6 Best Manual Espresso Machines (Reviews of our top options for manual espresso machines + more information)

If you love to control the outcome of your espresso, then a manual espresso machine would be the best option for you. So, what are the best manual espresso machines you can get?

Some of the best manual espresso machines include the Rok EspressoGC, Staresso Pro, and the Flair espresso machine, among others.

You do not require an expensive machine to enjoy a good cup of coffee; all you need is a functional espresso machine with the right grinder and quality gear. And manual espresso machines guarantee you that.

I recently bought my first manual espresso machine after I felt I had enough skills to navigate all that comes with coffee brewing. One thing I realized about this machine is that it is a bit difficult for beginners to navigate as it does not have temperature sensors or automatic pressure. You there have to know the right temperature, pressure, and timing for brewing your coffee, or you will get it wrong. However, the best thing is that you can dictate how your coffee turns out. If you have the required skills and want to try out a manual espresso machine, keep reading to get a review of our top picks to make an informed decision on which one to purchase.

What is a manual espresso machine?

A manual espresso is quite the opposite of an automatic or semi-automatic machine. It is also commonly referred to as a lever espresso machine. Unlike the semi-automatic espresso machine, where some programs like regulating temperature and pressure are automatic, you have to do everything by yourself in a manual machine. With an automatic machine, all functions are automated, and all you have to do is fill the water tank and place the coffee grounds in your machine, press a dial, and wait for your drink. Therefore, because with a manual machine, you have to perform every function, it can be a bit difficult for beginners to operate.

Who makes good manual espresso machines?

Several brands make excellent and high-quality manual espresso machines. They include; Flair, Rok Gc, La Pavoni, and definitely Breville cannot miss. Therefore, consider these brands if you are looking for a good espresso machine.

What is the difference between automatic and manual espresso machines?

The significant difference between automatic and manual espresso machines is how they operate. With an automatic espresso machine, you do not have any control over the brewing process, as all functions are automated. However, with a manual machine, you have control over the process as you have to perform every function by yourself to get a coffee that meets your expectations.

How we choose the best manual espresso machine?

The main criteria we used to choose these machines were design, user-friendliness, and price point. You don’t want to get a machine way off your price range. Nor do you want a machine that is quite hard to operate. Therefore, we considered how easy the machines are to use and went with user-friendly machines which are relatively affordable.

Six best manual espresso machines

Rok EspressoGC manual espresso machine

Best Manual Espresso Machines 
Rok EspressoGC manual espresso machine. Image source: Rok

The Rok EspressoGC machine is among the easiest manual espresso machines to use. This machine is also quite affordable compared to its competitors in the market. It features a water-loading chamber and a piston of the squat central of its column. This machine is made of metal, hence durable. However, the water chamber and handle are made of plastic.

It has a brew head at the bottom of the column, which holds your coffee. The preferred coffee grind of this machine is finely grinding coffee if you want a flavorful and robust cup of espresso. With a few rounds of using this machine, you will master the techniques required to produce quality coffee.

The Rok EspressoGc is also easy to clean. Therefore, if you are looking for a machine with a simple design that is powerful enough to consistently produce quality espresso shots, this machine would be an excellent addition to your kitchen appliances.

Flair Espresso Maker Manual Espresso Machine

Reviews of our top options for manual espresso machines 
Flair Espresso Maker Manual Espresso Machine. Image source: Flair espresso

Flair espresso machines are among the most affordable machine options in the market, and most are user-friendly. That is not an exception with the Flair espresso maker. This machine has a unique design containing a lever, base, and brewing chamber. It is totally hand-powered and does not require electricity to operate.

Though brewing with this machine might seem a bit different for the first few brews, it gets pretty easy once you master what is expected of you. However, though this machine is all lovable and a good option for those looking for an affordable manual espresso machine, it has its downsides too. After each use, you must disassemble and clean the whole machine.

Furthermore, before making your espresso shots, you have to preheat the brewing chamber, which takes a bit more time than other machines. Other than these few quirks, it is well-built, and you are assured of its durability. And what is essential is that it produces coffee of excellent quality.

STARESSO Portable Coffee Maker

Best Manual Espresso Machines 
STARESSO Portable Coffee Maker. Image source: STARESSO

If you love enjoying a high-quality cup of coffee while on the move, you should consider investing in this portable manual espresso machine. This machine has a sleek, compact design which makes it portable. Furthermore, for its price, it extracts quality shots of sufficient volume too.

