Best Manual Espresso Machines

Best Manual Espresso Machines

If you’re like most other people in the morning, you can’t function in society without having your coffee first. But heading to the coffee shop to buy your coffee for the day can not only be an annoying commitment everyday, but the price of that can also add up, resulting in you paying hundreds of dollars a year just on coffee everyday.

From here, many people try to make their own coffee at home, at least just to save money. But simply having a cup of regular coffee may not be enough in the morning. So you upgrade to using an espresso machine. But these machines can not only be extremely expensive to buy, but they’re also difficult to use. They’re also larger in size, so it can be difficult to try to fins storage space in your kitchen for it.

That being said, you should look into buying a manual espresso machine. Manual espresso machines give you the ability to manually press the water through the coffee grounds, essentially making your own espresso. These machines have many of their own beneficial features, but this can make it difficult to choose the best one for your purposes.

Here is a guide containing some of the best information regarding which espresso machines are most recommended for you. Not only that, but here are also some of the best manual espresso machines from the market for your convenience.

Buying Guide - Top 3 for 2020

STARESSO Portable Espresso Machine

STARESSO Portable Espresso Image

Wacaco Minipresso GR, Portable Espresso Machine

Wacaco Minipresso GR

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AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Image

Different Types of Manual Espresso Machines

Spring Piston Machine

Spring piston manual espresso machines are technically easier to use than direct lever ones, simply because you have to do less work in order to operate them. With these types of espresso machines, there is a lever in the head that helps to provide the pressure that’s needed for pushing the water to the coffee grounds at the bottom of the container in the portafilter.

After the water reaches the grounds, it then runs through the coffee grounds and creates a brewed espresso. After that, the espresso then dispenses out of the machine. Even though manual espresso machines that have a spring piston are easier to use, they tend to be more expensive, since they involve more parts to produce the machine altogether.

Direct Lever Machine

Unlike the spring piston machines, direct levers feature a lever that you have to manually pump yourself in order to create enough pressure in the machine to push the water through to the bottom of the container. With these, you do have to essentially do more work in order to get your espresso at the end. But they’re beneficial for those of you that want to customize your coffee more to your specific taste preference.

You essentially have more control, since you can choose the amount of pressure that’s in the machine. And you choose the speed that the water travels through the container. So if you’re looking for a more customizable and personal espresso machine, then I would recommend purchasing a manual espresso machine with a direct lever. Not only are they more customizable, but these machines are also less expensive

Top Manual Espresso Machines

Advantages of Manual Lever Machines

Better-tasting espresso

Many people claim that manual espresso makers are actually capable of producing a better-tasting espresso than standard automatic espresso machines. This may be because you have the ability to control each of the different elements in the espresso-making process. More specifically, you control the amount of pressure that the water has as well as the temperature of the water and the overall speed of the process.

Since you have ultimate control over the espresso when using a manual espresso machine, you hav the ability to produce espresso that fits your personal taste preference

Save money

As mentioned in the very beginning, going to the coffee shop and buying coffee every single morning adds up over time. By having the ability to make your own coffee at home, you won’t have to spend any more money by purchasing the coffee at the coffee shop. Not only that, but you also save money by purchasing a manual espresso machine versus a standard automatic espresso machine. They’re cheaper and more portable overall, so it saves you money and time.

Espresso any time

Instead of having to wait until the coffee shop opens in the morning or having to leave the house to get it, you have the ability to make your favorite espresso drinks right from home now. With the right ingredients, you can make espresso practically any time you want and have it within a few minutes with these manual espresso machines.

Features to Consider Before Purchasing

Temperature regulation

A good quality espresso machine will give you the ability to control the temperature of the boiling water that travels through the container. Using water of different temperatures is capable of delivering different tasting espresso. That being said, it’s important that you find an espresso machine that gives you the capability of checking and regulating the temperature of the water.

In order to produce the best quality espresso from a manual espresso machine, you should ultimately keep the temperatures somewhere between 195 degrees Fahrenheit to 205 degrees Fahrenheit.


Think about why you’re getting a manual espresso machine instead of a standard espresso machine. Other than the price point, most people prefer the manual machines because they feature a more compact design and are portable. Since they feature a manual design, they don’t require any electricity in order to operate the machine and produce espresso. That being said, you have the ability to transport them with you, usually.

This is beneficial because you can take the machine to work with you, and you can even use it in the car. You can also take them camping with you, or on vacation with you. Even though manual espresso machines usually have the ability to function without electricity, not all of them might have a compact design that makes it easy to take the machine on-the-go. So if you’re wanting to take the manual espresso machine with you somewhere, then it’s important that you find one that accommodates for portable features.


