If you want to make a great espresso, nothing beats going for the best manual espresso machines.
The main reason is that you will feel like a professional barista, without having to spend a fortune every time you visit your local coffee shop.
In a hurry? Here are 3 manual espresso machines for all budgets from Amazon
- On a budget – ROK Presso Manual Espresso Maker
- On the go – Staresso Portable Maker
- At home professional – La Pavoni Professional Lusso PL
Using a manual espresso machine can make some of the best espresso shots right from the comfort of your own home. Once you go for the manual, you may never want to deal with a complex automatic espresso machine again.
The best manual espresso machines can provide you with a better espresso compared with the automatic version. This is because you have full control over a manual espresso machine.
However, you need to be slightly more precise if you want to get the best espresso shot that you can, in order to make specialty coffee brews such as lattes or cappuccinos.
This is where we come in, this guide will walk you through 9 best manual espresso machines on the market today, and help you make the right choice to save you time and money.
What are Manual Espresso Machines?
Enabling yourself to create a quality espresso without having to visit your local barista can be extremely rewarding.
Although falling out of popularity around the 1940’s due to new technologies, manual espresso machines are making a comeback.
A manual espresso machine is known to be the traditional espresso making method, and is quite different to your fully automatic espresso machines you may see in coffee shops.
The main reason you would want to use a manual espresso machine is simply the fact that you have ‘full’ control over everything, from the beginning to the end.
A manual espresso machine can also be known as a lever espresso machine and/or piston machines.
Yes, operating one of these machines does require focus and presion, however, they enable you to craft an espresso from almost anywhere at a very cost effective price.
Many coffee enthusiasts argue that once you get some experience behind you, manual espresso makers will give you the best tasting espresso possible.
You literally control the amount of pressure that goes into pulling a shot of espresso, therefore, they allow you to explore different taste and flavour profiles, without dealing with the complexities that come with automatic espresso machines.
How does a Manual Espresso Machine Work?
With a quick google search, you may quickly see that manual espresso machines can come with a reputation as being difficult to use.
Due to having complete control, it will take a little trial and error, especially if you are a beginner, and we do recommend to have some knowledge of the brewing process.
“There are pros and cons to each type of espresso machine. With differences in consistency, affordability, and practical considerations, the best machine is different for each person”– Max Haydon, Perfect Daily Grind Contributor
However, the manual espresso machines themselves are actually very rewarding and can be simple to use as the majority come with a small amount of components.
Top 9 Tested and Reviewed Best Manual Espresso Machines
Let us now take a look at the top 9 tested and reviewed manual espresso machines.
|Best For On A Budget||ROK Presso Manual Espresso Maker||-Hands on espresso brewing|
– Classic design
– Improved performance
|Best For On The Go||Staresso Portable Maker||– Lightweight and portable|
– Easy to use and clean
– DIY coffee
– High quality materials
|Best For At Home Professional||La Pavoni Professional Lusso PL||– Water tank capacity: 1.6 L|
– Capacity in cups: 16 cups
– Maximum operating pressure: 0.8 bar
– Beautiful and durable design
Using a manual espresso machine doesn’t mean that you will not get cool features out of it.
This manual espresso machine has a fifteen bar pressure which will give you a perfect espresso that has a nut coloured crema on top.
You should also expect a rich coffee aroma from it that will wake up your senses. It comes with the milk frother too so you can have your cappuccino anytime.
The De’Longhi Pump Espresso Machine is easy to use because of the professional barista technology.
You will have full control of this espresso machine from tamping ground coffee to setting up the right temperature and time of the espresso-making process.
Since it’s only 15 cm wide, you can still maintain plenty of room on your countertop, and it’s also easy to clean so you can enjoy making coffee every time without too much effort.
If you want to have a handcrafted espresso, then the Flair Espresso Maker is one of the best manual espresso machines that you should have.
You can create a beautiful crema on top so that you can ensure that you are able to make a perfect espresso shot.
It is also portable so you can bring it anywhere you go, and continue to create lattes and cappuccinos anytime or any place you need to be.
The Flair Espresso Maker is a manual press so you can have your perfect espresso shot without the need for plugs.
It’s a fully human-powered espresso machine so you can take it outdoors without the need for electricity.
Just press your ground coffee and hot water so that you can enjoy having your espresso shot at any time.
It’s also easy to clean since it has a detachable head and you can rinse all the parts in cold water.
The La Pavoni Professional Lusso PL is a high quality espresso machine, coffee, and cappuccino maker in one.
You can have this manual espresso machine in a very stylish stainless steel so it can blend easily into your kitchen countertop.
