Should I return Lelit Victoria?

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.
chanty 77

#1: Post by chanty 77 »

I recently purchased a Victoria instead of an Elizabeth and am questioning if I should return it & get an Elizabeth. My only drink is a cappuccino one time per day (4 shots, so 2 doubles) with about 5 ounces of milk. Making the espresso is a piece of cake for the very most part unless I am trying new beans & have sink shots & have to re-do the shots til I dial it in right. That's obviously not the Victoria error--it's my error. I own (for 18 days now)the Lelit Victoria single boiler espresso machine. This is much better with PID--so much better tasting espresso than my Gaggia Classic put out.

The issue I am having is very concerning to me. This has happened 4 times since using the machine for a little over two weeks now. While I am steaming, the pump kicks in every approximately 10-12 seconds to fill the boiler (this is normal I was told). While it kicked in, and I was still steaming (only about 25 seconds), the pump kicked in. I glanced at the PID, and it was going back to the brewing temp. at 201° from the steaming which is 275°. The first two times this happened I thought it was an aberration, the third time, more concerning. I know this time I made more espresso--- 3 drinks (2 doubles in each drink) one after the other, yet it has done this with doing my normal 2 double shots and steaming. I typically only make one drink with 2 doubles in it per day. I've heard that this steam temp. going back to brew temp. while steaming is 100% normal (which I never knew would happen, or it would have probably been a game-changer for me). I know the Elizabeth has a preinfuser which at this point, I can't see myself using. I don't care for the plastic water tank that has to be removed from the top rather than the front/side with the small hole that is easy to get water splashing around it which in turn can short out the machine. I know the Elizabeth has the same annoying water tank. That wouldn't be what stops me from getting the Elizabeth though. I just thought I would NEVER need a machine with a dual boiler for the 5 oz. of milk I steam once a day. The other thing I have read about the Elizabeth is in regard to the steam wand.
The tube inside the steam wand was too long and was obstructing one of the steam holes, meaning poor steaming performance until the super helpful Clive tech asked me to check it. A quick cut down and now steaming is as great and fast as it should be. Second - the steam knob on the side of the machine is small and frankly feels cheap. Given the fit and finish of the rest of the machine, it is a little underwhelming in how it looks and feels.
So advice, and thanks.

walr00s
Supporter ♡

#2: Post by walr00s »

I have an SBDU machine as well. On mine, the PID reading (not setting) slowly declines from ~275 to ~220 while I steam (4-8 oz of milk, for 4 oz of milk it usually gets down to ~240). It sounds like this is what's happening on your machine? I don't think this has much effect on the steam quality, it's just a natural result of the boiler having to refill (and reheat) water up to steam temp, which could happen on a dual as well, if you use all of the steam in the boiler. I think a dual boiler would probably have drier steam than mine, and that would improve steam quality, though I don't really know how much.

I believe a steam boiler has more maintenance issues as well, due to how minerals drop from the water as it transitions to steam.

Only you can really decide if higher quality steam is worth the extra money to you. My guess is that change in steam quality isn't going to be extreme

SandraF

#3: Post by SandraF »

What are you considering as a replacement if you decide to return it?

jgood

#4: Post by jgood »

One maybe irrelevant suggestion on the tank refilling --
On my Quickmill the tank is also accessed from the top and I have found that a #2 Hario dripper works very well as a funnel. It fits the tank nicely so no spillage worries and no need to remove the tank except for occasional cleaning.

SandraF

#5: Post by SandraF »

My only other espresso machine was, what is now called, the Starbucks 'Barista' model - a single boiler machine. I learned how to use it well, but have no idea if I was tasting good or bad espresso. No scale, no grinder & big chain coffee shop beans. I used a lot of sugar & milk to make it taste good. Didn't really know any better.

This time I just thought I wanted something a little easier to work with as I really want to learn about espresso. I initially thought to buy something to meet my basic (read, uninformed) needs. Knowing myself and how I love to research and really 'get into' my hobbies I didn't want something that, I perceived, would hold me back. I didn't want to have to update in a year.

I'm the only coffee drinker in the house, don't entertain much. I have 2-4 5 oz cappuccinos per day. Some might think I spent too much on the Synchronika & Atom 75 grinders plus all the accessories & "upgrades". So far, though, it does everything I want. I don't have to 'futz' around trying to make it work how I want. I also know that resale, should I decide to sell down the line will be good.

