I just bought a lelit and I am very happy with it. Makes great coffee, good steam and feels well built. I would not buy the sunbeam when the lelit can be had for this price.
The old Saeco 2002 has worn me out, too hard to do good shots with, too old, and a pain to keep clean and maintain thanks to dated design.
Just replaced my grinder, out with the old worn sunbeam and in with the new (cafe series this time), works good for me at the price.
But looking around, I figure around $600 is ok for a new machine, new with easier to get parts, easier to use and keep clean, and likely make better coffee.
Lelit seems to be popular now, and pulls great shots, cheaper than a Sunbeam which seems a shocker, whats the catch?.
Sunbeam is still there, Im suprised there has been no update in what 3+ years now?, has there been a final word on lifespan etc?.
As always I do 4-8 single or double shots a day depending on who else is around to drink my coffee, big milk drinker so almost always a flat white etc.
So what should I get?, or what is the smart buy, or is there another I have missed?.
I just bought a lelit and I am very happy with it. Makes great coffee, good steam and feels well built. I would not buy the sunbeam when the lelit can be had for this price.
Interesting reading around...
So the Lelit is pulling Silvia grade shots for a chunk less change, heats up faster and possibly keeps a more stable temp, add in some nice looking internals and full SS body, Im still looking for the catch.
EM is not looking so crash hot, I see reports of steam failures, and parts wearing out in rather short use, with repairs costing a mint, and not real user easy to repair.
Was not all that convinced I wanted another boiler machine, but hey I guess if I can make sure to keep others away from it, issues with the old 2002 cause some people really dont understand care and/or maintenance.
I did alot of reading around too and came to the same conclusion. It seems that unless you have a budget that allows for a more expensive $1.5K++ machine you wont do better. And I gather that if you need to be making mutiple shots at the same time, you will want HX ,but for one to two shots at a time useage the Lelit is a star. I also noticed the sunbeam and breville machines seem to have a lot of reliability/leakage issues, but can make a reasonable coffee otherwise for a cheap price.
No catch. From my experience (with the Combi), the Lelit is a great unit, does the basics right. The main differences with the Silvia are the 58mm group head (as opposed to 57mm for the Lelit) and the overall build quality. Not that the Lelit is not well built, its just not as solid as the Silvia (as you could read from it being about 5kg less weight). I think the Lelit cuts a few corners on non-essential things (like plastic drip tray).Originally Posted by 624953484F50200 link=1289144599/2#2 date=1289221555
All in all, I was very happy with my Lelit. The Sumbean has a few more features (particularly the dual thermoblocks allowing you to steam as you brew) but Im glad I didnt get one. The more simple, solid basics of the Lelit appealed to me much more. The Silvia appealed to me but not at the extra price (and, from my experience, not with the extra temperature issues - PIDing would fix these but then youre well over $1k...).
The Lelit is the "bang for your buck" unit for mine.
I had a Quaha Napoletana II (an early version of the Lelit Combi) and purchased it because of its bang for buck factor. Whats the catch? Depends how you want to use it. For me I got rid of it because I needed a machine with a 58mm portafilter to prototype tampers on, whereas the Lelit has 57mm. The build quality isnt as solid as the Silvia, the portafilter is lighter, the drip tray lid is thinner, all round its a less robust machine (presuming these are all the same on the Lelit which may or may not be the case). That all said, theres nothing inadequate about it in itself, its only by comparison to the Silvia that it feels a *bit* cheaper. But then it is; several hundred dollars worth when you consider a Silvia is more than the Combi and you then have to buy a grinder. For me it was a simple decision and it served me well for the four years I owned it for.
As far as a comparo with the Sunbeam, its the same question of Sunbeam vs Silvia so Id direct you to http://www.coffeetamper.com.au/kb/reviews/sunbeam-silvia/ and take a quick look at the pros and cons down the bottom, because feature for feature its a very similar equation.
Nope. Like the Silvia, you should leave the Lelit to warm up for about an hour before use (you could get away with half an hour). The Sunbeams group was too hot to touch while the Silvias was barely warm. The Sunbeam is a killer if you want to drag people home and crank out 12 lattes within 20 minutes of turning the machine on. Youll never do that with a Silvia or a Lelit. Thats not an issue for me so the Lelit would still be my choice, but think carefully about how you want to use the machine before biting the bullet.Originally Posted by 200B110A0D12620 link=1289144599/2#2 date=1289221555
Nope. Like the Silvia, you should leave the Lelit to warm up for about an hour before use (you could get away with half an hour). The Sunbeams group was too hot to touch while the Silvias was barely warm.
