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Should I buy a La Pavoni or not?

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  • Should I buy a La Pavoni or not?

    I'm weighing up if a la Pavoni Stradivari is a low cost but quality machine- eg a worthy option to spend as much hard earned as I can afford to spend on quality coffee?
    I don't mind taking the pepsi challenge of working hard to make a good shot -and I am thinking the maintenance is relative low level compared to other machines with lots of electronics, pumps, etc I but have some concerns about a couple of point I was hoping some of you best type of snobs could answer-
    1- how long does the machine take to warm up- for the shot, and for steam wand for wife and son who both make FW's -
    2- are there other lever machines in a similar price range and quality worth looking at?
    Cheers

  • #2
    You should

    It takes about 6-8 minutes to heat up.

    I have seen some older lever machines which look really well designed, but they're at least double in price. La Pavoni's are good value.

    They're amazing machines, the only downsides I've noticed is that one one of the pins on the lever wears a little, leaving tiny flakes of metal on the top of the group. The lever should be longer & stronger to allow greater pressure during a shot and the base should be longer to allow for this as well.

    I have seen a pavoni with a custom pin, so that problem could be solved if it bothered you. I'm guessing that there are custom levers that are made & I'm sure you could find a way to clamp the machine down if that was an issue, which its not for me, I'm just saying that there are very few things wrong with this machine.

    The main reason I have kept it, though, is that it really makes amazing coffee. I like to experiment with pressure profiling as well sometimes and it's easy to do on this without getting a GS3.

    Hope this helps,
    Sam

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    • #3
      Cheers mate!!

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      • #4
        I haven't used a Stradivari, but am a lover of my europiccola.

        The main limitation with the europiccola (and I don't see how the Stradivari would be different in this respect) is the number of shots you can pull before overheating, and thus needing to wait for machine to cool down before any more coffee.

        If this limitation does not worry you, Pavoni levers are great machines that can make an unbelievably good shot. However if you want to be able to pull several shots in a row, entertain guests etc. then you will be better off with something else.

        There is heaps of discussion on the europiccola here on CS - just search. I believe the Stradivari is the 'pimped' europiccola?

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        • #5
          x2 for Pavoniboy's thoughts on the Pav.

          I have had mine on the bench again for a few weeks while my 1group Lever has been undergoing a few mods and it has like always been great fun playing again. Steam isn't awesome but it is a heap better than some of the HX domestics and a lot of the lower end machines.

          Proper warmup is 5-6 minutes then crack the steamvalve to bleed off the false pressure then it will be properly up to temp at 15-16 minutes. You can cheat this by drawing some water past the head but I generally don't.

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          • #6
            Just a warning to those thinking of buying a new pavoni Stradivari. ... my recently purchased Stradivari is developing an ugly peeling of the chrome from the base within months of use and I'm having no success with pavoni getting it replaced. I was also disappointed with the flimsy thin and brittle plastic sump mine was cracked straight out of the box and the crappy plastic tamp is not even the correct size for the revised basket diameter.

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            • #7
              That's a shame, because they're a good thing. What is a sump?

              Antony at casa espresso checks the machines out of the box, so wouldn't be a problem. Did you buy it over the net? Coz that can get tricky!

              welcome to CS.

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              • #8
                Sump = drip tray. Thanks google.

                mine cracked after a few months. They are brittle I agree. Straight swap at place of purchase. Easy.

                Still, the chrome thing is sad.

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                • #9
                  I recently bought a La Pavoni Professional second hand, well looked after, a couple pf years old.

                  Very happy with it, warms up quickly, pulls very good shots and will make a nice cappuccino, pretty easy to come to terms with.

                  I find turning the power off between shots helps prevent over heating, it comes up to pressure again quickly when the power is turned back on.

                  All in all a great little machine.

                  Just remember your going to need a reasonable grinder to get decent results from it, cant imagine trying to use it with pre ground coffee, fine tuning the grind is essential.

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                  • #10
                    + 1 for switch it off even for a minute or two after pulling your first two shots.

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                    • #11
                      Yelta,

                      Is your machine pre or post millennium?

                      I have had a 2003 Professional for a couple of months and am having an absolute ball with it :-)

                      Regards,

                      Matt

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by MattyRay View Post
                        Yelta,

                        Is your machine pre or post millennium?

                        I have had a 2003 Professional for a couple of months and am having an absolute ball with it :-)

                        Regards,

                        Matt
                        G'Day Matt, the machine is post millennium, bit over 2 years old, good little machine.

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                        • #13
                          I've had mine since 1993 and wouldn't dream of changing it. However, I'm the only coffee drinker in the house.
                          If I have coffee drinking guests, I might be able to pull 4 shots if I'm lucky before things get a bit hot and the shot quality declines. I've worked out ways to delay this, wet tea towels wrapped around the upper chamber, for instance.
                          One thing I always pass on to prospective buyers is to buy extra baskets. I find that filling the baskets before pulling the first shot speeds things up. The baskets with the used pucks just drop out and you drop a new one in. The baskets aren't a tight fit, and getting the old grounds out and refilling the basket between each shot can be a slow business on this machine. I don't think they're too expensive.
                          What I particularly like about the machine (apart from the quality of the coffee it produces) is the simplicity of everything. I think that I buy a gasket kit every 3-4 years or so and give it a service at home. There's not much needed in the way of tools.

                          Cheers

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                          • #14
                            Why extra baskets? Isn't it just bang , wipe, off ya go?

                            Agree that 4 shots Is stretching the friendship.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by LordL View Post
                              I've had mine since 1993 and wouldn't dream of changing it. However, I'm the only coffee drinker in the house.
                              If I have coffee drinking guests, I might be able to pull 4 shots if I'm lucky before things get a bit hot and the shot quality declines. I've worked out ways to delay this, wet tea towels wrapped around the upper chamber, for instance.
                              One thing I always pass on to prospective buyers is to buy extra baskets. I find that filling the baskets before pulling the first shot speeds things up. The baskets with the used pucks just drop out and you drop a new one in. The baskets aren't a tight fit, and getting the old grounds out and refilling the basket between each shot can be a slow business on this machine. I don't think they're too expensive.
                              What I particularly like about the machine (apart from the quality of the coffee it produces) is the simplicity of everything. I think that I buy a gasket kit every 3-4 years or so and give it a service at home. There's not much needed in the way of tools.

                              Cheers
                              Yes, you have to love the simplicity. I took the group head in to work today and spent a relaxed hour replacing the seals and cleaning it up. Cost for all seals on the group head was no more than about $15. Plus, far better coffee than the commercial Bezzera at work, with the same beans. Not sure why, but its the way it is.

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