6 Best Elektra Espresso Machines (Reviews + Buying Guide)
With so many Italian espresso machine manufacturers vying for your attention, it’s not easy for one to stand out from the crowd. But Elektra has managed that feat with impressive aesthetics, remarkable attention to detail, and a diversity of models.
You can find vintage copper-and-brass designs or Bluetooth connectivity. You can find massive commercial models or compact home designs. No matter what, however, you’re going to find impeccable craftsmanship and delicious coffee.
At A Glance:
The 6 Best Elektra Espresso Machines in 2023
In this section, we’ll dive into the key details that make each Elektra espresso machine noteworthy. Whether it’s capacity, operating style, or aesthetic appeal, they all have distinct characteristics that make them ideal in different contexts. Let’s get to it!
|Elektra Micro Casa Semiautomatica||
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|Elektra Micro Casa a Leva||
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|Elektra Mini Verticale||
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|Elektra Belle Epoque||
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The Elektra Micro Casa Semiautomatica keeps the old-school style of the Leva, but incorporates more modern technology. So while you lose the hands-on feel of the lever, you gain a machine that’s easier to use, especially for crafting milky drinks.
The Semiautomatica is available in two finishes, either chrome or copper and brass, and like the Leva is topped with the Elektra eagle. The latest edition has been upgraded with beautiful accessories, like a wooden portafilter handle. It’s base is about the same size as the Leva, but because this model is topped with a 2-liter metal water reservoir, it’s a few inches taller.
As the name suggests, the Elektra Micro Casa Semiautomatica is a semi-automatic espresso machine. A vibration pump generates the necessary extraction pressure, but the barista maintains responsibility for shot timing. This model relies on a heat exchange boiler, a massive bonus for lovers of lattes and cappuccinos. Unlike Leva’s single boiler, the heat exchanger allows you to pull a shot and steam milk simultaneously.
The Elektra Micro Casa a Leva is a small, vintage-style lever espresso machine. It blends the best of traditional design with modern technology for a brewing experience that many experts, including Max Haydon of Perfect Daily Grind, say is unmatched (2). In particular, they leave the barista fully in control.
If a certain coffee needs a longer pre-infusion or extracts more flavour with a distinct pressure profile, it is easy to do this. They allow creativity and experimentation.
The look of the Elektra Micro Casa a Leva is iconic, harkening from the early days of espresso machines. It’s available in three finishes: chrome, chrome and brass, and copper and brass. The latter, which includes beautiful wooden accents, is the standout of the bunch. All are topped with the instantly identifiable soaring eagle emblematic of Elektra machines.
The Elektra Micro Casa a Leva has no water tank, but the large 1.8 liter brass boiler can prepare enough consecutive drinks to satisfy the average household. A window on the side makes it easy to monitor the water level in the boiler, and a built-in safety thermostat means it won’t sustain damage if you accidentally let it run dry.
As a single boiler, you can’t brew and steam at the same time. This, combined with the absence of a water reservoir, means that this machine is better suited to those who prefer espressos and Americanos. That said, if you do make the occasional milky drink, like a latte or cappuccino, you’ll be impressed with the quality of the steam.
There is no pump needed in this machine, which makes it not only affordable but pleasantly quiet. The pressure is generated by pulling the spring-loaded lever, while a pressure gauge gives you constant feedback as you strive for the perfect shot.
Elektra released the Verve, their first modern-style prosumer machine, to much fanfare in 2019. So far, it has lived up to expectations. Howard Bryman of Daily Coffee News had this to say about it upon its release (1).
The Verve is particularly notable for its contrast to the rest of Elektra’s consumer and prosumer machines, which for the most part have leaned on more classic, vintage designs.
The Verve is also the brand’s first double-boiler espresso machine, able to brew coffee and steam milk simultaneously using a 0.15 L brew boiler and a 1.6 L steam boiler, both stainless steel. It’s fully certified and durable enough to be used as a commercial machine, though the relatively small boilers mandate low volume use.
What you’ll notice first about the Elektra Verve is its gorgeous style. While its core is the same stainless steel wrap you’ll find on most prosumer machines, Elektra adds beautiful wooden side panels and accents set off by industrial-looking angled metal legs.
