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Elektra Microcasa Review: Fly High With This Classic Beauty!

Hi! My name is Arne. Having spent years working as a barista I'm now on a mission to bring more good coffee to the people. To that end, my team and I provide you with a broad knowledge base on the subject of coffee.

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If there’s anything that makes my heart sing, it’s an old-fashioned Italian lever machine. Consequently, I am thrilled to be writing this Elektra Microcasa review.

If there’s anything that makes my heart sing, it’s an old-fashioned Italian lever machine. Consequently, I am thrilled to be writing this Elektra Microcasa review.

You know I love the touchscreens and fancy features of super automatic espresso machines, but there’s something so special about a classic manual espresso maker. Maybe it’s because it challenges me to fine-tune my barista skills.

So, without further ado, allow me to introduce a machine that does just that: the elegant Elektra Microcasa. Let’s get into it!

Sumptuous manual espresso maker

Elektra Microcasa a Leva

Push your barista skills to the max

Stunning design

Handmade in Italy

Makes great espresso

Ideal for espresso nerds

Rather small portafilter

Overview: Elektra Microcasa Review

First off, let’s establish a bit of ethos. Elektra is an Italian company that’s been around the espresso block since 1947, led by founder Umberto Fregnan. The Microcasa model in particular was first introduced in the 1980s and has seen several improvements since then.

As it happens, all Elektra Microcasa machines are hand-made in Italy. I’d say that takes the term “manual espresso maker” to the next level! Plus, it feels pretty neat that these little machines were handled with so much care and intention even before getting to their final user.

Anyway, I’m not here to wax poetic about the many hands at work in this global coffee industry – though I could do that all day. Instead, let’s get back to this Elektra Microcasa review.

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✔ Easy-to-follow guide demystifying the espresso-making process

✔ Clear explanations of each step to avoid confusion and frustration

✔ Proven methods to consistently achieve a smooth, flavorful shot

As I mentioned, the Microcasa is a lever machine. In other words, pulling shots with the Microcasa isn’t as simple as just locking a portafilter into a group head and pressing a button.

Rather, to pull a shot you literally pull the brew lever down to press on the piston, then release it. This process, paired with the brass and copper finishes and the brass eagle perched atop the machine, brings you that much closer to being the old-school Italian barista of your dreams.

That said, the Elektra Microcasa has some features that make it accessible for modern users. And it had better, considering its $1,749 asking price!

For example, it has a heating element, brass boiler, cup warmer, steam wand and so on. It’s just much more low-tech than modern home espresso machines. But that’s all part of the draw!

Plus, the Microcasa’s compact and beautiful design is hard not to love. Even better, it produces spectacular espresso and steamed milk – with a bit of patience and elbow grease on your part, that is.

Elektra Microcasa Features

Now that you know the basics of this Elektra Microcasa review, let’s dig a little deeper. There’s a lot to discuss here, so buckle up!

Size and Design

Elektra Microcasa a Leva Size and Design

If you’re a regular Coffeeness reader, you know that I always start with design in these espresso machine reviews. Still, the Elektra Microcasa practically begs me to address the elephant (or eagle) in the room: this thing is so cool!

That said, I’ll admit that the design of the Microcasa is pretty hit or miss, depending on your preferences. I happen to like its narrow silhouette, copper and brass finishes, wooden handles and decorative eagle. What’s more, the brass 10-inch (25-centimeter) round base doubles as an espresso cup warmer for one or two cups; a really nice touch.

At the same time, I can see why some folks may be put off by the over-the-top classic design. Plus, I tend to be partial to shiny stainless steel, which isn’t present on this machine.

Either way, the Elektra Microcasa definitely knows its aesthetic, and it’s going all in. Those of you that want a manual lever machine but aren’t so keen on the Microcasa’s design may want to consider the La Pavoni Professional instead, since it has a more subtle vibe.

While I’m on the subject, I should mention that the Microcasa’s copper and brass body will develop a greenish-blue patina over time. If you’re not into that, La Pavoni has some chrome models that may be more up your alley. Though I think a well-worn machine looks pretty cool, as long as all the parts are still functional.

