4 Best Manual Espresso Machines

Many people will accept that coffee making is an art. Nowadays, many automatic espresso machines have made it easier and fast. However, the authentic espresso taste and distinct aroma can be only achieved with a manual and classic way of brewing.

With this in mind, we have brought you a list of top 4 best manual espresso machines of 2021 with a detailed review and some general information regarding manual espresso machines. Manual espresso machines are the best choice when you need a premium and authentic espresso taste. The automatic espresso machines can’t match the quality.

However, they are not that bad and are under budget so you can check out our article on 8 Best Italian espresso machines of 2021. Manual espresso machines let you control the coffee taste, concentration and everything about the espresso shot which you can’t do in a semi-automatic espresso machine.

We check the featured product in our articles and the reviews are solely made by our personal experiences and genuine global surveys so that you can have a peaceful time searching for the best manual espresso machines.

Best Manual Espresso Machines

DesignBuying GuideRetailer
1. La Pavoni PC-16 Professional Espresso Machine
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Staff Pick2. La Pavoni PSW-16 Stradavari 16-Cup Espresso Machine
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Budget Pick3. STARESSO Portable and manual Espresso Machine
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Best Pick4. Flair Espresso Maker-Classic: All manual lever espresso maker for the home
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1. La Pavoni PC-16 Professional Espresso Machine

best manual espresso machines

Why we love it

  • The attractive chrome base with a classic design will make any coffee lover fall in love with this machine.
  • Can make up to 16 cups of double espresso shots in one go with its 38Oz boiler.
  • With its twin brewing cycle this espresso maker can brew 2 brilliant espresso shots at a time.

La Pavoni is a trusted brand well known for their classic lever manual espresso machines. One such model is this PC-16 which is a professional espresso machine. In this espresso machine you will get a large boiler of 38 oz capacity which makes it ideal for a family or a coffee business. Moreover, the sturdy chrome build can last for many years to come.

Additionally, you can easily control the pressure while pumping the espresso machine with the help of an integrated manometer. However, manual espresso machines can’t be mastered within less time.

You would require some time to get acquainted with it. After that you will start enjoying the process of espresso brewing with a manual espresso maker.

Pros

  • Can brew 16 double espressos at once.
  • Amazing build quality.
  • Makes delicious cappuccinos.
  • Compact.

Cons

  • Large heat up time.
  • May leak.

The reason why this La Pavoni manual espresso machine tops the list of best manual espresso machines is because of its amazing espresso brewing skills. The lever mechanism works perfectly for brewing a handcrafted espresso.

However, these skills require time to get acquainted with so don’t get sad if you won’t be able to make the perfect espresso in one sitting. Otherwise, it is the best choice for coffee enthusiasts.

2. La Pavoni PSW-16 Stradavari 16-Cup Espresso Machine

Staff Pick
best manual espresso machines

Why we love it

  • Can brew two espresso shots in one go with its twin brewing cycle.
  • The 38 oz water boiler is capable of brewing 16 double espresso shots in one go.
  • The classic stainless steel finish makes it stand out from other espresso makers.

Coffee making is an art which many people with automatic espresso makers can’t gain. If you are one of the people who love handcrafted and authentic espresso, La Pavoni has this manual espresso machine to offer you.

With this espresso machine you can brew up to 16 double espresso shots at once. Moreover, the dual brewing spout can brew 2 dual espresso shots at once. Additionally, the classic design is cherry on the top which makes it even better for a well-designed kitchen space.

You can accommodate this espresso machine anywhere on your kitchen top with its small footprint. Besides, the automatic cappuccino system will let you make delicious and milkier coffees with a velvety Crema on the top.

Pros

  • Elegant design.
  • Good water capacity.
  • Durable built.
  • Compact.

Cons

  • May heat.
  • Heavy lever.

Classic espresso models always beat the automatic espresso machines in terms of durability, lifespan and coffee quality. However, they are a bit more expensive than those machines but they are worth it.

In this espresso machine you will get a 38 oz water boiler which makes it a perfect choice for a coffee lover family. However, these machines require a lot of practice and patience to work with so be ready for that if you get one.

3. STARESSO Portable and manual Espresso Machine

Budget Pick
best manual espresso machines

Why we love it

  • It has a compact design which can be taken anywhere with no hassle.
  • You can use Nespresso coffee capsules too in this mini espresso maker.
  • All the parts are BPA free so the machine is safe to use.

Having a cup of your favorite coffee while on a trip or outing is the best feeling you should definitely get. The Staresso portable espresso maker can make your dreams come true with its compact and portable size. Do not judge it by its size, this machine is capable of making thicker and tastier Crema on the top of a delicious espresso.

Moreover, its water reservoir can accommodate up to 80 ml of water and 0.53 oz coffee grounds. Unlike other espresso makers, this one is also compatible with Nespresso coffee capsules and coffee grounds too.

Moreover, the material used while manufacturing this espresso machine is BPA free, so you can go for this one without having a second thought. Additionally, it requires no electricity. However, you have to fill hot water into it because it doesn’t have a heater.

Pros

  • Budget friendly.
  • Stylish looks.
  • No electricity needed.
  • Amazing espresso quality.

Cons

  • Difficult to pump.
  • No heater included.

If you are a coffee enthusiast who loves going out frequently but never wants to miss the energetic caffeine shot? If yes, then this mini manual espresso machine is made for you. You can definitely go for this manual espresso machine as it requires no electricity at all.

Moreover, it can fit in your backpack easily during trips and outings. However, you will require good man power and a separate boiler for enjoying a hot espresso shot.

