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dfk41

L1.....stand the test of time

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Perhaps some of the older members will recall that I had a love/hate relationship with Londinium. I first bought one in 2012. I think I was second on the forum to RoloD who had a commercial arrangement with them, and bought mine following the review that Glenn did. In fact I was always slightly surprised that he never bought one! Mine was one of the Luxe versions which had glass panels, and looking back this was the cost

1x LONDINIUM I - Plumbed / 240V, 2850W / UK for £1,300.00 each

1x LONDINIUM I - Luxe option (glass sides & tarnish free polished boiler) / - / - for £476.88 each

Subtotal : £1,776.88 GBP

Shipping : £29.16 GBP

VAT : £355.38 GBP

Total : £2,161.42 GBP

Thats a lot of brass but if you allow for the glass sides, then you are looking at about £1600. My early one had issues, not with the machine or its ability but none of the pipes that were on display, were nipped up tight enough so that once heated up, then leaked like sieves. Because they were on display you could not simply tighten them as the pipes and nuts were covered with a varnish type finish that easily scratched. Anyway, eventually all was sorted.

I think in the early days, Londinium were also roasting and specialised in darker roasts, to which the early l1 machines are best suited. I am not technical so perhaps someone else can expand but lets just say that the bar pressure and extraction pressure are better suited to a dark roast. Think about traditional Italian lever cafes. With the market changing in favour of lighter roasts, it was realised that the original machines were not best suited to lighter roasts, hence the development that has taken place to the stage where we are now, awaiting the latest bluetooth bolt ons allowing lighter roast folks to get to coffee heaven that bit faster!

The point of this ramble, is to make sure that anyone who is thinking about a lever and prefers darker roasts (medium and above), then you need to be sourcing an early variant, just as much as if you like lighter roasts you need a newer version. 7 years on, these have stood the test of time. Allowing for the loss of vat, a decent early machine sells for about £1300 if it is in nice condition and its history is known ie water type. You do not often hear of an L1 owner complaining and from an ownership perspective, there is not much to go wrong with them.

So, lever plus medium/darker roasts, keep your eyes peeled for a good early one. Important to know what water has been fed as the best way to descale one means boiler removal, so it is easier to solve that by feeding the right water than descaling once a year.

Here endeth the lecture

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I bought bought my L1in December 2014. What you write matches my experience, but I might add one further observation. The Italian group is tailored for Italian size single and double doses (7 & 14 grams). That is more or less what I use (7g in Strada single baskets and 15g in VST 15g baskets) and they work very well: plenty of pressure and plenty of liquid. I have never tried the 18 and more grams that are standard in Third Wave cafes, but I wonder if they would take the machine near the upper margins or its effectiveness. BTW, it would be relatively costly but the L1-R but they can can be used to mimic the early L1s and buyers would always have the option of trying lighter roasts. 


Londinium 1, Monolith Flat, Pharos, Lido 3, Chemex, Gene Café, Atago Barista

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I think from memory, that for a double, 15 gm is king. If you go to 18 gm it is difficult without doing a Fellini to get enough water into the group. Took me about a week to revert back from a pump to a lever. The shots produced are just so superior but only if your fieldcraft is right!

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It’s possible to pull 1:2 ratio shots from an original LI - 18grms > 36grms. As I recall Reiss recommended dosing 15 grams for his beans - he was roasting medium plus in the good old days. Only thing to watch with the LI  is extending pre-infusion times (consequence of lighter roasts) with the danger of stalling the siphon. Even if that happens, it’s no big deal to purge any air in the circuit and get the siphon running smoothly again. 


Londinium-R - EKS43 running SSP Silver Knight burrs

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1 hour ago, dfk41 said:

I think from memory, that for a double, 15 gm is king. If you go to 18 gm it is difficult without doing a Fellini to get enough water into the group. Took me about a week to revert back from a pump to a lever. The shots produced are just so superior but only if your fieldcraft is right!

18 gm should still make for a good ristretto through it though?

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1 hour ago, Mr Binks said:

18 gm should still make for a good ristretto through it though?

you can make a ristretto from any weight of beans, since it is about the amount you pull off in ratio

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2 hours ago, dfk41 said:

you can make a ristretto from any weight of beans, since it is about the amount you pull off in ratio

Agreed. What I was asking was would there be a great enough amount of water, minus the Fellini witchcraft, to convert 18 gm into a ristretto or would you be better of sticking to a lower weight anyway?

Asking because I’m pretty sure my next machine will be a Londinium and I’d be interested to know whether I should look at an L1 or go the whole hog and hold out for an R.

Edited by Mr Binks

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Still using my Dec 2012 original variant L1.

 

Still using light roasts.

 

Still dosing 19g at 1:2.

 

No issues from me. The shots taste different to those pulled on an LM or similar in a high end third wave cafe but there are many variables. 

