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Lacehim

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« on: 03/07/2012, 12:56 PM »
I just thought a thread separate to other lever threads might be good for those interested in this lever machine.  I've pulled a bit of info off their blog, hopefully to start a bit of discussion on the machine.  It's certainly got my interest just based on the specs below.  It ticks all the boxes for me.  I can't wait to see it in production so I can buy one!

Quote
What is the philosophy behind this project?

Londinium I will deliver the taste excellence of the Bosco

Londinium I will be a reservoir machine, that is to say, it will not need to be plumbed into the mains

Londinium I will set a new benchmark in engineering excellence for domestic espresso machines and will utilise excellent materials with best in class fit and finish

The primary objective is to bring to market a lever espresso machine that delivers consistently excellent results in the hands of a user who is relatively new to espresso, not a cantankerous beast that delivers a great shot with seemingly no rhyme nor reason.  Thermal stability of the group is therefore the datum for this project.  Until this is achieved Londinium I will not enter production.

As a result it is intended to appeal to a broad audience and not just appeal to espresso freaks.  For this reason it will have a hot water port for americanos and instant preparation of other hot drinks such as teas and hot chocolate without having to boil a kettle separately.  It will also be intended to be left on all day so it is ready to go whenever you feel like a hot drink.  It will also feature an oversize element so it reaches operating temperature quickly enough for it to be used on a working day as you rush to work - too many machines are only used at the weekend as they take too long to heat up.

In conjunction with these objectives Londinium I will have a reservoir so the boiler can be filled without having the inconvenience and danger of having to switch off the machine and bleed the pressure from the boiler, as you do with an Olympia Cremina.  This of course comes at a cost; as a result the machine will need to be larger, but then we need sufficient mass at the rear of the machine to act as a counter-balance to the force of the spring lever, so the need for a reservoir is kind of forced upon us anyway.  Nonetheless, we will be pushing the design envelope very hard to keep the footprint of the machine as small as possible

Additionally there will be a particular design focus on ensuring the group does not cool when the machine is idle.  For this reason a thermosiphon will be added and the group will be mounted as close to the boiler as we can

Finally, it will be an object of beauty, as we are well aware that more than one person is typically involved in the decision to purchase any item that sits anywhere near the kitchen.  Plastics will be limited to applications where they are they most sensible solution, for example, the knobs.

It will be a timeless design and model changes will be as infrequent as possible, much in the manner of the Olympia Cremina design philosophy.

We look forward to publishing images of the prototype here as soon as it is completed.  We expect to see it by the end of June.

Londinium Espresso are proud to support British manufacturing with the creation of the Londinium I spring lever espresso machine

ps - the target selling price for Londinium I is GBP1500 including VAT.  we will be trying very hard to stick to this number to ensure the machine is accessible to as many people as possible, in particular those considering a prosumer pump machine.
The Londinium I specs that I've found so far are as follows.

  • A single 58mm commercial group to bring the most subtle flavours in the roast to your attention
  • Spring lever for shot after shot of superlative espresso with absolute ease and low pressure extraction that tapers off as the shot progresses
  • A polished  2.3 litre copper boiler with lead-free solder and unplated, for the highest thermal conductivity and no water taint
  • Reservoir/tank design, not plumbed, so no installation is required
  • Single phase so you just open the box and plug it in
  • Proper low water protection with auto shut-off
  • A stonking 2850W boiler element (see element options below) for endless steam and rapid recovery after water is drawn from the boiler
  • A properly designed heat exchanger with integrated thermo siphon design to ensure the group maintains its operating temperature when idle and no poncing about with cooling flushes before pulling a shot
  • Water loaded into the group with the pressure of the boiler - not an electric pump
  • As small as we can make it (unfortunately it will have to be bigger than a Cremina, but it will be smaller than a Bosco or a Strega)
  • A hot water tap
  • Precision engineering with no powder coated mild steel - all stainless steel body for an indefinite corrosion free life

Three elements will be offered;
  • 2850W, 240V (UK & anyone else who wants the full fat edition that will draw 13A)
  • 2400W, 240V (New Zealand, Australia & anyone else on 240V/10A circuits)
  • 1400W, 110V (all 110V markets)

And the exciting news is that it's not all talk, it's going to happen.

