6 Best Lever Espresso Machines – Buyer’s Guide To Ultimate Old-School Italian Cofee-Making

Italy, the land with thousands of years of tradition, beautiful women, and impeccable wine. But Italians have a lot more to offer. They are arguably the best coffee-makers in the world. More specifically, one of the most famous forms of coffee- espresso- practically originated in Italy, as the first lever-action machine was made in the Apennine peninsula.

Lever espresso machines are used for manual extraction of espresso. Needless to say, only a good barista can wield this kind of apparatus- nowadays, however, it’s much easier with pump machines. But drinking espresso made by pump machines is like eating a cake made entirely by robots- it’s OK, but that’s it.

Lever espresso machines are the real deal. This is the way espresso was made in 1945, and it will always be the right way to drink your favorite energizing drink.

There are thousands of lever espresso machines out there- and we’ve chosen the best ones in order to help you to make the right choice.  Cheers!

List of 6 Best Lever Espresso Machines:

NameDimensionsWeight
Price
Microcasa
10” x 10” x 22”22 lbs- 10 kilos
Leverpresso8.7” x 4.3” x 3.9”,1.21 lbs about 600 grams
Expobar15” x 10.5” x 17.5”62 lbs- 30 kilos
La Pavoni EPC-811” x 7” x 12”15 lbs- 6.8 kilos
La Pavoni PBB-1611” x 7” x 12”14.4 lbs- 7 kilos
La Pavoni EPBB-8 11” x 7” x 12"13 pounds- 6 kilos

1. Microcasa a Leva Espresso Machine – Finish: Chrome and Brass

1. Microcasa a Leva Espresso Machine Finish: Chrome and Brass

Specifications

Microcasa a Leva has the looks of a classic lever apparatus- done in chrome and brass, it gives away a scent of long-forgotten times when people knew how to sit down a bit and relax with a tasty coffee extract.

It is made by Elektra, a not-so-famous company, but this manufacturer is worth a shot (pun intended). It comes with a pressure gauge, which means that you will be a bit easier for you to master your touch and craft. The Microcasa also has a water level sight glass, which shows you the amount of water in the reservoir.

The product will arrive fully assembled, except for one small part- you will have to attach the steam wand, which is really not that big of a deal. A boiler pressure relief is another useful attachment, as it will keep the pressure within safe intensities.

The boiler can carry 1.8 liters (about 61 ounces) of water, while the dimensions of the product are: 10” (Top to Bottom), 10” (Side to Side), and 22” (Depth- front to back). Its weight is significant- 22lbs, (about 10 kilos) so it isn’t that convenient if you want to carry it around on picnics (we’ll get to that later).

In the end the looks- thanks to shiny chrome and brass, and most importantly to beautiful Italian design, this machine looks old-school as well as steampunky. It kind of blends the past with the future. Finally, there is an eagle (an old Italian symbol) at the top just to remind you of the country everything originated from.

Even with the pressure gauge, you will have to be very patient before you get the hand of this espresso machine- it won’t be easy, but the hard work will yield a lush harvest in the end! In the end, you will see that this product is definitely worth a shot!
Pros
  • Efficient
  • Comes with a pressure gauge (and other safety gimmicks
  • Beautiful, shiny design
Cons
  • It’s a bit more expensive than other products from the same niche
  • Takes a while before you get a hang of it

2. LEVERPRESSO – Portable Lever Espresso Maker (Pressurized Filter)(Pastel Blue)

2. LEVERPRESSO : Portable Lever Espresso Maker (Pressurized Filter)(Pastel Blue)

Specifications

This little gimmick is probably one of the best things that happened to coffee-making in a long time. It solved the almost insurmountable problem of espresso machines- their weight and robustness. But with Leverpresso you will be able to take your favorite drink wherever you go. Hiking miles away from the nearest coffee shop or Starbucks? No problem, just remember to take your Leverpresso with you.

It has a special dual lever system, that proved the best for portable lever machines. Don’t let its small size fool you- Leverpresso can go up to 9 bars of pressure.

All parts are replaceable, so if anything gets broken while you’re exploring the great outdoors, don’t worry, as you will easily replace them.

Safety and non-toxicity are guaranteed by estman’s tritan, from which this product is made. Moreover, it is suitable for both newcomers and skilled espresso-makers. The former can use pressurized filters, while the latter may try their luck with non-pressurized filters. This kind of filter allows you to tailor your coffee exactly to your taste. Espresso is extracted via hand drip style, which done in a rather quick time span- your coffee will be finished from 15-25 seconds!

