Lelit Bianca User Experience - Page 205

Need help with equipment usage or want to share your latest discovery?

#2041: Post by benb »

Thanks so much, Bob. That clears it up for me. It's pretty confusing trying to understand if I should set the pump or the manometer at 9 bars (with a blind basket I believe they should be the same) so that helps clear things up.

Dubai Coffee Guy

#2042: Post by Dubai Coffee Guy »

Baristabob explained it very well.

Fundamentally to maintain 9bar at the puck is done via the paddle and controlling the flow in conjunction with getting your grind size right. So unless you are investing in an automatic tamping machine which dictates the compression of the puck consistently it would be a very tough variable to accurately regulate to get a fixed pressure at the puck.
Which brings you back to the original starting point - dial in the grind size on the full flow and then the rest will make sense very quickly :-)

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another_jim (original poster)
Team HB

#2043: Post by another_jim (original poster) »

I set mine at 10 bar with the paddle full to the right after trying 9 bar. I als adjusted the paddle position so that full left is not quite off, but produces a small trickle

It's not a big deal, but the two tweaks combined let the headspace fill in about 1.5 seconds less. The downside is a small loss of control; but the paddle on the Bianca is so crazy easy that this doesn't matter to me. I like having the pressure start to ramp up after about 5 seconds, rather than 6.5 to 7 seconds.
Jim Schulman


#2044: Post by benb replying to another_jim »

Thanks so much, Jim. You've convinced me to set the pump to 10 bar. I'm curious, do you know why the small flow when the paddle is all the way left contributes to the faster pressure ramp time?

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another_jim (original poster)
Team HB

#2045: Post by another_jim (original poster) »

Sorry, I was being over obscure.

The more open the needle valve, the higher the water debit. So if you set the valve to be a little open full left, it's more open full right than if shuts off full left. The critical adjustment for flow control during the shot is on the left; so that's where I calibrate the paddle/needle valve relation. But I'm looking to get the most flow at the start of the shot, when it's turned to the right, compatible with good control for the rest of the shot.

I know it sounds silly -- why not cut the paddle so you can turn more than a half turn. I played with an improvised knob to try that out; but its not nearly as ergonomic and intuitive as the big 180 degree paddle. I operate the paddle while looking at the flow and pressure, not at the paddle. So it has to be really simple and intuitive; at least for me. YMMV.
Jim Schulman


#2046: Post by benb »

Thanks, Jim. It makes sense that you're optimizing for maximum flow and I really appreciate your detailed explanation. I've seen some of your posts on other threads as well (and a YouTube video on flow profiling) which have been super interesting and informative.


#2047: Post by macal425 »

I've had my V2 for approximately 9 months. I do a chemical back flush every month. After I do the chemical back flush, the lever is stiff for a day or so, as expected, then loosens up again. However, since my last back flush the lever has remained somewhat stiff. This corresponded with me starting to use a puck screen. I'm assuming that it remains relatively stiff as the coffee oils are not providing a natural lubrication anymore, due to the puck screen. Would this be the point that I would consider doing a lube of the grouphead?

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another_jim (original poster)
Team HB

#2048: Post by another_jim (original poster) »

Or you could stop using the puck screen until the lever is smooth again :lol:

Talk about completely new problems.
Jim Schulman


#2049: Post by macal425 »

Tried that for a few days and didn't loosen up again. Lube it is.


#2050: Post by benb »

I got my Bianca last night! A few questions for everyone here.

1. I moved the water tank and spent three hours trying to get the silicone tube back over the hose barbs on the connector. It appears Lelit has changed their connector compared to previous versions of the machine to one that is much more difficult to use. Any tips? The hose is on in a usable way and I'm confident I could pretty much use the machine like this forever without issue, but it kind of bugs me that it's not fully on. Any tips? Maybe the barbs are present only for plumbed-in machines?

2. I pulled a drinkable shot on my third try! I dialed in per the advice given here - using full pressure. My shot pulled in 30-35 seconds and was smooth. However, the liquid came out of the puck with a thin appearance, so I suspect a low-pressure start or pre-infusion may help. What profile should I try first with a medium-roast washed Ethiopian bean? It has notes of nectarine I'm trying to extract (managed it previously by chance on my Bambino Plus).

3. The machine came with a couple small dents and a small scuff on the back panel and the feet are all at a slight inwards angle towards the center of the machine. Is this par for the course, or would you consider this to be damage? (Edit: this is definitely damage, frame appears bent. Another strike against FedEx Ground, easily the worst delivery company).

This morning I drank a pretty bad latte, but it was a decent (albeit a bit cold) flat white. I need to adjust to the steaming power and was scared to overdo it.


Edit: this afternoon I tried to get closer to dialed in. I pulled a full-pressure (9-bar) shot in 35 seconds which tasted... off. I believe I mistook bitterness for sourness since, when grinding a bit coarser, my 32 second shot tasted far better. It was balanced with a hint of something being off, but it was also boring (for these beans, Verve 1950). I'm done for the day, but plan to grind a smidge coarser in the morning to hit 30 seconds. First drips around 8 seconds as it stands.