Quote
We will have a prototype for the first week of July, which most likely will not have any bodywork/decorative bits finalised as these are somewhat secondary to how the machine performs, which needs to set new standards

Upon receiving the prototype we will publish an extensive gallery of images on the blog here so you can get a good idea of what is on offer

Don't expect any new technology, dials, or electronics.  Along with many of you, we have proved beyond all reasonable doubt that this is not the way forward in espresso, contrary to the opinion of some influential industry figures

Londinium I is simple.  It takes the same magnificent group that is used on the Bosco, and indeed by Kees Van der Westen, with the optional thermosiphon feature specified.  Then it deploys it in a compact configuration that is suitable for the home and small business use.  The machine has a reservoir, so it does not need to be connected to the water mains

Such a machine is not currently available in the marketplace, to the best of our knowledge

The cornerstone of the project will be engineering excellence, something which in our observation is more scarce in espresso machines than the industry would have you believe.  Londinium I is intended to be a machine that will serve you for a lifetime with best in class espresso

The choice of a spring lever, and the steps taken to ensure the group heats up quickly and evenly and maintains a stable temperature will also ensure that unlike many other lever machines it will be relatively easy for inexperienced users to achieve very good results.  We see this as being critical to the machine's success in the market

The choice of group ensures the taste will be magical, just as the Bosco & Kees' idrocompresso is.  Unlike the Bosco the group will be mounted directly to the boiler, and like the Idrocompresso the group has been specified with a thermosiphon.  Whilst a thermosiphon ensures the group temperature does not drop when the machine is idle, it also has another purpose; it ensures the group heats quickly, evenly and thoroughly when it is switched on.  We think this is an essential feature in a machine that will often be switched on for a short period of time for a couple of espresso before work, then switched off again

We also hope to add some visual appeal to the machine after we have confirmed that the performance of the prototype is everything we hope it will be

The prototype will be subject to some fairly rigorous testing and will be available to any existing customer to come and have a play with

The target is to turn around the feedback from the prototype and finalise the bodywork, with a view to having a finished product on the shelf and awaiting order for the first week in September so the machines are continuously available for purchase in the all important run up to Christmas.

If you want to follow the blog it's located here http://londiniumespresso.com/



Kelsey

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« Reply #1 on: 03/07/2012, 01:09 PM »
Noice!!

I like the sound of all that Lacehim, I'll be interested to see if they deliver.
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Beanz

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« Reply #2 on: 03/07/2012, 03:38 PM »
I have been watching this one as well, I spoke to Londinium a couple of weeks ago and everything was on track. It will be available from Londinium direct but not via distributors. I have dealt with Londinium before and would have no hesitation in recommending their service and support
If it meets all the design objectives it will be hard to beat in it's market segment.

Brett H

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« Reply #3 on: 03/07/2012, 04:06 PM »
I have been watching this one as well, I spoke to Londinium a couple of weeks ago and everything was on track. It will be available from Londinium direct but not via distributors. I have dealt with Londinium before and would have no hesitation in recommending their service and support
If it meets all the design objectives it will be hard to beat in it's market segment.

That's a strong endorsement mate.  Good to know, thanks.
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Lwowiak

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« Reply #4 on: 03/07/2012, 04:07 PM »
As a base it seems they are using a 2.3L boiler and mounting the group from a Bosco onto it. I am really interested in this, as looking at my Bosco, with its 6L boiler, I am curious how they will do it.
Hopefully it will work. Judging it on specs only, it really fills a gap in the market.

1500 GBP [$AU2294] includes their VAT of 22%.
Remove that, add 10% GST, plus at least 5% duty.
Then add freight and insurance....
Still very affordable. Given its simplicity, warranty should not be much of an issue.

As a suggestion, if a few members are interested in buying one, then a group deal might be possible to save some dollars in freight. Logistics would have to be worked out, but freight is always a killer when importing things into Australia.
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Brett H

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« Reply #5 on: 03/07/2012, 04:36 PM »

YES...  A buy up by one or two or more should allow some savings...


And due to the nature of the beast and low tec in the electronics. Parts and support should be able to be managed.


I would put my hand up for one and to manage local service in Qld  :thumb:

Uh..uh..uh... I get the feeling very exciting times are ahead!!
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Lacehim

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« Reply #6 on: 03/07/2012, 05:48 PM »
Well I'm definately buying one, so if someone wants to set up a deal to save on shipping, let me know and we can arrange things.  Haven't got a clue about importing stuff, but I'm sure someone can help us.

