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Manual lever recommendations?
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Discussions > Espresso > Lever Espresso > Manual lever...  
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drgary
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Joined: 21 Jan 2010
Posts: 144
Location: San Francisco
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Baby Lusso Caravel Coffex...
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Posted Tue Aug 27, 2013, 12:19am
Subject: Re: Manual lever recommendations?
 

FWIW I own several home lever machines and a small commercial lever machine (Caravel, La Pavoni, Olympia Express Cremina, Elektra Microcasa a Leva, Lady Duchessa (very rare), Conti Prestina (rare commercial lever). I am able to control temperature for consistent back to back shots on all of these.

The Caravel is one of the best espresso machines ever made. I have one from 1960 that works like new. The build quality is great. The design is amazing. You can take apart the group to service it without any tools. To make temperature controlled shots simply insert a food thermometer in the open boiler.

Manual lever machines can brew successive shots with precise control. I am one of many people who have added cheap and effective food thermometers to the outside of the group. Combine that with a good PSTAT (pressure stat) setting and you can learn to control temperature for back to back shots. I have a La Pavoni Europiccola that's very consistent. The best quality manual lever machine is the Olympia Express Cremina, which is very similar to the newer La Pavoni with a PSTAT in its shots and temperature control. When I found my La Pavoni I was surprised it was easier to use than my Isomac Amica E61 pump machine.

Francesco Ceccarelli is a well known Italian collector and a completely reliable seller and restorer. If you buy from him it will be just as he describes. For many machines he sells replacement gaskets. Orphan Espresso also sells replacement home lever machine gaskets.

The Elektra Microcasa a Leva is a quality spring lever machine and is sold in the U.S. at Espressocare.com. Stefano at Espressocare advertises on this site and he's great to deal with. Another reliable and reputable Elektra dealer is 1st Line Equipment in New Jersey.

I have heard good things about the Ponte Vecchio Export, which is a spring lever machine sold by 1st Line Equipment.
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NobbyR
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NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 2,040
Location: Germany
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Poccino Opus One, Ariete
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Vac Pot: N/A
Drip: Melitta Linea Unica de Luxe
Roaster: N/A
Posted Tue Aug 27, 2013, 12:49am
Subject: Re: Manual lever recommendations?
 

One exclusive spring lever machine hasn't been mentioned yet: the Londinium I, which is also available in a U.S. (110 V) version.

 
***
"This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee, when he was urged to ban the beverage)
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clm
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Joined: 12 Mar 2013
Posts: 86
Location: Hawaii
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Mypressi
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Drip: Hario, Aeropress
Posted Fri Aug 30, 2013, 7:55am
Subject: Re: Manual lever recommendations?
 

I found a Caravel - would someone please recommend either a single or double portafilter?  I'm currently using a Mypressi, but I fill up the reservoir when pulling a shot, which is supposed to make a double shot.  I drink 1 or 2 espressos a day, but I don't use a scale, so I don't know if I need a single or double.
thank you, clm
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clm
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Joined: 12 Mar 2013
Posts: 86
Location: Hawaii
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Mypressi
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Posted Fri Aug 30, 2013, 8:19am
Subject: Re: Manual lever recommendations?
 

Correction to previous post - I meant single or double basket....

clm Said:

I found a Caravel - would someone please recommend either a single or double portafilter basket?  I'm currently using a Mypressi, but I fill up the reservoir when pulling a shot, which is supposed to make a double shot.  I drink 1 or 2 espressos a day, but I don't use a scale, so I don't know if I need a single or double.
thank you, clm

Posted August 30, 2013 link

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lifeandpeace
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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 Mon Sep 2, 2013, 6:19pm
Subject: Re: Manual lever recommendations?
 

There are three basket sizes for the Caravel. I have only the smallest and it's right for my use and taste. The gram steps are not like the 7/14/21 that are common among modern machines.

I usually pack it with 11 grams, although I've pulled good shots with 10 and 12. I like a near-ristretto, 3/4 ounce / roughly a 12g shot.

If you like a longer shot or greater volume of the same strength, you can go with the medium or large basket, or use the Fellini maneuver, or both.