The product’s dimensions are 8.7” x 4.3” x 3.9”, and it weighs only 1.21 pounds (about 600 grams). You won’t even notice the additional weight in your backpack. Note that Leverpresso doesn’t come with a stand as this attachment is optional- you will have to purchase it separately. Finally, it comes in different colors so you can choose the one you like the most.
Pros
  • Extremely lightweight- you can carry it wherever you want
  • Delivers coffee quickly
  • Suitable for newcomers as well as for skilled coffee-makers
  • The price is accessible
Cons
  • Some of espresso’s quality has been sacrificed at the expense of convenience
  • Some useful attachments are sold separately

3. Expobar – Lever Semi-Auto Espresso Machine

3. Expobar Lever Semi-Auto Espresso Machine

Specifications

First of all, this is a semi-automatic lever machine. It is made entirely from stainless steel, which will shine perennially in your kitchen. Although this is primarily a home apparatus, it has a commercial portafilter, which, according to Expobar (manufacturer) is the best for coffee extraction.

It has a Heat Exchange Boiler System- no more waiting for the steam. Expobar semi-auto espresso machine comes with a big 12 oz boiler made from brass. This means that you will have all the water you need while steaming. Thanks to this big boiler, you will also be able to brew several shots of beautiful espresso in a short time.

These are at the same time the most important characteristics of semi-automatics – they are somewhat faster, more efficient, and effective. With this machine, simultaneous brewing and steaming is an option- which needless to say, makes your espresso-brewing even more efficient.

Expobar comes with a steam wand and hot water dispensing wand- these wands can be adjusted laterally, and swing in both directions. They don’t get entangled and are easily accessible. Dimensions are as follows: 15’’ (tall); 10.25” (width); 17.5’’ (depth).

Maximum temperature stability and aroma extraction are achieved with pre-infusion and thermal siphon. Other accessories include- chrome-plated portafilter, single and double shot filter baskets, tamper, 7-gram coffee scoop, and a backflush disc.

This product is not that easy to move around- its weight is about 62 pounds (30 kilos), and you should bear this in mind when it comes to transportation.

Expobar is obviously an excellent machine, but there are some small drawbacks. For instance, its flow restrictor is not the best one, and the whole apparatus will sometimes get too hot if you push it too far. This is why some people recommend installing an additional siphon flow restrictor. However, with this restrictor, it will take a lot for the Expobar to warm up.
Pros
  • Efficient
  • Comes with a wide scope of accessories
Cons
  • It might get overheated if you push it too far

4. La Pavoni EPC-8 Europiccola 8-Cup – Lever Style Espresso Machine Chrome

4. La Pavoni EPC-8 Europiccola 8-Cup Lever Style Espresso Machine, Chrome

Specifications

This list simply had to include La Pavoni products. They are one of the most sought after coffee-related products on Amazon. La Pavoni EPC-8 is a classic lever espresso machine. Unlike the formerly mentioned Expobar, which is semi-automatic, EPC-8 is completely manual and thus it is best when used at home.

Its basis is made from steel, which is then plated with chrome. It is operated by steam pressure and piston- which are constantly monitored by thermostats. It can make up to two cups of your favorite caffeine beverage.

EPC8 comes with a lot of accessories – automatic milk foamer, 2 stainless steel filter baskets, tamper, screen and screen holder, and measuring spoon. Most importantly, you will even receive a cappuccino attachment! Besides cappuccino, you can make all kinds of beverages – affogatos, lattes, Americanos, coffee over ice… the list goes on and on. Finally, as espresso machines aren’t a simple piece of technology, you will even receive an instructional video that will get you introduced to La Pavoni.

An instructional video is really necessary- we cannot emphasize enough that making a good coffee takes skill and practice. A lot of people who left a bad review on the La Pavoni Amazon page didn’t even try to master the coffee-making craft.

La Pavoni, as the name itself suggests, is an Italian-based company, and these guys really know how to make a good coffee.  The machine itself is quite small and can fit rather conveniently in your kitchen (unlike big, automatic espresso makers).

Of course, not everything can go according to plan- EPC-8 takes a lot of time to heat up, and the water vessel is really small, which means that you will have to refill it even after a few espresso shots.  
Pros
  • A lot of happy customers
  • A lot of accessories
  • Comes with an instructional video
  • Extremely good price
Cons
  • There might be some small mishaps with the mechanism

5. La Pavoni Professional PBB-16 – Espresso Machine Black Base

5. La Pavoni Professional PBB-16 Espresso Machine Black Base

Specifications

This is another La Pavoni product that made it on our list. This Italian manufacturer is one of the most popular makers of lever espresso machines, and they constantly assert their dominance in the coffee making branch.

Unlike the first La Pavoni product we’ve mentioned (EPC-8) the PBB-16 is nickel-plated, and it has solid brass boilers. Needless to say, it is made in Italy, from stainless elements, and it works on the current of 1000 watts.

It has a 38-ounce boiler capacity, and it can make one or two shots of espresso at a time.  It has the classic lever mechanism- you lift up the lever, thus allowing the water to fuse with the ground coffee in the holder. Immediately after the lever is lowered, and with this step the espresso is finally extracted into the cup.

