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  • La Pavoni Europiccola lever

    It has been on my mind for a while to start a dedicated thread on the La Pavoni lever machine. One of my all time favorites.

    An Italian icon, it does have its quirks and you need to learn about them to get the best out of it.
    Its easy to get it wrong with a La Pavoni, but when you get it right, you wont get much better.

    There is so much useful information to be shared. So ask and share away on your experiences of the La Pavoni lever....

    Cheers

    Antony

  • #2
    Click image for larger version  Name:	62B94D71-CDCA-4AC1-8321-CF0C47978C9D.jpeg Views:	0 Size:	243.9 KB ID:	846234Hi Anthony,

    Great idea, I am also a lover of the Pavoni Lever machines. Over the years I have played with a range of machines, but the open boiler design combined with the tactile experience of Pulling a shot on a Pavoni, is something special.

    I am using a post millennial professional, with a go to recipe of 15g dose and yielding 1.5:1 on a single ~30 sec pull with 10 second pre-infuse. The resulting shots are gloopy and full of body with real high notes making for easy flavour recognition.

    I am intrigued to know how others are finding their Pavoni, and what basic recipes/tips you have had good success with.

    Comment


    • #3
      FWIW... I bought a Professional sometime around the mid 90's. Fast forward to today and I am still pulling 2 coffees 3 times a day from it..... I guess it has had somewhere approaching 50,000 coffees through it. It comes with me in the van and I also have an inverter in the car so can use it down the beach etc.

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      • #4
        Hi Antony, I’m enjoying playing with my new Pro and gradually getting better but still no godshot or perfect crema?. I’m using same grind as in my 21gm naked on the Giotto and it takes forever to get first drops through! Any thoughts?

        Comment


        • Casa Espresso
          >Casa Espresso commented
          Editing a comment
          Hi John,

          Like all machines there are some basics that need to right and then also a few other tweeks that the La Pavoni likes
          - Number one. Are you using fresh beans freshly ground? This is a non negotiable
          - The La Pavoni is very particular about grind and dose. It needs to be right
          - If it is taking "forever" to get the first drops of extraction it sounds like either you are over dosing or have the grind too fine. When the flow is too slow
          like this the hot water stays in contact with the coffee for too long, you get too much heat through the grounds and this is what will destroy crema
          - Over heating of the group head can also kill crema. Dont leave the machine on for to long. Make your 3 or 4 coffees and turn it off. There is an
          "isolator" option available that gives the group head more heat stability.

          Hopefully this helps

          Cheers

          Antony

      • #5
        Originally posted by johnthepom0 View Post
        Hi Antony, I’m enjoying playing with my new Pro and gradually getting better but still no godshot or perfect crema?. I’m using same grind as in my 21gm naked on the Giotto and it takes forever to get first drops through! Any thoughts?
        Hi johnthepom0
        Just wondering are you pulling at the right temp? I'd suggest temperature strips to be sure your group head is at the 90c+ range. The right pressure is when you are pressing on the lever only and the machine just starts to tip over (thats 9 bar). Other than that are you using fresh beans?

        Comment


        • #6
          Silicone piston seals are available for La Pavoni machines, manufactured by Cafelat and readily available through many parts suppliers.

          Also if you get tired of your element seal leaking, a silicone boiler seal from a Rancilio Silvia fits it fine and is far more durable.

          Why La Pavoni use rubber for every seal in the machine (except the piston shaft seal), particularly now in 2020 when silicone seals are becoming commonplace is all other machines, is a mystery. One of the big shortcomings of the La Pavoni line is this in my opinion. Hopefully they come standard with silicone piston seals at least in the future.

          Comment


          • Casa Espresso
            >Casa Espresso commented
            Editing a comment
            Hi Noddie,

            I would agree with you, particularly with the piston seals. The silicon version withstand the heat much better.
            We fit the silicon seals as standard on any service we do.
            We have them available https://www.casaespresso.com.au/la-p...ton-seals.html here as well

            Cheers
            Antony

          • noidle22
            noidle22 commented
            Editing a comment
            Yes I fit them on each machine now as well. For the relatively small price difference, it wouldn't make sense to use the rubber ones anymore.

        • #7
          Hey, thanks for starting this thread. I joined CS yesterday because I stumbled across it whilst researching used LP’s. Sold my home espresso machine last year due to limited bench space and subscribed to the ‘filter at home espresso at cafe’ theory but have missed an espresso in the morning on a weekend... After seeing James Hoffman’s youtube video I have been thinking a Europiccola might fill the void! Ryan.