I also tried a "Londinium" profile with the same grind as the 35 second pull which was... absolutely horrible. 3 bar until first drip (happened faster than expected), then up to 9 bar, then down to 6 bar in the last 1/3 of the shot. 37 seconds total.

Machine is at stock 95C.


Edit Feb 9 morning: Experiments and changes

Machine is now at 93C which really helped remove lingering unpleasantness from my coffee. With the paddle allowing for 9 bars, I pulled some shots in 28 seconds which tasted balanced, but lacked the nectarine flavor I know this bean contains.

I am now experimenting with the paddle. I'm first allowing the pressure to build to 2 bars and holding there for 3 seconds, then ramping up to ~9 bars (a bit less). I haven't yet ground finely enough since I had to taper the ending flow to get my shot to pull in 25 seconds. I've read everywhere that pre-infusion requires a finer grind, and now I have practical experience to confirm. Slight channeling, but policing the grind should solve that.

I also tried hitting 2 bars, cutting flow for 5 seconds, and then ramping up, but this resulted is horrific channeling. Could have just been my grind.

I managed to steam milk for a proper latte (on my fourth try this morning) with deliciously textured micro-foam.

Edit Feb 9 afternoon: A great shot

Still no nectarine, but I pulled a super tasty shot with beautiful crema. Accomplished with a finer grind. Built pressure to 2 bars, held for 3 seconds, ramped up to 9 bars. 18g in, 35g out in 35s. Very balanced with a pleasant acidity and absolutely no bitterness.


Edit Feb 13: On the right track, likely almost there

I've started keeping a notebook on my techniques which has been very helpful.

Thinking back to how I pulled delicious nectarine shots with my Bambino Plus, I decided to re-approach the new machine with the goal of mimicking the tastiness I got with my old machine. It was funnily pointed out that I'm using a $3,500 machine to do the job of a $500 machine.

I read a fantastic post on flow profiling by Nicholas Lundgaard called "The New Rule of Thirds" in which he discusses the importance of flow profiling before pressure builds. Based on this post and the power of my Bambino when compared to the Bianca, I decided to build to 2 bars for pre-infusion at a much slower rate than I was previously.

This morning I ground coarser, then began my shot with the paddle at 7 o'cock (looking top down on the paddle with 12 being the machine and 6 being where I stand) rather than 4 o'clock. I allowed the pressure to hit ~2 bars, almost immediately after which I got first drips. This was 10-12 seconds after turning on the pump. I then quickly but smoothly opened up the flow to 9 bars with the paddle close to fully open (maybe around 3 o'clock). The total shot time was 40s.

The shot was very acidic, but in a good way. There was a hint of sweetness with all else balanced nicely. I read in another post that sweetness + acidity = fruitiness, so getting closer.

For my afternoon shot, I changed my Sette 270's grind from 15-E to between 15 G and H, 2.5 micro-"steps" coarser.

I started with the paddle in the same position as the morning (7 o'clock) and built pressure to 2/3 bars with first drops around 10-12 seconds again. I opened the paddle up to 5 o'clock (less than this morning) to get a steady 8-9 bars. This shot also finished at 40 seconds.

The smell was very sweet which foreshadowed the flavor in the cup. This shot was very sweet with some acidity. No negative flavors present. It was delicious, but not quite the nectarine I'm looking for.

Two shots with the same pre-infusion, both at 40 seconds, but with different flow rates. One very acidic, one very sweet.

Tomorrow morning I will keep the grind setting the same, but fully open the paddle for a faster flow. My theory is that I am close enough to the right grind and I can adjust the flow rate to change the flavor. I believe if I hit closer to a 35 second shot, I may be in the right zone. I just need to add a bit of acidity to the sweetness.

I have two shots of these Verve beans left, so time to re-order. I just picked up some Finca La Emeralda from Barefoot roasted on Jan 30. A naturally-processed med/light roast from Nicaragua with tropical fruit, plum, and citrus flavors that I am excited to try in the meantime.


Edit March 3: I did it!

While my new batch of 1950 was off-gassing, Barefoot's Finca La Esmeralda was a nice deviation. While I prefer the Verve beans, FLA was easy to dial in and produced good shots.

It took some regression and experimentation, but I cracked the recipe for a fruity shot of 1950 (almost) every time. It's a bit finicky, but here's what worked for me:

Sette 270: 15-G/H grind
18g in, 36g out

Bianca: Paddle at 6 o'clock. Pressure starts to build at about 5s. Allow pressure to raise to 2-2.5 bars (2 flat may be too low). Shut off the paddle. From first drip, wait 3 seconds (this should be around 14s) and then slowly ramp the flow until you hit 9 bars. This should be paddle fully open if all has gone to plan. Full flow for the remainder of the shot.

Best results in 35-37 seconds total pump-on time.

The shot initially tastes like a very ripe nectarine followed by a sweet flavor and acidity.

With too much pre-infusion or if the shot runs slower, the pleasant flavors are muted and the espresso tastes nutty/a tiny bit bitter. These beans need the exact right recipe to pull out the nectarine and I cringe to think how many beans were wasted in order for the brilliant roasters at Verve to figure out the flavor profile.

As it stands, I get a bit of light channeling at the tail end of the shot which I believe can be resolved by lowering the flow.