Lelit Bianca Review: The Last Espresso Machine You’ll Ever Buy?

Hi! My name is Arne. Having spent years working as a barista I'm now on a mission to bring more good coffee to the people. To that end, my team and I provide you with a broad knowledge base on the subject of coffee.

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I’m really excited to write this Lelit Bianca review. Turns out this is truly a special machine.

I’m really excited to write this Lelit Bianca review. Turns out this is truly a special machine.

In fact, I’m so eager to explore this prosumer espresso machine that I decided to write an initial review while I wait for the Bianca to arrive on my doorstep. The Lelit Bianca is not just gorgeous, but it produces some exquisite espresso with top-tier brew settings.

So, without further ado, let’s get into it!

Simply outstanding

Lelit Bianca

Espresso nerds rejoice

Beautiful design

Sturdy construction

Cutting edge features

Double boilers

Makes superb espresso

Steep learning curve

Lelit Bianca Review Overview

The Lelit Bianca espresso machine is handmade in Italy by an Italian manufacturer. Lelit was founded in Italy in 1986, so they’ve been in the espresso game for quite a few decades.  Incidentally, Breville purchased Lelit in 2022 for a whopping $168.7 million.

Interestingly enough, Lelit started out manufacturing ironing systems. I’ll admit, laundry irons and espresso machines seem like a weird combo to me.

Lelit Bianca Overview

That said, both Lelit irons and Lelit espresso machines feature stainless steel boilers that can produce steam, so are they really all that different? Next time I need a shirt ironed maybe I’ll just drape it over my steam wand while I make a cappuccino. What’s the worst that can happen?

All jokes aside, I am quite glad that Lelit added espresso machines to their repertoire. After all, they are renowned in the coffee world for producing premium home espresso machines. 

In other words, the Lelit Bianca is definitely not a beginner espresso machine. Not that you’d expect a beginner market with its $3,000 MSRP.

Rather, the Lelit Bianca is ideal for seasoned home baristas who want to level up with high-end features and precise programming options.

The Bianca features two stainless steel boilers with programmable brewing and steaming temperatures. What’s more, the water flow control paddle allows you to adjust the pressure in your 58mm group head at any time during the brew.

Plus, a double manometer tells you precisely how many bars of pressure are in the rotary pump and commercial-style steam wand. I’ll get more into these features in a bit.

All in all, the Lelit Bianca is perfect for espresso enthusiasts who like to tinker with their shot parameters. All you need is a premium espresso grinder and you’re ready to brew some cafe-quality espresso with this beautiful prosumer machine.

Lelit Bianca Features

Have I piqued your interest yet? If so, hold on to your wallet because there’s a lot more to discuss in this Lelit Bianca review. This prosumer espresso machine is loaded with high-end features and it’s super stylish, to boot.

Size and Design

I’ll start with the gorgeous design of the Lelit Bianca. It has a stainless steel body with wood accents on the adjustable feet, steam and tea wand knobs, brew lever, portafilter handle and flow control paddle.

The materials depend on the color you choose:

  • Polished stainless steel with walnut wood accents

  • White with maple wood accents

  • Black with maple wood accents

Lelit Bianca Size and Design

Beyond the stainless steel body, there is an abundance of stainless steel on this machine. That’s right – no flimsy plastic here! The Bianca features a stainless steel cup warmer, drip tray, wire grate, steam wand and movable water tank. More on those in a bit.

Thanks to the stainless steel, the Lelit Bianca is not just durable but quite hefty. It weighs in at 60 pounds (27 kilograms), so I’d recommend picking a counter spot and leaving it there for good.

What’s more, the Lelit Bianca is quite large, at 15.8 inches (39 centimeters) tall, 11.5 inches (29 centimeters) wide and with a depth of 16 inches (40 centimeters), plus the 3.2-inch (8-centimeter) removable water tank.

Still, if you have the room, I doubt you’ll mind this beauty taking up space on your counter. With an elegant, classic design featuring flower-shaped knobs, the Bianca is anything but an eyesore. It’s clear that Lelit’s design team knows what they’re doing.

As a matter of fact, Lelit even claims that the Bianca is “mug friendly.” That’s a cute way of saying that the grate on the drip tray is removable to make room for tall latte cups or travel mugs, giving the Bianca a 4.5-inch (11.4-centimeter) cup clearance.

In my opinion, the Leli Bianca may just be the most stylish home espresso machine on the market today.

