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Help required from Lelit PL41LEM owner please?

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  • Help required from Lelit PL41LEM owner please?


    Can someone who owns this machine help me with a couple of questions please? I'm about to upgrade from 6910, and trying to get my head around the process. I have downloaded the manual, but still a bit confused.

    a) Why does it require so many toggle switches? I understand the top one (on / off), but then the middle one is a three position toggle (coffee, hot water, steam), and then a third toggle (coffee, hot water). And then each of these toggles has an indicator light.
    b) Could you please explain what the process if from turning the machine on, to extracting coffee, to texturising milk, to back to idle?
    c) I have heard people mention the importance of not letting the boiler run dry, thus damaging the element... how easy is it to inadvertently do that?

    Any help you can off will be greatly appreciated....


  • #2
    not having the machine in front of me, I can't tell off the top of my head, but I'd imagine one to manage boiler temperature, whether it be for steaming, or brewing. the other is to turn the pump on, so you can either brew, or fill the boiler up after streaming

    Process for making coffee would be normal to any other boiler unit, Turn on, make sure there's water in the boiler, wait 20 minutes, turn on steam temp switch, froth the milk, switch to brew temperature, purge the tank of hot water into your cup until it stops hissing and the re-heat light turns back on, Grind, fill, and tamp basket, Insert portafilter, Turn on pump to pour the brew.

    it's easy to kill the element if you don't refill the Boiler after purging it of heated water. simplest way to do that is to make sure that you pump water through it after every turn on and steam first


    • #3

      Thanks for your reply. I haven't used a boiler machine before... only 6910 (twin thermoblock). The retailer will give us a full demo / lesson, but only after we've essentially committed to buy. So I am just trying to fully inform myself of the single boiler process. Is it normal with a single boiler, to texture the milk first, then the shot. I have seen some some videos where its done the other way around. If you did coffee first, would you possibly not need to purge the boiler before steaming? Anyway, thanks for your reply.


      • #4
        You can do it the other way, but it's recommended to do the milk first, as if you don't, you may end up emptying the boiler inadvertently without realising, as they are only small boilers, and don't have an automatic refill (300ml isn't all that big really)


        • #5
          Hi mtrudgia,

          I have the Lelit combi which has the push buttons instead of the toggle switches but I assume they are the same functions. It is critical to refill the boiler after steaming because the boiler is so small in these machines, after every steam it is needed to refill the boiler and you do so by running hot water through the steam arm until a steady stream of water comes through. Why three switches?...because the machine does not have a separate hot water outlet to have hot water come out of the steam arm you need both the steam and the hot water toggle on. It is actually quite easy to run your boiler dry because unless you have your process firmly grounded into your mind you can forget the step to "prime" the boiler. I would not steam milk and then do an espresso shot simply because you would have the milk standing waiting for the espresso and by then the textured milk would have separated. Hope that helps


          • #6

            Thanks so much for replying. So a few follow ups, if you don't mind.

            a) How do you "prime" the boiler (using the toggles or buttons), and how do you refill it after using it?
            b) If its not too much trouble, can you describe what the sequence of button / toggle / state changes your "firmly grounded process" involves, from switching the machine on until completing a coffee and putting the machine back to "idle"?

            It would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.


            • #7

              Getting ready
              1. Power button on
              2. steam button and hot water (brew) button on
              3. Steam knob fully open and check that a steady stream of water is coming out of the steam arm
              4. Steam knob closed and steam button and Brew button off
              5. Lock in the portafilter and wait until machine gets to temperature (at least 15 minutes)

              6. After 15 minutes turn on the brew button and run some water through the group head with the portafilter locked in, take off the portafilter (wipe dry) and then do your grind, dose, tamp into the portafilter
              7. Just before locking the portafilter back in, run some water through the group head again (brew button) until the heating light indicator comes on. switch off the brew button.
              8. Wait until the indicator light turns off and then lock in the portafilter and turn on the brew button. place a cup under the portafilter and watch the espresso shot.
              9. After 30 seconds or so turn off the brew button.

              Steaming Milk
              10. turn on the steam button and open the steam knob for a few seconds. This purges the wet steam. wait about 10 seconds and then steam your milk
              11. After steaming your milk wipe the steam tip with a wet cloth and purge the steam.
              12. "prime" the boiler by switching on the brew button (while the steam button is still on) and then turn on the steam knob on full until a steady stream of water comes out. Your boiler is now primed and ready for the next shot.
              13. Turn off steam button and brew button.
              14. clean the group head with a grouphead brush and do some water backflush.
              15. turn off the power button.
              Last edited by saoye; 22 July 2012, 09:57 PM. Reason: added last steps and separated steam button and brew button in case it wasn't obvious


              • #8

                Thank you so much for taking the time. I'll keep the questions coming...