It ticks all my boxes, and fingers crossed it has build quality up there with the best of them.  I know there was some negative comments on chat about the fact that it's built in England, but really I think as long as it is done right, with the right materials & design it should be a nice machine.  There are plenty Italian machines out there with badly thought out designs, materials and workmanship too!

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« Reply #7 on: 04/07/2012, 04:49 PM »
I would be interested in one if a group order gets done. I'm currently in Tassie but will be moving to the central coast of NSW in about 5-6 weeks. Please PM me if a group buy gets going.
Cheers Chris
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« Reply #8 on: 04/07/2012, 04:52 PM »
quietly watching topic with interest...  ::)
Have you had a read of the "Getting to know" member interviews?
Click here: http://www.bestcafes.com.au/forum/member-interviews/
PM me if you would like to participate

Kelsey

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« Reply #9 on: 04/07/2012, 05:57 PM »
Quietly watching with the near-certainty that his wife would notice the difference if a lever machine appeared on the bench....
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« Reply #10 on: 04/07/2012, 06:17 PM »
I'm putting my hand up too, I'll find the money somewhere LOL  :thumb:
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« Reply #11 on: 04/07/2012, 06:46 PM »
I thought I was getting over upgraditis. This looks seriously interesting and could be what I'd love to own, a 58mm lever that doesn't need to be plumbed in. Its ticking alot of the boxes. I'd be very interested in getting one as well. I think it's time to get around to selling the Giotto and Macap grinder, they could fund this machine nicely :coffee2:
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« Reply #12 on: 04/07/2012, 07:26 PM »
Luckily my upgraditis is cured, well at least as far as coffee machines go!
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« Reply #13 on: 04/07/2012, 07:34 PM »
I think you've just about reached the pinnacle mate, no whinging from you in this thread please! ;)
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« Reply #14 on: 05/07/2012, 10:27 PM »
The manufacturer of the Londinium 1 was selected based on their ability to manufacture a high quality product.
I have been told this will be self-evident when pictures of the prototype appear on the blog.

The Londinium 1 prototype will undergo extensive testing when it is delivered. The delivery should not be far away.

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« Reply #15 on: 08/07/2012, 10:52 AM »
I see there is an update on the blog
Quote
The prototype has been completed and is now being bench tested.  Some key people on the project are taking holidays this week, so we look forward to their return.  Exciting times indeed, and we'll post images and details as soon as we go to the factory to collect it.  We'd like to think we are taking a page out of the book published by 37Signals called 'Rework'.  We're building a product that solves a problem that we've struggled with - the best spring lever group in the world shoe-horned into a small chassis, without the need to be plumbed in.  We also like things that are well made and built to last a lifetime, not thrown together

We place a premium on simplicity too.  As our customers are scattered all over the globe, this machine needs to be simple to ensure reliability, carefully inspected and checked before shipping, and easy to repair in a small remote town in the outback of western Australia without recourse to a specialist espresso technician

We've spent time with highly proficient mechanical engineers with decades of experience in designing espresso machines to ensure the small details that make a big difference to the performance of a lever group are optimised for thermal stability, specifically how the group is attached to the boiler, and the design of the thermosiphon.

If we were building a multi-group variant of this machine we might use the dipper version of this group as a thermo-siphon is vulnerable to scaling up if in the hands of an owner who can't be bothered to keep the limescale out of the machine.  In our experience home users lavish so much time and attention on their espresso machines that we very much doubt that scaling of the thermosiphon will be an issue.  Londinium I will have a thermosiphon as it will get the group up to operating temperature much more quickly so they can be used on a weekday in the rush to work in the morning rather than just at the weekends like so many machines seem to be.  A thermosiphon will also ensure the group stays at a constant temperature when left on all day, but only used sporadically, which is the typical pattern of use for most home, bar, and restaurant espresso machines.

