Lelit Mara X Review: Classic Design With Prosumer Features

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 on a bit of a Lelit kick these days, hence this Lelit Mara X review. The Italian espresso machine manufacturer dazzles me – and many a coffee nerd – with its craft and dedicated attention to high quality espresso.

I’m on a bit of a Lelit kick these days, hence this Lelit Mara X review. The Italian espresso machine manufacturer dazzles me – and many a coffee nerd – with its craft and dedicated attention to high quality espresso.

Needless to say, I’m quite excited to pull some shots on the Lelit Mara X espresso machine.

That said, I decided to write this initial review while I wait for this beauty to arrive on my doorstep. After all, writing passes the time much faster than checking the tracking information on my order once an hour. Hey, I never said I was patient!

Prosumer Powerhouse

Lelit Mara X

This machine has it all

Gorgeous to behold

Rugged build

Tons of adjustable settings

Makes superb espresso

Professional-grade components

Rather expensive

Overview: Lelit Mara X Review

The Lelit Mara X is a prosumer espresso machine from the Italian manufacturer Lelit. Founded in 1986, Lelit has been making premium espresso machines and, weirdly, high-end laundry irons for decades. Incidentally, the manufacturer is widely respected in the coffee industry for producing durable, stylish and quality-focused home espresso machines.

That said, Breville purchased Lelit in 2022, so we’ll see how that affects the performance of Lelit espresso machines in the future.

The Lelit Mara X was released alongside its bigger sister, the Lelit Bianca espresso machine. I’ll reference the Lelit Bianca several times throughout this Lelit Mara X review.

Like the Bianca, the Mara X has a classic design, featuring a stainless steel body with wood accents. What’s more, it’s a compact and relatively affordable prosumer espresso machine. With a $1700 MSRP, you get a lot of bang for your buck.

This home espresso machine is ideal for a range of home baristas, from novices to seasoned experts. Part of the Mara X’s appeal is that it’s versatile yet easy to use, thanks to advanced brewing features and an intuitive user interface.

What’s more, the Lelit Mara X offers reliable temperature stability. This is due to a single heat exchanger boiler system and thermosiphon circulation that keeps the 58mm grouphead nice and toasty. I’ll explain these features later on in my Lelit Mara X review.

The Mara X has just the right amount of brewing features to keep most espresso lovers happy. These include a preinfusion setting and an adjustable brew temperature.

Plus, the Mara X has the option to switch between two brewing modes, Xmode Steam and Xmode Coffee, to optimize the espresso machine for your drink preferences.

All in all, the Lelit Mara X is a unique machine with high-end features in a compact, user-friendly package.

Lelit Mara X Features

Size and Design

As I mentioned, the Lelit Mara X is quite small for a heat exchanger (HX) espresso machine. I’ll explain what a heat exchanger machine is a little later in this Lelit Mara X review.

With a width of 8.9 inches (22.5 centimeters), a height of 14 inches (35.5 centimeters) and a depth of 20.5 inches (52 centimeters), the Mara X should easily fit on just about any kitchen counter.

Lelit Mara X Size and Design

That said, due to the top-filling water tank, you’ll need to be mindful of any overhanging cabinets. Besides, it’s quite heavy at 40.6 pounds (18.4 kilograms), so you’ll want to avoid moving it as much as possible.

Still, this prosumer machine has a pretty small footprint and a stylish, classic design. The Lelit Mara X comes in three colors:

  • Brushed Stainless Steel with black resin accents

  • White with maple wood accents

  • Black with maple wood accents

No matter which color you choose, the Mara X is made of durable stainless steel on the body, drip tray, cup grate and steam wand. Plus, the black resin or maple wood accents make the portafilter handle, brew level and steam and tea knobs really stand out.

What’s more, Lelit claims that the Mara X is “mug friendly” thanks to the removable cup grate, which makes room for tall cups to fit under the coffee spout.

