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Lelit PL041EM and PL043 just bought, first coffee great!

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  • Lelit PL041EM and PL043 just bought, first coffee great!

    Hi,

    Just bought a Lelit PL041EM and PL043 grinder from Charlie and Debbie at Jetblack Espresso.  The sales service was excellent and relaxed.  I was given the opportunity to ask lots of questions as I am a newbie, but didnt feel embarrassed at all. 

    when I got the gear home and opened up the well-protected coffee machine, it had a small blemish on the side chassis by way of a tiny but noticeable bump sticking outwards in the metal that affected the smooth reflection.  this was no doubt easy to miss depending on the light.  so I decided to call back a couple of hours later, and was told immediately to bring it in for a replacement, which I did still today.  Debbie was gracious in her service, and both she and Charlie checked out the unit and agreed that it was indeed an issue and fetched another unit, checked it out first, reboxed and sent me on my way with an unexpected parting gift for my troubles. 

    Guys, Ive been in small business retail for 20 years and you absolutely nailed it today - particularly in your after-sales service and attitude to customers. I know that issues can occur with products out of the box - I am in a high damage-rate industry, online books - and I could not have been better serviced today.

    I got home and made the best macchiato I have had in years.  Then did a flat white (needs work) for my son and a hot chocolate for the younger one.

    So two comments  here - thanks Jetblack Espresso for kick-ass service and for launching my home-made espresso voyage, and the Lelit PL041-EM machine and Lelit PL043 grinder are giving me joy right off the mark. I will do a better review on the gear once I have worked with them a bit more.

    Thanks and Regards,

    Steve T.

  • #2
    Re: Lelit PL041EM and PL043 just bought, first coffee great!

    Hi Steve and welcome to the forum.

    Its feedback like yours that puts the icing on the cake after a long, busy and enjoyable day and ultimately its the reason we do what we do. So thanks for taking the time to post.

    Im sure there are many snobs who are looking forward to your review on this combo so let us know how you go. And post those pics! All latte artists have to start somewhere

    charlie

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Lelit PL041EM and PL043 just bought, first coffee great!

      I joined the Lelit club yesterday too Steve, also purchased from JetBlack. Perhaps you are the fellow I saw enquiring about the PL041EM while I was there.

      My experiences thus far are much the same, great results from the first shot. Im using mine with a Rancilio Rocky grinder I bought at JetBlack a week earlier. Ive upgraded from a Presso/Bellman setup and gee, what a difference! Im sure I could have got a similiar result with the Presso but itd be a big effort. The Lelit looks great sitting on my bench too.

      The only thing I gotta come to grips with is the steam power! I thought the Bellman operating a 3 BAR was pretty punchy...right now I feel like a cartoon character with an out of control fire hose ;D Still, at least I know steaming a large jug would be no trouble at all (Im only using a small jug for a single flat white at the moment).

      My thanks too go to the guys at JetBlack Espresso. I am now set up with the right tools to suit my needs perfectly. When Im next in the market for espresso gear Ill certainly be back!

      Regards,
      Harlan

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Lelit PL041EM and PL043 just bought, first coffee great!

        Hi Harlan,

        Glad to hear youve hit the ground running. Im sure it wont be long before youre used to the new steaming power of the PL041EM. Enjoy 

        charlie

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Lelit PL041EM and PL043 just bought, first coffee great!

          So i thought Id report back after Week 1 on my new Lelit PL43MM grinder and PL41EM espresso machine.

          PL43MM grinder:
          I found that having the stepless option with the MM is definately worth it - I just like the finesse you can achieve as with good radio tuners.
          The grinder is a little noisy, but I think that is largely subjective and also based on the space it is operating in. I havent used more expensive grinders, so part of my assumption is that more expensive grinders may be quieter? Mind you, it got 17yo out of bed because he heard there was something good to get up for!

          After a choke first thing in the morning I decided to dial into a slightly coarser grind (two full turns from the setting it came on) and attempted to fill and tamp the same to try and keep it scientific (!), it worked a treat but I acknowledge my lack of consistency so I will set aside one morning to really test this.

