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7 Best Manual Espresso Machines in 2024

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This is our review of the best manual espresso machines. Keep reading and find your next machine.

I love having complete control over brewing my espresso drinks. The only way to achieve this is through manual espresso makers. I compiled this list of the best devices to find the best one.

I chose the Flair PRO 2 as the best espresso machine. It’s robust, has an extended warranty period, and offers everything a manual espresso maker should. Making it an exceptional device for home baristas who also want a portable device.

flair espresso maker pro 2

Flair PRO 2: Best Overall

  • Price: $$
  • Type: Manual
  • Dimensions: 12 × 6 × 10 in (D, W, H)
  • Warranty: 5 years
  • Water capacity: 56 ml = 1 solo shot
  • Material: Stainless steel & aluminum

You may not love the Flair PRO 2 because of its price. I understand. Thus, I provided alternatives.

Let’s begin.

Top 7 Manual Espresso Machines for Home

  1. Flair Espresso Maker PRO 2: Best Overall
  2. ROK Espresso GC: Best Performing
  3. The Flair NEO: Best for Budget & Beginners
  4. Elektra Microcasa: Best Small Maker
  5. AeroPress: Most Portable Maker
  6. La Pavoni Europiccola EPC-8: Best Lever Machine
  7. Cafelat Robot: Best Manual Machine UK

What are Manual Espresso Machines?

  • Average price: $100–$800 (varies by machine).
  • Automation: Nothing; do everything by hand.
  • Advantages: Mastery, customization, & mechanical simplicity.

A manual (or lever) espresso maker gives the user full control over the espresso-making process and doesn’t automate any steps. It’s great for anyone who’s stingy about taste. And bad for folks who want beverages made quickly.

You can find all our manual espresso machines here if you’re looking for commercial models.

7 Best Lever Espresso Makers for Home Use

All the following sections will cover each machine’s specs, pros and cons, who they’re best for, and other information that helps each device stand out. If you face any confusion while reading, you may find clarity under the buyer’s guide section.

It’s after all these mini reviews.

Here’s a small legend to help you understand acronyms or shortenings:

  • Dimensions:
    • D: depth
    • W: width
    • H: height

Dive on in.

1. Flair Espresso Maker PRO 2: Best Overall

flair espresso maker pro 2
Dimensions12 × 6 × 10 in (D, W, H)
Warranty5 years
Water Capacity56 ml = 1 solo shot
MaterialStainless steel & aluminum


  • High-quality espresso
  • Portable & compact
  • Customizable


  • Pre-heating required
  • Limited serving size
  • Requires strength

The Flair Espresso Maker PRO 2 is an excellent choice for coffee enthusiasts who have the patience to dial in their grind for barista-level shots. As it offers great value for the price. 

The Flair PRO 2 costs more than one of its counterparts, which I’ll mention in a couple of sections. That’s due to the improved handle ergonomics, flow dynamics, and stainless steel bottomless portafilter.

The steel portafilter allows you to troubleshoot issues with your machine easier.

And unlike the NEO, the PRO 2 includes a custom pressure gauge. It’ll allow you to brew drinks with 6–9 bars of pressure. 6 bars of pressure are great for less bitter beverages. And 9 bars are the ideal number of bars for a balanced-tasting drink [1].


The more pressure you add to the machine, the more complex the lever is to pull. It’ll lead to a bit of a workout, but maybe you could skip arm day at the gym. Especially if you want to make more than 1 drink.

Because, like most manual machines, you could only brew a single drink at a time. Not ideal for making drinks for multiple folks. And it’s not ideal because you may want to preheat your maker prior to use. To ensure temperature consistency.

On to another feature I love.

It’s portable. Detach all the parts, pack it in a carrying case, then take it camping. I’d love to use this for a coffee-shop-quality espresso drink while watching the sun rise from a tent.

Let’s move on to another popular machine.