Greg - Agree with your comments above apart from this one. *The Lelit warms up incredibly qiuckly and group is too hot to touch at around 10 minutes - even the filter basket is hot. * It really is quick. *Im not sure if the new machines heat up faster or not, but Ive read similar comments elsewhere. *
Ive done general taste tests at 10 min, 20 and 30 and there seems to be no noticable difference in taste or crema. *Not sure if heating it up for an extended period is meant to be better for pouring a god shot or if you want to pull more than one shot, but seems good to me. *When staying at my brothers place and using his Silvia it did seem to take longer to warm up, but half an hour would be fine. *What noticable difference is there from half an hour to an hour? *Perhaps the difference is with the Silvia;s slightly heavier constructer portafilter.
On the thermoblock machines, they can make good or even great coffee in the right hands, however I had problems with my breville dying on me twice in two years, and I beleive this was partly from overuse :), but also from the thermoblocks not being as long life as single boilers. *Not suggesting all thermoblock machines will die on you like mine and Im sure youll find people on this site that have been knocking out coffee;s with these machines for ages, but my belief (and I think the general school of thought), is that single boilers like the Silvia and Lelit will usually give you a very long life if looked after. *
Theres another machine called the Gee which a site sponser has which is similar in price to Silvia if you want to add another machine to the list under consideration,
Its likely funny, but Id love some of the EM features, though Im not sure I could live with a shorter operating life, and slow/wet steam.
Possibly a victim of having owned a brass boiler machine, even if mine suffered age and difficult/poor shots, one thing it did well was fast dry perfect steam, which for someone like me who adores a perfectly textured flat white, served me well in that area.
Anyway, Im living off plunger coffee right now cause I just cant face the old saeco anymore, so I really need to get some other stuff sorted so I can order a Lilit asap I think.
I think I burnt through 2-3 thermo-block machines in around the 3-4 years I owned them, all mine seemed to chew through group seals, and produce wet steam that took a long time to steam milk (to be fair I did not realize it was that long a time till I bought the boiler machine).
The last Krups I owned actually did really good shots through a non pressure porta, but I had to dig it out some time back when I was waiting for a part on the saeco, and thought Id die before it finished steaming my milk.
Considering my Saeco with boiler has done a fair 3 years of difficult but generally reliable service, I want any replacement to do at least 5 years of trouble free work while being easier to use and repair.
And yes I saw the Gee, looks awesome, but that $1000 price point is one I still cant quite justify, I have worked my way up to accepting that $600-$700 range, its quite possible given 3-6 years Ill then be able to accept that $1000+ range, but Im not there yet.
The milk is certainly average at best on the Sunbeam. Its good for a thermoblock so if youve been disappointed with thermoblocks in the past (as have many) dont think the Sunbeam is as bad as those; but nothing beats a boiler full of steam!
RizzaNZ: The Lelit would probably heat up quicker than the Silvia as the Lelit employs a boiler-on-group design while the Silvia has an offset boiler. The 6910 has a thermoblock-on-group so theyre similar in that regard, except that the 6910 doesnt have a lump of brass plus 300ml of water to heat up. My comment in the review on this point was:
"The net result of this is that you can feel significant heat coming off the 6910s showerscreen within a minute or two while the Silvia is only just not cold. Supporting the thermal inertia argument is the fact that 2 hours after turn-off, Silvia was still warm around the group while the 6910 was cold."
That being the case (1-2 minutes), my money would still be on the 6910 to be up to operating temperature quicker but it sounds to be less of an issue than the Silvia - which is good as the OP is looking for a Lelit. That said, maximum thermal stability will still be had when the whole the unit (water, boiler, pipes, portafilter, spouts) has had time to heat up, and thats generally accepted to be 30 minutes or so. The only debatable question, as you say, is how much of a difference it makes if you start early. At the end of the day so long as youre happy with the taste thats all that matters.
Bishop, despite there being some arguments both ways, I think the consensus is clearly for you to grab a Lelit ASAP and forget the Sunbeam! I know thats what Id be doing in your situation!
Maybe theres some variance between individual machines, but Ive actually dialled down the steam temperature on my EM6910 to give me better control - though I typically only steam 100ml - 300ml of milk at once.