Make your cappuccino with the advanced interchangeable steam wand and automatically cappuccino milk frother every morning for breakfast or during the relaxing afternoon.
You can make up to 16 espresso without refilling the La Pavoni Professional Lusso PL machine with water, as its boiler holds 1.6 litres.
You can also use freshly ground coffee so it can produce better crema when making your espresso shot.
Easily feel like a professional barista by manually adding the coffee grounds and using the milk frother for your specialty coffee brew.
It can also provide hot water for your Americano or tea, so you no longer need another machine for other drinks.
Just add water, ground coffee, and steam some milk froth for your latte.
Making other coffee blends is more comfortable with the Scultura Barista Pump Espresso Machine.
Aside from making a perfect espresso shot with nut coloured crema on top, you can also use the same machine for milk-based beverages.
It’s possible because of the cappuccino system that has a milk frother you can use for some lattes as well. Enjoy the rich aroma of freshly ground coffee and make different coffee blends from home.
The De’Longhi Scultura Barista Pump Espresso Machine has been described as one of the best manual espresso machines to have since it can give you the full barista experience from your home.
Just add some water to the 1.4 litres tank and add your ground coffee beans to make the perfect espresso shot for your other coffee blends.
It’s also dishwasher safe, so cleaning is easy after every use.
Make your version of a barista style espresso blend straight from your kitchen with the Handpresso Portable Espresso Machine.
It will create a velvety crema for your espresso shot so that you can have great tasting coffee blends anytime.
The Handpresso Portable Espresso Machine requires no batteries or electricity, therefore, perfect for those who enjoy the outdoor life and for those who care for the planet.
You can have perfect espresso whenever you feel like making a brew for yourself or your loved ones.
You can build up to 16 bar pressure by simply using the pump to pressure, then add your hot water and choice of coffee and release pressing the infusion button.
Finally, the Handpresso Portable Espresso Machine is also easy to clean and light weight. Just enjoy your espresso shot without making a mess.
If you’re always on the go but need to have your caffeine boost throughout the day, then the STARESSO Portable Espresso Maker is the perfect solution.
It’s a portable espresso maker that can hold up to 110 ml which is ideal for your quick espresso shot.
Don’t underestimate its size since you can also make some milky coffee blends because it has a milk frother if you feel like having your cappuccino while on the go.
STARESSO Portable Espresso Maker can provide you with pressure up to 20 bars so you can achieve crema, which means a perfect espresso shot.
Just fill it with water, and you can use either coffee grounds or Nespresso pods, and start pumping to make your espresso shot anytime and anywhere.
The STARESSO Portable Espresso Maker is effortless to clean since you can rinse under water, and you can have it clean in no time.
This manual espresso machine is also one of the best manual espresso machines that are portable so you can enjoy having excellent tasting espresso even when you’re not at home.
Since it’s a portable coffee maker, you can bring it to work or also if you always need to travel.
The STARESSO 4-in-1 Manual Espresso Coffee Machine has a fifteen to twenty-five bar pressure.
Therefore, you can make some espresso with a more luxurious aroma, creamier, and low acid coffee blend.
This portable espresso maker is easy to use. You can put your coffee ground on the stainless steel filter and add hot water into the insulation case.
Just press it for a few times to make your perfect coffee blend without too much hassle.
You can also make some milk foam for your hot or cold coffee blend to make it creamier and tastier.
The STARESSO 4-in-1 Manual Espresso Coffee Machine is easy to clean, so no need to worry after making your favourite drink.
Being on the go most of the time doesn’t mean that you have to give up your espresso cravings.
You can make your favourite coffee blends anywhere by having the Barista & Co Twist Espresso portable manual espresso machine.
It’s just the right size for you so you can make sure that you can drink your espresso even if you are staying late in the office, or staying outdoors during a camping trip.
It’s made of a high-grade baby feeder plastic to ensure it’s safer than other portable espresso machines available.
Since it’s portable, you can make your coffee blends without too much effort. Just add some coffee grounds or coffee capsules.
The patent-pending twist motion uses a traditional corkscrew method to make pressing easier than ever.
Barista & Co Twist Espresso Press is designed for a constant 30 second plunge speed and a brew that will be the same every time.
Within a few brews the Twist Press becomes second nature.
The construction means it is easy to dispose of the coffee grounds and clean.
The ROK Presso Manual Espresso Maker can make coffee without the bitter flavour.
It’s an ideal espresso manual machine, especially when you like taking your coffee black. This espresso maker uses a unique technique which is a hands on brewing process.
