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The Cafelat Robot: The Ultimate Manual Espresso Machine

The Cafelat Robot: The Ultimate Manual Espresso Machine

Cafelat is a Hong Kong-based coffee company. It was founded by Paul Pratt, an espresso machine wizard known for restoring vintage machines.

He founded Cafelat over a decade ago, putting his years of experience to work developing a line of barista accessories. Soon after, the company’s success inspired him to imagine bigger and better things, and in 2018, he successfully launched the Cafelat Robot on Kickstarter.

It’s common these days to hear that robots and AI will rule the world in a not-too-distant dystopian future.

This machine produces excellent shots, but it necessitates significant user involvement to reach the pinnacle of espresso-making.

Until recently, Cafelat primarily manufactured espresso accessories such as knock-boxes, tamping mats, and various spare parts. It is due to the involvement of Danish artist and designer Karina Mencke, that Cafelat’s products frequently have a playful, quirky design.

Now, I’ll take you down to review this robot further in terms of its design, built quality, work, and features, so let’s dive into the details.

What Is Cafelat Robot?

Cafelat Robot is a small, unique manual espresso maker which with a retro design, it has no plastic components and is quite durable.

A manual lever machine, such as the Cafetlat Robot, is the way to go if you want to brew top-of-the-line espresso without spending thousands of dollars. It eliminates any unnecessary components such as a boiler, pump, milk steaming system, and electronic controls. So the only thing you’re paying for is the equipment required to make great espresso.

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Specifications Of Cafelat Robot

Cafelat robot being the retro has quite features to make you a good shot of espresso, lets’s take a keen look at the specifications of the Cafelat Robot:

Coffee Basket Capacity25 g
Coffee Basket Volume145 ml
Coffee Basket Diameter57.5 m
Height12 in / 19 in with arms raised
Depth6.5 in
Width10 in
Weight7.5 lb
Cafelat Robot specifications
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Design And Build Quality

Different types of coffee robots placed on a counter
Cafelat comes in different colors.

Aesthetics are entirely subjective to personal preference. It’s up to you whether the Robot will look good in your kitchen.

Cafelat does, however, offer it in a variety of fun colors to assist with this. If you enjoy interior design, you’ll appreciate the options. It’s available in vibrant blue, bold red, muted cream, and trendy retro green. Initially, it was also available in plain polished aluminum, and some of these older models are still in good working order if that’s more your style.

The basic and barista models are available, with the main difference being that the barista model has a pressure gauge and the basic model does not. The Cafelat Robot is very strong. It carries some weight. It’s mostly made of stainless steel, with no plastic.

The gasket on the piston is made of food-grade silicone, and it is one of the machine’s only somewhat fragile parts.

Cafelat carefully considered the Robot’s design and used only high-quality materials to create a well-built and sturdy machine. The body and base are made of die-cast aluminum, and the other metal components are all stainless steel.

The design contains no plastic at all, which is extremely rare these days. The Cafelat Robot has a one-of-a-kind design in which the portafilter also serves as the brew chamber. This reduces heat loss, which is a common issue with manual espresso machines.

How Do You Use Cafelat?

Shots of espresso being brewed
Cafelat Robot can be difficult for some.

It can be difficult to understand how to use a manual espresso maker if you have never used one before.

The good news is that numerous YouTube videos demonstrate how to use the Cafelat Robot. The main steps are summarised below:

  • Boil your water and grind your coffee to an espresso-quality grind
  • Fill the basket with 10-21 grams of ground coffee, level it out, and tamp with the tamper
  • Place the dispersion screen on top of your puck and make sure it is flat
  • Fill the basket to 5-8 mm below the rim with boiling water
  • Insert the portafilter into the machine, then slowly lower the lever arms
  • Raise the arms after extraction to remove the portafilter. Remove the puck, clean the piston bottom, and rinse the basket and dispersion screen

Here is a video for a better depiction of how you can use Cafelat Robot:

How to use the Cafelat Robot


Moving on to the features, Cafelat has some features that can be found in other machines too, lets’s take a look at them too:

Filter basket

It consists of a 58mm filter basket, the same size as semi-automatic professional machines The baskets are extremely high quality; they are made by the same factory that produces all of the world’s best baskets.

Pressure Gauge

The pressure reading is taken from inside the basket by a patent-pending system. With the manual pressing of the lever arms, you can manipulate pre-infusion, flow, and pressure in real-time to get the most out of your coffee.

Extraction Ratio

A 2:1 ratio of beverage mass to ground coffee is certainly possible, implying that a 16g coffee dose can easily yield a 32g beverage weight. If necessary, increase the beverage weight to 40-45g.

Temperature Management

The Robot is not going to provide you with a La Marzocco-style flat temperature profile. However, pouring water off the boil into a gently pre-heated basket will yield approximately 95 degrees Celsius water and up to 88 degrees Celsius coffee output from the basket.

Stainless Steel Tamper

Tamper is made of stainless steel and is designed and machined to fit snugly in the basket. It has tapered side walls to prevent the ground from being sucked back when you lift the tamper.

Can Cafelat Produce Strong Espresso Shots?

The Cafelat Robot can make some tasty espresso that is well extracted and has good texture and density. However, the shots are only as good as the user. To brew a decent shot with a manual espresso machine, you must first master the art of brewing.

To make the best espresso, you’ll also need a capable grinder and high-quality beans. It may take some trial and error to become acquainted with the machine. Several users have commented that it’s preferable to do an early hard press with the Cafelat Robot rather than a gentle pre-infusion.

Many people also believe that manual espresso machines work better at 6-7 bars of pressure rather than the standard 9 bars. Once you understand the Cafelat Robot’s workflow, you’ll discover that it can produce espresso on par with espresso machines three to four times the price.

How Much Water Does A Cafelat Robot Need?

A robot behind the counter
You can use a simple ratio for Cafelat Robot

You can use a 2:1 ratio when it comes to water. Pair 18 grams of coffee with 45 grams of water. Here’s how you can do it:

Simply place 18-25 grams of espresso in the included basket, tamp with the included tamper, and top with the dispersion screen. The basket has punctured holes on the bottom, but the dispersion screen on top is for water. Then, pour the desired amount of water into the basket.

After inserting the basket with the portafilter into the Cafelat Robot’s “group head,” apply pressure by pulling downward with the two handles. Spread this out over 45 seconds to 1 minute, and there you have it! Espresso has been made.

How Do You Clean A Cafelat Robot?

The Cafelat robot doesn’t need high maintenance. The main body and bottom plate of the robot can be easily cleaned with a damp cloth.

If there are dried espresso stains on the bottom plate, you may need to wet the area with warm soapy water. Always wipe clean afterward. The piston face and piston seal can be cleaned with a damp cloth too.


  • The Cafelat Robot is a manual espresso machine with a unique retro and sturdy design
  • This machine produces excellent shots, but it necessitates significant user involvement to reach the pinnacle of espresso-making
  • It contains no boiler so you will have to boil water and fill up the filter basket
  • The good thing is its filter basket is around 58 mm, which is about the size of any semi-automatic machine
  • Cafelat robot is quite easy to maintain and doesn’t require much cleaning

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Thanks for reading, have a nice day.

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