Anyone had hands on with the Lelit Bianca yet?
Anyone had hands on with the Lelit Bianca yet?
Last edited by CafeLotta; 8th October 2018 at 07:57 AM. Reason: Link added
Hi all, long time reader, first time posting.
That was a very thorough read and the videos attached were basic but informative. Thanks for link, CafeLotta.
I saw the Bianca at Jetblack and was given a demonstration but unfortunately no hands on. It was great to
see it in action. The coffee the in-shop barista nicely made for me tasted very good and they were very helpful with answering all my questions. I’m starting to look at upgrading and this machine has got me interested.
I’ll just comment a little on the aesthetics. As most of the photos you see are front on, seeing it from height looking down, the cup area had an insert similar to under the group tray. This tray had some black rubber feet to keep it elevated, I’m guessing to stop cups from vibrating. Under the insert it was brushed stainless steel and it had a small border of about 1cm high around it to stop cups from sliding off. It didn’t have that bling factor that the Profitec behind it had with all that shiny cup shelf glaring back at you. It also looked like it would be a great grind/dust catcher and you would need to remove everything first to wipe it down. If you see the face of the machine, it nicely wraps around with curved edges and connects to body frame about 3-4cm in from the sides. Looking at this join square on with the reflection of outside daylight, it wasn’t quite seemless. But saying this, as you would mostly be looking at it front on, the clean face of the machine without sharp edges or joins is very appealing. I think the measurements given may not take the removable water tank in consideration so you might need to add about 6cm or so into the equation if it’s not being plumbed. The steam wand had great mobility and not as restricted as the Profitec. I also really like the fact that the steam wand and water spout didn’t have those rubber elbows which are more great dust collectors and look difficult to keep clean.
I know with a full cup tray, the issue of brushed S/S shouldn’t be a problem and you could maybe get a machine cut piece of Perspex to replace insert. The machine was quiet, it looked fun to use and the option of leaving the paddle open so you don’t need to teach everyone how to use it when pulling a shot is a nice feature.
Thank you for accepting me into your community, cheers.
Welcome to CS!
Your post and observation of one of the details shows why it is always best to check out a machine in the metal. Once you get into the serious territory, all machines are at the awesome end and all capable of great brews (with the right technique and beans), but its the often small details and intricacies that can make one machine grab you, and its usually a personal choice.
Perhaps a better solution might use flowmeters and volumetrics to allow the user to set shot length. Push a button then manipulate flow? As Luke has suggested paddle control would be even better.
Personally, I find the execution of the concept unresolved and ugly. Not a contender for my kitchen.
From my perspective, the flow profiling that the Bianca brings to the table is really mostly beneficial for espresso purists.
With milk drinks, a regular E61 is more than sufficient and any nuance from the flow profiling is most likely lost. But, the great thing is you DON'T have to use the paddle. You can still make coffee with just two hands.
Even if you don't do flow profiling, the paddle is a still great way to to adjust your water debit which in itself have a huge influence over the shot quality. Some users had to modifying their machine (opening up the boiler etc ) to fit different sized restrictor to obtain a lower water debit - on the Bianca, you just need to move the paddle and the water debit can be anything you want, all done within a sec.
Surely the paddle can be designed to switch off the pump - but we're probably not talking about $3.5k anymore because that will require a new group design. What's more - the price is in a regular/plain E61 dual boiler territory (Pro 700 is 3.9k, Alex Duetto is 4k++). A pressure (not flow) profiling E61(Vesuvius) is $6k last I check. For that price, you can think of it as a DB E61 on steroid - that comes with flow profiling as a freebie.
Regarding the cup tray being brushed stainless - I wonder if was that an intentional design? Most polished stainless cup tray I've seen tend to scratch over time. Surely it doesn't add much cost to get a polished finish (perhaps it's even cheaper logistically to get plate polished instead of brushed).
