This is my first espresso machine. Decided to take the plunge on a nicer machine (buy once, cry once?) and I definitely don't regret it! 2 friends who had bought more entry-level machines (Gaggia Classic, Breville Bambino) came over and were thrilled to use a machine they felt didn't hold them back, particularly with respect to steam pressure and capacity. No regrets! Set up was extremely easy. The machine was well-packaged. While I managed to precariously unpack and lift the machine alone, I would recommend another pair of hands. I have a narrow countertop, so the flexibility of being able to place the reservoir on the side let this machine fit where other machines would have hung over the edge. No complaints about the build-quality once I got everything unboxed; however there is plenty of mirror-polish stainless steel surrounding the machine so I live in perpetual fear of leaving scratches! Lastly, Lelit is very generous with the accessories. I only needed to get a scale, knock-box, and frothing pitcher to make my first latte. The box includes water hardness test strips, 2 portafilters & baskets (IMS), water filter, etc. Warm up time to pull an espresso shot is ~10m, and then another ~10m for the steam reservoir to hit 3 bar. The portafilter is easy to lock in without looking. The walnut points of contact all around the machine are a pleasure to use. The brew valve has developed a slight squeak after the first month of use, but I don't find it bothersome. Having the grouphead pressure gauge and built-in shot timer in the LCC significantly cuts down on the faff required to dial in a good shot on a E61 machine. Steam pressure is more than adequate. In fact, steam pressure is probably higher than new baristas are accustomed to: just Google "why is my espresso steam wand SCREAMING?" for some great reading (tl;dr high steam pressure = more prone to cavitation. keep the tip closer to the surface!). While I haven't played around with flow profiling extensively, I'm happy to know it's there for me to fiddle with as I advance in my skills. tl;dr -- no regrets after ~1mo of using it as my first machine. friends are jealous. I am happy that it's a machine I can grow with.
2 months ago
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