Concerning the birth of coffee, we begin to talk about espresso coffee and therefore about a lever machine only when the consumption of this drink becomes popular in Europe. Right from the start, it affects the everyday life of all people, with the first birth of authentic tasting circles.
When referring to the tradition of espresso coffee, you are almost certainly talking about lever espresso machines. The use of this machine model dates back to the late nineteenth century and it is with this machine that the term “espresso” was born.
It is only with lever coffee machines that it becomes possible to prepare the drink at the bar counter. Just when the customer asks for it, without waiting, and therefore: express.
Pontevecchio and its lever coffee machines
Pontevecchio has brought this tradition to the present day, continuing the craftsmanship that lies behind the creation of the lever coffee machine. Each lever machine is an artisanal product. They are different in details and finishes because they are crafted manually.
Since its beginning, Pontevecchio wanted to act as a link between tradition and modern needs and the new means available. This, however, without ever losing sight of the gestures and rituals that are part of the creation of this precious drink.
Unlike automatic machines, the lever coffee machine is the result of centuries of evolution in the study of details. They are therefore more resistant to the passage of time and wear of materials, while maintaining high levels of performance and product quality.
This depends on how the lever coffee machine works, on its mechanics that are not automated or electronic at all.
Super-automatic or automatic models are more prone to malfunctions or failures because they have more electronic parts than mechanical components.
Therefore, manual models are also the most solid investments, since the mechanics are damaged mainly due to the wear of the materials, and Pontevecchio models have no fear of this.
The operation of the lever machine is simple and powerful.
However, there is little specific knowledge regarding the operation of these precious machines, and therefore it is necessary to go into more detail.
Here is how our lever coffee machine works
Like all espresso machines, also the lever machine is based on the heating hot water in a container. This runs through an intricate series of pipes and, when the person lowers the lever, causes it to pass through the filter holder where the ground coffee resides. The pressure profiles, concerning the water temperature, must be monitored and are essential throughout the process.
Depending on the model, there may or may not be indicators that allow you to have the pulse of the pressure during extraction, as in the Pontevecchio models. Learning to control the pressure is part of the mastery that those who use the manual machine gradually control, and it is not a manual skill that is difficult to develop. On the other hand, learning how the lever coffee machine works is a process that is as fast as it is exciting, and only in the first period does it involve having to do some experiments.
It is a false legend that describes the use of the lever machine as complicated and slow to learn. The operation of the machine is intuitive, its mechanisms accompany the actions of those who use it, facilitating it. We are talking about mechanisms that have been perfected over the years by craftsmanship, and which are easy to understand and use. Using a lever espresso machine allows you to obtain the original experience of espresso coffee, which includes not only the drink but the rituality of its preparation.
There are two factors that initially may complicate the preparation
There are mainly two things that complicate the first uses of the professional lever coffee machine. The density of the coffee powder, i.e. how finely the beans have been ground, and how much the powder has been pressed into the filter holder. These aspects are important because during the extraction phase the water can have difficulty in passing through the dust. This leads to having a watery drink in the best of cases, at worst to having none, because the water finds a barrier that is too dense.
The grinding of coffee beans is part of the skills that improve with practice: the first few times you will probably have to throw away some coffee because you will have ground too much. Or because you have ground it into too large grains. This is absolutely normal, but after a few tries, you will be able to make your favorite blend from the coffee beans.
The right coffee pressing is also a parameter that is acquired with practice. This is an operation that serves to compact the coffee powder so that the extracted drink is creamy, with an intense taste, and retains its aromatic characteristics.
The correct pressing of the coffee is carried out with the tamper, which makes the coffee a single block. The grains must not separate when the water passes, so as not to lose their organoleptic characteristics.
A little secret is not to fill the filter holder to the maximum. Leave a space between the surface and the water dispenser, so that the water can evenly pass through the coffee layer.
How to know if the manual machine is right for you?
There is a real culture behind the manual coffee machine, but how do you know if you are suitable for this type of machine?
On the market, there are also semi-automatic and super-automatic espresso machines, which make the rituality of coffee different, even simplifying it a lot.
The type of person who loves to deepen, explore experiences and understand with curiosity how to enjoy the best version of the offer is certainly suitable for the lever machine. Its very use allows you to savor every gesture even before the drink, to weigh every moment exactly in the way we prefer most.
On the other hand, the person who is not interested in discovering the secrets of what they like best is much more suited to those espresso machines that only require you to press a button.