The ROK Presso will ensure that you will achieve a smoother, flavourful specialty coffee without the bitter taste and low acidity content.
Simply add coffee grounds to the stainless steel filter, lock into the body, add hot water, and start hand-pulling your shot to have a perfect espresso shot within a minute.
This technique ensures that you can get the essential coffee flavours without the bitterness.
You can make one perfect coffee in just one minute. It will also allow you to make other coffee blends without too much hassle and of course requires no electricity.
Manual Espresso Machines F.A.Q’s
A: Most lever espresso machines have a built-in milk frother, which is useful for preparing cappuccino and latte.
This is the factor that allows you to make the best and most consistent espresso – much better than stovetop (steam) methods, and arguably better than automatic espresso machines.
A: The general school of thought is that espresso should be brewed with 9 BARs of pressure, but a lot of espresso machines list higher technical specifications, such as 15 BAR or 17 BAR pumps.
A: An espresso shot is made up of three parts: the heart (the dark brown base), the body (the middle layer), and the crema (the creamy, beautiful foam topper that provides a bit of sweetness).
A: Espresso is ground slightly coarser, but still very finely. You need those fine particles because of the super-short brew time.
They’re also very important for providing resistance to the water.
A: The normal recommended dose of ground coffee per shot of espresso is slightly less than two level tablespoons.
For better crema use the double filter basket rather than the single and use at least half-again as much coffee per serving, or about three level tablespoons.
Learn more in our Specialty Coffee Beginner Guides
What To Look For When Choosing A Manual Espresso Maker?
Before you choose your own manual espresso maker, you need to consider your experience and skill level.
Manual espresso makers can take a steep learning curve, and what may be the best option for some people may not be the best option for you.
So to make things easier for you, we have listed what to look for when choosing a manual espresso maker
Ease of use
As you are reading this article we can assume you are considering getting your own manual espresso machine.
Therefore, you are probably the kind of coffee enthusiast who is looking to experiment with their brewing methods, whether that means to save money, or because you want to taste something different.
Just be sure you know that some manual espresso machines are more difficult than others, so it is worth considering this when you are buying one for the first time.
Start off slower, you can always upgrade from there.
Portable or Non portable
From our list, you can see some manual espresso machines are more portable than others.
Are you someone who is always on the go or spends a lot of time outside on camping trips? Then maybe the best manual espresso coffee machines are the ones such as the Staresso Portable Maker.
Most of these machines require no electricity, so either way, the best manual espresso machines can technically be used in almost any location. (keep in mind how you will heat your water)
The last thing you want is a manual espresso machine that only lasts you a couple months.
The best manual espresso machines will be made with high quality materials, and many lever machines can last a lifetime.
It may even help to do some research on the procedures of how to fix the machine justincase something was to break.
Generally the simpler the machine is, the more likely it will last longer.
It may seem obvious, but ensure you are purchasing a manual espresso machine that actually fits your budget.
Yes spending more will probably mean a better machine, however, remember the most expensive options are not always the best options.
Highly Rated Online
The best manual espresso machines will have a rating of 4.2 or more stars. Pay attention to ratings and reviews as these can generally be very helpful and quite accurate.
If i had to pick a winner out of the 9 listed, it would be the ROK Presso Manual Espresso Maker.
This is not because it is a little more cheaper than the others that are listed, but for the fact that ROK are all about helping good, decent coffee enthusiasts on their journey to specialty coffee.
They know that with the right tools anyone (who’s keen) can learn how to make an excellent cup of coffee.
With the ROK Presso Manual Espresso Maker there are not as many limitations either.
However, we feel that it is important to note that if you are someone who is an experienced and skilled coffee maker, who is after a manual espresso machine, then we would also consider investing in the spectacular La Pavoni Professional Lusso PL.
Conclusion: Best Manual Espresso Machines
Overall, these are some of the best manual espresso machines that you can choose from if you want to always drink a perfect cup of specialty coffee, and without needing to be a qualified barista.
Making coffee is a personal experience, so it can vary from different individuals how they want their coffee prepared.
But if you’re a coffee lover, then you would always want to have the ability to make a perfect espresso for your favourite coffee blend.
So go ahead and invest in a manual espresso machine so that you can always have a barista-style coffee whether you are on the go, or just from the comfort of your own home.
Finally make sure if your manual espresso machine does not come with a coffee grinder, then you need to ensure you have the best coffee grinding machines to perfect your specialty coffee brew every time.
If you enjoyed this article, read more like this by checking out our Specialty Coffee Buyer Guides.