The Staresso machine features a bullet-shaped body with a portafilter and a metal filter basket that is removable. However, the only downside with this machine is that it will require more of your effort to get out coffee, around 18 rounds of pumping. However, the wait is totally worth it as the coffee has a rich, robust flavor.

Furthermore, when getting this manual espresso machine, consider getting a good grind separately for the best results. Therefore, if you are looking for a compact yet affordable espresso machine to go camping or to have in the office and back home, this is definitely a worthy investment.

Flair Espresso Maker Pro 2 Manual Espresso Machine

Best Manual Espresso Machines - Reviews of our top options for manual espresso machines 
Flair Espresso Maker Pro 2 Manual Espresso Machine. Image source: Flair Espresso

The Flair Espresso Maker Pro 2 manual espresso machine is, without a doubt, among the easiest manual espresso machines to master and use. With manual espresso machines being quite difficult for beginners, any beginner looking for an affordable manual espresso machine would want to look into this direction.

This machine is generally an upgrade of the flair manual espresso machine named above. It has a unique design that is a clear indicator a lot of time and effort went into putting it together. It can also produce up to a 56 ml shot of espresso that has a beautiful crema.

Furthermore, though this machine is totally manual, it comes with a pressure gauge that gives you immediate visual feedback when brewing your coffee. The correct amount of pressure is quite essential when brewing your coffee as it affects extraction and, eventually, the flavor and quality of your coffee. Therefore, this feature is quite an addition and selling point in this machine.

Other than that, it is pretty easy to clean, as disassembling it is also quite doable faster. However, the only major downside of this machine is that it comes with no boiler. Therefore, you have to preheat your water before adding it to the brew head. However, despite the few limitations, this machine is definitely worth your coins, especially if you are beginning your brewing journey and want a user-friendly machine.

Microcasa Manual Espresso Machine

Best Manual Espresso Machines 
Microcasa Manual Espresso Machine. Image source: Pinterest

If you love espresso and are willing to break your account to have a professional-grade drink, this stunning work of art would be your go-to manual espresso machine. It features wooden handles and a mirror finish, and its overall material is chrome and brass. Another stand-out feature of this classic machine is it is equipped with a safety valve and a pressure gauge to help you regulate the pressure during brewing.

Furthermore, it also comes with a steam wand and has a really large capacity of 61 ounces. It is pretty perfect for a huge household. However, though this machine is easy to use, beginners with no skills will have to brew coffee a few times before they master its art.

La Pavoni EPC-8 Europiccola 8-Cup Lever Style Espresso Machine

Reviews of our top options for manual espresso machines 
La Pavoni EPC-8 Europiccola 8-Cup Lever Style Espresso Machine. Image source: La Pavoni

This machine is one of the most iconic manual machines on the market. It is durable with a classic design. Though relatively high-end when it comes to its price, it comes with high-end features like a steam wand and a really quality grinder.

However, it does not come with a pressure gauge. You must master when to apply pressure and how much pressure is needed over time. Furthermore, it is not beginner-friendly as it requires more effort from you to pull quality espresso out.

Informative Section

What model of manual espresso machine coffee machine is the easiest to use?

The Flair espresso Pro 2 is an excellent manual espresso machine that is affordable and relatively easy to master how to operate after a few brews.

Are manual espresso machine coffee machines beginner friendly?

No, most manual espresso machines are not beginner friendly. This is because they lack key features like automated pressure and temperature sensors, which ensure consistent timing, pressure, and temperature during brewing. If you are not a professional in brewing coffee, there is a high chance you will miss the correct timing pressure. This is what makes these espresso machines the most difficult to use.

Do manual espresso machines make good coffee?

If you know how to use them and you have mastered the correct temperature, pressure, and timing, then you will get the best coffee out of a manual espresso machine. They produce flavorful coffee that is rich and robust. Unlike an automatic espresso machine, a manual machine allows you to brew your coffee just exactly as you like it.

How long does a manual espresso coffee maker take to heat up?

Various manual espresso machines take different times to hit up depending on the boiler volume. Generally, they should take between 10 minutes to 15 minutes to be ready.

How long does it take for a manual espresso machine to make coffee?

If the machine has already hit up and the coffee ground is ready, a manual espresso machine should take around half a minute to make your coffee.

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