Video Overview | Astoria Gloria AL Lever Operated Espresso Machine

Video Overview | Astoria Gloria AL Lever Operated Espresso Machine

Jan 10th 2019 Written by meredithlangley
Astoria's Gloria AL is a lever-operated espresso machine that mixes vintage appeal with contemporary functionality. As a classic lever-operated machine, the Gloria AL requires manual control throughout the brewing process, allowing both baristas and customers to connect with the craft of coffee. It also has limited electrical needs and can even be converted to run on gas, making it ideal for mobile operations like farmer's markets and food trucks. To learn more about the Gloria AL, watch along as Steve overviews this beautiful espresso machine from Astoria.


Hey folks. It's Steve with Prima Coffee here. Today we're taking a look at Astoria's Gloria Lever Espresso Machines. Now if you are familiar with the Gloria line, you've probably seen their automatic volumetric machines. So the Gloria is available in both that AV as well as the lever version. So we're going to talk a little bit about what makes this machine tick, as well as what some of the differences are between this style and the auto-volumetric version. Now the Gloria Lever is available in one, two, and three-group models. The 2 group is available in both 110 and 220 volt, whereas the 1 is only 110 and the 3 is only 220. So you have quite a few, kind of, different options depending on what kind of power is available to you, how much production you actually need, and that sort of thing. So the one group has a six-liter steam boiler with 2,000 watts of power.

Astoria Gloria AL Lever-Operated Espresso Machines

Available in 1, 2, or 3 Groups

Featured Product

The two group, again, is available in two power options. So both options have a 10.5-liter steam boiler. The 110 has a 2,600-watt heating element. The 220, however, has a 4,400-watt heating element. So if you need more power and have a higher level of production through that machine, you might want to opt for the 220 so it has less recovery time and can get up to temperature and stay up to temperature much more quickly and more efficiently. The 3 group option has a 17-liter steam boiler with 5,000 watts of power. Now all those machines are also available to run on propane or natural gas. You can get a gas conversion kit installed at the factory.

So there's a couple of considerations to keep in mind. The first is that that actually eliminates the UL certification. So that could be an issue depending on where you'd like to install it. However, propane and natural gas gives you a lot of flexibility if you want to install it in a Farmer's Market, on a food truck, mobile espresso cart, that kind of thing because if you have limited access to power, either 110 or 220, you can just run it on propane or natural gas and still heat up the steam boiler. Now the other consideration to keep in mind is that that actually does reduce the recovery time. It's a little bit less efficient than running on the in-built heating element. So if you have a little bit slower throughput, especially on that one group and two group model, it's a pretty good option to, kind of, take that machine on the road. If you have a, sort of, more relaxed pace in terms of drink making, the gas will keep up pretty fine.

The last thing you have to keep in mind with the gas conversion kit is you do still have to supply water pressure to the machine. So if you can hook up to mains water pressure, you're good. Otherwise, you might want to use a boost pump, which would still require some electricity, as well as, you know, some canisters of water, as well as a drain. Now apart from that, obviously we have these beautiful lever groups sticking out of the top of the machine. If you are unfamiliar with how lever groups work, they're kind of like the original way that we started making modern espresso as we know it today, prior to installing pumps in machines. This lever, when it is pulled all the way down, will compress a spring and pull a piston up. There's a whole brew chamber in here, holds about two fluid ounces of waterish.

Now when you pull that piston up, it opens an opening that allows the water to flow into the brewing chamber, which then flows down and hits your puck of coffee. When you start to raise the lever up, that piston is lowered. The spring starts to uncompress and the spring is actually what's going to give you your extraction pressure. What makes that a little bit different from a conventional pump-driven espresso machine or the Gloria auto-volumetric version is that the spring pressure actually reduces throughout the course of the shot and that gives you a little bit of a different extraction profile, whereas a pump would give you fairly consistent pressure from start to finish through the shot. So this spring starts out at a higher pressure and slowly lowers to a lower extraction pressure toward the end as the spring fully uncompresses. And that''s a little bit different flavor. It's also a little bit more manual. It requires a little bit more attention to the grind fineness of your coffee, the distribution in your basket. You want to make sure that you have pretty much everything locked in and you'll get really good cup quality out of this machine.

Now, again, to compare it to the Gloria auto- volumetric, of course we don't have any volumetric programming. You're pulling a shot pretty much manually. We also don't have a three- way solenoid, which means that there's no pressure release after you're done pulling your shot. It's not always an issue, but sometimes if you try to remove the portafilter directly after finishing your shot, you can get what's called a sneeze, where basically the excess pressure built into the group sprays grounds and hot water and makes a little bit of a mess. So you do want to wait a few more seconds, 5 to 10 is usually enough, but sometimes maybe even up to 20 before removing the portafilter and moving onto prepping your next shot. So that does, kind of, slow down your service a little bit. Now in terms of actual production volume, the one and two group are probably best for low-to-mid volume.

Again, it's a manual means of pulling a shot. It does take a little bit more effort on the barista. You're not quite as free to just, kind of, push a button and walk away and do something else. Now the spring does take over, you don't have to stand here and make sure the shot finishes, so you can have a few seconds to walk away, maybe prep a milk pitcher, that sort of thing. But it does require a little bit more hands-on attention than an auto-volumetric machine would. Let's pull a shot and, kind of, take a look at how this works. I've got 58 millimeter baskets here. So I can just, kind of, dose as most other commercial espresso machines. I'm using about 19 grams here. You don't have to grind too much differently than you would on a conventional pump machine. It is slightly different, so it's not exactly compatible, but once you're dialed in with this you should have pretty good results.

Now again, to start my extraction I'm going to pull the lever all the way down. That compresses my spring and raises my piston up. It also introduces water at a little bit of around line pressure to the puck. I'm going to leave it here for a few seconds of pre-infusion. Then I can slowly raise it up and then let go. Now the spring and the piston have taken over. The spring is providing my extraction pressure, pushing water through the puck of coffee. There are a few things you can do to introduce more water into that puck. For one, you can allow the lever to come all the way back up and then pull it down again for a second pull. You could also just, kind of, stop it, bring it back down at any point to introduce a little bit more water, and then kind of let it go again. That will add a little bit of wonkiness to your extraction profile in terms of pressure, but it's probably the best way of extending a shot, adding a little bit more volume or adding a little bit more extraction to a coffee that you're using.

Now additional features that we have here, obviously we have two steam wands on either side of the machine. They come equipped with five whole steam tips. You can upgrade these to no-burn steam wands. We also have a hot water tap right in the middle of the machine with a valve here on the side. So you can do your Americanos, you can do your teas, that sort of thing. You'll have hot water conveniently right in between the two groups. So overall, same general profile. Definitely the same kind of look as the Gloria volumetric machines. Of course with the addition of these beautiful chromed levers hanging at the top. So it's a fantastic machine for production. Again, a little bit more manual. A little bit more...a little bit slower than a volumetric machine would be but still, it's one of those nice showpiece machines that, kind of, connects the baristas and connects the customers to the craft of coffee. So that is the Gloria Lever Machine by Astoria. Thanks for watching.

Jan 10th 2019 meredithlangley

Recent Posts