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Dialing in a Lelit PL041
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acasabia
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acasabia
Joined: 17 Oct 2008
Posts: 615
Location: Westchester, NY
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Espresso: Expobar Brewtus iv-p,...
Grinder: Quamar M80e, Hario slim
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Drip: french press
Roaster: hot-air popper.
Posted Sun Jan 24, 2010, 6:40pm
Subject: Re: Dialing in a Lelit PL041
 

The pl041 does not need that much dialing in, I usually flush once, about 1.5shots worth of water, grind, dose, tamp, and pull. The whole process takes about 3 minutes.

I get consistent shots, not usually bitter, but I have had that issue when pulling more than 3 separate shots at a time.



shawndo Said:

Shot diagnosis..  
Flavor first.  It's more bitter than I like, but the only good espresso I have to compare it to is Ninth Street and Stumptown and various other big names in town, so maybe that level of espresso isn't realistic on this little guy.

Posted January 24, 2010 link

My shots with 9th st. were bitter, they mellowed out after about 5days, but were never superb.

A good alternative for the NYC espresso drinker is Gimme! over on mott st.

By all means, that quality of espresso is entirely possible and easily attained on this machine

 
Anthony C

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Gimme! Piccolo Mondo Espresso Blend
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shawndo
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shawndo
Joined: 5 Jan 2010
Posts: 106
Location: NYC
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: LM Shot Brewer
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Posted Sun Jan 24, 2010, 7:04pm
Subject: Re: Dialing in a Lelit PL041
 

acasabia Said:

A good alternative for the NYC espresso drinker is Gimme! over on mott st.

Posted January 24, 2010 link

I thought Gimme was sour when I went.  My probably with most of these shops is that they never seem to be consistent.
I went all over and tried Gimme, Columb, Kaffe1668, RBC, Stumptown, Joe art of coffee, Grumpy and probably others I can't remember.   Ninth street seems to be the most consistent one.  East Village as well as the location in Chelsea market.

Anyway, it's this constant inconsistency that inspired me to get my own setup.  Plus, I just don't like coffee shops.  If they were setup like a bar, I might be more inclined.  

It's definitely encouraging to know that I can reach that level of espresso on my Lelit.  I've seen a couple Mistrals, a Slayer and other plain awesome machines this past week making some sour shots.  I'm thinking I need to go ristretto to get it sweeter.  I think most of these shops do ristretto's
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acasabia
Senior Member
acasabia
Joined: 17 Oct 2008
Posts: 615
Location: Westchester, NY
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Expobar Brewtus iv-p,...
Grinder: Quamar M80e, Hario slim
Vac Pot: Yama Vacpot, Aeropress,
Drip: french press
Roaster: hot-air popper.
Posted Sun Jan 24, 2010, 7:21pm
Subject: Re: Dialing in a Lelit PL041
 

shawndo Said:

I thought Gimme was sour when I went.  My probably with most of these shops is that they never seem to be consistent.
I went all over and tried Gimme, Columb, Kaffe1668, RBC, Stumptown, Joe art of coffee, Grumpy and probably others I can't remember.   Ninth street seems to be the most consistent one.  East Village as well as the location in Chelsea market.

Anyway, it's this constant inconsistency that inspired me to get my own setup.  Plus, I just don't like coffee shops.  If they were setup like a bar, I might be more inclined.  

Posted January 24, 2010 link

I know gimme! pull triple ristretto (or so the baristi say), 9th st (the one off of C) does the same, I dont know about their Tomkins sq, or Chelsea market.

shawndo Said:

It's definitely encouraging to know that I can reach that level of espresso on my Lelit.  I've seen a couple Mistrals, a Slayer and other plain awesome machines this past week making some sour shots.  I'm thinking I need to go ristretto to get it sweeter.  I think most of these shops do ristretto's

Posted January 24, 2010 link

Its been my experience that all of the general rules of making espresso are really very loose guidelines. You need to find what works best for your set up, if a shot takes too long or too short, but tastes great who cares about the timing? I pull singles with a leveled off double basket, slightly finer grind, and lighter tamp, and I have had great results with this machine.  So much so that now I usually get depressed at coffee shops, as even the best, occasionally pull sub par to what I do at home.