Beyond the functional design elements, I can’t express enough how stylish this machine is. Plus, some of the functional switches are hidden behind the drip tray, leaving the face of the machine with a clean and slimmed-down design. The elegant lines and classic aesthetic make the Lelit Mara X a truly gorgeous home espresso machine.

User Interface

The Lelit Mara X isn’t all looks – it’s also super easy to use.

In fact, the Lelit Mara X is much more user-friendly than its expert-level big sister, the Lelit Bianca. The Mara X still produces espresso that will satisfy even the pickiest espresso fanatic, but is more accessible to a wider market. You can thank three different pre-set brew temperatures and automatic preinfusion for that.

That said, the Mara X offers relatively limited customization and shot control, especially when compared to other prosumer machines.

At the same time, the settings that the Mara X does offer is impressive. You can toggle between two different brew settings, Xmode Steam and Xmode Coffee, via a switch behind the drip tray. I’ll talk more about those in a bit.

Also hidden in the drip tray is a switch to choose your brew temperature. Again, I’ll discuss the adjustable brew temperature in depth later on in this Lelit Mara X review.

What’s more, the Lelit Mara X features a backlit stainless steel power button and LED lights that alert you when the machine is warmed up or the water level is low.

Lelit Mara X White

Plus, there’s a double manometer that displays the steam pressure and pump pressure.

Incidentally, you can regulate the steam wand power with the steam knob. Same goes for the hot water knob. As for how to pull shots, you pull the brew lever up to begin the extraction, then push it down when you’re satisfied with the shot specs.

Finally, the Lelit Mara X has an automatic standby mode, which idles the boiler after a period of inactivity.

As you can see, the Mara X has a simple user interface that prioritizes ease of use, while still producing quality espresso.

Custom Pump

The Lelit Mara X is equipped with a custom dual pump for optimal steaming pressure and espresso extraction pressure. Fortunately, the custom pump is very quiet. Plus, a double manometer on the front of the machine allows you to monitor the pressure while you brew and steam.

Even better, the Mara X features an automatic mechanical preinfusion. In other words, the pressure increases slowly before reaching full espresso extraction pressure.

While the mechanical preinfusion doesn’t offer nearly as much control as the Lelit Bianca’s flow control paddle, it’ll likely satisfy most espresso connoisseurs.

Boiler

The Lelit Mara X features a single 61-ounce (1.8-liter) boiler connected to a 84.5-ounce (2.5-liter) water tank. Incidentally, the boiler heats up in 24 minutes or less and has an energy-saving standby mode.

Lelit’s patented double probe system ensures temperature stability, which means the brew water won’t be too hot and there’s no wait time between pulling shots. These qualities are often missing from HX single boiler machines.

What’s more, thermosiphon circulation keeps the group head consistently warm. In other words, if your shots are under extracted, it’s likely on you or your coffee grinder – not the Mara X.

Okay, back to the boiler. More specifically, the Lelit Mara X has a heat exchanger boiler system. I mentioned this in passing earlier on in this Lelit Mara X review, so it’s time to get into it.

With a heat exchanger boiler system, the boiler is kept at steaming temperatures, ensuring adequate steam power and perfectly frothed milk. However, this temperature is far too hot for a well-extracted shot of espresso.

Fortunately, HX espresso machine manufacturers have figured out a way around this. When brew water is on the way from the tank to the group head, it passes through part of the boiler, picking up some of the boiler’s heat along the way.

Then, with a PID controller and temperature probe system, Lelit can ensure that the brew water reaches an adequate shot temperature before it enters the group head.

Plus, serious espresso drinkers can keep the Mara X in the Xmode Coffee setting. In this mode the boiler system has a faster thermal recovery, allowing you to pull a few shots in a row without a lag time.

