Lelit Mara X Spotlight

Written by
Chris Caruso
(we're on a mission)

Lelit Mara X Espresso Machine


When looking to strike a balance between affordability and quality, the heat exchanger (HX) espresso machine can't be beat. And when it comes to high-end HX machines, the Lelit Mara X stands above the rest. With a classic E61 design and unique brew-priority functionality, the Lelit Mara X is a go-to for home baristas looking for a premium machine at an attainable price.

In this machine spotlight, we'll review the Lelit Mara X's primary features and design, identify what makes it such a unique machine, and compare the Mara X to the similarly priced Breville Dual Boiler.

Let's get brewing!

Table of Contents

Lelit Mara X Machine Overview

Lelit Mara X Features 2024

Efficient Heat Exchanger

The Lelit Mara X is a heat exchanger-style espresso machine. HX machines have one boiler that is fed from a water reservoir and heated to past-boiling temperatures to provide on-demand steam for texturing milk. HX machines have a secondary pipe from the reservoir to the brew head that runs through the steam boiler. This pipe provides brew water that is passively heated by the surrounding steam boiler.

Heat exchanger machines bring the concurrent-brew-steam functionality of a dual boiler at a much more attainable price point. The Lelit Mara X uses a 1.8-liter steam boiler to provide powerful steam and to heat the brewing water for same-time espresso shots.

Lever-Style E61 Group

The Lelit Mara X is easily identified by the classic E61 group sitting front and center. Using the industry-standard chrome-plated brass group head, the Mara X has incredible thermal stability for back-to-back shots activated by the tactile brew lever.

In addition, the Mara X uses Lelit's proprietary 'silent' pump, which is a high-end insulated vibratory pump. Although not as quiet as the whisper-silent rotary pump found on the flagship Lelit Bianca, the Mara X provides a much calmer user experience than other, louder vibratory machines.

Clean Design

The Mara X blends classic E61 design with a modern design and finish. While most E61-style machines are available in only classic steel, the Mara X is also available in a matte white or black finish.

In addition, the Mara X goes one step further to include maple accents standard, a breath of fresh air from the black plastic accents that come stock on almost every other E61 machine of its class.

What makes the Lelit Mara X Unique?

Brew Priority Mode

The biggest problem with heat exchanger machines is that excess water sitting in the brew-pipe overheats. In order to avoid this superheated brew water, the pipe must be flushed in what is known as a cooling flush. A cooling flush adds an extra step to the HX workflow, as well as another level of guesswork to find the perfect temperature.

The Lelit Mara X solves this by implementing a brew-priority mode. In brew-priority mode, the Mara X oscillates the temperature of the steam boiler up and down to keep the brew water at an optimal brewing temperature. This feature eliminates the need for cooling flushes and brings confidence back to brew-water temperature.

Steam Priority Mode

To complement the brew-priority mode, the Lelit Mara X also offers a steam-priority option. When in steam-priority mode, the Mara X acts as a traditional HX machine, keeping the steam boiler at piping-hot temperatures with powerful steam on demand.

3 Preset Options

To add an extra layer of customizability to the brew and steam priority modes, the Mara X includes a 3-way toggle switch with unique functionality for each temperature mode. In brew priority mode, the three toggle switches cycle the brew temperature between 197° F, 201° F, and 205° for dark, medium, and light roasts, respectively.

When in steam priority mode, the three options are 1 bar of pressure, 1.25 bar, and 1.5 bars of pressure, respectively. This tri-modal control helps the Lelit Mara X offer quick and easy customizability for better control over the brew.

Missing on the Lelit Mara X

Lelit Mara X Missing Features 2024

Degree Temperature Control

Although the Lelit Mara X makes many strides with its brew and steam priority modes as well as their tri-model buttons, it still lacks degree temperature control.

For a machine priced at the top end of the heat exchanger market and slowly reaching into entry-level dual boilers, we would expect to see the Mara X with individual temperature control, at least the steam boiler.

