The NEW Lelit Bianca V3! - Full Review (+V2 Comparison)
This is the new Lelit Bianca V3 - a dual boiler, PID-enabled, flow-controllable espresso machine that costs $3,200 at the time of recording. Today I’m going to give you my thoughts on this machine, how it compares to the V2, and if it may be the right machine for you.
Before we begin, a few disclosures.
Firstly, this was sent to me by my friends at Cliff & Pebble although no money exchanged hands, and all thoughts and opinions are my own as always.
Right now you can also use promo code “XRIS” at checkout for a free acaia lunar with any espresso machine purchase, yes, any machine. Just be sure to have both the scale and machine in the cart at checkout!
Secondly, this video has no sponsor but is made possible with the help of you guys supporting the channel and using my affiliate links below to continue to help support me and the channel to keep reviewing machines like this one.
Okay, so with that out of the way - let’s get started with the specs.
This 60lb E61 machine is about a foot or 30cm wide, 16” tall, and 16” deep. This machine can both be plumbed in or used with a 2.5L water reservoir which has a special little feature in that it can be placed on either side or the back of the machine.
Where you decide to place it will add roughly 3” of depth or width.
In addition to the machine being plummable you can also hook up a drainage for the large drip tray.
In practice I’ve found myself needing to empty the drip tray about once a week and refill the machine 1-2 times per week for an average of one to two shots pulled per day with steam use.
With the Bianca being a standard E61 machine, that also means most 58mm portafilters and accessories will work fine with it like these Mocha Mondays puck screens, link in the description.
The machine has 2 individually PID controlled stainless steel boilers with the brew boiler being about 0.8L and the steam boiler being 1.5L in capacity. With its rotary pump the machine is going to be a little quieter to operate compared to vibratory counterparts like the Rocket Appartamento.
If you want to see a comparison between this machine and the Rocket, I’ll link it up here and in the description down below.
The temperatures are controlled using this little screen in the front which is also where you can control some other aspects of the machine that I’ll get into later.
The knobs, paddle, and lever all feel good and smooth to use on this machine as well. Although I do wish the placement of the hot water valve was slightly further right - that’s just a small nitpick I’ll never truly get over.
There are 2 gauges on this machine, one for brew/steam pressure and the other for the active brewing pressure for when you decide to use the flow control paddle.
The steam wand is also a no-burn steam wand which does not mean you wont get burned but can hold certain parts of it without it being steaming hot. This wand does also have a 2 or 4 hole interchangeable tip.
The build on this machine is identical to that of the V2. Meaning it’s good.
Bent stainless steel parts featured all around, chrome plated brass E61 grouphead and portafilters, and walnut accents on the knobs and paddle.
Everything feels built like a tank and is polished to a nice chrome finish. Any visible and exposed piece of metal feels finished cleanly without any rough edges.
There does seem to be just the smallest cosmetic imperfections here and there like the icon prints on the machine not being the same and where the bent panels seams meet.
Other small nitpicks may be this spring loaded screw mechanism to attach the water reservoir to the machine, which doesn’t feel particularly nice or smooth to use.
V3 vs V2
So the V3 has a few new features over the V2.
First, quicker warm up times which is always a plus. From testing, the V2 took about 18-20 minutes for both the brew and steam boilers to reach temp and the V3 took about 10-12 minutes, so a pretty nice upgrade there.
Second, a few new power modes including always on (not really new arguably), sleep mode, eco-mode, and stand-by mode. But - the names actually differ a little from what you might expect them to do.
After 30 minutes of inactivity, the stand-by mode kicks in turning off both boilers and is indicated by a flashing on/off switch.
Sleep mode can also be programmed in to kick in between 40 minutes and up to a whopping 9 hours. This mode will reduce the brew boiler temp but not completely turn it off but will turn off the steam boiler.
Eco-mode on this machine will turn off the steam boiler but will keep the brew boiler on for those of you that don’t require a steam wand.
And finally, the new Bianca v3 has an electronic low-flow mode which almost acts like a sort of electronic version of the paddle where you don’t need to use it to get replicable results if you say enjoy shots that start or end with a lower flow and ramps up or down.
While not necessarily making the paddle useless - it is a cool interesting feature that I’ve enjoyed using to get those low flow starting shots without having to do the manual work on the paddle so that I can steam milk at the same time.
In this mode there’s a low-flow start which will start the shot with a low flow and low-flow final which will tell the machine when to end with a low-flow. The latter is programmed via time so you’ll ideally want to have your shot dialed in before using that feature.
One confusing thing about low flow and pre-infusion is using both modes at the same time. I turned on both features and it seems like pre-infusion takes precedent over the low-flow mode for those wondering. If you have one of these machines, I’d definitely like to hear in the comments if your experience with using the 2 modes together were any different.
One other new change is the brew temp off set which can increase temps by a few degrees when brewing. This one is a little confusing to understand so here’s an excerpt from Lelit.
Directly from Lelit: “This value is a sort of fourth value of the PID. It was introduced to correct the foreseen thermal error during brewing. When brewing a cup of coffee, the machine dispense water hence cold water is introduced in the hydraulic circuit and the boiler. Cold water messes up with the thermic of the machine. This is when the brew temperature offset is needed. In fact, during brewing, the software changes the set point by increasing or decreasing the temperature of the chosen offset – range values ± 25°C. In this way the user has an additional value he can use to personalise his brewing profile.”
DISPLAY & UI
So I like the display. It works well, it's pretty intuitive, and it's easy to use.
A few button pushes takes you through the options allowing you to change temperatures on both boilers, select and modify any one of those new modes on the V3, modify your pre-infusion timing if you use it, and also modify the length on that new low flow mode.
The workflow on the Bianca is just like any other typical E61 espresso machine. Grind your beans, distribute, tamp, puck screen, and pull.
Where it differs is in the programmable functions like pre-infusion and low-flow, and also in the flow control with the paddle.
Here are some measurements I took of the Bianca’s flow output in the various modes.
At low-flow it outputs about 30g in 10 seconds with the paddle opened up all the way.
At 25% the output was just 3g.
At 50% its 18g
At 75% its 25g
And at 100% its about 52g
With the pre-infusion function, the output is simply whatever the paddle is set to. All pre-infusion is doing really is giving a break between initially wetting the puck and continuing the flow. This can manually be done via lever as well.
In terms of steam, this machine is a beast. Not as much as the Profitec Pro 700, which by the way the full comparison between the two machines will be out soon and linked in the description when it is, but more than enough for your average home user’s needs. I can steam large pitchers and small pitchers no problem.
I also set my preferred steaming temp to the max, 135F, which gives about 2 bars of pressure.
There’s no doubt that a machine like this produces tasty espresso. It’s got more tuning and dialing in capabilities than most people could ever need or want and it has excellent reliability, repeatability, and consistency day to day.
As I’ve said before, your grinder is the biggest determinant of your espresso shot quality, much more so than the machine itself. Just take a look at this EG1 Flair combination I found on Reddit.
The Lelit Bianca V3 is an excellent machine. While certainly not worth an upgrade over a V2, if you already have one, this’ll certainly be an endgame level machine for most people at home.
For around $3,000 you’re getting an excellent dual boiler machine with new electronic modes that help you reproduce consistently good shots. I personally enjoy those modes a lot and use the low flow in the daily workflow.
So anyway that is going to be my full review of the Lelit Bianca V3!