Lelit Victoria question/possible problem

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chanty 77

#1: Post by chanty 77 »

I own (for 16 days now) a Lelit Victoria single boiler espresso machine. This is much better with PID--so much better tasting espresso than my Gaggia Classic put out. I have two issues though, one is very concerning to me. This has happened 3 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. I typically only make one drink with 2 doubles in it per day. I didn't run out of water, which I would never let happen even though there is an indicator on the machine to let one know if water is running low. Anyone? I so appreciate any help, and thanks so much.

JRising

#2: Post by JRising »

That's normal. It has to protect the boiler level from getting too low, so as you're letting all that water out, it will keep topping up the boiler. It is running the heating element full tilt trying not to let the boiler cool off too much, but a 300 ml boiler taking in gulps of 10+ml cold water from time to time is going to fluctuate in temperature. So long as the steam stays decent, it's no problem. If the steam flow drops off too much and gets too wet, then the machine's too small for your needs, it will just ruin the milk.
There are larger single boiler machines available and plenty of HX and Double Boiler machines with a lot more volume.

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chanty 77 (original poster)

#3: Post by chanty 77 (original poster) » replying to JRising »

I've only had this machine for 16 days, and really like it a lot (compared to my Gaggia). I know the googling I did said if the steam mode is left to idle too long, the machine will automatically put it back to brew mode so as not to burn out/overheat the heating elements. Yet, to be steaming for only about 25-30 seconds wouldn't make much sense. That is not a long time to steam. I like a thicker microfoam. The only thing I can think of (please tell me if this could be it) is that I typically ONLY make one drink with two double shots in it with about 5oz. of steamed/frothed milk. When doing that, no problems at all with steaming to a microfoam thick froth & very hot. Today I made my husband a drink with two double in it along with mine & then I had two doubles that were "sink" shots. So all together I made 6 doubles in a row. Then I put it to steam. I don't know how making the extra espresso though could cause the steam to only work for 25-30 seconds. I know it's a single boiler. I know it has to heat up to get from the brew temp I have 201° to steam temp. of 275°, but once it is heated to the steam temp---why would it matter that I made more than normal the shots of espresso prior to that? I am one of those people who drive people nuts with all the questions I ask. I'm a questioner. I couldn't have asked more questions about this machine and did more research than I did. I hope they don't try and tell me that I can only make one drink at a setting in order for the steam to last longer than 25-30 seconds. Arghhhh. P.S. My Gaggia Classic had a much smaller boiler, but even with making a number of shots (like this), I still had enough steaming power to make up to 10 oz. of microfoam.

elkayem

#4: Post by elkayem »

It does sound unusual to me that the machine would change from steam to brew temperature while steaming. I doubt it indicates something wrong with your machine specifically, but it could indicate an issue with the software in general. In other words, I would expect all Victorias with the same software build to behave the same way. It might be worthwhile asking your retailer if they see the same thing, or maybe even reaching out to Lelit directly. Who knows, maybe it is a software bug they haven't seen yet.

That said, I think with a 300 ml boiler, you should expect to be able to steam about 8 oz milk and not much more. I would suggest steaming milk for one drink, letting the machine refill with water and stabilize to steaming temperature again, and then steaming the second 8 oz. When I had a single boiler, I used to make one drink at a time, i.e., brew, steam, brew, steam, etc.

Let us know what you find out. There is probably not a lot of experience with the Victoria on this forum, so you can educate us.

chanty 77 (original poster)

