adding declining pressure, is that poor shot is almost impossible to make, unless intentional. it mellows the astringent bits, allowing longer shot with less taste defects.

i think spring lever is a perfect mechanism, since it reacts directly to puck resistance, hence obviously getting good espresso is a given.

however just because flow is a significant weight of producing good espresso, even if other variables are less of concern it should not be neglected.

i started coffee with brews and still does. and while i dont claim the need for a 1degree change (this is mostly masked by declining pressure or temp), i still want a 2degree+- minimum control. it can be a difference between a good cup, and a good + sweet cup (=great). a 5 degree would be battery acid or burned, easily noticable. even with lever of any kind, this is still valid, and much more significant with espresso (due to affect temp has on pressure).

while it may seem small, what it gives me is option to brew a beans a bit better and enjoy it instead of just simply bearing with lesser coffee until it finishes and switching beans later. sometimes u do get poor batch of roasts on good beans. ultimately they are still good beans (and costs), i dont want to ditch them.

also people still do flushes before brewing for lighr roasts or cooling basket for dark roasts, and thats proof enough of its significace. so why not make it pid controllable at each critical point for stability and make life even more easier? why waste the last 5% when it is something already proven and done even on a lot of recent machine? oversight, pride or pure negligence?

Primacog

#19: Post by Primacog replying to iyayy »

That's where a pid controlled hybrid-style spring lever like the Nurri will give that desired precise independent temperature control for each component - for the cartridge heated group head, and the brew and steam boilers. So there is no need to do flushes or cooling the baskets in order to alter the temperature of the portafilter. On top of that you can control the preinfusion pressure level at will and operate the pump at any time or vent the grouphead at any time using the paddles.
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drtzali (original poster)

#20: Post by drtzali (original poster) »

Well, I went ahead and ordered the decent. I got the pro 1.42, and am having them add the 1.44 features (and wood handles) before shipping. I figure I can't really go wrong with the decent, and if I ever decide to upgrade to a lever or something else can always sell it for pretty close to what I paid