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This week I had the pleasure of being one of the first people in the world to see and touch the LONDINIUM I spring lever espresso machine. Taking a trip to Londinium Espresso's roastery with camera in hand I wasn't sure what to expect. I had been following the Londinium Espresso Blog with interest and there was a growing amount of chatter on Twitter & other coffee forums around the world too, but nothing prepared me for seeing it in person. The LONDINIUM I has been designed from the ground up. The aim was to create the world’s first commercial spring lever espresso machine designed especially for the home. Seeking to use the best parts available, the LONDINIUM I has the same group as some Kees van der Westen lever espresso machines. The hot water dispenser has a lovely spray nozzle, and the knobs have been seated flush (no threads showing unlike some machines I have come across). The internals of the machine are easily accessible - and can even be viewed behind the tempered glass on the Luxe model. Visually the machine looks the part, sporting highly polished stainless surfaces and all sharp edges have been deburred - which your hands will appreciate. After taking photos of the machine I was offered the chance to put a LONDINIUM I through its paces - in my kitchen!. I have always had a soft spot for lever machines and relish every opportunity to pull shots on them, so naturally I jumped at the chance. My first hands-on experience with the LONDINIUM I has been amazing and this weekend I have enjoyed some of the best espresso I've had all year. Reiss at Londinium Espresso gave me good instructions on how to to prime the machine and walked me through what to expect when I first switched it on, as well as what boiler pressure readings to expect. Installation was a breeze - truly plug and play. I filled the reservoir (I have a manual fill version - although a plumbed in version is available) with Volvic mineral water - my standard go-to water when evaluating a machine (and also used in preference to the hard water where I live) and attached the portafilter. With such a small footprint and no ballast in the machine to weigh it down, any worries that I had that the machine might tip forward (as some lever machines feel they they will) went away the minute I pulled the lever forward. The spring lever has a lovely action and the machine feels nicely weighted, staying flat on the bench at all times. I had read questions online about flex in the body, based on other machines produced in the factory where the LONDINIUM I was assembled. That doesn't seem to be an issue with the machine which I've been using this machine all week and haven't noticed any flexing at all (even with a fairly hefty pull - which isn't needed due to this group) There are 2 short videos which backs this up; Inserting a portafilter Inserting a portafilter Pulling on the lever Pulling on the lever Cooling flushes are a thing of the past with the LONDINIUM I. I've been measuring extraction temperatures with a Fluke and k-type probe through the base of the portafilter. Pre-extraction the water was exiting at 93c. Measuring again before the next shot, the temperature was again 93c. Coming back to the machine an hour later, the water was still 93c (all +/- 0.5) but near enough consistent. Occasionally during the hour you could hear the boiler kick in, but it's a quiet machine on the whole. Even the pump isn't too noisy and only comes on in short bursts when required. I have pulled back to back shots (3 doubles in a row) and not noticed any difference in taste (all were weighed at 16.7g from the same beans) and will be pulling more later in the week to put it through a dinner party routine. However, making 4 flat whites last night was a breeze and felt quick too. The steam pressure is powerful, and 290 mls of 4% milk steamed from 4c to 65c in 16 seconds. I used TempTags calibrated to 65c when timing this and confirmed using the Fluke as well. The milk was textured nicely and the LONDINIUM I comes with a 4 hole steam tip as standard. This evening I have been comparing extractions (*for taste and aroma only) of different coffees on the LONDINIUM I and a Gaggia Classic - using a Mahlkonig Vario grinder to grind the beans from a number of different roasters. I've used less coffee on the LONDINIUM I than the Gaggia Classic and have found it likes a finer grind too. The flavours are noticeably better on the lever machine than the Gaggia and overall you feel in more control. The pucks are also knocking out nicely. I've broken apart a couple and they are evenly extracted. I know the 2 machines are not similar, but that's the beauty of this side-by-side test. It makes you appreciate the LONDINIUM I and the control it gives you, along with the consistency. I'd love to check my extractions with a bottomless portafilter but can't fault them using the standard double one supplied with the machine. Over the next week or so I will post more thoughts and reflections, but right now I'm off to pull another shot. Please post any questions here and I will do my best to answer them. For further information please read the LONDINIUM I Press Release and visit the londiniumespresso.com website
Howdy gang, So I have my Izzo Pompei 2 group spring lever dual fueler plumbed into my pump and water tanks and have it running from the mains electricity. The only issue is that when I pull a shot, instead of pre-infusing while I have the lever all of the way down it just starts to spout coffee (usually after a second or two). The lever isn't gliding gracefully back to its starting position (after it's passed horizontal) and has to be held in order to stop the lever whooshing back up. Has anybody any ideas what I can do to try and rectify the situation? Could grinding finer and tamping harder perhaps help? As there'll be more pressure in the grouphead and maybe I could pre-infuse for a few seconds without espresso starting immediately! I'll be putting a few pics up in my setup section laters. Cheers gang, Philip
Many delighted owners have received their LONDINIUM I spring lever espresso machines and have been using them for the last month or so. The following link is to the original review and discussion: http://coffeeforums.co.uk/showthread.php?7632-LONDINIUM-I-spring-lever-espresso-machine