6 Best Lelit Espresso Machines (2023 Reviews)
Lelit might not have the storied history of long-standing Italian brands like La Marzocco or Bezzera; instead, they have a passion for innovation and a willingness to pursue fresh ideas. Whether that’s an affordable pressure profiling machine or a heat exchanger with dual PIDs, they’re not afraid to get creative and shake up the industry.
If you’re in search of the perfect Lelit espresso maker, you’ve come to the right place! In this review, we’ll look at six top models and their unique features, making it easy to pinpoint the model for you.
At A Glance:
The 6 Top Lelit Espresso Machines for 2023
For 20 years, Lelit has been making some of the best prosumer espresso machines in the game. How do they do it? By knowing when to stick with tradition and when to get creative. Here are six of the best Lelit models this year, combining modern technology with classic design to produce fantastic espresso.
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|Lelit Elizabeth V3||
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|Lelit Mara X||
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Lelit Bianca took the specialty coffee world by storm on its release in 2018. A machine with so many advanced features at a reasonable price seemed too good to be true. But Bianca delivered, even winning an award for innovation (1). With the release of the Bianca V2 in 2020, they made a good thing even better. Hence, an easy pick for our Best Overall.
The Bianca is Lelit’s most advanced model. It’s a dual boiler semi-automatic espresso machine with independent PID temperature control of both boilers. This rotary pump allows it to be plumbed directly to a water line and – the part that got the espresso nerds chattering – a flow control paddle atop the E61 group head.
This combination of features is typically only encountered on far more expensive machines. But according to Lelit R&D Manager Mauro Epis, the Bianca was explicitly created to buck that trend (2).
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.
The exterior design of the Bianca is just as appealing as its inside, again far outclassing its price point. The wraparound mirror-finish stainless steel body panel is paired with beautiful warm wood accents, an option that typically costs extra on other machines. Not only that, but it comes standard with a bottomless portafilter, a sure sign this is a machine for serious espresso lovers!
Cleverly, the water tank is movable. You can position it on the back or either side, which gives you lots of flexibility when it comes to locating this espresso maker. Or, if you opt for direct plumbing, the reservoir can be removed altogether for a more compact footprint.
For more details about this impressive machine, read our complete Lelit Bianca review.
If the Lelit Bianca is for the serious espresso coffee nerds, the Elizabeth is the dual boiler for the rest of us. What it lacks in features like flow profiling, a rotary pump, and an E61 group, it makes up for a compact footprint, low price, and a few more impressive extras.
At just over half the cost of the Bianca, the Elizabeth V3 offers independent PID temperature control of both boilers, powerful 2-bar steam pressure, programmable pre-infusion, and an integrated shot timer (3). It even has a mixing valve that allows you to control the temperature of the hot water tap for preparing tea or an Americano, something many expensive machines lack.
The V3 is the latest edition of the Elizabeth and includes an impressive array of upgrades. There’s a new ECO mode, a quieter vibratory pump, a more accessible OPV, and a reserve mode that allows you to finish pulling a shot if the reservoir runs dry.
The stainless steel Elizabeth is an automatic espresso maker, with two programmable buttons for pulling single and double shots. Once programmed, brewing a great espresso is as simple as pressing a button and walking away, leaving you free to steam milk or prepare breakfast at the same time.
The Elizabeth is undeniably one of the best value models on the market. To learn more, read our full Lelit Elizabeth review.
Lelit makes several models of the Mara, but the stainless steel Mara X, released in 2020, is the standout of the bunch. It best showcases Lelit’s dedication to innovation and breaking the mold by being one of very few heat exchange espresso makers that give you accurate control over brew temperature.
You accomplish this impressive feat using a dual PID system, with one temperature sensor in the boiler and a second at the group itself.
Unlike a typical HX, you don’t need to perform a cooling flush before espresso extraction. You can set the temperature and brew just like with a dual boiler.
The other defining feature of the Mara X is its size. Measuring just 9 inches wide, it is one of the most compact HX machines with an E61 group on the market. Yet it still manages to find room for a 2.5 L water tank and 1.8 L boiler.
Sound like exactly what your kitchen has been missing? For more on this innovative design, and its sister model, the Mara T, you can read our full Lelit Mara review, or you can watch Steven from Home Grounds review it in this video:
Looking for something more traditional? You might be interested in the 969 Coffee Elba 3.