Adjustable Temperature

Lelit Mara X Adjustable Temperature

The Lelit Mara X allows you to switch between three available extraction temperatures: Warm, Hot and Extra Hot. These settings correlate to 197 degrees Fahrenheit (91.7 degrees Celsius), 201 degrees Fahrenheit (93.9 degrees Celsius) and 205 degrees Fahrenheit (96.1 degrees Celsius), respectively.

I’ll admit, fixed temperature settings don’t offer as much customization as a digital PID controller with a range of temperatures. Still, these settings will likely satisfy just about any home barista.

What’s more, you’d need to spend an extra thousand dollars to get the full PID temperature control that the Lelit Bianca offers. If full control is what you’re after, you know what to do: shell out for the Bianca instead.

But again, for most espresso nerds and latte lovers, the brew temperature adjustability of the Mara X will suffice.

After all, many baristas – even those at quality-focused coffee bars – tend to set their espresso brew temperature and leave it there. With that context, three precise brew temperatures seem like enough to me.

Milk Foam

In a unique twist, the Lelit Mara X offers two brew modes: Xmode Steam and Xmode Coffee.

I suspect they do this to dispel any critiques that the Mara X lacks steam power, seeing as this is not a dual boiler machine.

On the contrary, when operating the Mara X under the steam priority mode, Xmode Steam, you can expect optimal steam pressure. What’s more, the Mara X features a professional-style stainless steel steam wand.

By the way, home baristas can regulate the steaming power via the steam wand knob. For what it’s worth, there is also a separate hot water wand and knob to brew americanos and tea.

However, if milk foam isn’t a priority, you can choose the Xmode Coffee setting instead. Again, you can switch between these settings with a switch located behind the drip tray.

Xmode Coffee is the ideal setting for pulling back-to-back espresso shots without a cooling flush in between shots. That said, you’ll need to switch back to Xmode Steam if you want to add steamed milk to your shots, since the steam wand does not perform well under the Xmode Coffee setting.

Portafilter

The Lelit Mara X includes a 58mm stainless steel group head and split portafilter.

Depending on the color you choose, the portafilter will come with a maple wood handle or a polished black resin handle.

You can expect four different portafilter baskets with your Lelit espresso machine: a blind basket for backflushing, a single shot basket and two double shot baskets. Incidentally, the smaller double shot basket has an 18-gram capacity, while the larger double shot basket has a 21-gram capacity.

Admittedly, most people won’t get a whole lot of use out of the larger double shot basket. Still, coffee nerds who like single origin or light roast espresso shots are sure to be thrilled with this accessory!

Accessories

Lelit Mara X Accessories

The Lelit Mara X comes with a chock-full goodie bag of espresso accessories. Check them out!

  • 58mm split portafilter

  • Single shot basket

  • Double shot basket

  • Blind basket

  • Stainless steel tamper with wood handle

  • Coffee scoop

  • Espresso cup grate

  • 35-liter water softener filter

  • Trial cleaning kit

A quick note on the included espresso tamper:

First, this thing is stainless steel. Hooray! What’s more, the shape of the wood handle is ergonomic and ensures a firm grip while tamping.

Both the Black and White Mara X models include a tamper with a maple wood handle. On the other hand, if you purchase the stainless steel Mara X, the tamper will have a snazzy red wooden handle.

How to Use the Lelit Mara X

Since this is an initial review of the Lelit Mara X, I’ll have more observations to share when this prosumer beauty arrives on my doorstep. In the meantime I’ll give a brief explanation of how to use the thing.

As with any new espresso machine, be sure to wash and thoroughly dry all removable parts. This includes the drip tray and portafilter. Next, consult the user manual to learn how to get the Mara X ready for brewing.

Once you’ve done the initial setup and the machine is adequately heated up, it’s go time! But first, pull out the drip tray to choose a brew temperature and your preferred brew mode: Xmode Steam or Xmode Coffee.

Then, weigh out, grind and tamp your favorite espresso beans. Of course, you’ll need an espresso grinder and coffee scale for this step.