I havent owned a boiler machine so cant compare directly, but the EM6910 is certainly worlds ahead of the piddling steam produced by the cheap, single-thermoblock machines. Plus of course its always available, unlike a single boiler machine. *
As for the Sunbeam being a shocker - when looking at reports of faults you have to take into account the sheer number of these machines that are sold and the people theyre sold to ;) Id say a good proportion of faults are actually caused by clueless users. IME longevity can be good provided youre careful with cleaning and maintenance - and perhaps just a little lucky ;)
That said - there are plenty of good reasons to lean toward a solid boiler machine over a made-in-China thermoblock - all depends on your requirements . The Gee is interesting and might just combine the best of both worlds - but probably not in the same budget category price-wise.
Greg - get your point about maximum thermal stability. I guess the question is does this impact a single shot, ie temp drops during the shot, or is this going to impact a second and third coffee if the user was kicking out multiple shots? How does this impact look and taste and is there any way of actually testing this? I think the half hour to an hour heat up time to thermal stability may be correct in theory and in use for commercial settings where you need to crank out consistent coffees non stop, but not sure how this would be an issue for domestic user. Also not sure if this has ever been blind taste tested. Is it a theory like tamping pressure (old school law that must be x pounds of pressure), that was only ever an opinion and in reality, not that definitive, or is it more? Note that these are actual questions and not me having an arguement - genuinely interested!
Anyone new to coffee can tune out now!
Bishop - I had non-pressurised krups baskets for my breville 800. They were ok, but let shed loads of coffee grinds through. The holes were so much larger than baskets for Lelit or Silvia. Did you have this problem?
The Krups baskets I had were strange, they are like a bit of fine mesh mounted inside a plastic ring cast into the bottom of the basket, look weird but I dont remember mine letting much grind through.
But then the whole experience of making ok shots in a older style thermoblock Krups was a challenge, its all about getting as much coffee as possible into the basket, standing on it, and then choking the hell out of the machine to get the extraction you want, kills group gaskets, I lost track of how many I went through.
Mind you, the Saeco was/is almost as hard at times, it may have had a brass boiler, but when you still dealing with small diameter deep baskets, its just so easy to choke the machine trying to get a good shot, and the pump on the saeco I think has never been great (pre-dates the better pumps used in everything now), so really I suspect Ill be real glad to see the back of thermoblocks and small group boilers.
I have an 12 year old Krups that Ive had to dig out when getting my EM6910 serviced. *The EM6910 is a great design and I wish it would make good espresso... but after my third replacement Im wondering... *Bizarrely, the Krups makes great shots (made in Germany– I wonder if thats why). *Its messy and a bit clumsy, but (after ripping out all the plastic crap) I get wonderfully viscous pours, a dark crema, solid pucks and the shots have none of the sourness of the Sunbeam shots. *Of note, the temperature of the shots is noticeably different– the Krups shots are for sipping, the Sunbeam for sculling. *I want to love the Sunbeam, and the Sunbeam support team have been awesome, but even with the thermoblock temp set to max, it just doesnt seem hot enough. *A friend has a Lelit and it makes good coffee, although hes very protective of his machine so Ive not had a chance to really test it myself.
I know the temperature of the Sunbeam has been discussed elsewhere, but I really wish there was a way to turn up the temp (beyond max)– then this would be a truly great little machine.
I dont know what the problem has been with your Sunbeams.
The ones Ive used have all made great espresso.
+1. I think the problem with the Sunbeams has been variable quality. Some have run for years trouble free, some have been in the shop for repairs 3 or 4 times. Mine has been back once, the steam became very weak, but the support from Sunbeam was great. Since then, no problems and plenty of good coffees.Originally Posted by 7D415C474D4C5B4E464D290 link=1289144599/14#14 date=1293157503
Ive got the 9600 (1st gen , not sure what they changed to make it a 9610), it makes one cup each morning, unless I have company, has been going for 5 years. I think its a great machine It has great / short heat up time (almost instant), and can froth milk all day if you know what you are doing, while also making coffee. Also the the filters hold large amounts of coffee for Australian tastes (and cup sizes) unlike Italian machines. the only down side is you do need to put a fair bit of coffee in, and tamp it doesn hard, but the flavour is great.
I also have an Rancilio. S27 which is now in the garage, the sunbeam makes as good a cup but quicker and smaller power bill. I used to have a Rancilio Miss Audrey, similair conecpt to Silvia. I think either the sunbeam, or a machine with a heat exchanger ($1500+). And for what you get for the grinder, the sunbeam will make you lots of good coffe ...... on a budget..
