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What Is A Manual Espresso Machine? (7 Things You Should Know)

In this article, you will learn what a manual espresso machine is, why you might want one, how to use them (clear and precise video tutorial).

Whether you want to know what the best lever espresso machine is or if you have never heard of a manual espresso machine before and what to know more about it you will find the answers to those questions and more below…

If you want the freshest cup of coffee with the most intense flavor, try to prepare it yourself by using a manual espresso maker. Most espresso makers are automatic and do not allow you to fully control the brewing process.

Additionally, espresso makers use mostly plastic parts that can result in a low-quality brew. In contrast, manual espresso makers use parts made out of high quality, durable metals such as stainless steel and brass, resulting in an exquisite cup of coffee.

The Manual Espresso Maker is a perfect choice for those seeking to make fine espresso drinks at home. These machines offer authentic and consistent results with virtually no learning curve.

We’ll also see if they are better than automatic machines, reveal the best manual espresso machine, discover what beans you absolutely must use, and find out if manual espresso machines are worth it…

What Is A Manual Espresso Machine?

It is the most traditional style of an espresso machine and lever espresso machines are recognized for their ability to produce a thicker, more flavorful, and less bitter shot of espresso than pump-driven machines.

The basic definition would be that it is an espresso machine that is not powered by electricity. Manual espresso machines require you to pull the levers and push the buttons while operating the machine. This may seem like a lot of work, but in the end, some of the best tasting espresso you will ever have is produced by operating a hand-operated espresso machine.

Manual (also called lever) espresso machines use a lever and piston mechanism to force hot water through the ground coffee in order to make a shot of espresso. (A feature that the pressurized steam-driven pump machines can’t achieve.)

A manual espresso machine is a type of coffee maker that allows the user to control every aspect of the parameters in order to produce a delicious shot of espresso. The user can decide how much water is used, the grind size, and for how long the water will run through the grounds. These are steeped in tradition and built to last.

These machines prepare espresso coffee by forcing hot water under pressure through finely ground, compacted coffee. It can deliver coffee shop quality espresso from virtually anywhere and is able to save you time and money.

They are affordable, uncomplicated, simple to use, lightweight & compact, and just plain fun!

Why Would You Want To Use A Manual Espresso Maker?

A manual espresso machine may seem like an odd choice in today’s automated world of coffee making. However, a true espresso connoisseur knows the old ways bring the best results.

In fact, if you love coffee enough to roast your own beans, you owe it to yourself to use a manual espresso machine and experience all it offers.

A cafe-quality espresso on demand without the hassle of a big machine? That’s exactly what you get with a manual espresso machine.

You might be considering using a manual espresso machine, but you’re worried that the hassle will be more than it’s worth.

After all, what’s the point of taking the time to grind your own beans and practice the perfect extraction when you can just as easily make a latte with a push of a button?

And indeed, using a manual espresso maker requires some preparation and effort, but you will be rewarded with an aroma-rich cup of espresso that is free of the bitterness that can sometimes plague the taste of a machine-produced cup.

While using a manual espresso machine is not as simple as pressing a button and walking away, the end product will be worth the extra effort.

How To Use A Manual Espresso Machine?

Learning how to use a manual espresso machine will open up a whole new world of coffee enjoyment. These machines give you full control, allowing you to use the same techniques as a professional barista. After only a few short uses, you’ll be making some of the best coffee you’ve ever tasted!

The following video shows you are easy it is to use…

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Are Manual Espresso Machines Better?

There was a time when manual espresso machines were the only ones available. But their consistent and superior quality was eventually outdone or at least matched by automatic espresso makers.

For the purist, it is argued that manual espresso makers produce a superior cup of coffee to their motorized counterparts.

Not only do they usually cost less, but manual espresso machines are simple to operate and easier to clean than more complex machines. For these reasons, some people prefer them over the semi-automatic and super-automatic versions.

There is no doubt that they are well-loved for their ability to deliver a steam-free shot of espresso with a rich, robust flavor.

The real question you need to ask is: are manual espresso makers best for you? What is your personal taste? Do you want to learn how to use one? Do you need a machine that can do more than making espressos? How much space do you have? And so on.

