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Lelit Bianca and Solo


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Finally have an espresso machine again!  Picked up the Bianca and Solo from Bella Barista today, and I'm now massively over caffeinated after playing with it.  I've been using espresso machines for years (Silvia then Cellini) but first time with a bottomless portafilter, and boy, does my tamping technique need some work, but a lot of fun none the less! The Learner plate on the fridge is apt!

So many variables to play with now it's a touch mind boggling. I love the combination though and exceptionally pleased with the Solo so far (seems like a big jump from the Sette 270W I had previously).

 

20210406_143301.jpg

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Congratulations on the tidy little setup!

If you notice channeling in your extractions, I would advise you to focus more on your distribution BEFORE tamping rather than on tamping itself.

I don't t hink you need fancy/expensive stuff. I've said it too many times already, but in my experience, a wine cork and a few (4 to 8 max) 0.4mm needles will do the trick. Basically a cheap version of the Levercraft distribution tool. This allows you to de-clump your grind if need be, and to distribute it evenly in the basket. Then of course your tamp needs to be level, but most of the issues usually lie before that.

Also, some coffees have bad looking extractions, but will taste nice nevertheless, so for everything you do, adjust based on taste rather than any other arbitrary variable.

In terms of variables, I'd probably start by keeping most constant (weight of beans, ratio, temperature, flow...) and adjust grind size. Once you'll feel confident enough, you can start adding another variable and so forth, but trying to play with everything at once is going to make you more confused (been there, done that!) and potentially frustrated.

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Looks great, you’ve got some great coffees ahead of you. Worth playing around with long preinfusions (2-3bar): watch the coffee on the bottom of the PF bead and fully saturate (maybe even a few drips) then ramp up to full extraction flow/pressure. A properly wetted puck helps to mitigate prep inconsistencies and reduce channelling.

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PMA all day!

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Nice set up and nice coffee corner too 👍

Have you put the felt pads on the feet yet, makes sliding the machine out to fill the tank so much easier.

 

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1 hour ago, olivier said:

Congratulations on the tidy little setup!

If you notice channeling in your extractions, I would advise you to focus more on your distribution BEFORE tamping rather than on tamping itself...

Many thanks for that, I suspect that is likely where the issue lies so I will play around with that. I need to find a coffee I like and stick with it a while too. Right now I think I have 5 different bags from various purchases and trades! Far too many to play around with effectively. Still better than none :D

52 minutes ago, LMartin said:

@BruceB oof that's a tasty setup there. enjoy!

ps is that a trusty porlex hand grinder i can spot on the left? 

It is, my Sette jammed and I finally had enough of the whole break and fix, the hand grinder was originally for camping but got pressed into service again until I picked up the grinder!

As to the setup... I may  have to negotiate with my better half to keep what I've done lol

39 minutes ago, Kjk said:

Looks great, you’ve got some great coffees ahead of you. Worth playing around with long preinfusions (2-3bar): watch the coffee on the bottom of the PF bead and fully saturate (maybe even a few drips) then ramp up to full extraction flow/pressure. A properly wetted puck helps to mitigate prep inconsistencies and reduce channeling.

That is great to know, I was torn between this and the Profitec 700, but the flow device and looks swung it for the Bianca. (slightly smaller footprint too)

4 minutes ago, Waitforme said:

Nice set up and nice coffee corner too 👍

Have you put the felt pads on the feet yet, makes sliding the machine out to fill the tank so much easier.

 

lol, not yet, but having just had to refill it I fully intend to!

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Just pulled the first shot that was semi decent (well, it didn't make me gag or wince this time!)  Very much enjoying it so far. I've got a few more bits and pieces trickling in over the next few days to round it out that I'm looking forward too (decent coffee scale with a smaller footprint, knock box, pitcher etc). Absolutely no regrets, especially on the Solo as I felt like I was taking a chance there.

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The Solo is a brilliant grinder. Getting to grips with it now and having some amazing coffee with it. I've got mine paired with a Bambino currently but my next machine will be an ACS Minima.

 

Nice set up you've got there!

Edited by dutchy101
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I like that ACS tried something different with the shape and layout, and I can see it functionally being practical as well, I'm just not sure I personally like the looks. Need to see one in the flesh though as that could make a big difference. Not that I'm in the market any more! Is the Bambino a HX machine?

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Yeah I get it's a bit of a marmite look on the Minima. Personally I love it - it's a work of art. Haven't had the discussion with my wife yet and she may have a different view so there's no guarantees yet haha.

 

Bambino is a thermojet system. Ready to go within 3 seconds of turning on which is very handy for me. Very happy with it for the time being but I know further down the line I want the Minima

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