Wow look how long I have been dragging my heels, I put a new group seal in the Saeco and stalled this long, now the old saeco failed to a point its not worth fixing.
New Lelit may be a must have order come Monday...
Or order today and it will be on its way tomorrow morning: http://www.cuppacoffee.com.au/lelit-pl041-espresso-machine.htmlOriginally Posted by 5F746E75726D1D0 link=1289144599/17#17 date=1301745148
Just remember with the Lelit you have two choices in the same models - buttons or switches - different vendors stock different ones. Ive got the one with buttons, and personally would prefer switches after 6 months of use (would make it easier to prime the boiler)
Also, the pressure gauge is pointless as far as Im concerned. I looked at it to start with, and realised it only told you if youd choked the shot or not - essentially something that your investigative skills should be telling you when nothing is coming through the basket.
Also remember since this thread was started, the Silvia has come down in cost quite a bit (Id probably still go the Lelit, but thats just because Ive learned to love her :) ).
Does the latest stock of the Lelit come with the solid steam wand now, or still the slip over version?.
I know the yanks got the new solid wand last year, so wondering/hoping we got the change as well by now?.
No Bishop, its still the same version weve always had.
got my Lelit Combi from Neli Coffee at Clontarf on the weekend.* *Great service from Janelle and Edward.* Edward spent ages with us to ensure that when we got home we are pulling great shots.
It comes with the slip over steam wand attachment that I immediately removed.* Steaming brilliantly!
I would definitely recommend buying from them.
Addit: It has been noted in this forum previously that although Neli are not sponsors they have a relationship with Jetblack Espresso
In that case, you may want to consider changing that picture on your site, it shows the US version with solid steam wand, and I almost ordered it last night based off that picture, with nothing in the description to say otherwise either.Originally Posted by 7C6A6F6F7E7C7079797A7A1F0 link=1289144599/21#21 date=1301863087
The US version still has a knob on the end of it Bishop, but thankyou for so politely pointing that out, despite my clarification to you via email early yesterday.Originally Posted by 4D667C67607F0F0 link=1289144599/23#23 date=1301934303
Bishop may have been recording the detail in this post for the benefit of others. ;)Originally Posted by 7E686D6D7C7E727B7B78781D0 link=1289144599/24#24 date=1301949445
Well, Im so glad I stumbled across the post. I have corrected my error, making the post defunct.Originally Posted by 7549544F454453464E45210 link=1289144599/25#25 date=1301955549
I did not mean to offend, just with the targeted selling link within this thread, I thought it worth pointing out something that could have created some grief.Originally Posted by 013D203B313027323A31550 link=1289144599/25#25 date=1301955549
There are so few ways to nicely say, "hey you fudged up something on your website", but Im glad you fixed it so fast, cause the same situation has burnt me several times in the past.
But again I do apologize, as you did seem to take it more personally than I expected, which surprised me given it came full circle from me asking if AU models had changed based off me seeing the US model on your website.
Thankyou Bishop, and I apologise for having misled you, albeit unintentionally.
FWIW, thankyou for not having purchased solely on the strength of that photo. It saved you being upset, me making a refund, and the Lelit going on a holiday to your home and back again.
Interesting afternoon, my new Lelit showed up today...
My first thoughts, well right off Ill say Im super critical of everything I buy, its my nature, what I feel and say is blunt and direct, but take it in context, Ill be harsh, but it does not mean Im unhappy with what I got, just that I am very real about everything I buy.
Ok, first impressions, well its a interesting little machine, smaller than Id have thought, also kind of more thin walled that I expected?, my old Saeco is very solid, the Lelit sort of flexes around when fitting and removing the group, I can see/understand now why the Silvia has the steel frame.
Fit and finish is like a lot of reviews have said, its both nice, to look at etc, but things like the drip tray and water tank seem just a mix of not quite spot on, or weirdly industrial, its certainly built to a budget, but then at the same time it does seem built to last, does that make sense?.
Id say strong where it matters - the coffee making side of it. Cheap where it doesnt (drip tray etc).Originally Posted by 0E253F24233C4C0 link=1289144599/29#29 date=1302595780
Setting up for use, well I have a fairly new EM Cafe Sunbeam grinder, which grinds a lot finer than my original cheaper EM did, running changes I noticed different burrs and it just seems shimmed better?.