I think there is room for both in my house!

What Is The Best Lever Action Espresso Machine?

The Flair Espresso Maker is clearly the top pick for manual espresso makers. It is an alternative to the expensive semi-automatic and fully automatic espresso machines that can cost several hundred dollars.

This brand also features on my best coffee machine brands list found here… Best Coffee Machine Brands: Good, Excellent, & Amazing Brands

The simple but clever lever system forces hot water through a single serving of ground espresso. The espresso brews directly into a cup, and there are no filters to buy, no pressure gauges to adjust, and no mess to clean up.


Flair Espresso Maker – Classic: All manual lever espresso maker for the home


Flair Espresso Maker - Classic: All manual lever espresso maker for the home

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  • The Flair is a small, lightweight, 100% human-powered, manual espresso maker. It’s the perfect portable coffee companion for any time of day: camping, tailgating, festivals or just hanging outside with friends. Plus it makes a great centerpiece to impromptu backyard barbecues and picnics.
  • Made from high-quality aluminum it has a firm pressure piston to evenly extract your perfect espresso shot, and easy step-by-step instructions to get you started.
  • A perfect marriage of technology and integrity, it doesn’t need plugs or electricity, just a simple lever mechanism, and freshly ground coffee.
  • Designed for people who understand that preparing and serving a great cup of coffee makes the kitchen more than just another room in the house. Flair is beautiful as well as practical.
  • Due to this feature, it creates a rich and authentic coffee experience, that is usually reserved for professional baristas.

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Can You Use Regular Coffee Beans With Manual Espresso Makers?

You can use regular coffee beans with manual espresso makers as long as you have a burr grinder. Burr grinders use two revolving abrasive surfaces to crush the beans, producing a consistent, uniform grind.

Espresso is a method of brewing coffee that produces a very small, very strong coffee taste. To do it, you fill a press with hot water, then grind up coffee beans and add them to a cylinder that holds the water.

The coffee grinds expand in the hot water, creating enough pressure to push the water through the grounds and into the cup below.

If you don’t already have a burr grinder you should read… This Burr Mill Makes Coffee Worth Getting Out Of Bed For [Cuisinart]

Burr grinders are much more costly than blade grinders, but they are less hassle and more consistent than blade grinders. The even grind size means the water passes through the coffee at a consistent rate, so you get a consistent taste.

Burr grinders are essential if you want to access those bold flavors from your beans.

Are Manual Espresso Machines Worth It?

I think the answer is a resounding yes. Hand operated espresso machines are generally less expensive than their automatic counterparts, and let’s face it — making espresso by hand is simply more fun.

A manual espresso maker is a great home coffee companion for those who want to experiment with different beans, roasts, and brewing methods.

When you get right down to it, manual espresso machines are awesome. They’re simple, they always perform well if you take care of them, they produce a wonderful quality brew and they create an experience that is inextricably connected with the popular human passion for good coffee.

That’s not to mention their attractive designs, their excellent build qualities, and portability.

Manual espresso machines have been popular in Europe for decades and with more and more Americans starting to enjoy great coffee, manual espresso makers are becoming more and more popular by the day.

Another thing that is great about these machines is the fact that they are great conversation starters. They really draw attention (and compliments)!

In summary, a manual espresso machine utilizes a lever to pump the coffee grinds through the filter holder and out into your coffee cups.

Manual machines are used in many barista competitions throughout the world and it takes some muscle on your part, but the control you have over steaming and pressure makes this an artisan method of creating a rich cup of espresso.

The manual espresso machine is an elegant and classic piece of equipment used to make a variety of espresso-based coffee drinks. You can’t own a commercial espresso business without having a manual machine in your arsenal.

Manual espresso machines are the best choice for the person who is on a budget and wants to taste the quality of espresso directly from the machine without it being diluted with excess water that you get from automatic machines

All the body, aroma, and richness of a traditional espresso with none of the fuss.

You may also be interested in… Breville Espresso Machine: Serious Espresso Machine – Easy To use