Top 10 Manual Espresso Machines

The manual espresso machine is by far the oldest type of high-pressure espresso machine. It is also known as the “lever espresso machine” among baristas and coffee connoisseurs, and it has been in use for over half a century.

The main trait of every lever espresso machine is the hands-on approach it allows to its users. Basically, you get complete control over the espresso brewing process, so you can always tweak each detail to make sure that your brew suits your preferences perfectly. Keeping that in mind, it is no wonder that these types of machines are often named as favorite among baristas from all over the world. Furthermore, manual espresso machine will make you appreciate the coffee-making process more, as well as the final product itself, which is something you will never get with automated espresso machine. Another thing characteristic for lever machines is their timeless aesthetic. Manual espresso machines are considered to be classic in terms of design, so they will always be drawing attention regardless of the rest of your kitchen. Sleek lines and distinctive levers give out that nostalgic pop-art vibe people seem to enjoy so much these days.

However, technology is always advancing and even manual espresso makers aren’t what they used to be. In addition to lovely old-timers that feature levers, the market is now flooded with another kind of manual espresso machines also known as portable espresso makers. Needless to say, they have a completely different, almost capsule-like look and they are considered to be far more practical. So if you are the type to want control while making coffee, but you travel a lot and like a futuristic look, than these portable manual makers could be just the thing you are looking for.

There are numerous other benefits that can come from a good manual espresso machine, but to experience them, you need to choose a proper model. In this post we will be discussing solely the best of the best when it comes to manual espresso machines, both lever and portable ones. Stick around to find out what machine suits your needs the best.

1. Flair Signature Espresso Maker

I was adamant on starting this lovely list with one machine that would comprise both types of manual espresso machines, lever and portable ones. This terrific Signature espresso maker by Flair does both of these coffee maker types justice as it combines “best of both worlds”. It is 100% human powered with a manual espresso press and it is fully portable as it breaks down into a convenient carrying case. The coffee maker features premium styling with interesting innovative design and it is available in matte black color, as well as in chrome with a portafilter base plated with copper.

Flair Signature Espresso Maker (Bundle, Black)
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2. WACACO Nanopresso Portable Espresso Maker

This awesome machine is created around a freshly patented pumping system which can deliver up to 18 bars of stable pressure. That kind of pressure during the extraction makes coffee of unparalleled quality and taste. Furthermore, the Nanopresso is easy to operate, so you can prepare your favorite coffee wherever you want. As for the compactness, the water tank can take up to 80 ml of water, it is protected by the removable cup and lined. Both components have a heatsink pattern made to protect your hands from the heat. The machine itself is rather small and light, so you can take it with you anywhere you go without worrying about it taking too much of your luggage space.

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3. STARESSO Portable Espresso Machine

This lovely portable espresso maker will provide a barista quality espresso with a rich layer of crema. Sipping a coffee made by STARESSO is an experience similar to that of having your coffee from an authentic Italian café. This terrific coffee maker is lightweight, very compact and completely portable so it will take up a minimum of space. Furthermore, it is compatible with both ground coffee and Nespresso pods, so you don’t have to choose. STARESSO is also made of BPA-free material employing the highest possible standard, and it is easy to both use and clean up.

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4. Wacaco Minipresso NS

Minipresso is considered a pioneer in its category and rightfully so. Its innovative and recognizable design make it a mandatory member of any best-of-the-best list of manual coffee makers. This marvelous machine is featuring a semi-automatic piston, which enables for small amounts of water to be injected into the adapter. After just few pushes it achieves the perfect pressure and you get a bold and rich creamy espresso. Unlike a variety of its counterparts, Minipresso doesn’t need compressed air, electricity or N2O cartridges to operate. It is completely hand operated, so you truly get full control with making your favorite coffee. You can also opt for a variety of capacities, so you can enjoy virtually any espresso type, from short and sharp ristretto to mellow and creamy caffe lungo.

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5. Costway Coffee Maker

This great coffee maker is so called “2 in 1” as it can be used for brewing of both coffee capsules and ground coffee, so it is perfect if you like versatility in terms of your coffee. The machine also employs the special rapid brew technology, so you will be able to enjoy your coffee within just two minutes. Costway coffee-maker also features the Auto cleaning and Auto Off function, so you don’t have to worry about high maintenance or energy costs. Furthermore, it is made high quality, odorless materials so it is both environment and user friendly. Its two-button design makes it very easy to operate, so although it is manual, it is virtually effortless to use.

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6. AICOK Travel Coffee Maker

AICOK coffee maker features a highly powerful56W puissance motor, so it is no wonder it will take only 1-3 minutes to brew a hot water espresso and just 10-12 minutes to brew a cold water espresso. It features a one-button design, so it simple to use. Furthermore, this lovely coffee-maker also has a 15-bar pressure pump, which is able to create some incomparably dense and tasty crema. Needless to say, the machine is very compact and lightweight, so it will easily fit in your backpack or suitcase. This little machine packs a truly powerful punch and it will be your best travel-buddy.

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7. Moocoo Portable Espresso Machine

Moocoo coffee maker features the advanced 20-bar pressure pump enabling extraction with the result of a perfectly smooth and dense crema. It also has a precise microfiber holes which prevent grounds leaking, resulting in pure and particle-free coffee. This machine also allows you to use both ground coffee or capsules, whichever you prefer. It also allows you to be creative, so you can expand every shot of your usual espresso into something some other flavor like Café Latte, Cappuccino, Ice Cream Coffee, and more. As for the design, this handy little machine features an ergonomic shape and grade food materials, such as BPA-free plastic and BPA-free silicone.

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8. AICOK Espresso Machine, Cappuccino Coffee Maker

Another gem from AICOK, but this time a more “traditional” one. This splendid machine combines the nostalgic pop-art look of old lever espresso machines, with some terrific modern innovations. AICOK’s lever machine features a 15-bar high pressure pump, that will never fail to extract a rich and tasty espresso. Excellent-quality milk frother will turn your shot of espresso into pure creamy delight. Whether you want a cappuccino, moka, late or just a regular shot, this coffee maker will deliver it quickly and effortlessly. It also has an automatic temperature control, ergonomic handle, detachable water reservoir, as well as a stainless steel body, making it compact and stable.

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9. La Pavoni Europiccola

This rather sci-fi looking coffee maker from LaPavoni features a sturdy, sleek, all-steel construction covered by a heavy chrome plating. Europiccola features a tamper, screen holder, screen, cappuccino attachment and measuring ladle. This great machine will work perfectly in any contemporary kitchen. Whether your kitchen is an eclectic mash up of styles and trends, or it’s a chilled industrial clean-cut space, this coffee maker will fit in perfectly. The original packaging also includes an explanatory video which will come in handy if you’ve never used a lever-operated espresso maker before.

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10. AICOK Portable Single Serve Coffee Maker

AICOK’s portable coffee maker is made for ground coffee and K cup, so you can brew your favorite coffee in two ways. Unlike with other portable coffee makers, you don’t have to pump the AICOK Portable Single Serve to get coffee. The machine features two charging ways, one of which is through lithium battery, and the other one through wall or car charger. AICOK Portable Single Serve is also very compact and lightweight, so it is perfect for traveling, outdoor use, office use, etc.

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Some would say that manual espresso makers are for the daring risktakers among the coffee enthusiasts. However, if you do decide to dedicate some time to these marvelous machines, benefits will always outweigh the effort. Low tech design will let you have the full control of your coffee, so gratification of getting that perfect cup of joe will be always much greater with a manual espresso maker. If you’ve decided to go for it, we hope our respective choices will help you choose your own perfect machine.