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manual espresso machine

Top 5 Best Manual Espresso Machine

If you’ve clicked on this article, then chances are you’re in the market for your first, or maybe just a new, manual espresso machine. With all the options out there, and many of them costing several hundred pounds, it can be difficult to know where to start looking. To make things easier for you, we’ve created a list of the top 5 espresso machines we would recommend. We’ll also go over how a manual espresso maker works, what you should keep in mind when choosing the best manual espresso machine for your needs and the general pros and cons of manual espresso machines.

What Is A Manual Espresso Machine?

A manual espresso machine is a favourite amongst many coffee enthusiasts. For the uninitiated, a manual espresso maker is a traditional coffee-making device that requires manual operation to produce a rich and flavourful espresso shot. Manual espresso machines are prized for their simplicity, durability, and ability to produce espresso shots that rival those from the best professional coffee shops. Unlike automatic espresso machines, which automate much of the brewing process, manual espresso machines rely on the user’s control and skill to create the perfect cup.

manual coffee maker

These machines typically consist of several parts: a lever, piston, or pump mechanism that forces hot water through finely-ground coffee at high pressure, extracting the intense flavours and aromas characteristic of espresso. Here’s a breakdown of these parts and how they work:

  • Lever, Piston, or Pump Mechanism: This component serves as the driving force behind the brewing process. When pushed, pumped, or turned by the user, it applies pressure to the hot water, forcing it through the ground coffee to extract the desired flavours and aromas.
  • Portafilter: The portafilter is a handle-equipped, detachable basket that holds the coffee grounds during the brewing process. It attaches to the machine and is where the coffee is brewed. After brewing, it can be removed for cleaning and refilling.
  • Group Head: The group head is the part of the machine where the portafilter attaches. It delivers hot water from the boiler to the coffee grounds in the portafilter, ensuring even extraction and consistent brewing temperature.
  • Steam Wand: While not directly involved in espresso brewing, the steam wand is a feature of many manual espresso makers. It is used to froth and steam milk for drinks such as lattes and cappuccinos.
  • Water Reservoir: This is where the water is stored for brewing. Depending on the model, the water reservoir may be removable for easy refilling or built-in for convenience.
  • Pressure Gauge: Some manual espresso machines feature a pressure gauge that indicates the pressure at which the water is being forced through the coffee grounds. This helps users monitor and adjust the brewing process for optimal results.

manuel espresso coffee maker

How To Choose A Manual Espresso Machine

Selecting the right manual espresso machine involves considering various factors to ensure it meets your brewing preferences and lifestyle. Here’s a brief overview of key criteria to keep in mind:


Equipment Quality: Look for a manual espresso machine constructed from durable materials such as stainless steel or brass. High-quality components ensure longevity and consistent performance.


Size and Footprint: Consider the available space in your kitchen or coffee nook when choosing a manual coffee maker. Opt for a model that fits comfortably within your setup without overcrowding the area.


Capacity: Evaluate the machine’s capacity in terms of the number of cups it can brew at once. Choose a size that aligns with your typical coffee consumption, whether you prefer single servings or multiple shots.


Ease of Use: Assess the machine’s user-friendliness, including the ease of operating the lever or pump mechanism, loading and unloading the portafilter, and adjusting brewing parameters.


Speed of Use: Consider how quickly the manual espresso machine can produce a shot of espresso. While manual machines may require more hands-on involvement compared to their automatic counterparts, some models offer faster brewing times without compromising on quality.

The Pros And Cons Of Manual Espresso Machines

Manual espresso machines offer a unique coffee-making experience with their hands-on approach and ability to produce artisanal-quality espresso. However, like any brewing method, they come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages:


  • Control over the brewing process: Manual espresso machines provide users with complete control over every aspect of the brewing process, allowing for experimentation and customisation to achieve their perfect espresso shot.
  • Enhanced Flavour Profile: The manual operation of these machines enables users to extract a wide range of flavours and aromas from the coffee grounds.
  • Durability and Longevity: Built with sturdy materials and simple mechanisms, manual espresso makers are renowned for their durability and longevity.
  • Artisanal Experience: For many, the act of manually crafting espresso is a rewarding and therapeutic experience, offering a sense of accomplishment and connection to the brewing process.
  • Minimal Maintenance: With fewer electronic components and moving parts compared to automatic machines, manual espresso machines often require minimal maintenance and are relatively easy to clean and maintain.


