Charlatan Lance Hedrick's 'review' of the LONDINIUM Vectis

by Reiss Gunson on Friday, 27 October 2023 21:50

LONDINIUM Espresso has been built brick by brick since 2007 with no assistance from influencers or marketeers

There is no harsher LONDINIUM Espresso critic than I

In some cases it has taken years to get seemingly simple issues resolved, but one by one they all have been with persistance and sheer bloody mindedness.  Valves, seal compounds and greases, screens, tampers, pressure switches, pumps, coding of control boards, packaging, website interfaces and automation; one by one each of these issues has been resolved

Whilst an unfavourable review might not ever be welcome, if it were factually correct we could use it to improve the product

I know the product launch issues of the Vectis in extreme detail yet curiously this review does not raise one of them.  Let's walk through it

All spring lever espresso machines are sold on static spring pressure.  To measure this you must bleed the air from between the bottom of the piston and the top of the brew water, as it has a cushioning effect that results in an under reading of the pressure 

Talking head Lance Hedrick claimed he knew this and that the highest pressure reading he could obtain was 5-6 bar.  He says in his video, oh you can see a tiny leak there, i dont think that would make much of a difference to the pressure reading.  Is this the calibre of expert you are taking your espresso machine advice from?  A professional would have conceded they had made a significant error at this point and reshot their video.  Instead he lazily adds a note saying 'oh yeah, it might be 8.5 bar'

This is me measuring the spring rating of vectis prototype no.2 at 9.0 bar.  We reduced the spring pressure for production units to 8.5 bar as the machine was just starting to lift at the back

Lance says the Vectis is ready to pull shots in 15 minutes.  This accounts for the poor performance he claims he experienced with the Vectis.  If I thought the Vectis were ready in 15 minutes i would be shouting it from the roof tops.  The Vectis requires 20 minutes to heat up, and a slow flush if you are using a light roast

Lance suggests that the industry orphan, a 54mm group, should have been used.  54mm lives on as a legacy group, but it has no future.  This 'advice' simply exposes Lance's associations with ACS who use a 54mm group

Inexperienced home baristas or those with a poor grinder prefer a basket that has a smaller ratio of diameter to depth because they are more forgiving of poor puck preparation than a 58mm group

A deeper puck of smaller diameter will give you a shot with more body, but reduces the separation of flavours in speciality coffee.  58mm gives you a vast array of accessories to play with as it is the commercial standard

Lance omits mentioning the biggest innovation ever introduced on a direct fill lever machine; the Vectis filling valve.  If you have used a direct fill lever machine you will have received a steam burn when removing the boiler cap even if you waited for the boiler to depressurise as you still get steam wisping out of the boiler.  The Vectis eliminates this issue

To say the steam wand lacks power is an outright fib.  No reasonable person could make this statement.  The steam power of the Vectis significantly exceeds all other machines in its class

Failing to mention that the Vectis has the same fully serviceable commercial joystick steam valve as found on all our other models is wilful blindness on Lance's part as it completely eclipses the steam valve on any other machine in this category

The Vectis can be completely disassembled on your kitchen table, without a jig to restrain the spring or a bench vice.  This extreme ease of servicing is not something Lance wants to talk about as it is an industry first

If you observe Lance pulling the shots in his video anyone who has used a spring lever espresso machine will see that the Vectis is being misused.  Lance complains of a lack of body.  Body is a function of pre-infusion pressure in a lever espresso machine.  All dipper designs preinfuse at boiler pressure, which is considered low pressure, so to add body you raise the lever part way up (after about 3 seconds of having the lever pulled right down to fill the brew chamber) until the piston is just exerting spring pressure on the brew water.  On the Vectis this occurs when the top of the yoke is horizontal.  When the first drip falls in the cup take your hand off the lever.  Adjust the flow rate of the cofffee by altering the grind size.  Target an average flow rate of 1g/s to get started (it will start off slow and accelerate as the shot progresses, hence an average, timed from the first drip falling in the cup/lever release), and you will have excellent espresso with exceptional flavour separation

