Full quality build HX machine at a good price point, so great value in the market today.
Positive Product Points
This machine represents -in my humble opinion- one of the best values in semi pro espresso machines on the market today. As I perfect my skills, I will make espresso almost on par with commercial machines and what I drink in coffee bars. The Lever is constructed with high quality materials and components, and should last for many years under my home use conditions as well as retaining good resale value.
- Great industry-design looks: all steel, chrome - Easy to use - Good sized bronze boiler: 1.8 liter - Quality components - Great steaming power - Automatic anti limestone - Price is lower than other brands with HX and professional grouphead features - Warms up quickly within 15 minutes - Big drip tray - Parts are easy to find (industry standards) - Detailed Dutch instructions from supplier with helpfull advise and tips for using the Lever properly
Negative Product Points
These are some minor things / given the price I don't care too much:
- Have to clear cups off warmer to refill the water reservoir - Vibe pump is a bit loud - Drip tray top isnít very solid (bending a little bit) - Plastic tamper is cheap, I bought another one (steel)
I used a Gaggia for a few year before buying the Lever. The Gaggia did a relatively good job, but I wanted more control over the espresso quality, temperature stability and better steaming performance (and better looks!). I also checked out the praised Expobar Brewtus, but I only make a few coffees a day and mostly black, so a single boiler machine fits my needs. And I didnít want to spend too much money, I wanted to save some money for a decent professional grinder. Expobar gets great reviews for having quality, heavy duty components. The portafilter is heavy solid, the chrome grouphead is massive, the steel case is of thick quality, the steam knobs are big, large boiler: all professional quality. So, with a price level of Ä1050, I really think this is the best solution if youíre interested in a good looking, chrome HX machine. Other brands with the same features and internal parts will sell easily above Ä1200. This helped me to choose for an Expobar machine.
A nice feature for the future is the ability to upgrade to a water plumded-in version, so I donít need to refill your water reservoir anymore. And the machine wonít stop when I'm in the middle of a shot. This can be frustrating. So, if I finished a new water connection in my kitchen, this will be a next step.
It didn't take me long to get the machine into action. I consistently pull good quality shots and get great foam in my milk for lattes. Creating microfoam will need some more practise however. If you use fresh, quality beans and dial in the proper grind, then the Lever will produce excellent, consistent results. The Lever is very easy to operate if you have any experience with espresso machines. The switches are high quality, and are firmly on or off. The internal components are all top notch, and should be highly durable in a home environment. One of the good things about this machine is that it has been on the market for several years now. It has a proven track record in the field, and been a durable workhorse. Because it is a Ďstandardí HX machine with professional grouphead, the repair parts and service ought to be available for years to come (should you need them). This is not the case with every machine on the market, and is to me a major benefit of owning this machine. These factors have kept resale values of used Expobar machines relatively high, which is an added benefit in the future should I get the need to upgrade.
After 5 months of use I am very pleased with my purchase. The machine was received in good condition. Joep was very helpfull to my questions and assisted me with my purchase. After my purchase decision he gave me a short coffee workshop to get used to the machine and learned me some tricks to prepare a nice espresso. The package included Dutch directions on using the Lever with helpful barista tips. This is an nice service, because the standard factory instructions are very basic and badly written. The Lever is a professional machine so you have to develop some skills and knowledge to become a home-barista! So, some assistance from your dealer is really helpfull. Otherwise I would own a machine over thousand euros and still won't get the best coffee out of it. Overall, a good experience. Bye, Jan-Willem