Lelit Bianca, Paul Burns

I’ve been using the Bianca for around 6-7 shots per day plus steaming over the last 18 months.  It’s been direct plumbed/ drained, used with the tank on in different configurations, and moved across the country.  It’s held up extremely well and been rock solid in terms of reliability.  Overall, it is an excellent machine- a lot of fun to use while still being simple enough for the family and guests.  It’s my first espresso machine, and makes a great pair with both of my grinders (Niche and Mignon Specialita).  The other reviews on this site and elsewhere to a great job of singing the general praises of this machine, so I’ll focus instead on a few specific experiences from my use case:

Size: One of the primary draws to the Bianca is that it’s fairly flexible and fairly narrow on the counter.  I bought the machine in conjunction with a full kitchen remodel, and had a purpose built but very small coffee bar to work with.  This allowed me to plan for plumbing the machine in and spec cold water/ drain in the cabinet under, a hole in the countertop, a shortened drawer to allow for an inline water filter, and higher upper cabinets for more mug clearance.  The Bianca was a perfect fit for this setup- no need to use valuable counter space on an empty tank in the machine, but you still retain the flexibility to use the Bianca if plumbing is not available.  After a move, the Bianca is now on a wide, counter depth stainless prep table.  I’ve got the tank on the side, and appreciate the ease of filling combined with extra space in front of the machine.  To me, it’s well worth a break in the silhouette to have a detached tank.

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Plumbing: Plumbing in the water works well.  I used a BST filter to make sure I minimized scale build-up.  The drain, however, is a pain in the neck.  Jim actually recommended plumbing the water only.  Since I already had a drain, I tried connecting it.  The issue is that there is a small plastic drain pan under the drip pan, and the drain hose connects to one side.  This creates two issues: first, some sediment can build up along the bottom of this pan and make the whole experience more messy. Second, it effectively lowers the high point of the drain line.  It’s very difficult in most setups to get the correct drop in the drain line without building a riser for the Bianca.  in the end, just wasn’t worth-it to me.  I went back to the drip pan, and empty it every 10 days or so.

Storing/ moving: We brought the machine across the country for the pandemic, and emptied the boiler/ re-boxed everything.  It travelled very well, although the box has handles to lift out the machine that failed on the second unpacking.  Not a big issue.

Standby mode: This is excellent.  I have a wemo programed to keep the Bianca on 14 hours a day, and pull shots throughout.  Standby mode allows some energy savings while keeping the group hot enough to be 5ish min away from an espresso any time.

Reliability: Happy to report that I’ve had no significant maintenance beyond keeping the Bianca clean/ appropriate back flushing/ recharging the water filter (in it’s current location, I’m using the Lelit in-tank filters) / etc.

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This article is inspired by the idea at CoffeeGeek, a community website, with the purpose is to inform, educate and entertain coffee and espresso lovers. Coffee Geek is one of the oldest specialty coffee websites, and a lot of baristas, coffee champions and roasters started their career with questions on the Coffee Geek forums.

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