                If I've understood you correctly, the three-way-toggle (on the PL41LEM) is a function selector (steam, hot water, coffee), and the other toggle is the "brew button", on or off, related to the selected function.

                With the PL41LEM, there is an LED next to the "function selector" and the "brew button". What would be your understanding of the meaning of those LEDs?

                At Step 4, you say "steam and brew buttons off". With the PL41LEM, I imagine you would turn the "brew toggle" off, but what would you set the "function selector" to?
                At Step 5, can you explain why you lock the portafilter in, and why you wait 15 minutes, and if an "indicator light" goes on to tell you when that 15 minutes is up? Or does the machine not know anything about that 15 minutes?
                At Step 6, why do you run water through the portafilter? Is it a temperature thing?
                At Step 7, in terms of the toggles and indicators I have identified on the PL41LEM, what is the "heating light indicator"? Can you explain what the purpose of this step is?
                At Step 8, which indicator light goes off and what does that indicate?

                Finally, is there any "delay" required between performing steps 9 and 10? Or is the machine ready to steam straight after pulling the shot?

                Again, thank you so much for your assistance.


                • #9
                  Hi mtrudgia, as I said I don't have the LEM but I believe there should only be 3 buttons.
                  Power on/off, Hot water, steam. The "hot water" is the "brew" toggle. When turn on the toggle "hot water" by itself water should come out of the brew head. If you toggle the steam and then the hot water toggle then hot water should come out of the steam arm.

                  My Lelit does not have any LED so the "function selector" led I have no idea. It is probably best you discuss it with the people that you buy the machine from.


                  • #10

                    I again want to thank you for taking the time to help me. Talking through a detailed process like this in an internet forum is not a simple undertaking. I really do appreciate your time. Thanks again.


                    • #11
                      Hi mtrudgia, no problem. The Lelit is a great machine that does great espressos. The process is actually pretty simple and the good thing is that it is not as fussy as the Silvia in terms of grind, tamp and dose to get good results. Good luck. Hopefully someone can help specifically on the PL41LEM.


                      • #12
                        Hi mtrudgia,

                        Some clarification further to saoye's excellent Lelit support :-)

                        The middle toggle selects between steam/water through the wand/water through the group head (but does not turn the pump on for any of these)
                        The bottom toggle turns the pump on and off.

                        The top LED shows the machine is powered on.
                        The middle LED is ON if the element is ON. Note that this is true for the Australian version. Most if not all other markets have this the other way around.
                        The bottom LED is ON if the pump is ON.

                        Let us know if you have any other questions.



                        • #13
                          Thanks Charlie. Extremely helpful. Next set of questions.
                          When making a coffee, do you pull the shot first then steam milk, or the other way around?
                          How longer after pulling the shot and switching the middle toggle to "steam" is steam available?
                          How do make sure you don't run the boiler dry?
                          If you turn the machine on in the morning, let it heat up then make a coffee, then think you'll make another coffee in an hour or two, in what state should you leave the machine?


                          • #14
                            To give saoye and Charlie a break from answers:

                            1. With a single boiler machine like the Lelit, you always pull the shot first and then steam the millk. If you steam the milk first you will then have to prime the boiler before pulling the shot. That will put cold water into the boiler so you will then have to wait for the boiler to cool down, and then wait for it to heat the water back up again to the right temp for pulling the shot.

                            2. The time from pulling the shot, pushing the steam switch to when steam is available is not very long, perhaps a minute at most. The Lelit has a little boiler so it doesn't take long for the element to get the water up to steaming temp.

                            3. There's plenty of water in the boiler to steam enough milk for two coffees. As soon as you've steamed your milk you go through the priming process to refill the boiler. If you are making more than two coffees then I would pull the shots first, steam milk, refill the boiler and steam again. That way you reduce any risk of running the boiler dry.

                            4. You could leave the machine on if you're making coffees again in an hour or two. That would ensure everything's hot when you use it. That said, the Lelit heats up very quickly so you could switch it off, then on again about 20 mins before you want to make coffee again.




                            • #15
                              Thanks so much charlie, saoye and sniff. Sorry for the excrutiating noobness of my quesitons.

                              Last one, I promise.

                              You said, "as soon as you've steamed your milk you go through the priming process to refill the boiler". Can you just quickly describe what the priming process is?

                              And if I've understood everyone right, if you are making two coffees, you prime the boiler, you pull the shots, switch to steam, wait for element heating light to go off, steam the milk, drink coffee, and then prime the boiler again the next time you want to do anything with the machine... is that right?