3 years and still humming
Like many, I started brewing stove top espresso and then thought I was brewing espresso with cheap, aluminum 'home' machines that were just electric versions of stove top (and made lousy coffee-like susbtances). I first bought a Gaggia Coffee and loved it. It worked great with a lower end burr grinder, right up until it didn't work at all. Still under warranty, it was replaced. It's replacement worked great right up until it died 9 months later. Two lemons. I know Gaggia makes good machines, but I just took store credit and used a friend's Silvia...which I liked because I could finesse it great shots from it. But I had to give it back. So I went looking and the Expobar Lever caught my eye. I did my research and spoke at length with WLL folks. I bought ours and a new Rocky grinder and have not looked back. This machine simply rocks. Different beans and roasts need slight grinding adjustments to get perfect shots, but it's quick to dial in because it produces a consistent temp water stream and volume. It works all day without a complaint. It sits unused for a while and then kicks back into high use w/o a hitch. I love the lever action to adjust the timing on shots between 20-25 second pulls. I backflush/clean regularly and use the water softener plugins on the feed tube that fits in the tank. We used filtered water to fill the reservoir and keep that fresh. It steams and froths very well with power to spare. Getting barista quality froth takes some practice wit this tip and i suggest keeping your pitcher in the freezer for getting really dense foam.
How Long Have I Been Using This Product?
Less than 1 month
What's Best About this Product?
This machine is a tank. I mean that in the glowing sense of the word. It's bomber gear. Cleans up well, sparkles and just puts everyone on notice that you mean business when it comes to coffee. It's heavy. It brings back operator-human touch factor without a lot of muss, fuss or high learning curve. It's fun to lever yourself a double ristretto and take on the world. Gauges work and mean something. Group head really shines after it's been allowed to preheat for 30 minutes....but you can get a good pull after ten.
Easy to clean and keep operating at tip top. If you want to tinker or mod your own machine, get a Silvia and build your own non-stock mega monster. The Lever will do everything you ask, and more, do it well, and do it well again and again and again. 3 years of what I would refer to as constant, moderate use (10-20 shots pulled each day) and this machine acts like it just came out of the box. And looks it, too. Bravo.
Some Helpful Tips For Using this Product:
You need to dial in your grinder and tamp with different beans, roasts, and changes in temp/humidity. That's what makes pulling a 'god shot' such a pleasure. The Lever does its part by supply consistency. Your adjustments to grind and tamp will keep 20-25 pulls kicking out the crema so that your double shot glass looks like a mini-pint of Guinness being poured in a top-notch pub. Clean your machine. Backflush and treat the Lever nicely and it will repay you with faithful, loyal service for years to come.
My Experience With Using This Product:
The Coffee I've Tried With This Product:
Various locally roasted varietals, estates, and blends. Sometimes Peets, sometimes other small roasters who ship freshly roasted whole bean espresso blends, Italian, and French roast beans.
Some Improvements I Would Recommend for This Product:
I'd like external access to reservoir refill and monitoring. The fall-safe overheat features work. But having to remove all your cups and the top plate to add water is sometimes a pain. We have limited counter space, so we store our cups on top....so every refill means unstacking and restacking.
Dual water temp gauges would also be a nice touch...but not necessary. I love this machine.
Some of the Other Machines I've Used:
The Type of Grinder I've Been Using:
Rancilio Rocky SD.
The Make and Model of My Grinder:
Rancilio Rocky SD.