Leverpresso V4 espresso maker with background of nature and river

Leverpresso V4 Review: A Flexible Travel Espresso Maker

The Leverpresso is back with the fourth – and best version – of the compact lever espresso maker.

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Asser Christensen

Licensed Q Arabica Grader, M.A. Journalism

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I have been using the Leverpresso V4 for a few months now.

I would estimate I probably have made more than a hundred shots with it in various situations from home to travel.

I have also been using its bigger brother, the Leverpresso Pro, for close to two years.

So I feel like I have a good understanding of the pros and cons of this device.

I shared a YouTube review of the device recently, which is a good place to start if you want to see the device in action and get an idea about the workflow.

However, after releasing the video, I realized that there were some key points that I either forgot to mention or that I want to talk about a bit more in-depth.

So that’s what I’ll mainly be diving into in this review.

If you want to skip the overview, and jump directly to the nitty gritty/new details, then click here.

*Please note that a review unit was provided by the brand.

Leverpresso V4
One of the cheapest manual espresso makers that actually pulls good shots


The Leverpresso V4 is a portable espresso maker that works well both for travel and as an affordable starter espresso maker for home use.

The body is made from a new sturdy plastic that HUGH calls “superplastic,” which should make it more durable than previous versions that risked breaking under the high pressure needed for espresso.

While you can brew great espresso at 7-9 bars, it’s easy to apply way more energy than what’s needed if you don’t have a pressure gauge (or a bathroom scale underneath) to double check the pressure. So for that reason it’s a good idea that HUGH has sourced this new type of plastic for the main body.

The 51 mm filter basket is a standard size, making it easy to find accessories like tampers and funnels. The included basket, while not the premium IMS basket used in the Leverpresso Pro, still performs quite well and allows for a very similar grind size. I tested the device both with the stock basket and IMS basket, and you can use a “true” espresso grind size with both baskets – very similar to what you’d use with a 58 mm standard pump machine.

Using the Leverpresso V4 is straightforward:

  • Preheat
  • Prep the basket and tamp it.
  • Dump preheat water and refill the water reservoir
  • Lift the levers to let water flow down to the brew chamber.
  • Press down slowly to build pressure and pull the shot

The two levers provide nice control over the pressure.

The Cafelat Robot and ROK espresso maker also use two levers instead of the traditional single lever.

I think it’s easier to control small machines with two levers as opposed to one. It gives more balance and makes it easier to apply body weight, so this is a good thing.

The transparent cup attachment is a nice touch, allowing you to see the espresso extraction while preventing spraying.

The optional stand accessory provides stability for home use. It also makes it possible to brew on a scale and into a separate “real” espresso cup.

In my testing period the Leverpresso V4 has been able to pull “professional” level shots consistently with an exctraction percentage between 20-22%. So overall, this device passes the “minimum requirements”. But let’s dive into the nitty gritty and see how it performs.

refractometer extraction leverpresso
The Leverpresso V4 can pull shots with a “standard” extraction between 20-22%, in spite of its basic look and price.

Preheating and temperature stability?

The Leverpresso V4 is designed in a way that makes it relatively easy to preheat. It’s made mainly of plastic, which is an easy material to get up to temperature.

During my initial testing period, I had a feeling that the Leverpresso Pro had slightly better thermal stability due to having a larger and more insulated brew chamber, but after I tested the deviced against each other with two thermocouples, it became clear that this was incorrect – the Leverpresso V4 is actually slightly better.

I hooked up each device with a thermocouple and put them into the Artisan roasting software. Then added boiling water to both devices, and let them sit for at least minute before I dumped out the water, and added a fresh round of boiling water. This indicates the approximate brewing temperature of each device with and with a preheat cycle.

On the graph, you see a dramatic fall in temperature because I had to remove the thermocouples for the refill.

With the Leverpresso Pro, you definitely want to preheat the device once before brewing, but the results indicate to me that you might not have to preheat V4 to pull very dark roasts – you should get a short extraction window around 91-86 degrees celsius.

