The Lelit Bianca is paving the way among espresso machines. The Lelit Bianca is packed full of high-end features at a very affordable price. This machine is really designed for the hobbyist barista wanting to control every aspect of brewing- including flow pressure.
Lelit is a somewhat smaller scale brand in the coffee industry. They are based in Italy and focus on producing high quality espresso machines, grinders and coffee accessories among other things. The Lelit Bianca is their top end espresso machine and is punching above its weight with its customization options.
Lelit Bianca Review
Dimensions: 29 x 48.5 x 40 cm | Weight: 26.5kg | Coffee Boiler Capacity: 800ml | Steam Boiler Capacity: 1.5L | Water Tank Capacity: 2.5L
The Lelit Bianca is a truly beautiful machine that will make a statement piece in any kitchen. It has been meticulously crafted with polished stainless steel and walnut accents. It features an E61 group head common among prosumer espresso machines. But it isn’t just a pretty face! It is a dual boiler machine, so you can steam your milk at the same time as pulling a shot. It has a silent rotary pump making it very quiet when in use. It also comes with a repositionable 2.5L water reservoir or the gear required to plumb the machine in if you so desire. Other notable features include PID temperature control, a shot timer, a cool touch steam wand, and of course, the ability to manually control water flow (but we’ll get more into that later).
The other thing to note is that this machine while being well built, is extremely heavy! Weighing 26.5 kg, you better make sure you place it in the right spot on your bench because you don’t want to be moving this baby!
Aside from this, the machine comes chock full of extras, including a bottomless and double spouted portafilter, a decent 58mm stainless steel tamper, both a two and four-hole steam wand tip, three baskets, and the hoses required to plumb the machine in. Overall the Lelit Bianca is a beautiful and well-made machine that is packed full of features.
Ease of Use
The Lelit Bianca is a unique machine in that it could be used as either a semi-automatic espresso machine or you are able to control the flow profile of your shots manually as you develop your skills. If you are just starting out, the learning curve is pretty similar to a standard semi-automatic espresso machine. If you turn the paddle all the way to the right, it pulls a shot as a standard E61 would. As you develop your skills, you can advance to using the paddle to manually adjust the water flow and thus the shot pressure. The only downside some users have reported is that the Lelit Bianca takes a long time to heat up- about 25 minutes! This is a long time to wait if you want a quick espresso shot before you shoot out the door. Some users turn the machine on and then just leave it on standby, making it quicker to brew your coffee. It also has the option to turn the steam boiler off to save power if you do not intend to brew milk-based drinks.
The Lelit Bianca allows you to adjust the shot pressure as you pull a shot. Similar to a faucet, you can turn the paddle and increase or decrease the amount of water flow. There is a pressure gauge on the group head, allowing you to track the pressure of the coffee puck. This feature allows the experienced barista to regulate the pressure manually, producing the best possible shot with every type of coffee blend. The Lelit Bianca is unique in that it is by far the cheapest machine on the market that offers flow profiling. It is comparable to the La Marzocco GS3, which is twice the price! It pays to note that the flow profiling is done manually, so you don’t have the technology to store profiles or reproduce excellent shots; rather, you have to pull your shot by feel.
The Lelit Bianca offers unparalleled control over brewing parameters. In addition to allowing manual flow control during extraction, it has an LED screen built into the machine known as the LCC (Lelit Control Centre). The LCC allows you to program pre-infusion times and alter the temperature of both the coffee (between 80-115C) and steam (between 120-130C). You are also able to adjust the standby (energy-saving) times. When the machine goes into standby, the steam boiler switches off, but the coffee boiler is maintained at a temperature of 70C.
The Lelit Bianca has a decent milk frother. Unfortunately for Lelit, the Bianca is often compared to other machines like the La Marzocco GS3 or Slayer (which are at least twice the price), and in comparison to those machines, it does fall short. However, for the home barista, the steam power is more than adequate. The Lelit Bianca comes with two steam wand tips, either two or four holes. The two-hole tip allows you to steam milk at a slower rate and is good for beginners, whereas the four-hole tip is more powerful. The hot water and steam wands are both cool to touch, making cleaning a breeze. Overall the milk frothing capabilities are excellent considering the price.
Who Is The Lelit Bianca For?
The Lelit Bianca is for the hobbyist barista, wanting a machine that offers customization and flow profiling. It would also be a good option for a beginner looking for a machine that can grow with them. It really is a unique machine, in that it is at least half the price of its competitors (but at $3000 it’s still a pretty pricey machine!). If you are after an espresso machine you could use for a coffee cart or the like, the Lelit Bianca is probably not your best bet, given the small steam boiler. It would be better to opt for something like the Linea Mini, which can pump out multiple lattes with ease.
In conclusion, if you are on the market for a machine that offers flow profiling, you should seriously consider the Lelit Bianca. This machine offers exceptional value for money, a high level of customization, and excellent build quality. This would be an excellent machine for the hobbyist barista wanting to explore espresso or the beginner looking to be able to progress to a pro.