LONDINIUM Espresso was the UK reseller for Olympia espresso machines for 5 years from about 2007, and a number of customers that we sold a Cremina to then now have a Vectis that they are delighted with.  The Vectis has a pronounced sweetness in the cup, flavour separation, shot on shot consistency, steam power, stainless steel panels, stainless steel piston, commerical toggle steam valve, filling valve, and extreme ease of disassembly and servicing that an Olympia Cremina simply does not possess

We have customers who were justifiably upset that the early boilers had stainless steel dust in them from the laser cutter because we didnt ultra sonically clean them a second time when we made a change to the upper boiler mounting for the sight glass.  This took customers a considerable amount of time and effort to brush and flush out, but even they think the taste of the espresso produced by the Vectis is fantastic

All we learnt from Lance Hedrick is that if you build an exceptionally good product that redefines a market segment and is competitively priced you can expect a response from your competitors and their associates: sabotage

You only perjure yourself once Lance.  I hope it was worth it


LONDINIUM.  Exceptional espresso without the hobby.  Powerful steam.  No turbos.  No coffee that tastes like tea.  Fully reparable on your kitchen bench.

Stage one and stage two LR to R24 kits are now available to order in our webstore

by Reiss Gunson on Friday, 21 October 2022 08:36

pleased to announce that the stage one and stage two kits to upgrade your LR into an R24 are now available

note that the stage one kit can only be fitted without the stage two kit to an LR the uses the mechanical pressure switch (Mater or Ceme)  to regulate the pre-infusion pressure

if you fit the stage one kit only to an LR that has digital preinfusion the higher current draw of the 24VDC pump will burn out the control board you have

so for LR with digital pre-infusion the stage one AND stage two kits must be purchaed and fitted at the same time

Copper, the perfect boiler material

by Reiss Gunson on Friday, 05 August 2022 12:59

Sometimes i read of people expressing a view that stainless is a vastly preferrable material for an espresso machine boiler, or even more oddly a group

Copper is hihgly malleable, ductile, and most importantly has unmatcheed electrical and thermal conductivity (unlike stainless which performs very poorly in this regard)

Additonally it does not suffer from metal fatigue from the repeated heating and cooling cycle that a boiler is subject to

Critically copper will not rust as stainless will if you end up with less than 12% chromium anywhere in the stainless as a result of fabrication, for example stamping the stainless where you create the mounting face for the heating element on the boiler (warranty claims arising from just this is i understand how the original Faema firm went out of business)

Stainless is thought by some to be more hygenic than copper, but that is not the case either

I saw this article on copper and thought you might find it interesting, so here it is;

Copper is wonderful, but it has become expensive and for that reason we will not be using it on the boiler of the forthcoming Vectis model

& for the record copper does not have any lead in it, it is not an alloy, it is a pure metal that you can find on the periodic table at number 29


by Reiss Gunson on Friday, 08 July 2022 23:57

At last, a small 58mm spring lever group.  Direct fill, no pump, dipper fed, steam wand.  20cm wide, 30cm deep

LONDINIUM no grease piston & group seals are coming

by Reiss Gunson on Friday, 08 July 2022 21:50

Whilst waiting for the Vectis group to be forged i have busied myself developing piston seals for the modern lever group that do not need any grease whatsoever

It has taken a few iterations, but i have now ironed out the material and the design and i am waiting for the first run of 30 sets

If they are well received we will then get dies made and make them in volume

I expect the set of 30 to arrive in a couple of weeks from now; they are being manufactured here in Auckland where i reside so it is a simple matter of driving across town when they are ready and we will have them the same day

These seals will last much longer than 12 months, you will not get any grease trapped in the shower screen causing channelling, you will never need to regrease the seals, and coffee residue will not adhere in the grease in the mesh of the shower screen in the way that it currently does

So the benefits are vastly longer seal life, avoid the need to use expensive silicone grease, vastly increase service life for the shower screen (especially the fine 35 micron screen) and fewer hours servicing the machine and more time drinking coffee