Espresso machines in general are expensive to begin with. The standard espresso machine can range in prices anywhere from one hundred to a few hundred dollars, depending on the machine’s size, features, brand and other factors. Manual espresso machines tend to be cheaper than automatic espresso machines, simply because they don’t require as many expensive parts to make.

Even though manual espresso machines are cheaper than automatic ones, some of them can still be more expensive than others. Overall, you should expect to pay somewhere between 50 to 100 dollars. And remember that just because the machine may be more expensive does not necessarily mean that it’s a higher quality one, so it’s important that you do your research beforehand.

Stovetop vs. Boiler

It’s important that you consider whether you want to purchase a stovetop espresso machine or one that has a boiler built into it. In order for the espresso to taste right, the water that’s pushed through the coffee grounds must be hot. So you can either warm the water up on the stove with a stovetop manual espresso machine, or you can insert the water yourself and have the machine warm up the water with the boiler that’s built into it. This ultimately depends on personal preference, but more commonly people have the manual espresso machine with the boiler built into it just because of its convenience and portability.

Best Manual Espresso Machines

1. STARESSO Portable Espresso Machine

Staresso is especially popular among the manual espresso machine industry because of their high quality, simple and inexpensive products. This particular espresso machine from Staresso is known for its portability as well as its user-friendly features. Not only does this manual espresso machine take up very little space, but it weighs less than a pound.

Even though it features a small and compact design, this machine can hold up to 80 milliliters of water and around 0.53 ounces of coffee grounds. Because of its portability, you can easily take this machine with you practically anywhere, as long as you have access to hot water.

Furthermore, this design is extremely easy to use, so you don’t have to spend hours trying to figure out how the machine works before using it. It’s even compatible with the Nespresso pods, so you can follow the instructions on the pod in order to use them with this espresso machine.

This espresso machine’s construction itself is easy to clean and safe to use, since it’s produced with a BPA-free material. The pump itself on the interior of the design features a stainless steel construction that’s durable and able to withstand a large amount of wear and tear.

STARESSO Portable Espresso Image


  • Compatible with Nespresso pods
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Produces rich and creamy espresso


  • More expensive than some of the other manual espresso machines on the market.

2. Wacaco Minipresso GR, Portable Espresso Machine

With its compact and lightweight design in addition to its innovative features, this Wacaco portable espresso machine is great for beginners. The overall machine itself features a semi-automatic piston that virtually does all of the work for you. This gives you the ability to customize your espresso to your liking without having to actually push the lever to create pressure.

In addition to that, this portable espresso machine can be used practically anywhere at any time. It doesn’t require an air compressor or electricity in order to operate the machine. It merely runs off of your hand operation, so you can use this espresso machine in the car, on-the-go, or even at work or school.

For when you don’t need to leave and want to make coffee while at home, this portable espresso machine from Wacaco is presented as a small and compact design that can conveniently fit anywhere in your house without requiring you to make space for it or hide it in the cupboards.

This espresso machine also comes with water tanks that range in sizes, so you have the ability to fully customize the different types of espresso that you want to make. The machine itself features a modern design that’s easy to use and safe to transport. It has a carrying position that locks everything into place, and you can easily set the machine up in order to have coffee in minutes.

Wacaco Minipresso GR


  • Affordable
  • Safe to transport, with a locking and lightweight design
  • Comes with a range of different-sized water tanks


  • Previous customers claim that it sometimes leaks.

3. AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker

For those of you looking for an espresso machine that can make several shots of espresso at once, this AeroPress machine may benefit you the most. With its user-friendly features and its innovative design, this espresso maker is capable of making up to three cups of coffee in one pressing. That means that this machine can make up to three cups of espresso drinks in less than a minute.

This machine is also versatile because it can interchange between making coffee and straight espresso. That being said, you can use this same machine to make several different types of coffee. The overall design of this machine features a press, a funnel, scoop and even a stirrer. None of the materials used to produce this machine have phthalates or BPA in them, so it’s completely safe to use and wash.

Moreover, this machine works faster than most other espresso makers on the market. Once assembled and setup, it can make several cups of coffee per minute. And it doesn’t produce the bitter taste of coffee that many other machines are known for doing. Lastly, this machine eliminate grit, since it has paper microfilters that help to keep the coffee smooth and rich for your benefit.

AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Image


  • Comes with a microfilter for clean and smooth coffee
  • Makes several cups of coffee at once
  • Versatile, since it can produce both coffee and espresso shots


  • May take longer to setup than other machines, since there are different components

4. STARESSO Third Generation Portable Espresso Maker

Compared to the other espresso makers on the market, this Staresso machine is high quality and features a durable design. Staresso created this espresso machine with innovation and versatility in mind. It comes with an innovate pressure regulating valve that gives you the ability to alter the amount of pressure that you use to make the coffee. The pump has 15-20 bars that you can choose from to have consistent and smooth espresso at the end.

Additionally, you have the ability to create two espresso shots at once with this espresso machine. It comes with a size-ounce water tank as well as a large filter basket, giving you the ability to pull single shots, double shots or even lungos. Not only that, but you can also produce various different kinds of coffee with this espresso maker, giving you the ability to make different espresso drinks for all of your guests at home.

The overall design is slick and modern, features a stainless steel design bracket as well as a portable and compact look that can easily be cleaned for safety. The construction only measures 7.5 inches as well, so you can easily store this machine in your kitchen without having to move things around in order to make room. You can even take the machine with you while traveling, since it doesn’t require electricity for operation.

STARESSO Third Generation Image


  • Produces 2 espresso shots at once
  • Self-regulating valve lets you customize your espresso drinks
  • Creates practically any type of coffee or espresso shot


  • Can’t easily be carried on long trips or in the car, since the design is more bulky

5. BonVivo Intenca Stovetop Espresso Maker

If you’re trying to find an espresso maker that’s durable and fits more with the overall appearance of your home, then the stainless steel design of the stovetop espresso maker from BonVivo products is great for you. Producing six espresso shots at one time, this stainless steel stovetop espresso maker is able to release a beautiful aroma of espresso throughout your whole home.

Not only does this espresso maker produce up to 11.8 ounces of espresso in one pressing, but it’s extremely easy to use for practically anyone that can use a stove. All you’re required to do is fill the lower part of the maker with water and then put the ground coffee into the basket of the product. After that, put the top on and place the maker on the stove top until it boils.

Furthermore, the overall design of this espresso maker is high quality and classic. It’s made from high-end German QC and features a stainless steel exterior that fits with any home decor. It also has silver and chrome throughout the construction to add an Italian touch to your kitchen. Lastly, aside from making just espresso shots with this machine, you also have the ability to make any type of coffee as well.

BonVivo Intenca Stovetop Image


  • Makes up to 6 cups of espresso
  • Features a stainless steel design with silver and chrome
  • Easy to use, since you just have to fill the components and place the container on the stove


  • Not portable, since it requires that you have a stove to boil the water

6. NH-Kitchen Mini Portable Black Espresso Maker

For ultimate portability and convenience, this espresso maker from NH-Kitchen is great for on-the-go purposes, traveling efforts and camping trips. This espresso maker is fully portable, requiring only hot water in order to create espresso from the machine. You don’t need any electricity or other components in order to have espresso wherever you want.

In addition to these beneficial features, this maker is easy to use and easy for anyone to figure out, even for beginners. For instance, all you’re required to do is add the coffee grounds into the filter, add water to the chamber and turn the machine on. It has an automatic piston that can virtually do all of the work for you.

This espresso maker is also great for easy portability because it comes with an additional container that you can use to carry the fresh coffee grounds along with you. There is even a protective carrying bag that comes with their product that you can place all of the different components into. This makes for ensuring the product won’t develop damage over time, and it’s also convenient to have everything in one bag for easy accessibility.

Lastly, this espresso maker acts like a great machine not only for travel purposes, but also for using at home as well. It features a small black design that can look great in practically anyone’s kitchen, since it matches all decor. The design is also simple and compact so you can easily assemble and disassemble the machine quickly.

NH-Kitchen Mini Portable Image


  • Comes with another coffee grounds container
  • Easy to assemble and use
  • Small and compact black design fits with any decor


  • Some customers have has issues of water leaking, but that’s when the water is boiling hot.


Overall, each of these products is great for making your own espresso at home or on-the-go. They all give you the ability to customize your experience of making the coffee so that you can make an espresso drink that mimicks your personal taste preference. Given that each of these espresso makes comes with different features specific to each product, it can be difficult to choose the best one for your specific needs.

That being said, you’re most recommended to purchase product #5: NH-Kitchen Mini Espresso Maker. Not only does it come with another container for coffee grounds, but this product also comes with a carry bag that you can use for when you’re on-the-go and want to take your espresso maker with you.

It’s easy to use, affordable and features a simple, all-black design that can go well with any kitchen and home decor. Given each of these beneficial features, you should purchase the NH-Kitchen Mini Espresso Maker on the market.

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