Leverpresso V4 vs Leverpresso Pro thermal stability graph
V4 (pink) vs Pro (blue) with two rounds of preheating.

In my testing period I found it difficult to brew lighter medium roasts without slightly sour notes, and these results also indicate that the brewer will rapidly dip below 92 celsius.

On the other hand, I did have great results with the medium-dark to dark spectrum – so everything from a delicate Northern Italian espresso roasts to Starbucks charcoal, should work fine – basically.

To get a baseline against a well-known entity, I also hooked up the thermocouples to the Picopresso. The results were between the two were very similar.

The Picopresso appears to loose thermal energy slightly faster, but under normal circumstances, you’d screw the cap on top, which should reduce this effect. Again, the drop in temperature is due to having to remove the thermocouples when refilling each device.

Leverpresso V4 (pink) vs Picopresso.

Additional Leverpresso Thoughts

51 mm platform is great!

The Leverpresso series uses a 51 mm basket design, which makes it a great ecosystem to buy into. 51 mm is one of the most common sizes and is used with many affordable De’Longhi machines. That means you’ll have a bunch of affordable accessories to choose from. So if you want to invest in a funnel, tamper, puck screen, leveler, or extra basket, then you should have no trouble finding the right one for you. HUGH does sell some nice accessories, like the funnel shown below, but don’t be afraid to use third-party tools.

With many manual espresso makers, you’ll be more limited due to unusual basket sizes. That’s the case with both the basic Flair espresso makers (not Flair 58, though) and Cafelat Robot.

On the left the included accessories. On the right potential upgrades: funnel, WDT tool, 51 mm tamper and shot mirror.

Puck screen is still a good idea

Speaking about accessories like a puck screen – I think it’s still a good idea to use one even though the Leverpresso has a standard dispersion screen that you must use. Besides dispersing the water, this screen is needed to have a tight seal between the body and the basket holder.

But there is still some headspace between the basket and the dispersion screen, so when you lift the lever arms and water runs into the brew chamber. Since this water is not pressurized and you have a lot of headspace, it gives the puck a chance to expand and get slightly unseated.

puck screen vs none leverpresso basket comparison
Notice how the basket on the left shows a very uneven surface compared to the right side where a puck screen has been used.

But if you have a puck screen in place, then the puck will be sheltered better and have better integrity because it will not meet much water until pressure is applied.

I noticed that spent pucks looked much better with the puck screen in place. Without one, the pucks would look a lot more uneven with fines gathering around the edges. I think this is because the big inflow of unpressurized water will unseat the top layer of the puck.

Add extra water after lifting the levers

After you lift the lever arms, the water will run through the water reservoir and into the brew chamber. But even though you fill the water reservoir completely, there will be room for a bit more water in the brew chamber. I think you should fill it up because that will give you the option to pull longer shots, but it will also help you to apply pressure more evenly. When the levers are at a right angle, they can apply the most pressure, so by filling the brew chamber completely, you give yourself the best conditions.

Preheating hack

The best way to preheat is to have the arms slightly open at first so water can slowly run through both the reservoir and brew chamber and into the travel cup (or your regular cup if you’re using the stand). After you have let around 120 ml of water through, let the arms fall down, but keep pouring until the water reservoir fills up.

Then let the device stay like this while you prepare your basket. This allows you to heat the entire device, including dispersion screen and the space below the water reservoir at the same time without wasting time.

The device works well with Hugh’s stand. Note that Hugh’s stand is available in both black and silver – both colors match well with the V4’s color scheme.


If HUGH decides to release Leverpresso V5, I believe a few small design changes could significantly improve the workflow. Currently, the routine for preheating and cleaning the device can be more troublesome than necessary due to the length of the arms and the low height or fit of the travel cup.

The arms are so long that the device has a slightly unstable balance on top of the cup unless the basket holder is in place. This leads to an annoying process of inserting the basket holder for preheating, unscrewing it to insert the prepped basket, and then screwing it back in again.