 

 

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Londinium I, Mahlkönig Vario, Hario Skerton, Chemex 1-3 Cup.

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different folks, different experiences/opinions. If I try 18gm, then in my humble, without several Fellini moves or holding the lever down way in excess of 10 seconds, then puck does not saturate enough to pull a shot. But, if your taste buds tell you differently, then that's fine as taste rules. For me, you need a fully saturated puck for the obvious reasons but I am always willing to listen to others experiences

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I am on an old L1, using primarily medium-dark roasts. It’s terrific! I suspect it is all I’ll ever need in an espresso machine.

I wholeheartedly agree with the importance of a FULLY saturated puck, and I preinfuse until it is. If the preinfusion doesn’t yield an even sweat across the screen, and/or super gloppy (heavy & thick) initial drops, I know I can do better.?  That slow & initial saturation really does make a superior shot. Which, by the way, also helps with great ristrettos, imho. 

Your comments above raise a couple of questions for me:

What constitutes a “Fellini move” or “fellini witchcraft”... does it apply to spring levers? ... and what is its purpose? ? 

Short of boosting grouphead temperature with short flushes just prior to pulling a shot, are there other strategies you use to accommodate lighter roasts on the L1? (I favour medium-dark roasts, but enjoy experimenting with lighter & fruitier roasts every now & then.)

 

 

 

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The Fellini is the raising of the lever for a second or third time which forces more water into the group. If for example, you pulled a shot and were no where near the required output and the spring was nearly back to the top, you could cock it again for say 3 or 4 seconds to force water in, then return the spring to the biting point. If you pre infuse correctly it is technically not needed and I just use it as a rescue move!

I never touch light roasts so cannot help there!

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I think one of the best things about the L1 is the simplicity. If I  owned a more complex machine, after 5 or 6 years I would be getting nervous and would probably be looking to buy a replacement. My L1 is 7 years old and solid as a rock. An L1 isn't just a coffee machine its an heir loom

I do occasionally think about replacing it, but realistically, I have a rubbish pallet. Plus or minus 2deg C in brew temp and I won't notice, or at least wouldn't know which was better, so a dual boiler PID would be wasted on me. I hate light roasts, so don't need higher pressure PI

The one thing I hate is the vibe pump, so one day I will get an LR ....but the complexity puts me off

 


Londinium 1, Pharos, Ceado e37s, Gene Cafe, Aerobie

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2 minutes ago, NickR said:

The one thing I hate is the vibe pump, so one day I will get an LR ....but the complexity puts me off

Nick, can you plumb yours in? Mine is not currently but it is easy to do, then all you have to worry about is the silence!

 

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16 minutes ago, dfk41 said:

 

Good point - but I can't do it either.


Londinium 1, Pharos, Ceado e37s, Gene Cafe, Aerobie

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1 hour ago, NickR said:

Good point - but I can't do it either.

I can't see a reply - is there actually one there? 

1 hour ago, dfk41 said:

 

 


Everything my heart could desire (more or less). . .

 

https://cupperjoe.com

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Just now, jlarkin said:

I can't see a reply - is there actually one there? 

 

I put the reply into his speech box!

Nick, can you plumb yours in? Mine is not currently but it is easy to do, then all you have to worry about is the silence!

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Just now, dfk41 said:

I put the reply into his speech box!

Nick, can you plumb yours in? Mine is not currently but it is easy to do, then all you have to worry about is the silence!

sneaky ?

 


Everything my heart could desire (more or less). . .

 

https://cupperjoe.com

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As others have noted, I can't imagine ever wanting anything other than my basic, non-plumbed L1, which works well for me with light and medium roasts.  I use an 18gm basket but dose with 17gm, aiming for 34gm out and a preinfusion time of six seconds.   Maybe I am doing it all wrong but I like what ends up in the cup.

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3 hours ago, NickR said:

I think one of the best things about the L1 is the simplicity. If I  owned a more complex machine, after 5 or 6 years I would be getting nervous and would probably be looking to buy a replacement. My L1 is 7 years old and solid as a rock. An L1 isn't just a coffee machine its an heir loom

I do occasionally think about replacing it, but realistically, I have a rubbish pallet. Plus or minus 2deg C in brew temp and I won't notice, or at least wouldn't know which was better, so a dual boiler PID would be wasted on me. I hate light roasts, so don't need higher pressure PI

The one thing I hate is the vibe pump, so one day I will get an LR ....but the complexity puts me off

 

I'm thinking a long the same lines, I love the simplicity of the LI, I keep thinking about going for the LR but also wonder about the added complexity in the long term. I'm unable to plumb in so I have to run with the vibe pump, but part of me would like to mess around with the pressure PI and do some lighter roasts.


Londinium I / Monolith Conical / Macap MC4 / Cormorant CR600 Roaster

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