Our shop is currently using a semi-auto espresso machine; however, we are trying out a manual machine to see how we like it. The look of the machine goes so well with the image we would like to present: hand crafted coffees. 

Does the espresso roast need to change with different machine types? I have been experimenting with our current roast on the manual machine and I cannot seem to get it right! The shots I pull on both machines are around 1.25-1.75 ounces, they both drop between 5-7 seconds, but the the semi-auto machine produces a much better crema, while the manual machine shots are flat with very little crema.

Would changing the roast help? Any thoughts? 

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Espressos can taste different from machine to machine, and some espressos do sing more on one machine than another. You should be able to get really good shots with most espressos on most good machines though.

Lever machines can take quite a bit of effort to get right, and temperatures can be dramatically different from pump machines. If you're happy with your espresso on your pump machine, your first task would be to try to get your temperatures to match up.

Pump pressure ramps will be different as well, so things will taste different.

There's quite a bit to this, but hope that helped a bit.

There is a huge amount of lever users of all types that monitor the H-B lever section. It's become the world hub for manual/lever espresso machines users Lever espresso. You can get all the help you need there. 

What machine do you have?

There's a lot you can do with a lever machine to profile a shot


First off, very cool you are helping your dad and care so much!

Grind and dose size of coffee will be different for different machines. machines are also not always pulling shots at the same 9 bar pressure.

I usually shoot for 20-30 seconds pull. your shot sizes are good that tells me you are not over extracting the coffee. I would try using a finer grind to start.

What machines are you using?


Hi Lindsey, make sure there is a company in your area that services lever machines.  I've heard horror stories about locations spending lots of money on one and they when it breaks there is no one around that will work on them.

Thanks so much for the advice.

The machine is a Conti Classica. We purchased it for $600 from a business that was closing here in town. 

The person showing us how to use it told us to use a coarse grind espresso. After playing with the machine for the last few weeks, we've found its better to go finer and put pressure on the levers to pull the shots and they will come out pretty close to our manual machine. 

It's a bit more time intensive, so we will see how it works out during our busy times!

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