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

Wednesday, July 13

Espresso machine test

Todays morning cappuccino Originally uploaded by audunso.

Elektra Micro Casa a Leva has been a subject of comparative testing at kaffe.no (norwegian article). 47 different espresso machines have been tested.

What is "Norsk Kaffeinformasjon" (NKI)? They are giving out information about coffee, every subject being covered or mentioned. They are also the organisation for the norwegian coffee business, and its members produce or sell almost all coffee in Norway. The members are coffee bars, cafés and also the big industrial roasting companies. NKI dates back to 1962. Drip coffee machines that are approved by NKI are equipped with an NKI sticker. They do an important job for improving the quality of drip coffee, in particular, but also for other types of coffee being served all around Norway. Their information brouchures are found in every coffee store, and they do a good job informing customers.

This new espresso machine test is only half good, I would say (I think their drip coffee machine testing has more to it). NKI is an organisation for the entire coffee business in Norway. For this reason they sometimes "hide" information that they could have stated more clearly (e.g. about the quality of industrially roasted and preground coffee). In this espresso machine test, they do not say it out loud that owning a grinder and using it correctly is a must for producing good espresso. But they DO say that preground coffee is ground too course for proper espresso. They have also tested the machines with a finer grind quality, but in the case of Elektra Micro Casa a Leva this grind quality is too course (12-15 s brew time), and they judge the espresso a 3 out of 6. They have noticed that the temperature starts out from "perfect" and ends up too high for later shots, as is true.

A perfect test set-up would imply a more active use of the grinder, and a serious effort to get the best from every machine. I have never seen that being done, other than at Coffegeek.com. But NKI is not running tests for the coffeegeeks, but mostly for people who don´t know much about espresso and are likely to go into the glass warehouse and buy whatever they are told to buy by people who don´t know what espresso really is. In this case, NKIs test is good and quiet appropriate in its choice of parameters. Every norwegian newspaper is going to quote this test in the coming years.

The Elektras steaming abilities gets a 5 out of 6, which is good. Rancilio Silvia gets a 6 out of 6, and I can´t really see why Elektra doesn´t get a 6, then, since its steamer has very much the same qualities as Silvias, but is always ready to steam.

The winner of the semi-automatics category is Rancilio Silvia and Isomac Zaffiro. There´s nothing wrong about that conclusion; those espresso machines are great :-) I have owned a Silvia myself. Price is not a test parameter, but this would have favoured Rancilio Silvia even more.

The Elektra will never win such a test. Elektra Micro Casa a Leva is for the very interested enthusiasts, who emphasize the machines elegance and who have enough interest to do an extra effort to make it perform well, admitting or even appreciating its eccentricities.

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