Maybe its the new level of geekdom I've reached from this website, or that I mentally perceive my own as better, whatever the case, this machine is awesome.

I have to say though, the greatest effect on taste that I have noticed in all my tinkering, isn't the temp, nor the tamp, but the grind. Pulling with this machine is pretty grind sensitive, I find I get my best shots when I grind just coarse enough not to choke the machine. When starting a new batch, I usually set the grind to choke it, then work my way back (I have a stepless set up) until I reach a deep crema that falls in long syrupy drips (not in consistency obviously, just appearance).

Now that I'm rambling.... The best way to figure this machine out, is to play with it, and stop whenever you find what you like, everyone can give recommendations, but you wont really know until you hit it yourself.

 
Anthony C

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Gimme! Piccolo Mondo Espresso Blend
http://coffeeandneuroscience.wordpress.com/
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godofgwar
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Espresso: Expobar Brewtus
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Roaster: Hottop B
Posted Mon Jan 25, 2010, 4:23pm
Subject: Re: Dialing in a Lelit PL041
 

I also find I get the best shots on the Lelit when I get those long, syrupy drips. Like others have said, the Lelit is perfectly capable of pulling great shots. It just takes a little bit of trial, error, practice and constant slight adjustment.

In my opinion, it's the steam wand that's been the most inconsistent part of the machine, especially if make a lot of milk-based drinks. Months of practice have finally given my enough skill to produce workable microfoam for art, but I feel like I've hit a plateau. I live right outside Blue Bottle Coffee in San Francisco, and my foam just doesn't compare to theirs (granted, they have a La Marzocco that's worth more than me). I've tried everything to get close to that level (including using the 12-oz Toroid pitcher), and now I'm considering ordering the new steam wand from 1st Line just for that extra bit of length. The steam power is totally fine, but I'm convinced the length of the wand and the inability to angle it properly is the main hindrance.

Anyone out there successfully mod the Lelit wand with anything other than the new, slightly longer Lelit wand (to get closer to the length of the Silvia)? Should I order it? For the record, the steaming, not the shots, are the main reason I would consider upgrading to another machine. Other than that, I'm extremely happy with the shots.
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acasabia
Senior Member
acasabia
Joined: 17 Oct 2008
Posts: 615
Location: Westchester, NY
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Expobar Brewtus iv-p,...
Grinder: Quamar M80e, Hario slim
Vac Pot: Yama Vacpot, Aeropress,
Drip: french press
Roaster: hot-air popper.
Posted Mon Jan 25, 2010, 4:56pm
Subject: Re: Dialing in a Lelit PL041
 

godofgwar Said:

I also find I get the best shots on the Lelit when I get those long, syrupy drips. Like others have said, the Lelit is perfectly capable of pulling great shots. It just takes a little bit of trial, error, practice and constant slight adjustment.

In my opinion, it's the steam wand that's been the most inconsistent part of the machine, especially if make a lot of milk-based drinks. Months of practice have finally given my enough skill to produce workable microfoam for art, but I feel like I've hit a plateau. I live right outside Blue Bottle Coffee in San Francisco, and my foam just doesn't compare to theirs (granted, they have a La Marzocco that's worth more than me). I've tried everything to get close to that level (including using the 12-oz Toroid pitcher), and now I'm considering ordering the new steam wand from 1st Line just for that extra bit of length. The steam power is totally fine, but I'm convinced the length of the wand and the inability to angle it properly is the main hindrance.

Anyone out there successfully mod the Lelit wand with anything other than the new, slightly longer Lelit wand (to get closer to the length of the Silvia)? Should I order it? For the record, the steaming, not the shots, are the main reason I would consider upgrading to another machine. Other than that, I'm extremely happy with the shots.

Posted January 25, 2010 link

Using the stock wand I get pretty great results, after removing that attachment anyway. I use a 10oz pitcher, ~half full, kept in freezer until ready.

