Product Comparison | El Rocio Zarre and Lelit Bianca

Product Comparison | El Rocio Zarre and Lelit Bianca

Dec 10th 2021 Written by Reagan Jones

The El Rocio Zarre is a pressure-profiling machine, which means you can control the pressure of the pump during the extraction. It is also an automatic machine, which means you can program shots by time and, alternatively, make espresso simply by pushing a button. The Lelit Bianca, on the other hand, is a semi-automatic flow-profiling machine, which means you can control the flow of water at the grouphead during extraction but cannot program shots by time. A lever is used to start and stop the extraction. These premium machines offer similar but not identical features. In this brief comparison, Steve highlights the key differences in order to show what makes each machine unique.


El Rocio Zarre

Manual Pressure Profiling Option

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Lelit Bianca

Pre-infusion programming

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Hey, it's Steve here from Prima Coffee, and today we're going to take a look at the Lelit Bianca and the El Rocio Zarre. The Zarre here is a pressure profiling machine, which means that you can manipulate the pressure of the shot in real-time with this dial right here that allows you to do your own pre-infusions and your own pressure during the shot. The Lelit Bianca on the other hand is a flow profiling machine. And so what that allows you to do is manipulate the flow of the water here at the coffee puck with this paddle. The big difference is at the Zarre, beyond the pressure profiling, it allows you to program shots by time, and to store two of those profiles here in the control box. So one thing that these two machines share is the ability to program your pre-infusion. To program pre-infusion here on the Zarre it's done in this control box, and on the Bianca, it's done in what they're calling the control center. Right now we have the pre-infusion off, which means that it's just going to go ahead and turn the pump all the way up to full pressure, whatever you have it set to, we have it set to 9 bar, whenever you lift that lever to brew. But if you wanted to turn that on, what you need to do is just go ahead and start to hit the plus button when you get there, and you can choose the number of seconds that you want it to be on all the way up to 20. The next thing you do if you do that is the pre-infusion time off, which means it's kind of a dwell time. So if you want to pre-infuse for five seconds, and then you want to turn the pump completely off for five seconds to let it start to drip through, and then turn the pump on to full power, you can do that here in the control center. This is the machine that you're going to want to choose if you want full manual control over the shot using this flow here or control over that pre-infusion. The Zarre on the other hand allows you to do either of those, and that's done here and this control box.

Now, if you wanted to program the shots by time, you would just go here into the menu. So on this screen you have a little gear, hit that gear, brings you into the menu. The first two here are the programming for time, it's Auto Mode 1 and Auto Mode 2. The menus in here are identical, but you can just share, I'm sorry, you can save two profiles. So now it needs a little explaining, it's a little confusing. The pre-infusion time here is the amount of time you can set it here in increments of a 10th of a second. It's the amount of time that the pump turns on at full power at the beginning of the shot. And that allows the group head to be filled with water so that when the pre-infusion begins there's already water there, the resistance is already building up. Now, after that is what's called the pre-infusion stop time. This is actually the amount of time that you want the pre-infusion to be. Pre-infusion is a low-power pre-infusion. So you can choose that time, and that's the second stage of your pre-infusion. You can choose the pre-infusion power, anywhere from 30% all the way up to 60%. That allows you to control the power of that pre-infusion, which is the second stage. And you can also program the whole shot time. So this includes everything, the pump turning on, and then the pre-infusion, the pump at low power, all the way up to when you want the shot to end. So this isn't in addition to that, this is the total shot time with those other things. So what this is going to allow you to do is experiment both with pulling those shots using the dial to change the pressure during the shot, and also to have an automatic mode, but that allows you still to have some of the control over the shot. They're also going to come with what you see here. So on the Zarre, you're going to have your tamper, you're going to have your tamping mat. And over here on the Bianca, you're going to have your tamper, it's a precision tamper, 58.55 millimeter, a towel, and then a water filter. So this is a softener. If you're going to use the water from your faucet, it is probably going to have a lot of minerals in it, and you're going to want to make sure that you don't get that into the boiler, so you're going to want to use that. Both of these machines can be used in tank mode, which is the tank that's on the back of the machine here or to be plumbed in. So as far as the tanks are concerned, what you have here on the Bianca is a 2.5-liter water tank on the back which you can remove to fill if you want, just like that. And it also has a great feature that it is movable, so it can go on either side of the machine or the back, or if you plumb this in you can remove it completely.

The Zarre has a 2.4-liter reservoir and it is right here on the back. So you pull this off to fill it there. And it is not removable, it's always going to be part of the machine. As far as the boilers are concerned, the brew boiler here in the Zarre is 600 milliliters, whereas the brew boiler here in the Bianca is 800 milliliters. The steam boiler in the Bianca is 1.5 liters and the steam boiler in the Zarre is 1.8 liters. The Bianca has a rotary pump, whereas the Zarre has two vibratory pumps, one for the steam and one for the brew. They both come with the bottomless portafilter, which we have in the machines, and also spouted portafilter as well. The Bianca has, as you can see here, it has no silicone sleeve. This is a cool touch steam wand and a cool touch hot water wand over here as well. They're going to get warm, but they're not going to get hot, so you can use the wand itself to manipulate it when you're steaming. Over here, you just have a silicone sleeve to manipulate that. They both have really high steam power given the size of their boilers. So, you're not going to have any problems with recovery time on either of these machines. Another cool feature of the Bianca is it comes with two steam tips. So depending on how much power you want to be coming out, so how good you are at steaming. Right now we have a four tip on here, but it also comes with a three tip. And you can just screw it off and screw it on, choosing whichever one is best for you. To control shots here on the Zarre in the manual mode, you can go ahead and just hit here on the screen. If you touch the time, it'll bring up three little icons. The final one there is a little dial, and that's if you want it in manual mode. So we'll choose that. And that will allow us to use this to control the pressure throughout. So we're going to turn it on. You could follow along the pressure here on this gauge. Right now we have it on pretty low pressure but you can hear that pump. It's starting to rise. So we go up here. So I'm four, we'll leave it there, just kind of give you an idea, and then we can move it up. Now we're at six, all the way to eight, and we can leave it at eight. Kind of like a lever shot, you can leave it and as the shot increases here, you'll see pressure might start to decrease, or you can do that manually here. So you can mess around with that. That might not have been the best shot, but you can mess around here to get whatever shots you're looking for. And to give you an idea of how to control the Bianca, again, the flow is controlled here at the top. It's completely open when against this side and completely closed when over on this side. So we can go ahead and start the shot with it open. And you can follow along the pressure here on the pressure gauge. So you're controlling flow, but you can watch the pressure at the group. So right now it's rising. We'll go ahead and keep it there at about six. See it's starting to come out. Just to give you an idea of how this is done, kind of move it up some more. And then if you wanted to, you could do something where you start to decrease that as the shot reaches its end. And because this is flow and not pressure, you have much more control over that. So on pressure, you can reduce the pressure but not the flow. So if the shot is flowing quite quickly because there's not a lot of resistance there. Go ahead and turn this off now. If the shot is flowing quite quickly because there's no resistance in that puck, you can't slow it down in the way that you can with flow control. So that is a comparison of the Zarre here from El Rocio and the Bianca here from Lelit. These are both great premium home machines, both dual boilers, both have a lot of great features. But the Bianca is going to be the one you want to choose if you want full control all the time. Whereas the Zarre is the one you're going to want to choose if you want full control most of the time or some of the time, but also want that extra option to program shots by time.

Dec 10th 2021 Reagan Jones

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