For us the taste of espresso prepared on a commercial 58mm spring lever group is unparalleled

Unlike a manual lever machine it is easy for your friends and family to use too, as the spring regulates the extraction.  This ensures each espresso is made with the same pressure profile, which ensures a consistent result shot after shot

So if you've been told that lever machines are difficult, cantankerous, inconsistent beasts to be avoided at all costs: Londinium I won't be.  It has been designed from a clean sheet of paper to address all of those issues, whilst being small enough not to dominate your kitchen

Unfortunately most people's experiences with lever machines are limited to the manual lever machines.  These are much more challenging to master.  The domestic spring lever machines that are already on the market generally have a gutless spring that prevents a real dense thick espresso from being created.  The notable exception is the Quickmill Achille, which we have already brought to your attention in a recent blog post, and uses the same group as Bosco, Kees van der Westen's Idrocompresso, and Londinium I

There is no reason why you won't be able to chose a Londinium I as your first espresso machine, providing you pair it with a high quality grinder, as is the case with any espresso machine


Brett H

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« Reply #16 on: 08/07/2012, 11:25 AM »
I see there is an update on the blog

Quote
The prototype has been completed and is now being bench tested.  Some key people on the project are taking holidays this week, so we look forward to their return.  Exciting times indeed, and we'll post images and details as soon as we go to the factory to collect it.  We'd like to think we are taking a page out of the book published by 37Signals called 'Rework'.  We're building a product that solves a problem that we've struggled with - the best spring lever group in the world shoe-horned into a small chassis, without the need to be plumbed in.  We also like things that are well made and built to last a lifetime, not thrown together

We place a premium on simplicity too.  As our customers are scattered all over the globe, this machine needs to be simple to ensure reliability, carefully inspected and checked before shipping, and easy to repair in a small remote town in the outback of western Australia without recourse to a specialist espresso technician

We've spent time with highly proficient mechanical engineers with decades of experience in designing espresso machines to ensure the small details that make a big difference to the performance of a lever group are optimised for thermal stability, specifically how the group is attached to the boiler, and the design of the thermosiphon.

If we were building a multi-group variant of this machine we might use the dipper version of this group as a thermo-siphon is vulnerable to scaling up if in the hands of an owner who can't be bothered to keep the limescale out of the machine.  In our experience home users lavish so much time and attention on their espresso machines that we very much doubt that scaling of the thermosiphon will be an issue.  Londinium I will have a thermosiphon as it will get the group up to operating temperature much more quickly so they can be used on a weekday in the rush to work in the morning rather than just at the weekends like so many machines seem to be.  A thermosiphon will also ensure the group stays at a constant temperature when left on all day, but only used sporadically, which is the typical pattern of use for most home, bar, and restaurant espresso machines.

For us the taste of espresso prepared on a commercial 58mm spring lever group is unparalleled

Unlike a manual lever machine it is easy for your friends and family to use too, as the spring regulates the extraction.  This ensures each espresso is made with the same pressure profile, which ensures a consistent result shot after shot

So if you've been told that lever machines are difficult, cantankerous, inconsistent beasts to be avoided at all costs: Londinium I won't be.  It has been designed from a clean sheet of paper to address all of those issues, whilst being small enough not to dominate your kitchen

Unfortunately most people's experiences with lever machines are limited to the manual lever machines.  These are much more challenging to master.  The domestic spring lever machines that are already on the market generally have a gutless spring that prevents a real dense thick espresso from being created.  The notable exception is the Quickmill Achille, which we have already brought to your attention in a recent blog post, and uses the same group as Bosco, Kees van der Westen's Idrocompresso, and Londinium I

There is no reason why you won't be able to chose a Londinium I as your first espresso machine, providing you pair it with a high quality grinder, as is the case with any espresso machine


The thinking and product/market knowledge behind this project is certainly impressive.  In electronic copy form it sure ticks a lot of boxes.  Thanks for the continued updates guys.  This is fascinating to watch and depending on price and availability, maybe even experience (Not me personally. Remember the head-band Monkey Magic used to wear around his head... my wife had one installed around my...)!
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« Reply #17 on: 08/07/2012, 11:59 AM »
Quote
Remember the head-band Monkey Magic used to wear around his head... my wife had one installed around my...)!

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« Reply #18 on: 08/07/2012, 12:15 PM »
KK - I'm interested in your perspective on the 'gutless domestic springs' point.
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« Reply #19 on: 08/07/2012, 12:55 PM »
KK - I'm interested in your perspective on the 'gutless domestic springs' point.

The Strega uses a commercial head
So the gutless spring comment doesn't apply

KK
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« Reply #20 on: 08/07/2012, 01:14 PM »
I thought as much. With the little I've used the machine (and the excellent coffees I've had out of it) I couldn't imagine that was true of the Strega.
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« Reply #21 on: 08/07/2012, 01:50 PM »
I thought as much. With the little I've used the machine (and the excellent coffees I've had out of it) I couldn't imagine that was true of the Strega.

