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✔ What We Liked
- Single-shot, double-shot, and manual options, with the ability to customize the amount of espresso given by the single-shot and double-shot options
- Good water pressure
- Appliance reminds you when it’s time to descale the machine
- Clever handle design of the water tank lets you carry and fill it easily
✘ What We Didn't Like
- Top warming area does not get warm enough to heat cups
- This machine felt cheaply made compared to other machines in the same price range; some reviewers complained the machine broke within a year
- No control over steam function–it’s either on or off
- Dial has to be turned to the coffee cup icon to make espresso
Overall, the Gevi 20 Bar Espresso Machine is a decent entry-level espresso machine. It has good water pressure, so it makes good espresso and froths milk well. You can customize the single-shot and double-shot settings to your preferences. The machine is also easy to clean.
Some drawbacks are that you don’t have control over the steam function and the machine’s longevity may be poor. The steam is either on or off. Other espresso machines in this price range allow greater control over the steam than this machine does. You also must turn the dial to the coffee cup icon to brew espresso. Some reviewers on Amazon and Gevi’s websites complained that the machine broke within the first year of use.
Our verdict is this machine is a decent option if you’re in the market for an entry-level espresso machine. It has an attractive price point and is easy to use for newbies and experienced home baristas. It will also pay for itself quickly if your goal is to make coffee at home instead of buying it at coffee shops.
After priming the machine, the first test we performed was using the double-shot function to make two espressos. We used Peruvian whole-bean coffee that I ground to a fine grind in our OXO conical burr grinder. Unfortunately, I don’t have information on the bean’s roast, but based on taste, it’s likely a medium or medium-light roast.
My grinder has multiple fine-grind settings. For my first shot, I used the middle setting for fine. This grind size was slightly too coarse for the machine, so the espresso I ended up with was a bit under-extracted. Even though it was under-extracted, it was still quite smooth and drinkable. Of course, using a high-quality bean helped the taste.
I recommend using a slightly finer than fine grind with this machine to achieve a good pull.
This machine performed better than the Tru 15-Bar Espresso Machine we reviewed earlier this year. These machines are in the same price range, but this machine does not suffer from water pressure issues, which results in better-tasting espresso.
We also frothed some whole milk using the steam wand. We tried two different methods. The steam wand has an outer metal tube that the manufacturer recommends you keep on when frothing milk. However, some reviewers from Amazon and other websites noted that the machine produced better foam without this tube. In the spirit of coffee inquiry, we tested both methods.
In our results photo above, you can see on the left-hand side the foam made using the manufacturer’s recommended way and on the right-hand side the foam made without the outer metal tube. The foam on the right had better structure and stiffness than the foam on the left–you can even see the difference in the foam’s structure in the photo.
Despite producing better foam, this method is more difficult to do as the inner tube is much shorter, so you can’t easily get it to the bottom of the milk pitcher. If you want to try this method, use a short pitcher or cup.
Finally, because this machine does not have temperature control, it’s easy to overheat the milk. You’ll need to feel the bottom of the pitcher while frothing to ensure the milk doesn’t overheat. You’ll know it’s overheating when the milk starts boiling.
Ease of Use
Overall, the machine is easy to use. That said, I have a couple of issues with the machine.
The first issue is the dial on the right side of the machine. You must turn the dial to the coffee cup icon to pull an espresso shot. If you want steam, you must turn it to the steam icon. There’s no control on the steam–you get one setting, and that’s it. Other machines in this price range have multiple steam settings, including a hot water setting for making Americanos or tea.
Secondly, I found turning the dial to the coffee cup icon to make espresso annoying. When I first got the machine, there was no mention of turning the dial in the instructions for priming the espresso machine. Until I realized I needed to turn the dial, I thought my machine was defective as it wouldn't brew espresso. Once I turned the dial to the coffee cup icon, I was able to make espresso.
As for what I liked about the machine, I thought the water tank had a clever design with a built-in handle that opens up the tank and allows you to carry it. The drip tray was also nicely designed, as you can pull it out to put a larger cup under the brew head.
The machine has three options for making espresso: manual, single shot, and double shot. The manual option lets you control how long water will flow through the portafilter. The single-shot and double-shot options will give a preset amount of espresso.
You can customize the amount of espresso the single-shot and double-shot options give. To re-program, press the desired button for two seconds to enter programming mode. Then press the button again to start brewing. Once you reach the desired amount of espresso, press the button again to stop. Finally, press the button again within 15 seconds to save the settings. You’ll know you’ve successfully saved the new settings when the button blinks white three times.
Press and hold the Manual and the shot buttons together to reset the single-shot and double-shot options to the factory settings. The shot button will blink white once, which means you have restored the default settings.
|Time to brew
|Milk frothing pitcher
|Coffee grind size
|One or two espresso servings
|Ease of cleaning
The machine has a warming tray for your cups, but because the top of the espresso machine is plastic, it does not get hot enough to warm your cups. You’re better off running a water-only shot into your espresso cup before brewing to heat it and then pouring the water out once you’re ready to brew the espresso.
You can also remove the drip tray if you want to use a taller cup.
The drip tray and water tank are removable, which makes for easy daily cleaning. Handwash both of these using hot, soapy water. The single and double filters can also be hand-washed. You can run a water-only shot while the portafilter is attached to the brew head to clean out the portafilter and brew head. After doing that, simply rinse the portafilter. You should clean the steam wand after each use by removing the outer part of the wand to rinse and running the inner steam wand for a few seconds to flush out any milk residue.
Gevi’s user manual has detailed instructions for de-scaling the machine and the components. The espresso machine will remind you to descale after 100 cycles. All three buttons on the front of the appliance will flash white for about ten seconds when it’s time to descale.
You can descale the machine using an espresso machine cleaning tablet, liquid descaling, or a mixture of white vinegar and warm water. We like that you can use white vinegar to descale the machine since this means you won’t have to buy an expensive, single-use cleaning product.
This machine felt cheaply made, even compared to other espresso machines in the same price range. For example, when I press one of the buttons, you can see the other buttons depressing slightly. Some of the components don’t sit flush against each other. When reading the Amazon reviews for this machine, I noticed that several reviewers complained that this espresso machine broke within its first year of use.
Beyond that, I like the machine’s color since most espresso machines are gray or black. It has a retro look and feel.
The machine is also compact and lightweight, making it a good option for those with limited counter space. It measures six inches wide with the steam wand tucked in and eight inches with the steam wand out. It’s 11.5 inches deep and 12.5 inches tall. For whatever reason, the measurements listed on Amazon and Gevi’s websites are larger than the actual machine.
Overall, I think this is a decent entry-level machine. It works well, it’s easy to use and clean, and it’s not expensive. If you’re buying your first espresso machine and don’t want to spend a ton, this is a reasonable option to consider. It lacks some features of higher-end espresso machines, but you get what you pay for.
|Current price on Amazon
|Price not available
|Cost for supplies
|Milk frothing pitcher: $7 to $30