If the cup were slightly taller and shaped differently, the Leverpresso main compartment could rest securely on top of the cup, allowing for simultaneous preheating and basket preparation. This would streamline the process of inserting the prepped basket into the basket holder and screwing it into the body.

A similar issue arises when using the stand. Without the basket holder inserted into the main body, the device is not fully locked in, resulting in a slightly wobbly and potentially dangerous setup when filled with nearly boiling water. Relying on the basket holder for stability adds extra steps, making the process more cumbersome.

Small details like this make the Leverpresso workflow more convoluted compared to for example the Cafelat Robot.

A reimagined Leverpresso could address this issue.

The Leverpresso stand is of course a nice add-on if you’re going to use the device at home. However, I think it could also benefit from a slight update so it could accomodate more types of espresso scales. Currently, it doesn’t allow rather small scales such as Timemore Black Mirror Mini and SearchPean Tiny 2s.

Other cons

While the Leverpresso V4 has several strong points, there are some drawbacks and areas for improvement.

  • The plastic tamper/dosing cup doesn’t have the most precise fit, with some gaps on the side. Higher quality, precision engineered accessories would be a nice addition, but on the other hand it’s affordable to pick up a calibrated precision tamper online.
  • The rubber sleeves meant to insulate the brew chamber and prevent splashing are a bit cumbersome. Because they are black like the body of the brewer, it can be hard to see the fill line, making it easy to accidentally overfill and cause water to flow down along the sides. They are also not quite permanent after you install them. They fall out easily, so it becomes yet another extra step in an already convoluted process.
    A more semi-permanent silicone sleeve might be a better solution. You could have one that insulates your hands from the hot brewer around the sides and a top one that insulates the brew chamber more.
  • The lack of a pressure gauge is another downside, especially considering that the Picopresso and upcoming Flair Neo Flex both offer this feature around the same price point. Being able to monitor pressure would make it easier to dial in shots and avoid accidentally building too much pressure, which risks damaging the device.

Medium/light roasts are challenging

Like many manual espresso makers, the Leverpresso V4 struggles a bit with light and medium light roasts, with shots tending to taste slightly sour and under-extracted. Preheating thoroughly helps, but those who primarily drink light roasts should look elsewhere.

leverpresso shot with crema
The Leverpresso V4 produces great shots if you learn how to use it. properly

One thing you can do to mitigate this, however, is to pull a lungo shot. Just pull the shot like you would normally, then refill the brew chamber, lift the levers again, and pull the shot to somewhere around a 1:6 ratio. The increased amount of water ensures a proper extraction and a proper sweet, balanced flavor.

Dark and medium-dark are on the other hand fine with this device.


Overall, the Leverpresso V4 is a capable portable espresso maker offered at an attractive price. The two lever design, improved build quality and standard 51 mm platform are notable strong points, as is the ability to be used both as a daily driver at home (if you get the dedicated stand) and as a compact travel buddy.

While it has some room for improvement in terms of accessories and features like a pressure gauge, it still performs well and offers good value for the price.

While the Picopresso might be a more “holistic” and fun travel brewer, I think the Leverpresso V4 offers the best balance of portability and home-performance. For long term sturdiness, I’d also put my money on the Leverpresso V4.

I have to say, that these small manual espresso makers have come a far way over the last couple of years. For instance, I’d probably also pick this over the Flair Pro 2 espresso maker, which used to be seen as a bit of a “flagship” manual espresso maker. This makes just as good shots while being much more budget-friendly and flexible with its standard 51 mm basket size.

If you’re looking to get into manual espresso and want a device that will serve you well at home while also being travel-friendly, the Leverpresso V4 is definitely worth considering. It’s a solid middle ground between ultra-portable options and larger, purely home-focused manual espresso makers.

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Asser Christensen

Hello, and welcome! I'm the editor & founder of this site.
I have been a coffee geek since I started home roasting more than a decade ago. Since then, coffee has taken me on countless adventures: From ancient coffee ceremonies in Ethiopia to the volcanos of Sumatra.
My background is in journalism, and today I'm also a licensed Q Grader under the Coffee Quality Institute.