Even though you make 'only' a few drinks a day, I think it should be easier to use your tools. For me, it's part of the whole espresso 'experience'. Everyone is different, so take this for what it's worth. If you're already disappointed or frustrated that's a sign, in my eyes, that you should get something you enjoy.

chanty 77 (original poster)

#6: Post by chanty 77 (original poster) »

jgood wrote:One maybe irrelevant suggestion on the tank refilling --
On my Quickmill the tank is also accessed from the top and I have found that a #2 Hario dripper works very well as a funnel. It fits the tank nicely so no spillage worries and no need to remove the tank except for occasional cleaning.
We found a workaround for that by buying a plastic funnel that fits snuggly in the tank hole & then I use a measuring cup to fill it. The funnel works great because the funnel spout fits perfectly in the little hole. This tank design is not open like when I had the Gaggia Classic, it's just a small hole at the top of the tank.

chanty 77 (original poster)

#7: Post by chanty 77 (original poster) »

walr00s wrote:I have an SBDU machine as well. On mine, the PID reading (not setting) slowly declines from ~275 to ~220 while I steam (4-8 oz of milk, for 4 oz of milk it usually gets down to ~240). It sounds like this is what's happening on your machine? I don't think this has much effect on the steam quality, it's just a natural result of the boiler having to refill (and reheat) water up to steam temp, which could happen on a dual as well, if you use all of the steam in the boiler. I think a dual boiler would probably have drier steam than mine, and that would improve steam quality, though I don't really know how much.

I believe a steam boiler has more maintenance issues as well, due to how minerals drop from the water as it transitions to steam.

Only you can really decide if higher quality steam is worth the extra money to you. My guess is that change in steam quality isn't going to be extreme

Yes, when it has occasionally started to go to brew temp when steaming (so far 4 out of 18 times of use), the PID will start blinking at 201° (the brew temp set for that bean), and there is a bar underneath that slowly starts to head I assume towards the lower temp. I'm thinking I would probably/hopefully??? have enough hot steam left to finish my microfoam milk without screwing it up as the temp. goes down. One time it did that, I pressed the steam button in (which is what you do to turn steam on and then again turn it off). When I pressed the steam button on, the 275° displayed and the bar underneath started to go up. I don't know what would have happened if I just continued steaming when it started blinking the brew temp at 201°---if it would have gone back to steam on its own after the boiler filled up.
You mentioned the boiler dedicated to steam has more maintenance issues, that's a concern.

chanty 77 (original poster)

#8: Post by chanty 77 (original poster) »

The other issue that has NEVER happened with even my Gaggia is that with this particular blend of beans I am using---water comes over the top of the portafilter basket & into my espresso as it comes out of the portafilter---obviously diluting the espresso and making it dumpable. The vendor thought maybe it has to do with the tamp/distribution of my coffee. No, cuz I am consistent, never happened before. Then, the thought was that I'm grinding too fine, no--that isn't it either as I've made the blend coarser & even less beans--still water dripping over the basket into the espresso cup. Then it was mentioned, maybe I need to change out the gasket...uhmmm, not on a 19 day old machine?
My husband (who really knows very little about espresso) said, 'Could it be there's extra water when you start it?' Then I wondered if this could have anything to do with the water coming over the basket into the drink: I always press the brew button, before I pull a shot to let out water. I did this with my Gaggia....okay, yeah I"m dumb....don't even know why I did it with my Gaggia except maybe to jump start the heating? So I'm thinking maybe I don't need to hit the brew button & release water before doing my first shot. Maybe somehow, there is still residue water after doing that that comes out on my first shot. I do hit brew AFTER every shot to get out the residue espresso. Yet, that would maybe be a resolution to this if this water coming over the basket ONLY happened on the first shot of the day--but it doesn't. It happens randomly and often enough where it is frustrating me. I can say that I don't remember this ever happening before with other espresso machines.

walr00s
Supporter ♡

#9: Post by walr00s »

chanty 77 wrote: Yes, when it has occasionally started to go to brew temp when steaming (so far 4 out of 18 times of use), the PID will start blinking at 201° (the brew temp set for that bean), and there is a bar underneath that slowly starts to head I assume towards the lower temp.
It looks like the machine has some sort of safety feature that will return to brew mode if it thinks it has been in steam mode too long. I wonder if there's a setting or problem with the logic there that's tripping that feature early. Does it return to brew mode at a regular interval?

chanty 77 (original poster)

#10: Post by chanty 77 (original poster) replying to walr00s »

According to the vendor, this is normal. When it has happened, I've only been steaming for 25 or so seconds, sometimes less--so definitely not in steam mode too long. No, it doesn't return to brew mode on a regular interval---4 times out of 19 times of making steamed milk. What I did the last two days is wait a few minutes before turning on the steam mode after making my last shot. I even did an extra double today because of the water dripping from the group head over my basket into my espresso (that I dumped). It stayed in brew. Thinking maybe waiting those few minutes before turning on the steam mode helps? Hmmmmm