If you are in the market for an espresso machine for around $500 mark, the Lelit Anna is a serious contender. The Lelit Anna is a simple, single-boiler machine that is both compact and reliable. Lelit is a name well respected in the specialty coffee community and so this is a fascinating option for budding brewers.
In this review, we will look at what the Lelit Anna brings to the table to help you determine if it is a suitable espresso machine for you. We will also compare it to other popular machines in this price range; the Gaggia Classic Pro and the Rancilio Silvia.
Lelit is an Italian company that produces quality and affordable espresso machines. They have released several popular espresso machines in the last few years, the most notable being the Lelit Bianca, an affordable pressure profiling machine. The Lelit Anna is their entry-level espresso machine.
Lelit Anna Review
The Lelit Anna is a beautiful machine that packs a punch. The first feature of note is the compact footprint. The Lelit Anna has been carefully designed to minimize counter space. Part of the way Lelit achieved this was by situating the boiler directly above the group head. This design means that the Lelit Anna is able to still have a large 2.7L water tank despite the small size.
The Lelit Anna has classic Italian espresso machine vibes, with a gleaming stainless steel mirror finish. The machine is operated via three chrome buttons on the front; a power button, a brew button, and a steam button. On the front of the machine, there is also a pressure gauge which is helpful to determine if the grind size is on point.
The Lelit Anna feels well-built, has a nice weight to it, and has a beautiful finish. However, there are some areas where it is obvious costs have been cut. The water tank is just a plastic tank with hoses which feels less premium. There is a cut-out window on the side of the machine to indicate the water level. The drip tray also doesn’t have an indicator to show when it is full which can be problematic.
Finally, the Lelit Anna has a 57mm portafilter rather than the standard 58mm. This could be a deal breaker for some. While it will not affect the quality of the coffee, it does mean there are fewer accessories available and any you invest in will not be able to be reused should you upgrade machines in the future.
Let’s take a look inside:
Single Boiler: The Lelit Anna is a single-boiler espresso machine, which means that there is a small delay between brewing and steaming. A single boiler machine is a good option for moderate home use, but not ideal for regular back-on-back drinks.
0.25L Brass Boiler: The Lelit Anna is fitted with a small brass boiler. As mentioned above this is located directly above the group head which helps to keep the temperature stable during brewing. The small size means that it is quick to heat up and able to switch from brewing to steaming within 30 seconds.
Vibratory Pump: The Lelit Anna has a vibratory pump that slowly ramps up to full pressure to create well-balanced shots.
Three-way Solenoid Valve: Finally the Lelit Anna has a three-way solenoid valve that drains excess water from the puck, creating a dry puck that is easy to bang out.
Lelit Anna Models
It is worth noting that there are two models of the Lelit Anna, one with a built-in PID and one without. The model with the built-in PID costs slightly more but offers far better temperature control, which in turn produces well-extracted shots and consistent results. You are able to program the PID on the LCC panel, allowing you to set a brewing temperature or alter it depending on the coffee you are using. In the PID version, the chrome buttons are replaced with levers. We highly recommend the Lelit Anna PID.
Ease of Use
The Lelit Anna is straightforward to use, and simple to get your head around. The small boiler means it is quick to heat up or switch between brewing and steaming. Once you have prepared your portafilter you simply insert it into the group head, then place your cup under and push the brew button. The machine will then pull an espresso shot, you need to push the button again to stop the shot.
The pressure gauge on the front of the machine is helpful when pulling shots to show if your coffee is dialed in correctly. There is a green zone on the manometer which indicates the pressure at the portafilter is within the desired range.
Once you have pulled a shot you can switch on the milk steamer, this will take around 30 seconds to bring the boiler up to steam temperature. The Lelit Anna has a manual steam wand which can then be used to steam milk.
If you are wanting to brew back-on-back drinks you need to bring the temperature down after steaming by running hot water out of the steam wand.
The Lelit Anna produces sweet, well-balanced shots, but lacks some of the texture and body you would find in shots produced on more expensive machines. But overall, the espresso produced is delicious.
The Lelit Anna is fitted with a manual steam wand. This is a dual-purpose steam wand that doubles as a hot water dispenser for Americanos. The steam wand itself is not all that flexible to move around, but it can produce good textured milk with some practice. The steam wand is not well-powered given the small boiler, so this machine is more suited to espresso or Americanos rather than milk-based drinks.
Who is the Lelit Anna For?
The Lelit Anna is an affordable espresso machine that is compact and well-built. It is quick to heat up and produces some tasty espresso. Given the small boiler, the Lelit Anna is best suited to small households that are mainly looking to brew espresso or Americanos. This machine would struggle to serve a crowd and is not the best for milk-based drinks.
Gaggia Classic Pro
The Gaggia Classic Pro is an iconic espresso machine and a very popular entry-level choice. Like the Lelit Anna, it has a compact footprint and solid build. The Gaggia Classic Pro has a commercial-sized 58mm portafilter and produces a decent shot of espresso. Unfortunately, it does not have a built-in PID so it struggles a bit with temperature stability. However, there is a huge community behind the Gaggia and many mods you can do, including retrofitting a PID. If you are looking for an affordable espresso machine that is built like a tank, the Gaggia Classic Pro is another excellent option.
The Rancilio Silvia is the other classic entry-level espresso machine. While slightly more expensive, the Silvia has a larger boiler which means it has a faster, more powerful steam wand. The Silvia is well built and is known to last for years when well looked after. It also has a commercial-sized 58mm portafilter, producing delicious espresso. Like the Gaggia, it has a huge following and there is the option of adding on a PID if desired. If you are wanting to brew milk-based drinks the Rancilio Silvia is the best option.
Lelit Anna- The Verdict
The Lelit Anna is a simple entry-level espresso machine. It is well-built, has a stunning design, and has a compact footprint. A small boiler means it is fast to heat up or switch between brewing and steaming. The downsides of this machine are that it doesn’t offer a lot of steam power and comes with a non-standard 57mm group head. If you are looking for an espresso machine to brew Americanos or Espresso the Lelit Anna is well worth considering.