Therefore, the choice of those who want to explore flavors and travel in a world of aromas with the cups of coffee that he prepares at his home must necessarily be that of the lever coffee machine.
In any case, semi-automatic machines offer the possibility of controlling part of the process, such as the grinding of coffee beans. So where it should be impossible to have a lever machine it is still possible to opt for something that recalls the procedure.
The poetry of the lever machine is in its functioning
The essence of the manual coffee machine is contained in the operation of the lever: basically, when it is lowered, it creates an air vacuum in the water tank. This passes through the pipes and finally through the coffee, producing the precious drink.
Lever machines are divided into two macro-categories, which do not differ too much in terms of operation, but rather in appearance.
The first group of models is with the spring
Lever machines that take advantage of the spring piston are easier to learn how to use, as well as to manage. This is because, thanks to the spring, the movement of the lever is guided to last exactly as long as necessary for extraction.
Before starting the machine, the lever is positioned at the top. As soon as the water reaches the optimal temperature, the lever must be lowered completely until the coffee comes out. When the bottom of the cup is covered with the drink, you must release the lever and follow its upward movement.
During this step, the lever slowly raises and the piston spring starts the lever that allows the water to pass through the coffee powder.
You can also do a double pass, by lowering the lever again when it is halfway.
The second group of models is direct extraction
Since there is no spring that facilitates the process, the lever machine that uses the direct mechanism is based solely on the force that the user can impart, and more effort is required. This mechanism, however, is even easier and more essential than the one comprising the spring, so it is even less susceptible to failures or wears.
So what are the pros and cons between the different types of manual espresso machines?
The advantages of the manual machine with the spring piston are:
- first of all, it takes less practice to be able to master the machine. Precisely because the spring accompanies the movement and the process, it is easier to do it properly. For example, if you have to choose which model of manual machine to approach first, choosing one with the spring piston helps you to learn more quickly.
- the pressure that the spring piston can generate is greater than what you would be able to obtain only with the force of the arm. The spring increases the force that the movement can generate, and therefore the pressure also gains in power.
But there are also downsides to take into consideration with spring-loaded coffee machines:
- they tend to cost more than those with direct movement. Indeed, in some cases, double price increases can also occur. The aspect that affects the budget footprint concerns the increase in the necessary mechanical construction complexity.
- this type of machine offers little chance of intervening on the extraction time of the drink. Since this aspect is more controlled by the force of the spring, there is little that the force of the arm can do to counter or guide it. The extraction time of the water through the coffee determines its intensity, as well as its flavor, and choosing to use a manual machine would be the ultimate in control. Not being able to have any on the timing is a step behind the purchase made.
The direct extraction models also have their positive aspects:
they tend to have a smaller budget footprint than those with a spring. As we have seen with the negative aspects of spring models, several elements make the price increase.
you have more control over the entire extraction process which then leads the hot water to pass through the filter coffee. The control over the process is total and with practice, we get to make the perfect process for our tastes. As we have seen, the extraction time of the espresso determines its intensity, its strength, so it is the maximum choice of espresso. The maximum in terms of intensity, taste, and essence, because you have total control. The final result, once you get the hang of it, is incomparable: not even your trusted barista will know how to make your coffee as you prefer, how good you are.
However, even these models have negative aspects: one main one more than anything else.
They are more difficult to learn how to use. It is clear that the learning time required is not objectively so much, but it is fair to say that it is an almost artisanal manual practice, so practice is everything. Where this learning phase is frightening, it is clear that it makes more sense to choose a model with a spring-piston.
Whichever model you prefer, having a manual machine at home is undoubtedly a real advantage. This is not only in terms of taking care of our well-being since we will have the opportunity to make ourselves the best state-of-the-art coffee whenever we want. But we will also find new value in terms of furnishings: a Pontevecchio manual machine is also and above all a piece of design.
Pontevecchio models are handcrafted works with signature
Handcrafted, with classic lines that harmonize the shapes of all models, Pontevecchio machines are finely crafted pieces of artisan design. To furnish your kitchen with style and offer your guests the best of espresso.
Pontevecchio models meet all needs: they are perfect not only for a domestic solution but also for catering establishments or farmhouses for example. This is because of course, they can maintain a high pace of executed coffees, so they aren’t afraid of big numbers at all.
Not only that, but the models are also in different elegant colors to be able to adapt even more to all the furnishing flavors of the kitchens that will host them.
Search and find your perfect model among our offers on our site, choose between different colors and different delivery capacities. A Pontevecchio model is made with excellent materials and is made to last over the years: it is not just a purchase, but an investment.