Best Manual Pump Coffee Machines To Master The Espresso

Enjoy the process of making coffee with these manual espresso machines.

manual pump coffee machine

by Ellen Kinsey |
Updated on

The best manual pump coffee machine elevates making an espresso into a ritual. With all the advanced technology around these days, rich and delicious espresso can be poured into a cup with a touch of a button. So what is the purpose of having an old-school manual coffee machine? Well, manual pump espresso machines come with a process that can be gratifying to many hobbyist baristas. If you are looking to master the art of espresso making, we have rounded up the best manual pump coffee machines so you can take complete control over your brew.

Manual espresso makers allow you to have total control over the taste of espresso and come with a sense of undisputable café nostalgia if you have ever seen an espresso machine sitting behind the bar at a café while on your holiday in the Mediterranean, you will know exactly what we mean.

If you are looking to up your game and move on from filter coffee, coffee pods and automatic coffee machines, read on to find out all about manual coffee machines and why taking it back to basics can be highly satisfying. And if you want to know more about the different types of espresso-making machines, scroll to the FAQs at the end of this article.

Best Manual Pump Coffee Machine At A Glance:

Best value manual pump coffee machine: Flair Neo Espresso Maker - Buy now from Amazon
Best for efficiency: Flair 58 - Buy now from COFFEE FRIEND
Best overall manual pump coffee machine: EspressoGC, By ROK Coffee - Buy now from Amazon

So, if you are an espresso enthusiast and love the process of coffee making and the trough ritual from bean to up, here are the best manual pump coffee machines for your home.

Best Manual Pump Coffee Machine

Best value manual pump coffee machine

Flair Espresso Maker
Price: $165.00

There is something so gratifying about handcrafting a perfect shot of espresso, and the Flair Manual Press produces professional-quality espresso shots instantly in your home. It is entirely manual, with no plugs or electronics required and contains a completely detachable brewing head, making this patented design easy to clean and rinse.

You can also purchase an additional pressure kit with an add-on gauge. The Flair Pressure Kit supplies everything needed for precise all-manual brewing of espresso, and the custom pressure gauge allows for immediate feedback during the extraction of your shot.

Customer review: "It's a manual press, so it takes some time to prepare a coffee, but if you love making a great coffee, then you reap the benefits. This makes easily the best home coffee I've had, and it packs away should you be the sort of person who wants to take it camping or take it away with you.


  • Straightforward to use
  • The piston has the ideal amount of pressure for espresso
  • Comes with a 5-year warranty


  • It needs to be washed after each espresso brewed

Best for efficiency

The Flair 58 is the fifth type of Flair espresso maker ranging from the basic Neo to the Flair Pro 2, and has electrical components that the other models don't have. In prior models, preheating was time-consuming, so the new and improved Flair 58 takes the strengths of the basic espresso machine and adds to it to better the ergonomics and workflow of the device.

The all-around top model is fitted with a portafilter and electrical heating for stable temperatures to whip up several consecutive espresso shots. It also has two features you would typically find only on boiler-driven machines: a manometer, or pressure gauge, and an electrical heater to stabilise the chamber temperature for shot consistency. Plus, the product is incredibly well-built with wooden handles. So if you're serious about your espresso, this model is one of the very best.

Customer review: N/A


  • Better workflow than previous Flair models
  • The 58mm portafilter is better for a broader range of espresso accessories
  • Comes with a 5-year warranty


  • Significantly more expensive than other Flair models

Best overall manual pump coffee machine

This award-winning manual espresso maker is developed with a unique design. All you need to do is press down firmly on both wings to extract a delicious espresso. This ROK EspressoGC machine has no electric pumps or motors that wear out but instead uses a simple mechanical design to stand the test of time. Only requiring ground coffee, this machine uses no one-use coffee pods or packaging making it a fantastic sustainable option. The set comes with a portafilter, coffee tamper, clip-on double adapter and instructions.

Customer review: "Easy way to make Espresso at home."


  • Modern design
  • Durable and portable
  • 10-year warranty on metal parts


  • Better for longer brews or milk-based coffees

Best café style manual pump coffee machine

Manual espresso machines are for the purists out there, and La Pavoni is a renowned name in the espresso world. Some would say the brand is the epitome of Italian espresso elegance. Recently acquired by the Smeg group, "La Pavoni" was first started by a Milanese man named Desiderio Pavoni was the first to produce commercial espresso machines back in 1905, and for a long time, La Pavoni was the manufacturer of espresso machines.

In terms of its performance, it takes around ten minutes for it to warm up, it can deliver up to 16 cups of espresso with a 1.6-litre water tank, and the auto-frother is easy to use. A little Steampunk in styling, this machine has all the elements you could want from a classic Italian cafe espresso machine and will be satisfying for those willing to put in the time to learn how to use it well.

Customer review: N/A


  • Stylish and functional
  • Notable brand
  • Excellent performance


  • Be careful when using as it is a little top-heavy - with a full water tank using the lever can make the La Pavoni tip over

Best premium manual pump coffee machine

Coffee connoisseurs who enjoy the ritual of coffee making will adore this manual espresso machine - designed according to the oldest traditional espresso coffee machines. This ornamental machine is a striking kitchen feature and oozes espresso nostalgia.

