The Lelit Bianca has always been well known for providing a platform that offers even the avid home barista, a premium coffee brewing experience. When employed at home, it is a truly beautiful piece of equipment, and really takes refinement to the next level when compared to typical home use machines like the Gaggia Classic.
If anything, the price of the Lelit Bianca further emphasises this premium experience. Although the Lelit Bianca is marketed towards the home barista, it is technically powerful enough to run as a commercial coffee machine in a very small coffee shop set-up (think 5-10 seats), which then blurs the lines a little bit as it opens itself up for comparison to other single group commercial espresso machines. For today’s espresso machine comparison, we will be looking at the Lelit Bianca against the La Scala Butterfly Butterfly espresso machine
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At first glance, the Lelit Bianca is, without doubt, the better-looking machine. It sports a classic full stainless steel construction and is decked out in beautiful walnut trim on all user-contact parts such as the group head lever and portafilter handle. In contrast, the La Scala Butterfly Butterfly features cheaper looking hard plastic trim that is similar to what you’d find on most other machines. That being said, if you are a fan of colours, you’ll be glad to know that the La Scala Butterfly Butterfly can also come equipped with a painted body cover, with a choice of red, black, and various types of painted metal finish.
Size-wise, the Lelit Bianca takes up a slightly smaller footprint than the La Scala Butterfly and is generally 10% smaller across all dimensions. Interestingly, despite this smaller stature, the Lelit Bianca only weighs about 1kg more, which if anything, is compliment to its build quality.
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While both machines will work just fine in a home setting, there are quite many differences in the way they are built. Though these differences won’t necessarily affect the end product too much in a home-use setting, you may derive a significantly different user experience.
For example, on the Lelit Bianca you get an LCD integrated shot timer, which may matter to you if you are the type of barista that likes to calibrate your grinder by observing shot timing. PID temperature control is also standard for the Lelit Bianca, while it is an added option on the La Scala ButterflyButterfly.
This may be important to you if you are extremely particular about brewing temperature, although the managing temperature is something you can probably manage to an acceptable degree on any set up if you have a habit of flushing your group heads with water before each pull. Either way, in a home or small scale commercial setting, this should make very little real-world difference.
Interestingly, the Lelit Bianca features dual boilers. One for the Brewer, and one for the steamer. While this bodes well for its potential use in as a commercial espresso machine, the brewer boiler wattage is listed at 1000 watts, which is 300 watts less than the La Scala ButterflyButterfly, which runs on a single boiler for both the brewer and steamer.
While some users might scoff at the use of a single boiler, in a home or small scale commercial operation where one cup of coffee is made every 15-30 minutes, there will be absolutely zero impact to the end result, which actually makes the La Scala Butterfly Butterfly a more fuss-free espresso machine to live with day to day. Because of a more simple backend set up, it is also potentially more reliable, and easier to maintain.
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While the Lelit Bianca in stock form, comes with all the bells and whistles of a premium machine, such as PID temperature control, shot timer display, and dual boilers, they do come at a slight price premium. If you then consider the Lelit Bianca’s usage in a home or small scale commercial setting, then perhaps these bells and whistles may not actually amount to any real-world advantage. That being said, if you have an innate appreciation for the refined features of the Lelit Bianca, and do not mind paying a premium for those features (in the same way people buy a Rolex Submariner but don’t go diving), then the Lelit Bianca is will prove to be a lovely showpiece and a wonderful conversation point.
On the flip side, if you are after no-frills functionality, then the La Scala Butterfly Butterfly actually delivers just as good a cup of coffee, and perhaps even punches above its weight when compared to more acclaimed machines. In that way, the La Scala Butterfly delivers great value for money and will be a good friend to the average coffee enthusiast who loves messing about in their own home, without caring what people think. If you put the La Scala Butterfly into a small scale commercial operation, with part-timers running the operations, you’ll probably find that the La Scala Butterfly Butterfly will likely hold up a bit better to abuse as well, due to a simpler set up with fewer components that can malfunction. Appearance-wise, I also have a sneaky feeling that the La Scala Butterfly Butterfly will be easier to maintain. While the Lelit Bianca’s classic full stainless steel finish might look great brand new, I am sceptical about how its looks will hold up after the coffee grinds, crema splatters, and milk splatters settle in overtime.
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