Summary of why to choose Cafelat Robot from two-years owner

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.
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#1: Post by mdmvrockford »

To moderators, please feel free to move to "Levers" forum but IMHO it should be in "Buying Advice" forum.

I am making this post in hopes of helping others who may be choosing an espresso brewer. Nothing in this post is new. Since "Cafelat Robot User Experience" thread is at 4784 posts (as of 2000 C.S.T. May 21, 2023) Cafelat Robot User Experience I thought this one-stop post may be helpful useful summary/reference. To be clear, Cafelat Robot will NOT be best espresso brewer for everyone.

Positives of Cafelat Robot (in no particular order):
* It is a manual lever espresso brewer.
Advantages of manual espresso lever include (but not limited to) pressure profiles by design. Home-barista gets to control all aspects of the extraction.
Robot can brew espresso as long as have source of off-boiling water. And it is relatively portable (e.g. I use it as espresso brewer for car trips). Others have made portable case for air travel.

* It can easily brew all types of espresso: lungo, normale, ristretto
Brewing ratios for espresso beverages
Prior to my Cafelat Robot my manual lever espresso for six years was Orphan Espresso Cremina. I struggled to brew lungos for light roasted beans e.g. brew ratio 30% with volume ~ 3 fluid ounces. I gifted this Cremina to my son for his university graduation gift. If I get responsible funds and permission for the counter space, I would gladly have a Streitman CT2 besides my Robot Barista. Streitman vs. Cremina decision is not germane to this post.

* It is constructed to last generations with minimum number of user replaceable wear items.
The two replacement parts are the silicone piston seal and the silicone handle pin for portafilter/brew chamber screen (both available for purchase in USA from Orphan Espresso and Prima Coffee; no longer just exclusive to Cafelat Hong Kong and Cafelat UK). Cafelat Robot piston seal life

* Its designer and maker Paul Pratt's statement on Robot website is not flippant IMO: Do not be fooled by the toy-like cutesy Robot looks, the Robot means business and is capable of pulling espresso shots like a professional machine costing 50x more. At meetups, I have compared my Robot Barista to Decent, Bianca and Profitec 700 using same grinder (Helor 106). To my novice palate, in-the-cup there is no significant difference.
But experienced members will know this is not unique to Cafelat Robot. Among manual espresso brewers under $600 USD, Espresso Forge and Flair 58 will equal the Robot in-the-cup.

* It has a factory (OEM) pressure gauge.
This is handy as it gives an objective (and thus repeatable) measure of pressure which I find helpful for new beans. Once I dial in a bean then I rarely look at the pressure gauge. For viewing the needle of OEM pressure gauge here is handy (and cheap) mod Cafelat Robot User Experience
For those who don't like this appearance and prefer permanent option for better pressure gauge ease of view: ... ked-gauge/
Tossing my hat into the ring of DIY Cafelat Robot gauge brackets
Many on do not feel pressure gauge is even necessary.

Negatives of Cafelat Robot
* It does not have an electric boiler which is by design. Preheat is recommended for light roasted beans. Preheat is not recommended for medium to dark roasted beans.

Here is reference thread on Robot and its declining temperature profile Cafelat Robot Temperature Tests
Here are threads on preheating Robot: Some like it hot: Cafelat Robot Temperature Mods
Does preheating the Cafelat Robot affect taste? Please post your experiences here!

* Though advertised as using 58mm portafilter basket, my other 58mm tampers (for my 58mm portafilter E61 single boiler dual use machine) do not fit the Robot's PF basket/brew chamber.

* Robot's portafilter/brew chamber will not accommodate <10 grams ground beans. So if you like 7 grams singles this is not your espresso brewer.
Cafelat Robot low doses

* Its lever arms move 90 degrees off plane versus other manual levers (e.g. La Pavoni Europiccola, Olympia Express Cremina, Flair 58)
Just operator preference here:)

This owner's biases and philosophy of use:
* Whichever espresso brewer you chose, please pair it with best grinder you can afford. In my case conical burr grinder is Helor 106 (with Mazzer 71mm conical burr single phase same as single phase Mazzer Robur). And my flat burr grinder is Mazzer Major (2012 manufacture date) with aftermarket SSP Red Speed high uniformity burrs and aligned. As oft posted on, the espresso brewer is the least important component for exceptional espresso It's the Barista, Stupid

* I drink at most four espresso (never milk drink) per day and typical is 1/day. I prefer medium to dark roasts. But every few months I brew light roasts meant for regular coffee brew for variety's sake.

* I have very patient customers (in-laws), seek challenge, am frugal and don't want to lug even more heavy equipment. So I use Robot as my espresso brewer when I play barista for holiday family get-togethers at their homes. I am slave to my cappuccinos and lattes workstation for these family parties:( Steamer is my single boiler dual user machine and grinder is Mazzer Major for these parties. But since these parties happen at most 3 times a year, I do not see need to buy large boiler heat exchanger or large dual boiler machine.
LMWDP #568

mdmvrockford (original poster)
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#2: Post by mdmvrockford (original poster) »

For those whose interest in Cafelat Robot is picqued by my original post here is further information on how to use Robot:
(1) Paul Pratt's how-to-use instructions in one page: ... how-to-use

(2) Home-barista moderators "drgary" and "samuellaw178" detailed review and user guide:
Cafelat Robot Review
LMWDP #568

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BaristaBoy E61

#3: Post by BaristaBoy E61 »

That's a great real world review and assessment.

Thanks for posting and sharing!
"You didn't buy an Espresso Machine - You bought a Chemistry Set!"