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If you want the best experience in coffee brewing, you need a manual espresso. You will enjoy the highest quality of coffee which is extremely rewarding.
What to look for in a lever espresso machine?
Espresso machine are categorized as automatic, semi-automatic and manual.
Semi-automated have partial automation, unlike the manual ones which are fully hand-operated.
Automatic espresso machines are popular in home and coffee shops because of the simplicity of use. Some do not produce delicious coffee.
Manual espresso machines have more space for customization, which improves your coffee. They do not need electricity hence can be used in remote areas or when camping or traveling. You will appreciate the art of coffee brewing more when you use the manual espresso.
Is it difficult to use?
Fully manual machines are quite complicated to use, but that is where the fun comes from. The mechanism is simple but requires in-depth knowledge in the brewing process for you to produce the best shot of espresso.
Grind, time and weight are crucial factors in brewing espresso and getting the best taste. Adjusting any of these elements will influence how your shot of espresso taste.
While it can be challenging to operate the manual machine, you will get a more rewarding cup.
Is it portable?
Some machines are more portable than others. The lightweight machines are perfect choices when traveling. They are ideal in remote places where there is no electricity. For a portable model, choose one that does not require additional equipment.
How durable is a manual espresso?
Most manual espressos are engineered with great designs and can last a lifetime. Getting a model that can easily be fixed when something goes wrong is recommendable.
The best 6 manual espresso machines in 2019
Elektra S1 Micro Casa Lever – Chrome or Copper And Brass
The Micro Casa is available in copper and brass, and chrome materials. The model has an in-built heater hence can be used with cold or hot water. It allows you to monitor water temperature through the steam pressure gauge.
When using high-quality beans, you will get consistent results because the spring piston is well-positioned. The machine has a capacity of 18 single shots of espresso. Other features include a lifetime safety switch and an overpressure valve.
- Elegant design
- Spring lever gives consistent brew results
- Large brew capacity
- Light making it portable.
- Heating directly exposes to use to some dangers
- Heavy lever can be difficult to operate.
La Pavoni Professional Copper & Brass
The model dates back to 1905. It is made from brass and copper, which give it a beautiful design. It can produce up to 32 single espresso shots, which is a good capacity.
The machine does not have a spring lever and uses muscle power to brew. This can be tricky. You also need to have fine grounds that are well tamped. You also need to master the pre-infusion stage. After a few seconds, coffee will trickle from the portafilter. You will have infused the grounds with hot water. Apply constant pressure for 25-30 seconds to yield the best espresso.
- The brass and copper body makes it durable
- Large capacity brewing
- The manual piston operation makes it challenging to brew consistently
- The lightweight base makes the machine unstable
ROK Presso Manual Espresso Maker
The machine is more austere as compared to other models. It is made with functionality in mind.
The ROK presso has a durable body and only needs you to apply some pressure to brew. The four legs keep it stable while applying the pressure.
It weighs less than 4 pounds, which is an excellent choice for travelers.
- Straightforward and durable design
- Highly portable
- Everything needs to be preheated.
- Best suited for Americanos or milk-based coffee.
La Pavoni Romantica Espresso Maker
It is another excellent choice from La Pavoni. The machine comes with gold chrome and wooden handles. Its body is lacquer coated to prevent scratches.
The manual espresso has a capacity of 16 double espressos. Has a safety switch, sight glass, in-built pressure gauge, and an automatic and manual steam wand.
- Beautiful design and durable
- Large capacity
- Has dual steam wands
- Requires electricity
- Heating elements are exposed
- Steep learning curve
La Pavoni Europiccola
The model has some similarities with the Professional and Romantic, which are produced by the same manufacturer.
It weighs 14 pounds and makes 8 cups of espresso. It has a durable design that features a triple-plated chrome base, stainless steel, and brass boilers. The rational steam wand is also a crucial feature. It has no spring lever but uses a piston that is powered by the user.
The machine is easy to use and gives excellent results on milk-based coffee.
- Sleek and durable
- Best suited for home brewing
- Well-designed traditional steam wand
- Steep learning curve
- Requires electricity
Flair Manual Espresso Maker
It is a hand-powered espresso that is quite expensive. Put the coffee grounds in the chamber, and add hot water to the chamber. The pull lever forces hot water through the beans, thus producing a shot of espresso. The pressure applied is about 8-16 bars, which results in quality extraction.
The fully manual espresso is easy to operate and clean the portafilter and piston. Get the full review here.
- Easy to use and simple design
- Generates enough pressure for coffee extraction
- Customize your espresso shots with grin size, dose and tamp
- Need washing after every brew.
What’s the Crème De La Crème of lever pump Espresso machines?
The manual espresso machines discussed above are great choices. But which is the ultimate choice?
The Elektra Micro Casa is the best choice among the six hand pump machines. Why?
- It has superior features at a premium price.
- The spring level gives control over the brewing process and guides on the pressure level. This provides a consistent shot of espresso
The La Pavoni Romantica is the runner-up choice. Why?
- It has an elegant design and dual steam wands for the perfect cappuccino.
- The only shortcoming is the steeper learning curve and difficulty in producing consistent brew.
What is a manual espresso machine?
An espresso machine is a piece designed for manual functionality. It provides control over the barista, pressure, temperature, tamps, and length of extraction for an espresso shot.
What is the best pressure for an espresso machine?
The standard is set at 9-bars. Manual espresso machine pressure ranges between 7 and 9 bars.
Can you use regular coffee beans for espresso?
Lighter roasts are perfect for non-pressure brew styles, while espresso beans are best for dark roasts. Using regular beans may not give the best espresso.
What is the best grind for espresso?
Fine grind is best since it allows water to push through the filter and create a good crema. It will form a flavorful layer on the espresso. Too fine ground may result in a bitter taste.