Add to that the Strega is available in three versions Just to cover all scenarios
A boiler fill (no pump) model to fill the cylinder is available, for the purists amonst us

I have no issues with the vibe pump model I own and originally thought that I would

KK

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« Reply #22 on: 08/07/2012, 02:24 PM »
Add to that the Strega is available in three versions Just to cover all scenarios
A boiler fill (no pump) model to fill the cylinder is available, for the purists amonst us

I have no issues with the vibe pump model I own and originally thought that I would

KK

Am I also right in thinking that the Strega is an electrically heated group as opposed to a thermosyphon?
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« Reply #23 on: 08/07/2012, 03:00 PM »
Am I also right in thinking that the Strega is an electrically heated group as opposed to a thermosyphon?

That is correct
Electrically heated head method is also used on many commercial machines
Weather one is better than the other is entirely a personal preference

KK
 
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« Reply #24 on: 12/07/2012, 11:41 AM »
Quote
As alluded to in earlier posts, we're not claiming that Londinium I has new technology.  Londinium I is simply a refinement or a bringing together of many elements that already exist on a standalone basis, or have been poorly executed.

The spring lever group used by Bosco, KVDW, and Quickmill is the best in the world.  The double spring gives it some extra shove, the internal shoulder bearings mean that a group cap is not required, and the cam profile ensures an absolutely perfect extraction every time.  Whilst you might look on a spring lever group as 'low-tech' it is worth bearing in mind that it is the product of at least 60 years of accumulated research and development; tens of thousands of hours of human effort in total.

The Londinium I project pairs this superb spring lever group with a copper boiler that I hope you will appreciate the beauty of when you see it.  The group will be mated to the boiler in exactly the right manner for a thermosiphon (different from a dipper), and the engineering will be exact; with respect to the optimal distance between the boiler and group, and material selection

With the Bosco we've really grown to enjoy having a hot water tap on the machine.  Its useful for pre-warming cups, and is more energy efficient in the sense that you can make tea, hot chocolate, soup, or even just hot water without having to boil the kettle.

As soon as you decide to include a hot water tap in the design you have committed to moving from a simple closed boiler design, like the Cremina, to a more complex reservoir fed boiler.  So we are sacrificing some simplicity, but it results in a product that is going to appeal to a broader audience.  For the safety conscious you are likely to prefer being able to add water to the reservoir in much the same way as you do for your car's radiator, rather than having to wait for the radiator to cool before gingerly easing open the radiator cap.

Additionally we have been advised in the strongest terms that thermal protection, as found on the Cremina, will often not trip fast enough to prevent the boiler element from burning out.  This is consistent with our experience.  So again, we will sacrifice a little simplicity and include electronic low water protection sensors that can be relied upon to turn off the boiler element as soon as the water in the boiler falls below the sensor.

The primary motivating factor for bringing the Londinium I into being is our love of levers.  Secondly, in our experience a lot of people don't ever master manual lever espresso machines; a commercial spring lever brings ease of use and consistency.  One of the design criteria for Londinium I is that everyone who wishes to make an espresso feels comfortable using the Londinium I and is rewarded with high performance espresso for their efforts.  Thirdly, it should be small enough not to dominate a small kitchen.  The single group commercial lever machines on offer all have dimensions around 500mm cube, or 20" cube if you prefer.  An espresso machine of these dimensions looks a bit out of place in most kitchens, so one of the tasks is to shrink the dimensions down as far as we can.  To address this we have used a 2.3 litre boiler in an upright position, rather than the more common horizontal position.

A small boiler paired with a large element means we can get the machine up to operating temperature rapidly.  This has a secondary benefit which is important; we want Londinium I to be something that is used everyday in your household.  With a rapid start up time we really hope to hear that you are using this machine every single day, not just at the weekends.  Londinium I will be built to take the rigours of everyday use as we really want you to get the maximum amount of enjoyment from your purchase.

Finally, although such issues are highly subjective and you may find yourself vehemently disagreeing, in purely aesthetic terms we are trying to move on from what we would call 'the stainless steel box'.  The stainless box design has served the market well for decades, but we can't help but wonder if it can't be improved on.  We're not sure you'll like what we have done, but we hope that you'll at least acknowledge that we haven't followed the crowd.

In summary the Londinium I project will bring you the ultimate single group lever espresso machine; one that makes it easy to achieve consistently exceptional espresso.


Coffee Curators

 

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