Anyway, right off after priming etc, Im trying shots, grinder was set around 8 for my Saeco before it died, usually around 8-9, been using 10 for my stovetop, thought it may need to be finer for the Lelit.
Coffee is about 1.5 weeks old Merlo Rivera, tasted ok in the Saeco which was doing ever increasing bitter shots and its a mild coffee and suited the stovetop.
So like 7 on the grinder and its a slow and very sour shot (though I dont usually drink non milk unless Im chasing setup), messing around Im doing 9-10 not sure of dose or tamp, half dozen sour or bitter shots, in the end I break out a short glass with marks for 30ml to try and dial everything (took me ages to dial in the old saeco age and design was not its friend).
Having a measured glass handy, timer and repeating consistent dose with a practiced tamp paid off, after about the 7th shot it came out nice, tasted ok, and flow almost right, one last grinder tweak up to 11, and it seemed ok to make a flat white.
Shot for my flat white came out spot on, so first go at steaming...
This has always gotten me with every machine I have bought, you get so used to the old one, so I knew Id cock it up, and of course I did.
In truth, pure power killed my technique, my saeco was not bad, faster than either the old thermoblocks by a mile, but the Lelit just pumps out steam like nothing Im used to using, by the time I had adjusted the jug to suit my grip on the short nozzle, it was up to temp, and thin with not enough bulk.
I do wish the steam arm was longer, but really hard to fault the power, it heated up very fast to steaming temps, then probably steamed in half the time of the saeco, which steamed in 1/3rd the time of either old thermoblock.
Yeah, Id say that is spot on, made to a function, then scaled to do it at a price.Originally Posted by 2F30322831243332255D0 link=1289144599/30#30 date=1302596076
More in depth impressions and observations...
Well I think for a start, I have to say I think my 2002 Saeco did better shots that I ever gave it credit for, but having said that, the Lelit blows it out of the water, bigger baskets/group like with the Lelit (which I measure at damn near 57.75mm) seem a lot easier to work with, good tamper is a must have, dont fool yourself otherwise (I factored it into the cost I needed to spend getting a new machine, like $60+).
There is more ability to tweak with something like a Lelit, you simply run up against a wall with something like a small saeco I think, small basket less pressure etc, with the lelit you can vary the dose a lot, size makes tamping easier, positive good seal on the group and great pressure pumps everything out well, design makes everything quite clean to use (benefit of near full size group?).
Coffee dose, manual says scoop and a half (single basket), other guide says one scoop, in practice I found a smidge over one scoop, say like loose level fill of basket off grinder, then tap to settle then mid strength tamp worked for me.
Tactile finish on other parts is a little rough, but it all looks like its made to last, which is good.
Power cord is too short, I changed the saeco one, that was super short, but Im not about to void my Lelit warranty.
Overall, I now see exactally why youd buy a Sunbeam, or spend more on a Silvia, but I also see why if your looking to save money like me, or want something that is bullet proof, why youd buy the Lelit.
Oh and thanks to Talk Coffee for the machine, Chris is a pleasure to deal with.
Tamper from different source is sorting out a mild mess, part fault to shipping who seems to have dropped it (several not so great marks), but also cause packing could have prevented that, and I got sent the wrong model. :-/
More notes, the making of a shot is quiet on a Lelit, the old Saeco was loud, but ironically its a lot louder steaming where the Saeco was quieter.
Also Im failing my texturing of milk with it big time, trying all Im used to and still failing somehow, I miss my silky smooth milk.* :(
This weekend I may buy a few big bottles of milk, and spend an afternoon just seeing if I can get it right somehow.
Edit: Just when you feel lost, you dive in with some aggression and almost get it, pulled the machine closer to the edge of the bench, brought the nozzle forward towards me more, changed hands/grip, and damn near got close to what Im used to, yay me.
My next focus is trying to get some more strength out of the brew, maybe cause the shots are so good, but my coffee tastes weaker than Im used to, could be the aging beans though.
You can use a jug of water with a drop of dishwashing liquid in it to practice steaming. Not exactly the same as milk but behaves similar. I found it useful, and youre not using up milk.
Ok, small update time...
Lelit is nice and easy to keep clean, love that, really does need 15+min to warm up, can live with that, steaming still not going that well...
So I was still unable to get really good silky milk, decided to try something and found some interesting results...