The Verve offers Bluetooth connectivity, so you can use your smartphone to set boiler temperatures, preinfusion time, manage cleaning cycles, and more. This functionality will likely be standard practice in the future, but so far, this is one of few home coffee machines with the technology.
It relies on a saturated group head rather than the far more common E61 group, which yields improved temperature stability while pricey. A rotary pump allows it to be plumbed directly to a water line, which makes sense for heavy or commercial users. However, if you prefer to use the water reservoir, it’s one of the largest in its class, measuring 5 liters.
Looking for an alternative Italian-made double boiler? Check out our Vesuvius espresso machine review.
The Mini Verticale is the at-home version of Elektra’s iconic commercial machine, the Belle Epoque, which we’ll discuss below. It mimics the larger model in many ways, the most obvious of which is the cup warmer integrated into the machine. Not only is this appealing from a style perspective, but it’s a practical feature missing from both Micro Casa models.
At this price point, it’s a bit surprising not to find a heat exchanger. It’s a semi-automatic espresso machine with a 2-liter water reservoir and a single 2-liter boiler used for brewing and steaming. It would be nice to be able to brew and steam simultaneously.
The design of the Mini Verticale is stunning. Available in chrome or copper/brass and topped with a rounded dome and soaring eagle, it’s sure to be the focal point of any room. Be aware that it’s notably larger than either of the Mini Casa models, both in height and diameter. This is not a subtle espresso machine. It’s built to be a showpiece, so choose its location carefully.
The Elektra Sixties is a commercial espresso machine built to withstand the rigors of a coffee house environment. Although, it is compact enough that an enthusiastic home user might also be interested.
Unlike the others we’ve discussed so far, it’s an automatic espresso machine with programmable shot volumes. This is pretty standard practice in commercial machines as it allows the barista to multitask, either steaming milk or conversing with customers.
It’s a beautiful and modern-looking machine featuring a polished stainless steel exterior and warm wood accents. Elektra also makes a two-group model for larger cafes, available in polished stainless or a unique oxidized brass with shiny brass groups.
Inside, you’ll find a massive 5.5-liter heat exchanger boiler and rotary pump. Unlike home machines, Elektra commercial models like this typically do not have a water tank. Instead, it is designed for direct plumb only.
The Elektra Sixties uses the classic E61 grouphead (3), renowned for excellent and cost-effective temperature stability. Indeed, this machine is remarkably affordable for a commercial model, coming in just marginally more expensive than the Verve for the single-group version.
The Belle Epoque commercial espresso machine may well be Elektra’s best-known product. It’s certainly hard to miss. This stunning giant of an espresso maker harkens back to espresso’s earliest days. True to its name, it looks like something you’d find in a coffee house at the turn of the 20th century, doling out coffee to a lively chorus of intellectual debate (4).
Despite its retro name and appearance, on the inside, the Belle Epoque is thoroughly modern, equipped with all the technology needed to service a present-day busy cafe. It’s fully programmable, including automatic shot volumes and boiler temperatures.
Each Belle Epoque is hand-built, and the attention to detail is incredible.
Like the home version, the Mini Verticale, the full-size model features in-machine cup storage as well as the iconic eagle-topped dome.
Of course, all this technology and flare comes at a price, but it’s a very sound investment in this case. Not only does the Belle Epoque make spectacular coffee, but it’s a showpiece that will have customers visiting your cafe just to watch it in action.
How to Choose the Right Elektra Espresso Machine
Elektra’s small line-up of espresso machines includes incredible diversity of design and function, which in many ways makes it easier to narrow down the perfect one for you. This buyer’s guide will help you do just that with a few key questions to define your preferences.
What’s your style?
Rarely do I recommend aesthetics as a deciding feature when shopping for an espresso machine, mainly because most brands tend to maintain a pretty consistent look between models. But Elektra is the exception, with half their stock having a vintage design (what they call their “Heritage” models), and the other half has a more modern prosumer appearance.
Both designs work beautifully, but a large coffee maker is a statement piece that will impact your kitchen. When you’re spending this kind of money, it’s worth choosing something that brings you joy each morning.
Manual, semi-automatic, or automatic?
Choosing between these three modes of operation comes down to how you want to balance efficiency and ease of use against user control.
- With a manual espresso machine, the barista is responsible for every aspect of pulling the shot, even including generating pressure by hand.