  • Learning Curve: Mastering the art of manual espresso-making requires time, practice, and skill. Beginners may find the initial learning curve steep and struggle to attain consistent results.
  • Time-Consuming: Manual espresso machines typically require more time and effort to brew a single shot compared to automatic or semi-automatic machines, making them less suitable for those seeking convenience or efficiency.
  • Limited Features: While manual machines offer control and customisation, they may lack advanced features found in automatic machines, such as programmable settings, temperature control, or built-in grinders.
  • Higher Initial Cost: Quality manual espresso machines can be more expensive upfront compared to entry-level automatic machines, which may deter budget-conscious consumers.

Our Selection Of Top 5 Manual Espresso Machines

Superkop Espresso Maker

The Superkop Espresso Maker is an excellent choice if you are after an innovative single-lever espresso machine made from durable, robust materials. It is easy to use, offers a modern and elegant design and operates without electricity. The Superkop’s body is constructed from cast aluminium, while its internal structure and pivoting components – the portafilter and filter – are constructed from stainless steel.

Available now
superkop blanche

Manual espresso maker – White – Superkop

-58 mm extraction unit
-Moulded aluminium body and wooden base
Low-maintenance and extremely robust

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Flair 58X 

The Flair 58X is a fully manual, portable espresso maker, that offers professional-grade espresso without electricity. Its robust frame and wider base improve stability, while the industry-standard 58mm portafilter allows for wider compatibility with tools and baskets. Two preheat caps (open and closed) enable temperature control, and the wooden handle ensures comfortable operation. The low-flow 18g basket simplifies grind size for easier espresso extraction, making it ideal for a wide variety of grinders. Enjoy barista-quality espresso on the go with the Flair 58X!

Available now
flair 58X

Manual Espresso Machine – 58X – FLAIR ESPRESSO

-58 mm extraction unit
-Stainless Steel Portafilter
-New Wooden T-handle

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Flair Espresso Pro 2

The Flair PRO 2 boasts a removable spout, an enhanced bottomless portafilter, a gauge guard for added durability, and a silicone grip for improved brewing ergonomics. Housed in a portable kit, complete with its own carrying case, the Flair PRO 2 is a model of convenience, allowing you to enjoy exceptional espresso anywhere you go. Achieve precise shot extraction effortlessly thanks to its large capacity cylinder and portafilter. The integrated pressure gauge ensures optimal brewing conditions.

Available now
machine à levier flair

Manual Espresso Maker – Pro 2 White – Flair Espresso

– Bottomless portafilter for better flow dynamics
– Removeable stainless steel spout
– Silicone handle grip for brewing ergonomics

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ROK Espresso GC Classic SmartShot

Both elegant and eco-friendly, the ROK Espresso GC Classic SmartShot lever espresso machine offers an unbeatable manual espresso-making experience. With its innovative SmartShot pressurised filter, this compact machine allows you to use any ground coffee. Made out of cast aluminium, steel, and composite glass, the ROK Espresso GC Classic SmartShot is built to last, backed by a 10-year guarantee on metal parts. With a showerhead for uniform water distribution and accessories including a portafilter, double spout, and dosing spoon, the ROK Espresso GC Classic SmartShot delivers quality espresso, every time.

Available now

Manual Espresso Maker – GC Classic SmartShot – ROK

-50 mm extraction unit
-For all types of grind: pressurised filter
-10-year guarantee on metal parts

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ARAM Espresso Maker

The Aram Espresso Maker is crafted in Brazil with premium materials including noble wood and solid stainless steel. This manual espresso maker features a distinctive crank mechanism for pressure control, offering a unique coffee extraction process through its bottomless portafilter.  This versatile machine can be used with or without the included steel support, doubling as both a functional espresso maker and a decorative accent. It was also designed for easy maintenance with entirely removable parts.

Available now

Manual Espresso Maker – Espresso Maker Yellowish – ARAM

-53 mm extraction unit
-Crafted in Brazil with handmade parts
-Steel support for home set-up

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There you have it, you now have all the know-how to pick the best manual espresso machine to suit your needs. Want to have a look at a few more options? Take a look at our full selection of manual espresso machines.

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