Espresso Speed - Manual Robot vs Boiler Lever?

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#1: Post by LewBK »

In the experience of board members is it faster to make an espresso via a lever with its own boiler or to heat the water in an electric kettle for a completely manual machine like the Cafelat Robot? I know the taste arguments for getting a machine like the Cremina or Streitman, but I wondered about the workflow time as I've seen videos where commentators have said it takes like 10 minutes for an espresso boiler to heat up. Meanwhile my electric kettle can heat the water for my Robot in three minutes. So, I'm thinking the lever with boiler won't save any time. You'll just have a better tasting espresso. Is that accurate?

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#2: Post by drH »

I'm sure many will chime in to share experiences. You can certainly heat water faster in kettle for the simple reason that you only need to heat what you will use right away. Maybe all you need is 3-4 ounces?

For back to back shots the answer is less clear. You'll heat a full kettle and maybe the heating times will be similar. Depending on the lever machine, you may or may not have to pause to manage the group temperature.

As to taste that will be subjective. I occasionally use the Robot and I'm always pleasantly surprised at how good the shots are.


#3: Post by grind727 »

I owned a Robot, a LaPavoni, and a Londinium. The Robot was the fastest for a single shot. The Londinium was the fastest for back to back shots if you don't count warm up time. I gave my Londinium at least 45 minutes before pulling shots.

Robots are easy, pretty full proof, and make great shots. I would only buy something else if I wanted to steam milk or was really into light roasts.
LMWDP #717


#4: Post by Miltonedgebert »

I haven't owned a boiler machine, but it takes about 7 min for me to pull out the robot, grind and prep while water heats, pull the shot, then clean up and put it up. I could probably get it down to 5, but speed is not my thing in the morning.


#5: Post by Jonk »

It's mostly just more convenient to pull back to back shots with some levers that have a boiler. That can of course be just as important as actual speed if you're looking to pull shots for a group. Otherwise it can be both fast and fairly simple to pull several shots if you've got 2 or more baskets for the Robot. Best of all is the ability to do it on a whim, with little to no warm-up time (I tend to pre-heat the piston for 2 minutes..)

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#6: Post by retireddude »

I have a Robot and Londinium. The Londinium is on a smart timer, so it's ready to go as soon as I am in the morning. The Londinium also has a faster and much more pleasant workflow for pulling multiple shots in a row.

The Robot is a terrific machine, I use it for travel and the occasional afternoon shot, but it has limitations. If you're just pulling shots for yourself, or not making lots back-to-back, the Robot can still be a great option though, and you can't beat the price and compact footprint.

LewBK (original poster)

#7: Post by LewBK (original poster) »

Thanks, everyone. The speed part is as I expected but it is both surprising and nice to hear that taste-wise one doesn't need to sacrifice much with a completely manual machine like the Robot.

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#8: Post by Marcelnl replying to LewBK »

That IMO is an understatement, I have a Robot for travel and a Faema Urania as daily driver. The results are slightly different but both very good.
Main advantage for the boiler Urania is the capacity, main advantage for the Robot is a lack of heat up time....the workflow is similar yet for more than two espresso's back to back the Urania has the advantage IMO.
LMWDP #483


#9: Post by thirdcrackfourthwave »

I have an induction top and a Robot. I can be drinking a shot roughly 3 minutes after walking into the kitchen. The Robot shots are tasty. It is the DW and her milk that stops it from being the only espresso device in the house.


#10: Post by Bluenoser »

If your lever/boiler has a large group, the warm up can be much longer than 10 minutes..

But just today, I needed to make a flat white for my neighbour as I was leaving, but only remembered about 7 minutes before I had to leave. Put on the kettle and turn on my Profitec Pro500 PID. Prep Robot basket and get milk in pitcher. Kettle ready in 5 minutes.. 1 minute to pour into basket and pull shot on robot. At that time, my steam boiler in 500 is up to pressure.. Short purge and a flat white in 7. I generally only use the Pro500 for steam now; or when I want to make multiple espressos in a short time.. and then I'll use both the Pro500 and Robot.