On that note, the Elektra Microcasa should last you for years, thanks to its durable build. More on that in a second.

Finally, the Microcasa is compact and pretty lightweight, weighing only 22 pounds (10 kilograms). However, you definitely can’t store it under any overhanging cabinets, since it’s 18 inches (46 centimeters) tall at the eagle and 21 inches (53 centimeters) tall at the tip of the lever.

Construction Materials

As I mentioned, the Elektra Microcasa is composed largely of copper and brass. This is obvious from the external finish of the machine, though these materials make up much of the internal components as well.

One notable exception is the steam wand, which seems to be made of stainless steel, though I could be wrong. Oh, and the brew lever and portafilters have wood handles, of course.

As it happens, both copper and brass are durable materials with great heat retention, making them quite commonplace in espresso machines. Again, you should be aware that copper and brass will develop a patina over time. Since this process is natural, discoloration is not covered under the two-year warranty.

If copper isn’t your style, you can shell out for the chrome and brass model instead. Though personally, I don’t think the chrome is worth the extra few hundred bucks.

Spring Piston Lever

Elektra Microcasa a Leva Lever

Now it’s time to discuss what makes the Elektra Microcasa a manual lever machine. At this point, it should be pretty obvious: the brew lever.

But there’s a bit more to it than that. That’s usually the case with coffee things, isn’t it?

So, when you pull the lever down it compresses a spring piston. Once you release the lever, the piston forces hot water through the portafilter. Meanwhile, the lever slowly returns to its original position.

Needless to say, this is a very quiet operation. Unless you happen to let out some tennis grunts while pulling shots, that is.

Even better, the Microcasa’s spring piston lever provides you with some creamy shots and terrific crema. Still, it’ll take some practice to dial in your grind, tamping technique and lever pressure to pull the perfect shot.

Pressure Gauge

On a similar note, the Elektra Microcasa has a stylish pressure gauge for monitoring the steam pressure in the boiler. Incidentally, the pressure gauge offers a useful metric for knowing when the boiler is ready to brew espresso. Plus, it’s helpful for dialing in your grind, working on your tamping technique and revising your brew pressure.

Portafilter

Elektra Microcasa a Leva Portafilter

Unfortunately, the 49-millimeter split portafilter is my least favorite aspect of the Elektra Microcasa. Perhaps I’m being a bit picky here, but let me explain.

For starters, 49 millimeters is quite small in the modern context. After all, you can’t reasonably expect to pull a quality double shot with a portafilter of that size. So, you’re stuck with single shots.

What’s worse, the split spouts are not very aesthetically pleasing, resembling the spouts of budget espresso makers. But this is certainly not a budget machine! I’d recommend investing in a bottomless portafilter to replace the split portafilter, though you’ll have to do some sleuthing to find one that fits the 49-millimeter group.

Similarly, finding accessories that will fit the portafilter may be a bit difficult, too. More on that a bit later in this Elektra Microcasa review.

Finally, I’ll give the Microcasa points for having a nice wood handle. Unfortunately, that’s about where my compliments begin and end.

Boiler

Let’s keep this Elektra Microcasa review moving with a bit of positivity, shall we? The Microcasa features a 34 ounce (1.8-liter) brass boiler. Thanks to the 800 watt heating element, the Microcasa can be warmed up and ready to brew in 10 to 15 minutes.

By the way, you fill the boiler by unscrewing a cap on the top. Then, the sightglass below the pressure gauge shows the water level. You’ll have to take care not to under- or over-fill the boiler, otherwise the pressurestat won’t work as intended.

Anyway, the boiler is a pretty generous size, allowing you to pull several shots before having to refill it. That’s a good thing, because before refilling the boiler you have to turn off the machine, make sure all the pressure is released and let the heating element cool down. Needless to say, you won’t want to go through that process in the midst of a brunch party.

