The Elektra Micro Casa a Leva home espresso blog

The Elektra Micro Casa a leva is a beautiful home espresso machine. But is it capable of making great coffee? Follow my pursuit of ultimate espresso coffee as I learn to use this exciting machine.

Location: Trondheim, Norway

Thursday, March 31

Great improvement

Things are going much, much better. I'm learning fast, thanks to my experience with other machines (Silvia and la Valentina). I still concentrate about making double ristrettos (forgetting about introducing more water in the middle of the shot) and I have been quiet happy about some of my shots.

Double ristretto. Ottolina Classica blend.

When the spring is loaded and water is introduced into the group head, the volume of the shot will pretty much be decided, unless you take the cups away before the spring finishes the shot. The volume of the double ristretto is just below 30 ml, and thus can be described as a pretty short ristretto. Nothing wrong about that :-)

I've been experimenting with the grind and the tamp. I'm leaving the dosing out of the question till later (all I've done is to make sure that there's room for swelling of the coffee below the dispersion screen, checking that there's about 1 mm clearance when applying what I would consider a "standard" dose and tamp). I'm getting the best results when tamping pretty hard (18-20 kg pressure) and adjusting the grind to make a 20-24 second shot. That gives some dripping in the beginning of the shot, but mostly a steady stream of espresso. How the coffee should flow is very dependent on the blend you're using! I have tried a lighter tamp and a finer grind, but I get less crema and it is too light, so it seems that a firm tamp works better with this coffee.

Every shot has less crema than I get with a pump machine with this coffee. But it's a nice coloured crema, and how the crema looks is much more important than the amount of crema. I guess the amount of crema can be contributed to the fact that a spring gives a "pump pressure" starting at 8-9 bars and gradually going down towards zero bars at the end of the shot. An electrical pump gives 8-9 bars throughout the shot, which will release more insoluble substances and thereby give more crema in the cup. Can this be a problem with spring piston machines? Well, I won't know until I've tried different coffee blends, but maybe it can exclude some blends that are already weak on crema. Some of these may be 100% arabica blends. But I don't know yet. More experience is needed.

The taste profile of the coffee is what really occupies my mind now! I'm dying to try another coffee, just to check out which of the flavours can be contributed to the lever machine (i.e. typical of a lever machine). There is a very noticeable difference in taste between the Micro Casa and my vibratory pump machine. It tastes LESS somehow, but it is still very pleasant and with a longlasting taste. It lacks some of the punch I'm accustomed to, but it is different in a way that is still acceptable. I hope to extend my vocabulary after testing other coffee types....


Blogger Jimmy said...

Hi Audun,

Nice work with the page and the machine... I like many others are always curious about lever machines.

From using the vintage pavoni, I found you needed to tamp a lot harder or grind finer to get shots with a lot of crema - but things might be different with your elektra. Gorgeous machine, btw - and keep up the awesome work!


10:57 PM  
Anonymous Audun said...


I have always been curious about lever machines, too. There are a lot of cheap second-hand la Pavoni machines in Norway (people buy them for the looks, I guess!), so it's quiet likely that I will buy one in the future. I don't know if there's any Elektra owners in Norway. Maybe some italian immigrants have got one? I'm happy about the Elektra so far, and I will try to keep up the good work :-)

8:46 AM  

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