Classic vs. compact coffee machine

What does it mean when a lever coffee machine has "compact" in its name? Comparison with a classic espresso machine. Why is a compact coffee machine preferable and when to prefer the normal version?

Lever espresso machine in the "compact" version

Definitely don't look for anything complicated in this lever coffee machine terminology. If it says it is a "compact" version, it is simply a more compact coffee machine. That is, a smaller coffee machine - more compact.

The look and function of the is based on the classic coffee maker, which it doesn't really compare to in these respects. Well, except for changes in capabilities directly related to its reduction to compact dimensions.

How does an espresso machine become compact?

Most of the components of the espresso machine must remain the same as the classic version. There's not much you can do technologically to cheat on the dimensions of the coffee maker. So where can you cut inches?

The built-in water and steam boiler has acapacity of up to 15 litres in the normal version of the two-lever coffee makers . The compact size is usually achieved when this part of the coffee machine is reduced in size, perhaps by half. Sometimes the manufacturer even resorts to changing the position of the boiler, placing it vertically. This reduces the width of the coffee machine even further.

Compact vs. classic espresso machine

Okay, so now we know that "compact" is more or less a scaled-down classic espresso machine and its size is based on the volume left by the boiler. Leaving aside the dimensions of the compact coffee maker versus the normal version, will there be any further differences?

The characteristics of the coffee maker that are indicated by the size of the boiler are mainly as follows:

  • theamount of hot water it is capable of dispensing
  • thevolume of milk it can whip
  • thestrength of the steam nozzle when whisking
  • temperature stability or frequency of reheating

Disadvantages of a compact coffee machine

Theamount of beverages prepared (espressos, teas, lattes,...) is proportional to how big the boiler in your coffee maker is. Logically, a smaller boiler has to be refilled more often and if you take out 2 large kettles of water for tea at the same time, the newly added water will significantly reduce the temperature in the boiler.

At the same time, when the boiler is dispensing a lot of water, the pressure will drop, so the steam nozzle will lose the necessary power to whip the milk properly. With a smaller boiler, you will also be limited a smaller volume of steam for whipping, which means making fewer lattes at a time.

Advantages of a compact coffee machine

So now we take it the other way around, i.e.: why is a small boiler in a coffee machine better? The advantages of a smaller boiler are:

  • Faster heating of the coffee machine,
  • less energy consumption,
  • lower water consumption,
  • lower weight of the coffee maker
  • and of course its dimensions.

Two-lever coffee machines in the "compact" version. Specific examples

Let's now take a look at real examples of compact coffee machines and the classic versions they are based on. The most famous and best-selling coffee machine in the "compact" version is definitely the Nuova Simonelli Appia Life.

Appia Life 2Gr V Appia Life 2Gr V Compact
11 litre boiler 7.5 litre boiler
Power input 3350 W Power input 2900 W
78 × 53 × 55 cm (W × H × D) 55.4 × 54.5 × 49 cm (W × H × D)
60 kg 42.5 kg

Another gentleman to shave... ahem coffee maker in compacted form, the Spanish IberitalIB7 has appeared in our range of lever coffee machines. But beware, here only thewidth dimension has been reduced, thanks to a change in the spacing of the components, and for example the nozzle is only one in the compact version.

IB7 2Gr Standard IB7 2Gr Compact
11 litre boiler 11 litre boiler
Power input 3000 W Input 3000 W
69.5 × 46 × 50.8 cm (W × H × D) 54 × 46 × 50.8 cm (W × H × D)
55 kg 52 kg

The most compact professional coffee machine?

Only the single-lever coffee machine achieves the smallest dimensions. I will therefore choose in this segment. The most compact among them are the 40 cm Appie 1Gr in volumetrics or as a semi-automatic.

Since we are talking about a professional coffee machine, I make it a point to find not only a small but also a powerful coffee machine. Actually, one that the manufacturers have equipped with technology that minimizes the disadvantages of the limited size. So, a moment of suspense, please, and... bye! It's the Victoria Arduino Prima Eagle One PRO.

The interesting thing about this mini pet is the advanced technology inside. The sophisticated heating system in the three stations of the Prima E1 PRO is arranged absolutely brilliantly. Seriously, that's what it's called: T3 Genius. ???? You'll have your coffee makerready in working orderwithin 7 minutes. Besides, it can whip milk up to aloof. Yeah, it also uses a cool technology called Steam-by-Wire. And all in all it has PRO, classic Prima E1 and EXP plenty to offer.

Prima E1 PRO
1.7 + 0.8 litre boiler
power input 2000-3000 W
41.1 × 37.9 × 51 cm (W × H × D)
37 kg


As you can see, we have something for everyone. Who needs a lightweight version of a two-lever coffee machine, who wants to save a few centimetres but won't give up the big boiler, and something for the independent barista who needs a technologically packed single-lever coffee machine. Where do you fit in?

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