The Lelit Bianca is a legend among coffee enthusiasts, thanks to its unique combination of beauty, quality and brewing capacity. But does the semi-automatic, feature packed Lelit Bianca really live up to its pristine reputation.
The Lelit Bianca espresso machine was built and intended for the professional barista – but there is no reason why the enthusiastic home barista should not get in on the possibilities embodied in the Lelita Bianca dual boiler espresso machine. In other words, this impressive dual boiler espresso machine is the perfect prosumer (professional + consumer) product.
The Lelit Bianca was among the top 12 most innovative products at the 2019 Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show, and indeed, the Lelit Bianca brings a whole lot of customizable features as well as powerful internal brewing technology to any coffee lover’s table.
It is only fair to say that, somewhere between the steam power boiler, the proper dual loop PID, and the impressive espressos brewing and milk frothing capabilities, the Lelit Bianca has much to offer.
Of course, the Italian-made Lelit Bianca does not come cheap – but it is the cheapest espresso maker that has a dual paddle system. Of course, one remarkable feature does not a good espresso machine make, but this is just one example of the advantages that the Lelit Bianca has over most other machines. In many ways, the Lelit Bianca sets the standard for what a good dual boiler espresso machine should be.
Unlike most other espresso machines in its price bracket, the Lelit Bianca offers ample opportunity to experiment with flow control and pressure profiling, allowing for a highly customizable coffee experience every time. While it can take a bit of time getting used to the Lelit Bianca, if you are used to simply pressing a button and hope for the best, learning your way around the Lelit Bianca pays dividends in the long run.
In this article, we are going to go into depth, looking at all of the different aspects that make the Lelit Bianca special, from its stainless steel body to its internal brewing technology and everything in-between. We will be looking at the Lelit Bianca’s brewing capacity, user friendliness, milk frothing capabilities, overall build quality, cleaning, descaling and other maintenance features, and of course, the quality of the espresso that the Lilit Bianca is capable of producing. After all, the taste and quality of the espresso is the most important benchmark of an espresso machine’s stature.
Without further delay, let us get right down to business.
Get your own Lelit Bianca
The Lelit Bianca is available from 1st in Coffee.
Does the Bianca from Lelit live up to the hype?
The overarching question we seek to explore and find an answer to in this article is whether or not the Lilit Bianca dual boiler espresso machine is worth investing in.
The answer, of course, is going to differ depending on your personal circumstances and preferences. In the unlikely even that you are someone who is content with filter or instant coffee on a day-t0-day basis and are merely reading this out of curiosity, the Lelit Bianca is probably not for you. If, on the other hand, you are a true coffee and espresso fanatic and are looking for the best espresso machine your budget will stretch to, the Lilit Bianca is at least worth considering.
The first thing anyone should know about the Lelit Bianca is that it is a coffee lover’s espresso machine. The Lelit Bianca was built for the professional barista – which of course doesn’t mean that the aspiring at-home barista should not get their hands on one of these spectacular machines and start experimenting with brewing the espresso of their dreams. What it means is that the Lelit Bianca is a coffee machine that it only makes sense to get it if you are after something a bit out of the ordinary – something a few shelves above a Nespresso coffee maker.
Before we even get to any of its features or its brewing capacit, the Lelit Bianca is bound to make a striking first impression due to its utterly delicious appearance.
The Lelit Bianca is espresso machine is characterised by a beautifully glossy stainless steel body with walnut accents, and lines that are wonderfully smooth and simple. The size is surprisingly compact too, considering the amount of features and smart technology housed within the shell. The Lelit Bianca measures just 16′ and has the advantage of fitting on any kitchen countertop, both visually and literally.
The Lelit Bianca machine is fitted with a number of dials and valves, which gives it a bit of a steampunk vibe, and the overall impression is somehow both rustic and sleek. The Lelit Bianca would look equally at home in an upscale New York City cafe and in a rustic farm kitchen – everything about the design indicates quality.
And while being a thing of unquestionable beauty, the Lelit Bianca is also durable. Not all espresso machines are built to last, but the Lelit Bianca is. The fact that it is made or professional baristas means that it should be able to withstand a lot of action on a daily basis.
But does the internal components hold up to the promise of the Lelit Bianca’s impressive exterior?
Features and functions
It’s what’s on the inside that counts, and this is certainly true for the Lelit Bianca espresso machine and its internal brewing technology.