2. ROK Espresso GC: Best Performing

rok espresso gc
Dimensions5.1 × 8.63 × 11.75 in (D, W, H)
Warranty10 years
Water CapacityNone
MaterialStainless steel


  • Offers a hands-on brewing experience
  • Made of high-quality, durable materials
  • Capable of producing a high-quality espresso shot


  • Requires a learning curve to perfect the brewing process
  • Manual operation may be time-consuming for some users
  • Lack of built-in grinder requires separate purchase and operation

The ROK Espresso GC is optimal for folks who seek a portable, durable machine that delivers high-quality espresso.

It has one of the longest warranty periods I’ve seen on an espresso maker. Ensuring it’ll last a long time. That’s thanks to its robust build. How’s it possible that it’s not worth the money?

Aside from that, it is a pain to learn. If you’re used to lever espresso makers, you’ll need to adjust to the 2 arms you have to squeeze down. Though, it shouldn’t take too long to adjust yourself.

Otherwise, there’s not much else to this machine. It’s 3.5 pounds and doesn’t demand much space. The most compact “traditional” manual maker on this list. And it’s a great gadget to take camping to make espresso.

If you don’t care for this machine’s aesthetic, and don’t want to pay the Flair PRO 2’s price, here’s an alternative.

3. The Flair NEO: Best for Beginners

The NEO by Flair
Dimensions6.10 × 12.40 × 10.24 in (D, W, H)
Warranty5 years
Water Capacity60 ml = 1 solo shot
MaterialStainless steel


  • Provides full control over the brewing process.
  • Portable & lightweight, making it ideal for travel.
  • Comes with a 5-year limited warranty.


  • Requires a learning curve, particularly around setup and cleaning.
  • Doesn’t include a built-in heating element; must heat water separately.
  • Can only brew one espresso at a time.

The Flair NEO works best for those who enjoy single-serve, cafe-quality espresso and are okay with the learning curve associated with mastering manual brewing. Making it also great for entry-level home baristas.

Despite the low price, the NEO includes a warranty that’s longer than most machines way above its price range. Making this a solid pick for anyone after an affordable manual maker that’ll last a long time.

Since it’s a manual machine, beginners may not like it. If you’re grasping the fundamentals of espresso making, I recommend it. Though it doesn’t offer the convenience of water boiling that semi-automatic machines offer.

If you’re a frequent traveler or camper, disassemble the NEO, pack it in your bags, and make espresso while on the move. No need to spend a fortune on drinking Starbucks. Or black coffee from mom-and-pop stores in the middle of nowhere.

But you won’t want to brew drinks for anyone else. As it can only pump out a single drink at a time. If you’re immortal and time doesn’t matter, ignore this disadvantage.

Don’t have much space in your kitchen? Here’s an option to consider.

4. Elektra Microcasa: Best Small Manual Espresso Maker

elektra microcasa lever espresso machine
Dimensions10.5 × 10.5 × 19.5 in (D, W, H)
Warranty2 years
Water Capacity60 oz = 60 solo shots
MaterialStainless steel


  • Provides a unique & attractive design.
  • Built with high-quality materials.
  • More personalized espresso brewing experience.


  • Requires a significant learning curve to master its operation.
  • The machine’s small water reservoir requires frequent refilling.

The Elektra Microcasa works best for anyone who wants a semi-automatic espresso machine with a vintage aesthetic.

This espresso maker’s pricey but has a unique aesthetic out of all the machines I’ve researched. It has a retro Italian style, making it an excellent display piece in a coffee shop or on a coffee cart.

Aesthetics aside, it does have a boiler. Which technically makes it more of a semi-automatic machine than a manual one. However, you retain control over timing your shots with the spring pistol lever.

This control will give you more control over tailoring shots to your preference.

A lever that, for the most part, results in consistent espresso extraction.

Maybe my pick wasn’t small enough. Here’s an “espresso” maker you could take traveling.

5. AeroPress Espresso Maker: Most Portable Manual Espresso Maker

Dimensions4.75 × 4.5 × 11.75 in (D, W, H)
Warranty1 year
Water Capacity10 fl oz = 1 cup


  • Easy & fast to clean.
  • Versatile in brewing different types of coffee.
  • Affordable and portable for travel or camping.


  • Does not retain heat well, coffee can cool quickly.
  • Can be easy to knock over due to its tall & narrow design.
  • Limited control over coffee strength.