          PL43EM machine:
          The pressure was on - Id boasted so much to my wife - whi doesnt drink coffee but loves her teas - how I was doing with making coffee, that she invited my father-in-law around to sample this Wonder. He was arriving in 1 hour and he Loves his coffee. so I broke out in a bit of a sweat when he arrived, ground some fresh Organic Peru, and heated the machine up all the while chatting about all the features and techniques like a pro. Filled, tamped, pressed the extraction button, and CHOKED! Dribbled out like a babys nose.

          So I switched into 5th gear, explained it all away somehow, cleaned and ran it again, this time tamping less. 25ml in 30 secs, about 1.2mm crema. He loved it, so I was saved.

          I found that the wand can leak a few drops while extracting, but I have run a few coffees where it hasnt. note again this is a new machine - I cannot replicate it yet scientifically, I just keep the wand placed on the drip tray.

          Frothing milk is working well - havent had any disasters yet and am achieving reasonable consistency with the 400ml stainless steel jug I bought with machine. I did find that I have to keep on touch-heating up beyond what I would have thought in order to get a nice hot temperature milk, but I guess its just practice and getting familiar. does anyone use a thermometer?

          Thats it for now. Any comments or suggestions would be gratefully received.

          Best Regards,

          Steve.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Lelit PL041EM and PL043 just bought, first coffee great!

            Im using a dosing tool I made out of a plastic card, with a convex curve in it. Works a treat and helps substantially with my consistency (I started playing with this technique before I got the Lelit). I grind till I get a little mound, tap to settle, grind another mound, tap to settle once more. Scrape the excess with the dosing tool and then a light tamp with only the weight of the tamp.

            Ive been pulling fairly long shots on the Lelit, often around 40 secs for a double (I always pull doubles and split off half into a shot glass if Im only making a single drink), and oddly these shots taste better than shots at 30 secs or less. They always have a nice chocolatey taste in a flat white and never taste bitter and over-extracted. Ive also found that the gauge on my machine reads about 2 BAR higher than the actual pressure at the group (confirmed here: http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1286342258/8#8). The needle never climbs past 11 BAR, which makes sense because the OPV would be limiting any further increase. This explains why I got a weak and bland coffee at 9 BAR on the gauge! ;D

            My milk frothing has improved in the week that Ive had the Lelit, Ive become used to the substantial steam pressure fairly quickly. What I do is start off opening the steam valve 1/4-1/2 turn to get things started, then open the valve a few more turns to finish the job. I love how fast I can steam milk now! I dont use a thermometer; I use the technique I learnt in the user manual for the Sunbeam machine I used to have (my first machine) - if you cant hold your fingers on the bottom of the jug for 3 secs, then youre done. This has served me pretty well for a long time.

            Regards,
            Harlan (very satisfied Lelit owner )

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Lelit PL041EM and PL043 just bought, first coffee great!

              Hi Steve, can I ask why you bought the machine and grinder separately and didnt just get the Combi? I believe all the components are pretty much the same.

              I have a Nemox Caffe Dell Opera - virtually the same machine as the Lelit Combi - which I bought second-hand and still makes great coffee. But youre right, the steam wand has always leaked on my machine - even after getting it "fixed" (machined on a lathe). I wonder if its an inherent design fault with these machines?

              Anyway, glad to hear youre having fun. Im ready to upgrade, but its hard to shake the little voice inside my head saying "Just buy another Combi . . ."

              Theyre really that hard to beat for the money!

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Lelit PL041EM and PL043 just bought, first coffee great!

                Originally posted by 203D282E21262C4F0 link=1327737006/6#6 date=1328580307
                But youre right, the steam wand has always leaked on my machine - even after getting it "fixed" (machined on a lathe). I wonder if its an inherent design fault with these machines?
                Its a total design failure in my opinion, and is the reason why I (Cuppacoffee) stopped selling them. Having said that, I havent come across the perfect machine yet, and the Lelit is well constructed otherwise, and is capable of making good coffee.

                A coffee snob came up with the idea of using heat shrink tubing to place over the needle valve, and as far as Im aware, this seems to have resolved the leaky syndrome.

                Originally posted by 203D282E21262C4F0 link=1327737006/6#6 date=1328580307
                Im ready to upgrade, but its hard to shake the little voice inside my head saying "Just buy another Combi . . ."
                Im a bit confused as to how that would be an upgrade?

