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Ponte Vecchio Export (Lever Machine) - First use

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  • Ponte Vecchio Export (Lever Machine) - First use

    Hello guys,

    A bit of a follow on from the other day after actually using my new machine. Let me start by saying that any coffee that i have made over the last 17 years is generally brewed is in a stove top percolator (cafetera), so i know that when it comes to machines i'm a complete rookie and wouldn't last a day in a coffee shop or espresso bar. So it may come as a suprise to most that i have jumped the traditional entry level machines like the Lelit, gaggia, ecm's etc and had my eyes set solely on a lever. My criteria was i wanted a machine with least components, to try and have a kit that would last me not years, but decades if maintained. I loved the look and philosophy behind the la pavoni's but was a little scared off with the talk of couple of shot wonders before potentially overheating, so after a bit of research decided on the PV Export.

    Based on the short story above i actually got some time today to trial the machine. I was using some freshly roasted beans from my local roaster in Underwood Brisbane (Simply Beans). I was also fortunate to have installed a water filter in my kitchen, so starting off with some fresh filtered water, hopefully was a good move?.

    Balancing the grind, amount....this was quite difficult for me as i had no idea where to start, amazing first setting wasn't too far away from where i ended up (after 10 attempts). I wanted to use a large shot glass so i could at least compare the crema against those on youtube, but alas i could not as i didnt have one, so had to settle with a 160ml latte looking ikea glass. I managed to get crema with all grinds with the noticeable changes is taste vs how long it actually lasted.

    Also a key point to note, i don't drink short blacks or espresso's normally and if i did it normally is followed with a bit of sugar. Normal drinks for me is milk based, so the ideal espresso for me would have to have no bitterness or burnt flavour, would have to be smooth and sweet enough to not warrant sugar.

    At the end i managed to satisfy the above and get a consistent 3-5mm of crema which lasted a couple of minutes before i had a sip and gave it a swirl.

    I still need to have a further go at getting silky milk, but first crack was really good and a good consistency.

    The PV Export has around 1lt capacity and let me pull around 8-10 shots (cant remember how many too excited using it) and two batches of frothed milk before the water level dropped towards the empty mark on the gauge and not sure how many more things i would be able to get out before needing to cool down, top up and heat up again. I gave it 15mins to boil, which seemed alright. It does have a light, which i should have noticed, but i was juggling this experiment with keeping a 2 year old entertained.

    Next tasks on my list of things to do is give my original solid tamper a bit of a rub with some wetndry sand paper as the PV Export has a small internal diameter of 47mm on the portafilter and the little plastic one just doesnt look right against the stainless machine. I will make do with the Breville grinder the time being and invest in a better entry level one maybe in 12months (maybe a lelit, isomac or better superadooper one).

    I would recommend a lever machine (toy or commercial) to anyone and definitely even the PV Export. The only issue i will predict with the PV, is that it quite hard to find, especially in Australia, so sourcing locally seems impossible for now.

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    Be gentle, not the inch thick cremas like you see in the videos, but my first drinkable one, so im stoked.
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  • #2
    Hello 3rutu5, Welcome to the lever owner/users club. Those Exports are a really neat compact little unit aren't they. I came very close to buying one some time ago, but while I was still deciding whether or not to import one privately, I got a chance to buy a Gaggia G106 lever, which was also on my wish list, so I ended up getting it instead.

    Re grind/amount - the thing to remember about grind and dose is that they go together, and while it's the combination of the two that controls the pour, it's best to change only one of them at a time when dialing in.

    I don't know how strong the Export's steam is, but I have found that steaming with smaller less powerful machines it's mostly about keeping the tip at the right depth. I see it as a two stage process. The first is getting the air into the milk by holding the tip just below the surface, and even if you get some fairly large coarse bubbles, lowering the jug as the milk expands. Then the second stage is working the froth through the milk to make finer foam, by raising the jug so the tip is further below the surface and no longer sucking in any more air.

    Cheers, deegee.


    • #3
      Cheers deegee, after a couple of weeks of playing around with various things I have noticed how forgiving this unit is. Even dodgy shots taste awesome. Getting the hang of the milk, also noticed that with the milk coffees I'm making I don't need to add sugar, which is great. I managed to get my hands on a smaller custom tamper from etsy, which should be arriving soon

      Only issue i have now is not enjoying some of the bought coffees in the valley and noticing that I'm liking mine better (or I need to find a different barista)


      • #4
        Originally posted by 3rutu5 View Post
        Only issue i have now is not enjoying some of the bought coffees in the valley and noticing that I'm liking mine better (or I need to find a different barista)
        Welcome to the snobbery! I hardly buy coffee out, that was the point of getting this great machine. If we do, I tend to only get espresso when I'm out, harder to $%^& up and it's less money down the drain if they are crap