Lelit Mara X Espresso

When you’re done prepping the portafilter, orient the portafilter into the group head and turn it until the handle is aligned with the lock symbol. At this point, you should have a timer on hand and an espresso cup tared on a scale.

Quickly place the cup and scale under the coffee spout, then pull the brew level up to begin the extraction. Once your shot has reached your ideal yield or extraction time, press the lever back down to stop the shot.

Because the Mara X is a heat exchanger machine, a cooling flush technically isn’t required to get the group head ready for another shot. That said, you’ll still want to purge water through the group head for a couple seconds between shots to clean the screen.

If you want steamed milk, purge the steam wand for a second before placing it into your milk pitcher. Then, twist the steam wand knob and froth away.

Lelit Mara X Cleaning

Fortunately, cleaning the Lelit Mara X is a breeze. After all, there’s only one boiler to contend with.

Besides, Lelit has prepared you for this moment. They’ve included a water softener filter and a cleaning kit in the accessory goodie bag to make the cleaning and descaling process that much easier.

Thanks to the water filter, you won’t have to do a thorough deep clean too often. What’s more, daily maintenance of home espresso machines is easy as can be.

Simply dump out your used espresso grounds after pulling your shot, then rinse the portafilter and group head by pulling up on the brew lever. You can also use a microfiber cloth to wipe any espresso grounds out of the portafilter basket.

While I’m on the subject, Lelit gives you a blind basket for backflushing, which is an easy way to clean the group head and gaskets. Plus, regularly backflushing keeps your espresso shots tasting clean and fresh.

Oh, and be sure to wipe your steam wand immediately after steaming milk, then purge some steam through it.

Lelit Mara X Technical Specifications

Lelit Mara X
Manufacturer

Lelit

Model number

PL62X

Product category

Manual espresso machine

Housing material

Stainless steel

Color options

Black, Brushed Stainless Steel, White

Milk frother

Steam wand

User interface

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

1

Pump pressure

15 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

1250 W

Weight

40.5 lb / 18.4 kg

Dimensions

13.8 x 8.7 x 16.3 in
35.1 x 22.1 x 41.4 cm

Warranty

1 year

Notes

Included Accessories: User manual, 2 x filter baskets, blind basket, tamper, cup riser, coffee scoop, water filter, group brush, cleaning kit

All specifications

Lelit Mara X vs Bianca

Lelit Bianca Feature

I’ve already compared these two machines several times throughout this Lelit Mara X review, but I’ll sum it up here for good measure.

In short, while still being a prosumer model, the Lelit Mara X is more affordable and compact than the Lelit Bianca. Of course, this comes with trade-offs.

Most importantly, the Mara X is a single boiler HX machine and doesn’t offer nearly as much customization as the Bianca. Rather, it features only three available brewing temperatures and an automatic preinfusion setting.

Plus, with the Mara X you have to choose between the steam priority mode and a mode that allows you to pull consistent shots back-to-back.

Meanwhile, the Lelit Bianca is a dual boiler machine, so you can get both optimal steaming power and shot extraction all the time. Plus, the Bianca offers more comprehensive shot control, including water flow control and a range of brewing temperatures.

What’s more, the Lelit Bianca has electronic programming options, so you can set your favorite espresso recipe and pull the perfect shot time and again.

When all’s said and done, I consider both the Bianca and the Mara X to be premium end-game home espresso machines. That said, the Bianca has more advanced features. However, with an MSRP of $3,000, the Bianca is significantly more expensive than the Mara X.

As for which to choose, it all depends on your preferences. Most people won’t be bothered by the trade-offs of the Mara X, but those who require full control of their espresso specs will likely need to shell out for the Bianca.