The Lelit Bianca dual boiler espresso machine is beautiful to look at, but it when we start unpacking the features that this unusual espresso machine really starts to get really interestin
Where to even start?
The Lelit Bianca is a dual pump espresso machine, with a dual-loop PID which allows for individual temperature control of both the brew boiler and the steam boiler. What this means in practical terms is that you, the barista, have a very high degree of control over the temperature at which the coffee is brewed and at which the milk is frothed.
Double spouted walnut portafilter
The Lelit Bianca comes equipped with a bottomless walnut portafilter, which is not only beautiful but also practical, as it allows for a whole lot of brewing flexibility.
The double spouted portafilter allows you to brew into two glasses or cops at once, rather than just one. This may be practical at a home, but it no doubt particularly useful to know if you are opening or running cafe and need your machine to be able to brew plenty of delicious espresso shots, fast.
The Lelit Bianca dual boiler espresso machine is first and foremost an espresso maker, but it is also furnished with everything you need to be able to whip up some delicious milk froth or latte art in a matter of minutes.
Thanks to the shot timer, the Lelit Bianca allows you to get super precise when you pull an espresso shot. Want to prepare the perfect espresso, double espresso, ristretto or Lungo? The Lelit Bianca makes it easy.
Every coffee machine has a drip tray, but the Lelit Bianca’s drip tray is worth highlighting, as it is both comfortably spacious and fully drainable.
Another detail, but one that is absolutely emblematic of the quality and care with which the Lelit Bianca was so evidently built, are the adjustable feet located on the bottom of the Lelit Bianca’s steel body and made from the same metals as the rest.
The Lelit Bianca is fitted with a fully removable external reservoir, which makes it easy and hygienic to refill when needed, and to keep clean. The removable water reservoir has a clear water line that makes it easy to gage when it is filled to capacity.
The water tank does not heat up while you are using the Lelit Bianca to brew coffee, and can be repositioned on either side of the espressos machine so it is never in the way on your countertop. If you are no fan of a water tank at all, you can remove it fully and rely on the Lelit Bianca being directly plumb-able.
E61 group head
The E61 group head built into the Lelit Bianca utilises a proper dual loop PID for accurate temperature control. The E61 group head consists of an adjustable wooden paddle, which allows the barista to manually adjust brew pressure. There are no pre-sets, so this can seem a challenge at first, but it is also fun and rewarding – and the resulting espresso potentially much more delicious. There is a temperature readout at the group head, which lets you know precisely what you are doing while pulling your shot.
The E61 group head does not quite hold up against the more expensive and therefore more saturated groups found in some high-end professional barista quality espresso machines, but it comes close enough that most will be unable to sense any difference.
A wide-diameter thermosyphon pipe ensures a good degree of temperature stability throughout the brewing process and keeps temperature fluctuations to a minimum. Temperature stability is important, as it enables you to reliably pull a hot show of espresso rather than a lukewarm one.
One of the things that can be said to truly define the Lelit Bianca is a high degree of customisation, and so it follows that you are even able to control the water flow, and with it the brew pressure as you pull your espresso shot.
As you are brewing your coffee you are able to keep track of the pressure on the coffee puck and to adjust it via a valve. The capability to track and control the brew pressure with accuracy is called flow profiling and is a feature that is typically only found in much higher-end commercial machines, such as for example the La Marzocco GS3 MP.
The flow profile is operated manually, which gives you the highest degree of control over how your espresso turns out. It also means that you are not relying on technology but using your own preferences and barista skills to pull the perfect shot at the perfect flow and temperature. Naturally, this leaves more room for error as your practice and discover how to brew a consistently perfect espressos shot – but it also means that you can prepare your espresso precisely how you like it, rather than to one specific, locked-in preset standard.
In a practical sense, the manual flow profile operation is great, because it is less likely to break down than if it were controlled by and reliant on technology.
At the heart of the Lelit Bianca dual boiled espresso machine is a rotary pump, which is much quieter when in action than the more standard vibratiory pumps most espresso machines come equipped with. We all know how annoying it can be when you are at a cafe or even at home and are standing or sitting near a noisy espresso machine – with the Lelit Bianca, you will never have to experience this problem. No espresso machine is completely silent, but the Lelit Bianca gets rather close.
The rotary pump also means that you can opt for plumbed operation, rather than relying on the reservoir.
Manual paddle pressure
Did you know that the Lelit Bianca is the least expensive espresso machine with manual paddle pressure available on the market?