When the steam light goes off, I purge the wand hard for a few seconds then I leave it just barely open while I go get the pitcher from the freezer. I find doing this, keeps extra water out of the wand, and ensures the boiler will start back up to maintain steam pressure. I have not had a problem getting art quality pours, except my ability to pour art its fairly novice (easy rossetta's nothing too fancy). Even when I am only able to pour a white circle, the texture is pretty awesome, that indescribable, fluffy type of latte feel.
Im very satisfied that this machine, stock is more than capable of pouring great drinks, though cleaning the wand is a pain, dropping $40 for a 1/4in extension just isn't worth it, its not going to change much.

I did tighten the wand in place, but I doubt that had any effect on steaming power, just makes it easier to maneuver the pitcher around and not have to worry about the wand changing position.

 
Anthony C

Currently pulling:
Gimme! Piccolo Mondo Espresso Blend
http://coffeeandneuroscience.wordpress.com/
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boredatwork
Senior Member


Joined: 11 Feb 2009
Posts: 77
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Mon Jan 25, 2010, 5:48pm
Subject: Re: Dialing in a Lelit PL041
 

I have had the Lelit for a couple months now, and have put probably about 50 lbs. of coffee through it, most of which has been experimentation and practice.  

I find the Lelit is very bean specific.  This may be true for other single boiler machines, but there are certain beans I just cannot get to work, while other beans make me look like a pro.  The one piece of advice that has helped me out a lot is the concept of finding beans that work well with your machine.  One of the best beans I have found so far was the house blend at Stumptown (I actually got them from the NYC location).

In general though I find the Lelit can be a bit tricky.  Like someone mentioned already I do find that there is a very narrow range of dosing/grind/tamp/temperature that works well.  And this changes for every bean.  To be honest I have found it quite frustrating.

Some advice I got a while back was to dose lower and grind finer.  This has seemed to help me to produce more consistently better shots.  I find about 14g works well for me (even though other will suggest 16g-18g).  For me 14g doesn't actually fill the basket, so I do not fill the basket from the grinder and then level off.  I have a Vario grinder so I dose with the timer.  I find when I dose by filling basket and then leveling off its more like 16g.  And if you shake the portafilter to settle the grounds while you are grinder you could fit at least 18g in the basket.

I also started pulling shots based on extraction color.  Since I have been doing that I find that the Lelit causes shots to blond relatively quickly.  Normally I get about an ounce in 20-30 seconds.  Anything past an ounce and I get a watery blond extraction.

Related to that is a bottomless portafilter.  Because the Lelit is an obscure 57mm portafilter, I just shipped mine off to espressoparts to have them chop it off for me.  If you are looking at going bottomless I highly recommend them.  They did a great job, it was super easy to do, and they did it very quickly.  Total cost was like $40.  More info:

http://www.espressoparts.com/F_PFMOD

In regards to temp surfing, I have tried a lot of different methods.  Personally if I pull a shot right when the light goes off, I find that to have been too high of a brew temperature and I get very bitter thin shots.  What I do is hit the brew button until the light comes on, and when it goes off I run the brew button for a few seconds.  Right now I have settled on 6 seconds but I have seen others go shorter.  You can experiment with what you find to be a good amount of time.  I have found that brew temperature seems to really change the extraction significantly, but also I like my shot to be a little on the syrupy/sour side rather than any hint of bitterness.

As for the steam wand...it sucks.  I bought the new steam wand and its the exact same thing - the only difference is that you could say its easy to clean.  Just don't expect to get real micro-foam so then you won't be disappointed.
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geoffbeier
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Posted Mon Jan 25, 2010, 5:56pm
Subject: Re: Dialing in a Lelit PL041
 

acasabia Said:

Using the stock wand I get pretty great results, after removing that attachment anyway. I use a 10oz pitcher, ~half full, kept in freezer until ready.

