I have been using a LELIT espresso machine for over a year to make my beloved coffee. This machine is interesting for several reasons which have already been mentioned in an article published on this site. I wouldn’t go back. Today I will focus exclusively on the LELIT filter supplied with the machine and the problem it poses due to its design.
- Diameter: 57mm
- Height: 23mm
If you look closely, the bottom of the filter is rounded. The rounding starts from 15 mm deep. It starts with a diameter of 57 mm to arrive at a diameter of 50 mm.
57 mm filter basket dimension (Original Lelit)
And I bought a 57 mm tamper adapted to the diameter of the filter, an essential tool for making a good espresso and adding to the pleasure. You see the problem; impossible to compact the grind well since the tamper is blocked by the curvature of the filter over 15 mm. You can’t press harder.
You will say to me: it is necessary to put more coffee or to use the filter a cup. Yes, but as we know, the two-cup filter is the only one that can be used to obtain good cream. So I only use this filter, even for a cup. And I put 13 to 16 g depending on the coffee. Even with 16 g you can’t get the pressure you need with the tamper. We’re stuck before.
So what to do, buy a 57 mm filter with straight walls and suitable for my Lelit. It’s not easy to find them. From 58 mm that, there are. But 57mm is another story. To believe that it is done on purpose. After a lot of research, several coffees and a lot of patience I found. The IMS brand offers them but around 30 $ if we add the additional costs. At this price, you have to be sure that it will bring a plus.
A temporary solution
I embarked on a small experimental DIY. The idea is to change the shape of my tamper so that it can go further by matching the shape of the filter.
And There you go.
I added a kind of washer made of chipboard, carefully rounded, like the filter. I gain 6 mm deep which is enough to, finally, compact my grind properly. And the result is there, I assure you, same coffee, same grind but more aroma and more subtlety. I rediscover one by one my favorite coffees their perfumes and their specificities. Another world. What a waste of time for a stupid history of filter form.
First image gallery: coffee obtained with the modified tamper. The coffee flows well, is darker (better extraction) and flows less quickly than without modification.
Second image gallery: coffee obtained with the tamper without modification. The coffee flows less well, is lighter (signature of under extraction) and flows faster.
One might wonder why sell semi professional espresso machines with 57mm blocks. Why not offer only 58mm. I do not see any other justification than commercial ends. It turns out that with a 57 mm assembly it is always more difficult and more expensive to obtain items relating to this diameter. By cons we find everything and cheaper in 58 mm, a size that is considered more standard even if it is presented as professional equipment. So beware, I advise you to be very careful when choosing your espresso machine, even if it is more expensive to buy, choose, as far as possible, a machine equipped with a 58 mm block. You will find yourselves there later, in the choice and in the price of the annexed supplies.