Usually, a manual paddle pressure gauge is a feature reserved for super high end professional espresso machines, but the Lelit Bianca puts manual pressure gauge within reach of more people.
Thanks to smart engineering, both the brew boiler pressure and the steam boiler pressure can be monitored via one combined pressure gauge located on the front of the espresso machine. With the paddle on the group head, you won’t have to adjust the brew pressure gauge very often, but if you do want to adjust it this can be done by turning a screw located on the bottom of the machine. You can also use this to turn the steam boiler off, which can help you save energy when you are not brewing coffee drinks that require milk froth.
Lelit Control Centre
The Lelit Control Centre, accessible via a hi-res LCD display, is where it all comes together. This display is where you can control the temperature, infusion time and coffee ground dose measurements. The display also lets you set the standby time you desire – and as an extra bonus, it automatically functions as a shot timer the moment you start pulling your shot.
Coffee is the entire point of brewing espresso, so you are probably wondering what characterises the coffee one can brew using the Lelit Bianca dual boiler espresso machine.
First and foremost, you should expect each Lelit Bianca brewed cup of coffee to come out piping hot – thanks to intense heat ensured by the built-in wide-diameter thermosyphon pipe. As you will know, if you have owned or operated a variety of espresso makers, many don’t serve up coffee at a consistently hot temperature.
Another characteristic of the Lelit Bianca dual boiler coffee machine is that every aspect of the brewing process is highly customizable, which is fantastic if you want to be able to pull shots that match your exact preferences. Most espresso machines don’t give you the kind of control enabled by the Lelit Bianca’s flow control and pressure profiling capabilities.
The fact that you can adjust every aspect of the brewing process, it naturally leaves more room for both success and error – so while the Lelit Bianca may not be the easiest first machine to start out with if you have never owned an espresso maker before, it is capable of brewing a better cup of coffee than just about any other coffee machine out there. This is true whether you just want to brew coffee at home, or have aspirations to open a small cafe – the Lelit Bianca is able to deliver the best quality of coffee for any occasion, once you have acquired some skill at operating it.
The Lelit Bianca dual boiler espresso machine comes in two different versions – the V2 and the V3, the latter being a former and slightly improved version of the latter. The primary difference between the two models is that the V3 comes with upgraded and programmable software, which introduces standby mode as well as low flow and cup warmer features.
Our recommendation, the Lelit Bianca V2, is available from 1st in Coffee and is priced at $2,979. While $2,979 is by no means cheap for an espresso machine, it is a bargain considering the quality and brewing capabilities that the Lelit Bianca embodies.
How it works
Because everything on the Lelit Bianca is operated manually, this dual boiler machine is a very intuitive piece of equipment to work with. There are no presets and you don’t have the ability to store flow profiles, which means you will never be able to perfectly reproduce the espresso shot you just pulled. Sure, you can get pretty close to reproductabilty, but there is something incredibly charming about each shot being uniquely crafted.
If you are not already a skilled barista, the Lelit Bianca may not seem super user friendly right out the gate, but if you keep experimenting and feeling your away around its various features and capabilities, you will soon fall in love with it, practically guaranteed.
It inevitably takes a bit of experimentation to get it right, but once you do, you will discover how to work it, no matter whether your preferences run towards intense, flavourful ristretto or a rich and creamy latte.
The Lelit Bianca is suitable for brewing any kind of coffee you can think of, including just about every one of your favorite coffee recipes. Light roast, medium roast and dark roast all come to the right, too, and with a bit of tenacity and practice you can learn to brew each one optimally.
Let us say, for example, that you are brewing a dark roast coffee. If you start with a high flow pressure that slowly eases off, you will be able to smoothen out the flavor profile and bring out the richness of the roast. If, on the other hand, you are working with a light roast, finding the optimal extraction might require a bit of poking around and feeling your way through various brew pressure levels until you find one that brings out the best flavors in your own estimation.
The Lelit Bianca is semi-automatic, which means it is not complicated to operate – but at the same time, the fact that there are no presets, no simple buttons to press, means that it is not entirely easy either – at least not until you get the hang of it. While operating the Lelit Bianca, you are required to pay attention, to the dual pressure gauge, the shot timer, and essentially to everything you are doing as it all influences how your espresso shot turns out. This can seem equally challenging and rewarding.
The Lelit Bianca dual boiler espressos machine is a joy to work with, after the initial learning curve has been traversed. The fact that you get to know your coffee preferences and how to get everything just right is a very satisfying feeling, not to mention that the coffee you brew will be so much more characterful than a cup of Nespresso.
