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Lelit PL 041 Espresso - Joshua Boni's Review
Posted: January 6, 2015, 10:01am
review rating: 10.0
feedback: (0) comments | read | write
Lelit PL 041 Espresso Machine
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More About This Product
Arrow The Lelit PL 041 Espresso has 24 Reviews
Arrow The Lelit PL 041 Espresso has been rated 8.59 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since October 22, 2007.
Arrow Lelit PL 041 Espresso reviews have been viewed 163,232 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Joshua Boni 10.00
Damon Ho 10.00
Matthew Pecsok 10.00
Gary Edmunds 9.43

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 8.0
Manufacturer: Le'Lit Quality: 7
Average Price: $460.00 Usability: 7
Price Paid: $650.00 Cost vs. Value 10
Where Bought: 1st line Aesthetics 8
Owned for: 1 year Overall 8
Writer's Expertise: I love coffee Would Buy Again: Yes
Similar Items Owned:
Bottom Line: Overall great starter machine, but with subpar steam (fixable!).
Positive Product Points

-Small boiler heats very quickly
-Consistently good shots with no "temp surfing" and without a huge learning curve
-Temp display
-Large drip tray

Negative Product Points

-Poor quality foam with standard parts (more later), wet steam, not so great steam knob
-Easily scratched finish that only looks nice right after cleaning (matte would have been better)

Detailed Commentary

Okay, so I finally got back on here to write a review for the Lelit PL41TEM I purchased from 1st Line about a year ago. Overall, I have  been pretty happy with this little machine. Since the beginning I have found that it will consistently pull pretty high quality shots... certainly much better than any you will get at quick-service type cafes like Starbucks, and on par with most proper cafes. (Search "Lelit PL41TEM shot pulled" to see a video I posted to youtube). That being said, it is my first machine, and I have enjoyed learning on it.

Now on to the negative things that most of you probably want to hear. The biggest complaint I have is the steam. I drink probably about 3x the amount of milk drinks as straight shots and have found it difficult to get great foam out of this machine as packaged. Now, after trying for about 2-3 months, every day, multiple times a day, I could finally get some okay latte art (hearts, tulips, no rosettes), but you have to get the timing of the machine down so perfect it's just a giant pain... very fickle. Also, the steam is very wet and takes about 15-20 seconds turned on to clear up, which doesn't sound that long, but is another 20 seconds your espresso is sitting there... plus it's a pain. Additionally the nob/valve could be a lot better; after you turn it off it hisses for another 5s (annoying when done frothing).

So I dealt with the Lelit as is for about 8 months until I did a little research. I found that you could replace the steam thermostat to increase it's temperature shutoff; from 125 to 140. The problem is that you don't start to get good steam until around 123. Now, you can try to hit that tiny window from 123-125 and stay in it for about 10 seconds (tops) and get... okaaaay steam, but it takes epic amounts of practice, and is frankly just a giant pain. So I ordered a thermostat from Jetblack Espresso (MC031/140:Steam Thermostat 140) and installed it for less than $40 (be warned, their customer service is crap, but they are the only ones I could find with the part). Was very easy to instal, taking only 10 min with a screw driver and needle-nose pliers (search "repaired my Lelit Combi PL042QE coffee machine" for an excellent diagram). The upgrade makes it insanely easier to get great microfoam out of this machine. You start steaming in the early 120s and finish before 130 (hotter just heats it more quickly) without it ever turning off the element mid-frothing (sooo frustrating). All-toll steaming for a single latte takes 20sec where it used to take a full minute! Still have the problem with the wet steam in the beginning, however (trade-off for quickly heating small boiler).

Lastly, the model I have comes with a pressure gauge, and PID. The PID I find invaluable. I really didn't feel like fiddling with temp surfing every time I wanted a shot, and the displayed temperature is worth the extra money alone. As for the pressure gauge, honestly, I wanted it because it looked nice, but it is essentially worthless lol. The pressure always runs in the proper range, and I have yet to need the gauge for anything... so you may want to save your money here.

Buying Experience

1st line was very easy to deal with and quick to ship.

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review rating: 10.0
Posted: January 6, 2015, 10:01am
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