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Thread: Which should I buy: Elektra or Pavoni

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2017

    Question Which should I buy: Elektra or Pavoni

    It's my birthday soon and I've decided I'm tired of plunger coffee and pod coffee. A mate has an elektra and I've fallen in love with not just the styling but the coffee. It's incredible. What have I been doing, wasting my life on poor quality coffee?!

    I'm looking at buying myself a lever machine and would like to know which is better: an Elektra or a La Pavoni. I usually have a machiatto or cortado (mainly because I find in most cafes, unless they're proper well-trained baristas, the coffee is invariably bitter). If I know the barista knows their stuff, I go for an espresso or doppio. I'm not one to mess a perfect coffee with flavourings like milk or sugar. I want that caffiene hit pure!

    Back to my query: is there much, if any, difference between an Elektra micro casa, a La Pavoni la grande bellezza or a La Pavoni PRG eagle? If you had to choose, which one would you go for, and why.

    Thanks for your advice!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Hi there, I never seen those machines in the flesh, just read a lot about them.

    The Elektra and the Pavoni, although being lever machines, operate in a slightly different way. The Elektra is a spring lever, meaning that when you pull the lever down, it compresses a spring and the group fills with water. As the lever goes up, the pressure is then applied to the coffee puck, and you can control the infusion by preventing the lever going up and so on.

    The Pavoni is the opposite: It is a direct lever. That means that you have to put the lever up to fill the group with water, and then apply pressure by pushing the lever down on the coffee. You can control the infusion by stopping pressing the lever down or apply more or less force.

    The lever on the pavoni rests in the down position. On the Elektra, on the up position.

    It's worth while doing some homework on those machines. If you research, the Pavoni does not have a vaccum breaker, thus you have to first release the "false" pressure before the machine can continue heating up.

    The Elektra, on the other hand, is so equipped with the valve, thus you can just turn it on and it will eventually be up to temperature.

    Also notice that those machines use a 49mm or 51mm (depending of the age of the machine). They also produce a smaller beverage than a e61 machine. I.e: great for ristrettos or singles.

    I have been researching those machines for a few weeks now, as I quite like the idea of a small lever machine.

    Saying that, I am not sure whether I would be happy to give up on my E61 machine in favour of one of them, but would certainly be happy, if I had the space, to have one of each. :-)

    Good luck.
    samuellaw178 likes this.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    They're both pretty good machines that give good results, albeit requiring different techniques.

    The Elektra is spring-driven. So when pulling a shot, you would compress the spring (pulling down on the lever) and let it unwind (lever going up). Since the spring is the one exerting pressure, the brew pressure is consistent shot-to-shot. Worth noting the Elektra's spring is on the smaller side (compared to big commercial spring levers), so the pressure is only about 4.5 bar peak. That lower pressure is said to produce softer/smoother flavors where people reported to be able to pick up more flavors (due to slightly less intense shot/noisy background), albeit at a bit less body.

    The Pavoni is fully manual. So your arm is the one providing the brew pressure and you will be pulling down on the lever during the entire brew process. It might be less consistent but you have the ability to exert up to 9 bar on the lever, which would provide more body in the shot compared to the Elektra. Once you've acquired the muscle memory, it's not too hard to repeat it over and over again.

    Though, both levers can overheat after a few shots. The Elektra is very slightly less so. It's perfectly okay if you're making 2-3 shots per session, but beyond that you have to apply some ghetto techniques to keep the group temperature in check (cool towel, icy portafilter etc).

    If you're willing to spend some time to get the best out of the machine, you can't go wrong with either.

    Oh, make sure you budget in a good quality grinder as well if you don't have one already! Around $350-$500 for a reliable electric grinder like Compak, Macap, Quamar etc, or a quality hand grinder like Lido, Helor, Feldgrind for a bit less (~$300). That's crucial to get the best result out of the machines (and saves you frustration down the road!), next to getting fresh well-roasted coffees.
    deegee and shortblackman like this.

  4. #4
    Senior Member deegee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Brisbane Southside
    Plus 1 for everything that samuellaw said above, and adding just a little to it : - Both of these machines demand that get your grind/dose/tamp combination right, which is easier if you have a good quality grinder as per his last para. Because you can manually vary the pressure on the Pavoni's lever it gives a little more wriggle room than the spring lever which needs to be spot-on.

    Unlike poster #2 I have seen both of these machines. He/She needs to do a bit more research - the later versions of both machines have an antic-vac valve and do not need a manual false pressure release.

    I have a post millenium Pavoni Pro (copper/brass) , a Gaggia G106 in chrome ( Pavoni Pro disguised as the Tin Man), and I'm restoring an old Elektra Micro-Casa. The built quality and materials are good in the Pavoni's but a bit better in the Elektra. The appearance of chrome Gaggia will outlast the others by a long way, as the clear coating on the copper and brass is much softer and more easily scratched, and will become dull in time.

    In theory, if I could keep only one of them, it would probably be the Elektra, but in the real world I'm going to keep all three - I like them all and there is no way I will be giving up any of them.

  5. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Thanks for the help. It seems the consensus is towards the elektra, which was my first choice.

  6. #6
    Senior Member JMcCee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    I've had both and currently run a 2012 model Elektra. I like the industrial nature of the Pav but compared to the Elektra it's a bit of a toy. For consistency, presence and build quality the Elektra wins every time. Flavour is subjective but I prefer the clarity of the Elektra.

  7. #7
    Site Sponsor Casa Espresso's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008

    Which should I buy: Elektra or Pavoni

    We sell both the Elektra and La Pavoni so are probably well placed to talk about both.
    True the Elektra is the more consistent but IMO the Pavoni will teach you more about coffee, dose, grind and extraction then almost any other machine on the market . When you get it wrong with the Pavoni it's a disaster , but when you get it right.... it's sublime ....
    MattyRay likes this.

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