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Do you regret buying a lever machine

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  • Do you regret buying a lever machine

    Hi,

    I have been introduced to some nice coffee at university, cappuccino to be precise. At home, my other half has one of those pod machines; I cannot bare to drink anymore of the coffees that things make. I have been looking at domestic setups, and have become quite fond on the lever style machines. I was wondering what peoples experiences are with them?

    I understand I am in for a learning curve buying one for my first machine, but Im willing and look forward to the hands on setup. I will be purchasing a good grinder, still unsure as to which one to get, I was thinking a manual hand grinder.

  • #2
    Welcome Etheral,

    Don't take this the wrong way, but this is a bit a of a strange title for a first post. Just to avoid going around in circles, by 'lever style' machine......what exactly do you mean? Do you mean a machine that uses a spring lever to provide the pressure needed to force the water through the ground coffee.....or simply a machine that uses a lever to activate a pump?

    Nothing wrong with a hand grinder, but would be useful to know your total budget.

    Cheers

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Barry O'Speedwagon View Post
      by 'lever style' machine......what exactly do you mean?
      Thanks for the welcome

      I was looking at the spring piston lever machines, for example the elektra leva machine. Furthermore, was looking at the direct lever machines like the la pavoni europiccola.

      Budget would be around $1000
      Last edited by Etheral; 9 September 2015, 10:15 PM.

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      • #4
        I don't regret buying my Europiccola as i got it cheap and rebuilt it but to be honest, it was just too much work for a coffee.

        It looks great, is a good talking point and will have good resale value but it takes a whole lot more work to procure a coffee than I wanted to put in.

        The results are varying, it overheats after 2 coffees and is extremely dangerous, particularly if there a children around. Every metal piece is boiling hot.

        I have not owned a spring lever but I imagine they are a lot easier to tame. They're also very expensive and for a first machine, you could do better.

        Consider a mid range Breville (BES840, BES870) or Sunbeam (EM6910, EM7000). Bear in mind an approximate 5-6 year lifespan for these machines.
        An entry level single boiler (Silvia, Lelit, VBM Piccolo, Isomac Zaffiro etc.) or small HX (NS Oscar, Giotto etc.) would also be good options. Consider sending an email to the site sponsors for some more advice.

        Also remember to budget for a good grinder. Expect to pay between $400-$1000. Have a look here for advice on grinders: Buying guide- coffee grinders | Talk Coffee

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        • #5
          A new Lido grinder and an excellent condition 2nd hand europiccola could be had for about $1000.

          definitely talk to talk coffee & casa espresso.

          and no. No regrets.

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          • #6
            Thats the plan, lido + La Pavoni

            Seems there is a lot information around about the temperament of these machines, but everyone that has one likes it.

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            • #7
              Hi Etheral . I have an Elektra Micro Casa a Leva and Lido 2 which I take on holidays in the caravan. I love this combination. Makes great espresso and latte. 2nd hand leva and new grinder was less than a grand. Good luck.

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              • #8
                I have a Europiccola and a Gaggia G106 which is a Pavoni Pro with Gaggia badge. I also bought a Pavoni Pro for one of my daughters, and I don't regret buying any of them.

                However they were not my first ever coffee machines. I already understood the basics of grind/dose/tamp and how they go together, and had a good grasp of temperature and pressure control needed to make espresso. Even so, I needed to brush up a little on my techniques to get the best from the lever machines. However, I got the hang of them fairly quickly, and they made some of the best coffees I had ever pulled myself, and better than many I had paid for. I only use them when I'm making one or two cups, which is most of the time.

                Yes they do require some attention to detail, yes the exterior does get hot, and could be dangerous for small children, and yes they take a bit more effort than some other machines, but it's not that much trouble.

                I have not used a spring lever machine so I can't comment on them, but an Elektra is on my wish list, and if a good S/H one comes up at the right price I will probably grab it.

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                • #9
                  Other aspects that appeal to me is the compact design, as bench real estate is minimal. I was impressed with the site sponsors, contacting me with in the day of doing a quote. Im currently having 2 coffee's a day, and the other half will have about the same. It should do us for a while to get our fix. All I have to do is to wait for a nice second hand unit to come up in the trade section.

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                  • #10
                    I've got a hx giotto evo rotary pump machine and also an old 76 model Europicolla lever as a 2nd machine. Whilst the evo is the daily driver, I regularly use the Europicolla for something different and although it is harder to operate, the coffee it produces is mind blowing once you know what you're doing. I've got no regrets buying a lever machine. To me, the lever machine is like driving an old Italian sports car, harder to drive but when you know how, it's an awesome experience.

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                    • #11
                      I have both a Vibiemme Domobar Super (heat exchange machine) and a Europiccola. If I go away, I take the europiccola and a Portaspresso hand grinder (fantastic grinder) but typically at home I just use the Vibiemme as its easier to just walk up anytime and it's ready to go. Where as the Europiccola, I have to turn it on then have a window of opportunity in which to make the coffee before it overheats. It's still a lot of fun and does make a truly great espresso/latte when you get it right, but for me I find you get one shot at it before it overheats and you have to wait for it to cool. Forget entertaining with it. I still use the europiccola at home occasionally when I need a coffee quickly and the Vibiemme isn't on or I actually just want to experience the pleasure and simplicity of the lever.

                      Ultimately, it would be up to you whether these limitations you could work with or not.

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                      • #12
                        starting with a Europiccola is not the best way, that machine needs a lot of experience.
                        I have a Bezzera leva and a Astoria Perla, there are both easier to handle.
                        if you start with a Europiccola, you should have a good grinder, at least that makes it a bit easier.

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                        • #13
                          I have purchased a Europiccola and Lido E grinder, can't wait for them to arrive. Excited for the steep learning curve!

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                          • #14
                            Aaah. Good move. You'll enjoy rapidly improving shots, & within a couple of months you'll wonder what the hoo har is about!

                            one last purchase. Jar of Kraft peanut butter: eat or wash out the jar's contents. The plastic jar fits nicely on the lido as a replacement/ spare/ risk free jar.

                            that is, unless the lido e has a plastic jar to start with. Can't remember....

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                            • #15
                              Hey

                              You will enjoy it lots. I have a La Pav Europiccola from the late 1970's and a modern Ponte Vecchio Lever machine. I like both though I make use of the Vecchio more as it does not overheat as much. Its usually just an espresso for me and a piccolo for the wife. Hopefully I'll find one day an affordable lever machine with a full 58mm PF size.

                              The learning curve is not too steep. Just read posts here and watch the many youtube videos and practice. It can make a great shot off coffee - just make sure you use good beans. Popping down to Woolies or Coles for beans to try out in your new machine will lead to disappointment :-) Order in some nice roasted CS beans.

                              Best wishes
                              Mike

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