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Thread: Lever machine for two

  1. #1
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    Question Lever machine for two

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi All,

    Its been a while since I've been active here. I'm finally thinking of moving to a lever machine. I've been looking at the Pavoni Professionals.

    My question is this, everyone says that the lower end lever machines don't do well for 'several' milk based coffees. I'm interested in hearing from Pavoni owners, how many milk based coffees can you push out before having to use cold cloths etc to cool the machine down.

    This unit will be used for 2 coffees most days, my wife and I, but on occasion we may have friends over and want to make 4, on the extremely odd occasion 6 caps.

    Will the Pavoni handle 4 coffees okay?

    And secondly will my little wife be able to make a coffee on the unit? She's a short girl, and not too strong. They seem easy enough to use, but I've heard people say they are not for the short of stature.

    Any thoughts or experiences you've had would be great.

    Des

  2. #2
    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    Try an Alex Leva and get the long and short of the story.

    I actually think that a short person would have a better arm travel on a lever machine than a tall person,
    who might have wrist action problems with the lever in the down position. ;-)

    Of course, bench/station height will always play a role, so the problem can be tweaked a little.

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    Would love an Alex, but I don't have the budget for it. My options lay neatly around the $1000 mark...

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    I have a Europiccola. Usually make one, often make 2 and occasionally make 3 doubles. For 2 its fine. For 3 I get the Pavoni sneeze unless I wait a while after the second. (The release of pressure sprays grounds around). Coffee is still good. Don't do milk but my daughter does occasionally and I don't recall any problems with that. Probably done 4 but I can't remember what the coffee was like.

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    Quote Originally Posted by richard_m_h View Post
    I have a Europiccola. Usually make one, often make 2 and occasionally make 3 doubles. For 2 its fine. For 3 I get the Pavoni sneeze unless I wait a while after the second. (The release of pressure sprays grounds around). Coffee is still good. Don't do milk but my daughter does occasionally and I don't recall any problems with that. Probably done 4 but I can't remember what the coffee was like.
    Thanks, so do you think it could make 4 caps in a row if you split the shots?

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    Senior Member deegee's Avatar
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    Hello Des. I'e had a Gaggia G106 for a few months now. It's really a Pavoni Pro disguised as the Tin Man from OZ.

    Like you, I have heard that the group gets too hot after a few shots. So far I have not tried to make more than three in a row, but they were all doubles - not split shots and that was O.K. Mine steams milk for that many with no problem, and I think it would easily do four, and maybe even six .

    The pressure needed to operate the lever is very dependent on grind/dose/tamp. With these machines you notice any variations, feeling the change in resistance through the lever. I seem to get my best shots when the lever needs a firm, but not really heavy pressure to depress it. It's a very subjective thing and hard to put into words. However, for cap's or latte's, I don't think many people would notice the difference if you were to adjust the grind so that the lever is a little bit easier for your wife to operate.

    As chokkidog has said, bench height is a factor. I'm about 180 cm and with the machine on the kitchen bench, the first part of the stroke is pulling the lever down, but mostly it is pressing, not pulling the lever. It would probably be a bit easier at typical table height, even for me, and would be for anyone shorter.

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    Hi Deegee,

    That's great feedback thanks! Have you had much experience with other machines? My current machine is a single boiler diadema perfetta.

    I really want to try the lever option but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't hesitant to leave my Perfetta...

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    Has the Ponte Vecchio ( Export or Lusso) been on your radar ?
    They are certainly in your budget range, reported to have better temperature stability , and use a spring lever group for consistency.
    User feedback seems very favorable.
    Just an option for you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Iconiq View Post
    Hi Deegee,

    That's great feedback thanks! Have you had much experience with other machines? My current machine is a single boiler diadema perfetta.

    I really want to try the lever option but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't hesitant to leave my Perfetta...

    Honestly? Your Perfetta is a better and more stable machine. This is a downgrade, not a crossgrade.

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    Yeah, like I said Chris, very hesitant. I'm just keen for a change and have always wanted a lever. What would you suggest instead?

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    Senior Member deegee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iconiq View Post
    Hi Deegee, That's great feedback thanks! Have you had much experience with other machines? My current machine is a single boiler diadema perfetta. I really want to try the lever option but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't hesitant to leave my Perfetta...
    Then you should do what I did. KEEP BOTH.

    I have a small collection of Gaggia Classics. One working, one partly rebuilt. Most of my experience is with them, though I have also used a San Marino Lisa regularly.
    I also have one of the old gold plated Classic's - built between 15 and 20 years ago, which I will start restoring soon.

    The lever is now my favourite. My palate is hopeless, I can't pick out citrus, plums, or such, but I do believe that it pulls a sweeter, smoother shot than anything else I have used thus far. But I have not used anything that is in the same league as the Perfetta.

    Here's some more feedback:- Last week I got some beans not tried before, and I roasted a couple of batches, plus an old favorite.
    This morning I tried a shot of each S.O. and a couple of blends - one after the other - with the lever.
    Six shots in all, and while it was clearly getting hotter towards the end, only the last shot was a bit iffy. The first and last shots were both the same bean, and there was a difference, but not much. The shot was not ruined nor obviously burned, but different.