These seals will only be available as an post purchase upgrade to the machines

These seals will transform your user experience whatever brand of lever machine you have if it uses the modern lever group; KVDW, Bosco, Quickmill, Profitec, etc, etc - this is the small insignificant upgrade that will transform your lever life

To fit the piston seals soak them in water and a drop of dishwashing detergent and also wet the piston in the same solution before you fit each piston seal; this will ensure the seals do not grab and tear as you work them onto the piston

Pleased to announce that we have sold our first LONDINIUM II to Croatia

by Reiss Gunson on Thursday, 02 June 2022 08:48

73 countries in all

Today, Thursday 2 June and Friday 3 June are public holidays in the UK but I am still available online to take your questions

Next week should be interesting when we receive the Vectis group back from the electroplaters, chromed, and from there we can assemble the group and see how it looks

The only two deliverables we are working on for 2022 is the Vectis and a new website that works properly on mobile devices as that is how most of your are accessing our website these days, a far cry from 2012 when we first laid the current website down

We might add a 58.55mm tamper for VST baskets and a couple of other tweaks, but that's it

There are no other changes planned

kind regards



Price increases of 10% on 1 May 2022

by Reiss Gunson on Tuesday, 29 March 2022 22:46

as is the fashion this year we find ourselves passing on cost increases

cost push inflation is back with a bang after a long absence

IMS 35 micron shower screens expected back in stock this week

by Reiss Gunson on Sunday, 13 February 2022 14:19

i know there are a number of you with items orders on this part that stretch back to december

the best information i have is that they will arrive this week

these orders are my top priority for getting out the door

as soon as i book them out you will receive DHL confirmation emails in the normal way

kind regards



UPDATE: 17FEB22 - 35 micron screens have arrived.  the back orders are being filled today.  when i wake up in the morning, friday in new zealand, i will be booking them out thursday evening UK time, to leave on friday uk time

An experiment: Ten years of drinking almost entirely single origin espresso

by Reiss Gunson on Saturday, 30 October 2021 12:13

Please note that what i have written below only relates to espresso

Having pursued single origin espresso for the last ten years in something of a search for excellence i have reached a conclusion, perhaps heretical to some, but never mind.  It is absolutely the case that there are some fabulous off the charts single origin/single estate/microlot espresso roasts in existence.  They are an absolute joy to experience, in many cases delivering flavours in the cup that you might not have thought coffee could deliver.  Almost always i order 1 kilo of any coffee so i get to taste it change from when it is just a few days post roast to when it is several weeks post roast, and tasting this progression is very helpful if you want to understand the roast and detect which flavour notes drop out as the coffee ages and which notes appear from the background that were not noticable when the coffee was at its freshest

However as much fun as it is discovering these single origin gems, and i will still be buying single origins that strike me as interesting, i have found that i have tired of their one dimensional aspect which is almost always present.  after ten years of single origin i am tired of a single off the wall flavour note that i never expected to taste in a coffee.  now i want those flavour notes but i want the full orchestra, i want balance.  i wanted perhaps two or three of these off the wall flavours carefully chosen by an expert coffee roaster to compliment each other in the way that heston blumenthal does with food.  what do i want?  i want a blend.  not a traditional coffee blend which is shorthand in the industry for penny pinching and trying to flog low grade coffee at a premium, the proverbial silk purse from a sow's ear, but a blend of single estate and microlot speciality coffees

The leads into my next thought.  in a good number of cities in the world there are now a good number of great coffee roasters; competition between them is high.  i think they need a new trick, a new product offering, and here is what i think that new product offering could be.  perhaps some are already doing it, i dont know

Speciality coffee has become obsessed with precision, at least by some practitioners.  Take grinders for example where users are weighing to a tenth of a gram and performing particle distribution analysis of the grind to determine the distribution of the size and shape of the grounds that the grinder is producing, and measuring grinder tolerances in microns.  But here's the thing; what about when you buy a bag of coffee that is a blend?  The beans separate by weight and the beans separate by size, just as any bag of an aggregate material will, but no attempt is made to address this.  It can be guaranteed that with a bag of blended coffee the proportion of each coffee that makes up the blend is going to vary with each 18g of beans that you scoop out of that bag, and its going to vary a lot.  Perhaps this doesnt trouble you at all, in which case click away and read no further, but i think this is letting the game down, particularly if you have purchased a blend of speciality coffees which if it is true to label you will have paid a lot of money for; you deserve a consistant taste experience with each shot you pull and to achieve that you need to lock in the proportion of each of the constituent beans in each dose you measure

