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Thread: $2k Options

  1. #1
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    $2k Options - Lelit?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Iím looking at buying a home machine to save money longer term and looking at something for a max of around $2000.

    ideally looking at a machine with a built in grinder for space reasons though could probably squeeze in a machine and grinder.

    Would be making 3-4 coffees per day on average.

    We we have friends who have a delonghi Prima Donna elite which producted decent coffee however I like the look of the Lelit Kate after reading some reviews and forums. Both come in about $1900 at the moment.

    my assumption is the Lelit is the better option and better machine in terms of quality ??
    Last edited by Davidrenstead; 24th December 2018 at 05:07 PM.

  2. #2
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    They are two completely different type of machines - manual vs automatic. The auto will produce OK coffee and work well most of the time but occasionally jam up and require cleaning out, often at ill-opportune moments. The Lelit is a proper manual machine that happens to have the grinder built-in. Don't be fooled into thinking its automated in some way, its not. You only save a bit of bench space by having the grinder builtin.

    You haven't mentioned if you are experienced with manual machines or not, or whether you want to become experienced with a manual machine. It is a commitment to learn and improve your knowledge and technique to go down the manual path. If you're not that fussed, then the answer is probably "maybe not". As former World Barister champion James Hoffmann put it "Do you want a new hobby?" If you just want a nice coffee and not a hobby, then stay away from the Lelit or any manual machines. If you are already an enthusiast then the Lelit is a good option for limited bench space and will last longer than many appliance-level machines.

    There is a middle ground in the Breville Oracle which can be had for less than $2000 on special. It grinds and tamps for you and remove much of the "hobby" elements but doesn't go as far the "Touch" model which does automatic grind adjustment (I think ?? - see this review on Youtube for the top model https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRBOxyu2b2Q). It will make a better coffee than the Delonghi but will require a bit more knowledge and attention to detail. See the thread: http://coffeesnobs.com.au/brewing-eq...-bes980xl.html.
    Dimal likes this.

  3. #3
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    I have the Lelit Kate, and can definitely recommend it as a starting machine. Probably the most compact setup you can buy. Very easy to take it on road trips with you.

    Just two things I would say:
    1. It's a single boiler machine so you have to wait about 30 seconds after you pull your shot to start frothing milk. If you then decide to pull another shot after finishing frothing milk, you have to wait about 5 or 10 minutes for the machine to cool down (there are tricks speed it up slightly).
    2. If you decide later you want to upgrade to a dual boiler or better grinder, you have to replace the whole thing.

    While I'm very happy with the Kate, if I could go back time I would spend an extra $500 and buy:
    1. The Baratza Sette 270WI grinder, which weighs off the exact grams for your dose ($649),
    2. Lelit PL60T V2 dual boiler ($1,899)

    Definitely agree with Dischucker that it's really a hobby given the time and money you end up putting into it. For instance, most cafes throw away their first 5 or so cups in the morning 'dialing' the machine in and getting the flavour of the espresso right. As a home barista, you probably end up drinking that first or second cup because it blows out all the economics if you tip it down the sink. And don't get me started on fixing 'channeling', that feels like a full time occupation.
    level3ninja likes this.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kymbolino View Post
    I have the Lelit Kate, and can definitely recommend it as a starting machine. Probably the most compact setup you can buy. Very easy to take it on road trips with you.

    Just two things I would say:
    1. It's a single boiler machine so you have to wait about 30 seconds after you pull your shot to start frothing milk. If you then decide to pull another shot after finishing frothing milk, you have to wait about 5 or 10 minutes for the machine to cool down (there are tricks speed it up slightly).
    Open the steam valve while it's automatically repriming the boiler. This will allow the steam to escape and the machine will be ready to pull another shot as soon as the refill finishes. This takes about 30 seconds (rather than waiting 10 minutes).

    Quote Originally Posted by Kymbolino View Post
    2. If you decide later you want to upgrade to a dual boiler or better grinder, you have to replace the whole thing.