Yes- but unless I am incorrect, unless you use the paddle, there is no preinfusion whatsoever. You either hit the puck with high flow at 9Bar (channelling) or you pull a low flow shot for the entire shot volume?
There will always be some kind of preinfusion as it will take a few sec to ramp up to 9 bar. The beauty with the Bianca is you can set it (by adjusting the said water debit) to whatever you want. Do you want a quick ramp (3 sec) or slow ramp (15 sec), your choice. Just set the paddle and forget it.
Flow and pressure are similar but two different things. You can have low flow but high pressure, and vice versa.
I look forward to the first online reviewer who photographs the Bianca's grouphead dismantled, showing the valve arrangement, especially the paddle controlled needle valve.
Lelit Bianca - Dual boiler paddle machine
Last edited by CafeLotta; 9th October 2018 at 08:54 AM.
I've had a hands on with one of these machines. You could pretty easily manipulate the pressure paddle while steaming if you have a technique for steaming one hand (that's what I do - hold the body of the milk jug until it's too warm and then I use my other hand to move to the handle). I didn't get a chance to try doing so though!!
You'd get used to it I reckon and would eventually pull profiled shots while steaming. That being said, it'd be a time investment to get used to it.
I'm not a pressure profiling guy, but I have to say it's nice to be able to start with low pressure before spinning it right round to full pressure in the end. And in general, it felt like a good e61 to use. May not be your kind of aesthetic, but in terms of it's feel, it's nice. Especially the wood.
edit: One thing I will say, it's weird to have a disconnect between the valves of the e61 opening and the start of the pump - there's a little lag which I found really strange. Maybe a firmware update to the PID would change that behaviour, I dunno.
Wanting to ask whether you were tempted away from the Pro 700 by the Lelit Bianca?
But after refreshing I see you've already purchased the Pro 700. Be interested to hear your thoughts when you've had more time with the Pro 700.
I'm heading down to Sydney on Friday for a coffee conference and might drop in to JetBlack to see if I can check them out. There's certainly plenty of tempting machines for sale on CS at the moment too :-)
The Bianca offers you full pump pressure from the start, so there's no pump-assisted preinfusion like there is on the Lelit Kate/Victoria models as far as I know. Unless Jetblack turned that off for this unit. But given you have full control of water output via the needle, there's no need for that pre-infusion anyway, you just start your brew slow, and ramp it up after 5 seconds. Or however you like.
Edit: Actually, now that I think about it, you might be right, in that some logic need to happen on the LCC to determine if it _should_ run a preinfusion cycle first or not. So that's probably why there's a lag there. And it's not noticeable on the kates/victorias because they aren't e61, and so the switches operate differently.
I think it's definitely a machine for the plumb-in users, with the option of tank if/when necessary, like taking it off site for an event or activity (or a barista course). The machine's depth is pretty shallow without the backpack, so it's the perfect dual boiler for someone who wants an e61 style machine but their kitchen benches aren't all that deep. I live in a house with a massive breakfast bar so why not put a massive Pro 700 on it ;-)
Do any sponsors with a shop in Melbourne sell the Lelit Bianca?
A perfect use of the QUOTE FORM link found at the top and bottom of every page to ask all the sponsors at once your question.
Java "cliiiiick" phile
Toys! I must have new toys!!!
I am just wondering aloud on the Bianca...Will the capillary tube to the gauge fill with coffee gunk in time? It looks like you'd would want to backwash the machine thoroughly.
Received my Lelit Bianca E61 from Jetblackespresso yesterday. I ordered it a couple of weeks ago but Jetblackespresso were waiting on some parts to upgrade against the machine prior to shipping (unspecified, but interested to know what they change ex factory?), Customer Service (who are very good BTW) informed me the parts had come in and it would ship this week, and sure enough it shipped to Albury Wodonga from Sydney via Startrack overnight, which I was very happy with. I also purchased a Baratza Settle 270Wi grinder at the same time.