- A vibration or rotary pump is used to apply pressure with a semi-automatic espresso machine, but the barista does the remaining work of puck prep and shot timing.
- With an automatic espresso machine, the barista prepares the portafilter. The machine is then pre-programmed to pull the shot.
If you love being intimately involved in every aspect of preparing your coffee, a lever machine will appeal. It’s slower and takes more work, but fans of the style swear it produces the softest and sweetest shots. On the other hand, if you’re working in a busy coffee house, trying to make drinks and interact with customers, then an automatic model is the way to go.
Are you shopping for a home or a coffee bar?
If you’re buying for a coffee house, you’ll have very different demands than a home user. First and foremost is a commercial rating, which narrows it down to the Verve, Sixties, and Belle Epoque espresso machines, but there are other considerations as well.
Machines designed for commercial use are built to different specifications. They need to withstand the wear and tear that comes with running all day, every day. For this reason, they’re built with higher-grade components and will be more expensive than home machines.
For a busy coffee shop, you want more features that aid efficiency.
That could mean opting for an automatic over a semi-automatic or having more than one grouphead.
Another great option for commercial espresso machines with outstanding style and performance is Kees van der Westen. Though pricey, this brand is known for equipping some of the best cafes around the world.
Boiler designs and why they matter
Elektra espresso machines have one of three boiler designs: dual boiler, heat exchanger, or single boiler. Understanding the basis of each will help you choose the one for you.
Single boilers are the least expensive, but because they use the same boiler for brewing and steaming, you can’t do both at the same time. If you make a lot of milky drinks, whether latte, cappuccino, or otherwise, this will quickly become frustrating.
Heat exchangers are a great solution to this problem. It’s a single boiler with a separate cooler region for brewing water. You can brew and steam simultaneously while keeping a fairly small footprint.
Double boilers take up more room and are more expensive. And with more parts, there’s more to go wrong. However, if you’re a specialty coffee lover who demands perfect control over brewing and steaming temperatures, they are worth their weight in gold.
Elektra is a unique company that makes both modern-looking and vintage-style espresso machines. Fortunately, both designs make the same incredible coffee, so no matter your aesthetic taste, there’s an Elektra for you.
This year, our top pick is the new Elektra Micro Casa, a modern but retro prosumer machine with a heat exchanger boiler. It pairs advanced technology, beautiful design, and commercial-grade durability for an unbeatable buy.
Elektra machines are made in Northern Italy, along with many of the world’s best. Specifically, they are headquartered in Treviso, in the region of Veneto. The company was founded there in 1947 and has recently been acquired by another Italian espresso machine manufacturer, Carimali, sparking new developments like the Verve (5) and social commerce initiatives (6).
The name is a portmanteau of “professional” and “consumer.” a prosumer espresso machine is one designed for home use but equipped with many commercial-grade components. Essentially these are the upper echelon of home machines. They make far better coffee, last longer, and cost more than the typical countertop appliances.
There are many other Italian companies making prosumer espresso machines. For example, take a look at La Spaziale, La Marzocco, La Pavoni, Victoria Arduino, and the best Isomac espresso machines.
- Bryman, H. (2019, December 11). Elektra Keeps Tech and Design Lively With New Verve Espresso Machine. Retrieved from https://dailycoffeenews.com/2019/12/11/elektra-keeps-tech-and-design-lively-with-new-verve-espresso-machine/
- Haydon, M. (2018, December 10). Understanding Different Types of Espresso Machine. Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2018/12/understanding-the-different-types-of-espresso-machine/
- Morris, J. (2020, December 23). The Faema E61 Espresso Machine. Retrieved from https://www.historians.org/research-and-publications/perspectives-on-history/january-2021/the-faema-e61-espresso-machine
- Stamp, J. (2012, June 19). The Long History of the Espresso Machine. Retrieved from https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/the-long-history-of-the-espresso-machine-126012814/
- Brown, N. (2019, July 2). Carimali Acquires Fellow Italian Espresso Machine Maker Elektra. Retrieved from https://dailycoffeenews.com/2019/07/02/carimali-acquires-fellow-italian-espresso-machine-maker-elektra/
- European Food Agency. (2021, September 4). Elektra’s digital breakthrough. Retrieved from https://www.efanews.eu/en/item/18212-elektra-s-digital-breakthrough.html