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How to Choose a Lever Espresso Machine


Lever or manual coffee makers or espresso machines are ideal for coffee savants who know how to tamp and measure coffee properly. Are you looking for a lever coffee maker? We'll advise you on what to focus on and what you need for it.


Unlike capsule and automatic coffee machines, lever espresso machines require quite a bit of cooperation. They're popular with coffee drinkers who know their way around the art of brewing coffee and like to take part in the whole preparation process, from a bean to a hot steaming cup. What pressure should your lever machine be capable of in order to produce excellent coffee? What other features will come in handy? We're ready to give you some pointers right here and now.

How to choose a lever espresso maker

Tips for Choosing the Right Lever Espresso Machine

  1. How often are you planning to use your coffee machine?

  2. The final taste very much depends on the quality of your lever coffee machine.

  3. When purchasing a lever coffee machine, set aside enough money to also buy a good-quality coffee grinder.

Basic Parameters for Selecting a Lever Espresso Machine


Coffee machines can be divided into two groups depending on their brewing pressure - those that use pump pressure and those that use steam pressure.

If you'd like to make good-quality coffee, you should consider getting a coffee machine with an integrated pump. The pressure should reach at least 9 bar, and for a really good cup of espresso you will need a pressure of at least 15 bar.

There are also cheaper machines with a pressure of around 2 bar available, but they're bound to leave your taste buds unsatisfied. That's why we recommend that you spare no expense on a good-quality coffee machine.

Additional features

  • Two cup preparation - speeds up coffee preparation, e.g. if you're having visitors.

  • Cup warmer - cold cups rapidly decrease the quality and temperature of the finished drink; having a warming plate definitely gives you an advantage.

  • Height-adjustable cup stand - practical for different cup sizes.

Lever espresso machines

Lever Espresso Machines

  • For people who love freshly ground coffee
  • Uses only ground coffee
  • Quality of the drink greatly depends on the one who makes it

Lever or manual espresso machines are a good choice for true coffee connoisseurs. You can't just get your cup of coffee by pressing a button like with automatic coffee machines. Lever coffee machines don't have a built-in grinder or automatic dispenser, so it's up to you to grind the beans and tamp them into the filter holder. It all makes for a nice coffee ritual that will make you feel like a true barista.

Advantages and Disadvantages
  • Ideal for coffee connoisseurs
  • Preparing a cup of coffee becomes a ritual
  • Preserves the taste and aroma of coffee beans
  • Coffee takes more time to prepare than with automatic coffee machines
  • Maintenance is more demanding
Electric coffee grinders

Electric Coffee Grinders

  • Grinding takes no effort
  • Adjustable grind size
  • You can set the amount of ground coffee

If you want to enjoy a cup of fresh coffee every day, make sure to buy a coffee grinder in addition to a lever espresso machine. Ground coffee quickly loses its aroma, so it's a lot more convenient to grind up only as much as you need at the moment, rather than buy a whole bag of ground coffee. Choosing a coffee grinder is simple - the better the grinder, the better the ground coffee. Are you unsure as to which one to choose? We'll help you through the process in our How to Choose a Coffee Grinder guide.

Advantages and Disadvantages
  • Freshly ground coffee at any time
  • You determine the grind size
  • Some grinders are also suitable for nuts and similar ingredients
  • Does not come with the lever coffee machine

Frequently Asked Questions Concerning Lever Coffee Machines

How do I work a lever coffee machine?

Lever espresso machines don't have integrated ground coffee containers, but a filter in the form of a stainless steel holder with holes located in the lever. All you need to do is fill the holder with ground coffee, attach it under the water outlet, and wait for the water to run through it and into your cup.

TIP: If your coffee machine requires maintenance, we recommend that you don't do it yourself. To avoid problems and continue making good coffee, it's necessary to maintain your machine regularly.

What does it mean to have coffee preparation "under control"?

You can prepare two identical drinks of wildly different quality on a single lever coffee machine. It all depends on the quality of the beans, the amount of ground coffee, and how thoroughly you manage to tamp it into the filter holder. This is why you need to be careful when choosing the right coffee grinder. You can influence the quality of the foam too, and the taste and look of your coffee also depends on how hard the water you use is.

Who is the lever espresso machine for?

Lever coffee machines are suitable for people who have already become well-versed in the art of coffee. Do you want to experiment and show your successful creations off to your friends? Do you prefer freshly ground coffee rather than capsules? Then this type of coffee machine is the right choice for you.

Glossary of terms - coffee machines


Espresso is a coffee drink with a volume of about 30ml prepared under a pressure of about 9 bar. Recommended extraction time is 20-30 seconds. Served in a 60-90ml cup.

TIP: The correct name is espresso. You might nevertheless encounter incorrect expressions such as presso, expreso, piccolo and others.


Fine and dense coffee foam on the surface of a correctly prepared espresso.

Latte Macchiato

A version of caffè latte served in a tall glass. It consists of over 200ml of frothed milk, 30ml of espresso and a top layer of milk foam. Espresso is the last to be added into the glass, which creates the characteristic spot in the foam.

The correct pronunciation is [latte makyaatto], not machato or any other versions.

Glossary of Terms
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