The AeroPress is excellent for those who enjoy experimenting with different brewing methods. Or for anyone who needs a compact, lightweight coffee maker for travel or outdoor adventures.

It doesn’t technically produce espresso, but you could make a concentrated coffee drink depending on how you brew it. Making it the most affordable option to get espresso as a traveler. So long as you have access to ground beans and the required filters for operation.

You’ll also have the ability to make black coffee. A great way to switch things up if you’re tired of drinking espresso-style drinks daily. And once you finish using the AeroPress, store it. It’s small enough not to demand much cabinet space.

Ensure you brew your drinks quickly, though. Due to being made of silicone, it doesn’t retain or transfer heat well. And when brewing, be careful not to bump it. Because it’ll fall since it doesn’t have the best support.

When making your coffee, you’ll need to practice. Without control over your coffee’s pressure and other factors, you risk over-extracting your drink.

Keep reading to find another great lever espresso maker.

6. La Pavoni Europiccola EPC-8: Best Lever Espresso Machine

la pavoni europiccola epc 8
Dimensions11 × 7 × 12 in (D, W, H)
Warranty1 year
MaterialStainless steel


  • Compact size & design fits any kitchen.
  • The lever gives you complete control over espresso making.
  • Large boiler allows for multiple servings.


  • You need to purchase a separate coffee grinder.
  • Have to wait for the machine to cool.
  • Requires a learning curve to perfect the lever pull.

The La Pavoni Europiccola EPC-8 works best for folks who want a durable, handcrafted design and lever control system.

I slightly lied when including the Europiccola in a “manual” espresso maker guide. It includes a boiler, which will take about 6 minutes to heat, and can make 8 cups of coffee before requiring a reservoir refill [2].

And it has a stainless steel heating element that’ll resist corrosion, which helps longevity. It’s a bit pricey, but worth it if you love the machine’s aesthetic. Though, I’d recommend opting for a semi-automatic espresso maker at that price point.

Those with smaller kitchens and bigger budgets will like the machine’s compact size. So long as you find a separate grinder, you could store it in a cupboard. This machine doesn’t support Easy Serve Espresso (ESE) pods, which would have made this more efficient with space.

Many semi-automatic machines support ESE pods, though.

This next machine’s great for people in the United Kingdom.

7. Cafelat Robot: Best Manual Espresso Machine, UK

cafelat robot
Dimensions16.5 × 25.4 × 30–48 cm (D, W, H)
Water Capacity145 ml = 3 solo shots
MaterialStainless steel


  • Produces high-quality espresso
  • Built with high-quality materials, no plastic used
  • Design allows for good thermal management


  • High price point
  • Levers can be difficult to push down

The Cafelat Robot is ideal for home espresso enthusiasts who appreciate a blend of stunning aesthetics and functionality. Since Cafelat has a great international warranty, it could be a great choice for folks in the United Kingdom and Australia.

Cafelat priced the Robot a bit high, and it’s hard to justify buying since it doesn’t include many crazy features like super- and semi-automatic machines. However, those looking for an espresso maker that’ll double as a unique display piece will find it worth the cost.

I love the maker’s robot arms. It could add a bit of charm to a kitchen or coffee cart.

Aside from a quirky design, the Robot has no plastic, making it manage heat better. And since it’ll better manage temperature, you’ll have a better-tasting beverage.

But the robotic arms may be difficult to push down. With most manual machines there’s a single lever. This one requires more strength to shift the Robot’s arms downward.

Use the following sections to help you determine which of these machines would best serve your needs.

How to Choose the Best Manual Espresso Machine 

Here’s how to shop for a lever espresso machine:

ChecklistWhy it’s Important
Ease of UseWhether it’s accessible.
DesignHow it looks & fits.
Brewing CapabilitiesWhat drinks it can make.

Use the following sections to build a criterion that’ll help you find the highest-quality manual espresso maker. I’ll cover important factors and tidbits to help you further improve your checklist.

For a longer guide, read our article on choosing the best espresso machine for you.

1. Design

  • Size: Whether it’s compact.
  • Aesthetics: How it looks.
  • Materials: Affects machine’s ability to resist wear and tear.