The single boiler Lelit Victoria is a great espresso maker for lovers of pure espresso. Of course, it can steam milk for the occasional latte, but that’s not its priority. And with just one boiler, you can’t steam milk and pull a shot at the same time.
What you can do, however, is make a top-notch espresso. Premium features like programmable pre-infusion, PID temperature control, a saturated group head, and a commercial-style 58 mm portafilter provide it. Plus, they’re all housed in a durable stainless steel exterior.
If you don’t froth a lot of milk, the advantages of a single boiler machine like the Victoria are numerous. For one, it’s significantly less expensive. It’s very compact for two, small enough to fit beneath upper cupboards, and just 9 inches wide. And despite that, it still fits a 2.7 L water reservoir, which is larger than those on Lelit’s bigger models. Lastly, it heats super fast, a benefit that people often overlook. While big steam boilers can take 30 minutes or more to reach temperature stability, the Lelit Victoria is ready to go in just 10 minutes.
Want to know more? Read our Lelit Victoria review.
The Lelit Anna may be small in stature and price, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s lesser in build quality. This little stainless steel machine packs enough of a punch to place it firmly in the category of prosumer espresso machines, making it the perfect affordable entry point for anyone ready to get more serious about espresso.
Indeed, internationally renowned coffee expert James Hoffmann included the Anna in his round-up of inexpensive espresso makers, saying this:
I have enjoyed the shots from the Anna. They have been generally sweet and balanced.
The Anna is a single boiler espresso maker, with the 250 mL brass boiler cleverly positioned directly above the group for better temperature stability. This position also frees up more of the machine to accommodate a surprisingly large 2.7 L water reservoir and a 30 oz drip tray.
The Anna isn’t the ideal choice with such a small boiler if you plan to serve a crowd. Instead, this is a perfect espresso maker for one or two people. It heats up fast and recovers quickly after pulling a shot.
Like many models in this price range, the Anna forgoes a dedicated hot water tap. But unlike many others, the steam wand doubles as a hot water supply. Americano lovers, in particular, will appreciate this feature as it saves heating water in a separate kettle.
It is worth noting that the Anna has a 57 mm portafilter rather than the more common 58 mm. This has no bearing on espresso quality but does mean that the selection of available accessories will be smaller.
It’s rare to see a high-end espresso maker with a built-in grinder, so this is another example of Lelit breaking with tradition. The Kate is an excellent choice if you don’t have a grinder budget or are looking for a space-saving solution.
From an espresso standpoint, Kate is very similar to Victoria. It’s a single boiler espresso maker with the same 300 mL brass boiler. It offers the same control system with programmable automatic brewing, the same 58 mm portafilter, and the same brushed stainless steel body and drip tray and backlit pressure gauge.
What’s new is the integrated grinder. It’s a conical burr grinder with 38 mm stainless steel burrs, a 350 g hopper capacity, and a step-less grind adjustment for dialing in the optimal grind size. Conical burrs are a popular choice for espresso coffee beans because they produce more fines, which experts will tell you gives a shot more body and a richer mouthfeel (4). This burr shape also results in less grind retention for more accurate dosing.
Our Lelit Kate review has even more details about this unique all-in-one machine.
How to Choose the Right Lelit Model
Lelit machines run the gamut with all sizes, prices, and features. No matter what you’re looking for, there’s a perfect model for you, and this buyer’s guide is here to help you find it.
The importance of boiler design
Prosumer machines have one of three boiler designs – single, double, and heat exchanger – and Lelit makes use of all of them for different models. The right choice for you depends on your budget, available space, and, most importantly, on your favorite drinks.
Single boiler models, like Kate, Anna, and Victoria, are the least expensive and most compact, but they have a significant downside: you can’t steam milk and brew coffee simultaneously. If lattes and cappuccinos are your preferred espresso drinks, then other machines will be better for you.
A heat exchanging model is an excellent happy medium. You can brew and steam simultaneously, and they are generally less expensive and more compact than a dual boiler. The main difference is that they don’t allow the same precise temperature control as a double boiler, although as we saw, the Mara X is one of the best in the business in that respect.
Dual boilers are large and expensive, but you’re spending your money well if you like specialty coffee and milk-based drinks.
