Last Updated on May 5, 2021 by Nick Baskett
LELIT is an Italian espresso machine manufacturer that has attracted a huge following of fans over the last few years. The company is making machines that people want, and somehow is doing it at a price point that undercuts the competition.
Arguably, no machine in their line-up epitomises their style to value offering as much as the Bianca – a dual boiler machine with features like flow profiling that comes as standard. The wood accents, including a walnut flow control paddle, have made it a darling of the YouTube espresso crowd.
While some other manufacturers seem content to make minor revisions, LELIT seems to be trying a new path. True, the machines still look traditional, but the company is clearly not afraid to test new ideas on the market. Best of all, they do this without making the cost a significant barrier.
So we had one burning question. How do they do it? Then we had more questions, so we contacted LELIT, and they responded quickly and we were able to put our questions to none other than Mauro Epis, who is the R&D Manager, and part of the family that runs LELIT.
So if, like us, you’ve been interested to know more about the LELIT Bianca and the company behind it, then read on.
Tell us about LELIT
The company was founded in the ‘80s by my father, Mr Edoardo Epis, and it is now run by my 2 brothers and me, each one of us with a key role in the company.
LELIT is therefore a family-run company. In the beginning, we were specialized only in ironing systems and in 2002 we added also the production of the coffee machines.
Our headquarters are in Brescia, in northern Italy, with some warehouses distributed around the area. A few months ago, we also acquired Seriveneta, a company located in Vicenza (Italy) and specialized in the silk-printed plate manufacture. We design and produce everything in Italy but we distribute on a global level, the international customers represent 80% of our total sales.
What was the objective in creating the Bianca?
The Bianca was presented to the public at the 2017 Host Exhibitions and its production started in 2018. We wanted to create a machine that LELIT did not have and that the market did not have either. We already had coffee machines with the HX and the dual boiler but we wanted something with superior characteristics without exceeding our price range. We had a positive response from the public not because our machine had the best features, but because it had the greatest features for the money. We
made a superior machine accessible.
How did you Achieve the Price Point with all those Features
We started like everybody else using standard component, but this did not allow us to increase our performance without exceeding the costs. People were asking for a superior product but within that price range and we worked to make it possible. We are driven by our customers’ requests.
Listening to their opinions is something we do more and more when designing a new product. We invested a lot in finding a different way to reach the pressure profiling and we achieved that at a lower price. Before Bianca, there was no pressure profiling at this price point. The idea came to me in a funny way. I like to race with a go-kart and me and my friends made a bet: who loses pays the lunch.
The day before, as I was working to make my go-kart faster, I saw the gicler (editor – this is a dual spray nozzle) and understood its potential on one of our machines. We worked two years to adapt this piece to our needs.
So we can say that the idea came to me just because I did not want to lose a bet!
The Bianca’s Unique Water Tank
Your water tank can move position, which I’ve not seen on other machines at this level – what was your thinking behind this, and will you extend that feature to other models?
We noticed that none of the machines of this kind paid particular attention to water. The external tank is meant to maintain the water temperature stable and to avoid temperature fluctuation. At the moment, it is a feature we use only for Bianca, but you never know!
Temperature and Thermal Stability
Do you measure the temperature at the group head or the boiler? and tell us about your thoughts on the importance of thermal stability in creating a good shot, and how this factored into your design choices.
We measure the temperature at the boiler. We are trying to improve from the thermal stability point of view and there are many different aspects to be developed. We are doing a lot of research.
Electronic pre-infusion seems to be a feature LELIT wanted to highlight (some lengthy youtube videos on this) as in the previous question, can we discuss the thinking about the importance of pre-infusion and how you decided to tackle it.
Pre-infusion makes the part of the shot replicable. Using the paddle can be complicated, and in this way, we make it automatic and easy for any user (please consider that these products are meant to be used by the whole family). We discuss it because of its potential, there is a lot to be developed and we believe it offers a variety of possibility.
What’s Your Opinion on Having an APP for Controls
We decided not to make this machine too technological to respects its classical side.
What Do You Wish You Could Change on the Bianca
There is always something to be improved, stay tuned!
What about Future Challenges
We want to always be innovative within our price range, so innovation, innovation, innovation! In these past 5 years, our company has significantly grown, acquiring new markets and increasing production and the number of employees. Our challenge is to keep this trend.
I’d like to thank LELIT for agreeing to do this Q&A session with us and supplying us with the photographs in the article. You can learn more about the LELIT Bianca on their very nice website