What Should I Know Before Using A Manual Espresso Machine?

3 min read

What Should I Know Before Using A Manual Espresso Machine?

Questions like “what should I know before using a manual espresso machine”are common among people willing to switch from automatic espresso machines. However, while the manual surely allows more control, there are fears over the ease of use. 

Things To Know Before Using A Manual Espresso Machine

Let’s get this straight: manual espressos are simple to use, but the process isn’t easy. This implies that there are specific things to know and do before making a mind-blowing cup of espresso using a manual machine. 

The two main reasons people would rather automatics, despite the limited control they give, are:

  • Coarseness:One of the commonest reasons many find manuals difficult at first is the fact that they have to grind the ground to a perfect texture. You don’t want to grind yourbeans too smoothly, nor should the grounds be so coarse. Now, people need not worry because practice is all it takes to become good at grinding: practice and experimentation. You should have some batches of grounds to “sacrifice,” as well as a grinder that has plenty of adjustment settings. 

  • Tamping:Tamping is crucial in the production of every coffee. People, however, think it’s more difficult using a manual espresso. Just like the grinding process, this has to be done correctly. Tamping your grounds too tightly will prevent water from seeping through at all, so no espresso is made. On the other hand, tamping your grounds too loosely will allow water to get through too quickly, meaning that the extraction process isn’t complete. You end up with a cup of coffee without crema — that’s no espresso!

Note that these two processes are also required even with semi-automatics. The difference is that it is much easier to master them with autos. 

Coarseness and tamping are critical determinants of your espresso’s quality. To confirm, get the same beans, grind at the same time to different textures and tamp differently, too. Note the irreconcilable difference between both cups. 

What Are The Different Types Of Manual Espresso Machines?

There are two main classifications of manual espressos: direct lever machines and spring piston machines. 

  • Direct Lever Machine:The direct lever espresso is the actual manual espresso machine. It requires the user to handle the entire process of pumping water through the grounds themselves. At first, this was okay with most, but only until the spring piston model was made. The direct lever machine sees you responsible for the total force required to push water down the coffee. In honesty, this isn’t a lot of force, but it’s more than required if you use the spring piston machine.

  • Spring Piston Machine:The spring piston is spring-assisted, meaning that users have an easier time pressing the lever. This lever type has a spring inside its group head, which provides additional pressure needed for forcing water through the grounds in the portafilter. Not very different from the direct lever itself. 

Both the direct lever and spring piston are similar machines, as the major difference between both is what their group heads contain. Spring in one; nothing in other. As a result, the direct lever models have smaller heads than what you have on the spring-assisted models. The latter has a bead as big as two of the former. 

Keep this in mind when shopping for your manual espresso machine. 

Conclusion To What Should I Know Before Using A Manual Espresso Machine?

Using a manual machine may make the tamping and grinding process slightly more difficult, but it’s worth it for a barista who wants to improve. It’s also only a matter of time before you become good at it. Meanwhile, remember there are two options to choose from when shopping for your manual espresso. Now, I may have missed something, sowhat should I know before using a manual espresso machine?Have I missed a point?