Noticed for a start the steam nozzle on the Lelit is quite large, went and looked at the saeco pannarello remembering its fairly small, decided to put the saeco pannarello on the Lelit...
While removing the original tip on the Lelit I found it had a crack, now Im not 100% sure it did not crack while unscrewing it, but I only used a tiny spanner to remove it, with minimal force, so cant say for sure.
Well I put on the saeco pannarello, fired everything up to make a flat white, and right away with the pannarello tip (no cover), got perfect silky smooth milk like I was used to with the saeco.
Mate, its 3.16am maybe you need to cut back on the coffee a fraction* ::)Originally Posted by 507B617A7D62120 link=1289144599/37#37 date=1303406185
I struggled with the milk initially, but I followed the tips here and am starting to have success:
:-? You realize not everyone is a nine to five drone right?.Originally Posted by 072E3C2F2A2525222E4B0 link=1289144599/38#38 date=1303427023
And like I said, be it the cracked nozzle giving me issues or other, the different nozzle gave me perfect micro foam, so Im not sure I need to do anything else.
Updates for my own sake as anyone else, I like to back check my own thoughts...
Small or medium pitcher, totally love steaming with my Lelit now, the saeco nozzle just makes it easy, switching milk brands and buying a small 400ml jug actually improved my technique.
My shots though are still a work in progress, what Im getting is not bad, but Im finding a weakness in the body of the shot taste wise, Im getting a perfectly drinkable result, but not with the taste up to what I know it should be?.
Aiming for a volume based off time, I end up with something that blondes quite soon, yet I vary method and it chokes or runs far too long, or cant tamp hard enough to compensate.
This is likely me just being a perfectionist though at this point, for some reason I keep wanting more and more lately, I have a terrible feeling it may end up being expensive.
Oh, and has anyone else seen one of the US sellers of the Lelit have a version coming out with a ball jointed steam wand next month?.
Steaming milk with the Saeco nozzle...
And while Im making a post, I think I need, or maybe just want a better grinder, the Sunbeam Cafe series is getting on my nerves, static constantly alters the dose, and Im getting sick of how much coffee is retained in the chute, almost think it not giving me the best I can get out of the machine either.
Weird, was not expecting to have to temp surf on the Lelit, but I find myself doing it anyway...
I think more than anything, when your trying to get consistency in a shot, you find the temperature swings throwing off your extractions.
Your just looking for that repeatable zone in the boiler cycle, and right now for me, its wait the 12-20mins for the machine to stabilize enough...
(seriously that is where it seems to work, 12min and its ok, 15mins and your generally good, 20mins+ and I think its close to most stable)
Then you want to purge some water till the light goes off, and boiler comes on, wait for the light to come on and hence boiler to cycle off again, then do a little quick flick purge, then do your shot.
Since I started doing this, repeating a consistent shot has become a lot easier.
I am considering buying a Lelit.* I already have an EM0480 grinder (which Im aware isnt crash hot - thanks to other threads on the topic* :) ).* With regard to the different models (without a grinder) there are the PL041E, PL041EM, and the PL041TEM.Originally Posted by 6A75776D7461767760180 link=1289144599/19#19 date=1301785675
I was wondering if others think (as RichardM indicates) that the gauge is useless?* Is that the main advantage of the PL041EM over the PL041E?
Also, is it worth forking out the extra dollars for the TEM?
This is for home use only. Thanks for your help.
Originally Posted by 424D574B4F50230 link=1289144599/43#43 date=1313933646
Hi anthls and welcome to coffeesnobs.
The gauge shows you brew pressure. I can think of 3 scenarios when you would refer to it.
1. Backflushing - when it maxes out its time to turn the pump off (but you could listen for this too because the pump gets quieter when it is under load)
2. extraction quality (but you can watch the extraction instead)
3. something goes wrong and you suspect the machine isnt delivering enough pressure - no workaround I can think of except for getting your hands a portafilter pressure gauge which most people wont have at home. The most likely scenario here is that you dont get any coffee coming through even though you are sure youve ground coarse enough. Without the gauge, you suspect the pump isnt delivery full pressure but you wont know for sure ...
The pressure gauge is a bit like one of those gauges on your car dashboard that you dont need in order to drive the car, but might come in handy when something isnt going the way you thought it should ...
The main difference with the PL41TEM is that it adds a PID temperature controller which makes the brew water temperature more stable than on the other models. It also gives you the ability to change the brew water temperature so that you can experiment.