User Interface

I won’t say that the Lelit Bianca is easy to use, because it really is designed for expert espresso connoisseurs. That said, if you know what you’re doing in regards to adjusting pressure, water flow and brewing temperatures, the user interface will be super fun to work with.

In fact, I’d say this prosumer gem could almost be considered a manual espresso maker, given that the user interface is composed of levers, paddles and knobs.

At the same time, Lelit has produced a high-tech machine here, featuring a backlit stainless steel on/off switch and the LCC (Lelit Control Center) with an OLED screen. Plus, the machine has a double manometer for monitoring pressure.

Among other features, the LCC allows you to set recipes, change the brew temperature (and temperature units) and choose preinfusion and late-extraction reduced pressure settings. I’ll talk more about this in a bit.

What’s more, the Lelit Bianca features a sleep mode, in which the coffee boiler idles at 158 degrees Fahrenheit (70 degrees Celsius). From there, it takes 10 minutes to heat back up to the brew temperature.

Incidentally, the boiler takes 24 minutes to heat up when cold. I’ll admit that this is quite a long time. Still, a long heat-up time is well worth the trade-off of advanced brewing features. Besides, espresso enthusiasts know the importance of a thoroughly preheated grouphead.

Flow Control Paddle

Lelit Bianca Flow Control Paddle

The flow control paddle is one of the more exciting and unique features of the Lelit Bianca home espresso machine. Water flow control allows you to adjust the brew pressure at any time, giving you absolute control over your shot.

Again, this is a feature designed for an espresso tinkerer. Whether you prefer a long pre-infusion time, no pre-infusion time or late extraction pressure reduction, the Lelit Bianca will let you accomplish it.

Incidentally, you can monitor the pressure via the manometer on the front of the machine. Manometers are common on espresso machines, particularly prosumer models, but in the case of the Lelit Bianca a gauge is extra important.

Since you can manipulate the water flow as your shot pulls, having tangible data to quantify the pressure at different points of the brew allows you to really dial-in your shot recipe.

For what it’s worth, you can also choose water flow settings and volumetric control with the Lelit Control Center. That said, I’d say pushing a paddle around is a lot more fun!

Lelit Electronic Control System

The LCC is as close to smart features as the Lelit Bianca gets. Still, I wouldn’t call the Bianca “smart” – it’s better than that.

Unlike some smart coffee makers, the Lelit Bianca doesn’t pretend to have advanced settings and programming options; it actually has them. They’re just accessible via the machine itself rather than in a fussy smartphone app. With the Lelit Bianca, it’s only you and the machine, no screens required.

Now that my little rant is over, I can get on with this Lelit Bianca review!

The Lelit Control Center features an OLED touch screen that you navigate via plus and minus keys. The LCC enables you to adjust your shot parameters. Most importantly, you can customize the brew pressure, brew temperature and preinfusion time and pressure. What’s more, there’s an option to activate a late extraction pressure reduction.

If all these features are making you giddy, I’d say the Lelit Bianca espresso machine is the right choice for you. Plus, once you’ve done all the work of dialing in your shot, you can save your favorite recipe for an easily repeatable perfect shot of espresso.

Oh, and the LCC doesn’t just communicate with the coffee boiler and rotary pump. You can also change the brew temperature in the steam boiler for ideal milk texture and perfectly extracted tea.

Incidentally, if you’re not using the steam wand you can disable the steam boiler to save energy.

Either way, the LCC will alert you when the espresso machine is thoroughly heated and ready to brew. Plus, it’ll tell you when the water tank is empty.

That said, you can always plumb the thing in so you don’t have to worry about the water level. More on the water tank in a bit.

Dual Boilers

Lelit Bianca How to Use

I’ve mentioned the dual boilers a few times in this Lelit Bianca review, so I figured I’d give you a little more info.

Why are dual boilers appealing? Well, with a designated coffee boiler and a separate steam boiler, you can pull a shot and steam milk simultaneously.

For what it’s worth, this isn’t a necessary feature for most, if not all, home baristas. 

After all, it’s not like you have a line of customers waiting for their cappuccinos and macchiatos. If you have to wait thirty seconds while your shot pulls before you can steam your milk, that’s not the worst thing in the world.

Still, there is something to say about having the boiler at the right brewing and steaming temperatures. With single boiler espresso machines, you sometimes have to do a bit of temperature surfing to get the boiler to the right temp. Dual boilers remove this scenario from your worries.

