Lever machines of 2021by Simone Forgia, Claudio Santoro
The year 2021 will certainly not be an easy one for companies around the world and the coffee industry is no exception, with bars, coffee shops and roasters having to adapt to many restrictions. Despite this, it looks like this is going to be a very interesting year full of novelties for lever espresso machine lovers. In fact, many new models are expected to be presented, especially for the domestic sector, making us understand how this type of technology is probably finally being rediscovered. Yes, it can be considered old, but it still has a lot to offer to the world of coffee and there is plenty of room for innovation.
Here therefore we would like to briefly talk about the most eagerly awaited new products that will await us during the course of 2021.
ACS Vostok 1 group and Vesuvius Leva
The Neapolitan Advanced Coffee Solutions (ACS) plans to announce two machines, with different aesthetics but many features in common. The Vostok will be based on the already known platform presented in 2015 at Host in Milan, the main difference will be the presence of just one grouphead for reduced dimensions. Like its 2 and 3 groups counterparts, it will have two boilers (0,8 litres for water and 2,3 litres for steam) and the group will be thermoregulated by a PID so as to maintain stable temperatures and speed up the initial heating phase, promising to be ready for use after just 12-15 minutes. The grouphead mounted will be a modified version of a San Marco group with a double spring and the presence of a pressure gauge to monitor the pressure profile. The use of a double boiler will also ensure significant energy savings as only the amount of water needed for a few coffees will be heated and a pump will allow the choice of the pre-infusion pressure from 1 to 5 bars.
ACS Vostok on the left and Vesuvius Leva on the right
The Vesuvius Leva, on the other hand, will be based on the platform of the already existing Vesuvius pump version and will have almost the same characteristics as the Vostok 1 group, but with a 3-litre tank in addition to the possibility of connecting it directly to the water supply. The first 10 Vesuvius Leva will be ready by the end of February / beginning of March, while the presentation date for the Vostok is still to be defined. The price will be between 3’600 and 4’000 euros, depending on the model.
Among the machines widely anticipated for 2021 is the all-new Lapera DS. Built in Montréal, Canada, its design takes great inspiration from the historic Brugnetti Aurora. Despite its vintage look, the machine will have a lot of technology inside. It will be equipped with a 4-litre stainless steel boiler regulated by a PID and with a heat exchanger system carefully designed in terms of materials and operation to guarantee a recovery time between one espresso and another of just two minutes. It will also be fitted with a self-centring piston for increased seal longevity and the spring will deliver just over 9 bars at its peak but will be factory adjustable on request. It will, however, be a commercial machine designed to stay on all day and will therefore take about 1 hour from start-up until the unit heats up properly. For this reason, beneath the casing it will have a small display to set the automatic on / off times, the temperature in the boiler and there will also be a USB port for software updates.
To ensure that the unit is completely silent, it will not have any kind of pump and will operate only through a direct connection to the water line, from which the pre-infusion pressure will also depend. The first 9 units will be ready for sale in the first weeks of March and further 10 units will be produced during the year, whilst the price remains unknown.
The popular US company Flair Espresso, after the wide success of their Classic, Signature, Pro and the cheaper Neo models, now wants to focus on a model that is a little less compact and easy to carry but designed for those who want even more control and a simplified workflow.
Side view of the Flair 58
As the name suggests, this new model will feature a 58mm filter, giving access to the wider market of coffee accessories and also, unlike all previous models, will have a direct connection to electricity to heat the grouphead. This means that you don't have to remove the unit from the base to preheat it with hot water but simply select one of the 3 pre-set temperatures (approximately 85°C / 90°C / 95°C) and wait for the light that indicates when the temperature has been reached to come on after 5-10 minutes. Being a heated group, there is no need to worry about it cooling down during extraction and the kettle will only serve to bring the water up to temperature. The piston has also been redesigned, with a new system whereby it is connected directly to the lever so that it can also be raised at the end of extraction, and the group will be equipped with a traditional portafilter with a wooden handle, so there is no danger of burning yourself during manoeuvres.
Updated grouphead, T-shaped handle, temperature switch and 58 mm. portafilter
To support the larger filter, the Flair 58 will also have a longer lever with a T-handle and wooden inserts. It will be available in a single version suitable for both the 110V and 220V markets, will not be compatible with other existing Flair accessories and will weigh approximately 5,7 kg; while as for the price, it will be slightly less than 500 US dollars. The official presentation is scheduled for March-April.
Odyssey Espresso OE-1
The OE-1 is the first model that is going to be unveiled by the newborn Colorado-based Odyssey Espresso. This project started in 2019 when Ross Ainsworth, shocked by the prices of today's espresso machines, decided to make one that would be able to satisfy the needs of coffee aficionados, but would also be small and affordable.
What makes this project unique is a 58 mm. grouphead that can be used either as a spring lever system with a peak pressure of 9 bar that then drops to 4,5 bars; or as a direct lever, allowing us to choose the pressure profile. The conversion of the machine from one mode to the other is possible thanks to a proprietary system and it will be sufficient to unscrew the upper part of the grouphead that gives access to the spring, remove the latter and screw the "cover" again but this time rotated by 180°.
In addition, a PID controller will be used to heat the machine in less than 3 minutes, maintaining an ideal and precise temperature of our espressos. With two probes, one in the boiler and one in the grouphead, the OE-1 will be able to compensate for thermal fluctuations of the machine body and remain stable at the set temperature. The user of the Odyssey will only have to set the desired extraction temperature and an electronic board will do the rest, managing the boiler to ensure the correct temperature of the coffee while the group heats up, whether it is one coffee or several.
The OE-1 will be made almost entirely of 304 stainless steel and weigh approximately 6,8 kg., will feature a 0,6 litres boiler with steam wand and will be factory-fitted with an IMS Precision shower screen. First pre-orders are expected in May 2021 and the estimated price will be 800 USD with the option of a pressure profiling gauge as an extra.
Electronic board that manages the temperature, piston with the proprietary system to remove the spring and the 0,6 litres boiler
There is still a lot of mystery surrounding the new model that the British company Londinium should present, so much so that even the name it will have is still unknown. Expectations are high, however, and what we know is that it will be the smallest and cheapest model in the brand's entire line of lever machines.
Its base will only take up the space of an A4 sheet, and it will be fitted with a new 58mm unit (smaller than that of the R24). We don't know how long it will take to get up to temperature and neither how stable it is going to be. Operation will be completely silent as it will not have any type of pump but will be similar to that of a La Pavoni lever or an Olympia Cremina, in other words, a dipper design. The boiler will be made of stainless steel and will have a capacity of 1,7 litres; it will not be possible to connect it to the water line.
Like its bigger siblings, this model will be produced in England, the official unveiling is scheduled for June and the price should be around 1'000 pounds.