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Manual Lever VS Spring Lever
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Discussions > Espresso > Lever Espresso > Manual Lever VS...  
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frankward
Senior Member
frankward
Joined: 9 Feb 2013
Posts: 39
Location: Massachusetts
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Pavoni Professional Gold,...
Grinder: Mazzer Mini, OE Pharos
Drip: Hario, Chemex
Roaster: Hottop
Posted Sun Feb 10, 2013, 4:03pm
Subject: Manual Lever VS Spring Lever
 

I have observed that many participants in the lever forum have manual lever machines. Yet, the more desirable (and expensive) lever machines appear to be spring lever. I have owned a LaPavoni Millenium Professional for almost a year now. The joy of operation is mostly because I control expressing the coffee by directly applying pressure to the lever. A spring lever machine seems to bypass that pleasure by using a spring loaded system. From my understanding, the user simply sets the spring. I like the idea of influencing every part of the espresso process from roasting to drinking. Why would I want to bypass some of that control?

Why do baristas upgrade to a spring lever espresso machine, and which manual lever machines would be considered an upgrade? Could my joy of being greeted by my gold La Pavoni every morning be founded on ignorance? :-)
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Paulio
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Joined: 3 Apr 2009
Posts: 21
Location: Australia
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Marzocco Linea EE single...
Grinder: Mazzer Robur
Roaster: Toper Cafemino 1kg gas
Posted Sun Feb 10, 2013, 5:06pm
Subject: Re: Manual Lever VS Spring Lever
 

Hi Frankward,
I have had a Quick Mill Achille for around 5 months. It has a double spring configuration. I bought it hoping that I could produce better coffee with it than I can with my Cremina. I can't.

I now have a Caravel as well. I can (and do) make better coffee (better clarity and layers of taste) with either of the little guys than I can with the Achille.

Mind you, the Achille is immensely satisfying to use....and is able to churn out shots all day long, wheras Cremina and Caravel are more a one or two person delight.
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monkeyboy1971
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Joined: 10 Dec 2011
Posts: 8
Location: england
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bosco lever
Grinder: Eureka mythos
Posted Sun Feb 10, 2013, 7:56pm
Subject: Re: Manual Lever VS Spring Lever
 

Cremina is definitely the way to go for the upgrade of your La Pavoni, I own a bosco one group and have to say I find it very satisfying to use and the clarity and weight of the shots is absolutely better than my old cremina, but for the shear your in total control of the shot the cremina is soooooooo hard to beat.
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russel
Senior Member
russel
Joined: 12 Mar 2010
Posts: 447
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Conti Princess 2grp, GS/3...
Grinder: Super Caimanos x2, Forte BG,...
Drip: V60, Kalita Wave, Clever,...
Posted Sun Feb 10, 2013, 9:24pm
Subject: Re: Manual Lever VS Spring Lever
 

I sort hate to say that I agree with most of whats being said.  I never found my Strega as satisfying to use as my manual levers (although it did present more opportunities to experiment).  I will begrudgingly admit that the same goes for my GS/3.  I love the entire experience of pulling a manual shot.  if you're curious about spring levers, I would look into picking up a Peppina or a used MCaL.  Neither will run you anywhere near the cost of a large commercial group lever and either will give you the opportunity to experiment with a spring.

My GS/3 is about to take a holiday and I'm really looking forward to using my LP again.
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SStones
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SStones
Joined: 24 Nov 2012
Posts: 477
Location: Canada
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Giga 5, ECM Giotto, Rocket...
Grinder: Anfim Milano-Best
Vac Pot: No  :(
Drip: Some $30 thing from Walmart
Roaster: I buy pre-roasted.
Posted Mon Feb 11, 2013, 5:14am
Subject: Re: Manual Lever VS Spring Lever
 

I like the idea of influencing every part of the espresso process from roasting to drinking. Why would I want to bypass some of that control?

For the same reason some people want an automatic transmission in a car.  It's as good as a manual if you don't care about control and never encounter changes in weather.