The only way to lock in the proportion of each speciality coffee in the blend as the roaster wanted you to experience is if the roaster sold you the constituent speciality coffees in the blend before they mixed them

So, if their speciality blend contained say five different speciality coffees they would then sell the five coffee in the ratios that you need to make the blend.  So the blend might consist of 1 part coffee A, 2 parts coffee B, 5 parts coffee C, 3 parts coffee D, and 1 part coffee E.  The roaster could sell these coffees in 200g bags, so in the above example you would be buying 12 lots of 200g, a total of 2.4Kg, which some individuals might find too much but i think there are work arounds such as measuring out the coffee beans into individual bean cellers that many home barista enthusiasts already have and use and then freexing those that you think you wont be using for some time.  Then you have 2.4Kg of coffee that you have pre-blended at the exact ratios that your favourite master roaster envisaged you experiencing.  When you want a coffee you take the lid off the bean cellar and pour it into your single dosing grinder

Possibly roasters will baulk at that and just say we sell in 250g minimum and if the ratios of the blend dont divide cleanly into 250g portions, then tough, and i think the market would accept that as the beans left over could always be consumed as single origin or combined into new experimental blends, either way i dont see that it would go to waste

For sure this is a niche market and it wont be of interest to many, but i think in an increasingly competitive market for coffee roasters this is a point of difference they could offee that would not involved them buying any more coffee and not having to blend it would be one less step too.  The only downside might be having to offer the coffees that are only present in the blend in small proportions in smaller bags they perhaps they currently offer

On the customer side i would definitely be prepared for the extra work in blending the coffee myself in return for locking in the ratios of the blend so they were the same for every shot i pulled of the blend

If you are wondering if a blend you are considering purchasing is a speciality blend a good way to tell if whether the exact beans used in the blend have been disclosed on the bag.  If they have not you can safely assume it is not a genuine speciality coffee blend.  You would also expect that the beans in the blend are also available for sale by the roaster as single origin roasts, another good cross check

Personally i think carefully considered blends of speciality coffee are the future of specilaity espresso cofee because they give you the full orchestra taste experience, rather than one spectacular flavour note performing alone

little londinium

by Reiss Gunson on Sunday, 06 June 2021 16:14


the little londinium is not going to follow a drip fed release to market approach, unlike most of our previous models

the 4 pre-production units will be assembled and tested, revised if necessary, and then signed off into production

the production components will then be produced and the machines will be assembled and the product will then be made available for purchase on our web store

one thing is cerain the news will break here first, rather than any social media platform



the UK foundry have not delivered us the 4 sample lever groups for sign off into production, something we expected in May

we now have all the other components in house and there is nothing more for us to do other than wait

i am told by those experienced in dealing with foundries that it is a bit of a feature of the industry, but its frustrating none the less

there isnt much else to say as we have now taken all the project steps that are within our control as far as we can (boiler, portafilter, heating element, valves, seals, frame, power leads, packaging, etc, etc)

our suspicion is we may not receive the lever group until august 15

the only good news is when it does finally arrive we should be able to move quickly to assemble it




we remain on target to get a pre-production sample together this month, june

that isnt a guarantee that it will happen, but nothing has occurred yet which will prevent it from happening either

some people are taking some well earned holidays this week and on their return we will start putting pieces together

elements, seals, boiler, sheet metal fabrications are all very much in hand; the lynch pin in this project is the all new compact 58mm spring lever group which is a gem

rapid prototyping takes you so far, but it isnt until you screw all the real pieces together that you can see for sure how it performs

we're also looking to ship it with polystyrene free packaging as we feel we can do better in this area

kind regards