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Thread: La Pavoni Lever Machine Build Quality

  1. #1
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    La Pavoni Lever Machine Build Quality

    Hi all,
    After 6 years of faithful service of my Ranchilio Sylvia, I am thinking of purchasing a La Pavoni Romtantica. However, I am hearing from various blogs that the La Pavoni lever machines have some quality issues now. The steel they are made from is lower quality pot metal, the wooden boiler caps have plastic threads and plastic has crept into other parts as well.
    This does not provide me with much comfort.
    Can anybody out there either confirm or deny whether La Pavoni has started to use cheaper inferior materials to save costs? Has anybody out there recently brought a La Pavoni lever machine, and if so, what do they think?
    So sorry if this question has been asked before, I could not find it anywhere else on the forums.
    Thanks.
    JLB

  2. #2
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    Yeah. The boiler lid on wood mod/ custom machines has a plastic thread, which is good and .... Well .... Better than wood would be.

    the plastic part of the drip tray is a kind of brittle plastic. I had mine replaced fairly early on due to a crack which I think appeared after washing it in too hot water. ( I only wash the replacement in cold now).

    i think pre the machines having the plastic insert to the drip tray there was nothing - just a grill . If this is true > rust city!

    I'm afraid I wouldn't know about metal quality, except that mine has served me well.

    to me the main problems with Pavoni levers are not so much the manufacture as the problems that may arise from uncaring use. Ie: Don't let water pool in it, or around the edges after you have temp surfed & sent water spraying over the bench!

    Oh yes, the ends of the plastic that covers the sight glass on mine has gone from clear to white over about 18 months. Looks fine though & doesn't effect performance.

    Hope that helps!

  3. #3
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    Thanks Shortblackman, much appreciated.

  4. #4
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    GDay James,

    I've been a Pavoni lever owner for a few years now - so I guess you could say I did recently purchase mine. The machine build quality is excellent.. Here's what I've found, and I think I might also reference the comments @shortblackman has made just to throw in my 2 cents worth

    The wood turned parts are all reasonable quality, but the wood turned hand for the portafilter requires extra care, in two ways:
    - the inner thread that attaches the basket to the handle is one of the only parts on the machine that rusts, mine started rusting but I easily cleaned it up by soaking in vinegar.
    - the wood itself needs to be kept as dry as possible, this is the only part on my machine that has well and truly died big time. I just find it too hard to keep dry, mine is often wet just from washing and every now and then I might get really lazy and leave it in an empty sink where it keeps getting wet again, consequently the wood has now split, and I'm currently chip carving a new handle myself haha.

    So, in terms of the comment about the thread on the wood boiler lid, mine is fine, I've not replaced it yet and don't see any point in the medium term future where it might need replacing, quality seems good to me.

    The plastic drip tray is fine, mine has gone through the dish washer on many occasions perfectly fine. In terms of other plastic parts there is only really one that I found, the gasket cover, but its some crazy hard as plastic that I can't imagine wears out fast. So I'm fine with it. In terms of steel being used, the steel on mine is quite good, keep in mind for those very few steel parts you should put grease on em, they're around the moving parts so they need grease anyway (like the little bits around the lever mechanism) - with the exception of the steel drip tray which I'll also add must be a high grade because it has never shown even a spec of rust.

    The plastic cover over the sight glass is also fine, hasn't gone white over time, it's still clear as. I'd suggest if that ever happened to just pop it off (its easy) and clean the inside of it... and secondly to also check for any leaks of the actual sight glass (top and bottom) itself that might have caused any weird discolouration.

    The metal quality, is excellent in my opinion. Keep in mind most of the machine has a generous electroplating of chromium which does not rust, and is easy to keep shiny. And you will want to give it that 'extra rub' to keep it shiny haha. I did put a tiny knick in the chrome finish one day when i dropped a bunch of stuff in the kitchen and something metal flew out and hit the boiler, but its no biggy.

    The metal quality apart from the chrome is mostly solid copper/brass. So you won't find rust on those parts but you will find that some limescale build up will center on those areas when you do your major services on the machine - tip, there's one on the inside of the boiler, right where the sight glass comes in to the boiler, and the scale seems very attracted to that particular spot hah.

    The ones that have the copper and brass finish I can only assume are also excellent quality but mine is chrome

    There's lots to love about this machine.. but you have to have the matching personality to really enjoy it, do you like doing things from scratch, often the harder/more manual way? It takes time and lots of mistakes to learn to get the best from your pavoni lever, but I have no regrets at all.. I love mine to bits.

    I might leave you with one last tip.
    Just consider it?
    Even though I love my Pavoni dearly, I think if I could go back in time, I would probably have spent the extra money and bought the Elektra. The elektra is slightly bigger, slightly better build quality, and has a spring loaded lever rather than a manual one, which would really help with consistency for shots.

    I'll see if I can add some pictures of the parts for you to gander at, you can be the judge on the quality of the parts

    Hope you make the best decision ever and get yourself a beautiful lever machine! R!
    Last edited by Rolley; 15th April 2016 at 02:11 PM. Reason: fixing a few typos

  5. #5
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    ..and some pics of mine

    hey hey, sorry not the best pics, I thought I had more but this is all I have.. have a gawk at the build quality from these if you can I included a full machine shot just after I re-assembled it last time because then you can see the machine as a whole, being a few years old now, with usage at least once every day.
    I love how you can just unscrew the whole machine! Seriously, I think it will still be alive and well when I'm old and wrinkly this machine hey.
    Cheers
    R
    !
    Attached Images Attached Images

  6. #6
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    Thanks

    Quote Originally Posted by Rolley View Post
    hey hey, sorry not the best pics, I thought I had more but this is all I have.. have a gawk at the build quality from these if you can I included a full machine shot just after I re-assembled it last time because then you can see the machine as a whole, being a few years old now, with usage at least once every day.
    I love how you can just unscrew the whole machine! Seriously, I think it will still be alive and well when I'm old and wrinkly this machine hey.
    Cheers
    R
    !
    Hi Rolley, so sorry for my tardy response. No excuse on my part.

    Thank you for your in depth comments, very valuable. And you jpegs were superb.

    it had been a long drawn out and hard fought campaign with my wife, but I think she is slowly relenting. Having big sad doleful eyes help; a little theatre goes a long way.

    I will keep you informed.

    Thanks mate,
    Regards,
    James

  7. #7
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    Hi James,
    Have you considered the Ponte Vecchio Lusso? I've had mine for at least 6 years.

  8. #8
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    Mar 2016
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    Hi Jitsukablue, to be honest, I had never heard of this machine until just now.
    Must admit, I love the looks of the La Pavoni, and I have just won a long drawn out war with my long suffering wife, to finally get a La Pavoni for my birthday. I really don't want to push it, ooh, things can turn nasty very quickly.
    After much research, I have come to the conclusion that a chrome LP will last the distance without too much trouble. Of course seals and pins will have to be periodically changed; no big deal.
    as soon as it arrives in May (yeah, I know), I will post a photo. Until then my Ranchilio Sylvia is doing the job.

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