Post By mathiar
Post By JetBlack_Espresso
Post By JetBlack_Espresso
Lelit Combi with PID review
I've had this machine for about 2 months now and thought I'd give an honest opinion of it. I toyed around with getting a machine for the last few years. Recently a friend had bought this, ironically because I had suggested it last year. After using his for an afternoon at his house I was sold.
For some background, I worked as a barista in Vancouver for nearly 6 years before moving to Australia. Worked for the likes of 49th parallel and phil & sebastians, so I've got some experience. The guys at Jetblack Espresso were MORE than helpful.
Solid. For a machine that was less than $1500 I am very impressed. Out of the box it was sturdy and the stainless steel gives it a very nice look on my counter top. The portafilter has a nice weight to it making it feel solid without being too heavy. I wish the handle was in a material that was a bit softer but its by no means a deal breaker. I want to try and find a flat bottom PF for this machine but so far it seems that does not exist (although to be fair I haven't tried that hard to look).
This is obviously the bit I was most concerned with but I have been incredibly impressed with it. I leave early in the mornings so was dreading the idea of getting up extra early to set it all up...
From the moment I flick the switch on to the time it actually gets to a brewable temperature is less than 2-3 minutes. That being said, the initial startup has the temperature fluctuate at bit, it will go up to 102 then back down to 92 then eventually settle at 96 which is what I brew at. Really, this all still happens in less than 5min so what I do is turn it on, go brush my teeth, shower, dress etc. and by the time I come back its sitting perfectly at 96.
I make my wife a coffee as well and I was worried the single boiler would be a problem with time as well. I pull a shot and steam milk, then pull a shot and steam another milk (with boiler prime in between) and the entire process takes me less an 8min (I left my timer on once to check). I even get to pour latte art in the wife's cup which earns me brownie points. The coffees are still hot because I extract the shot directly into a preheated glass keep cup (for work) or a porcelain mug.
The boiler temperature will drop a fair bit if you try and fill the cup with hot water from the machine. I get around this by just boiling a kettle in the mornings when I flip on the machine.
Performance (Grinder and machine)
I think I covered most of this for the machine in the previous section but I've been happy with it. Shots extract consistently and taste great. The steam wand pressure is certainly not as powerful as the one my friend has. I'm not sure if this is a difference in the PID models (he has the non-PID) but his steam wand pressure when he's purging or priming is audibly and visually much higher. Milk steams just a few seconds faster with his as well. I'm not that fussed to be honest since opening up my wand completely still gives me a manageable pressure to make very well textured milk. Excellent for latte art for a home barista standard, but certainly not what I was at in my competition days.
The grinder is pretty decent. I consider my tamping to be quite consistent and good technique given my past. Occasionally I'll pull a shot that just does not come out great, but to be honest this happens maybe 1/5 and I adjust it with the length of the shot so it ends up tasting ok. Honestly, when you're making a milk drink, those subtleties go out the window and my wife can't tell the difference anyways. I very rarely have to adjust the grind since I'm sticking to the same roaster these days. I wish the chute was a LITTLE* further away from the machine as I like to rotate my PF and move it around to evenly distribute the grind without having to use my hands too much afterwards. I get around this problem relatively easily though.
The convenience of having the grinder in the machine is invaluable because our kitchen is not huge and even this machine takes up more than we were really able to sacrifice, but the tradeoff is fresh coffee every morning so no one complained.
One of the counter arguments to a combined machine was "If you have to send in your grinder for repairs you have no espresso machine". Sure, fair point. But how many people keep two grinders of equal quality in their houses? I figured if the grinder broke down, I'd buy my coffees for the time it took to fix it. The benefit? Much less space and much lower price.
Ease of use
Not much here. Its super easy. there are two switches, its a breeze to clean and its all stainless steel so it washes really easily. I don't put anything in the dishwasher but I'm sure it would be fine since its al strong plastic and metal.
Filling the water reservoir is a bit annoying because of how small the hole is and how deep in the reservoir it is. But if I had a small funnel it would be a non-issue. Also the container can be removed easily but I find it faster to just slowly pour the water in. I use filtered water from my Britta. Not sure if that makes a difference but I figure it's mildly prolonging the life of the thing.
Backflush roughly weekly and chemical backflush roughly monthly.
All in all I'm very very happy with this machine. Guys from JB were great and very prompt with everything. If the PF was a little bigger of a basket and had a flat bottom option it would be even better. I find making two coffees in a row a reasonable timeframe but doing much more than that would become cumbersome. So far we haven't entertained a large enough group who all wanted coffees so its been ok...I find the boiler purge in between actually helps bring the temperature down to the brew temperature for extraction so its quite helpful in that sense, and having the PID I noticed that it comes to temperature a little faster than my friends machine.
Would highly recommend this machine for the home barista who doesnt want to (or can't) splash out on something fancy.
Nice review. I started with a rancilio lucy due to the high wife acceptance factor and it was a good machine. Sold it here about 8 years ago when i moved on to an hx.
Not having a seperate grinder was never an issue.
Great review mathiar. Thanks for sharing. The Lelit combi with PID (42TEMD) is one of my favourite models. A great combination of quality and compactness.
BTW, if you're after a bottomless pf for it, it is here.