When the steam light goes off, I purge the wand hard for a few seconds then I leave it just barely open while I go get the pitcher from the freezer. I find doing this, keeps extra water out of the wand, and ensures the boiler will start back up to maintain steam pressure. I have not had a problem getting art quality pours

Posted January 25, 2010 link

boredatwork Said:

As for the steam wand...it sucks.  I bought the new steam wand and its the exact same thing - the only difference is that you could say its easy to clean.  Just don't expect to get real micro-foam so then you won't be disappointed.

Posted January 25, 2010 link

Wow. Talk about two wildly differing reports. I wonder what the difference is for you guys? Pitcher size? Milk variety? Pitcher shape? The amount of milk you put in there? ...
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boredatwork
Senior Member


Joined: 11 Feb 2009
Posts: 77
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Mon Jan 25, 2010, 7:06pm
Subject: Re: Dialing in a Lelit PL041
 

I should have stated that I normally only do 4oz of milk.  I have done 6oz a few times and noticed better results - but never anything to describe as good quality.  

I have not tried the toroid pitchers, but in general I think you will find that the Lelit has below average steaming capability.
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shawndo
Senior Member
shawndo
Joined: 5 Jan 2010
Posts: 106
Location: NYC
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: LM Shot Brewer
Grinder: VL M3/Compak K10 Pro
Posted Mon Jan 25, 2010, 7:56pm
Subject: Re: Dialing in a Lelit PL041
 

boredatwork Said:

Related to that is a bottomless portafilter.  Because the Lelit is an obscure 57mm portafilter, I just shipped mine off to espressoparts to have them chop it off for me.  If you are looking at going bottomless I highly recommend them.  They did a great job, it was super easy to do, and they did it very quickly.  Total cost was like $40.  More info:

http://www.espressoparts.com/F_PFMOD

Posted January 25, 2010 link

My problem is that I only have one portafilter and can't find anywhere who has any portafilter for the Lelit.  I don't want to send off my only portafilter to be modified.  1st-line won't be restocked until April
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acasabia
Senior Member
acasabia
Joined: 17 Oct 2008
Posts: 615
Location: Westchester, NY
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Expobar Brewtus iv-p,...
Grinder: Quamar M80e, Hario slim
Vac Pot: Yama Vacpot, Aeropress,
Drip: french press
Roaster: hot-air popper.
Posted Mon Jan 25, 2010, 9:27pm
Subject: Re: Dialing in a Lelit PL041
 

geoffbeier Said:

Wow. Talk about two wildly differing reports. I wonder what the difference is for you guys? Pitcher size? Milk variety? Pitcher shape? The amount of milk you put in there? ...

Posted January 25, 2010 link

IMO the only true factor in generating microfoam is steam pressure, strong pressure pushes the milk around more and helps mix in the air. With this machine, purging it well, and letting the steam run for a few seconds to trigger the boiler, is important to maintain strong pressure.

Like I said, Im using a 10oz pitcher, roughly half full, the pitcher is stored in the freezer when not in use, and after filling it with milk while I get ready with the machine. Nothing to note about the shape of the pitcher, its the standard, straight sides pitcher with a pointed spout.

In the beginning it took me a few days to get the rhythm down in terms of purge time, and getting the boiler to kick back on, but for the past few months I've been getting great results.


Also, Im not sure if this effects the pressure at all, I was getting good results before hand, but I did open up the top and tighten the supporting bolt for the steam wand. This allows me to move the pitcher about as I steam to keep the milk moving, without the wand wiggling or falling out of the desired position.

mini Said:

Oh, and microfoam is definitely possible with the stock wand (minus aider).  The main problem with it is how milk dries in all the corners.

Posted January 24, 2010 link

This is what I meant when I said cleaning it is a pain.


I dont know why people hate the short wand, I've used acorn nut style wands with great results. I based my learning technique on the idea that foam forms from the surface down, and its just the mixing that needs depth, but you can get the whirling motion simply by using the high pressure of the steam at the proper angle against the wall of the pitcher.

ramble ramble ramble.

 
Anthony C

Currently pulling:
Gimme! Piccolo Mondo Espresso Blend
http://coffeeandneuroscience.wordpress.com/
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