I’ve only had my Elektra Microcasa for over a week now and in that time have learned how to pull a decent shot. There’s not too bad a learning curve on a unique machine like this, all though I have been a barista for years. For someone with zero experience crafting espresso, understanding the nuances of the process might be a bit more daunting. Lever machines are said to be particularly fussy regarding the different brewing elements: water temperature, dose of coffee, quality of beans, proper grind, proper tamp, etc. That being said, I have a long way to go in terms of extracting a truly great shot, which is partially what draws me to a spring-piston lever machine; creating espresso is an art and having this type of hardware/process versus a an E61 pump machine allows for such user involvement. There’s a zen quantity to pulling my shot in the mornings now that I’ve never before had.
The design of the machine is exquisite: antiquated, high quality components and finishes throughout, beautifully reflective metals-which are remarkably smudge and scratch resistant-and ornate details make this machine an unrivaled ornament on the countertop. My only minor issues thus far are trivial at best: 1. the 1.8 liter boiler is slightly smaller than I’d like. As it’s dangerous to allow the water level to drop below 25% capacity, I find myself refilling the tank once every day or other day. I’d certainly be adding water more than that if I was preparing for friends as well as myself. 2. The portafilter builds up pressure like the rest of the machine, and if the boiler is still pressurized the portafilter tends to explode a little upon removal, spewing bits of espresso about. Equipping this machine with a 3 way solenoid valve that depressurizes the group head, which the Semiautomatica has, would be really nice, especially for the price. 3. The touch points on the machine (lever handle and portafilter handle) are a high quality rubberized material that’s pretty standard through the industry. I’ve seen previous models that had wooden touch points which I think would perfect the aesthetic.
To touch on another important point, the steam arm is very impressive indeed. The machine has a nice dry steam and at a really nice pressure. I can’t get the same quality foam for lattes or cappuccinos nearly as easily on the $12,000 machines I use at work. Also, Majesty coffee offered free shipping and sent the item off promptly. I’ll be using them again in the future. In closing, in the brief time I’ve spent with the machine I absolutely love it and can’t wait to perfect the craft of brewing. Especially considering the Microcasa A Leva is supposed to yield some of the best coffee out of any espresso maker, regardless of price, when you get all the elements just right.