Best Manual Espresso Machines

For many coffee lovers, espresso is considered the finest form of the drink.

A true aficionado will often decide that the only way to get the best brew is to use a manually operated machine. The pursuit of perfection often involves an unusual amount of effort. This is certainly true when it comes to making the ideal cup or “shot” of espresso.

There is a certain “mystique” associated with both the drinking and making of a fine espresso. This begins with the elegance of the machine itself.

Manual models are available in a variety of finishes. The price range is usually affected by the finish. A machine in plain black may be priced in the $700 range, while a gold-plated brass one may be as much as $1600.

Models are also available in chrome, black and chrome, wood and chrome and brass and copper. This is certainly a wide variety. While some look quite utilitarian, others are showpiece elegant.

La Pavoni is the main manufacturer of manual espresso machine reviews. There is, of course, history reflected in the name.  In the nineteenth century, in Europe, coffee was a big business. This is when cafes became popular and they were springing up across the continent. The only problem was producing the brewed coffee rapidly enough.

This problem caused inventors to try to find a faster way to brew coffee. Since it was the age of steam, it was only natural that they would find a steam machine to reduce time for coffee brewing.   If a first is to be established, it would probably be Angelo Moriondo, an Italian from Turin. Since his machine brought the first patent in 1884, he probably deserves the credit.

In the early twentieth century, Luigi Bezzera and Desiderio Pavoni improved on Moriondo’s machine. Various improvements have been made on the machines since then that allow for a delicious cup of brewed coffee.

Manual machines are often called lever machines. This is simply because they are operated by a lever. What we now call “espresso” was first delivered by this kind of machine.  Espresso today is made by the use of high pressure. This is quite different than the use of steam that was the original way that espresso was made.

Today, we have two types of hand lever machines to choose from. There is a spring piston lever and a hand lever. There are just a few small differences that can make a difference in the ease of operation.

In the spring piston lever machine, the spring is used to push the water through a bed of ground coffee at a specific and declining pressure. The operator uses the lever to compress the spring into its starting position. When the operator releases the lever, he allows the spring to actually do the work.

A direct lever machine has the same basic operation. However, the operator is able to control how much water is allowed to flow through the bed of coffee.  Either way, the operator of a manual machine is in control. He makes the difference in the final product.

As with any new skill, an operator will be better off not expecting perfection with the first use. Practice is important and time needs to be allowed for this. Even using different brands or kinds of coffee can require a need to change handling of the lever.
It can be a rewarding experience for someone to master the use of a manual espresso machine.

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