Manual espresso machines / Lever espresso machines


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About Manual Espresso Machines (Lever Espresso Machines)

A lever espresso machine, often called a manual or hand-pull espresso machine, is a timeless and artisanal way to brew the perfect cup of espresso. In a world where automated coffee machines dominate the market, these exquisite gadgets are a testament to the elegance of manual craftsmanship. With simple yet precise operation via lever, coffee enthusiasts can craft themselves the perfect shot of hand-pressed espresso, with full control over every step of the brewing process.

Manual vs Semi-Automatic Espresso Machines

Unlike automated coffee machines that directly control pressure and water flow, manual lever espresso machines require you to set these parameters. So they do need a little more knowledge than standard machines and are best for experienced baristas. If this sounds too complicated for you, take a look at our semi-automatic espresso machines that offer a push-button experience for greater ease. However, if you’re still game for the challenge, read on!

As we mentioned, a manual espresso machine uses a lever to control the brewing process, which needs some practice and skill to master. But the results are worth the effort! You can create espresso shots with rich flavours, balanced acidity, and a thick and creamy crema. Additionally, smaller models are perfect for travel. You can find our range of manual espresso makers on our website if you’re curious.

How to use a lever espresso maker?

Luckily, a dazzling variety of lever espresso machines are available on the market, each tailored to different skill levels:

Direct lever espresso machines

Direct lever espresso machines are the most traditional and classic type. They use a lever directly connected to a piston to control the water flow and pressure. When you pull the lever down, it raises the piston, allowing water to flow through the coffee grounds. As you release the lever, the piston is pushed back down by a spring, creating pressure that forces the water through the coffee and into your cup. 

As you can guess, a direct lever espresso machine requires some skill and practice to achieve consistent results, but it offers you ultimate control over the brewing process. If this appeals to you, try the La Pavoni Europiccola and Professional models or Flair Espresso makers.

Spring lever espresso machines

Spring lever espresso machines (like the Elektra Micro Casa) use a spring to generate the necessary pressure instead of relying on manual force. When you pull the lever down, it compresses the spring, storing energy. As you release the lever, the spring pushes the piston down, forcing the water through the coffee grounds. A spring lever espresso machine offers a more consistent pressure profile and is generally easier to use than a direct lever coffee machine. It is a great option for beginners or those who prefer a more consistent brewing experience.

Features to Look Out for in a Manual Espresso Maker

Today, lever espresso machines are available in a wealth of designs and with a ton of special features. Here are some essential factors you should take into account when looking for the best manual espresso maker for your home:

Control and Customization

One of the biggest advantages of manual espresso machines is the level of control they provide. Baristas can adjust the pressure, extraction time, and other variables to create a personalised espresso shot. This allows for endless experimentation and the ability to fine-tune the brewing process to suit your individual preferences.

Durability and Longevity

Lever espresso machines are built to last. They are made with high-quality materials like stainless steel and brass, ensuring durability and longevity. With proper maintenance and care, a manual espresso machine will serve you well for many years to come!

Size and Portability

Some espresso machines with levers are portable, too- like the Flair Espresso maker. So if you can’t live without coffee and love to travel, you can enjoy your view of the mountains or beach getaway while sipping a warm cup of delicious coffee!

Manual espresso machines are available in a variety of sizes. While Elektra espresso coffee machines may seem compact in photos, they range from 26 to 33 cm wide. In comparison, a standard Rocket Espresso machine is 27.4 cm wide! So be sure to consider the dimensions of the machine to ensure it fits your kitchen space hassle-free. For those looking for a small manual espresso machine, the Flair 58 (19 cm width) or the La Pavoni Europiccola (20 cm width) are excellent options.

Aesthetic Appeal

Manual espresso makers are often coveted for their timeless design and intrinsic elegance. They make a statement in any kitchen or café, adding a touch of sophistication and charm that’s hard to beat. If you are looking for a vintage lever espresso machine, La Pavoni or Elektra brands will suit you perfectly. They are known for their exquisite craftsmanship, manufacturing appliances that are not only functional but also true works of retro art. If minimalist manual espresso machines are more your style, the Flair Espresso will be perfect for you.

Advanced Features

Surprised to see a lever coffee machine with advanced functions? Think again! Some hand-pump espresso machines combine unique designs with plenty of bells and whistles. Depending on the model, La Pavoni espresso coffee machines can offer brewing pressure profiling, a group temperature indicator, two steam wands (perfect for cappuccino), and allow users to make 8 or even 16 cups of espresso at a time.

Do note that not all manual espresso machines in our range have a boiler. For machines like the Flair Espresso, for example, you will need a kettle to provide the hot water for brewing.

How to clean a lever espresso machine?

Maintaining your hand espresso machine is essential for its longevity and performance. Every brand differs a little in maintenance needs, but here are the basics. 

First, remove the filter holder by carefully turning it until it is loose. Rinse it with cold water to remove any coffee residue and make sure to dry it thoroughly. Don’t forget to clean the brewing unit of your manual espresso machine! Wash all the removable components, such as the filter holder, portafilter, and drip tray, in clean water and dry them thoroughly to prevent moisture from lingering. Lubricate the lever mechanism and other moving parts as recommended by the manufacturer to ensure smooth operation and prevent future issues. Inspect the boiler and if you notice white or green residue, it could be a sign of corrosion. Follow the manufacturer’s descaling instructions to prevent further damage.

If you need help

Ready to embrace manual espresso machines? Remember the world of coffee appliances is wide and varied. If you’re eager to explore more options or need some expert advice, feel free to contact our consultants. They are always happy to help you find the perfect match among our wide range of coffee machines. Enjoy your hand-pressed espresso, you budding barista!

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