Size matters because it affects the machine’s capacity and where you can store it. Manual espresso machines often come in compact sizes, perfect for small kitchens. And due to their size, it’s OK to store them.

Some are small enough to take traveling.

Manual espresso machines typically have a classic, industrial appeal, fitting well into modern or vintage kitchen decors. And many feature durable metal components like stainless steel or brass, increasing their lifespan.

A notable advantage of manual espresso machines is their longevity. As they lack electronic components, less can go wrong or wear out. This resilience frequently results in manufacturers offering more extended warranties.

2. Ease of Use

Manual espresso machines prove challenging for beginners. You control the entire process, from grinding the beans to tamping to pulling the shot. However, mastering this gives you more control over your espresso’s taste.

While these machines may be more complex than automatic ones, their satisfaction and control can be worth the learning process.

3. Brewing Capabilities

Manual machines alone have the potential to make most of these drinks:

Flat WhiteCafé MediciAffogato al Caffe
CappuccinoGalãoCafé Crema
Lazy EyeVienna CoffeeCubano
Dripped EyeIrish CoffeeFreddo Cappuccino
AmericanoCortadoLong macchiato
Red EyeEspresso RomanoMarocchino
LatteCafé BreveMocha
Black EyeGuillermoRápido y Sucio
Manilo Long BlackMacchiatoZorro
List of espresso drinks espresso machines can make.

There’s a reason I said “most.” By default, manual espresso makers don’t include milk frothers. Preventing you from being able to make lattes, cappuccinos, mochas, and similar drinks. Since you need frothed or steamed milk.

Buy a separate milk frother if you like these types of drinks. Or get an espresso maker that includes one.

Manual Espresso Machines vs. Other Maker Types

Here’s a comparison of fully-automatic espresso makers versus their counterparts:

Machine TypeWhat it AutomatesBest forAvg. Price *
ManualNothingLearning the basics$100–$800
Super-automaticEverythingAutomated traditional espresso$800–$5,000
Semi-automaticPressure & water flowGraduating from manual machines$200–$1,000
AutomaticGrinding, tamping, & brewingBalancing cost & automation$300–$3,000
CapsuleEverythingConvenience, cost, & speed$100–$700
Different types of espresso machines compared.

* Varies by model & brand

Since lever espresso machines don’t automate any espresso making, it’ll take you longer to brew a drink. As these machines require manual input at every step. But they don’t demand electricity.

FAQs for Best Manual Espresso Machines

Explore our frequently asked questions surrounding manual espresso machines.

Do Manual Espresso Makers Work?

Yes, manual espresso makers work by allowing users to control the process of brewing espresso. Offering hands-on experience and potentially greater control over the final product.

Is a Manual Espresso Maker Better than Automatic?

Whether a manual espresso maker is better than an automatic depends on individual preferences.

With manual machines offering greater control and customization. Automatic machines provide convenience and consistency.

Which Brands Sell Manual Espresso Machines?

Cafelat and Flair are a couple examples of brands that sell manual espresso makers. However, popular brands like Gaggia and De’Longhi don’t.

Our Verdict

Here are the best 3:

  1. Flair Espresso Maker PRO 2: Produces the best-tasting espresso drinks.
  2. ROK Espresso GC: Lightweight machine with a LONG warranty period.
  3. The Flair NEO: Balances affordability, portability, & durability.

I chose the Flair Espresso Maker PRO 2 as the lever machine of choice due to its superior ergonomics and included features (e.g., bottomless portafilter). It’s not overpriced, yet it includes more features than any manual machine on this list.

I’ve hinted about our guide on semi-automatic machines in this guide. But not super-automatic ones. Check them out if you don’t mind letting the espresso maker do all the work.

flair espresso maker pro 2

Flair PRO 2: Best Overall

  • Price: $$
  • Type: Manual
  • Dimensions: 12 × 6 × 10 in (D, W, H)
  • Warranty: 5 years
  • Water capacity: 56 ml = 1 solo shot
  • Material: Stainless steel & aluminum
Photo of author


Tim Lee is, as you might have guessed the founder of He is a former barista and a professional web publisher. He has now combined his knowledge and expertise in both subjects to create
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