Full Display PID

In addition, the Lelit Mara X falls flat in the overall user interface. Almost all other Lelit Machines use a proprietary OLED display called the Lelit Control Center (LCC) to control brewing temps and machine settings and to act as an integrated shot timer. Although the Lelit Mara X packs a lot in a small package, it would have been nice to see the appearance of the LCC.

Comparison: Lelit Mara X vs. Breille Dual Boiler

The Lelit Mara X is a high-quality heat exchanger that indexes for elegance, durability, and simplicity. However, for a similar price, the popular Breville Dual Boiler may just give the Mara X a run for its money.

Lelit Mara X vs. Breille Dual Boiler

Heating Element & Pump

The most significant difference between the Lelit Mara X and the Breville Dual Boiler (BDB) is the heating element. While the Lelit Mara X offers a unique heat exchanger format, the BDB offers two independent boilers for brewing and steaming. This means that the BDB does not need to pick a temporary priority and is able to give equal focus to both brew and steam

Both machines use vibratory pumps and are reservoir-fed. Although both have a similar 2.5-liter reservoir, the Lelit Mara X's steam boiler is double the size of the Breville Dual Boiler at 1.8 liters (compared to 0.9 liters). In addition, the Mara X has Lelit's silent pump technology, making it quieter to run compared to the dual boiler alternate.

Design & Interface

The Mara X and Dual Boiler continue to diverge when comparing them externally as well. While the Mara X uses a classic and tactile E61 style design, the Breville Dual Boiler uses the classic Breville-style button-based interface. While the Mara X only has one front-facing button, the BDB has eight, including a power button, display control buttons, and shot buttons.

The Lelit continues its sleek design with an elegant combo pressure gauge to measure both internal steam and brew pressure. The Breville Dual Boiler comes with a centerpiece pressure gauge to measure brew pressure alone.


Perhaps the most significant difference between these two machines is the overall user experience and workflow. While the Mara X focuses on a manual and tactile experience, the Breville Dual Boiler is packed full of beginner-friendly functionality and features.

Breville's claim to fame is their programmable volumetric shots. The Breville Dual Boiler does not omit this functionality and allows users to preset shot volumes with an optional manual mode. The Mara X is on the opposite side of the spectrum, with manual start and stop only. In addition, the BDB has individual degree PID control and a shot timer, features missed on the Mara X.

Quality & Build

While the Breville Dual Boiler may win when it comes to features, the Mara X takes the cake when it comes to build quality, repairability, and longevity. The BDB is an appliance-tier espresso machine not designed for decades of use and repair. Lelit designed the Mara X to last for many years with proper care and to be opened up and repaired should something go wrong.

If you are looking for an espresso machine with all the bells and whistles to get you started, the Breville Dual Boiler can't be beat. But if you prefer simple, elegant designs built to last a lifetime, then the Mara X is the machine for you.

Pricing and Availability


In 2024, the Lelit Mara X retails in the United States for $1,699. While this is a rather hefty price tag for a non dual-boiler, it is actuallty in line with other top-spec heat exchanges in the market - especially for one built to such a high standard.

A variety of U.S.-based companies import Lelit, and the Mara X is available online through Clive Coffee, Seattle Coffee Gear, Chris Coffee, and Whole Latte Love.


If the design or price tag of the Lelit Mara X doesn't do it for you, there are a few alternatives to look at. Of course, the Breville Dual Boiler packs a ton of features into a similarly priced package. In addition, more modern takes, such as the dual-thermoblock Ascaso Steel Duo or the ECM Classika PID single boiler, offer faster heat-ups and unique designs.

The Final Sip

The Lelit Mara X is a go-to espresso machine for home baristas looking for a balance of quality and attainability. The Mara X, with a unique brew priority mode, preset PID temperatures, and premium trim, packs a ton of value into a small package. If you are looking for a machine that can output latte after latte for years to come, then the Lelit Mara X is for you.

Want another coffee?

Take the Quiz

Start Now

For Personalized Recommendations

Discover Machines

Including Breville, Profitec, & Lelit

Discover Grinders

Including Eureka, Baratza, & Niche