    I didn't pre grind all the beans, so there was a short gap while I ground the next lot, knocked out the puck, rinsed the p/f, dried the baskest then dosed, tamped etc etc. I used 16 grams for each, and a 'Fellini pull' to get a 45 ml shot that was just starting to blonde as it bottomed out.
    I read somewhere that cooling the p/f under the cold tap between shots reduces the heat buildup, and it does seem to help, at least a little.

    I did the 5 cent test a while back and found that if I overfilled the basket, settled, leveled and tamped. I could get 17.5 to 18 grams in there, but the 5 cent piece would be buried almost level with the surface. With 17 grams it went about half way in and with 16 it left just a very faint impression. If you were going to split the shot, maybe you could use 17 grams and a 'half plus one' pull, to get a 50 to 55 ml shot, but that's just theory, I have never actually tried it. Might do it later today, when the shakes slow down a bit.

    Cheers, deegee.
    Last edited by deegee; 22nd May 2014 at 03:24 PM.

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    Senior Member speleomike's Avatar
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    Hi Iconiq

    Quote Originally Posted by blend52 View Post
    Has the Ponte Vecchio ( Export or Lusso) been on your radar ?
    They are certainly in your budget range, reported to have better temperature stability , and use a spring lever group for consistency.
    User feedback seems very favorable.
    I'd second that. I have a small La Pavoni Europiccola and a two group Ponte Veccio from one of our site sponsors. The Pavoni can do one or two shots and then you will need to wait ages. The Veccio has a boiler just big enough to do 6 shots and you dont have to wait between shots. Pull with one group, then while that is relieving pressure pull from the other, then back and release the first, ditch puck reload, pull, etc. It does not overheat. You will be able to serve 4 to 6 persons with a bit of practice. The Pavoni would take an hour to serve 6 persons :-)

    Mike

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    Quote Originally Posted by Iconiq View Post
    Yeah, like I said Chris, very hesitant. I'm just keen for a change and have always wanted a lever. What would you suggest instead?
    Save until you can afford a real lever. In the meantime, the Perfetta will do the job well. We plan to add the Cremina to range soon, but it's in a different class (and style) as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by speleomike View Post
    Hi Iconiq



    I'd second that. I have a small La Pavoni Europiccola and a two group Ponte Veccio from one of our site sponsors. The Pavoni can do one or two shots and then you will need to wait ages. The Veccio has a boiler just big enough to do 6 shots and you dont have to wait between shots. Pull with one group, then while that is relieving pressure pull from the other, then back and release the first, ditch puck reload, pull, etc. It does not overheat. You will be able to serve 4 to 6 persons with a bit of practice. The Pavoni would take an hour to serve 6 persons :-)

    Mike
    I'd third the Ponte Vecchio Lusso. You can pump out a steady number of shots and have plenty of steam, and the groups temp stays stable. The narrower and deeper 45mm baskets are more forgiving too.

    The main sticking point would be the build quality. Mine was good, but had a scratch on a cylinder wall which I suspect was caused by poor assembly at the factory.

    Sniff

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    The Cremina is not for rapid coffee production. It is for making one or two coffees when you're not in a rush and want to enjoy the whole experience. They are built like a tank, but you pay a premium for that ($2k more than a Ponte Vecchio Lusso).

    Sniff

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    Thanks so much for all the feedback guys, its been really helpful. Its so good to know such a good resource is at your fingertips when you need it. There is no way I can get a $2500 + machine past the financial manager, but for the moment, I think my fears have been addressed enough for a Pav. As TalkCoffee pointed out, I believe my Perfetta is a great machine, and makes supburb coffee, but I'm gonna give the levers a go. (Maybe while I choose my first HX machine).

    Still interested in hearing stories about making a hand full of milk based drinks on a Pavoni or Electra if anyone has some.

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    A Pavoni Pro to arrive for me any day now. I will be keeping my Saeco VV in the cupboard for occasions of visiting people. Really, 97.3% of he time we need double shots X1 or 2. So for that much, sorry friends and family, but only I shall supp from the lever when you visit. For you, I will do my best with the pressurised PF.

    (Unless you are very patient.)

    Keep Perfetta. Get Pavoni for your amusement!

    I am short and weak, and have no trouble with lever.
    Iconiq and deegee like this.

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    Well, my Pavoni Stradivari arrived today. I think many people will be interested in how it compares to the Diadema Perfetta, I've also owned a Sunbeam EM6910 so I might create a second thread and share my experiences and comparisons.

    At first glance, as Chris pointed out, the Perfetta seems to be a better machine. I'll hold out from judging completely for a few months, but the build quality etc on the Perfetta seems to be far superior to the Stradivari.

    The feeling of a lack of quality I think is due to plastic being used for the drip try, underside of the base, and the sight glass protector. Not to mention the wooden handles look and feel like compressed wood with a laminate cover.

    Still, pulling the first shot was a pleasure, and I can see I'm going to have fun over the next few months learning the ins and outs of my new toy.

    Cheers.



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