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          • #8
            Thanks for all the help, yes I am using fresh beans from CS bean bay, and grind fresh using my Macap M4D measuring 14 or 15 grams, always pull between 10 - 15 minutes from turning on. Haven’t tried the almost pulling over tip yet. Will try coarser grind and see what happens, last time I did that it seemed to weak, any thoughts on whether grind should be coarser or finer compared to the level I use on my Giotto?

            Comment


            • roosterben
              roosterben commented
              Editing a comment
              Definitely coarser in my limited experience (especially if you use a precision basket in your Giotto), with the smaller group size 49mm/51mm depending on the model of La Pavoni you need to go a bit coarser to have a decent flow rate otherwise you will be going over 9 bar and putting stress on the lever components.

              The other thing is you could try to reduce your tamping pressure.

              If you aren't doing a pre-infusion this can also be a reason for too much pressure. Lift the lever slowly and fill the group with water and just bring the lever down until you feel decent resistance and hold gentle pressure for 10 seconds.

            • c0alJK
              c0alJK commented
              Editing a comment
              Do you purge the grouphead water before using? Without purging, water from the grouphead is really low compared to whats actually in the boiler (if its only been on for 10-15mins) You can also do a 'dry' pump lifting up and down the lever this will circulate the water between group and boiler. Other than that check the boiler pressure, it should be reading constantly at a pressure between 0.5-1bar (actual pressure will depend on the model or setting), the key point is it shouldn't be fluctuating before your pull.

              As for the grind setting, you need to play around with yourself as anyone would just be guessing here.

          • #9
            Slowly improving and now that I have my new Lagom P64 playing with grind setting. Yes I do purge group head started dry pumping and always have pressure in 0.5-1bar, haven’t got temperature strip so will and find one.

            Comment


            • #10
              After reading The Lever magazine issue 2, I was inspired to try an isolator on my post millennial Europiccola Professional. As I struggled to find a lot of information on them when considering one, I thought I would share some of my experiences.

              The isolator is a fairly simple piece of kit, essentially a Teflon insulator which sits between the group and boiler. The kit contains the isolator, with replacement seals, and longer attachment bolts. Installation does not get much easier, all that is needed is a 10mm spanner to remove the group from the boiler, once removed the water feed can be removed from and screwed into the isolator.

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              Aesthetically the isolator is low impact, the black matches with the boiler cap and handles, so it doesn't look out of place. In saying that, I prefer the clean chrome to chrome look better, and if the boiler cap/handles were wood, it may look more out of place. The additional thickness of the isolator moves the group forward over the drip tray, but it didn't seem to affect scale/cup placement. One of the things I was most concerned about was the additional leverage applied to the boiler attachment, when testing tonight the attachment felt secure with no noticeable increase in deflection on the boiler, but over the coming days I will get a better feel whilst pulling shots.

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              As it was getting late I did not pull any shots, but I did do some comparative temperature testing. The temperatures were measured at the group, whilst not absolute, they do provide a relative indication of group temp. I know from past experience that the sweet spot (judged by taste) is around 85c group temp on my measurement setup. The table below provides the pre and post installation results at different times and flush intervals. The results show that the group certainly runs cooler with the isolator installed, with temperatures recovering to a point that I believe consecutive shots will now be possible without the need for wet cloths/wraps. One of the biggest changes I noticed was after 20 minutes idle. Without the isolator the temperature continues rising until the group is too hot for extraction, but with the isolator the group continues cooling until the temperature is too cold for extraction. I am anticipating an easier workflow with the isolator as time is no longer critical; rather, a good warming flush with 5 min recovery should have the group back in the range.

              Now to the important stuff, pulling shots! I will play around over the coming days and let you all know how it is working out for me.

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              Last edited by Boggas; 3 weeks ago. Reason: Made a mess of uploading the images, hopefully this works :)

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              • #11
                Ok so it has been a week of solid use with isolator fitted, I officially can’t imagine life without it! Temperature control and workflow are so much easier now, shots are easy to keep consistent. I had some visitors and needed to make 3 Flat whites and 2 espresso, normally I would go straight to the Profitech for these occasions, but the Pavoni handled it with ease (no wet towels required). As for the moment change, the machine does want to lift the legs a little earlier than pre-mod, but it only took a shot or two to recalibrate the arm.

                Pros
                - machine can idle without overheating group.
                - group passively cools between shots
                - simplified workflow: 3 sec flush, a couple of dry pumps, 3 second flush to heat the group. Once warm i can consistently pull shots 3-5 min apart noting I have not tested beyond 5 shots.

                Cons
                - Aesthetics are not as nice in my opinion.
                - Moment change takes a little getting used to.

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