Steam Wand

I’ll be honest, I was surprised to see a steam wand on this baby, given its compact size. But sure enough, the Elektra Microcasa is great for espresso enthusiasts and cappuccino connoisseurs alike!

As it happens, the steam wand has impressive steaming power, which you regulate using the plastic dial. Plus, it looks to be stainless steel, though the product page isn’t clear on that fact.

Obviously, you’re paying for this extra feature; plenty of manual espresso makers don’t have a steam wand. Consequently, if steamed milk isn’t important to you, you could go with a more affordable model.

For example, the ROK Espresso Maker and Flair Espresso Maker are both strong contenders in the manual espresso maker market and are significantly less expensive than the Microcasa.

What’s more, they’re both relatively easy to use once you get the hang of things. Even better, they produce deliciously creamy espresso when operated by a skilled home barista.

Then, you can add an independent milk frother to your collection for those occasional hankerings for cappuccinos or lattes.

Accessories

You won’t be surprised to hear that this lever machine falls short on the espresso accessories game, especially when compared to the loaded goodie bags of high-end prosumer espresso machines.

Still, there are a few extra bits and pieces worth mentioning. Now, whether I have anything good to say about them is another thing.

Beyond the obvious portafilter and filter basket, the Elektra Microcasa comes with an instructional manual, a flimsy 48-millimeter tamper and a plastic coffee scoop.

I’m tempted to say you should just throw all of this in the trash upon arrival, but the instructional manual could come in handy every so often. As for the espresso tamper and coffee scoop? Well, those can go.

As always, I recommend using a coffee scale instead of a scoop to dose your espresso beans. But in the case of the lackluster tamper, you’ll be hard pressed to find many options for a metal replacement.

Again, this is due to the unusual size of the portafilter. There are certainly quality tampers out there, you just won’t have as many brands or materials to choose from.

How to Use the Elektra Microcasa

I won’t say that using the Elektra Microcasa is simple, because it’s not. As I mentioned a few times in this Elektra Microcasa review, this is a lever machine, after all.

Still, once you put in some training hours, I’m confident that any home barista should be able to get the hang of the Microcasa.

First, unscrew the cap to fill the boiler with filtered water, then put the cap back on and turn on the machine. While you wait the 10 to 15 minutes for the machine to preheat, be sure to set your espresso or cappuccino cup on the drip tray so that it can warm up too.

Elektra Microcasa a Leva Pulling Espresso

Once the machine is all ready to go, it’s a good idea to do a quick cooling flush by pulling water through the group head. This is to ensure that the group isn’t too hot for your shot of espresso.

Next, grind some coffee beans into your portafilter using a quality espresso grinder. Again, the Microcasa has a small portafilter, so make sure you’re only prepping a single shot dose. 

Distribute and tamp the coffee bed, then insert the portafilter into the group head. Now comes the fun part! Pull down on the brew lever to begin the extraction, then release it. Soon, espresso will start burbling out of the portafilter spouts!

If you aren’t happy with your first shot, don’t worry – that’s normal for lever machines. It’ll take a bit of practice, but keep at it!

Here’s a tip: while you get used to the process of lever machines, use cheaper espresso grounds so you’re not wasting shot after shot of your single origin espresso. Once you’re a bit more practiced you can switch back to the good stuff.

Elektra Microcasa Cleaning

Regular Coffeeness readers should know by now that cleaning and descaling espresso machines is hardly a chore. Hey, if you have the desire to drink fresh espresso, you’re already halfway there!

Beyond that, all you need is a few key materials and a bit of time. Unfortunately, Elektra doesn’t include a cleaning kit with this espresso machine, so you’ll have to build your own kit.

As it happens, everything you need is pretty inexpensive. For starters, a couple microfiber cleaning cloths should be your best friends, since you can use them for everything from polishing your espresso machine to sopping up spilled milk.

What’s more, a nylon cleaning brush would be useful for cleaning the portafilter baskets, shower screen and gaskets.