Why do baristas upgrade to a spring lever espresso machine,

So that that much of their job is being done by the machine while their hands are free to do two other things. Seriously, it's actually impressive to watch a good barista time manage all those little segments of time when they're bustling.
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yakster
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yakster
Joined: 25 Feb 2009
Posts: 1,033
Location: San Jose, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Factory / La Peppina...
Grinder: Vario / Kyocera
Vac Pot: Yama 8 + Pyrex Lox-in Rod
Drip: Brazen / Kalita / Chemex /...
Roaster: Behmor
Posted Mon Feb 11, 2013, 3:38pm
Subject: Re: Manual Lever VS Spring Lever
 

I started with a La Peppina spring lever (also an open kettle to which I quickly added a PID).  I really enjoy using it, and it's one of the spring levers that allows you to assist the spring if desired for a thicker shot with more body, but after a while I felt that I wanted more of a challenge and the ability to steam milk so I picked up a Gaggia Factory.  The Factory replaced the La Peppina and does pull shots with thicker body, but I feel that I lose some of the clarity I had with the La Peppina.  I'm setting up the La Peppina at work so I can use it to pull shots in the afternoon and have the best of both worlds.  I'm sure that larger, commercial or boosted springs on a spring lever would give me more body.

I think that commercial espresso machines have spring lever because it frees up the barista to steam milk while the shot is extracting and cuts down on repetitive labor, I'm not sure it's necessarily an upgrade for a home user.  You also lose some of the ability to profile the shot during the pull to the ideal pressure for whatever grind and dose you're using which may make a manual lever more forgiving of these parameters.

 
-Chris

LMWDP # 272
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frankward
Senior Member
frankward
Joined: 9 Feb 2013
Posts: 39
Location: Massachusetts
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Pavoni Professional Gold,...
Grinder: Mazzer Mini, OE Pharos
Drip: Hario, Chemex
Roaster: Hottop
Posted Mon Feb 11, 2013, 8:18pm
Subject: Re: Manual Lever VS Spring Lever
 

Thank you for all the sound and thoughtful responses to my question. It seems there are many multi lever espresso machine users out there. I'll keep my eye on eBay for some future possibilities.
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Prof
Senior Member
Prof
Joined: 10 Sep 2004
Posts: 712
Location: Seattle
Expertise: Pro Roaster

Espresso: PV Lusso
Grinder: Pharos 696
Drip: Aeropress
Roaster: Behmor 1600+
Posted Mon Feb 11, 2013, 8:26pm
Subject: Re: Manual Lever VS Spring Lever
 

On the other hand, heh,

I sold a Gaggia Factory because it never made what I would call great shots.  Good shots, yet.  So I went back to a spring lever, having started with a Sama Export before getting the manual lever.

Now I'm getting the best shots to come out of the kitchen, really smooth, and with temperature stabilty the Gaggia (same as a Pavoni Pro) just doesn't have.  There's more to it than meets the eye, it's not all automatic.

Yes, the Cremina is an upgrade to your Pavoni.  Finding a decent one for less than $1000 will be a challenge.

But I consider the Lusso to be a great machine for less than the Pavoni or Cremina.  I'm sure loving mine.

 
LMWDP # 010
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lifeandpeace
Senior Member
lifeandpeace
Joined: 9 Nov 2007
Posts: 745
Location: PBI

Espresso: Arrarex Caravel
Grinder: BUNN G1, Zassenhaus knee
Vac Pot: Cory / Hario / Silex
Drip: cloth, glass Hario V60;...
Roaster: RK Drum, WBP II
Posted Tue Feb 12, 2013, 6:28pm
Subject: Re: Manual Lever VS Spring Lever
 

russel Said:

I sort hate to say that I agree with most of whats being said.  I never found my Strega as satisfying to use as my manual levers (although it did present more opportunities to experiment).  I will begrudgingly admit that the same goes for my GS/3.  I love the entire experience of pulling a manual shot.  if you're curious about spring levers, I would look into picking up a Peppina or a used MCaL.  Neither will run you anywhere near the cost of a large commercial group lever and either will give you the opportunity to experiment with a spring.

My GS/3 is about to take a holiday and I'm really looking forward to using my LP again.

Posted February 10, 2013 link


I never tire of finding people who find unassuming levers rip their shirts off like the Incredible Hulk and browbeat machines that cost 15-30 times as much.

 
www.lampmode.com
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russel
Senior Member
russel
Joined: 12 Mar 2010
Posts: 447
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Conti Princess 2grp, GS/3...
Grinder: Super Caimanos x2, Forte BG,...
Drip: V60, Kalita Wave, Clever,...
Posted Tue Feb 12, 2013, 11:13pm
Subject: Re: Manual Lever VS Spring Lever
 

lifeandpeace Said:

I never tire of finding people who find unassuming levers rip their shirts off like the Incredible Hulk and browbeat machines that cost 15-30 times as much.

Posted February 12, 2013 link

I think this is a positive response?  I feel that the truth of the matter is that most prosumer machines (and up) are massive overkill for the home.  There are certain joys to being a home espresso maker that can't be translated into a cafe context.  Small domestic lever espresso machines are one of those joys.
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