Incidentally, the 27-ounce (798-milliliter) coffee boiler and 50.7-ounce (1.5-liter) steam boiler both have adjustable temperature settings. Again, you can change the temperature via the LCC, thanks to the PID temperature control.

What’s more, the boilers take less than 24 minutes to heat up from cold, and only 10 minutes from the standby setting.

Additionally, the dual boiler is relatively energy efficient. This is for two reasons. First, the water tank is separate from the boilers, so you’re not heating up the whole tank at once.

Plus, the thermosiphon brew group keeps the group head consistently up to temp with convection rather than drawing significant energy from the rotary pump.

If you’re not tech-oriented, all this means is that your group head will be toasty and warm whenever you’re ready to use it. As long as the boiler isn’t idling, that is.

Water Tank

The water tank is typically one of the least exciting features on an espresso machine. That said, Lelit has a trick up their sleeve with the Bianca espresso machine: the 84.5-ounce (2.5-liter) water tank is movable.

In fact, you can choose to place it in one of three places, whichever floats your boat or fits your kitchen counter the best. Indicators show when the tank is properly placed. Plus, the water tank is located on the outside of the machine so it doesn’t heat up with the boiler.

Best of all, the Lelit Bianca comes with a water softening filter. You’ll even get alerts on the LCC when it’s time to change the filter, which the machine quantifies based on how often you fill the tank.

That said, I’m not sure how the alert system works if you plumb the espresso machine into a water line.

Anyway, I wouldn’t say plumbing it in is necessary by any means. The Lelit Bianca water tank opens on the top for easy filling, and even has ergonomic handles for lifting and moving it around your kitchen.

Milk Foam

I won’t go too much in-depth about the steam wand in this initial Lelit Bianca review, seeing as I haven’t tried it yet. When I have some gorgeous latte art to show off, I’ll report back!

That said, the Lelit Bianca features a professional-style steam wand and a separate hot water spout for tea and americanos. Like commercial machines, you can regulate the steaming power with the steam wand knob. Perfectly steamed cortado, anyone?

Portafilter

Lelit Bianca Portafilter

The Lelit Bianca’s 58mm stainless steel portafilter comes with a walnut or maple handle, depending on your chosen color.

It includes four baskets: a blind basket, a single shot basket and two different double shot baskets: one with an 18-gram capacity, and one with a 21-gram capacity.

Now, I don’t know many baristas that pull shots with 21 grams of espresso, but a 19-gram dose is quite common for light roast or single origin espresso.

It’s quite rare to find a portafilter basket with such a high capacity, so I really applaud Lelit for catering to espresso enthusiasts in this regard.

Accessories

With such a premium espresso machine, I wouldn’t expect anything less than an array of espresso accessories. Fortunately, Lelit has followed through. Here is what you can expect in your box:

  • Bottomless portafilter

  • Split portafilter

  • Single shot basket

  • Double shot basket

  • Larger double shot basket

  • Blind basket for backflushing

  • Stainless steel tamper with aluminum or wood handle

  • Coffee scoop

  • Espresso cup grate

  • Water softener filter

  • Nylon cleaning brush

  • Lelit microfiber cloth

  • Optional 4-hole steam wand nozzle

  • Trial cleaning kit

That’s quite a long list, so I’d like to highlight a few accessories that I’m particularly excited about.

I’ll start with the stainless steel tamper. This is not a flimsy plastic tamper. Rather, Lelit’s included espresso tamper is high quality, durable and weighty.

Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about the plastic coffee scoop, but I’d recommend always using a coffee scale to dose your espresso grounds anyway.

I already stated my delight and surprise over four different portafilter baskets, but this is so unique that I can’t help but repeat myself. How often do you see a basket with a 21-gram capacity? How about almost never!

Additionally, I quite appreciate the included water softener and filtration system. All espresso machine manufacturers recommend filtered water for their machines, but few of them give you a filtration system from the get-go. Kudos to Lelit.

Really the only accessory Lelit left out is a stainless steel milk pitcher. Honestly, I’m a bit surprised by this. Why include something as expensive as a filtration system, and leave out a key material for steaming milk?

How to Use the Lelit Bianca

For the most part, I’m going to save this section for when I actually get a chance to try this espresso machine. Trust me, I’m on the edge of my seat too! The Lelit Bianca is a really cool machine and I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

Still, I’ll say this much: As with any coffee maker, wash and thoroughly dry all removable parts before your first use. Then, refer to the user manual for start-up procedures, including installing the water filter.