As far as the boiler goes, it’s best to fill it with filtered water as a preventative measure. But when it’s time to descale the boiler, a citric acid-based descaler is a good bet, though plain old vinegar works too.

Elektra Microcasa Technical Specifications

Elektra Microcasa a Leva
Manufacturer

Elektra

Model number

S1

Product category

Manual espresso machine

Housing material

Color options

Chrome and Brass, Chrome, Copper and Brass

Milk frother

Steam wand

User interface

None

App

User profiles

Memo function only

Portafilter size

49 mm

Tamping

Manual

Removable water reservoir

Water reservoir capacity

N/A

Number of boilers

1

Pump pressure

Maximum cup height

3.0 in / 7.6 cm

Grinder

N/A

Grind adjustment levels

N/A

Bean hopper capacity

N/A

Specialty drinks

1

Pre-infusion

Adjustable coffee temperature

Adjustable milk foam temperature

2-cup function

Yes (non-milk drinks only)

Hot water function

Hot milk function

Milk foam only option

Water filter

Power consumption

850 W

Weight

22.3 lb / 10.1 kg

Dimensions

19.5 x 10.5 x 10.5 in
49.5 x 26.7 x 26.7 cm

Warranty

2 years

Notes

Included Accessories: User manual, filter baskets, coffee scoop, tamper

All specifications

Elektra Microcasa vs La Pavoni Professional

Arne Pavoni

I already mentioned the La Pavoni Professional earlier in my Elektra Microcasa review, so it’s time to put these two machines head-to-head.

For starters, with its $1,202.93 price tag, the La Pavoni machine is significantly more affordable than the Microcasa. And honestly, I can’t see why!

After all, these machines offer practically identical features, with some minor differences in the size and design. So, is it worth shelling out more for the Elektra Microcasa? Let’s see.

First, the similarities. Both the Microcasa and the La Pavoni Professional are compact lever machines with boilers, sight glasses, pressure gauges and quality steam wands. What’s more, they both heat up very quickly, yet have the unfortunate quirk of needing to cool down before the boiler can be refilled.

As you can see, these machines are functionally very similar. In fact, a novice barista may not even be able to tell the difference between the two!

That said, as I mentioned at the start of my Elektra Microcasa review, the aesthetics of these two machines are very different. The Microcasa has an ornate and classic design with copper and brass finishes. Controversially, it’s also got an eagle perched on the top of the machine.

On the other hand, the La Pavoni Professional is much more modern and sleek, with a chrome finish. But despite the modern touches, it’s still got the classic feel of a lever machine.

My two cents? The La Pavoni Professional is a better choice, if only for its more approachable price tag. However, if you have a dedicated affinity for brass and eagles, you already know what to do.

See Also: La Pavoni Professional Review

Verdict: Elektra Microcasa Review

Sumptuous manual espresso maker

Elektra Microcasa a Leva

Push your barista skills to the max

Stunning design

Handmade in Italy

Makes great espresso

Ideal for espresso nerds

Rather small portafilter

Overall, I’d say the Elektra Microcasa is a great lever espresso machine. I’ll admit that I won’t be trading in my beloved Gaggia Classic Pro anytime soon, but I’d be more than happy to pull some shots on this baby when I’m in the mood to feel like a pro.

That said, I wouldn’t blame you if you’re totally put off by the flashy brass and eagle aesthetic. Elektra is certainly going for a niche market with that design, but they can’t win them all.

Have you ever used a classic lever espresso machine? Any tips or tricks on how to use one like a pro? Or do you have any thoughts on the history behind the eagle imagery on these machines? Let’s chat in the comments section below!

Your coffee expert
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Arne Preuss

Hi! My name is Arne. Having spent years working as a barista I'm now on a mission to bring more good coffee to the people. To that end, my team and I provide you with a broad knowledge base on the subject of coffee.

More about Arne Preuss

Hi! My name is Arne. Having spent years working as a barista I'm now on a mission to bring more good coffee to the people. To that end, my team and I provide you with a broad knowledge base on the subject of coffee.

More about Arne Preuss

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