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Le'lit PL041QE (no PID) or PL041TQE (with PID)?
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Le'lit PL041QE...  
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shkra11
Senior Member


Joined: 12 Dec 2012
Posts: 10
Location: ny
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Tue Dec 18, 2012, 4:35pm
Subject: Le'lit PL041QE (no PID) or PL041TQE (with PID)?
 

I'm debating between the Le'lit without PID and the  Le'lit with PID.  I'm willing to put in some minimal work to pull better shots, but I won't be making endless test shots or trying to find great settings every day.  If I get the version with PID, I'd most likely try whatever settings coffeegeeks recommend and change that slightly if necessary (unless you tell me otherwise and your recommendations aren't too labor-intensive).

I've been reading about the differences PID makes, but I would love to get your input and advice.  I am trying to figure out whether, given my needs, the PID will be worth the $170 difference.  

Background:  I worked at a coffee shop as a barista a while back and I (separately and more recently) used a non-PIDed rancilio silvia for a year and enjoyed that machine.  At no point did I pay attention to any more than what I thought I could tell from the machine's lights about how long I needed to wait to pull a shot or steam milk (I didn't know there was more to it).  I won't be upgrading or modifying the machine I buy at any point- this is it.   And, although I'll make my regular daily latte, I won't be on any complicated god-shot quest.  I will admit (connoisseurs, please skip to the next paragraph) that I used only pre-ground Illy (shock/gasp) with the silvia (forgive me, I knew not what I did), but I often thought the resulting, syrup-flavored lattes were tasty.  


Thanks in advance for any help with this decision.

Standard Questions:
1)  What kind of drinks do you like/want to make?  I will usually be making one latte, once a day.  I add flavored syrups/sweeteners.
2)  How many drinks, on average, do you see yourself needing to make at at one time? Usually just one.  At most 2 on the rare occasion.
3)  How many drinks, on average, do you see yourself making in any given week?  4-7
4)  Can you plumb a machine directly into the water supply, or do you want/need a pourover machine with its own reservoir? I need a machine with a reservoir/tank.
5)  Do you have a 20-amp circuit available, or only a (standard) 15-amp circuit? standard circuit only
6)  What is your budget for a new machine?  Does that also include a grinder?  If not, what is your budget for a grinder?  I want to be under $600 for new machine only.
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qualin
Senior Member
qualin
Joined: 30 Jun 2012
Posts: 653
Location: Calgary, AB
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Izzo Alex Duetto 3
Grinder: Mazzer Mini Elect. Type A
Vac Pot: Looking to buy
Drip: Manual
Roaster: Considering?
Posted Wed Dec 19, 2012, 2:35am
Subject: Re: Le'lit PL041QE (no PID) or PL041TQE (with PID)?
 

If you have the opportunity to purchase a machine with a PID and you can afford it, go for it.

A PID will give you more control and more consistency in your shots. Not to mention, a PID doesn't have a temperature band, so you never have to worry about temperature surfing or
hitting the bottom or the top of the temperature band of the thermostat while making your shot.

Not to mention, the price difference between a Non-PID model and a PID model is considerably less than retrofitting with a PID kit later.

It helps to know the exact temperature of the boiler as well, but it is my understanding that you'll very rarely have to adjust it, if at all.

 
Garbage In, Garbage Out, for every step of the process. From Beans to grinder, grounds to machine, coffee to cup.
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,675
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Wed Dec 19, 2012, 6:33am
Subject: Re: Le'lit PL041QE (no PID) or PL041TQE (with PID)?
 

The PID will not make the espresso any better. It will though make your coffee more consistent. It will make it easier to get the best the machine can produce when paired with a good, espresso able grinder.

Only you can decide if it is worth it to you, for me,  if I had to buy another machine in the SBDU class, I would buy one with a PID.

As for the pre ground coffee, you will never get anything that resembles good espresso, your shot times will be all over the map. You will have issues of fast shots on a daily basis. You will have stale, sort of espresso with no or poor crema  to mix into your milk. If that is what you want to spend $600 for, be my guest.

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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shkra11
Senior Member


Joined: 12 Dec 2012
Posts: 10
Location: ny
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Wed Dec 19, 2012, 8:12am
Subject: Re: Le'lit PL041QE (no PID) or PL041TQE (with PID)?
 

I tried to make clear that the pre-ground coffee was in my past (not in my future).  I am not arguing for that in any way.  Of course I'm not considering spending hundreds of dollars and taking your time asking for advice here while also disregarding the most basic and time-tested espresso wisdom regarding bean/roast/grind freshness and quality etc.  I was only giving a datapoint that sometimes (in my unenlightened past) I liked highly-flavored/sweetened lattes made from pre-ground in case it was helpful to others giving opinions/advice - for example, what if the PID difference would only be noticeable to people who have always spit out pre-ground?