See Also: Lelit Bianca Review

Lelit Mara X vs Bianca Comparison Chart

Lelit Mara XLelit Bianca
Manufacturer

Lelit

Lelit

Model number

PL62X

PL162T

Product category

Manual espresso machine

Manual espresso machine

Housing material

Stainless steel

Stainless steel

Color options

Black, Brushed Stainless Steel, White

Black, Stainless Steel, White

Milk frother

Steam wand

Steam wand

User interface

Buttons and dials

Monochromatic LCD with buttons and dials

App

User profiles

1

1

Portafilter size

58 mm

58 mm

Tamping

Manual

Manual

Removable water reservoir

Water reservoir capacity

84.5 fl oz / 2.5 l

84.5 fl oz / 2.5 l

Number of boilers

1

2

Pump pressure

15 bar

16 bar

Maximum cup height

4.5 in / 11.4 cm

4.5 in / 11.4 cm

Grinder

N/A

N/A

Grind adjustment levels

N/A

N/A

Bean hopper capacity

N/A

N/A

Specialty drinks

1

1

Pre-infusion

Adjustable coffee temperature

Adjustable milk foam temperature

2-cup function

Yes (non-milk drinks only)

Yes (non-milk drinks only)

Hot water function

Hot milk function

Milk foam only option

Water filter

Power consumption

1250 W

1400 W

Weight

40.5 lb / 18.4 kg

50.0 lb / 22.7 kg

Dimensions

13.8 x 8.7 x 16.3 in
35.1 x 22.1 x 41.4 cm

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

Warranty

1 year

1 year

Notes

Included Accessories: User manual, 2 x filter baskets, blind basket, tamper, cup riser, coffee scoop, water filter, group brush, cleaning kit

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

Lelit Mara XLelit Bianca
Manufacturer

Lelit

Lelit

Model number

PL62X

PL162T

Product category

Manual espresso machine

Manual espresso machine

Housing material

Stainless steel

Stainless steel

Color options

Black, Brushed Stainless Steel, White

Black, Stainless Steel, White

Milk frother

Steam wand

Steam wand

User interface

Buttons and dials

Monochromatic LCD with buttons and dials

App

User profiles

1

1

Portafilter size

58 mm

58 mm

Tamping

Manual

Manual

Removable water reservoir

Water reservoir capacity

84.5 fl oz / 2.5 l

84.5 fl oz / 2.5 l

Number of boilers

1

2

Pump pressure

15 bar

16 bar

Maximum cup height

4.5 in / 11.4 cm

4.5 in / 11.4 cm

Grinder

N/A

N/A

Grind adjustment levels

N/A

N/A

Bean hopper capacity

N/A

N/A

Specialty drinks

1

1

Pre-infusion

Adjustable coffee temperature

Adjustable milk foam temperature

2-cup function

Yes (non-milk drinks only)

Yes (non-milk drinks only)

Hot water function

Hot milk function

Milk foam only option

Water filter

Power consumption

1250 W

1400 W

Weight

40.5 lb / 18.4 kg

50.0 lb / 22.7 kg

Dimensions

13.8 x 8.7 x 16.3 in
35.1 x 22.1 x 41.4 cm

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

Warranty

1 year

1 year

Notes

Included Accessories: User manual, 2 x filter baskets, blind basket, tamper, cup riser, coffee scoop, water filter, group brush, cleaning kit

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

Verdict: Lelit Mara X Review

Prosumer Powerhouse

Lelit Mara X

This machine has it all

Gorgeous to behold

Rugged build

Tons of adjustable settings

Makes superb espresso

Professional-grade components

Rather expensive

For the most part, I’ll save my final conclusions about the Lelit Mara X for when I actually get to test the machine out.

In the meantime, I’ll say that the Mara X matches its price point with prosumer features and an intuitive user interface. Plus, it’s stylish enough and has sufficient brew customization settings to keep most espresso drinkers happy.

I’m super excited to pull some shots on this machine. Keep checking back if you’re curious about how the Mara X stands up to my tests!

What do you think of the Lelit Mara X? Do you have any specific questions you want me to address in my next review of the machine? Let me know in the comments section below!

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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