                Cheers
                Dennis

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Lelit PL041EM and PL043 just bought, first coffee great!

                  I guess what I meant was, while Im ready to upgrade, my Nemox (Lelit) has been such a great little machine that Ive been considering buying another one! Technically it would have been an "upgrade" because Ive had my machine five years now and bought it second-hand after it was already a few years old, so it would have been a new machine. I was also under the (mistaken?) impression that the new Lelit Combi had been improved over the older models - I take it they still havent fixed the leaky steam wands?

                  That aside, I still think theyre a great little machine for those starting out.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Lelit PL041EM and PL043 just bought, first coffee great!

                    My PL041EMs steam wand doesnt seem to leak, maybe these new ones vary a bit? I usually keep it over the drip tray anyway.

                    Regards,
                    Harlan

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Lelit PL041EM and PL043 just bought, first coffee great!

                      Originally posted by 2F26352B26292D470 link=1327737006/9#9 date=1328598879
                      My PL041EMs steam wand doesnt seem to leak, maybe these new ones vary a bit? I usually keep it over the drip tray anyway.

                      Regards,
                      Harlan
                      Ill take a guess that yours is relatively new. Be patient and I guarantee it will eventually happen to yours too. Informing people about the issue should be par for the course.

                      I was the CS Sponsor that first sold the Lelit machines and while it wasnt this particular model, the valve was the same. We approached the manufacturer to make changes but they werent interested in doing so at the time.

                      If I were to range these machines now, I would be taking them out of the box and modifying the valves with the heat shrink before the machine is ever sold. Its not a big job.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Lelit PL041EM and PL043 just bought, first coffee great!

                        Originally posted by 06272C2C2B31420 link=1327737006/10#10 date=1328599632
                        Originally posted by 2F26352B26292D470 link=1327737006/9#9 date=1328598879
                        My PL041EMs steam wand doesnt seem to leak, maybe these new ones vary a bit? I usually keep it over the drip tray anyway.

                        Regards,
                        Harlan
                        Ill take a guess that yours is relatively new.  Be patient and I guarantee it will eventually happen to yours too. 
                        I dont think the issue is that the steam valves will eventually leak - every steam valve will eventually need some TLC. The issue has been that sometimes, a relatively new machine can develop a leaky steam valve. Obviously this isnt acceptable which is why we repair or replace the valve and/or tap rod at no charge if it happens.

                        Having said that, there has been continual improvement in this component and it is less of an issue now than it used to be.

                        charlie

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Lelit PL041EM and PL043 just bought, first coffee great!

                          Calling this a design fault is a bit of a stretch IMO, its just a sacrifice - Gaggia classics have the same design of metal on metal compression valves, and yes, when subjected to brew pressure they will leak a few drops. At the price point of the machine, its to be expected that a few of the niceties will be withheld.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Lelit PL041EM and PL043 just bought, first coffee great!

                            Hi,

                            organic: I bought the grinder and machine separately for maintenance, upgradeability and bench-space reasons. If the grinder for example needs maintenance, then I lose the grinder for the period and vice versa. Same with upgrading. I may possibly upgrade the machine or grinder in a few years, but not necessarily need to upgrade the other - it was a 50-50 proposition for me because the Combi is such a nice compact unit, but I chose the separate route.

                            Re: leaking wand, I am talking about a few drops only here during extraction.

                            Is it still worth getting the "fix" - ie should there be NO drips at all? Im surprised that Harlans does not leak at all - same units bought same day same place, but mine gets a few drops. I will experiment a bit more with the steam knob though I am pretty sure it is tightened well, and report back - it doesnt bother me I guess. As you know my machine is only a couple of weeks old.

                            Best regards,

                            Steve.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Lelit PL041EM and PL043 just bought, first coffee great!

                              Originally posted by 2A23302E232C28420 link=1327737006/5#5 date=1328412676
                              Im using a dosing tool I made out of a plastic card, with a convex curve in it.

                              Regards,
                              Harlan (very satisfied Lelit owner )
                              Hi Harlan,

                              Thats very interesting about the dosing tool you devised and how you use it. Thanks for sharing that.

                              Regards,

                              Steve.

                              Comment

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