I posted because I wasn't completely sure if all would be in favor of getting PID or why or if some might think that PID is overrated or that it takes a lot of extra effort or that it won't make much difference due to the quality of the machine I'm getting.  Consistency is something I definitely want and I will not be modifying the machine after I buy it, so all comments have been helpful so far.
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CMIN
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Jun 2012
Posts: 1,356
Location: South FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Wed Dec 19, 2012, 10:31am
Subject: Re: Le'lit PL041QE (no PID) or PL041TQE (with PID)?
 

PID is well worth it, my CC1 has one built in as well. Sure you could temp surf on other machines, but that to me is just flat out annoying, plus it'll never be consistent, you can have temp ranges all over the place either too high or too low. PID, set it, done... consistent every single time, no wasting shots really (provided you have a capable espresso grinder and fresh beans) and no wasting time etc That Le'Lit is a cool little machine too, looked at getting one before I got my CC1.
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D4F
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 1,982
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Baratza Forte-AP
Posted Wed Dec 19, 2012, 11:03am
Subject: Re: Le'lit PL041QE (no PID) or PL041TQE (with PID)?
 

There are many threads about starting with SBDU machines of various brands.  A PID usually gets recommended, if not to start, then as an addition.  A given shot may not be better, but you will be able to get more great shots, sooner.  The learning curve to temparature surf with consistency is a bit long.  Adding a PID after purchase can be done for about $75 if you are good at DIY, but that is an add-on box unless you want to, and have means to, cut into the machine.  If you can afford PID, get it.  I say that having a Gaggia with added PID and am happy with it, but I enjoy DIY.

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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shkra11
Senior Member


Joined: 12 Dec 2012
Posts: 10
Location: ny
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Wed Dec 19, 2012, 12:14pm
Subject: Re: Le'lit PL041QE (no PID) or PL041TQE (with PID)?
 

alright, I think I'm sold on spending the extra money to get the PID version.  It's funny to realize that I was temp surfing on the silvia when, back then, I didn't even know what temp surfing was.  It seems very nice to imagine a machine where I won't just be depending on guessing and luck to get and keep the right temps.  Thanks to all for your advice.  Now, I'm back to reading and learning more about grinders before I make this purchase . . .
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takeshi
Senior Member
takeshi
Joined: 12 Oct 2002
Posts: 963
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Alex Duetto 3.0
Grinder: Super Jolly
Roaster: Amaya Roasting
Posted Wed Dec 19, 2012, 1:33pm
Subject: Re: Le'lit PL041QE (no PID) or PL041TQE (with PID)?
 

shkra11 Said:

for example, what if the PID difference would only be noticeable to people who have always spit out pre-ground?

Posted December 19, 2012 link

I don't think the two are comparable.  There is a significant difference between brewing with stale preground versus freshly ground beans and it really doesn't require a finely tuned palate to discern the difference.  Though now that I say that it's also easy to notice when you're brewing at too low a temperature due to the thermostat's deadband.  In both cases, you might not really notice much if you're masking the espresso's quality with syrup.

shkra11 Said:

I posted because I wasn't completely sure if all would be in favor of getting PID or why or if some might think that PID is overrated or that it takes a lot of extra effort or that it won't make much difference due to the quality of the machine I'm getting.  Consistency is something I definitely want and I will not be modifying the machine after I buy it, so all comments have been helpful so far.

Posted December 19, 2012 link

It's actually the opposite.  The PID means you don't have to temp surf (temp surfing is more of a hassle than just walking up and using your PID'ed machine) and that your consistency will be better.  A PID is definitely beneficial on a machine with a thermostat with a wide deadband (common on lower end machines).

Overrated's always a subjective matter on any topic.  There are certainly those who would rather save the money and temp surf or not even bother worrying about it.  It's a call that you really need to make for yourself.

shkra11 Said:

Of course I'm not considering spending hundreds of dollars and taking your time asking for advice here while also disregarding the most basic and time-tested espresso wisdom regarding bean/roast/grind freshness and quality etc

Posted December 19, 2012 link

And you're not budgeting at all for a grinder?  Grinder first is "the most basic and time-tested espresso wisdom" around here.
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shkra11
Senior Member


Joined: 12 Dec 2012
Posts: 10
Location: ny
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Wed Dec 19, 2012, 3:07pm
Subject: Re: Le'lit PL041QE (no PID) or PL041TQE (with PID)?
 

Thanks for your response.  I understand that this is all subjective and that I will make (or actually have already made at this point) the decision myself based on my own opinion.  Sometimes I find it helpful to get some other people's opinions in order to more firmly establish my own.  

Because I know people get worried (even on the machines thread) that I was discussing PID and not a grinder, I mentioned that, of course, I am not disregarding the basic and time-tested espresso wisdom (which includes grind first and foremost).  I will spend good money on a good grinder, but this topic was to discuss PID for a le'lit, so I just didn't want to discuss grinder here.  So far, the grinder discussion threads and resources are so thorough that I don't have any questions regarding a grinder that have gone unanswered.
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