As this is all done manually, you can vary the speed at which you pull the lever- why won’t experiment with different speeds a bit and see the outcome?

PBB-16 comes with a steam jet- thanks to which you will get warm frothy milk. It gets even better, as thanks to this little part you can also make a lot of other hot drinks, besides coffee- tea, for example.

PBB-16 includes pressure gauge in its default specifications, and this is always a good thing, especially for people who have only recently begun to make their own espressos.

Reports about any malfunction of this product are rare, and usually involve some minor leaks, nothing that serious that cannot be repaired with warranty.
Pros
  • Efficient
  • Can make up to 2 shots of espresso at a time
  • Arrives with a mounted pressure gauge
Cons
  • Is susceptible to some minor leaks
  • Costs a bit more than equally good EPC-8

6. La Pavoni EPBB-8 Europiccola 8-Cup – Lever Style Espresso Machine Black Base

6. La Pavoni EPBB-8 Europiccola 8-Cup Lever Style Espresso Machine, Black Base

Specifications

We will finish this list with yet another product manufactured by La Pavoni. We won’t even bother anymore saying praises about this company- its quality and style are well known. According to this company- only true baristas use lever machines, as anyone can simply push a button and let the machine do all the work. And we have to agree!

This article, EPBB-8 Europiccola, will deliver cappuccinos, cafe lattes, macchiatos, and of course, everyone’s favorite, espresso. With only one fill you can boil up to 8 shots of your steaming beverage of choice, without having to refill the boiler, which has 20 oz capacity. It arrives with an automatic milk foamer, which is great if you like to add this final touch to your coffee, and it’s also great for hot chocolate. You’ll also receive 1 and 2-cup filters, made from stainless steel.

Why lever machines? Because it enables you to precisely control the speed at which water passes through the filter- for instance, you can control the amount of crema that comes at the top- if you like a thick layer of crema that comes like a “cherry on the cake”, than Europiccola is the product for you.

By the way, Europiccola loosely means “small Europe” (“Piccola” means small). And this little machine really stands up to its name as it will be easy to move around (about 13 pounds or 6 kilos). Besides, its dimensions mean that you will be able to fit it nicely in your kitchen even if you seriously lack space.
Pros
  • Moderately priced
  • Moderately priced
Cons
  • There may be some minor leakages, but each customer with this problem got his money back
hotfeaturesCup of coffe – we won’t lie to you- choosing the ultimate product from this list wasn’t easy. If somebody pulled a gun and forced us to choose the best lever machine, we would choose the last one from this list – La Pavoni EPBB-8. It has everything you need while having the best price among the products from the same category. It does the job and has the best price, end of the story.

Best Lever Espresso Machine Buying Guide

A typical lever apparatus consists of 5 essential parts:
1.    Small reservoir (for water, of course)
2.    Heating element (which heats up the water)
3.    Portafilter
4.    Lever
5.    Pressure gauge (optional)

To make a good shot of espresso, you first need to put good, ground coffee in the portafilter. The heating element heats up the water to a designated temperature. In the next step, the lever is pulled down- the heated water passes through the portafilter. The outcome is a tasty, magnificent cup of espresso.

Not everything is this simple though. The pressure gauge measures the amount of pressure- this is essential, as you should aim for the “sweet spot” between 8 and 10 bars. This is an optional part of lever espresso machines – it can be quite helpful for newbies, giving you the opportunity to find the right “touch” and technique. Speaking of finding the right touch- you will have to work a bit in order to get used to your new coffee-making friend. Baristas all around the world work hard to master their craft- so don’t lose all motivation after first few unsuccessful shots of espresso.

Also, note that the taste varies with different sorts of beans, the way coffee is grounded. So, even the way you grind your coffee will influence the taste, not only your skill.

Conclusion

As you can see, choosing a perfect espresso machine is not an easy thing. First and foremost, there are a lot of different types of our little coffee-making friends. In this text, we’ve narrowed down our research to lever-style machines.

We cannot emphasize enough that this kind of product is not for everyone. You simply cannot buy La Pavoni Europiccola and expect that it will do everything by itself. Similarly, if you bought a guitar you wouldn’t expect it to play all your favorite songs by on its own. You have to practice and practice. You need the same amount of dedication and skill to make a good shot of espresso.

On the other hand, if you’re still reluctant about devoting a lot of time and practice to coffee-making craft, do not despair. There is a wide range of automatic or semi-automatic products that will take away the pressure from you. One such article we’ve described in this text.

You might want to consider reading:

Top Rated Lever Espresso Machines:

Last update on 2019-11-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Ivan is a 24-year old graphic design and computer science student from Serbia who loves driving motorcycle in his free time and is absolutely obsessed with nature, sports and hanging out with friends.

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