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Elektra Lever Machines - Bill Way's Review
Posted: November 17, 2007, 10:25am
review rating: 8.5
feedback: (0) comments | read | write
Elektra Lever Machines
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More About This Product
Arrow The Elektra Lever Machines has 19 Reviews
Arrow The Elektra Lever Machines has been rated 8.93 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since November 9, 2003.
Arrow Elektra Lever Machines reviews have been viewed 120,529 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Nick Kitchener 9.00
John Manzo 8.83
Bill Way 8.50
Barry Popma 8.20
Gustav Stanowitz 8.00

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 9.0
Manufacturer: Elektra Quality: 9
Average Price: $1,350.00 Usability: 7
Price Paid: $940.00 Cost vs. Value 10
Where Bought: 1st Line Aesthetics 10
Owned for: 4+ years Overall 9
Writer's Expertise: I love coffee Would Buy Again: Yes
Similar Items Owned:
Bottom Line: Beautiful, beautifully made, lasts for years and years and makes the best shots anywhere.
Positive Product Points

Astonishingly good shots. Gorgeous to look at.

Negative Product Points

Small reservoir. Overheats after 2 cups. Slow to heat up. Generally it's picky.

Detailed Commentary

I've had this machine for 3 years now, using it daily.

Others comments are spot-on: get the grind right, and tamp correctly. It's something of a shame to use this for café con leche, because it's only when you produce a shot of espresso that it really shows its stuff.

The reservoir is quite small, so if you are a couple who want 2 or more shots each every day, you'll be filling the tank just about every day, too. It takes its sweet time heating up. After 2  single or double batches, the group head overheats, so cool it down with a water-soaked dishrag. (So if you like to serve espresso after dinner for a party of 8, you're in for a bit of work - get the Rancilio instead.)

The manual mentions nothing about de-scaling, so I didn't. It plugged up recently, and Jim from 1st Line said to de-scale it, which is no more or less of a pain than with other machines. With daily use, I figure every 6 months for de-scaling is about right.

You would think that a machine costing about a grand and having basically 1 moving part would be able to put an auto-stop switch in for low water levels, but no: they warn that if you run it dry you'll burn it out. (Very Italian, that, as is the red light that goes out when the machine reaches temp and pressure.)

I never had a problem getting used to the machine, but recently had houseguests over, and one female friend had to struggle a bit to get it working - she often didn't get the portafilter really locked in, which made for rather spectacular explosions of coffee grounds in the kitchen. She also had to use both hands to get the lever down, although she is pretty athletic.

Bottom line: after 3 years and countless shots, it still works and looks like new.

10-year (almost) update:
I got a gasket set from Jim at 1st-Line years ago, assuming it would need it. The gasket set is still in the drawer. This machine is used daily, no exceptions, and it still pulls a perfect shot. It is a true happiness machine. BTW, whenever you notice the pressure from the steam wand lightening up some, that's a good signal for a descaling. I've also changed my take on the "cost vs. value" rating - anything that works this well for this long is a great value, regardless of its purchase cost.

Buying Experience

Bought from 1st Line. Called them after 3 years with a scaling blockage, and Jim was very fast to help and get me back on track. Highly recommended - nice people to deal with.

Three Month Followup

see detailed commentary

One Year Followup

see detailed commentary

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review rating: 8.5
Posted: November 17, 2007, 10:25am
feedback: (0) comments | read | write
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