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Any happy lever machine users?
Bonsai Doug
I have a lower-end Delonghi I'm planning to upgrade to a Silvia or Gaggia. However, I've become fascinated with manual lever machines; in particular, the LaPavoni Europicolla (8). I'm the only espresso drinker in the house (no milk drinks), and I usually have only 1-3 doubles per day.

So... any happy lever machine users out there? Looking for input on just how easy/hard it is to pull decent shots with a manual.

On the one hand, inexpensive levers can be somewhat cranky and limited. On the other, if you're willing to put the time into the technique,have a good enough grinder, and don't try to make the machine do more than it can do well, you can get consistently good shots.

In my opinion SBDU (single boiler dual use) machines are obsolete; even for straight shots. Without PID or some other sort of additional electronic control, temping via "temp surfing" is highly inconsistent and problematic. Even with a PID, there are serious temp issues with recovery time.

If you absolutely, positively, must have an SBDU get the Gaggia Classic. It's much less expensive than the Silvia, does everything as well, and is as easily modded (PID, for instance).


USRC 1lb Roaster, Chemex+Kone, Espro, Various FPs, Royal Siphon Vacuum, Yama Ice Drip Tower, Bunnzilla, La Cimbali M21 Casa, Ceado E92.
Machine history:
'80's pulling shots with a Gaggia Classic/Coffee. A simple single boiler vibe pump machine.
'00's moved up to the Isomac Tea. A HX/E61, vibe pumper.
'O3 purchased the Elektra Micro Casa a Leva (MCaL, a classic spring lever machine.
'O? Sold the Isomac and couple 58 mm flat burr grinders (Mazzer Mini and Mcap M4). Purchased the two group Ponte Veechio Lusso and larger conical burr MCap grinder.

Today machine of choice are the lever machines. Quality water, beans and a decent grinder plus good technique yields a good to excellent cup. The limiting factor is me. Not the hardware or beans. Wrong grind level, improper dosing and technique can result in a sinker shot. Levers require a bit more effort & experience to pull quality shots. Strongly recommend pulling all your shots with a naked/bottomless portafilter.

Long term maintenance in terms of cost and time are significantly less vs. a pumper. The two machines used pull shots of distinctly different characteristics using the same beans. Maybe why so many lever only fanboys have multiple machines. Or maybe we just own too much gear and should just focus on perfecting our pulls on a single machine.

Yes, happy using a lever machine. Will probably never purchase another pumper.
My machine history:
Started with a Gaggia Classic and a Baratza Vario grinder. Did not have much success with espresso, but I mostly drank lattes anyway.
Decided to add a PID to the Gaggia. Much better temp control gave me consistently good espresso, better steaming ability too.
Decided to move up to a lever. Purchased the single group Ponte Vecchio Lusso and a naked/bottomless portafilter.

Took a month to get used to the difference in pulling shots on the PVL. Much better ability to produce microfoam, so my wife and I love the lattes. I normally have a post-lunch espresso as well.

Very happy with my lever machine. Will never purchase another pumper.
Life is too short to drink bad wine ... or bad coffee!
hi guys, I love the lever machine- I have a Elektra micro casa leva.
i am not sure exactly how most other lever machines work nowadays between the two types of lever (spring piston /manual) but when i bought mine there were mostly manual hand pumped units around. i think the spring piston is awesome - nice constant pressure, i guess most machines are like that now and i am not up to date?? lol....
but that's my 10 bobs worth!!..
i have never heard of a naked bottomless portafilter?? can anyone tell me what it is??




chimpy74 wrote:

i have never heard of a naked bottomless portafilter?? can anyone tell me what it is??



Google knows ...
Life is too short to drink bad wine ... or bad coffee!
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