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

Best Pick
best manual espresso machines

Why we love it

  • The manual espresso maker comes with a detachable brewing head making it easier to clean.
  • This small and handy espresso machine can be transported and used anywhere.
  • Makes beautiful Crema layer on top of the freshly brewed espresso.

Flair is one such brand known for making cheaper and durable espresso machines powered by hand. This powerful, manual espresso machine can brew a 40 ml espresso shot at once with no electricity. Moreover, you have the freedom to control the extraction process completely with its easy-to-use lever mechanism. 

Additionally, a custom travel case will make it even better to travel with this lightweight and compact espresso machine. It has a unique and sturdy design which makes sure the coffee is well extracted.

We know that Espressos, when beautifully handcrafted, taste the best, the aroma, intensity and coffee concentration can be easily controlled. However, it takes some time to make something beautiful so you need to be patient while using this espresso machine.

Pros

  • Compact.
  • Easy to use.
  • Can control total extraction process.
  • Well build.

Cons

  • Slow.
  • Brews only one cup.

With a unique and easy-to-use design, this model is the best you can get at such a cheap price. Moreover, we will recommend this manual espresso maker for its superb espresso making abilities without electricity also you can enjoy the espresso making process on your own.

However, brewing an espresso manually may take time for new users as the lever is hard to use but once you get used to it, you will definitely master the coffee making art.

How to use manual espresso machines

Manual espresso machines are said to give the best espresso. However, this espresso machines might be hard to use for beginners but trust us, once you start using it for a longer time you will master the art of coffee making. Here we will guide you on how to operate manual espresso machines easily.

Step 1: fill the water reservoir with at least 5 oz water. We will recommend you to fill it half the capacity if you want to brew more than one espresso cup. Moreover, make sure the water reservoir is clean before using. Otherwise, clean it.

Step 2: take a coffee cup and fill it with hot water so that the cup gets warmer. This step makes sure your espresso shot doesn’t get cold after pouring into the cup.

Step 3: plug in the espresso machine into the mains and start it. Moreover, there will be a small switch to switch it on. Once you switch the machine on, it will go into the preheat mode. The preheating time varies according to the machine model. However, many lever espresso machines take up to 10-20 minutes for preheating.

Step 4: detach the porta filter from the group head and fill the porta filter with your preferred coffee grounds, for a single espresso shot you will require 1 teaspoon of coffee ground and for a double shot you will require 2 teaspoons.

Once you have filled the porta filter, tamp the coffee grounds using a tamper and make it levelled. Lastly, attach the porta filter to the group head neatly.

Step 5: check out if the machine is preheated enough. Throw the warm water from the cup into the sink or else do whatever you want. Place the coffee cup below the nozzle and on the drip tray. Make sure the coffee cup fits well inside the drip tray. 

Step 6: Now, it’s time to pull out an espresso shot. Rotate the steam knob on the machine to see if it’s working fine. Raise the lever up for some time and leave it slowly. This step makes sure the grind is infused with some boiling water. Now, once again pull the lever up and slowly take it down. You can see the hot espresso getting poured into your cup slowly. 

Step 7: if your coffee recipe includes milk, take a cold milk container and add at least 100 ml of milk into it. Place the steam wand inside the milk container and rotate the steam knob. Once you gain your desired consistency and texture, remove the wand, start it again so that there is no milk residue left, and clean it with a cloth.

Step 8:This is one of the easiest parts of all the steps. You simply need to take the cup and enjoy it if you love basic espresso. Moreover, if you want to make a latte or cappuccino, you will need to add the steamed milk to the espresso slowly. Besides that, you can also make latte art on the velvety creamy froth. 

Step 9: clean the espresso machine. Remove the porta filter and dump those used coffee grounds and clean it using water and soap. Clean the steam wand using a dry damp cloth. Moreover, rotate the steam knob so there is no milk residue left inside. Also, don’t forget to empty the water reservoir if you will not use it for days.

Frequently Asked Questions

How are manual espresso machines powered?

Espresso machines are powered with a piston or lever which creates the pressure which in turn extracts the espresso. It is the classic way of brewing espresso.

Why are lever espresso machines so expensive?

Lever, espresso machines are expensive because of the high quality materials such as stainless steel, brass used in them. This makes sure the material won’t affect the espresso quality.

Are manual espresso machines better?

In terms of espresso quality, manual espresso machines always beat the automatic and semi-automatic ones. Moreover, these machines let you control the espresso extraction while brewing. However, they are a bit hard to use as compared to automatic espresso machines. Therefore, it is hard to say if they are better or not.

How long can I use my lever espresso machine without descaling?

Like other espresso machines, you should descale your manual espresso machine every 2 months for a consistent coffee quality. Otherwise, the espresso machine may get clogged due to the buildup or it may affect the espresso quality.

Conclusion

Manual espressos are marvelous when it comes to espresso quality. You can control the whole extraction process with the perfect intensity, aroma, concentration and Crema so that the espresso quality matches your expectations.

Therefore, if you want to taste the authentic flavor of espresso, then you should definitely go for manual espresso machines. In this article we have featured one of the best manual espresso machines of 2021.

Moreover, we have given you a genuine and unbiased review of each manual espresso machine. If you want to search for other espresso machines check out our article on top 4 best commercial espresso machines.

Moreover, you can also get the best espresso machine according to your budget with our articles- 8 best espresso machines under $1000, 6 best espresso machines under $500 and 6 best espresso machines under $150.


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