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

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

LONDINIUM Espresso is a business that has been built brick by brick since 2007 with no assitance from influencers or marketeers sought nor received

As an absolute outsider to the coffee industry in 2007 i have taught myself everything from first principles.  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

However this 'review' is incorrect on almost every point.  I know the product launch issues of the Vectis in extreme detail yet this review doesnt raise one of them.  Instead it raises a number of made up issues, which suggests that so little time was spent reviewing the Vectis that the real issues were not discovered so Lance resorted to making some up.  Let's walk through it

All spring lever espresso machines are sold on static spring pressure.  To measure this you must first 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 the he knew this and that the highest pressure reading he could obtain was 5-6 bar.  He is simply incapable of taking an accurate pressure reading if that is the case.  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 buying advice from?

A professional would have conceded they had made a significant error at this point and reshot their video.  Lance's refusal to take responsibility for the impact that his lack of skill, experience, and engineering knowledge in lever espresso machines has on third parties suggests a lack of professionalism.  Instead he lazily adds a note to his video saying 'oh yeah, it might be 8.5 bar after all'

This is me measuring the spring rating of prototype vectis 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.  He is flattering to deceive and it 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.  This is Lance's third criticism of the Vectis that is simply made up

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 the 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 outrageous fib.  The steam power of the Vectis significantly exceeds all other machines in its class to the extent that customers frequently purchase the optional two hole tip to slow it down

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 what is available on any other machine in this class

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 instantly recognise that the Vectis is being deliberately 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 for 5 years from about 2005, 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 a Cremina simply does not possess

This leaves us with the impression that Lance pulled half a dozen half hearted shots with the Vectis and dumped it in the corner.  As far as we can determine Lance never had any intention of giving the Vectis a fair hearing

We have customers who are justifiably very upset with us 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 can take from this review 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 i think its called

Not a single dimension or component needs to change on the Vectis.  You only perjure yourself once Lance, I hope it was worth it

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

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