Who the Lelit Bianca is perfect for
The Lelit Bianca is the perfect match for true espresso lovers who are obsessive about crafting the perfect espresso. It doesn’t matter whether you are a professional barista or an at-home coffee enthusiast – if you appreciate the art of coffee brewing as much as you appreciate the taste and effect of coffee, the Lelit Bianca is a very worthy piece of kit.
There is something downright hedonistic about the amount of attention you have to pay to brewing a shot of espresso using he Lelit Bianca. It’s an indulgent experience, is what we are getting at.
By the same token, if your coffee machine preferences run towards the automatic and the easy, the Lelit Bianca may not be for you. If fiddling around with water pressure and shot timing is not your thing and you are content with a more standardised shot of espresso, perhaps the Lelit Bianca can seem too cumbersome and demanding.
In other words, the Lelit Bianca is not for everyone – it’s for the nerds, the espresso obsessives.
Lelit Bianca FAQ
Is the Lelit Bianca worth it?
If you are a hardcore espresso fan, you are going to love the Lelit Bianca, because it is the perfect prosumer coffee machine for those who adore the brewing process as much as they do the coffee itself.
The Lelit Bianca is a stainless steel steam dual boiler espresso machine, characterised by incredibly powerful and innovative brewing technology and a high degree of completely customisable brewing functions. The Lelit Bianca has no presets, no saved brew profiles. What you have instead is fully controllable flow control and profiling. In other words, with the Lelit Bianca, every espressos you pull becomes an individual piece of art, never to be fully replicated again.
It is easy to see how and why the Lelit Bianca appeals to coffee enthusiasts, while repelling those who prefer the ease and comfort of, for example, a fully-automatic capsule coffee maker.
Where is Lelit Bianca made?
The Lelit Bianca is produced by Italian appliance company Lelit. Their ethos is to bring their customers’ passions to life through powerful and innovative home appliances.
If the Lelit Bianca dual boiler espresso machine is anything to go by, the Lelit brand certainly delivers on its promises.
Is Lelit a good brand?
Lelit is an Italian home appliance brand established in 1986. Thanks to the brand’s emphasis on quality, craftsmanship and innovation, Lelit has managed to build an impressive reputation and become internationally renowned for its sturdy, reliable and beautifully designed products.
How long does it take Lelit Bianca to heat up?
Large dual boiler espresso machine are known to take ages to heat up – sometimes up to 45 minutes. The Lelit Bianca heats up in 25 minutes, beating most other large-capacity dual boiler espresso machines on the market.
How much power does Lelit Bianca use?
The Lelit Bianca’s two boilers are fitted with 14000W heating elements, which translates into nearly inexhaustible espresso brewing and milk frothing capacity.
Does Lelit Bianca have flow control?
Yes, the Lelit Bianca dual boiler coffee machine has flow control.
The E61 group head which is one of the Lelit Bianca’s most important features, lets you adjust the water flow, and with it, the brew pressure. You area also able to keep tabs on the pressure as you pull the shot, thanks to a pressure gauge located on the top of the machine.
How do you backflush Lelit Bianca?
How often you should backflush your Lelit Bianca depends on how much action it sees on a daily basis. If your machine is in a cafe and is used to pull fifty or more espresso shots a day, you should perform a quick backflush daily to keep it clean and de-clogged. If, on the other hand, your Lelit Bianca is at home and is only used once or a few times a day, backflushing every few weeks is sufficient.
To backflush your Lelit Bianca, move the paddle on the group head all the way to its right side and run the machine without any coffee grounds.
How do you descale Lelit Bianca?
Descaling you Lelit Bianca when it needs it is a vital component in maintaining and caring for your espresso machine.
To descale your Lelit Bianca dual boiler machine, simply place a jug of water under the brew group, dispense water for approximately until it stops, which takes roughly 99 seconds. Repeat the same process until you have run through a minimum of three full water tanks.
A queen among stainless steel dual boiler machines, the Lelit Bianca is the ultimate prosumer machine. Not suited for everyone, the Lelit Bianca is an espresso machine for the true connoisseur.
When you first get your hands on a Lelit Bianca dual boiler coffee machine, there is a bit of a learning curve to wrap yourself around. Once you get the hang of it, however, you will probably find yourself wondering how and why you ever prepared and enjoyed espresso any other way.