Best Manual Espresso Machines 2020

Coffee has been a part of our breakfast meal. It can help us jumpstart our day by the bitterness of its bitter taste and caffeine content. One of the highest caffeine concentrations that we can drink is the Espresso. Espresso is known for its small serving where you will drink it from a small cup or a shot glass. Though the serving is small, the caffeine content of this drink is higher than your normal cup of joe. The word espresso means to give pressure expressively.

The process of making a shot of espresso is different from brewing your cup of Americano. It requires high pressure and high-water temperature to extract all of the caffeine content from the coffee grounds that you use. During the first few years since the introduction of espresso, manual espresso machines were used. Because espresso was first introduced in the early 1880s where electricity is not a thing during that time.

Manual espresso machines are still being used today. With the help of modern technology, even if the manual espresso machine doesn’t need any electricity, we can still manage to pull a decent shot of espresso. A manual espresso machine is one of the best portable espresso machines that you can have. Since it doesn’t require electricity, you don’t have to worry if you want to go off-grid and have a strong shot of espresso.

Here are the two types of manual espresso machines:

Spring Piston Machine

You can easily determine if the manual espresso machine is a spring derived machine because the lever is pointing upward. For you to have a successful shot of espresso, you need to pull the lever down to compress the spring. And as you release the lever, the spring releases the water pressure that goes through the coffee beans. The high-water temperature added with the pressure can extract most of the caffeine content from the coffee bean. And this is the reason why espresso shots are highly concentrated with caffeine compared to the other types of coffee.

Direct Lever Machine

The direct lever machine’s mechanism is similar to the spring piston machine. The only difference is that there is no spring for the direct lever machine to create the pressure. The force that you will exert from pulling the lever will also be the pressure that you will be giving in pulling an espresso shot. The disadvantage of this kind of machine is that you need to be a veteran to pull a perfect shot. But this can be achieved with a few practices and build enough strength to achieve the right pressure in pulling that shot of espresso.

Things to know before purchasing a manual espresso machine:

Are you dedicated to practicing pulling shots?

Manual espresso machines are not easy to pull off. Even veteran baristas still fail to perfect their first few shots. It takes a lot of patience and practice to get the perfect espresso shot that you need. Your strength is also required to apply the right amount of pressure to pull a shot.

Are you willing to use freshly ground beans?

Freshly ground beans are the reason why any coffee drink tastes so good. If you are willing to freshly grind your coffee beans for your manual espresso machine, this should be not a problem. There is a huge difference between the taste of the pre-grinded beans and freshly ground beans. And this will require you to have a manual or an electric coffee grinder.

Does experimenting excite you?

Since it takes a lot of practice in pulling an espresso shot, you might as well consider experimenting with the taste of it. If you are pulling is inconsistent, the taste of your espresso will also be inconsistent. Because the taste of espresso will depend on how hard you apply pressure when you pull. If you get to experiment the different ways, you will be good to go.

Now that you already know the types of manual espresso machines and the things you need to consider before purchasing them, here are the top manual espresso machines that you can choose.

Best Manual Espresso Machines with Reviews

La Pavoni EPC-8 Europiccola

La Pavoni EPC-8 Europiccola is a lever-style espresso machine. It comes with an automatic milk frother that can also make a decent cup of cappuccino and an easy to pull the lever. This small machine comes with a water tank that has a 20-ounce capacity and with the help of the steam wand, you can make that thick and foamy cappuccino or latte. But if you want to have a simple and highly concentrated shot of espresso, you can simply remove the steam wand where it is attached to the milk frother. This way you will be able to enjoy a strong espresso shot.

La Pavoni EPBB-8 Europiccola

The La Pavoni EPBB-8 Europiccola is similar to the EPC-8. The only difference between the two is the milk frothing hose. Although the EPBB-8 also has an automatic milk frother, the milk passes through one of the spouts of the machine. You also have the option to have milk added to your drink or not by whether filling or emptying the small milk reservoir.

Staresso Portable Espresso Machine

Staresso is another kind of manual espresso machine but this time it can be carried everywhere you want to go. The Staresso Portable Espresso Machine is a handy espresso machine that is perfect for traveling. It is compatible with the Nespresso coffee capsules or coffee pods so that there will be less mess whenever you are making your shot. It is small and lightweight that is easy to carry around. The simple mechanism of this machine will allow you to have your shot of espresso in no time. All you need to do is open the coffee pod container and place the pod inside, fill the water tank with water, pull the lever, close the water tank, and press the lever down and watch your cup slowly being filled with your drink.

La Pavoni PC-16 Professional Espresso Machine

La Pavoni is one of the oldest manual espresso machine brands in the market. They crafted different kinds of manual espresso machines to satisfy every espresso lover. And one of their best machines is the La Pavoni PC-16 Professional Espresso Machine. It comes with an automatic milk frother where you have the option to add in your drink or not with the help of its flexible hose. The water tank is larger compared to the other kinds of La Pavoni manual espresso machine. This way you can make more than 5 shots of espresso in a short time. What’s amazing about this machine is that it can also handle hard water and does not affect the taste of your espresso.

Flair Espresso Maker

The manual espresso machines mentioned above are all spring espresso machines. But the Flair Espresso maker is a direct manual espresso machine. It is a simple machine that has can pull a decent shot of espresso. Since the machine is smaller because if its mechanism, it can be considered as a portable machine.

It has a strong base and lever that allows you to pull harder to have a better espresso shot. This machine comes with a travel case so that it will be easier for you to carry around wherever you go. Even though the machine is small, it can still deliver one of the best-tasting espressos that you can have. Once you have mastered the art of pulling a shot, you will soon have a consistent taste of espresso wherever you go.

There many more manual espresso machines in the market for you to choose from. But so far, these are the best ones that a lot of people love. If you love having a shot of espresso in the morning, here are the few things in favor of having this type of machine in your kitchen or your office:

Benefits of having a manual espresso

You are in control

Since the taste of the espresso will depend on the pressure that you will be pulling, you are totally in control of the taste of your espresso with a manual machine. Also, you get to experiment with the different tastes of espresso depending on how much pressure you exert whenever you pull that lever.

Lasts longer compared to electronic machines

We all know that electronic devices will soon lose its consistency in doing what it is supposed to do. And eventually, they will end up in the storage area. But with a manual espresso machine, you will no longer have to worry about any wiring or electrical problems.

Better investment

There are manual espresso machines that are expensive and there are those that are cheap. The price will always depend on the features that the machine has. But either way, no matter what price the manual machine you chose, it will always be a better investment.


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