The machine includes a built-in heater, so it can be filled with either cold or hot water, and it also features a steam pressure gauge and sight glass. This allows you to monitor the boiler's temperature and water level. Plus, the spring piston is easier to work than some other lever machines.

Adorned with a metal eagle, this coffee machine may not be for everyone, but if you are drawn to its bright exterior, then this coffee machine may be the practical work of art you have been looking for. Made in Elektra's factory in Treviso, Italy, this model resembles the coffee makers of the 1950s and also comes with a manual frother for the perfect cup made with heart.

Customer review: N/A


  • Premium and stylish product
  • The spring lever has a more consistent brew process
  • Large capacity


  • Heating parts are directly exposed - use with caution

Best portable espresso machine

If you're looking for a small, inexpensive espresso maker you can use at the office or take with you on trips or camping, the STARESSO Portable Espresso Maker will keep you supplied with good-quality shots with a little effort. It includes three high-impact plastic parts: a lower portafilter head containing the ground coffee with a removable metal filter basket, a metal-lined centre chamber filled with boiling hot water and a cover that includes a plunger mechanism. It's compact, easy to use and makes an excellent gift for coffee lovers on the go.

Customer review: "Absolutely incredible little espresso machine. Perfect BAR for the perfect shot. Easy setup and cleaning, great crema on top and excellent-tasting espresso. Highly recommend this product."


  • Perfect for travel, camping or on the go
  • Well constructed with a sturdy, functional stand
  • Affordable


  • Requires assembly and disassembly each time

OUR VERDICT: What Is The Best Manual Pump Coffee Machine?

If you are looking for the most affordable option that will get you rich handcrafted espresso, our top choice would be the Rok EspressoGC - it is highly practical, with an innovative design and is entirely manual. However, for coffee hobbyists, you can't go wrong with the pure elegance and nostalgia of the La Pavoni Lever Handle Coffee Maker.

FAQs: Best Manual Pump Coffee Machines

What are manual pump coffee machines?

Manual pump coffee machines or manual espresso makers are almost always fully manual. You will need to do everything from grinding and tamping to operating a lever to generate the pressure required to pull your shot. While they require a high skill level, they offer complete control over every aspect of the coffee brewing process.

There are no buttons on these machines, and they have some kind of lever or handles that you will use to drive the water through the coffee grounds. This is how the first espresso machine worked before the invention of automatic machines, where a pump and water pressure were used to flush water through the espresso shot.

Before we take a look at the best manual pump coffee machines on the market, there are a few things to consider when selecting your purchase. Here is our guide to the different types of espresso machines and the two pump types you will find on the models we have listed.

What are the different types of espresso machines?

Automatic: These espresso machines are fully automated. They can grind, tamp, pull a shot, and sometimes steam your milk for you - with just a push of a button. They don't require particular skills, but you need to pay more for convenience.

The semi-automatic: Partly automated - these machines require you to grind, tamp and steam the milk, but also have a mechanical pump that generates the nine bars of pressure needed to pull the shot. They are perhaps the most standard coffee machines on the market and require a medium skill level.

The manual pump or lever_:_ These espresso makers are fully manual, so you do everything from grinding and tamping to operating a lever to produce the pressure needed to pull your shot. Although they do require a high level of skill, they allow complete control over every aspect of the brewing process. So if you enjoy the ritualistic process, this article focuses on the best manual espresso machines on the market.

What are the two types of manual espresso machines?

Spring Piston: Spring piston machines are more convenient and have consistent pressure from shot to shot. These espresso makers have a calibrated spring in the group head that drives the water through your coffee grounds for you. Once you pull down on the lever, the spring slowly comes back up, forcing water through the ground.

Direct Lever: Direct lever espresso machines use a lever to apply pressure to the water as it extracts espresso. The user has complete control over the pressure, speed and volume. These types tend to be the most popular among coffee aficionados but do take practice to master, so shots may not always be as consistent as machines with spring pistons.

Are lever espresso machines better?

This depends on your preference, but one thing that lever espresso machines do better is putting you in control of all elements of the brewing process. From packing the filter to pulling the shot and steaming the milk, a lever espresso machine requires you to be entirely hand on.

How much pressure does an espresso machine have?

An espresso machine has at least nine bars of pressure at the puck (the coffee grounds in the filter basket) to be considered espresso.

Is drinking coffee healthy?

We can't deny that for some, coffee is an essential part of our lives and daily routine. It helps us feel more awake, productive, and alert throughout the day. There are also plenty of health benefits too; BBC Good Food says it may "help you live longer, it can boost your metabolism, and it may support your brain function". It's important to note that according to the NHS, pregnant women should limit their caffeine consumption to "200mg per day".

Ellen Kinsey is a senior health and wellness product writer for A Modern Kitchen, specialising in sustainable living and healthy cooking. She lives and breathes all things food, travel and wellness.

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