Lelit vs Decent buying advice wanted

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.
Doolittlej
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#1: Post by Doolittlej »

I am moving and it isn't easy to plumb in my current La Spaziale Vivaldi II. I have narrowed my choices to Lelit Bianca and Decent Espresso. I have a Baratza Forte that is aligned so I was not planning on getting a new grinder. 90+% of the time I am medium roast, but I have played around with light roasts for espresso occasionally (my current set up made them hit or miss in quality in the cup). I only drink espresso, but my wife does 2 lattes per day. I know that Decent gives me unlimited ability to play with the variables of espresso, but wonder how hard it will be for my wife to use (she loves the easy workflow and simplicity we have where I dial it in and she uses the grind by weight feature, does her puck prep and uses the volumetric water on our current machine). I also wondered how much of a pain filling the water is on the Decent (we have been plumbed in for the past 15 years). The Bianca looks like the water is easy to access/fill. I also think it would be pretty easy to teach her how to pull a shot on the Lelit.

mikelipino

#2: Post by mikelipino »

Welcome Jeff!

I can't speak to the Bianca, but can give some details on the Decent. The DE1 can work both ways, as a tool to micro adjust things like flow, pressure, and temp, but it can also do well as a press-button automated espresso machine. If you use the skin DSx, three favorites can be stored for profile, dose, and stop-on-weight. Additionally if you store an adaptive profile, it has some ability to adjust for differences in grind setting and dose to get a nice shot.

Here's a typical press-button workflow (assumes a bluetooth scale):
1. Turn on machine. It takes maybe 4 minutes to warm up, so warm up can be done as everything else is prepared
2. Select the DSx save you've reserved for milk drinks. If that's the last drink you pulled, it will already be selected
3. Grind out a dose, either in a dosing cup or direct to portafilter. Optional: DSx has a nice feature where you can tare out the container and adjust the profile and stop-on-weight to the dose, if you think your grinder has a lot of variability
4. Puck prep. The machine should be warm or nearly warm
5. Pull the shot by pressing the button on the grouphead controller (if nothing has been changed since last shot, you can really start here and not touch the tablet). The DE1 will handle any preinfusion and pressure/flow profiling and then stop automatically when the desired weight in cup is reached. This is a good time to fill the milk jug and tidy up as the DE1 manages the shot
6. Once the shot is pulled, weigh the milk jug (this is also optional, but will also tare out the container, and adjust the steam time accordingly)
7. Steam is available immediately to texture milk
8. The above can be done back-to-back pretty much indefinitely as there's no boiler to fill. The limit will be the water tank capacity, but this can be mitigated by a catering or plumbing kit

The nice part is that the DSx skin doesn't prevent you from digging in and adjusting the parameters, but it's a handy way to speed up and simplify things like a daily latte that you don't want to fuss over.

Filling the water tank is pretty painless, just remove the drip tray and pull the water tank forward to fill. It's around 1.8L, which can easily get through 2 or more days with the drink volume you mention. The DE1 is relatively efficient in water usage, as it doesn't really have an OPV (I don't think), and any pump water overage is recycled to the water tank rather than the drip tray.

Lifestyle Lab's overview of the DSx skin

TallDan

#3: Post by TallDan »

(I got distracted before submitting, and Mike beat me to it, but I'll go ahead and post this anyway.)

A lot of this is going to depend on what you're looking for and what your wife is comfortable with. I have a decent, and while i am the only user of it in my house, once I have the grind dialed in for the profile i'm using, it's very, very easy to make a shot of espresso. Once puck prep is done and the portafilter is in the machine, it's literally one tap on the touch screen (or group head controller) to make a shot. It automatically stops at the defined weight. I often walk away from the machine while the shot is actually brewing.

In my particular situation, the decent reservoir is actually easier to fill than most machines would be. I have cabinets above my machine, so even a bianca with the reservoir on the side would require me to slide the machine out to fill. I do find that filling the decent reservoir is a little fiddly (moving my skale, stand, and drip tray out of the way first) but easier than what I used to have to do with my old silvia (completely slide it out from under the cabinets, fill, then carefully slide a heavy machine with a full reservoir back).

Doolittlej (original poster)
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#4: Post by Doolittlej (original poster) »

I was wanting the Decent (otherwise it felt like a lateral move instead of an upgrade), and your answers helped reassure me that it won't be too intimidating to my wife.
Thanks!

dfuller

#5: Post by dfuller »

The Bianca can be plumbed relatively easily, so that's still in the cards for you if you want to do that. That said, it doesn't have any sort of preset profiles, so that isn't particularly conducive if you want easy automation.

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Spitz.me

#6: Post by Spitz.me »

My experience with the Decent is that it has simplified both my life and my wife's life. I settled on a profile that always works for my daily coffees. This means that we prep the puck, lock the portafilter and measure the output. Easy and consistently delicious. Does this sound like maybe I don't need the Decent? Maybe, but do you need a Bianca, GS3 or a Linea Mini? Boy, will it be tough to get rid of it just because it's capable of so much more since it feels like I found the cheat mode code to espresso.
LMWDP #670

tompoland

#7: Post by tompoland »

I will second that.

The Decent is remarkable in that your wife can push a couple of buttons and get an brilliant espresso out, assuming you leave it on her favorite profile each time.

And then you can play to your hearts content.

Have fun.
Doolittlej wrote:I was wanting the Decent (otherwise it felt like a lateral move instead of an upgrade), and your answers helped reassure me that it won't be too intimidating to my wife.
Thanks!
Some people drink coffee to wake up, I wake up to drink coffee.

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Mayhem

#8: Post by Mayhem »

There is a catering kit available for the Decent for plumbing to an external water bottle. Even if you don't have a water line close to the intended placement of the machine, perhaps that could be of use?

What would annoy me the most with a non-plumbed Decent would probably be the drip tray, which seems super tiny. I always rinse my portafilters underneath the grouphead between each shot.
Too much is not enough

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Spitz.me

#9: Post by Spitz.me »

It definitely is one of the smaller trays I've worked with, but I'm surprised at how infrequently I have to empty it.

I don't clean my portafilters with the water from the machine because I use that special water for coffee as much as possible. I use a tap nearby.
LMWDP #670

mikelipino

#10: Post by mikelipino »

I also clean my baskets and flush into the drip tray after every shot, and it's rare to have to empty the drip tray before I have to remove it to fill the water tank because of how efficiently the DE1 uses water otherwise.

To mitigate I've made a 3D printed drip tray bobber just in case (the black drip tray makes it a bit difficult to see the water level), but haven't had much opportunity to see the orange of the bobber! And you're correct, the catering kit comes with a plumbed drip tray to empty into a larger container. I've no experience with the catering kit, but think it's great that it's an option.