They allow the most precise control over brewing and steaming temperature, because you can adjust one without influencing another.
Does boiler size matter?
The main advantage of a bigger brew boiler is that you can prepare more drinks back-to-back without waiting for the boiler to recover. The same is true of a bigger steam boiler if you’re preparing many milky drinks. A larger steam boiler can mean more steam pressure, though you can also adjust steam pressure by changing the temperature.
Opting for smaller boilers is a great way to save space and money if you rarely prepare more than a few drinks in a row.
Is flow control a priority for you?
Flow control refers to changing the water flow through the group manually while pulling a shot (5). Altering the water flow profile is yet another variable to improve coffee extraction and tease new flavors out of your beans. It has garnered a lot of excitement from amateurs and pros at coffee shops alike in recent years.
But flow profiling isn’t for everyone. First of all, if you’re not brewing with specialty coffee, it probably isn’t worthwhile. The typical Italian espresso coffee bean blend is already crafted for more traditional coffee extraction. Second of all, you need to be the kind of espresso lover who enjoys tinkering with variables in search of the perfect brew – even if that means plenty of failure and frustration on the road to success.
The Bianca is the only Lelit model with in-built flow control. However, aftermarket flow control modifications for E61 group heads are readily available, so you could also opt for the Mara (6).
Is counter space at a premium?
Lelit machines come in all shapes and sizes, from the massive Bianca to the tiny Anna. If you have unlimited counter space, there’s no reason to use size as a deciding factor. But if you’re short on space, it’s worth thinking about where your espresso maker will live before you buy. Make sure you take height into account and the machine’s footprint. Not all Lelit machines will fit comfortably under upper cupboards.
Don’t forget to consider the space constraints that will only come into play once you use your espresso maker. For example, the ease of accessing the water reservoir or the heat radiating up from the machine.
Lelit makes quality espresso machines with various models designed to suit all types of espresso lovers, from the entry-level Anna to the innovative Mara X to the top-of-the-line Bianca. Provided you have the space and the budget; the latter is our favorite for 2022.
The dual boiler Lelit Bianca V2 has bells and whistles, including built-in flow profiling, PID temperature control, a rotary pump, and stunning wooden accents. Though it’s the most expensive Lelit espresso maker, it offers incredible value compared with similar models from other brands.
Lelit espresso makers are made in Brescia, Italy, where the family-run company was founded in 1986. Interestingly, they were initially founded to make ironing systems but expanded to include coffee machines in 2002.
A prosumer espresso machine is designed for home use but features many commercial-grade components. So it delivers cafe-quality espresso like that found in coffee shops and lasts longer than a typical home appliance. The word is a portmanteau of “professional” and “consumer.”
Lelit and ECM both manufactured prosumer espresso machines in Northern Italy and compared with other Italian brands, they are both relatively young companies. Comparing the two, ECM machines tend to be more expensive than Lelit, but they have best-in-class build quality.
- Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show. (2019, September 17). Best New And Featured Products Announced For Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show and Healthy Food Expo. Retrieved from https://www.perishablenews.com/retailfoodservice/best-new-and-featured-products-announced-for-florida-restaurant-lodging-show-and-healthy-food-expo/
- Baskett, N. (2021, August 19). Mauro Epis of Lelit Tells the Story of the Bianca Espresso Machine. Retrieved from https://bartalks.net/mauro-epis-of-lelit-tells-the-story-of-the-bianca-espresso-machine/
- Lee, J. (2017, April 28). Espresso-Making Skills: What’s Pre-Infusion? Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2017/04/espresso-making-skills-whats-pre-infusion/
- Schomer, D. (2019, August 30). A Call to Action on Espresso Grinders, by David Schomer. Retrieved from https://dailycoffeenews.com/2019/08/30/a-call-to-action-on-espresso-grinders-by-david-schomer/
- Grant, T. (2020, July 29). How Flow Profiling Impacts Espresso Extraction. Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2020/07/how-flow-profiling-impacts-espresso-coffee-extraction/
- Bryman, H. (2018, September 17). The Smart Espresso Profiler (SEP) Adds Flow and Pressure Profiling to Virtually Any Machine. Retrieved from https://dailycoffeenews.com/2018/09/17/the-smart-espresso-profiler-sep-adds-flow-and-pressure-profiling-to-virtually-any-machine/