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.

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Location: Trondheim, Norway

Monday, June 13

A short summary after three months with the Elektra

My first machine, purchased in 2001, was a Rancilio Silvia with a dual purpose boiler. The Silvia is a very good machine, and it was the Silvia that really triggered my interest in espresso coffee. I never reached the full potential of that machine before curiosity made me buy a heat exchanger (HX) machine, a la Valentina arte di Vittoria. I still own my la Valentina, and I won´t sell it.

Originally uploaded by audunso.

But I bought an Elektra Micro Casa a Leva, again out of curiosity. So, am I happy with the lever machine after three months? A little summary of things that I find important:

Taste (Remember that little of this would hold true if I didn´t have a proper grinder!)

-The taste profile of the shots took me some time to truly appreciate. The taste is very clean, but with less flavour than I was used to. It is a little like being used to press pot coffee, and then be introduced to filter coffee. It tastes less because it is less. But it is a matter of taste and habit, and making espresso is about extracting the taste compounds that are desirable, not as many of them as possible. The result with the Elektra is a very pleasant-tasting brew.

-The Elektra generally produces less crema than with a pump driven machine. Robusta coffee gives more crema, and blends with a high robusta content taste MUCH better on the Elektra than they do on a pump machine. There are other ways that may lead to decent looking crema –to use fresh roasted coffee, just after it has finished its resting period, is an obvious one.

-If the Elektra is operated without introducing more water into the brew chamber halfways into the shot (by lowering the lever once again 5-10 seconds into the pull) it will in fact be a ristretto machine, rather than an espresso machine, because it produces 2 x 15 ml espresso coffee and not 2 x 30 ml which is the «standard» espresso volume (from 14 grams of coffee). There´s nothing wrong about that -a more concentrated shot can be really wonderful and sweet, and in my opinion it really suits the taste profile of a lever machine.

Milk

-Getting the milk perfect is easy with the Elektra. Its steamer is as good as Rancilio Silvia´s, actually better, because it is always ready to steam. The resulting milk is very sweet, sweeter than with the Valentina. Is this because it is quicker? I don´t know, but it sounds reasonable because a fast warm-up of the milk may lead to more degraded sugar chains, giving more mono- and disaccharides.

Daily use

The machine warms up really fast, 10-11 minutes, making coffee preparation quiet spontaneous. But if you want a second cappuccino a little later, well, than the machine is too warm and you should wait a couple of hours till it has cooled down. All other machines than lever machines don´t share this dilemma. If your coffee drinking habits have turned italian style, a quick espresso now and then and a cappuccino by the counter in the morning, this machine is right for you. But if drinking two or three milk drinks or americanos while reading the newspaper or watching TV is important for you, then buy a pump machine (or do like me: Own two machines :-) ).

Cleaning the Elektra seems to be fairly easy -just run some water through after use and use a cloth to get rid of grinds clinging to the gasket. Every two- or three weeks it will be necessary with detergent cleaning, a ritual that takes 15 minutes.

Operation

Needless to say, operating a lever machine is fun, much more fun than operating any machine with only buttons.

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Originally uploaded by audunso.

So far, I am glad I bought the Elektra, and I believe I would think the same if I had only one machine. Because it warms up fast, I prepare and drink more coffee than I ever did before (my espresso drinking habits have become very italian).

I have fun operating the lever. And I like what the coffee tastes like.

I look forward to move to Oslo in August, and introduce the lever machine to my friends in Oslo. I´m really curious what they will think ☺

The apartment I have bought in Oslo is just 200 metres from Cortado, the store where I bought the Elektra. I look forward to visit the store for a chat ☺

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very very good!
Enrico

1:57 AM  

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