Previous machine was a Expoboar Minore III (bought 2009) and Ibertal grinder (bought 2005), so a good upgrade. I haven't had a machine for 5 months (separation), so fairly out of practice TBH.
Packaging of everything was great, had a pre inspection note that Jetblack had primed the machine.
This site https://coffeeequipmentreviews.wordp.../lelit-bianca/ was my chief reason for purchasing and I've done (most) of his setup tips.
* Normalising the Grind.
* Adjusting the Paddle (ex factory there is about 35 degrees of wasted valve adjustment on the paddle before any flow starts, so did the simple grub screw/lift/re-install procedure described in the above website to give more flow control (about 2minutes effort and trivial even for someone like me who is pretty non-handy).
Packaging was good and solid on a 1/2 palette, no shipping damage. Machine is really attractive.
Far too early in my learnings to do a full review but some quick comments
* Love the grinder - 3 grinds to get the scale to self calibrate within 1/10th of a gram (as per the manual), lovely fluffy grinds, recommended setting of 9E was too loose for the beans I was using (AfroCuban blend ex Coffee Mama roasters - AlburyWodonga), currently running 7F (based on the normalising the grind video in the linked site). So little mess versus direct dosing with the old Ibertal, minimal waste, great uniform fluffly grind, self weighing, if your like me and your use is domestic low volume (2-6 coffees per day max) and your not churning out on a time limit, its the perfect home grinder (so far). Will update when I've put 10kg of coffee through it and the burrs have settled. Some people comment that the grind loosens quickly and the shim kit is quickly needed, so that will be interesting to see if that holds true.
* The accurate dosing direct into the portafilter is great, minimal spillage, no weighing, I'm a convert!! Dosings in the 10-15 extractions so far (discounting the 3 calibration ones) have been about 20% +/- .1g and 80% dead on.
* Peak brew pressure at the grouphead gauge against a blind filter is about 9.8bar - linked site recommends 10bar, but it's close enough that I'm not going to go and grab the ring spanners straight away.
* The maximum extraction brew pressure (paddle full on) I get is 9bar on the dot, I've tried tightening the grind further, but it just results in over-extraction, not sure why I'm losing 1 bar vs the blind filter or if that's normal, I've written to the guy in the linked site to get some advice.
* Steam performance is phenomenal (vs the Expobar) - Microfoam first and every time, milk heats far quicker than Expobar but the steam pressure is so much better/more I'm not surprised.
* Mixed bag with extractions to date, but put that 100% down to me being VERY early days learning the machine versus the machine itself. Extractions and crema are all visually perfect but the taste (over v under extraction v just-right) is a bit all over the place ATM. When I get it right its glorious. As shipped the computer/Geicar based preinfusion (pump on, pump off pause) is turned off and I've left it that way (no mechanical pre-infusion in the head due to the flow paddle), so still learning how to profile, suggest it will take quite some time to get good at it but that's part of the fun.
My machine unboxing, 10 extractions, +1day review is I'm very happy to date, Lots to learn and puzzled by the brew pressure difference and how to resolve, but I'm sure feedback I'll get from either the English guy Dave from the linked site or fine people here, will help me out.
Will review and update a couple of months in when I've hopefully got L plates off with this piece of kit.
Any advice from someone who has runs on the board with this machine (e.g. Jetblack staff have this as their current in-house staff machine apparently), would be appreciated.
We had the Bianca in our kitchenette at work for a few weeks and I loved the paddle. In fact I'm planning to sneak one home as soon as we have enough stock to meet demand. The technique I settled on was to start with the paddle at about half way. This resulted in a loooonnnnnng pre infusion. The indicated pressure on the group head gauge would eventually get to 9BAR. When the shot showed the first signs of blonding I started moving the paddle clockwise to further restrict the flow. This kept the shot flowing at a reasonably constant rate when it would normally be getting faster and blonding. The colour stayed darker than normal and viscosity seemed better than normal. Typically I was turning it off beyond the 30 second mark.