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

From what I am gathering, making 3 espressos with 2 doubles in each drink (so 6 doubles) one after the other is a lot of work on a single boiler because the boiler has to continue to bring in water to heat up. I get that it isn't a huge boiler at 300ml, yet my Gaggia Classic boiler at 100ml was able to pull multiple shots one after the other, and I was still able to steam microfoam up to 10 oz. The taste of the espresso is a lot better though with the Victoria than the Gaggia--probably due to the PID. Where I might have issues is when I try a new bean & have to dial it in one to maybe three times before I get it right, then make my traditional two double shots cappa---meaning the steam will cut out sooner then. What I'm trying to figure out is a 'work around'. In other words, if I make a couple of 'sink' shots, then my two normal doubles---I would hit the steam button. It then heats up from my brew temp. of say 201° to steam temp of 275°. There is a bar under the temperature. When the bar completes, it is ready to steam. What I don't get, is if the bar completes, and it shows the steam temp has been reached, why would I run out of steam, steaming only for about 25-30 seconds. I know after making shot after shot after shot, the boiler needs to recoup/fill up. What I haven't been told yet is if I do make more shots than normal, do I still have to wait a bit even though the steam temp. has reached 275° so the steam doesn't cut out. I typically don't make more than my one cappuccino per day with 2 double shots in it. I'm pretty much the only coffee drinker in our 2 family household.
The other issue is a number of times when brewing clear water drips over the portafilter basket & into my espresso cup before the espresso comes out. I'm trying to figure this out. It might be because the grind is too fine. With my Gaggia, if the grind was too fine, it would take a very long time for the first drip of espresso to come out & it would be ghastly bitter--but water wouldn't come out like with the Victoria. Not sure, but think it might be that because when I first used the Victoria, hit the brew button, water came out. I ground less fine, then normal espresso came out. I'm still determining in my espresso making journey what is better---finer grind with less dosing or higher dosing with coarser grind.

chanty 77 (original poster)

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

JRising wrote:That's normal. It has to protect the boiler level from getting too low, so as you're letting all that water out, it will keep topping up the boiler. It is running the heating element full tilt trying not to let the boiler cool off too much, but a 300 ml boiler taking in gulps of 10+ml cold water from time to time is going to fluctuate in temperature. So long as the steam stays decent, it's no problem. If the steam flow drops off too much and gets too wet, then the machine's too small for your needs, it will just ruin the milk.
There are larger single boiler machines available and plenty of HX and Double Boiler machines with a lot more volume.
That is pretty much what they said. Thing is, it is an intermittent thing. Example, pulled 2 double shots today, then turned the steam on. When it reached 275°, I purged the excess water from the steam wand. Put my milk pitcher(about 5oz. milk) under the wand & steamed for about 15 seconds. The pump then engaged to start filling the boiler, but the temp. started to drop back to brew temp. at 202°. The milk never had a chance to get hot enough nor frothy/microfoam. An hour later, I decided to try a new bag of beans (knowing I would have sink shots until I dialed it in). I had two doubles that were sink shots, then proceeded to make my two doubles for my cappa. This time it steamed the milk and frothed it fine staying at 275 degrees. So no real rhyme to the reason?
If this continues to do thing, what is going to happen is I probably will end up returning it & getting a dual boiler (Elizabeth?). Sigh????

SandraF

#7: Post by SandraF »

Curious. Question, so it takes 25-30 seconds to steam around 10 0z milk? That seems like an awful lot of time to steam. Maybe that's the norm with single boiler machines?

To what temperature are you heating the milk?

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chanty 77 (original poster)

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

No, it takes about 25-30 seconds to steam & microfoam/froth about 5oz. of milk. The temp. is 275°. On my Gaggia, it took longer. Tomorrow I'm gonna time how long it takes when I'm steaming cuz that is just a pure educated guess. Maybe it doesn't help that I use a combination of 1/2 & 1/2 with whole milk for the extra creamy effect. If it takes a lot less time to steam/froth/microfoam with a dual boiler, wow, I can't even imagine cuz I'm so used to what I've had. It also probably doesn't help that I am super picky with the thickness of the froth I have to achieve before I'm happy. Think of melting ice cream without the lumps in it. I've watched videos with people pouring their steamed milk in their espresso. It looks like just milk--don't even seem much froth/thickness to it. Maybe that's why it takes me longer.

SandraF

#9: Post by SandraF »

How hot does the milk get. Goal is between 140-160f. Above that and it makes it bad in some way....burned? Scorched? Anyway, mine takes maybe 7 seconds to get 5 oz milk to 145 degrees (2-hole tip).

I don't think it should take 25-30 seconds to get 5 oz milk to 140-160f is what I'm saying.

chanty 77 (original poster)

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

Can I hire you? lol
I don't test the temperature of the milk--just go by looks & feel. Do you get steamed milk or thick microfoam in 7 seconds?