If your Caravel came with one, learn the machine and see if you like the basket size. The baskets aren't easy to come by.

 
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clm
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Joined: 12 Mar 2013
Posts: 86
Location: Hawaii
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Mypressi
Grinder: OE LIdo
Drip: Hario, Aeropress
Posted Tue Oct 22, 2013, 8:32pm
Subject: Re: Manual lever recommendations?
 

I ended up purchasing a beautiful Caravel from Francesco Ceccarelli - just as drgary described, he was a very considerate and knowledgeable seller.  I'm glad I bought from him.  I believe I read in other posts that you don't need to use a transformer - just a plug converter/adapter?   - I'd appreciate more details before I give it a test try!  BTW I requested a single basket.
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crazy4espresso
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crazy4espresso
Joined: 19 Jan 2008
Posts: 147
Location: Toronto
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Silvia, La Pavoni...
Grinder: Pharos
Posted Wed Oct 23, 2013, 4:54am
Subject: Re: Manual lever recommendations?
 

You purchased a 220v machine? If you don't use a transformer and plug straight into a 110v outlet you will have a quarter of the power.  If your machine is supposed to put out 500 watts for instance, you would now be putting out 125 watts.  This means you'll have to wait a lot longer for the machine to heat up.  Some people boil water in a kettle and then pour into the machine.  The element will then keep the water at temperature. You can purchase an inexpensive adapter to be able to use your Italian plug in a 110v outlet, or you can swap out the plug. Enjoy the machine.
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clm
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Joined: 12 Mar 2013
Posts: 86
Location: Hawaii
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Mypressi
Grinder: OE LIdo
Drip: Hario, Aeropress
Posted Thu Oct 24, 2013, 6:46pm
Subject: Re: Manual lever recommendations?
 

Yes, it's a 200v machine, the gray/silver model 550w.  Any recommendations on a transformer?  I take it that it won't harm the machine (or risk a fire in my home wiring) to just use a plug converter?  Obviously, I know nothing about electricity.

Also, the lid doesn't seem to fit flush to the body - I haven't wanted to push it down too hard, but underneath the lid is what appears to be an expanding metal fitting (bracket) and a post.  The post fits into a hole on the body of the machine, but it doesn't go all the way down - leaving a gap between the lid and the body - maybe this is normal to allow the lid to pivot, but from the pictures I've seen I don't think I'm fitting the pieces together correctly.  Thanks for any insight - I'll ask Francesco too, his English is great.
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crazy4espresso
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crazy4espresso
Joined: 19 Jan 2008
Posts: 147
Location: Toronto
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Silvia, La Pavoni...
Grinder: Pharos
Posted Fri Oct 25, 2013, 5:38am
Subject: Re: Manual lever recommendations?
 

I can't speak for the lid as I do not own a Caravel.  There are quite a few members on this and other sites plugging straight into a 110v outlet and haven't reported problems that I know of. I would recommend a 1000 watt step up transformer.  You should be able to get one for $100 or less new.  I picked up a used 2000 watt on the local classifieds for $45.
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triodelover
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triodelover
Joined: 18 Sep 2004
Posts: 7
Location: Knoxville, Tennessee
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Cremina, MCAL, Pavoni Pro,...
Grinder: HG One, Zass, Dienes and...
Drip: Technivorm Mokkamaster
Roaster: Quest M3
Posted Fri Oct 25, 2013, 7:56pm
Subject: Re: Manual lever recommendations?
 

clm Said:

Yes, it's a 200v machine, the gray/silver model 550w.  Any recommendations on a transformer?

Posted October 24, 2013 link

This.  I'm using it with my 1960 220V Caravel with no problems. I replaced the Italian three-prong plug with a standard US plug and it works fine.  Fill the kettle with water and it's at a boil in 15 minutes or so.  With the step-up it doesn't draw enough current to pose a problem for the standard 15 or 20A household circuit.

I strongly recommend reading the threads here and HB concerning the relationship of the heating elements to the kettle. You need to make certain the kettle rests on the elements and there's no gap.  My V-shaped element support was missing and I had to fashion one from copper tubing.  Huge difference.
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