    While I'm very happy with the Kate, if I could go back time I would spend an extra $500 and buy:
    1. The Baratza Sette 270WI grinder, which weighs off the exact grams for your dose ($649),
    I've found that the digital timed grinder in the Kate is consistent enough so that weighing the shot isn't required. If you're getting inconsistency, it would be worthwhile looking elsewhere for the cause(s) first.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kymbolino View Post
    2. Lelit PL60T V2 dual boiler ($1,899)
    The Lelit PL60T V2 is no more but the Lelit Elizabeth takes over where it left off. It adds auto shot cutoff (single and double), and the other "VIP" functions like pre-infusion and standby.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kymbolino View Post
    Definitely agree with Dischucker that it's really a hobby given the time and money you end up putting into it. For instance, most cafes throw away their first 5 or so cups in the morning 'dialing' the machine in and getting the flavour of the espresso right. As a home barista, you probably end up drinking that first or second cup because it blows out all the economics if you tip it down the sink. And don't get me started on fixing 'channeling', that feels like a full time occupation.
    With the Kate, try grinding off a couple of grams into the bin before the first shot of the day, then use one of these before tamping. The Kate is my "travelling" machine. The only sink shots I can recall were due to changing coffee blends and needing to readjust the grinder (maybe 2 shots over two years and hundreds of shots). A perfect coffee as the first attempt of the day should be your "normal".

    charlie
    Kymbolino likes this.

  5. #5
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    Hi Charlie,

    Thanks for taking the time to offer suggestions. At first read I just couldn't believe you had so little 'sink' shots but I walked away and tried to have a real rethink about my espresso work flow.

    Firstly, after doing some soul searching I think my frustration with the Lelit Kate is two things:
    - Novice barista 'blaming his tools',
    - A consumer urge to find a reason to upgrade.

    Obviously neither of these things have anything to do with the machine.

    In the last week i've had the Lelit Kate with me on a family holiday where I had the chance to improve my puck distribution techniques and conclude that it really is a great machine, particularly for any first timers, but also anyone just doing a few coffees each morning.

    Some dot points:
    - Probably the most compact and neat machine you can buy,
    - All stainless steel chassis and looks great on your kitchen benchtop,
    - Very quick heat up time,
    - Conical burr grinder which is more than enough for your average two-cup-a-day home user,
    - PID temperature control of the boiler,
    - Boiler is mounted directly to/above the group head resulting in excellent thermal stability,
    - Countown down shot timer,
    - Timed dosing for single and double shot,
    - More than enough steam for doing a few cups of coffee a time.

    Open the steam valve while it's automatically repriming the boiler. This will allow the steam to escape and the machine will be ready to pull another shot as soon as the refill finishes. This takes about 30 seconds (rather than waiting 10 minutes).
    Yes this has worked great, and then I also run some water through the group head until the group head stops steaming. Takes about 30 seconds as you say.

    I've found that the digital timed grinder in the Kate is consistent enough so that weighing the shot isn't required.
    I did some crude testing and it is definitely accurate enough, within point something of a gram each time. I also think it's become less important now that I've improved my coffee distribution.

    With the Kate, try grinding off a couple of grams into the bin before the first shot of the day, then use one of these before tamping.
    Yes, I actually have one of those tools, but I would also now recommend a WDT tool (or modified yoghurt cup) too. I now do WDT, palm tap then Lelit distribution tool, followed by slight nutating then firm but not heavy tamp. It's made an unbelievable difference to my coffee consistency, seemingly making grind and dose less critical.

    The suggestions I would make to anyone starting out is to get your head around coffee distribution. Looking back I think there were lots of times I was stuffing with the grind setting and dose, when actually it was just channelling.
    JetBlack_Espresso likes this.

  6. #6
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    For anyone who's interested, here's a video of me pulling a shot through my Lelit Kate




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