The Lure of the Lever - Page 2

A haven dedicated to manual espresso machine aficionados.

#11: Post by GreatDane »

My journey into the world of lever machines began when I won a SAMA lever machine from Ebay. I didn't know what I had because I got an HX machine from a friend for a good price. As a typical American I believed bigger is better. I have a good friend who had a Gaggia that went down, so I loaned him my SAMA. He had a hard time giving it back because he had it dialed in. When I got it back, I began to play with it an I couldn't believe the good shots from that little 45mm basket. I then bought a fine Olympia Cremina 67. This edged out the SAMA. The SAMA now lives with my son-in-law and daughter. They have been trained right, a nice Zass and the SAMA. They are enjoying it daily. My son-in-law travels some for his work and the SAMA goes with him! I missed my spring loaded lever, so I bought an Elektra Micro Casa Leva. This is an exceptional machine. It is well built, a good steamer (wife has to have her milk drinks.), and it pulls exceptional shots. After a 3 year search, I now have the La Peppina that I thought would never be found. It was the nice find from OrphanEspresso. I have only pulled a few shots, but they have been the sweetest espresso shots I have ever had. My preferred method of pulling a double shot is to pull two singles. I think that lever produced coffee should have a class all of its own. I love a quiet morning. The whisper of the handgrinder, a few rumble sounds from the boiler as the machine warms up, and the silence of the pull, make for an idyllic morning for me. Besides once the shot is pulled, the brew is simply divine! I am looking forward to getting my La Peppina dialed in. The other beauty of the lever is the portability. What I love about the Peppina is the stability of the temperature. The fact is the linear column of water found in a lever provides the stability that exceeds all of the home machines with electric pumps that cost hundreds or thousands of dollars more in my opinion. I only have levers in my house now.

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orphanespresso (original poster)

#12: Post by orphanespresso (original poster) »

Les, I have to say that your post on this long lost thread just about made me weep! The simplicity of the old open boiler is beyond compare and the espresso is as you say, Divine. Sweet and never too hot. In some archaic way it is almost like magic. We live way out in the country without a TV or even a radio in the house during that quiet time that you mention, and yes, the whirr of the hand grinder, crunching and making the grind, all VERY mellow, if you pardon the old hippie term, but that is what it is.

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#13: Post by timo888 »

The Microcimbali has appeared here on stage at from time to time, but I'm almost certain there's never been a video of an espresso-in-progress on this spring lever, and there's been no report on its vital stats, including the number and thickness of the coils of its spring and the diameter of its piston cylinder, from which brew pressure can be extrapolated. So, Doug, if you ever feel inclined to fill those gaps in our knowledge ... :mrgreen:

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#14: Post by michaelbenis »

Also a lever fanatic - the espresso equivalent of the hand-rolled cigarette, only better.....

And thank goodness for enthusiasts like Doug who can get us the bits we need (you are bout to pestered BTW).

Nothing wrong with old hippy words..... ;-)

caeffe: Your spring is probably just fine. The Elektra doesn't produce any "froth" cream because the pressure tails off a bit with the spring at the end. How long is taking for you to get your shots through? You may well find you need a slightly coarser ground than your other machines. You will also want to tamp less. In fact you hardly want to apply any pressure at all when tamping the Elektra - in my opinion at any rate.

The Elektra and La Pavoni are great machines, though the way the latter bolts together with bolts on the insides gets on my nerves. Do you know if the Zacconi/Savinelli manual pistons are any different in that regard, Doug?


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#15: Post by GVDub »

Nothing wrong with old hippie words at all, and mellow is the perfect description of the meditative quality of the morning espresso ritual. I'm yet another aging hippie who's in love with his manual lever. The Caravel, despite occasional hiccups, has been pulling the most amazing shots. I'm jonesing for either another Caravel or a La Peppina to keep at work (I'm leaning towards trying to find another Caravel because of the thermostat control, unless I decide to PID a La Peppina). I've also started a collection of hand grinders, with the goal of having (at least) one vintage grinder that can do espresso from every German and Dutch manufacturer.
"Experience is a comb nature gives us after we are bald."
Chinese Proverb


#16: Post by hperry »

For what it is worth: having both a Peppina and Caravel I have always been able to get better shots from the Caravel. I acknowledge that it might be the user instead of the machine, but the Caravel is my reference for the other machines.
Hal Perry


#17: Post by aussietrev »

I love mechanical siplicity also. the thing is I look at a normal espresso machine and i still see such a simple device but htey have taken away the soul of the machine and replaced it with an electric pump. there is something very enjoyable a bout doin things for real. I love to cook i love to bake and i love to make a good coffee I always feel un satisfied when things are to easy because of high tech equipment. at work I am all for high tech I love it, anything that makes my job a little easier the better but when it comes to food and drink its gotta be done with some heart.