Once the espresso machine is on, you’ll wait about 20 minutes until the LCC shows the “OK” screen. Now it’s show time.

Lelit Bianca Espresso

Choose your preferred dose and the appropriate portafilter basket, then grind and tamp your espresso beans. Using the LCC, navigate to your preferred brewing temperature.

Finally, insert your portafilter and pull the brew level up to start pulling your shot. By the way, it’s ideal if your espresso cup is tared on a scale at this point, and if you have a shot timer going.

Using the flow control paddle, you can manipulate the water flow if you want a slow preinfusion or late extraction pressure reduction. Alternatively, you can choose these settings on the LCC before you start your shot.

Once your shot is at your preferred specs, turn the brew level back to the down position. Voilá! Your shot is ready and waiting for you. Oh, and if you want steamed milk, you know the drill.

Lelit Bianca Cleaning

If you’re investing in the Lelit Bianca, you likely are a seasoned home barista already fluent in the maintenance needs of home espresso machines. Plus, the Lelit Bianca isn’t a semiautomatic or super automatic espresso machine, so there’s no built-in grinder or internal brew group to deal with.

For these reasons, I won’t explain in depth how to clean the Lelit Bianca. Besides, I already have a whole guide to cleaning and descaling coffee makers.

That said, you’ll want to rinse the grouphead and portafilter each day to get rid of any coffee residue. Don’t forget to wipe off the steam wand and purge steam through it, too.

What’s more, you’ll occasionally have to descale your espresso machine using vinegar or a cleaning tablet.

However, cleaning the Lelit Bianca espresso machine is a breeze thanks to the water softener filter. As long as you remember to change your filter, limescale won’t build up too often in the tank or inner mechanisms of the espresso machine.

Lelit Bianca Technical Specifications

Lelit Bianca
Manufacturer

Lelit

Model number

PL162T

Product category

Manual espresso machine

Housing material

Stainless steel

Color options

Black, Stainless Steel, White

Milk frother

Steam wand

User interface

Monochromatic LCD with buttons and dials

App

User profiles

1

Portafilter size

58 mm

Tamping

Manual

Removable water reservoir

Water reservoir capacity

84.5 fl oz / 2.5 l

Number of boilers

2

Pump pressure

16 bar

Maximum cup height

4.5 in / 11.4 cm

Grinder

N/A

Grind adjustment levels

N/A

Bean hopper capacity

N/A

Specialty drinks

1

Pre-infusion

Adjustable coffee temperature

Adjustable milk foam temperature

2-cup function

Yes (non-milk drinks only)

Hot water function

Hot milk function

Milk foam only option

Water filter

Power consumption

1400 W

Weight

50.0 lb / 22.7 kg

Dimensions

15.8 x 11.5 x 16.0 in
40.1 x 29.2 x 40.6 cm

Warranty

1 year

Notes

Included Accessories: Spouted portafilter, bottomless portafilter, 2 x filter baskets, tamper, scoop, water filter, cleaning kit

All specifications

Verdict: Lelit Bianca Review

Simply outstanding

Lelit Bianca

Espresso nerds rejoice

Beautiful design

Sturdy construction

Cutting edge features

Double boilers

Makes superb espresso

Steep learning curve

I’ll end this Lelit Bianca review with a short and sweet assessment: If you can afford it, the Lelit Bianca will be the best and last home espresso machine you’ll ever buy.

If you’re considering this espresso machine, keep checking back. I’ll update this initial review once I’ve had a chance to put the Bianca through its paces.

What do you think of the Lelit Bianca? Does it exceed all your hopes and dreams for a home espresso machine, or is there something missing? Let’s nerd out in the comments section!

Lelit Bianca Review FAQ

Yes, Breville bought Lelit in 2022.

The V3 has more advanced and user-friendly features, including low flow start and end settings, stand-by mode and a faster heat-up time.

24 minutes from cold and 10 minutes from the stand-by mode.

The Lelit Bianca features a dual boiler for coffee brewing and steaming.

Your coffee expert
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Arne Preuss

Hi! My name is Arne. Having spent years working as a barista I'm now on a mission to bring more good coffee to the people. To that end, my team and I provide you with a broad knowledge base on the subject of coffee.

More about Arne Preuss

Hi! My name is Arne. Having spent years working as a barista I'm now on a mission to bring more good coffee to the people. To that end, my team and I provide you with a broad knowledge base on the subject of coffee.

More about Arne Preuss

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