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Elektra Lever Machines - Barry Popma's Review
Posted: December 31, 2005, 12:41pm
review rating: 8.2
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 126,370 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: 9.6
Manufacturer: Elektra Quality: 9
Average Price: $1,350.00 Usability: 10
Price Paid: $890.00 Cost vs. Value 9
Where Bought: Chris Coffee Aesthetics 10
Owned for: 1 year Overall 10
Writer's Expertise: I live coffee Would Buy Again: Yes
Similar Items Owned: Starbucks Barista
Bottom Line: Great coffee, simple operation, great looks, low maintenance, and ready for me every morning.  Who could ask for more?
Positive Product Points

Most excellent espresso, plenty of steam and easy ergonomics.  And it looks good too!

Negative Product Points

The height makes fitting under cabinets a challenge.  Also had some chrome peeling in the first year.

Detailed Commentary

This machine works perfectly for us.  Every morning itís two double espressoís for me and a single cap for the wife.  Once in a great while we entertain another couple but 99% of the time itís just the two of us.  Every time we have excellent drinks with little fuss and even less clean up.  And itís quiet! No loud pump buzzing in the morning.

With a good grinder and a quality tamper you will be cranking good shots the first day and great shots soon thereafter.  It takes a little practice to dial in the right grind and tamp.  There were a few undrinkable shots Ė but not too many.  So donít let the talk of learning curve scare you off.  

The machine itself is ultimate simplicity.  Turn it on and wait (13 minutes) to heat up.  Run a little water through an empty PF, drop in the previously filled basket, lock the PF in place, and pull the handle down.  Note that the only difference between this lever and a pump machine is pulling a handle instead of pressing a button to activate a pump.  A spring is stretched on the down stroke and controls the water pressure through the PF on the release.  

My wife is 5í 4Ē and 118 lbs and has no concerns making her own.  We turn the machine off between shots as we empty and refill and have never noticed any drop off with successive shots.  We also use a catch cup rather than the drip pan.

Why do we get great espresso from this machine?  And trust me, it is great.  I travel a lot and rarely enjoy the same quality out as we have at home.  We do not obsess over technique.  Yes, a good grind and tamp is critical regardless of the machine you use.  The main difference is water temperature consistency.  The Electra heats all the water up front and the entire shot is drawn into the chamber on the down stroke so it is spot on from start to finish.  No temperature fluctuation during the pour! Lastly the water flowing through the PF is controlled by the tension of the spring.  Itís a smooth, constant pressure vs. a vibrating pump for most all other machines in its class.

The only quality issue has been a small amount of chrome peeling around the lever.  Itís hardly noticeable.  We are careful with the finish and have not noticed any scratches after a year of daily use.  We clean and re-lube the seals about every 3 months.  This is a 5 minute effort that does not require mechanical skills (good thing for me!).

I would not recommend this for those planning to regularly serve larger groups.  There is no water reserve and the entire tank is heated and pressurized.  Opening a pressurized boiler can be dangerous.  Also, measure the space where you would like to use the machine.  18 ľ ď counter clearance is the minimum for the eagle.

Buying Experience

Chris Coffee has earned and works to maintain there great reputation.  Just give them a call.

Three Month Followup

see above

One Year Followup

3 years down the road and still a happy camper!  We've added another consumer as out teenage son enjoys a cap before school.  The machine has continued to perform as when new.  The initial chrome flaking has not expanded and the remainder of the finish has held up nicely.  Some additional learnings are:

-  Never leave the machine while drawing a shot (the PF is held on by friction, not locked)
-  Can't beat fresh beans and a clean machine.  The bean freshness is a noticeable drop off.
-  Still a pleasure to operate.

I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

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review rating: 8.2
Posted: December 31, 2005, 12:41pm
feedback: (0) comments | read | write
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